Archives for posts with tag: blogging

Maintaining A Blog Will Help Your Freelancing

So you say you’re ready to jump into the world of freelance gigging? Ok, great! Now, where to begin?! As a starting point, you of course will need to create some gigs, but what else can you do to help your business when you are just beginning?

A good place to start might be maintaining a blog.

It’s common to wonder how early in your freelancing to begin blogging and while many believe in waiting until you have a steady book of business, it may benefit to start blogging sooner rather than later. Why? The reasons are many, but for one, it is a very low cost way to add value to your business that will help in many ways. Having a blog that provides helpful information to your potential clients may help in getting your name out there, while at the same time brining clarity and focus to your own goals.

Let’s take a look at how to go about this and list four ways that your blog could help your business, then some tips on how to get started.

Four Ways Blogging Can Help Your Freelancing

1. Having a Presence Online. By maintaining a blog, you are able to immediately augment your online presence. Having your own URL that highlights your business name is a great method of promotion. Many folks will have already taken this step if they’re in the business of web design, web development, or SEO services. It is true though that other types of freelancers will also benefit from having a blog. You want to have a way for clients to learn about you and your blog will accomplish just that.

2. Means to Network. Networking is so important when you are trying to build your business, your blog will help with this. One of the hopes is that if you can create some insightful and helpful posts, you will be able to engage in meaningful communication with your clients and peers via comments. You could use the built in commenting system of your blog or even facebook comments for more social traction. Visiting the blogs and websites of your commenters will also help to create reciprocal friendships and word of mouth referrals.

3. Provide a ‘Menu’ of your Services. Having a blog will make it easy to list all of the services you offer. You can also link to any gigs you offer and your clients will be able to buy right from your blog.

4. Write about your Expert Skills. By proving expert information to your readers and clients in your field of expertise, you will be positioning yourself as an expert that is capable of delivering the goods sort to speak. Mixing this info with a fun and engaging style will make your clients smile and be ready to business with you.

Ok I’m pumped, But where do I begin?

Well a quick search will give you a ton of guides on how to start blogging, but in the most basic sense all you need is what’s listed here:

1. Register Your Domain. You’re going to want your very own custom domain name that will highlight your brand or business name. These days you can register domains on the cheap, so it is a cost effective way to help your brand. Plus once you have your own URL, you can make huge stickers to place on the rear window of your car so that everyone will see your site name when you are cruising down the highway 🙂

2. Get Set Up with Hosting. You can do this many ways. If you enjoy all of the sys admin type chores that come with running your own server, you can get something like a VPS(virtual private server), that will allow you to hone your server skills and tweak your technology stack for the highest performance. For most, this is going to be overkill and not very cost efficient. Setting up shop at Tumblr, Blogger, or WordPress, while pointing your custom domain to your blog is probably the better and easier solution.

3. Get an Awesome Theme. If you’re awesome at design it will probably be easy for you to create an engaging theme that puts a good face on your blog. If you’re not as much of an expert, you can find thousands of great themes for very low cost.

4. Promote With Social Media. Twitter, Facebook, Google+, the list goes on. There are hundreds of quality social media destinations available to you for free online. Focus on the top two or three and create a solid profile. Then network, network, network, and share your blog with your readers.

Blogging is a great way to help in getting a freelance job while also helping you to focus your skills and offerings. Happy Freelancing!

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Search Engine Optimization is Still Important

In the age of social media and word of mouth advertising, many have neglected one of the early methods of traffic generation and that would be good old fashioned search engine optimization, or SEO. You may already be a guru when it comes to SEO, or you may be looking for some helpful tips in getting your SEO plan started. In either case, you should find some new nuggets of information that may be helpful to you here. SEO and the internet in and of itself continue to evolve, and while there certainly is no one magic bullet that will solve all SEO related issues, there are definitely steps you can take to help your site in the search engine results pages, or SERPS.

Before Anything Else, Write Awesome Content

We all want results, and we want them fast! Hold on just a minute though. In many competitive sports, there is often a saying that goes, ‘In order to go fast, you need to slow down.’ Sounds backwards don’t you think? It is backwards when you write it on paper, but if we take a closer look at how this thought process applies to SEO, we’ll see how this actually holds true. Before we can optimize for anything, you really want to focus on creating timeless content in your chosen niche, that readers will enjoy and get value from over the longest period of time possible. Simply writing about the ‘trend of the week’ in you niche is likely to get you nowhere.

SEO is a structured process. You need to complete step 1 before moving to step 2 and so on. You can almost think of it like you do about a journey though your favorite adventure style video game (In my case, The Legend of Zelda). You need to gain the correct tools along your journey before you can complete the objectives. You need the right weapons to beat the big bosses, and in SEO, you also must take the right steps to get your blog noticed in the search engines.

On Page Optimization Comes Next

Once you have that excellent article about a core topic in your niche, you can begin the process of ‘on page’ optimization. When we’re talking about SEO, we’re referring to the ability of your particular blog post or blog itself, to show up in the SERPS at Google or Bing for a particular keyword phrase. If you follow a structured approach to SEO, you will be surprised at how effective these techniques can be. The given phrase you are trying to target will now fit in technically to the actual webpage with regard to the actual HTML elements as well as the article itself. The search engines look for hundreds of signals to decide how to rank your page, and none of us know exactly what all the signals are, but one thing is for sure; Consistency in your keyword phrase via on page optimization will provide measurable results when used in combination with the Next step of off page optimization.

As an example, let’s say you are targeting ‘my awesome phrase’. When users type this into Google or Bing, you want to show up in the results.

Let’s take a look at how this consistency works. The more consistent you can be in your phrase, the better.

1. Use Pretty URLs
Pretty URL’s will allow you the ability to include your keyword phrase and are more search engine friendly.

2. Include your phase in the meta keywords of the html markup

<meta name=”keywords” content=”my awesome phrase” >

3. Include your phrase in the title tag of the html markup

<title>exampleblog.com – my awesome phrase</title>

4. Include your phrase in the meta description of the html markup

<meta name=”description” content=”this is some really great descriptive text that tells me exactly what this page is about in addition to mentioning my awesome phrase” >

5. Lastly, by default you will have already included ‘my awesome phrase’ in the body of the html markup of the page

Your article should include a few occurrences of ‘my awesome phrase’ in it. This naturally will be included in the body of the page, based on how most popular content management systems work.

A lot of this may sound like common sense, but it is important to place a lot of emphasis on this first step. I have done many off page optimization gigs for customers where I build targeted links for them and when I look at their page, I’m horrified. They may ask to rank for something like “Redneck Rebel Flags” and their phrase can’t be found *anywhere* in the content of the main page or in any of the specific html elements you should target when completing your on page seo. They merely have a static jpeg image of a rebel flag inserted into a non validated webpage. This would be an example of an on page SEO failure, and the off page optimization that comes next is going to be orders of magnitude less effective. To build a house, you first need a foundation.

Off Page Optimization

Off page optimization is the process of building quality links from other websites that point to your blog. Unfortunately I see many people rush straight to this step and ignore the more important aspects of SEO that we discussed above. It’s true that it takes patience and effort to get the first steps right, but the results you will reap from putting in the effort are more than worth it. There are many ways to get links such as social bookmarking, other blogs, article and general directories, forum comments, blog comments, link wheels, and many more.

By following these structured steps for your SEO, you’ll be ranking for your desired keywords in no time!