Can You Make A Website For Free As A Freelancer? (4 Steps)

It may come as a surprise, but you can actually create a freelancing website and quickly get it up online without paying a penny. Of course, nothing is completely free and so there are certain disadvantages of opting for an unpaid website package. But can you really make a website for free?

You can make a website for free as a freelancer, using any of a multitude of free website builders out there, but they won’t be suitable for every website. They tend to offer limited features when compared to paid options. However, you definitely still can make a website for free.

The 4 steps to making a website for free as a freelancer are:

  1. Prepare the content for your site
  2. Set up a free account with a website builder
  3. Start designing your free website
  4. Publish your free website

However, if you’re just getting started with a project or dipping your toes into the digital space for the first time, then it’s a good way to build up your confidence and begin to learn the ropes of establishing a solid online presence. Below, we go into more detail about building a website for free.

Can You Make A Website For Free As A Freelancer?

You can make a website for free as a freelancer, but most of the reliable website building services out there will cost to use. Free website builders usually don’t offer much in the way of customisation, and you may need to run ads on your site in return for a free account.

This means it’s not always the best idea to go for the cheapest or even free options when choosing a website builder as a freelancer. Choosing these options can lead to you creating a less than professional website.

It May Not Look Professional

If you’re trying to show off your work for example, or illustrate to clients that you’re the right person for the job, you want to come across as a professional. Having adverts for the website builder plastered all over your pages isn’t going to offer the best user experience, and they can distract your potential client from the important parts of the website.

Basic Customization

Some free website builders also limit what you can add in the way of content and design, meaning you can end up with a very basic website that doesn’t do the best possible job of showing off your skills and portfolio of work samples.

A side effect of these basic templates and features is that you join a large pool of other freelancers that are using these free features already. This means your creation can quickly look like just another free website, and this isn’t going to help you stand out to clients.

That’s not to say that you need to spend $200 a month to make an amazing website, nor do you need the skills to justify paying for a website builder. All we’re trying to say is that you should consider what you want from your chosen platform, and perhaps think about whether you even need a website as a freelancer before you commit to anything.

Do You Need A Website As A Freelancer?

You don’t need a website as a freelancer, but it can be an incredibly useful way to market yourself to clients. A professional looking website can help you attract more clients and illustrate your past work in a unique way that can help them decide that you’re the right person for the job.

Websites are versatile things, and you can use your website for whatever you want. As a freelancer, the main goal of your website is likely to get more clients and earn more money. But how do you do this?

Show Off What You Can Do

Well, if you’re a freelance writer, having your own website is the perfect way to show off your writing skills. You could have a blog page with samples of your previous work, and pages dedicated to telling clients the ins and outs of the services you offer.

Most types of freelancing can benefit from these kinds of pages. You could use them to create pricing guides, or walkthroughs of the process that clients should expect when they work with you. You could even have videos or image galleries to let the client know more about you.

You could have galleries of your past work if you’re a creative freelancer, such as a graphic designer or photographer. You can do all of this in a way that aligns with your tastes, preferences, and style when you build your own website, and this just provides so much more authenticity than a portfolio creator can.

It’s Not A Must For Everyone

But they definitely still have their place. You might simply not have the time or money to dedicate to creating your own website, and a third party portfolio site might be the most efficient way to get samples of your work out there. Maybe you’re already very active on social media and get clients that way, meaning a website isn’t likely to add much to your bottom line.

A website can be a big undertaking, and if you don’t want to or can’t afford to outsource it to someone else, it can become overwhelming. But the overall process of building a website as a freelancer is fairly straightforward.

Everything You Need To Know About Making A Website For Free

Setting up a website without paying for it is much easier than you might imagine. In fact, website builder platforms make it as easy as possible for you in the hope that you will be impressed by their services and eventually sign up for a more functional paid service. So even if you don’t have any web design experience, creating a free website is well within your reach.

Why Make A Free Website?

Building a free website is the best way to create an online presence without risking any money on the project. You will have to invest your time in building the site. However, modern website builders are extremely intuitive and easy to use, with great interfaces and in-house step by step guides to help you through the process.

Some of the benefits of making a free website are:

  • No need to risk money on your project if you use a free package
  • Development time is much shorter than a more complex custom-built site
  • A free website is a good option if you need your site up and running as soon as possible
  • There’s an excellent selection of website builder platforms that you can use to make your free website

The 10 Best Free Website Builders For Freelancers

The 10 best free website builders are:

  1. WordPress – Ideal for bloggers, small ecommerce stores and portfolios
  2. Wix – Decent free website builder for most purposes
  3. GoDaddy – Provides a quick and effective platform to build a simple site
  4. Weebly – Great for small ecommerce stores and businesses
  5. Strikingly – Designed for entrepreneurs with an easy-to-use interface
  6. Jimdo – Good for a simple online store front
  7. Ucraft – Designed for multilingual websites and projects
  8. SimpleSite – Built for basic mobile responsive websites
  9. Webflow – Created for designers and is easy to scale
  10. Webnode – Excellent templates with intuitive interface

4 Steps To Make A Website For Free

1. Prepare The Content For Your Site

Before you get started you need to put together the content that you want to put on your site for its launch. The exact content that you need to prepare will depend on the type of freelancer you are. It will likely include a logo, a few blog posts to flesh out the site, a contact page, a list of your services, as well as relevant images and videos (especially important for creative freelancers).

Remember, first impressions count. Especially in the online ecosystem where a new visitor who isn’t impressed with your site will simply click away to find one they prefer. You should therefore take the time to consider your overall branding and the way you want to project yourself in the digital world. You will want to start creating your brand from the very moment you launch your site.

It’s worth keeping in mind that if you’re going to be using a free package on the website builder you will be limited in terms of the templates, fonts, and styles that you can choose from. However, with a little creativity you can still produce a well-crafted site.

2. Set Up A Free Account With A Website Builder

Once you gather your content together, you’re ready to set up your free website! The first thing you’ll have to do is to choose a website builder. Before you make a decision, you should check out the online reviews and explore the features that the platform offers. Also look through some examples of other sites built using their free service.

When you’re choosing a free website builder, be very careful to check exactly what that means! In some cases, you can create an account for free but will then have to pay for basic functionality later on in the design process. In other cases, you may have a free service for a limited period of time or find out that plugins that you need to use are behind a paywall.

Make Sure Free Means Free

You also need to pay special attention to the way that the website builder offers you hosting and domain names. Are they really free? Or will you have to pay for the hosting later on?

After you’ve selected a website builder you need to create an account. This should only take a few minutes and will involve supplying some basic information, including a username, email address and a password to launch your account.

3. Start Designing Your Free Website

Modern website builders are very easy to use and will walk you through the necessary steps involved in getting your site up online. The best website builders offer you a range of simple templates that you can modify to suit your brand and personal requirements. Most website builders incorporate intuitive ‘drag and drop’ and/or ‘point and click’ interfaces. So, you usually don’t need any coding or previous web design experience.

When you are choosing a template, pay attention to what the website builder suggests that it’s best used for. For instance, a template may be labelled as a ‘photography portfolio’ or an ‘ecommerce shop’. These categories can be a useful general guide if you’re not sure which template to use, but anything that includes services pages of some sort is a good choice for freelancers.

4. Publish Your Free Website

This is where it can get a little tricky to get a completely free website up online. Every website needs to have a unique ‘domain name’, which refers to the internet address you see in the search bar at the top of the screen (e.g. ‘sophicalcontent.com’).

Many free website builders will require you to already have a domain name, which you can then attach to the site you’ve built on their platform. You can buy a domain name from services like Hostinger. Domain names can be purchased for as little as $0.99, but for more popular domain extensions like .com and .co.uk, you’ll have to pay more.

Some website builders do actually offer you a completely free domain name that you can use for your site. However, there is a catch! The domain name that you are given for free will likely include the website builder’s name.

The Catch

For instance, if you used Wix to build your free website, you’ll get a subdomain like ‘yoursitename.wix.com’. While this may be free it does look unprofessional and may prevent potential customers from taking your site seriously. You may also need to host third party adverts on your site which can be distracting for visitors and take away from your own branding efforts.

But once you’re ready to go, you can publish your site! But before you do, it’s worth thinking about everything a successful freelancing website needs.

What Do You Need For A Successful Freelancing Website?

A Way To Show Off What You Can Do

To make a successful freelancing website, you’ll need to first create a site that showcases what you have to offer clients. At its most basic, this means you should have some nice pages that tell clients who you are, what you can do for them, and how you will do it. You don’t need to give prices if you don’t want to, but you should be thorough in your explanations of what they should expect to receive.

It helps to break these pages into sections, using things like bullet lists, tables, and other non-text sections to make it a little easier on the eye. This just makes for a better user experience, and if the client enjoys using your website, they’ll be more likely to get in touch with you. 

A Portfolio Page

Depending on the services you offer, you may also wish to have a portfolio page. This is where you can show off writing samples, logo designs, or video samples, to illustrate whatever kind of work you can do. The specifics of these pages will depend greatly on the specifics of the services that you offer, but as with the overview pages you should make them easy to navigate and pleasant to use.

A Contact Page

A contact page is absolutely essential for a freelancing website. After all, your clients need way to get in touch with you, don’t they? This page can be relatively simple, as the main goal is to get clients to reach out to you. Don’t distract them with images and long walls of text. Make it as easy as possible for them to reach out to you to get the ball rolling towards making you some money!

An About Page

An About page that is separate from the services pages can also be a good idea for freelancing websites. Depending on how much information you give on the other pages, this may not be absolutely essential, but this is where you can provide a bit more personal background. You can tell potential clients more about your education, qualifications, and professional background, to let them know a bit more about the person they might be working with.

You don’t need to tell them your full life story, but it helps to add personal touches to your site to help the client better understand who they’re getting involved with.

A Website That Converts

Overall, making a successful freelancing website is all about making a site that converts visitors into clients. To do this, you need to show off what you can do in a simple but effective way, and make it as easy as possible for potential clients to get in touch with you.

The 9 Downsides Of Making A Free Website

1. Slow Loading & Caching Speeds

If you choose to build a free website to offer your freelancing services, chances are that it will be relatively slow to load and cache. This can be a serious problem for your website, especially if you are hoping to attract and retain new customers to your brand. Research has shown that, if a customer has to wait more than a few seconds for the website to load, 40% of them will click away to find a faster loading alternative.

Therefore, having a website that loads quickly and smoothly is vital to getting traction in the highly competitive digital ecosystem. This is not just because it will disappoint your site’s users, but also because it will negatively impact your SEO.

2. A Free Web Address Looks Amateur

When you use a free website builder that gives you a subdomain with their company name in the address, it instantly looks unprofessional to your website’s visitors. Given these are your potential future clients, they’re the last people you want to think you’re unprofessional!

Paid for domains with .com, .co.uk and .org always seem more professional than a site with an address like mybusiness.wix.com. Unfortunately, the only way around this problem is to pay for your own unique domain name. However, the price of a domain name is fairly affordable, so you shouldn’t let it hold you back simply to save a few dollars.

3. Hidden Charges

Once you’ve signed up for a free website package, you’ll often find that there are a whole host of hidden charges that you’ll have to pay later. These hidden charges will cover various aspects of the site’s essential functionality, such as a dedicated email account, image hosting and ecommerce options (which likely won’t be too important as a freelancer).

This is obviously going to be frustrating to discover halfway through your design process. However, on top of the frustration, you’ll find that these hidden costs will sometimes be much higher than if you had just paid for a basic package that included them from the beginning.

4. There May Be Irrelevant Adverts On Your Website

When you sign up for a ‘free’ website builder, you’ll often have to accept that the website builder places ads on your site. This is because the website builder platforms have to make an income somehow, and they may do this by hosting adverts that they get paid for.

This not only looks unprofessional for your site, but it’s also distracting and intrusive for your visitors (i.e. your potential clients). In some cases, you may even see adverts for competing websites on your website! This is certainly one of the worst-case scenarios if you’ve signed up for a free account, so always check if the site builder says they’ll place ads on your site before you sign up.

5. Your Website May Not Be Safe

If you carefully read the terms of service for a free website, you’ll normally see that the platform can shut it down at any time without a reason. Since you’ve not paid for the service, you aren’t entitled to the types of data protection that you normally would be.

This means that if your site is shut down you may not be able to get your content back. Another problem that may arise if your site is unexpectedly shut down is that you’ll lose your subdomain and will find it hard to re-route your clients to your new web address. This is why it’s key to always choose a reputable website builder.

6. Your Personal Information May Not Be Safe

It’s not just the site itself that is at risk if you use a free service. There’s an old adage that says, ‘if you’re not paying for a service then you are probably the product’.

According to the terms and conditions of many website builders, they can legally sell your personal information to third parties, including your email address, your website details, or any other personal information that you’ve provided. Consider if this is something you’re comfortable with before choosing your free website builder.

7. Limited Functionality

Free website builders have very limited functionality compared to the paid alternatives. This may seem obvious, but the degree to which you’ll be losing out may only become clear after you’ve put quite a lot of work into your site, and you find you’re very limited in terms of the level of customization you have at your fingertips.

8. Poor Security & Malware Issues

Some free website services have been known to distribute malware through their platforms. In most cases this is simply due to poor security measures, but in some instances it could be a way for the free website service to make a little extra income.

If malware is distributed through your website, it will severely damage your SEO and could ruin your reputation with your customers and site visitors.

Since the security on a free website can be relatively poor, your site may be wide open to hackers who might steal your information or cause other serious problems for your business. Always choose a reputable free website builder to avoid these issues.

9. Limited Bandwidth & Storage Space

When you use a free website builder, you will have a very limited amount of bandwidth and storage space. This puts a limit on the number of pages, images, and other multimedia that you can upload, as well as delivering slower loading speeds for your site.

This may not be an issue for simple freelancing websites, but as you grow the site you may run into problems.

Final Thoughts

Free websites are a fantastic option if you want to set up a small personal blog, art portfolio, or other small scale personal project. In these cases, the amateur domain names and limited services won’t be too much of a problem. But for a professional looking freelancing website, you’ll likely have to pay. But when you’re just getting started in the world of freelancing, it can be a good way to get your name out there without much initial outlay.

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