As with most things in life, your success as a freelance blogger will generally depend on your perseverance, inventiveness, and having an overall positive outlook. However, those first few months of freelance blogging can really make or break your reputation when it comes to attracting engaged/valuable audiences.
Be mindful of what you’ll need in a blogging platform.
If you’re a conscientious person who does your research before attempting any freelance endeavor, then this one won’t seem as daunting to you as it would for those who are hastier. By the way, there’s no room for impatience in freelance blogging. If you approach this with a “let’s just get this set up and running so I can make money” attitude, then it’ll show in your blog’s appearance/content; readers (and search engines) will shy away.
It’s my opinion that WordPress is the most comprehensive blogging platform available. It might be tempting to sign up for the free version of that, or indeed any platform, but that’s not a wise idea. The advertisements, the limited layout options – you get what you’re (not) paying for. There’s no faster way to signify a lack of professionalism.
Chances are you’re going to find resources that urge you to choose one platform over another – one I’ve seen, in particular, is Bluehost. That all looks well and good, though, in the interest of honesty, I don’t think it’s necessary. Why go through a third-party host to set up WordPress when you can just directly go through WordPress?
Once that’s sorted out, it’s time to choose a blog name and address. I’ve always championed the .com, though now .blog is an alternative for some. The simpler the address, the easier it’ll be for people to remember, so keep it to something like your first and last name, or a three-word phrase.
Finally, there’s the issue of selecting the actual hosting plan, which is, of course, dependent upon your budget and the features you want. Though more expensive, I would recommend a plan with unlimited storage, if possible, should you be more of a media freelancer.
Do your due diligence with design.
Are you a graphic artist to begin with? Then you’re probably all set with how you want your blog to look – the more you’ve paid in your pricing plan, the easier it’ll be to customize things. However, if you (understandably) need to keep things thrifty, then think of the designing process as a challenge to be met with an extra dose of creativity! Keep colors balanced, and fonts legible.
If you have absolutely no design experience, no need to worry, thanks to pre-designed templates. Take your time clicking through and changing things with precision, frequently previewing your results. If you need more direction, check out Wholefully’s blog post, “6 Blog Design Tips for Non-Designers.”
And finally, remember the content clarity.
It’s necessary to post very regularly when you’re first starting out – three times a week for the first 6 months to a year is a good goal. Again, I’ve only ever used WordPress, so using that as my reference, I must say that its post scheduler has been the most helpful resource.
Don’t sacrifice quality for quantity, though, because if you post a bunch of “fluff” pieces, that’s another way to have any semblance of professionalism go right out the window. Write with a good blend of authoritativeness and relatability. Be mindful of reader attention levels (lots of people just like to scan information) by keeping paragraphs short, and even perhaps incorporating formats such as listicles.
With a polished, prepared presentation, your audience can’t help but take you seriously, and you’ll be well on your way to blogging glory!
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