By: Kristi Hines
Up until a year ago, I had never considered doing work as a freelancer. When I started my own blog, I gained a wealth of experience and connections that led to my ability to offer freelance services in a variety of areas including article writing, web design, internet marketing, and social media. I believe blogging is why I am able to be a freelancer today.
Blogging Develops Marketable Skills
Before I started blogging, my web design skills were very limited. I could put together some basic HTML and PHP-based sites, but nothing spectacular. When I started my first blog, I decided to build it on the WordPress platform. After a year and a half, I gained a lot of experience with WordPress theme customizations and PHP coding. I also learned about social media marketing and search engine optimization while promoting my articles.
This combined skill set led to my first two clients, two small business owners who were looking to have their websites redesigned. I was able to provide both with well designed sites using customized WordPress themes, as well as a strong social media presence on Twitter and Facebook. I also boosted one client's website from the fourteenth page in search results to the first page for their main keyword phrase using techniques that I had applied to boosting my own site and articles in Google.
Blogging Jump Starts a Portfolio
Blogging can be a great portfolio builder for both freelance writers and web designers. For freelance writers, you can start by running your own blog on a multiple topics, or several blogs focused on particular topics. To gain more credibility, you can branch out and seek out blogs that are looking for guest writers. Then, you can have a portfolio that showcases your writing on your own site as well as others.
For web designers, once you have experience using WordPress, Joomla, Drupal, or other blogging/content management systems, you will begin to see how easy it is to create simple websites. With the cost of domains at $15USD or less, and hosting as low as $5USD per month, you can simply create a few websites using these systems, and then display your sites in an online portfolio, something which can also easily built in WordPress. It's a great way to get your portfolio started so you can have something to present to your first potential clients.
Blogging Demonstrates Your Expertise
Even if you are not looking to be a freelance writer or web designer, blogging gives you the platform to prove your skills and knowledge for any profession. A photographer could run a blog that includes a random daily snapshot, demonstrating his photography skills. A marketing expert could write about the latest small business marketing strategies, demonstrating her in-depth knowledge of marketing. The possibilities are endless.
Blogging Builds Valuable Connections
Whenever you begin to build a community around your blog, through blog commenting and social media, you will gain many valuable networking connections. Through the community I have built around my blog and on social networks, I have received several recommendations by blog readers to companies that have resulted in gaining web design clients.
Have you seen the benefits of blogging in promoting your freelance services or advancing your freelance career? Please share your experiences and other suggestions when it comes to blogging.