Fishing For Great Clients? Why Freelancing Makes More Sense Than SEOe_darrellj | Aug 12, 2014
Occasionally we invite entrepreneurs to discuss issues of importance to our community. Here are some thoughts from Matt Keener, author of the book, Executive in Sweatpants: A Handbook for Launching Your Work from Home Career.
As a highly talented solopreneur with awesome skills, you shouldn’t waste time and money on SEO (Search Engine Optimization).
There, I said it. As someone who spends his day helping businesses achieve better rankings on search engines, this may come as a surprise to you.
Sure, being #1 on Google can help you yield huge rewards. But do you know how to get there? If so, do you have the resources needed to capitalize on the situation?
There’s a better way to find clients: Online marketplaces such as Elance and oDesk. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at lead generation from SEO vs. online marketplaces.
The problem with SEO for solopreneurs
Getting your business found on Google, Bing, and Yahoo! isn’t an easy process. In fact, it’s extremely challenging in today’s tech-driven business environment.
There are many factors that contribute to appearing in search results, including the need for a high-performance website (quick load time, mobile-friendly design, well-written code), tons of original, useful content (blog posts, videos, guides), backlinks from high-visibility websites, and continuous optimization (indexing analysis, keyword tracking, SEO testing) from your webmaster. In addition, many experts believe that your website’s age contributes to where you appear in the search results. Older and more proven domains typically get preference over newer ones.
As you might imagine, it takes a significant investment in time and money to do all of this the right way. If you’re just getting started as a self-marketer, you’ll probably have more time to invest than money. And if you’re not an expert in SEO, you’ll have to become one to be found online.
For example, let’s imagine you’re a mobile app developer. If your strategy is to attract clients via SEO, here are the minimum steps you’d have to follow to have a chance:
· Acquire a web domain
· Decide on your preferred content management system (WordPress, Joomla, etc.)
· Purchase a web template (or have one designed from scratch)
· Research keywords to find out what clients search for when looking for graphic designers
· Plan out and write your web page content (on-page content, meta information, URLs)
· Purchase stock photos to make your site interesting
· Create a portfolio to show past examples
· Take your site live
· Submit your site to Google and Bing webmaster accounts
· Install Google Analytics to track traffic trends
· Plan and commit to a blogging strategy (content is what attracts new prospects)
· Continuously optimize the performance of your website
· Monitor traffic and keywords for new SEO opportunities
Is that how you want to spend your time? Probably not. The goal is to win clients, not win an award for online marketing prowess.
A better solution: Online workplaces such as Elance-oDesk
Freelance marketplaces streamline the client-winning process. Instead of wasting time trying to attract people to your own website, you can instantly connect with hundreds of prospects actively seeking professionals like yourself. Whether you use Elance or oDesk, you can be up-and-running in a few hours or less. In a nutshell, here’s what you need to do:
· Sign up for a free account
· Write some compelling content about yourself and your work history
· Upload a headshot, logo, and examples of your work
· Take some tests to prove you’re an expert
· Set your hourly rate
· Apply for some jobs
· Win clients and get to work!
When you compare this process to SEO, there’s really no comparison. You not only bypass many of the headaches of SEO, you also gain access to hundreds (or even thousands) of clients actively seeking contractors with your skills.
Now of course, you shouldn’t view this as a “set it and forget it” proposition. You will still need to keep your profile fresh with recent examples of your work. Elance and oDesk makes it super-easy to do so, which allows you to spend more time winning clients.
Stop wasting resources with SEO
Solopreneurs live and die by their billable hours. If you’re spending all your time trying to attract clients via SEO, you’re wasting time. It’s time to create your Elance account and get to work.
About the Author:
Matt Keener is President of Keener Marketing Solutions, LLC and is based in the Evansville, Indiana area. He is also the author of the book, Executive in Sweatpants: A Handbook for Launching Your Work from Home Career. As an outsourcing coach, he helps clients and freelancers reach their fullest potential. Visit his blog for helpful tips on managing online workers, growing virtual teams and more, and follow Matt on Twitter @ExecInSweats.