Thinking about setting up my own website

24 replies
Hi everyone, my names Alex and I'm 21 years old. I've recently started writing full time online and have managed to build up a small list of clients mainly through the ProBlogger forums. This is great, but I'd really like to start taking things a bit more seriously and begin to make a name for myself.

I was thinking about setting up my own website to promote myself and try to gain more orders, but I'm a bit stuck on the best route to go down. Would a blog be the best idea? Potentially a regular website with a blog page? I notice some of the clients I write for allow me to display a short bio with all of my posts on their website so I think this would be a good starting point at getting traffic to the site.

Does anyone have any experience with this? I'd love some help and advice on where I should go next.

Many thanks for taking the time to read my thread,

Alex
#setting #thinking #website
  • Profile picture of the author Winlin
    Fellow Warrior John Coutts has a great WSO that can get you started in the right direction.
    >>Well-Paid Content Writer 2013<<
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  • Profile picture of the author AffiliateWaves
    Originally Posted by alexandersmith View Post

    I was thinking about setting up my own website to promote myself and try to gain more orders, but I'm a bit stuck on the best route to go down. Would a blog be the best idea? Potentially a regular website with a blog page?

    Alex
    I suggest a regular website with blog page .In this way you can get good clients and idle time you can write for your own blog to make it popular.This website will act as your work portfolio and give you more business.

    For Website setup i suggest WordPress will be a great solution for you .


    Thanks and good luck for your business
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    • Profile picture of the author Shadowflux
      I had a lot of luck with setting up my own website in the beginning. These days, my marketing efforts are much more targeted so I prefer direct interaction. Here's my suggestion, as someone's who has done exactly what you're thinking of:

      Domain

      If money is tight then you can start with something like blogger (Blogspot.com) but you should invest the $20 it takes for a good .com domain. It can be your name or it can be a brand name you come up with. Blogger lets you use your own domain with their free hosting (or it did, at least).

      If you can afford it, however, I would highly suggest purchasing your own hosting plan. The reason for this is versatility. If you install WordPress you have a nearly unlimited variety of options for everything from layout to usability. More importantly, this will look far more professional.

      Landing Page

      Make sure you have a landing page. When someone clicks your link, this is where they will end up first. This is a great place for some information about you, some sales copy, and maybe even some pricing. You don't want to make people search around for this page so make it the one you link to. (Easily done in WordPress).

      Blog

      A blog is a great idea. This is a perfect place for samples of your work. Update it about once or twice a week with a new article. I kept mine focused on IM and business in general although the whole purpose of the blog was to present samples of my writing and had nothing to do with SEO or anything like that.

      I think it can be a good idea to vary the type of articles you post. Post short ones, long ones, instructional articles, opinion based articles, and anything else you're good at writing.

      Testimonials

      Testimonials are important too. I had a page of testimonials but I also had something in a sidebar slot that rotated testimonials I had received. The best way to get them is to simply ask a client for one once you've completed a project. Tell them you will be willing to link to one of their websites in the testimonial so it's mutually beneficial.

      Contact

      You'll have a "Order Now" button on the landing page but you should also have a "Contact Me" page. This should include a simple form that people can fill out as well as a traditional email link. The form just makes things that much easier and doesn't require people to do much to get in touch with you.

      Etc

      A portfolio page can be good too but only put your best stuff on there. The biggest gigs, the biggest projects, the things you're most proud of, are what should go on there.

      A FAQ can also be helpful. I had questions like "What information should I include when contacting you?" and "What is your turn around time?".

      I think that about covers what I would suggest including. You can add to it, of course, and even sell some sort of product right on your site. You could sell PLR material, for example, to catch those customers who just want something right now.

      Keep working on it and perfecting it. Pay attention to your traffic. Look at where people are coming from, what they're looking at, and where they're spending the most amount of time. This information will tell you everything you need to know about what to focus on.

      Best of luck!
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      • Profile picture of the author Steve Waller
        Originally Posted by Shadowflux View Post

        I had a lot of luck with setting up my own website in the beginning. These days, my marketing efforts are much more targeted so I prefer direct interaction. Here's my suggestion, as someone's who has done exactly what you're thinking of:

        Domain

        If money is tight then you can start with something like blogger (Blogspot.com) but you should invest the $20 it takes for a good .com domain. It can be your name or it can be a brand name you come up with. Blogger lets you use your own domain with their free hosting (or it did, at least).

        If you can afford it, however, I would highly suggest purchasing your own hosting plan. The reason for this is versatility. If you install WordPress you have a nearly unlimited variety of options for everything from layout to usability. More importantly, this will look far more professional.

        Landing Page

        Make sure you have a landing page. When someone clicks your link, this is where they will end up first. This is a great place for some information about you, some sales copy, and maybe even some pricing. You don't want to make people search around for this page so make it the one you link to. (Easily done in WordPress).

        Blog

        A blog is a great idea. This is a perfect place for samples of your work. Update it about once or twice a week with a new article. I kept mine focused on IM and business in general although the whole purpose of the blog was to present samples of my writing and had nothing to do with SEO or anything like that.

        I think it can be a good idea to vary the type of articles you post. Post short ones, long ones, instructional articles, opinion based articles, and anything else you're good at writing.

        Testimonials

        Testimonials are important too. I had a page of testimonials but I also had something in a sidebar slot that rotated testimonials I had received. The best way to get them is to simply ask a client for one once you've completed a project. Tell them you will be willing to link to one of their websites in the testimonial so it's mutually beneficial.

        Contact

        You'll have a "Order Now" button on the landing page but you should also have a "Contact Me" page. This should include a simple form that people can fill out as well as a traditional email link. The form just makes things that much easier and doesn't require people to do much to get in touch with you.

        Etc

        A portfolio page can be good too but only put your best stuff on there. The biggest gigs, the biggest projects, the things you're most proud of, are what should go on there.

        A FAQ can also be helpful. I had questions like "What information should I include when contacting you?" and "What is your turn around time?".

        I think that about covers what I would suggest including. You can add to it, of course, and even sell some sort of product right on your site. You could sell PLR material, for example, to catch those customers who just want something right now.

        Keep working on it and perfecting it. Pay attention to your traffic. Look at where people are coming from, what they're looking at, and where they're spending the most amount of time. This information will tell you everything you need to know about what to focus on.

        Best of luck!
        What he said :p

        No seriously that is some great advice.

        Are you going to concentrate on one specific niche or are you going to be a general purpose writer?

        Also, use your signature space here to link to your site. There are a lot of people looking for content around here so you might get lucky and land a client or two.

        Also, there are a tonne of other blogs out there to do with freelance writing careers so take a look at those for inspiration and comment on their most recent posts.
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        • Profile picture of the author Shadowflux
          Originally Posted by Steve Waller View Post

          What he said :p

          Also, use your signature space here to link to your site. There are a lot of people looking for content around here so you might get lucky and land a client or two.
          I should add that I did this too and got a lot of traffic and work from these forums.
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          • Simple website with your port, pricing and about you along with a blog attached. Wordpress would be fine
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        • Profile picture of the author Andre Slater
          I had hard time when I first started building websites trying to figure out what the difference is between a blog and websites. Well they are pretty much the same thing they are both websites with a few differences.

          A website is traditionally stagnant. Doesn't change much. Like if you selling a product or a service a website is great. People will go to it find out info about product or service and purchase.

          A blog on the other hand is ever evolving. It's a Web Log like your own personal diary. So you can get people to understand you and your business, because you can update to it daily... (google likes regularly changed content)

          You could also have a blog based just on your name and still build a website for your product or service.
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      • Profile picture of the author TheMaleRN
        Originally Posted by Shadowflux View Post

        I had a lot of luck with setting up my own website in the beginning. These days, my marketing efforts are much more targeted so I prefer direct interaction. Here's my suggestion, as someone's who has done exactly what you're thinking of:

        Domain

        If money is tight then you can start with something like blogger (Blogspot.com) but you should invest the $20 it takes for a good .com domain. It can be your name or it can be a brand name you come up with. Blogger lets you use your own domain with their free hosting (or it did, at least).

        If you can afford it, however, I would highly suggest purchasing your own hosting plan. The reason for this is versatility. If you install WordPress you have a nearly unlimited variety of options for everything from layout to usability. More importantly, this will look far more professional.

        Landing Page

        Make sure you have a landing page. When someone clicks your link, this is where they will end up first. This is a great place for some information about you, some sales copy, and maybe even some pricing. You don't want to make people search around for this page so make it the one you link to. (Easily done in WordPress).

        Blog

        A blog is a great idea. This is a perfect place for samples of your work. Update it about once or twice a week with a new article. I kept mine focused on IM and business in general although the whole purpose of the blog was to present samples of my writing and had nothing to do with SEO or anything like that.

        I think it can be a good idea to vary the type of articles you post. Post short ones, long ones, instructional articles, opinion based articles, and anything else you're good at writing.

        Testimonials

        Testimonials are important too. I had a page of testimonials but I also had something in a sidebar slot that rotated testimonials I had received. The best way to get them is to simply ask a client for one once you've completed a project. Tell them you will be willing to link to one of their websites in the testimonial so it's mutually beneficial.

        Contact

        You'll have a "Order Now" button on the landing page but you should also have a "Contact Me" page. This should include a simple form that people can fill out as well as a traditional email link. The form just makes things that much easier and doesn't require people to do much to get in touch with you.

        Etc

        A portfolio page can be good too but only put your best stuff on there. The biggest gigs, the biggest projects, the things you're most proud of, are what should go on there.

        A FAQ can also be helpful. I had questions like "What information should I include when contacting you?" and "What is your turn around time?".

        I think that about covers what I would suggest including. You can add to it, of course, and even sell some sort of product right on your site. You could sell PLR material, for example, to catch those customers who just want something right now.

        Keep working on it and perfecting it. Pay attention to your traffic. Look at where people are coming from, what they're looking at, and where they're spending the most amount of time. This information will tell you everything you need to know about what to focus on.

        Best of luck!
        Great advice man...

        It's always a good thing to have testimonials because they help you in your reputation and personal branding.
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      • Profile picture of the author wiredtolive
        Originally Posted by Shadowflux View Post

        I had a lot of luck with setting up my own website in the beginning. These days, my marketing efforts are much more targeted so I prefer direct interaction. Here's my suggestion, as someone's who has done exactly what you're thinking of:

        Domain

        If money is tight then you can start with something like blogger (Blogspot.com) but you should invest the $20 it takes for a good .com domain. It can be your name or it can be a brand name you come up with. Blogger lets you use your own domain with their free hosting (or it did, at least).

        If you can afford it, however, I would highly suggest purchasing your own hosting plan. The reason for this is versatility. If you install WordPress you have a nearly unlimited variety of options for everything from layout to usability. More importantly, this will look far more professional.

        Landing Page

        Make sure you have a landing page. When someone clicks your link, this is where they will end up first. This is a great place for some information about you, some sales copy, and maybe even some pricing. You don't want to make people search around for this page so make it the one you link to. (Easily done in WordPress).

        Blog

        A blog is a great idea. This is a perfect place for samples of your work. Update it about once or twice a week with a new article. I kept mine focused on IM and business in general although the whole purpose of the blog was to present samples of my writing and had nothing to do with SEO or anything like that.

        I think it can be a good idea to vary the type of articles you post. Post short ones, long ones, instructional articles, opinion based articles, and anything else you're good at writing.

        Testimonials

        Testimonials are important too. I had a page of testimonials but I also had something in a sidebar slot that rotated testimonials I had received. The best way to get them is to simply ask a client for one once you've completed a project. Tell them you will be willing to link to one of their websites in the testimonial so it's mutually beneficial.

        Contact

        You'll have a "Order Now" button on the landing page but you should also have a "Contact Me" page. This should include a simple form that people can fill out as well as a traditional email link. The form just makes things that much easier and doesn't require people to do much to get in touch with you.

        Etc

        A portfolio page can be good too but only put your best stuff on there. The biggest gigs, the biggest projects, the things you're most proud of, are what should go on there.

        A FAQ can also be helpful. I had questions like "What information should I include when contacting you?" and "What is your turn around time?".

        I think that about covers what I would suggest including. You can add to it, of course, and even sell some sort of product right on your site. You could sell PLR material, for example, to catch those customers who just want something right now.

        Keep working on it and perfecting it. Pay attention to your traffic. Look at where people are coming from, what they're looking at, and where they're spending the most amount of time. This information will tell you everything you need to know about what to focus on.

        Best of luck!

        Really great advice and it's coming from someone who actually writes for a living.

        The only thing I would add is if you do wordpress make sure that you keep it updated. I have been designing and developing websites for over 10 years now for offline clients and unfortunately WP is a platform that is easily hacked. No matter what kinds of security plugins you may have in place, there really is no better security than to keep your wordpress updated. Also, make sure you use a really strong password.

        I wish you all the best.
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  • Profile picture of the author DWaters
    Here are some condesnsed suggestions.
    -Get a domain name from cheapnames.com,
    - set up hosting with hostgator, hostmonster, etc, s
    et up the page using wordpress,
    - don't worry about "blog vs regular page" just post new content regularly on the home page with easy access to the archived content,
    - monetize the site with any approriate advertising but do not overdue it,
    - build a list with an Opt in form from an Autosesponder (Aweber or GetResponse).
    You can also post your articles to ezine articles after they are posted on your site. Put a link back to your site in the signature.
    Good Luck!
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  • Profile picture of the author jbaran
    set up a wordpress blog with an email opt in to the right side above the fold. make sure you have a lightbox also. this way as you build a name for yourself, you can start email subscribers useful valuable information pertaining to your writing niche. once you have built enough trust you can sell them affiliate offers or one day launch your own product. But it all starts with a website, mailing list, and giving them good value.
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  • Profile picture of the author vedremo
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    Shadowflux has given very concise and useful advice. I agree with DWaters in getting affordable domain name via namecheap.com (less than $11/year).
    - Get a reliable and affordable hosting.
    - Use WordPress.
    - Agree with having a website where you can have a proper venue for your Portfolio. You can even link your samples to their respective clients.
    - You can have a Blog section where you can write and share anything that you want. You can write something about your chosen niche.
    - Testimomial section where your can display your clients' feedback (video or text format).
    - Services/Product section tells something about what you can offer.
    - Contact - where you can be contacted for inquiries. Good way to generate leads.
    - Monetize your site through well thought and well-considered ads.

    Always provide unique contents. Regularly update. Consider the SEO needs of your blog or website. Use social media in promoting it. Good luck!
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    • Profile picture of the author Shadowflux
      The only thing I would disagree with is monetizing the site with ads. I just don't think it's appropriate for this sort of site. The whole site is an advertizement for yourself and your services. Maybe if you partnered with someone who, in turn, sent you work, that would be a different story.

      Selling your own products, such as PLR material, is also acceptable.

      I don't think you'll be generating enough traffic to actually make good money from the ads. You don't need 10,000 people to see the site, just a few people who will be good clients. I think it also diminishes people's confidence in your abilities. Think of it like this:

      If this person is such a great writer that they make a living from writing, then why do they need to put ads on their site?

      It's just my opinion but I never put ads for anything other than my own services on my site.
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  • Profile picture of the author WebsiteManagers
    Having a blog on your domain name, in your hosting account, will allow you to have a landing page where you can highlight the benefits of what you offer. Once someone subscribes, they will be taken to the inside.

    Your About Me page will highlight your strengths, challenges, how you overcame them and how those successes benefit potential clients. Having a good website design means you care about how you present yourself to others.
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  • Profile picture of the author alexandersmith
    Wow, first of all thanks for all the replies, I'm totally overwhelmed by all the help and advice i'm receiving!

    From what I've researched and learned from this thread, I think the most suitable option is to create a wordpress site. Something along the lines of a "showing you how to leave your full time job" , "make a decent income online" but obviously taylor it so that it does not look like a lot of the spammy adsense sites out there.

    I will basically document my travels from leaving school to building up a business online etc. Alongside this, I will create an order section where I showcase my best samples and show prices etc so that clients can make an order.

    The website will probably be a static WP theme but the blog page I expect to bring in a lot of traffic.

    Am I thinking along the correct kind of lines here?

    Again, thanks so much for all your help.

    Alex
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    • Profile picture of the author Shadowflux
      Originally Posted by alexandersmith View Post


      From what I've researched and learned from this thread, I think the most suitable option is to create a wordpress site. Something along the lines of a "showing you how to leave your full time job" , "make a decent income online" but obviously taylor it so that it does not look like a lot of the spammy adsense sites out there.

      I will basically document my travels from leaving school to building up a business online etc. Alongside this, I will create an order section where I showcase my best samples and show prices etc so that clients can make an order.

      Am I thinking along the correct kind of lines here?
      I don't think you need to do the "Quit your job" routine. This site is advertising your writing services, not a money making system, so you need to think about your target customers. The majority of writing work in the IM field comes from other IMers. These are people who either have or are starting a site,are creating a product like a book, or are looking for sales copy and emails.

      Sell them what they're looking for: A high quality, reliable, professional writer.

      My site was solely dedicated to my writing services. I advertized it as a writing service because those were the customers I was targeting. There's no need to try any "tricks" because you want to attract people who are looking for a writer.

      You can try advertising it along the lines of "Quit your job" but I don't think that will be really relevant traffic unless you're teaching them how to start a Kindle business, for example. Remember that for this purpose, traffic numbers don't mean as much as client numbers. Low numbers of interested visitors are better than large numbers of window shoppers.

      I also don't think you need to include information about your personal history unless you want to. Related work history is, of course, relevant but your trials and tribulations don't have much to do with your writing service. In the end, it's up to you. I didn't include anything I didn't feel to be relevant.
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      • Profile picture of the author alexandersmith
        Originally Posted by Shadowflux View Post

        I don't think you need to do the "Quit your job" routine. This site is advertising your writing services, not a money making system, so you need to think about your target customers. The majority of writing work in the IM field comes from other IMers. These are people who either have or are starting a site,are creating a product like a book, or are looking for sales copy and emails.

        Sell them what they're looking for: A high quality, reliable, professional writer.

        My site was solely dedicated to my writing services. I advertized it as a writing service because those were the customers I was targeting. There's no need to try any "tricks" because you want to attract people who are looking for a writer.

        You can try advertising it along the lines of "Quit your job" but I don't think that will be really relevant traffic unless you're teaching them how to start a Kindle business, for example. Remember that for this purpose, traffic numbers don't mean as much as client numbers. Low numbers of interested visitors are better than large numbers of window shoppers.

        I also don't think you need to include information about your personal history unless you want to. Related work history is, of course, relevant but your trials and tribulations don't have much to do with your writing service. In the end, it's up to you. I didn't include anything I didn't feel to be relevant.
        Thanks for your help bro. I was thinking that in order to gain traffic through the search engines I would put up content about writing, and the transition from working to becoming a professional copywriter.

        If i'm not putting up this sort of copy, where would the majority of traffic come from, literally from forum signatures, guest blog posts etc?

        Thanks again for your help

        Alex
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  • Profile picture of the author zinsavage123
    Yeah as some mentioned, you cant go wrong with getting hosting/domain and having your own site/blog.
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  • Profile picture of the author oWriter
    Banned
    I totally agree. Buy a domain, have it hosted, create a Blog page on your site, and you can add a payment page for orders. And yeah, the sig works!
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  • Profile picture of the author jaevans12
    Hi Alex,

    It's a great idea to go a head and set up a site. I originaly used Yola (google it) to build a site which is great, cheap although only useful for basic sites. I then started using Dreamweaver, its a bit strange at first but once you get use to is it can be a steep learning curve. Mix that with a bit of photoshop (for graphics) and you'l be a wiz.

    One thing I wasn't able to develop was a blog page. For this I used blogger (google it). A blog is great for generating traffic, with some great content you can really use it as you CPD (central point of distribution) in you social marketing. Gain lots of facebook, twitter followers and your'll really be amazed at the amount of traffic it generates. Google loves it too!

    Here is my site which is still in the early stages but hopefuly will develop :
    Main site : Hi Alex,

    It's a great idea to go a head and set up a site. I orginaly used Yola (google it) to build a site which is great, cheap although only useful for basic sites. I then started using Dreamweaver, its a bit strange at first but once you get use to is it can be a steep learning curve. Mix that with a bit of photoshop (for graphics) and you'l be a wiz.

    One thing I wasn't able to develop was a blog page. For this I used blogger (google it). A blog is great for generating traffic, with some great content you can really use it as you CPD (central point of distribution) in you social marketing. Gain lots of facebook, twitter followers and your'll really be amazed at the amount of traffic it generates. Google loves it too!

    Here is my site which is still in the early stages but hopefuly will develop :
    Main site : City Centre Retreat Apartments
    Blog page : City Centre Retreats
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  • Profile picture of the author 07
    If you are a writer then you'd better go to some sites that lready have a big database of clients and they pay for writing skills.
    There are quite a few. The one I buy from by myself is hirewriters.
    Also a fiverr you can create gigs and take orders.
    Associated content pays directly for some articles.
    You ca try freelancer also.
    Lots of places, you dont hve to simply promote your site all alone you can just sell your services online not by yoursef or your site.
    Its much easier and quite more effective.
    Hope this helps.
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  • Profile picture of the author eklipz316
    A blog is never a bad idea and is certainly something you should try if you enjoy writing. It doesn't have to be one thing or the other when deciding to continue writing for others, or for yourself, you can just keep doing both. In fact, a lot of professional journalists nowadays freelance for multiple sources and write for their personal site when they see fit.

    I'd recommend twitter for promoting your content. You can use hashtags to get more eyes on your tweets, it's relatively easy to get followers, and it allows your fans to easily share your content with the people that are following them. You should of course also look at other things like SEO and other social networks, but using Twitter is a good place to start.
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  • Profile picture of the author alexandersmith
    Hi everyone, thanks so much for all the help and advice, I've ready through each post and have noted everything you've all said

    I've decided to go with a Wordpress site, and am going to be looking at some domains later today.

    I have a couple last questions,

    What kind of domain should I look for. Something like myname.com ? Or contentwriting.com kind of thing.

    Also does anyone have any ideas on good wordpress themes to use for this kind of site? I don't mind using a paid theme, I just want something that looks professional and is good at what it needs to do!

    Many thanks again everyone,

    Alex Smith
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    • Profile picture of the author Shadowflux
      I decided to go with creating a brand name, mostly because I like branding. Even if you used your own name, however, you would still be creating a brand.

      Finding the right theme has, for me, always been deceptively complicated. It's like I have a list of 5 things I want my theme to do and there are tons that only fulfill 3 out of the 5.

      I would say it should be modern and up to date with current design trends. It should also be responsive (meaning it works on mobile devices and all browser types). I also prefer one which is customizable since I like everything to be exactly the way I want it.

      I usually get my themes from ThemeForest (I'm not affiliated with them in any way.)
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