Should freelancers blog?
In my opinion, this shouldn’t even be a question. There are so many business benefits to blogging that it only makes sense for most web designers and other freelancers to take part. The benefits of blogging far outweigh the disadvantages.
Yet, it seems like every so often someone influential makes the statement that they think blogging is dead. They claim blogging is no longer a good idea for small business. It’s a waste of time, they say. Social media is all the exposure you need, they go on to say.
Never mind that such well-known blogging experts like Demian Farnworth explain clearly that social media will never replace blogging, as he does in this post on Copyblogger, 8 Reasons You Should Never Quit Your Blog for Google+. There are still those who will proclaim blogging to be a waste of time for freelancers.
In this post, I’ll explore why blogging has fallen out of favor with some freelancing. I’ll also list over 24 ways that your design business can still benefit from blogging.
Why (Some) Freelancers Hate Blogging
For those freelancers who are griping about blogging, I have one thing to say–stop trying to be Pete Cashmore. You’re not (at least probably not) going to found the next Mashable. You don’t have to post every single day. Your posts don’t even have to be words–images and videos will work as well.
And that’s perfectly okay. You can still derive a lot of business benefits from blogging.
Comparing your blog to non-freelance blogs is one of the main reasons I think that many freelancers are tempted to give up blogging. (The other reason being that blogging takes time and work.) But such comparisons are unfair. Most big blogs and news sites were never created to help promote a business. Plus, they almost always have investors on board and a professional staff.
Just because you can’t be Mashable (or any big name blog) doesn’t mean that you can’t benefit from having a freelance blog for your design business.
24+ Ways Your Freelance Design Business Can Benefit from Your Blog
Here are over 24 ways that your freelancing business can benefit from your freelancing blog:
- Relatively Low Cost. Yes, blogging costs a little money and takes a little time. However, it’s still a relatively low cost way to promote your design business–especially when you compare it to paying for advertisements.
- Controlled by you. It’s true that social media is a free way to promote your business. But don’t rely too heavily on social media. You don’t own the social media sites. Plus, social media sites fail. Does anyone remember Yahoo! Buzz or MyBlogLog?
- Builds authority. You can use your freelance blog to show off your knowledge in your area. To do this, create and share hiqh-quality content that is relevant to your specialty.
- Grows relationships. The best, most authoritative, blogs tend to have communities that grow up around them. These communities consist of regular commentators who interact frequently with the blog’s authors and readers.
- Provides fresh content for search engines. It’s well-known that the search engines tend to favor sites that frequently publish new content. What better way to add new content that with a well-written blog post?
- Source of work samples for writers and web designers. Your blog can serve as a sample of your work. What better way to show them what you can do than with your own blog?
- Shows off your skills. Your skills aren’t always evident in your portfolio, which only shows the end result. In your blog, you can connect the dots and tell prospects how you worked behind the scene to make that project a success.
- A place for your unique voice. No one approaches the design business quite like you. No matter who you are, you have a unique slant on the industry. With your blog, that uniqueness gets a voice.
- Gives you an online home. Your freelance business blog is a place where clients, prospects, and colleagues know that they can find you online.
- Something of your own to share on social media. If you don’t blog, you will have to share other people’s content on social media. Now, there’s nothing wrong with doing that. You should do that. But it’s also a good idea to have something of your own to share.
- More interesting than a static site. If you’ve seen one freelancer website, you’ve seen them all. At least that’s how many of your prospects feel. Add thought-provoking blog posts, and you give your prospects a reason to come back to your site.
- Generates leads. Many studies show that business websites with blogs get more traffic. Here’s one of those studies. This one is from Lily Zhu writing on HubSpot, Active Business Blogging Draws in 6.9 Times More Organic Search Traffic.
- Competitive advantage. If you don’t have a freelancing design blog, I believe that you are at a competitive disadvantage. Your prospects learn more about you through your blog. If you don’t have a blog and your competitor does, guess who they’ll be learning more about?
- Sometimes a source of additional income. Some design blogs do become popular and do provide their owners with an additional income. It doesn’t always happen, but it’s nice when it does.
- Branding tool. A blog is a great way to convey your vision for your design business. Ultimately, your blog becomes part of your brand.
- Announce new products and services. Are you expanding your business? Did you learn a new skill? Maybe you have a new side gig. Use your blog to help promote these announcements.
- Shows you are comfortable with new media. Many clients are looking for someone who is knowledgeable about social media and blogging. Having a blog shows that you understand just how important new media is and also that you know how it works.
- Share more than just words. Use your blog to showcase your design work, record a video about web design, or even share some of your favorite photographs.
- Inspire people to action. Blogs can be a great source of inspiration. If a prospect is sitting on the fence, uncertain about whether to hire you, a blog can be the difference that gets you the business.
- Give clients an extra way to connect. The best business blogs also showcase client success. Interview a satisfied client and share how your services helped them.
- Improves your communication skills. Communication is an important skill for freelancers. We communicate through proposals, email, phone calls, and in many other ways. Blogging is a great way to hone your communication skills.
- Can provide the core for a book. Many bloggers have turned the topic of their blog into a book. Some freelancers have gotten book deals through a traditional publisher, others have published an eBook. Authoring a book only enhances your reputation.
- Prequalifies client inquiries. Prospects who contact you because they’ve read your blog tend to be more interested in your services than other clients. Often they already know what type of work you do and what your vision is.
- Opportunity to help others. By posting to your business blog, you are giving back to the web design community. If you’re doing it right, you are sharing valuable information that will be useful to your prospects, clients, and colleagues.
- Your post won’t be rejected. Guest posting is a popular way for some to promote their products and services. If you’ve ever tried it, though, you know that there’s no guarantee when or if your post will be published. With your own blog, you publish what you want when you want.
With all of these advantages, it makes me wonder why every freelancer isn’t taking advantage of blogging.
My own blog is small. It’s definitely not the next Mashable, nor was it meant to be. However, if I had never started it, I doubt I would be sharing this post with you today.
Sure, I had writing experience. I had years of experience writing technical manuals and creating help systems for software. But it’s my blog that opened the door to writing online content.
Blogging made a difference for my freelancing business and it can make a difference for yours.