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I'm new to freelancing and need to create a website to showcase my work for prospective clients.

I've read that it's easy to create your own website with WordPress. Are other platforms better? What are the pros and cons of creating your own? I don't want it to look too amateurish.

I have reasonable computer skills and can follow directions but don't know HTML.

  • Even though I do know HTML, I used WordPress to create my website. It was fairly simple though there is a lot of themes and plugins you can choose to enhance the look or functionality. That at least will help the website look good. As for your other questions, it's normally best to ask separate questions in separate posts, but it's difficult to get consensus on which platform is better. – darklion Dec 30 '15 at 4:08
  • It might help to explain what type of work it is that you are trying to showcase e.g. is it graphic design images, professional photography images or something else? – Neil Robertson Dec 31 '15 at 13:08
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    Good suggestion! The type of work is editing and proofreading. I'm still researching content ideas but, based on other sites of this type, I envision something fairly simple with one or two static graphics, a blog and perhaps an interactive contact form. – F. Roberts Dec 31 '15 at 14:20
  • This question might fit better at: softwarerecs.stackexchange.com – Neil Robertson Jan 3 '16 at 1:07
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    @NeilRobertson We can't migrate to Beta sites; as well, it would not fit on Software Recommendations as it stands, without an almost-complete overhaul. – Canadian Luke Jan 6 '16 at 16:48
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Depending upon the nature of your freelancing, your targeted financial goals, and your client base -- the proper thing to do would be to hire someone that can create what you need if you have no experience with it.

That being posted you can do it yourself, by all means.

My point is, if freelancing in whatever field is your business... treat it like a business. While you can remodel your own kitchen, a professional will always do a better job. And if this web site is going to be designed to promote your business, you want to put your best foot forward. Saving a little money on a web site up front could cost you hundreds or thousands in lost revenue due to amateur mistakes which a professional would not make.

Many responses here are from those in the tech industry so they understand web sites and all that goes with them, so yes Wordpress is an easy go-to. But if the nature of your freelancing is... something non-technical like.. oh house painting... you just won't have the aptitude and skill to create an effective business website. I suspect you know this, which is why you are asking.

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Congratulations on your new freelance career. For visual people I recommend SquareSpace.

  • You can build a site with no coding
  • Their templates are all carefully designed and tested
  • Portfolio, slideshow, search, and video support are part of the template, --not separate plug ins that need to be researched, added and tested one by one
  • Phone and text chat support
  • All themes look good on phones and tablets
  • Images are automatically optimized for each device on upload
  • An online store is included, but not required
  • Site visitor statistics are available, sites can be added to Google Analytics
  • You can automatically "push" blog post or images to instagram or facebook, and link to other social media
  • Sites can be exported to WordPress if you change your mind
  • If you decide to learn CSS & HTML, you can customize your site

The limitations of Squarespace: there are fewer templates than available for WordPress; and sites get slower after 400 pages.

Best of luck whatever you chose.

  • Thanks! I'll definitely explore this. It sounds good and 400 pages are many more than I'm likely to need in this lifetime. – F. Roberts Jan 1 '16 at 15:53
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Personally, I have devoted my time to Bootstrap as it has allowed me to produce the results that I have wanted. It all depends on the time you have allowed yourself to complete this task. I am 33 and have basically devoted the past 6 months to learning how to create sites on my own and once you get over the first hill, its very rewarding.

As mentioned, Squarespace or outsourcing for this first site may be a good idea to get the professional look you are after, especially if you are short on time. However, you will always be restricted one way or another using those methods.

In the meantime, sites like Lynda.com offer great structured training for a reasonable monthly fee, and Stack Overflow has also been great in answering the questions I have whenever there is an effect that I want to create.

  • Thanks for the suggestions. However, since I'm much older and only need one simple site, investing 6 months might not be in the cards for me ;) – F. Roberts Jan 6 '16 at 1:48
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Yes you can use wordpress to create your website. You will get 1k+ ready made free themes on internet for your website. It is fine if you don't know HTML at initial level but learn it in future so it will help you to customize your wordpress site layout, colors etc in easy way.

Wordpress is easy to CMS to manage website and at initial level you can use wordpress to create your own website.

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Open Source Content Management System

Free and open source content management systems like WordPress, Joomla or similar are good options especially if the content needs to be updated frequently.

There are plenty of free and paid themes/templates and it's not especially difficult to set up if you are willing to learn.

WordPress and Joomla work well on shared hosting and a "one click" install is often provided in the hosting control panel.

Ideally, find some trustworthy resources to help steer you in the right direction with key decisions like choosing a suitable web hosting company.

Remember that with most content management systems, you need to regularly apply updates to the CMS itself and to any third party plugins/extensions to keep the website safe from hackers. You should also be running regular backups and copying the backup files off-site.

HTML Template

Another option, especially if the website will be fairly static, is to use a free or paid HTML template. Some of these look very professional but only offer basic functionality such as text and image content and maybe galleries and a contact form etc.

HTML websites run on simple shared hosting.

Regular updates are not usually required so maintenance is less than for a content management system although you should probably still be taking occasional backups and copying these off-site.

You will need to learn a little HTML to be able to set up and maintain the website.

SAAS Content Management System

The third option is to use an online service (that is hosted for you for a fee) such as Wix, Weebly, SquareSpace or similar.

Wix and Weebly might be the easiest to set up but you have far less control over how you want your website to look. Other disadvantages are that you are usually locked in to a monthly or annual fee and moving to another platform in future usually means you have to rebuild the website from scratch.

Usually, there is no easy way for you to run a backup of these types of websites so you are pinning the future of your business on the future of another business over which you have no control. This isn't something I would recommend for anyone who is serious about their business.

Do It Yourself vs Hired Help

As others have said, the most expedient solution is probably to hire someone to help you with your website but you can certainly give it a try yourself for minimal outlay.

If this is something you enjoy doing, learning this skill will be useful in future so you can maintain your website yourself without external help.

You may reach a stage where you need help but by this stage you will likely have solidified your ideas about what you want your website to do and how you want it to look so the time is not wasted.

If you have a friend or colleague that is willing to help then it may be worth asking them to point you in the right direction at the start so you choose a platform that they can help you with.

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    Thank you so much for this thoughtful and detailed information. Much appreciated! – F. Roberts Dec 31 '15 at 14:08
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You can use https://sites.google.com for hosting and showcasing your profile. for help https://www.google.com/sites/help/intl/en_GB/overview.html

But this may need little html coding knowledge for complex web page creation, for that you could use tools like Dreamweaver etc...

Ravi Kumar

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