How to Start Freelance Writing Part 3: The Website

HTSFW 3 The Website

Hey, writer.

How are you doing?

I hope you enjoyed Part 1 and Part 2 of this journey. Welcome to Part 3: How to Start a Freelance Writing Plan, the Website. It’s time to set up your home on the internet.

Can you freelance without a website? Yes, but why would you want to? This is the place your clients will look for you while you’re away sleeping or playing with puppies or children.

You need a website, or at minimum, a portfolio, to showcase your work. This is where you will send potential clients when they ask to see your work. In this post, I’ll explore my current internet home and give tips for your website.

I currently live at DarWrites. I’ve had this site, which is technically a blog, since 2010. It has worked well for me. This is a free site. There are tons of people who are going to tell you to go with and not, or to go with Wix, GoDaddy, or a thousand other options (and they have skin in the game – if you’re following a link from that writer to the business, they’re probably getting money for their plug). I’m not going to do that. I’m here to be a helping sound board and to inspire you. I would encourage you to listen to their advice as far as research goes, but in the end make your own decision. If you want to follow one of those links and share the love with other writers, go for it, but do it with your eyes open.

I’m currently on the hunt for a new website. Mostly because I can’t sell through and I don’t control advertising and other things on it. It is limiting, but it was a foothold into the web universe and my first test run. I’m kind of partial to it.

Do your research and go with whatever works for you.

As in everything, I would encourage you to set your intention and goals.

My goals are:

  • Writing
  • Learning Craft
  • Reading


Do Your Research

Find three blogs by freelance writers in your chosen area and field. For example, when I started writing, I looked for three copywriters in the Greater Seattle area. I looked at how their website was set up, the services they covered, and what made them stand out.

Next, I looked at the top twenty websites in my field. I did this to see what the locals were doing, but also what other people were doing – and what they were offering the people in my area weren’t. I looked for holes.

I chose to be a general freelance writer. People have told me that they make more money specializing in a type of writing, but for me and what I wanted to do, generalizing was more useful – it didn’t limit the work or the possibilities. I was getting my feet wet and I chose to cast a wide net.

In retrospect, generalizing was good for my craft – I learned everything from copywriting to business writing. When I started, I set a goal to have three things out at all times. I made a list of potential clients and answered every ad that came my way. It was like throwing darts at a dartboard the size of the USA and hoping a few landed. Some may say this is a strange way to do business – and I’m sure there’s a more efficient way to do it, but I did what I knew. Over the years, I refined my strategy and sent fewer pitches out, but they were more targeted and hit with more accuracy of range.

What to take away: target your pitches to the companies you 1) love, 2) want to work for, or 3) think you can help with.

I write content to connect potential clients with businesses. I write resumes to connect a client with a potential boss. I have a reason to do what I do. I suggest you find your reasons too.

Building Your Freelance Writer Website

You’ve done your research. You’ve looked at freelance writers in whatever area you’re in. You’ve strategized and made a plan for your writing. If you haven’t, check out Post 2: Plan. Let’s bring it back to your freelance writer website.

Why do I want you to craft a website when you should be writing?

It’s the way clients are going to find you. This is a tool to connect with people on a fun level – this is your statement to the world about who you are, what you write, and why you do it.

I am Darlene Reilley. I write to educate, entertain, and inspire people. Once someone has read my freelance work, I want them to leave knowing 1) I treated their work like it was my own with care and consideration, and 2) I did everything I could for them.

I treat each client as if they are my top priority.

My website/blog is an extension of this.


Create Your Intention

I write fiction, nonfiction, and teach. My website reflects that in an easy way. When you are creating your website, pick two or three things to focus on.

Make an outline or create a mindmap of what you want your website to look at. This will help you later when you create your sitemap.


Build a Sitemap

My sitemap looks like this:

  • DarWrites [home page]
    • Headshot 
    • Tag line
  • Author
    • What I’m Working on Now
    • Publications List
    • Poetry from the Heart
    • 1,001 Plots to Get You Started
    • Links to other work
  • Freelancer
    • Freelance Writing Services
    • Editing
    • Publications List
    • FAQ
    • Get a Quote
  • Teacher
    • The Writer’s Cave
    • Blog [thanks for joining me here!]
    • What is DarWrites
    • Writer’s Planner 2017
    • Fund Things & Links for Writers
    • How to Knit a Writer’s Plot Bunny
  • Darlene’s Book World (where I do reviews and help awesome readers connect with writers)
    • List of Reviews
    • Places I Review
    • Fun Things & Links for Readers
    • My 2015 Booklist
    • The Reading List
  • About Darlene
    • Publications List
    • Portfolio
    • Media
  • Contact Me

It’s a simple format based on an amalgam of ideas I saw on over three hundred writer websites. Is it perfect? No. It’s under construction, and I constantly update and change things, but it’s important. Now that you’ve got your sitemap, create individual pages. Look at my pages for examples, or go check out books or other sites. Go create your website. 

Things I want to add to my website:

  • Portfolio (I took it off to work on it and have been sending it out per request
  • Fun Facts
  • Areas of Expertise 
  • Change the headshot
  • What makes me different 
  • Coming Soon/Calendar or specific media page
  • Topics I’m learning about


Do I need a Portfolio?

Okay, so you’ve got your plan for your website and it’s under construction. Do you still need a portfolio?


 A website is a good thing to have and is your handshake to the world. Writers need portfolios with writing examples. My current portfolio has divided sections with each of the types of writing I do and clips and examples from my work. I enjoy writing on a variety of topics. If you are too, say you’re open to taking on projects in other industries.

 The coolest thing about being a writer is you aren’t limited – your skills can be used in any setting and are needed in many industries.

 At the minimum, a portfolio has the titles of your works and links to your articles or files. There are portfolio-building tools and websites out there. I made my own, but take a look at your options and pick the one that is right for you. Put your latest work at the top. If you have any testimonials from past clients, add them to your portfolio. Update your mission statement and post it on everything.

Until next time, keep writing!

You’ve got this.

Write on,



Have you ever wanted to be Indiana Jones or Lara Croft?

Come see what anthropologists and archaeologists do!

I’m giving a month-long workshop in May at FF&P:

Anthropology, Archaeology, & Romance A Workshop for Writers

Come and see what fascinates Ursula Le Guin, Nora Roberts, and other writers!


If you enjoyed this, check out:

Writing Toolbox: 20 Questions to Ask Yourself and Your Writing

Train to Writing: a Writer’s Journey



About Darlene Reilley

I'm Darlene, a Book Author, Associate Editor and Journalist. I am the author of 16 books including Gliese 667, Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of It, and 1,001 Plots to Get You Started. I'm an Associate Editor and Journalist with more than three years of experience creating content. My work has been published in The Vernal Express, The Uintah Basin Standard, The Basin Nickel Ads, the Harbor Light Newspaper, FFPRWA, Hearts Through History RWA, and DarWrites. Before I became a journalist, I was a freelancer creating content for websites and individuals. I now cover a variety of topics including travel, history, anthropology, business, politics, and current affairs. I am a geek turning jargon into plain speech.
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4 Responses to How to Start Freelance Writing Part 3: The Website

  1. Shirley Corder says:

    Hi Darlene, I found you on Blog, Share, Learn. I presume you’re new as I don’t remember your name but then sometimes I have to think twice to remember my own! 🙂
    Great to meet you. I write primarily nonfiction and narrative non-fiction, but my current WIP is on hold as I take part in the annual A to Z Blogging challenge. My site is Write to Inspire, and I’m currently writing for the challenge on the theme, Build a Better Blog. I will be visiting you again. S is for SEO Strategy as you Build a Better Blog #atozchallenge

  2. Pingback: Setting Writing Goals: April 2017 | Dar Writes

  3. Pingback: 2020 Writer Helpers | Dar Writes

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