How to Create a Website like Elance

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Elance is a widely popular freelancing marketplace where clients pay freelancers to complete different projects. If you want to succeed in the freelancing industry, then your content needs lots of high quality professionals to handle a wide variety of tasks. There are lots of Elance competitors out there, so it’s a great industry to turn a profit. In this article, you will learn how to create a website like Elance and turn it into a successful freelancing marketplace.

1. Domains & Hosting

You will need to acquire a short yet brandable domain name for your new website. Brainstorm a bunch of domains then create a list of 5 potential domain names. If you need domain ideas, use Namestation to generate some domain ideas.

I recommend following these general domain guidelines:

  • Short (10 characters or less)
  • Easy to Remember
  • Easy to Spell
  • Brandable
  • Avoids any trademarks
  • .COM extension (or a country level domain if you want to target a certain country)

Once you have found a good domain, head over to Hostgator and see if it’s available. You’ll get a free domain name and unlimited hosting space for just $3.96 per month. My suggestion is to find a domain 10 characters or less. You want lots of repeat traffic so don’t make it too difficult to spell or remember.

2. Choose a Website Script

Freelancing marketplace scripts are very popular with entrepreneurs so you have lots of options available. You can choose between a WordPress theme or custom build PHP script. Both scripts have their pros and cons. WordPress is easier to setup and manage, while a custom PHP solution gives you 100% control of the features & feel of your website.

Elance WordPress Themes

Custom PHP Scripts

If you are on a budget, then WordPress will work best. However, you may want a custom solution if you have a much larger budget.

Get a custom logo

Every project bidding website needs a custom logo to establish their brand. If you are on a limited budget, get a cheap logo from Fiverr for $5. If you have a bigger budget, I recommend 99designs.

3. Add Freelancers & Jobs

The success of your website depends on having lots of freelancers & jobs. First, you will need a lot of freelancers to join your website. It’s easy to find these people. Here’s a list of forums to find freelancers to join your website:

Create an account at these websites and contact these people. All you need is a simple introduction, a list of your website’s benefits, and a link for them to sign up. Set a goal to sign up at least 100 freelancers before you get started. If you build a good database of workers, then you will attract clients much easier.

In the beginning, most clients won’t know about your website. I recommend using cheap banner ads with Google Adwords to attract users to your website. Buy a cheap banner from Fiverr and setup an Adwords campaign.

4. Increase Website Activity

Project bidding websites rely on user generated content to boost revenue and increase website activity. Once your clients receive good value for their money, they will start creating projects on their own time. It’s your job to make sure freelancers place lots of bids and encourage activity.

Elance uses a few techniques to increase the activity on their website:

  • Rank: Award high performing users with trophies and awards that show their loyality and dedication
  • Premium Bidder: Allow freelancers to pay a small fee to highlight their listings on project pages
  • User Profiles: Give users lots of fields to fill out on their profiles.

5. Make Money

Elance’s business model is very simple. They generate revenue by:

  • Deduction from 6.75% to 8.75% of the payment to cover its Service Fee and Payment Processing costs .
  • One-time 10 USD of membership fee for bidders to activate their account and have access to the Elance market.

The more transactions that take place on your website, the more money you make. Provide a safe, valuable platform and your revenues will increase month over month.


That’s it! You know enough to create a successful project bidding website like Elance. Here’s a recap of everthing:

  1. Buy a domain & Hosting with Hostgator
  2. Choose a WordPress or Custom PHP Script
  3. Get a custom logo
  4. Attract Freelancers and Clients to Your Site
  5. Increase Website Activity
  6. Make money with Transaction Fees

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