A One-Page Website is Quick and Easy to Create — Here’s How

It took me nearly 10 years of freelancing to figure it out, but I finally identified the single greatest stumbling block that would-be freelance writers face: 

The website. 

Just think about it — many of us, when getting started, have no idea how to make a website that promotes our freelance writing services and there’s a mountain of decisions to make, plus a steep learning curve facing us. Even with a great tutorial about how to start a blog, it’s tough to get it all sorted out. 

Why is creating a writer website so challenging?

Here’s how it often plays out. 

You want a website but you don’t know how to choose a domain name. Should it be your name? A business name? Something cute and clever? And you’re hesitant to do anything else for your fledgling business until you’ve picked out the greatest business name of all time. 

Once you move past the name debate and settle on a good option, there’s all the tech to fret over. Talk about intimidating!

In fact, intimidation is the name of the game, and it goes a lot deeper than just figuring out how to create a website. For many would-be writers, website costs are the first real business expense you incur. You are paying real money to invest in this business…and putting some skin in the game, no matter how small, makes it real. 

What do humans do when they’re facing something new and scary? We avoid. 

Enter: Website analysis paralysis. We overplay the significance of every detail to make this procrastination “valid” and then feel justified in delaying the real work of freelance writing (which is, of course, the actual hard part). 

I’ve seen this cycle play out many dozens if not hundreds of times over the past 10 years, first among my colleagues and then with my students. 

Here’s an easy solution: Create a one-page website

Finally, I found a workaround. 

What I’ve been recommending lately — with good results — is what I call the one-page website. 

It’s a simple, elegant solution for freelance service providers who don’t have the budget or bandwidth to put together a robust site (the way we’re “supposed to”) but still want something more custom than some of the writing portfolio websites for writers on the market. 

The one-pager is exactly as it sounds: a website that has one page.

It can be as stripped-down as a simple landing page or as robust as a multi-section scroll-fest (also known as parallax style). 

No matter what, everything you need is right there on the front page. 

The beauty of the one-page website is that it delivers all the necessary information while removing the “pressure” of building and then filling multiple pages of content. For serious beginners who want to do their website “the right way” but find the tech parts too intimidating, the idea of leaning on a one-page theme and writing just a couple of paragraphs is welcome relief. 

Curious? Let me show you how it works. 

What should a one-page website for freelance writers include?

The one-pager distills all the critical information your clients need and presents it in a small, tidy package. This includes: 

  • Your name
  • Your experience
  • The service(s) you offer
  • Samples of your writing
  • Testimonials and social proof
  • How to reach you
  • Great photo of you (highly recommended, but not required)

That’s it! Certainly there’s more you could include if you wanted, but those are the essentials. 

Could you come up with a sentence or two for each of these sections? Way faster than writing an entire site’s worth of content? Yep, I thought so. 

How to build a one-page website

The most challenging part of putting together a one-page website is finding the template you want to use. 

I use WordPress and always have, so my go-to for a one-pager is WordPress templates. Many WordPress themes, including free themes, come with built-in one-page templates. A few I’ve heard others recommend are Uncode, OceanWP, Astra (the free Happy Paws theme is a great place to start) and Clear-Fix

The easiest way to get started on WordPress is through BlueHost. When you buy hosting from this company, it costs just $2.95/month, and they’ll throw in the domain of your choice. Then you can add WordPress to that site with a one-click install. (If this sounds confusing, here’s a guide to starting a blog that walks you through it.) 

If you need inspiration, The Muse has an interesting collection of one-page websites. Some are extremely simple and look like landing pages; others are more complex and design-focused.

As you review examples and consider themes and templates, look more at layouts than specific details like colors and images. See where photos are placed on these templates, and think about what photos you’d want there instead. 

Also keep in mind how you want to approach testimonials; some themes have a whole section devoted to them, and others have section breaks built in throughout the page that might be a good place to park a review or two.

Building a website from scratch takes some time, especially if you’ve never done it before. If you find yourself spending more than a week or two on it, however, you might be veering into “overcomplication” territory. 

Lean into the one-page website to streamline the process and get your site built quickly, so you can get onto the part where you build your rock-solid freelance writing business. 

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Photo via GuadiLab / Shutterstock 

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How to Break into the Lucrative World of Grant Writing

As a freelance writer, you’re likely constantly searching for well-paying, recurring gigs. But often the pickings are slim. You might feel stuck with one-off assignments that pay only meager returns.

That’s where grant writing offers a huge opportunity.

I started grant writing as a college intern, then for a small after-school nonprofit program, and never looked back. Now, 12 years later, I run a seven-person team at Professional Grant Writers, and we work with organizations around the world to develop and maintain robust grant writing programs.

Why you should consider writing grants

Grant writers are in high demand for nonprofits hoping to raise money for operations, capital expenses, events, and programs. The work pays well: as a freelance grant writer, you can start out charging about $25 an hour and work your way up to $100 an hour, though this will vary depending on the organization you’re working for.

Even better? Often, nonprofits look to enter into long-term contracts with a reliable grant writer. They may have a large volume of grants due every month, so you can earn good, steady income – all while working from home.

If you dip your toes into this arena and want to turn it into a full-time career, a typical grant writer salary is about $48,000/year according to Payscale, and $54,000/year according to Glassdoor.

Learn how to write a grant proposal

But how do you write a grant proposal? If you’ve never written a grant before, you should consider taking a course on grant writing and even earning your certification.

Introductory grant writing courses are usually available at community colleges and universities, or you can find online training that will cover the basics over the course of just a few weeks. Nonprofitready.org offers several free courses on grant writing, and GrantSpace and the Grant Training Center offer instruction, too.

From there, you may want to pursue a more strenuous course through the Grant Professionals Certification Institute. Lots of certification programs exist, but this one is the most extensive and well respected.

I decided not to get certified because I had significant experience in grant writing to launch my business, but if you’re just starting out, certification can help you gain credibility and overcome a limited background in this type of work.

Connect with organizations that rely on grants

One way to get started is volunteering at a nonprofit, even if your tasks are nowhere near grant writing. Assist at fundraising auctions, help an office with data entry, join a board, work a phone bank, solicit event sponsorships — any of these options will help you get a foot in the door with a nonprofit and learn about the organization’s needs.

Contributing your time to administrative and fundraising initiatives will help you see the inner workings of this type of organization, more so than direct-service volunteering. You’ll build connections as you build your business.

Nonprofits often form a small, tight-knit community, so your volunteering will help get your name out there — and maybe even turn into a paying gig.

Finally, consider volunteering your grant writing services to a local nonprofit as you’re starting out. While I wouldn’t recommend doing this for long, it will help you build a solid portfolio. Having a few grants under your belt and a nonprofit or two to vouch for you will help you sell your services as a paid grant writer when you’re ready.

Build your network in the fundraising community

In addition to lending a hand at a specific nonprofit, join your regional professional fundraisers organization or local nonprofit employee organization. Any professional organization along those lines that meets regularly is a good place for you to meet other people in the industry and eventually shop your services.

Other professional groups can be helpful, too. Maybe there’s a young professionals group that meets for cocktails and networking, or something similar. These won’t be as directly helpful as shaking hands directly with nonprofit professionals and other fundraisers, but it can’t hurt to get your name out there.

Make business cards, build a website, and add your grant writing work to your email signature; these are all great ways to create a legitimate business and to market your services effectively. And when you attend networking events, hand out as many business cards as you can.

I find that even though grant writing is a growing profession — especially among freelance writers — there’s still lots of room for more writers.

This is an updated version of a story that was previously published. We update our posts as often as possible to ensure they’re useful for our readers.

Photo via Tero Vesalainen/ Shutterstock 

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