As recently mentioned in a recent post about SEO optimization, your own personal “author’s website” can immediately increase your exposure to potential clients–and if you want to diversify (and make more money), that’s good for business.
If you’re just starting out, however, this may not be financially feasible. In my next post I’ll discuss cheap, affordable options for hosting your author’s website, but today we’ll discuss free hosting options.
Why Choose Free Hosting?
If you’re just starting your trek into freelance writing, you may not have enough money to buy quality hosting for your website–and that’s okay. For right now, or until you make a “comfortable nest egg”, going free can help get your services on the web, increasing your exposure to potential clients. As you make more money, then you can consider more high-quality options for your website.
There is one limitation, however: you won’t own your own domain (such as www.mywritingwebsite.com) unless you purchase it, and may be forced to use a subdomain, which may look unprofessional to some clients. Luckily, domain names run cheap–some even as low as $1.99. It’s a good service to invest in, even if you can’t afford website hosting.
Free Hosting Options
So what are the best free hosting options for writers? Here are my top 3 choices:
1. Blogger. Although Blogger is a blogging platform, many writers opt its service to host their website due to its flexibility and simplicity. Visually, it may not be the most professional-looking blogging platform to choose, but all of its controls are virtually idiot-proof–even complete blogging novices can create a completely customized website in less than an hour. “I love the ease of use of Blogger for people like me that aren’t so very code savvy,” says Kathy Foust, a freelance writer. “I also like the fact that it’s so affordable.”
Better yet, the look of the site can be easily customized using pre-made templates (google “Blogger templates” to gain access to thousands of free templates).
2. WordPress. Like Blogger, WordPress is fairly easy to use, and even allows people to create individual pages and widgets to display specific types of content. Although WordPress is strictly a blogging platform, many writers favor it because of its flexibility and the ability to tweak certain sections without having to know computer code.
“I love the flexibility of WordPress,” shares Tara Clapper, who uses WordPress for her writing website TaraWrites.com,” It’s simple to change a theme and tweak things. Since so many people know how to utilize WordPress, I have several friends and colleagues always willing to help me troubleshoot, too.”
Adds Kelly Spies, founder of Suburban Wife Life: “I like that WordPress can be bridged with e-commerce, forum, and gallery software. It also easily integrates with social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook.”
3. Weebly. Although WordPress does use widgets to an extent, Weebly takes it to another level, allowing people to create pages just by dragging widgets into its interface. Advanced users can also customize the HTML and CSS of each webpage, making it an accessible, easy-to-use platform for both novices and experienced web users.
“Even those of us who know script can benefit from the ease-of-use Weebly offers,” says Lyn Lomasi, who uses Weebly for her website, ArticleWriterforHire.com. “I like the fact that if I need to add something in a hurry, I can opt to use the quick drag-and-drop templates. I stay busy, so simple and quick features are essential to my day.”