Freelance In 40 Days [Day 29]: Setting Up Your Own Blog

Posted: November 17th, 2009

Photo by Laughing Squid (Flickr)

Photo by Laughing Squid (Flickr)

This is Day 29 of the Freelance in 40 Days series where you’ll learn to freelance just by taking it one day and one task at a time. Today you’ll see how to set up your own blog.

In Day 19, I explained several advantages of blogging as a freelancer. If you create your own website for your freelance business blogging, in addition, can offer additional advantages that can be beneficial for your business too:

  • Awareness: By blogging, you establish yourself as an expert in whatever subject you are writing about. That exposure leads to your brand awareness and could lead to new business.
  • Promotion: Blogs are one of the best ways to promote your business website in the search engines. Search engines love blogs because they are updated frequently. Put a link visibly to your business website from your blog and you can easily generate traffic to it.
  • Networking: You’ll notice on any of your favorite blogs that they link to and promote other similar blogs. This is a great way to meet other freelance bloggers while also generating traffic to your blog from theirs.

There are some caveats to these advantages however.

  • You need to blog  frequently.  By frequently, I don’t mean every day, but develop the habit to blog at least once or twice a week. Try for three times a week if time permits.
  • You need to be willing to grow in your blogging skills. For some freelancers, take writers for example, blogging comes naturally. For the majority who are not use to writing, this will be difficult at the start. The only way to improve is to keep writing. Writing will improve with time.
  • You need to be patient. The benefits of blogging will not happen right away. In fact, this will take months or even a year or more. I’ll go over methods to promote your blog in a future tutorial so stay tuned.

To start blogging, there are two ways to set this up.

Hosted Blog Platforms

Hosted blog platforms offer the advantage of being easy to set up yourself while not having to deal with the techy issues of installing it on your own server. While you can customize the look of your blog to your liking, there are limits to what can be done.

So for those who do not need all the bells and whistles and are content with a simple, easy to manage blog, then this is your best option. The best part, too, is that it is free to set up your own blog account and start writing away.

The best and most widely used free platforms are WordPress.

Hosting Your Own Blog

Installing a blog on your own web server is the preferred way to go if you want complete control in design and maintenance. WordPress is, by far, the most widely-used software and is raved for it’s slick editor and ability to customize in virtually any way possible. Plus it’s free to download and use.

It takes a little technical savvy to install and configure WordPress but the following resources will get you started:

Afterwards, you can customize the design of your blog by finding and installing a theme that suits you. There are plenty of free themes available to choose from and, don’t worry, this is easier than it sounds.

In addition, you can kill two birds with one stone by combining your portfolio website (from Day 28) with your blog in WordPress. Smashing Magazine offers a killer tutorial on how to do this.

Blogging Resources

To help you become a better blogger, check out these websites which offer useful tips on attracting an audience, making money from blogging and even a tip here or there on how to improve your WordPress installation:

Your Homework For Today

Start your own blog by setting up an account with WordPress or install WordPress on your server using the resources above. Remember to keep writing too. Blogging gets easy over time.

More on the author, Johnny Spence
Johnny is the founder of The Freelance Rant and a freelance web programmer with 8 years in the business. Have a visit at his company Oscarrr!web or see what he's up to on Twitter.

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