As someone who originally started out on Upwork, (and even has written a guide on how to be a successful freelancer on Upwork) I understand the pains of trying to attract clients and keep them. The site is growing bigger everyday, and there are a lot of workers and clients trying to find the right match. It can be hard to stand out on Upwork if you have limited freelance experience on the site, or if you don’t have reviews showing that you are legit and dependable.
Sure you can spend hours on your profile hoping that one sentence manages to land your next client, and while that might be entirely necessary, sometimes you wonder if there’s something “more” you can do. Well, there is!
One of the best ways to make yourself stand out to clients on Upwork is to make an actual website portfolio. And no, I don’t mean something like on Tumblr, or a .wordpress directory, I mean an ACTUAL website portfolio. This means if your name is Ken Smith, your portfolio would be KenSmith.com, or KenSmithWriting.com.
When you have a website like this, it makes you professional and it makes you stand out. The only thing is that you are a freelance writer, not necessarily a website developer, so how you can you make a website that actually makes you look good instead of just incompetent with HTML?
This is one of the struggles I had when making my website portfolio, but eventually after much trial and error, I figured it out. The best part is, that for some of my best jobs, I got them through my website. Sometimes clients even emailed me through my website, instead of through Upwork!
This means that they actually spent time researching my profile and website. That’s what this guide is for! How to make an Upwork portfolio, or a freelance writing portfolio, if you know nothing about HTML or website development. By having a freelance portfolio, you can really start earning the big bucks!
Step #1 Find a Website Host
The first thing you’ll need to make your own website portfolio is a good webhost. There are a ton of options out there, but I’d stick with one of our favorites. That would be either A2 Hosting for speed and pricing, or Bluehost for usability and customer support. It’s a great web host with great speeds, plentiful features (like easy WordPress installation), and available customer service.
It’s also affordable, so you won’t break the bank. From here, you can buy your web host plan which maintains your website as a live website and then you can register your chosen domain (usually your professional name).
Step #2 Upload and Install WordPress
Now that you have your webhost and domain setup, you need to install WordPress. It’s quite simple really. Simply log into your Bluehost cPanel account, find the website section and install WordPress.
Click on the install button, then choose the domain name you have made. There are a few options like deciding what credentials the website will use, and then you can click through some license agreements, then install. From there, you’ll be good to go as the rest is pretty self explanatory.
Step #3 Find Portfolio Theme
Now that WordPress is setup, you’ll need to find a good theme. This part can be tricky. If you don’t want to spend any money, I would recommend the best starter free theme for a freelance writing portfolio to be the HemingWay theme.
With this theme, you can get a decent look and just add portfolio information in a post or page and present it that way in a simple and easy way. It gets the job done, and you can create an about page, and even post sample posts.
If you do want to get a better theme for a bit of money upfront, I would recommend purchasing a theme on Envato. This place has some great themes, and one of my favorites is the “Empathy” Theme. It’s very good for freelance writers with an easy to use design that looks SUPER professional and not too busy.
Step #4 Make your Website “You”
Now that you got your portfolio theme, and your web host, you need to fill out your website with your content. Do you have example articles you’ve published in the past? Great, post those! Maybe you don’t? If not, try to write some sample content for your potential clients to check out.
Perhaps the most important thing about your new website is to brand yourself. Are you a tech writer? A finance writer? A health or travel writer? The more specific you are, the better chance that you will land jobs.
Clients LOVE specialized writers. Brand your website to match your image, and perhaps even include information about yourself, like your hobbies or a small bio to get your clients a look at your “personality”.
Step #5 Put a Link in your Upwork Portfolio or Point Clients to your Website!
Now that you have your website, make sure to put it in your profile if you can. Upwork now doesn’t really like links per se, but you can find ways around it by not posting it as a hyperlink. You can also send out your website in job interviews and applications which can impress potential clients.