You bought a domain name you like, and spent hours going through the countless attractive themes available on the market.
Mind you, still not fully satisfied with your chosen theme, but you’re also struggling to put your ideas into your screen, agonising about the content of your website and what are the basic pages you should have before the big launch date.
Launching a website can be daunting. I have seen many business owners create a website and it remains ‘under maintenance’ for a long time. Or their website would be out there but remains incomplete.
You can read my article here on why having a website for your freelance business is important: 8 Powerful Reasons to Have Your Own Website
I understand setting up a website can get overwhelming, especially if you’re doing everything yourself. From planning the structure of your website, and writing up the content to fixing technical issues and designing your page layouts.
Listen. It doesn’t have to be.
Your website won’t be perfect the first time, and that’s totally okay. Many of the things you would like to have on your website right now can be added gradually after the launch.
Choosing your website theme
This can be the most time consuming task you’ll be faced with when setting up your website.
Yes, it is important to take time to choose the right theme for your website. But! You also don’t want to become overwhelmed with the many choices out there and end up procrastinating.
To tackle this, you want to give yourself a time limit to decide on your chosen theme.
It can be a day, three days, a week even. Set a reminder if you have to.
You can take this time to research your target audience and what kind of theme that’ll attract them. Save the themes you like and highlight what you like about them.
There are several factors to consider when choosing a theme. Things like speed, design, ease of use, etc. You can read this article on how to select your freelance website theme: How to Select a WordPress Theme for Your Freelance Business
Rather than going through thousands of themes available, it might be worth looking into top recommendations by other freelancers. Here are 24 website WordPress themes recommended by HubSpot for freelancers: Best WordPress Themes For Freelancers.
Planning and preparing your content beforehand
Don’t write your web content as you’re designing your website. Trust me, it’ll be a HUGE distraction.
You’ll be so tempted to try different fonts and colours, fix a technical problem or venture out of what you’re set to do.
Instead, write out your website content on Google Docs. Include notes of images or graphics you might want to include.
Give yourself a realistic deadline for each page, and break it down into smaller manageable tasks if necessary. For your testimonial page, for example, your task breakdown might look like this:
- List out people who you have worked with or helped in the past.
- Write a recommendation request template to send to your past clients, colleagues, friends, and family.
- Send out the recommendation request to individuals.
- Collect your testimonials in a word document.
After you have all of your content written out, you might want to consider having it proofread and making sure it’s error-free.
Let’s get into each page in more detail and explain why they’re important to your website.
Basic web pages for a website
You might have a dozen pages and posts you want to include in your website before the big launch date. But what are the basic web pages your website should have before launching?
As a freelancer, your website is like a CV. It should cover the basics: a way to contact you, display your skills, work experience, and past achievements, etc.
In this post, I cover only the basic web pages you should have on your website. This will hopefully help get your website out there quicker than if you were to first go over the overwhelming list you made in the beginning.
There’s no law that dictates what pages your freelancing website should have. And your needs will be different from another freelancer in a different field and industry. For example, a graphic designer would need a page dedicated to showcasing their design work. An admin VA doesn’t need that, because that’s not what they’re trying to sell to potential clients.
Here are the basic web pages you should have on your freelancing website:
- Service page
- Testimonial page / portfolio
- About me page
- Terms of service / conditions
- Contact page
- Blog page
Your homepage is the most important page of your website. It should be attention grabbing and leave a good impression.
It should also be clear to your potential clients what you do and how you can help them. Your homepage could be broken down into different sections and feature other parts of your website.
Here’s a good example of what your homepage might include:
- A concise headline describing your expertise and how you can help your target audience.
- A call to action of what you want your potential clients to do: for example, whether it be to book a discovery call or view your packages.
- A short paragraph introducing yourself and services.
- A slide featuring past client testimonials.
Your service page is essential to showcase to your potential clients your services and packages in more detail.
Whether you want to disclose your price and rates are up to you.
I understand people who choose not to, but personally, I prefer disclosing my rates. This filters out people who can’t ‘afford’ you. Imagine the awkwardness you could avoid when you tell a potential client your price during a call and then they tell you you’re too expensive.
If you haven’t already, it’s a good idea to brainstorm and create your packages and calculate your price.
Don’t be tempted to create too many packages in the beginning. You can start with two or three.
When you want to buy a product online, most likely you rely on the review section before you make a decision to purchase the said product.
Your potential clients would want to know what your past clients have to say about their experience with your service.
If you’re just starting out, you might not have had any clients yet to write you a recommendation. It doesn’t have to be limited to only clients. It could be your previous managers, colleagues, family and friends you helped in the past.
You can add more credibility to your testimonials by linking their names to their social media or website (after asking their permission, of course).
You should aim for at least two recommendations to display in your testimonial page.
Your about me page should appeal to your target audience.
A brief description of who you are and what your hobbies are can make you appear more approachable.
In your about me page, you can go into more detail of how many years of working experience you have and what industries you have worked with before.
Your about me page doesn’t have to be long. A few paragraphs should suffice before the launch date.
Here are some writing prompts for your about me page:
- Tell them more about yourself, your name and where you are from (never share your home address and sensitive information).
- What are your passions and hobbies?
- Tell them more about your work experience, past achievements and qualifications.
- Why did you start your business and what do you want to achieve in the future?
You can always go back to it and rewrite your about me that suits the direction you’re taking in your freelancing journey.
After wowing your potential clients with your impressive homepage and past client testimonials, you want to provide them with a way to contact you, right?
You can provide them with your work email address and phone number. Email address is usually enough.
A contact form is also a good addition to your contact page.
Don’t forget your socials, too. The contact page is a great place to include your business social media profiles such as Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn.
I like to add a link so they can book a discovery session with Calendly.
I purchased and used Elizabeth Stapleton’s legal templates.
Terms of service
Terms of service are the legal agreements between you, the service provider and your clients. The person using your service must abide by the terms specified in the terms of service page in order to use the services you offer.
Like I mentioned, what you require from your website visitors and clients will be different from other freelancers out there.
If you offer advice on your blog, you might want to include a Disclaimer page to protect yourself from any legal issues.
You’ll be relieved to know that having a blog page for your launch is not a must, but if you can, that’s awesome.
As an aspiring full time writer and someone who offers writing services, it’s essential for my business that I display the blog section. That’s why before launching I made sure I published two blog posts.
The blog page is a great place to show your potential clients that you’re an expert in your industry.
Your first blog post could be short, consisting around 500 words. For example, if you’re a graphic designer you can write about the process of creating a logo or choosing colours for a brand.
Launching your website
You chose a theme you liked, wrote all of your content, and designed your page layouts. Now it’s time for the great launch!
A few things you want to do before launching your website:
- Test your website on different devices.
- Ask your family and friends for feedback.
- Check for any errors and typos.
Launching your website doesn’t have to be an overwhelmingly long process. It doesn’t have to be perfect the first time, either. Hopefully, after this blog post, you feel more motivated than ever to get that content written out and your website ready for launching.
If you’re still struggling with your website, hit me up with a comment down below and I’ll be happy to help you the best I can.