Episode 5: Stop Spending Money on Your Website
In Ep. 5, I throw out the script and just talk candidly about your work from home or copywriting website. I explain how to set them up and why you need to stop spending money on them. You can listen to the episode right here. The transcription is below the player. Feel free to add your comments using the comment section below.
Episode 5 Transcript
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00:00 [JT Pledger] Good morning! Welcome to Freebie Friday. This is episode number 5 and today I’m gonna go off-script a little bit and I’m going to tell you to stop spending money on your website. That’s what I’m going to talk about today, so stick around find out why.
Do You Need a Writer’s Website?
00:39 [JT] If you are just starting out in your career, your online career, if your work from home, freelance writer, if you’re an author, you’re…you’re gonna need a website. Umm, and in the beginning, you’re not gonna have any money coming in from this website. You don’t have a list yet, you’re not on Google ranks yet. You’re just…nobody’s going there. You have to get them there and this can take some time. It can take a few weeks. It can take a few months, but in that time everything that you put into this website is gonna come out of your pocket. And as you learn how to develop a website, if you don’t know already, you’re gonna come across a lot of things that want to get into your wallet.
01:36 “We’re gonna make your website bigger, better, easier to use easier to build…” blah blah blah, and you, really, honestly, I’m gonna tell you right now, you don’t need any of it.
What You Do Need to Purchase
01:50 Now there are things that you will need to pay money for and I want to cover those quickly because really, honestly, there’s only two things. And the first one is your domain name and if you don’t know what a domain name is, that is the dot-com name that you put in the address bar to visit that website. You can buy these from a registrar: Uhh, GoDaddy, Namecheap, there’s…there’s hundreds of them, and you find one you put in your name, if it’s available, and you can purchase it.
02:27 Now personally, I use Namecheap. I picked them because they are in fact pretty cheap, umm, but they also include private registration and this is something that I highly recommend. And with them including this for free, for the life of your domain name, is a great deal.
02:51 I know GoDaddy charges, I think it’s like, 13 bucks a year for private registrations, so you’re saving money there. But if you already have a registrar and you want to keep, stay with them that’s fine, but you have to have a domain name. And any dot com, dot net, any of the popular TLDs are going to be anywhere between about 8 and 15 dollars per year.
You Also Need a Webhost
03:16 So if you think about it you’re spending about a dollar a month, which is a doable expense. Umm, but the other thing that you’re gonna have to pay money for is a web server. And this is where you’re going to actually host the files that are on your website. Now there are countless web servers out there. There’s countless kinds. You have shared hosting, and Virtual Private Networks, and…or virtual private shared hosting, and dedicated servers, and there’s just cloud servers.
03:54 So many of them, and you can get caught up in “which one’s the best?” and “who’s this, and who’s that,” and you might hear the names; A2 Hosting is very popular, Hostgator, SiteGround. Bluehost is very well versed in the internet world. I don’t like Bluehost, that is a personal preference. Umm, you will hear them recommended a lot and one of the reasons is because their affiliate links pay $65 for everybody that you can refer to them. But I’ve never been happy with their customer service and their servers are kind of slow. If you want to know what I use, which really doesn’t matter, I use A2 Hosting [Affiliate Link] and I also use Hostgator.
Never Pay Full Price
04:56 But I have like five different web sites going. So, I like Hostgator. I’m on their cloud server. It seems to be pretty fast. Never had any issues and when I’ve had to contact customer service they’ve been amazing. But your web-hosting you can always get a deal on.
05:04 There’s always coupons out there. They always have specials, monthly deals, you know, Black Friday deals are always great, but you can expect to pay anywhere between about 60 and 150 bucks per year for your server.
05:20 You just want to make sure that it’ll host your domain name and it’s big enough that you can put all the files on it that you will need. But you really won’t need a whole lot to be honest with you. So, if you’ve never built a website, it’s something that can take a lot of time. But these days it’s actually grown really easy with things like WordPress and the silly build your own, you know, drag and drop websites like Wix and, and those. I don’t mind a WordPress website. WordPress has gotten a lot better over the last few years, I actually use a couple of them.
Build Your Own Or Use Pre-Built Software
06:46 But if you don’t want to do that and you don’t have the time you can download WordPress. A lot of the servers, I know Hostgator, A2, Bluehost, all those they have what they call a “one-click install“. You go into your, your admin panel, you find the WordPress, then say “Yep, I want to install it.” Boom. And it’s all done for you.
Your Site Needs Pages
07:10 But really, when you think about what you’re gonna need as a freelance writer, or even an author page, or work from home, you’re gonna need six pages, maybe, at most. So let’s cover those real quick, why not?
07:33 The pages you’re gonna need on a website. You’re gonna need your main page, your index page. This is the page that everybody will come to when they type in “your name dot-com.” And this one, you know, is gonna have your signups on it for your newsletters, it’s gonna have all your information, maybe a little picture of you, or your services, whatever you do. It’s gonna have your header and it’ll have your navigation menu to the other pages.
08:01 Another page you’re gonna need is your services page. Well, what are you offering? If you’re a writer, what kind of things do you write, you know? How much do you charge? Your, your portfolio will depend on your services, so whatever your services page is, it’s gonna link to your portfolio page. Now, if you are a copywriter, or a ghostwriter, or some kind of work from home, your portfolio is gonna be different. Uhh, Some of them are actually gonna be links to things that you have done, but ghostwriters, for example, don’t really get to claim any of their work, so they can’t show “hey, I wrote these, you know, 80 blog posts, and these 14 articles over here for this guy.”
You Might Want a Blog, Instead
08:57 So theirs might be different. Instead of a portfolio page, maybe they have a blog. And on the blog they write mock articles or mock blog posts in a similar style to what they have done in the past, to kind of show, you know, “Here’s my abilities. Here’s how I write,” or whatever.
09:17 If you actually have physical products that you’re selling as a work from home, instead of a portfolio or even a services page, you might have a shop.
09:28 One thing that is crucial for the work from home and the, and the copywriters is a testimonial page. This is where you’re gonna go and have your past clients write really nice things about you, and how wonderful you are, and how amazing your writing skills are, and how easy you are to work with, so that potential clients coming by will be able to see it and go “Hey, that sounds like somebody I want to work with!”
Give Them a Way to Contact You
09:58 And, of course, you’re gonna need a contact page. Now a contact page is this basically gonna be a form that somebody will fill out and they click a “Send” button and then you get an email with that information that they posted.
10:15 If you have a WordPress page, or a WordPress site I’m sorry, all of these can be done relatively quickly. Once you have your server and your domain name and you have WordPress installed you can have your main page up in probably about 20 minutes, if you’ve never done it before. Some of you might take longer, you know, but just to have a page up that is visible on the web you could have it done in 20 minutes, and figure about an hour per page for the other five pages.
You Can Do It All For Free
10:47 So, you know, you sit at the computer for six, seven hours, your website is done. Now, all of this, all of those pages are free to build. WordPress is free. It’s free to install. The themes, there are a lot of things you’ll hear. And oh my God, you’ll hear about the Divi theme or other premium themes that make it “so much easier and so much prettier and better and bigger and we’re only gonna charge you one hundred and ninety-seven dollars a year for a theme.”
11:31 Now, I’m not knocking the people that want to use the Divi themes and things like that and have the resources to pay for them. But they are not needed. There isn’t anything that those themes can do that you can’t do on your own with the plug-in. You want a contact page? Fine. Go to your plugins in WordPress, download Contact Form 7. Hey, it’s free, it’s secure, it works. You don’t want robots and spammers and stuff logging in to your site? Fine. You go down and to your plugins page and you download iThemes Security and reCAPTCHA plug-in. You plug them in, you install them, you make sure the settings are good. Your site’s secure.
Other Plug-Ins Are Also Free
12:17 You want testimonials? You can download Jetpack, which usually comes with most of the WordPress installs. Jetpack is also free and it has your live stats, it has testimonial pages, it has a whole bunch of other contacts and forms and pop-ups and links and like buttons and share buttons, all included.
What About Themes?
12:42 But the theme, you can go there’s, the last time I counted, for WordPress 5, there were over 17,000 free themes. You’re telling me you can’t go through that list and find something that is attractive to you? Then you probably have bigger problems than picking a theme. There’s themes out there. All the themes are customizable. You can change their colors, you can change the layout, and look, and whether they show their bullet points or not. Some are more customizable than others.
13:19 And you want to make sure that you have a responsive one, so that it shows up just fine on a desktop as it does on a cell phone or a tablet. But other than that, you just go by what it looks like, you know? You’re gonna add your own images, you’re gonna add your own text, you’re gonna make your font colors different, and make it into yours. So it’s not like you’re gonna have a site that looks like 1,700 other people’s, because nobody’s gonna put the same combination together that you will. And you can do all of this for free.
You Can’t Mess Up
13:53 And if you make a mistake, guess what? You undo it. (laughs) That’s it. Undo. Don’t save, go back a page, come back and try it again. But everybody out there has things that are going to tempt you and I’m telling you right now you don’t need them.
14:17 Elementor is a great page builder. It’s kind of like a plugin that works like the Divi theme. It’s a drag-and-drop and it’s beautiful and it’s wonderful. I use it. They have a free version. Use the free version. Anything out there that you can pay for, you know, I’m gonna tell you this right now: anything out there that you can pay for, for your website to make it appear different, to make it function different, to make it handle processes or visitors and in a certain way, there is a free version out there that will work for you, right now.
Change as Needed
14:54 Now, I’m not telling you to keep this the whole time. This is for those that are just starting out. If you want to go through and pay for all this extra stuff, go ahead. Do it, but I don’t recommend it if you’re just starting out. Like I said in the beginning, your website needs to pay for itself. And to do that you need to keep the costs down. And if you aren’t bringing in any money, if you haven’t gotten any clients yet, if you’re still working for free to build your portfolio, or to get testimonials, that’s just money out of your pocket that you’re not gonna get back. Why put it into a website when you don’t have to?
Do Your Research
15:39 Do your research. Don’t just jump on the first thing because it looks pretty. And go, “Oh well, it’s only a hundred dollars.” “It’s only 200 dollars.” Do your research.
15:53 Go to your search engines type in “what it is you need” type in “WordPress” [For example: “contact form plug-in WordPress”] and I guarantee you that there’s gonna be something that pops up that you can do for free, that will work until you actually have the money coming in from your website to pay for the premium one. But that’s it. Unless you’re spending money on your domain name or your web hosting, stop spending money on your website.
Your Job Isn’t Building Sites
16:22 Get to work doing what you’re supposed to do. The website isn’t going to make that big of a difference, I’m telling you right now. I had a website that was one page. It was a picture of me, it had four lines of text and it had an email address. I still got business from it. You don’t need to have the biggest, baddest, most buttony-clickable-pop-up-and-ad-hosted website on the Internet to gain new clients or new customers. Give them what they come to your website for. Which is high-quality content, great work ethic, your skills, your time and make them pay for that.
17:15 Spend your money on advertising, spend your money on a better chair–because you’re gonna be sitting at your computer for a while making all this money–don’t spend it on your website until you absolutely have to.
That’s My Advice
18:04 For now, I’ll let you go. Don’t forget to stop by the website, check out the new blog post, it’s up every Tuesday, sign up for the newsletter if you haven’t yet, and we have information coming up on the new e-book for you soon! So be sure to stick around for that!
18:19 Until next week, have fun; write words.