Drive Traffic to Your Freelance Tech Business by Starting a Blog

career Nov 21, 2019

If you're looking to start a freelance business in tech, or any business really, then you'll need to find a way to have the clients knocking down your doors. To make this a very short story you mostly do this by putting yourself out there, being helpful, and talking to people.

More specifically, you can start a blog to demonstrate your awesome knowledge (get the word out there) with awesome content (helping people!). 

I've been a software engineer for nearly 10 years (how time flies!) and about 6 months ago I started to seriously consider the idea that I wanted to venture off on my own. Be my own boss, be mistress of my own destiny, all that kind of thing. My biggest worry was well how do I find my own clients?

One of the first pieces of advice I got was to start a blog, and it's worked out fairly well for me, so here we are! 

I'm not affiliated with any of these products or services. These are simply my opinions.

Buy a Domain Name

Well, first of all, think of a name for your blog. Then find a domain name that mostly matches it. I purchased all my domain names through Bluehost. Once you own them they're yours and you can use them anywhere.

What should I use to host my blog?

Seriously, this one had my head spinning. I had this big idea that I was going to spend months developing a website and it was going to be all customized and everything would be awesome.

Then I realized that would be stupid because I have spent the vast majority of my time on a computer in front of a terminal. I know practically nothing about design, except for the fact that I like sparkly things! Most importantly, it wouldn't actually help my end goal, which is to build cool stuff, mostly with a terminal. If you're starting a blog just as a hobby, and you want to build it from scratch, go for it! If you're using it as a business tool I very much recommend going with a hosted solution.

Why I don't recommend Wordpress

I like Wordpress. In fact, I use Wordpress for a lot of in house applications. I got started with Wordpress as my site for months because I thought it would be the cheapest option and give me the most flexibility.

It is true that using Wordpress gives you the most flexibility and control. For myself, I realized I don't care about absolute power over my blog. I don't need hundreds of plugins to choose from. I need something that looks decent, runs, and is secure. In fact, I actually like having less functionality because then I spend less time screwing around with various settings.

I start off with Wordpress, and I got it set up just the way I wanted it. Then, a series of updates came around, and nothing worked. I was able to get through that fairly quickly, but then my site got infected with malware and I had potential clients visiting a site that google was telling them was spamming them. Then the malware issue was fixed, but there was another nice error that was coming out as a stack trace right at the top of the page! Of course, this all happened on the weekend when I would rather be spending time with my kids, at the pool, or playing video games.

For me, personally, it is most important that my website be up, reliable, and not blacklisted by google. I have enough fires to put out in my job. I don't need to put them out on my website.

If you're the kind of person who likes some accountability there are a lot of get started blogging challenges and communities. I personally took the  How to Create a Blog That Boosts Your Software Development Career course, which was a pretty good kick in the pants to not sit around and overthink things but to actually write something (hopefully) worthwhile. If left to my own devices I would have made things way too complicated, and I still recommend the course to anyone getting started, even if it does use WordPress. ;-)

Why I chose Kajabi

Since I'm also interested in creating courses and other digital products I moved on over to Kajabi. It is certainly not cheap, but if you add up all the miscellaneous expenses from having a Wordpress site (hosting, security, ssl, more security, a nice page builder plugin, backups, themes, time spent fixing upgrade disasters) it seriously doesn't add up to that much more. I was already using Thinkific to host my courses, so for me, it was about a wash to switch my entire website to Kajabi. I also love, love, love having my whole site, plus courses and digital downloads in one place. They also have marketing funnels and optins when you get around to those!

( I actually really like Thinkific and if they would add the ability to have a blog I probably would have just stuck with them. )

Just to summarize this, I know that everyone recommends Wordpress, but there are plenty of great solutions that are more modern, and provide a better price point. You won't get as much power and flexibility, but I found that with great power came great responsibility. Great responsibility was cutting into my slacking off on the weekend time, and so it had to go! Of course, everyone is going to want a different solution and there is no such thing as one size fits all when it comes to tech. There are plenty of people that succeed with all kinds of solutions. 

If you're reading this and thinking that you want to get a tech blog, either as a hobby or to funnel traffic into a business, seriously, just get started!

If I only wanted a Blog

If I only wanted a blog and maybe some digital products I would go for SquareSpace.  I don't see the tech community endorsing them quite so much, but seriously, it's nice! Check it out!

Set yourself some writing goals

Pick a writing goal that's reasonable for you. Once a week, once a month, whatever you can handle. In the world of ranking on google more is better, but achievable is so much better than burning yourself out and giving up. I chose twice a week to build up some content, and then cut back to once a week. Now I'm somewhere between once and twice a week.

Generate a List of Blog Ideas

I use Evernote for this. It's on my computer, phone, and tablet, so if I suddenly get a good idea for a blog post then I can quickly record it. 

Find Related and Adjacent Blogs

Be awesome and share others' expertise along with your own. Its good karma. I use Feedly and Medium to search for content, along with just googling for whatever I'm interested in. 

Start Writing!

That's it! All you need is a domain name and some backend, whether its Wordpress, SquareSpace or Kajabi to serve up your content. 

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