6 Steps To Creating A Blog or Website – Ask Anne

by Anne Wayman

webtrafficHi Anne,

I am a freelance writer interested in creating a blog to possibly, per your suggestion, attract freelance writing jobs.  However, I’m blog-challenged.

Can you briefly review how to start one? I’ve been researching it and would like an impartial opinion.

Once I have it established: do I post some of my articles? All of them? (I have about 50.) What else do I want to/need to post?

Your time, help, and patience is greatly appreciated.

Thank you,

BK

Hi BK,

Setting up a blog or website to attract writing clients can seem overwhelming. First, remember none of us were born knowing how to do this stuff.



Although you can hire any number of experts who will set you up, it’s become simple enough that I suggest you do it yourself so you really know you can change it as you will want to down the road. And you will want changes, I promise.

The trick is to break the project down into baby steps:

Pick a host. The ‘host’ is where your site will be stored so it’s visible on the ‘net. I’m loving BlueHost (yes, that’s an affiliate link). HostGator is another good one. They both have a one click install for WordPress.

Buy a domain name from your host. The domain name is your web address. Yes, you may be able to get it a bit cheaper through someone other than your host, but I find there’s real convenience in having it all in one place. Domain names are sort of like cars and get re-registered every year.

If your name is available by all means buy that as your domain name, assuming it’s easy to say and to spell. You can always add a word or two to your name if you can’t buy it as is. Get a dot com rather than any other ending – it’s still the most recognizable and if someone knows your name they will first try a dot.com version.

Install WordPress. WordPress is great because it will let you update your site and even change its look and feel easily. And there’s a huge WordPress community which means it’s pretty easy to get free help. If your host has a one button install, it’s literally that easy and if there’s a glitch customer support can sort you out.



Pick a theme. The theme defines the look and feel of your site – there are gillions of them for free and some for a price. This blog is on Thesis – a premium theme (link in the sidebar). You probably want a theme that allows you a custom header, but you can start more simply than that. You can find themes through your site’s dashboard or by googling for wordpress themes. Know that if you wake up one morning hating your theme it’s easy to change it.

About & Contact are the first pages you should create. The About page is just that, a page about you. Tell the story of how you became a writer – folks love to know behind the scenes info like that. Your Contact page should have both your email and your phone number. You want to make it easy for possible clients to contact you.

Add samples. Upload samples, link to samples or write some samples. Any and all of these serve to showcase your work.

There, wasn’t that simple? While I’ve had a couple of clients get this done in half a day or even less, I suggest you take it one step at a time.

Take a look at Writers Need These Four Pages On Their Professional Website.

If you did one step each day, you’d have your site up and running in less than a week. Then you can rest.

Got a site? Post the link in comments, we’d like to see it. Got a problem maybe we can help with? Post it in comments or even, gasp, join the 5 Buck Forum – we’ve got tech people who are also writers who will help.

And if you’ve got a question, email me and I’ll do my best to get it answered.

Anne Wayman Writing Coach

 

 

Anne can help you create a successful freelance writing business.

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Image, which is a web activity flower graph, by Attribution Some rights reserved by saintbob

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{ 13 comments… read them below or add one }

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David @ Web Design San Francisco June 11, 2012 at 4:07 am

Hi Anne, that was a good article and very informative. Thanks for sharing :-)

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HP van Duuren June 8, 2012 at 3:18 am

Although for me personally when I started Blogging,
my prime objective wasn’t to attract freelance writing jobs,

I did however discover the ‘Pulling Power’ Blogs can have for getting jobs, Because to my surprise – without even asking for it - I frequently get all kinds of Internet Marketing related Job Offers. (While as a Home – Business - Builder, I usually am not even really looking for any – Job – type activities.)

So I do think that a Blog deffinitely can be used for attracting jobs. I do think that for something like that you can have an incredible wide range of ‘Online Tools’ at your disposal, for establishing yourself as a Brand.

You can for example Position yourself as an Expert in many way’s, for example with Books, Special Reports, Press Releases, Articles, a Newsletter, Public Speaking etc. etc. and you can put all those things on your Blog.
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John Soares June 7, 2012 at 7:38 am

Anne, when I first started blogging in 2008, figuring out how to use Wordpress was by far the biggest stumbling block. It is probably fairly easy for someone with prior web design experience, but there were far fewer resources back then.

I think it’s a good idea for most folks to pony up $100-$400 and have the site professionally designed and set up, if they can afford it.
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annew June 7, 2012 at 11:48 am

Ah John, yes, back then it was pretty horrid even with some web experience. But with the one-click installs it really is a snap. Or darn close. The problem with paying someone is that you’re stuck if they move on or you want just to make a tiny change. I’d rather save the money and figure I may have to hire someone from time-to-time.

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Michael Davis June 7, 2012 at 2:53 am

Hello Anne. You have described the process of starting up a new blog quite amusingly. I like that.
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annew June 7, 2012 at 10:58 am

Amusing? Moi? ;)

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Michael Davis June 10, 2012 at 12:55 am

Oui, toi.
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annew June 11, 2012 at 12:11 pm
Scott June 7, 2012 at 1:58 am

This is a very good post for beginners. You have explained every concept in readily understandable words.

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annew June 7, 2012 at 10:57 am

Thanks.

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Ali June 6, 2012 at 10:06 pm

As BK’s prime objective is to “attract freelance writing jobs”, shouldn’t there be a specific step on how to do it, Anne? Like choosing the blog topic or something…

To attract clients, first you’ve to attract loads of traffic which requires choosing a ‘hot’ topic and some basics of seo.
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annew June 7, 2012 at 10:55 am

Maybe, although the posting of articles, etc. is probably what’s really needed and that’s covered.

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