Do you write for a personal professional website that is purely for yourself? For me, the decision to start a WordPress website was an easy one in the beginning but it has become harder over the years to maintain it. I want to dedicate time and effort to my website, but the opportunity to earn money and progress in my career is too enticing. My website could help me establish an online presence for long-term growth, but the short time cash flow from paying clients is hard to resist. Learning to prioritize my personal website as if it were a client’s project has been a challenge in my freelance career but a rewarding lesson.
Starting My Website Was Easy
It’s so easy to start a website! You sign up for an account, create the different pages, add content, and finish with images. Then, boom! You’re done, and you have a residence on the internet. In the beginning, I used this website as my resume. I had a few pages that focused on the topics I write about, the type of content I write, and my professional history. There were several pages, but it was a simple professional website.
Starting Your Own Professional Website
While I had some web design experience, you don’t need this experience in web development. There are free website builder templates offered by web hosting services that make it easy for entrepreneurs to take a DIY approach. You can pick your domain name, new website design, fonts, and color scheme with a few clicks. Then it’s just a matter of adding content, images, social media, and contact information. A responsive design is best because it will look good on a variety of screen sizes for the best user experience for your target audience.
Popular websites that provide these services are Squarespace and Wix. Both have plenty of website templates that can create the illusion of you having a custom website. If you plan to let potential customers make a purchase on your website, you’ll need more than just a homepage. Look for website templates that come with an online store landing page for an all-in-one solution to your eCommerce goals. If you don’t intend to sell directly on your website, use it for lead generation by having a FAQ web page where you can gather email addresses. You can then engage in email marketing to help grow your business.
If you feel more confident, you can use WordPress. Then add plugins to customize your website. This gives you more freedom and functionality when designing your website. However, the pricing can be a bit more expensive. You also have more control over search engine optimization or could hire professional website design services.
The Struggle of Writing for Me
Over time, I realized I needed to do more than just let my website statically sit there. I decided to start writing blog posts. Looking back, I can honestly say that I didn’t know what I was doing and went in blind. I thought I could just start writing blog posts, and the traffic would come. While this was true, it was only true up to a point. The biggest struggle was figuring out what to write about. There were articles about digital marketing, content marketing, and SEO. There were also articles about lawyers, interior designers, cars, and motorcycles. There was a gap between these two, though. This left me with a lack of guidance but also an opportunity. I decided it was time to buckle down and take my website idea seriously.
One of the lessons that’s hard for some of my clients to learn is that content and digital marketing is a bit of trial and error. There is no one formula or checklist that you can follow and have guaranteed success or results. Different strategies and techniques work for different industries. Within an industry, different companies can find success with different marketing strategies. Almost everything can impact SEO performance, from company size to location.
Because I was venturing into highly focused niches, there wasn’t a lot of guidance out there for me to look at. This meant I was striving out into the unknown and needed to make a lot of trial and error. I like to focus on the positive. Instead of saying that I failed a lot over the years, I like to say that I have found many ways to not manage my professional website. Here are some things that don’t work for me:
I have found myself logging into my accounts to check the performance of my website, only to be disappointed. This is the frustrating part of managing your own professional website. You try something new and want to see the data change for the positive. Sometimes I would see minimal improvement, no improvement, or backsliding. All of this was beyond frustrating, especially when I struggled with imposter syndrome. I began to doubt that maybe this wasn’t the right career path for me. I had to accept the defeat, learn from it, and then pivot my efforts to try something new. Having a strong support system was essential for staying positive and staying motivated.
Never Ending Expenses
Do you know what’s frustrating? Paying money into something that you don’t see a return on. Every year, I pay money to maintain my professional website, and I don’t see any return. Thankfully, this only lasted for the first few years. After that, I adjusted my expectations and looked for alternative ways I could see a return for my website. For example, ads are nice, but Google Adsense only pays pennies unless you have a huge amount of traffic. I also found that the more content I add, the more effective the website is at pulling in clients. Now, I have clients reaching out to me instead of having to apply on freelance job boards.
Finding Something That Works
It’s rewarding to say that I’ve finally found the right balance between my professional website and client demands. It’s taken a long time, but I now view and value my website as if it were one of my clients. Taking care of myself is as much of a priority as taking care of my clients. Now, I can write and post two weekly articles for my website. I write about broader topics, from my core niche industries to articles about myself. With this new prioritization, I’ve also seen positive results in website performance. I’m proud of my dedication, motivation, and commitment to myself and my career. These qualities have allowed me to build a solid foundation that will help me be successful as a freelance writer in the future.