Hands up if dealing with technology is not your strong point.
It’s OK. You don’t have to be a wizard of web development to get your freelance writer website up and running.
Here are three simple ways to get it done without driving yourself to tears:
- Hire a web design and development team [expensive]
- Learn to use WordPress and build your own website [takes a while]
- Use a ready-made solution designed specifically for freelance writers [phew!]
Let’s assume you can’t afford #1 and don’t really want to wrestle with #2. Moving on to #3, then: ready-made website services.
There are places you can set up a website without learning to write programming code or work a WordPress content management system. Some are free to use; others charge a fee for taking your website worries off your hands.
I’ve tried out a few of the services you can use to set up a free portfolio website, and they each have different drawbacks. Some are fairly complex and “tech-y” to use, others are about as difficult to operate as a pizza delivery menu.
Some are aimed at visually creative professionals such as photographers and web designers, which means the portfolio display settings may focus more on the images than on the text.
Some just look like they’re stuck in the mid-1990s of web design. To hold a potential client’s attention, you need a site that looks and feels professional!
Get Your Site Up Today the Easy Way
A little while ago, I tried out one of the premium alternatives: a service called Writer’s Residence.
It’s designed to make creating a good-looking website easy —including a neatly laid out portfolio of writing samples— even if technology normally makes you cry.
I’ve tried a lot of web development services, so I didn’t expect to be much impressed by this one. But seriously, if you’re tech-terrified then you’ll love this.
When you first log in after opening an account, you’re greeted by a checklist of things to do to get your whole site set up and ready to roll.
There are only 6 things to check off the list! Suddenly the whole universe of “WTF do I need to do with my writer site?” shrinks down into a manageable six-step process. That’s impressive, and possibly against the laws of physics.
Once you’ve typed in a bit of “About me” copy and added a few samples to your portfolio page, you’ve got a website! There’s a choice of designs, so I went for a simple look:
That took me about fifteen minutes to put together. Even if you don’t know the first thing about building a website, I doubt it’ll take you more than an hour —there were helpful explanations at every stage of the setup process, so you’ll always know what to do next.
If that all sounds good to you, Writer’s Residence offers a 30 day free trial so you can get your site set up and see how easy it is before you consider signing up for membership of the service.
Win a Writer’s Residence Website
Writer’s Residence websites normally cost $8.99 (or £5.49 in the UK) per month, but they’re letting me give away a year’s membership to one Be a Freelance Blogger reader.
For your chance to win, take a look at WritersResidence.com, then come back here and leave a comment telling us what you think is the biggest benefit of the service. Bonus points if you take a free trial and give us the link to your new Writer’s Residence website!
I’ll choose the winner at the end of December 29th. Good luck. 😉
Sorry, this contest is closed.
I would have to say the biggest benefit of their serve is taking a project and the processes that make up that project and turning it into an easy to manage checklist that lets you map out and see your progress.
Aurea Lewis says
We wear many hats as entrepreneurs so being able to not have to wear one is Awesome! I’m shopping for a website right now and just purchased my domain name. I’m looking for a website that will allow me to do what I do best, write. Thank you for this contest because I’ve been introduced to this user friendly tool with the look and feel I’ve been searching for.
Steven Le says
I started with option 2 when I first began, learning how to use wordpress and all. Hiring someone to design my website for me was just out of my budget. Will actually look into writers residence though!
Thanks for sharing.
Erin P. says
I love the simple process that walks you through building your site. As a mom of three the time-saving aspect is perfect!
I think the best thing about the site is the easy way you can so aet it up. It’s great for people who are not tech-savvy.
What I see as the greatest benefit is that it makes it possible for the user to easily create professional-looking documents/files/pages that are, in turn, easy for the prospective viewer to maneuver/navigate/understand.
Joanna @way2gomom says
For me, the biggest benefit would be the resume and cover letter creation – I’m terrible at creating those myself!
Oh man, why didn’t I see this a week ago? I’ve been trying to set up a website elsewhere, and what a nightmare. I think the biggest benefits of Writer’s Residence are that it truly does seem to be simple to set up, and it looks like you can easily add a complete article, including photos, rather than just a link. Pick me Pick me!
Alexandra Cannon says
Being a huge tech geek (my minor is in Computer Science), but a broke college student, I tackled #2. I also appreciate that a website is necessity to freelance writing these days and that not everyone loves technology. I’ve seen a lot of solutions but this is new to me. Looks simply yet effective.
I’ll leave the prize to someone who will put it to good use, but I wanted to say thanks for sharing another grand idea!
Getting advice from the support team. It’s reassuring to know that freelance bloggers are not alone. The freelance line can get pretty lonely at times.
Outstanding samples, good tour. Crisp, clean, effective. Perfect for those of us who desperately need to check off the “create digital portfolio” box between brainstorming our next pitches!
Thanks so much for sharing this. I have something now through WordPress and it’s been so complex; I wish I had seen this earlier. I can’t wait to set mine up. I like it’s crisp, clean design and that it’s so easy. My time is important and I should be spending it writing and creating ideas — not fooling around with a webpage, but yet I know it’s something essential to helping me land new gigs. Thanks again!
Seriously? Really?? Just last week I was searching for a WordPress template that would fit for my personal writing website, and was cheap enough since I started a “Get out of debt in 2014” plan. And guess what’s in my inbox? Yayyy! The best thing about it is there’s no struggle with the building. Looks uber easy! I’m a copy + paste builder so this is exactly what I need.
I think the greatest benefit is the ease of the site. It does pretty much everything for you, making it easier for those of us who aren’t very html and otherwise website literate. I made a site! Thanks for telling us about this great page, and the chance to win! 🙂
I have been looking for something like this and it looks so much easier than anything I had looked at. Wow I don’t feel so overwhelmed. You have taken some of the pressure away.
Aisha Shehu says
This is a welcome development I see portfolio websites for photographers but this for writers is unique. the part I like most is the fact that it allows you place unlimited writing samples. This means that once you meet a client you can easily link them to your writing sample as it relates to the task at hand, all these at a small fee which will pay itself over for so much online exposure. Nice one.
Shauna L Bowling says
I wish I’d known about this in August when I was building my website on Weebly. I am so techno-igno it’s not funny! I’ve bookmarked the site and will probably move my site when my year is up in August 2014. Do you know if we can keep the same domain name with Writer’s Residence?
Sophie Lizard says
Good question, Shauna! Yep, you can bring your own domain name. 🙂
Shauna L Bowling says
Thanks, Sophie. Another question comes to mind: can WR be monetized?
Sophie Lizard says
That I don’t know. It’s designed to get you hired , rather than to sell or promote other products, so may not offer monetization features (though you can add hyperlinks to your pages, so in theory you could monetise by linking out).
The biggest benefit of this service for a new freelancer is to get a web presence very quickly without having to learn a lot of technical web stuff. Everything seems to be laid out easily to follow and the sites look attractive.
Raspal Seni says
I had already read about Writer’s residence somewhere on Carol’s blog, I think in the recommended services section. She recommends them too, so I could blind-foldedly use the service. But, like Alexandra Cannon’s comment above (whom I’d also recommend to try this service even being a geek), I too tackled #2, being a Linux geek myself.
I still just signed up for the free trial and just now after reading this review, so I can recommend them to others. It was easy to create a homepage and add the about and contact pages and use the simple text markup.
I also wrote a short review of Writer’s Residence on my blog at Writer’s Residence. That becomes my first blog post at my Writer’s Residence Writer site blog.
You can read my detailed (and maybe critical but truthful) review of Writer’s Residence here:
And, here’s the link to my Writer’s Residence free trial website:
The biggest benefit of using Writer’s Residence is saving time and money. How? Hiring a designer to create your website is much more expensive, and creating it on your own is much, much time consuming. Since time equals money (actually lost time can’t be regained back so it’s much, much more valuable than money), you save double the money since you save time and money as well.
Cheryl Hardt says
Currently I’m using a free writer’s website, but I hate it (gonna shut that down immediately) and didn’t want to set up a completely separate WordPress site just to display a few pages of information. This seems to be exactly what I’m looking for, especially since there’s a choice to add examples of my work either with a link or by uploading. I especially like that I can also add a PDF to show what it looked like, because many of my items were designed by ME! I already signed up for my free trial: CherylHardt.WritersResidence.com and I hadn’t even seen the section yet about cover letters that someone mentioned above!!! I must check that out. One more thing, I expected to be asked for my credit card number when I started my free trial (because that’s how these things always work), but not so far! Another point in their favor!!!! Now in the words of the man above….PICK ME, PICK ME.
Rohi Shetty says
My site is http://rohishetty.writersresidence.com/
This is an absolutely fantastic service – a really cost-effective solutin for writers who want to set up their sites fast who aren’t tech-savvy and don’t have a lot to time to spare to learn the technology.
What I liked best is the use of checklists and the uncluttered design.
Cheers and Happy New Year!
Carol Ann Gegg says
I need to have a website but have been afraid to tackle that project. This looks like the product that I have been looking for. Thank you for this opportunity.
Karla McNeese says
The biggest benefit would be having a professional looking portfolio to send prospective clients to. In addition, the ease of creating a site that looks well done and is easy to navigate could attract potential customers.
The biggest benefit is that WR removes the procrastination barrier to moving on and upward in my writing career. I have spun my wheels for so long saying, “I can’t be a freelance blogger/author because I have to have my website up first…”
Writer’s Residence zaps that excuse straight away. In an afternoon, I can have my clips up, looking good and spend my evening working on what I love most: sending queries to editors, not wading through HTML.
And I really mean ‘in an afternoon’, because I signed up for the trial–http://bethmorrow.writersresidence.com/. So simple even a non-techie writer can do it 🙂
Michele Butterworth says
Wish I had a website. Writers Residence looks awesome. I’m cooking brunch so I have to go, but I hope I win!
When you’re starting out as a freelancer you can feel overwhelmed by what it takes, especially if you’re a perfectionist.
Writer’s Residence looks professional, it’s easy to use, and only takes a few minutes to set up. Once you’ve got a WR website, you’ll have one less thing to worry about.
Sophie, thank you for spreading the word. 🙂
I tried Writers Residence a short time ago and was impressed but didn’t follow through on a permanent site. I thought I’d attempt building my own website. I had taken a web design course at a community college, and the most important thing I learned from it is I definitely don’t want to be a web designer. And after slaving away at WordPress, I know what I really desire is to use my imagination and write quality content. WordPress is amazing; it’s just too time-consuming when you have a full-time job and are trying to break into freelance writing. I was just spinning my wheels and getting extremely frustrated. A writer needs to spend time researching and reading other works for inspiration. A site with WR will allow me to attain my writing goals quicker and with less aggravation.
Anthony Dezenzio says
I like the simple setup of the site and clean looking template.
Sophie Lizard says
OK, this contest is now closed!
The winner (on bonus points for creating a Writer’s Residence site *and* writing a review post on his new Writer’s Residence blog) is Raspal Seni. Raspal, I’m emailing you now about your prize. 🙂
For everyone else, you can still get a free 30 day trial of Writer’s Residence website creation service to see how it all works.
Raspal Seni says
I’m too glad to recieve this prize. 🙂 Will surely make good use of it.
I’ll ask all the above commenters to give Writer’s Residence a try and use it for a month to see if they like the ease of use and time saved.
Thanks once again for recommending WR and keep up the good work.
I like the simple setup of the site
Nishant Pal says
I couldn’t resist commenting.