September 19, 2015
The Importance of Blogging as a Freelancer
Blogging is gold. There is really no better indirect approach for driving people to visit your website and try your goods or services. Voicing opinions, writing reviews, teaching, and more are all great ways to prove to your audience that you mean business. Blogging also proves you are human and in the end, you are working for what you’re passionate about. Anyone looking to freelance full-time or part-time should be blogging. There’s no excuse not to with so many outlets available. If you aren’t currently blogging you are losing opportunities, you didn’t even know existed.
Blogging starts with self-discovery
You can blog about virtually anything you want. There are millions of blogs online that exist because someone or some community is passionate about a certain topic or idea. If someone else has a blog about the same topics as you, find a way to make yours unique or offer a different format to give users a different perspective. It’s okay to have a competition.
Beginning your own blog may seem like a challenge, but you just have to ask yourself what it is you are passionate about. I guarantee you if you aren’t passionate about whatever it is you decide to blog about, you will fail.
Blogging starts with self-discovery. Find what you like and start writing. Within one topic, there are tons of sub-topics otherwise known as categories. Use these to your advantage to target specific audiences or even more than one audience.
To give you my own perspective let me talk about this blog. Web-Crunch is a blog about all things design and development. Today we only about five main categories but within those categories are a huge amount of potential blog posts that are just begging for attention. I write about these topics because it interests me the most. The fact that it interests me keeps me coming back week after week with new blog posts for the community to read and absorb. Over the lifetime of the site, I have managed to gain a lot of followers really quickly. I have found that consistency is key as well as providing content highly relatable to my audience. We may branch out into more categories in the future but I like the idea of keeping topics niched out so a user doesn’t have to study the site to know where to look for the content they prefer.
Don’t be a robot
I started writing with literally zero knowledge of how to be conveying. I am still learning the proper techniques, but one thing I know about blogs is that if you aren’t personal in your messaging you're going to lose attention fast. I have written for a few other blogs in my past and the best advice I got was to write as though you were having a conversation with the user. Trying to be laid back but still trying to make sense of your words is what wins.
Blog posts can be more freely written in my opinion. It doesn’t impress me to see bloggers use big words that most readers don’t understand as they skim through your articles. I’ve seen these words linked to Wikipedia and wonder why include it in the first place? I don’t see the point in making it harder to get your message across, but maybe I’m wrong.
Writing an easy to read blog post means segmenting your content. Think about how you read a blog post. Do you read it like a book or do you skim through it quickly? I would bet most people skim quickly, unless it’s a tutorial or something they are trying to follow step-by-step.
- Divide your content into easy to manage sections with sub-headlines to offer the user a general idea of what content is being authored below it.
- If you have listed, display them as lists and not inline text.
- Images should relate to the content and not be so big that it distracts the user from what it is they are reading.
- Try to keep any ads you have on your blog away from the content itself.
- Keep it short and sweet. Most of my posts don’t exceed 2000 words for a reason.
- Don’t bombard your user with useless crap. Read more on this in another recent article I wrote.
Give in order to receive
Sharing your knowledge is why you should have a blog in the first place. You can offer tips, ideas, education, opinions, and more on a particular topic. Sharing your knowledge conveys you, the writer, to be an expert. People acknowledge this the more you author content. Doing so in a consistent manner drives more people to read what you have to say.
Blogs start off being a free resource. Very rarely do blogs hit the ground running with thousands of users under the hood. It takes time, persistence, and good content to keep your user base coming back for more. Making money is a big bonus but if you start a blog thinking it’s going to be the breadwinner of your freelance ventures you are wrong(though there are some exceptions).
Blogs are usually created as a means to promote another endeavor. Once in awhile a blog gains a large following and becomes a product in itself. This is the best-case scenario.
Web-Crunch started as a result of my freelance design and development business called Justalever Creative. I had started a personal blog on my own website but found it to be challenging to get people to want to visit. One day I got the idea to create my own design and development blog based on the many I visit and read daily. I too wanted to contribute my knowledge to the community and if I made some money on it then so be it. Web-Crunch keeps me inspired to create and learn more in order to share any knowledge I gain. On top of that, I have improved as a writer dramatically. Over time, it becomes easier and easier to write a blog post as my ideas translate to my fingers with much more ease than before.
Spread the knowledge
Check out my post from 2013 on Web Designer Depot's blog about creating a custom Tumblr theme. More tutorials like this are to come here at Web-Crunch.
Sometimes writing on your own blog isn’t enough. Writing for other blogs can create a funnel that gets users to your blog and eventually to your products or services.
I wrote a few blog posts for Web Designer Depot back in the day and one was how to create a custom Tumblr theme. To this day, I’m still getting potential clients asking if I can help them develop their own custom Tumblr themes. This post was written in 2013. It goes without saying that this was a good step for my freelance business. Some potential clients I had to turn away but some were great clients to have.
Writing for another blog gets your name and content out into the world faster. Shoot to write for a well-known blog if you can. Having content already published elsewhere helps get your foot in the door faster but if that’s not the case then I would suggest writing on your own personal blog to show what you are capable of.
To get on at Web Designer Depot I simply inquired, shared a few pieces I have written elsewhere, and the rest was history. Don’t be afraid to cold-call. Sometimes it’s just the route you have to take.
You should be blogging. There’s no downfall to it other than the small amount of time it takes out of your already busy schedule. I try to once or twice a week and I barely have time for that, but I know if I’m not consistent with content I will lose everything I worked so hard for this for. In time, a blog can grow to be its own product. If that’s not the case then a blog can drive more business to you passively. No longer will you need to search for work as a freelancer as your blog will do all the work for you!
Have your own blog? Share it in the comments!