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Install a free WordPress theme

Install a free WordPress theme

In WordPress, a theme is used to change the design, look, and feel of the website. For example, if you want to change the background color, images, headings, menu display style, etc., you need to make changes within a theme. However, if wish to add new functionality, like adding a career page to show job listing, you need to use WordPress Plugins. I will write a new blog on what to expect from a WordPress theme and how to choose best WordPress theme for your business.

In this blog, we will focus on how to install a free WordPress theme:

To explain the process, I have taken a live example of digitalconsulting.co.in. I will refer your website as yourwebsite.com. (You should replace yourwebsite.com with actual URL of your site to practice following steps:

1. Visit yourwebsite.com/wp-admin.

wordpress-admin-login

2. Enter Admin Username and Password to login into WordPress Admin Panel.

wordpress-admin-panel

3. Take cursor on ‘Appearance’ on left vertical menu

click-on-themes-in-wordpress-admin-panel

4. Click on Themes. Three themes namely, Twenty Sixteen, Twenty Fifteen, and Twenty Fourteen will be displayed on the screen. The theme ‘Twenty Sixteen’ is currently in active mode as shown in the image. You can create a basic blog or site using the current theme, Twenty Sixteen. However, if you want to see more design options, click on ‘Add New Theme.’

 

click-to-add-new-wordpress-theme

5. Click on ‘Popular’ to check most used free WordPress themes. You can also search themes using keywords. In the example, I have used a keyword ‘Restaurant’ to find out themes that are designed for Restaurant business. Note that a theme developed for say, a restaurant industry can be utilized to develop site for any business (and not just restaurant business).

wordpress-theme-search

6. Click on Details and Preview to see Live Preview of your website. (For the purpose of this tutorial, I will install theme named ‘Vogue’ that can be found under ‘Popular’ WordPress themes.). The ‘Live Preview’ shows, how your website will look for end users. If you are sure about the theme, simply click on ‘Install’ to install the theme.

details-priview-of-the-wordpress-theme

wordpress-theme-priview

 

7. If you like the design of the theme, click on ‘Install’ and the theme will be installed. Click on ‘Activate’ to apply the theme to website.

And you have the new theme installed and activated. You now need to customize the theme as per your requirements. At any point in time, you can change the theme to change the front end design of the site. If you are facing any challanges, contact me through comments and I will try to resolve the same for free.

Install WordPress using cPanel – A Beginner’s Guide

Install WordPress using cPanel – A Beginner’s Guide

Installing WordPress using cPanel is easy. It takes no more than two minutes to complete the installation process. Here is a step by step guide to install WordPress using cPanel:

1. Login into cPanel

Hosting service providers send cPanel credentials to registered email. The standard URL for accessing cPanel is yourwebsite.com/cpanel. Enter the username and password provided by your hosting provider.

2. Locate Softaculous Apps Installer and Click on ‘WordPress’ icon

After logging into the cPanel, scroll down to locate Softaculous Apps Installer and click on ‘WordPress’:

install wordpress using cpanel

 

3. Click on ‘Install’ or ‘Install Now’ as shown in the figure:

click-on-install-now

4. Complete the Installation Process

Complete the installation process by filling up the details:

a. Choose Protocol – http:// (This is the default option so you don’t have to do anything)

b. Choose Domain – Select the domain name from the Dropdown. This is the domain where WordPress will be installed. In this example, I am installing the WordPress on domain digitalconsulting.co.in, so, I have selected the domain as the same.

c. In Directory – Leave this field blank (delete ‘wp’ if it appears by default) to install WordPress on yoursite.com (root directory). If you want to install WordPress on yoursite.com/blog then write ‘blog’ in this field. I have left it blank as I want access to the WordPress site on digitalconsulting.co.in

d. Under Site Setting, Write the Site Name and Site Description. At this point, you can simply write anything as the same can be changed later.

e. Under Admin Setting, choose Admin Username and Password and Admin Email. For security purposes, I recommend using any username other than common terms like Admin, Info, Website Name etc. Make sure to create a complex password and note it down for future use.

f. Click on Install. You can choose to receive installation details that include admin username, password, etc. by entering a valid email id at the bottom field.

complete-wordpress-installation

And, you are done! That is all required to install WordPress for your website. The WordPress comes with a default theme. You can continue with the same theme or install new themes if you wish to change the design. In the next blog post, we will discuss how to install and customize a WordPress theme.

Create a Responsive Website in Six Easy Steps

Create a Responsive Website in Six Easy Steps

I developed this site in less than an hour. And I am not boasting. If you are a beginner and don’t know anything about technology, you may take 2-3 hours to develop a responsive site.

For the newbies, responsive sites mean site layouts that provide best user experience across all devices like smartphones, tablets, and desktop monitors.

Here is a Step-by-Step guide to developing a responsive website:

Register a domain name

Our domain name is sixpl.com, which is registered on GoDaddy. Domain name is like your name that identifies unique IP Addresses or websites. A domain name is always unique and can be associated with only one website. You can register a domain name on GoDaddy at the cost of $10 per annum. If you are registering the domain for the first time, you can get it for free from web hosting providers as explained in next section.

Purchase Web Hosting

Web hosting, also known as web space or web server, is used to store all the data related to your website. The data pertaining to this article is hosted (stored) on a particular web server. When you type a domain name or a URL, the corresponding data is fetched from web servers and presented to you in the browsers. For the purpose of website development, we simply need to know about how to purchase the web hosting without going into details of its working. You can buy the web hosting from BlueHost. You can also get a domain name for free from BlueHost if you have not registered it already.

Update the Nameservers

Nameservers link the domain name and web hosting. When a user types a domain name into the internet browser, it is the nameserver that translates the domain name in computer’s language and links it with web hosting. If you have purchased the domain name and web hosting from different companies, you need to update the nameservers of  the domains. Here is a guide on how you can update the nameservers on GoDaddy. If you have purchased the domain name from other companies, please log into the account and follow the same procedure. Except for the design and placement of menu items, the process of updating the nameservers is same for every domain registrars.

Install WordPress

WordPress is a free content management system that is used to develop dynamic websites. There are many inbuilt features, like navigation menu, creating new pages, users registration and login and much more that can be used to develop a great website. You can just drag and drop to integrate powerful features on your site. Note that the core of the WordPress helps you in developing various features of the site. For designing, look and feel, color combination, etc. WordPress themes are used, which we will address in the next section. Guide for installing WordPress.

Install a New WordPress Theme

To change the design and layout of the website, you need to install a WordPress theme. There are hundreds of free themes that come inbuilt into the WordPress system. You can install any of the themes that are close to your requirement.

Customize the WordPress Theme

Once you have installed a theme, you can customize it further to change the color, layouts, navigation items, adding new plugins, etc. as per your requirements. And, like MS Office, you don’t need to know any coding to make these changes.

Write Content

At this stage, your website will be ready with the theme demo content. Now you need to write the content and post it on appropriate pages.

And you are done! That is all you need to develop a basic responsive website. There are several companies like wix.com and webs.com that provide domain name registration, web hosting, nameservers management and website builder all at one place. So you simply need to sign up with them and provide monthly fees to design and host your own website. While these services look ideal for beginners, the features, functionalities and design capabilities are highly limited. So, if you wish to integrate a new promotional feature on your website, you may need to hire an experienced developer to do that. The Plugin system in WordPress eliminates such difficulties. You can integrate 90% of the features of Time.com or forbes.com without writing a single line of code.

If you like this article, please share it on social media sites. You can also ask your queries through comments, and I will help you get started with your brand new website.

How to Change Domain Nameservers

How to Change Domain Nameservers

Nameservers link the domain name and web servers. We have already discussed how to register a domain name and purchase a hosting plan. Now, in this blog, we will learn how to link the web hosting to the domain name. This is required for the website to be accessed from anywhere on the internet.

Here is a step by step guide on changing NameServers of domains registered with GoDaddy:

Step 1: Login to GoDaddy Account

Step 2: Click on Right Top Login Icon and then Click on Manage Domains

how-to-change-nameserver-on-godaddy

Step 3: Select the domain name by checking the box to the left of the domain name. Click on ‘Nameserver’ and then click on ‘Set Nameservers’ as shown in figure below:

step-3-update-nameservers-of-domains

Step 4: Click on Custom in the pop-up. After that, click on ‘Add one now’ as shown in the figure.

add-custom-nameserver

Step 5: After purchasing the server you would have received the details in the email. Enter Values of Nameserver1 & Nameserver 2 in the respective textboxes as shown in the figure.

A typical mail from BlueHost contains Nameserver details like this

nameservers-details-received-in-email

Put the values of Name Server 1 in the top box and Name Server 2 in the bottom box. And click on Ok.

name-server-1-name-server-2

And it is done. The changes in Nameservers may take up to 24 hours to get reflected. However, it happens quickly and may take few minutes to get updated.

At this stage, the domain and hosting set-up are complete. Now you can simply install the WordPress in 30 seconds and start blogging or developing awesome websites.

Through comments, do let me know if it worked for you? In case, if you are facing any challenges, write to me through comments, and I will get back to you as soon as possible.

How to Purchase a Hosting Plan on BlueHost?

How to Purchase a Hosting Plan on BlueHost?

There are thousands of web hosting companies from where you can purchase the hosting. However, not all of them provide a satisfactory level of service. In fact, a lot of them deliver pathetic services. After a horrible experience from HostGator customer service, I switched to BlueHost. This website is also hosted on BlueHost and until now their customer service is excellent. I will write a detailed post later on how you should compare two hosting plans. If you don’t have much technical knowledge about hosting, BlueHost is a great hosting platform to start with (It is also recommended by WordPress official website).

 

Here is a guide to purchase a hosting service from BlueHost:

Step 1: Visit https://www.bluehost.com/web-hosting/signup 

step-1-visit-bluehost-hosting-page

Step 2: Select a Plan

If you have only one website, then select the Basic Plan. If you wish to have multiple sites in the future, you can purchase Plus, Prime or Pro Plans. However, if you are purchasing a hosting for the first time, it is better to start with the Basic Plan. It doesn’t make sense to pay monthly charges for something that may be required in future. If such requirements arise, you can upgrade the plan at any point in time.

Step 3: Enter the Domain Name

Enter the domain name in an appropriate text box and click ‘next’. (Hint: If the domain name is already registered, put it in right box as shown in the figure. If you are yet to register a domain name, write the desired name in left text box. )

step-3-purchase-hosting-enter-the-domain-name

Step 4: Modify the Package Information

Modify the package information as shown in the figure. You can choose the time, Site Back-up pro, SiteLock Security etc. In this plan, I have chosen the package for 12 months, and unchecked other services like Site BackUp Pro, SiteLock Security (BlueHost is cross selling these services to you. There are better ways to do this for free. I will write a new blog post on how you can keep your WordPress site secure and take backups for free).

step-4-bluehost-package-information

Fill in your details and make payment (tip – at this stage, take your cursor close to the website. You may get a surprise offer as a pop-up. Claim the offer and it may reduce your cost by 50-75% .:))

Step 5 – Make the Payment

Make the payment and its done. You will receive the details of the server in an email. You may star mark the email as you need to access the server details frequently.

You now own the web server that can be used to host your new website. The next step is linking this web server/hosting with the domain name. This is done by changing the Nameservers of the domain.

 

How to Register a Domain Name on GoDaddy?

How to Register a Domain Name on GoDaddy?

Registering a domain name is a no-brainer. The greatest challenge is choosing the right name for your business. If you have already decided the name of your company or the website, you can instantly register the domain through various websites like GoDaddy, BigRock, NameCheap, Net4Domain, etc. You need to consider the domain extensions (like .com, .co, .net, etc.) that you would like to choose. The .com extension is the most preferred extension. However, the chances of getting a short domain name in .com are highly unlikely.

.Com versus Other Extensions

The domain extension doesn’t determine the success or the failure of a brand. However, it may create confusion in the minds of the target audience especially when different companies have same domain name registered with different extensions. Out of habit, new users may type businessname.com and go to an unintended website. Many a time you need to mention the domain extension specifically so that people reach to the right site.

I have faced a similar issue in the past. Our company name is Digitalimpulse Online Pvt Ltd. So I registered a domain name digitalimpulse.in as the .com extension was already taken up by a company in Boston. My friends used to visit digitalimpulse.com and compliment me for registering my business in the USA :). Even on the LinkedIn, the business page of digitalimpulse.com was being displayed in the section “People also viewed” to users who visited our page on the platform. To avoid the confusion, we chose a new brand name, sixpl.com, to sell our services in the international market. This was not an easy decision as we had to market the brand from scratch. It took a lot of time, money and efforts to restart everything again. To be on the safer side, we also registered SixPL.in SixPL.net, etc. to prevent any possible misuse of the name SixPL if it goes on to become a famous name :).

On a lighter note, Google-sucks.com is registered by guess, who, Google itself. They have registered thousands of domain names to avoid embarrassing situations and possible copyright issues.

Having said that, it is also true that there are a lot of successful businesses which use domain extensions other than .com. So finally it is up to you to evaluate the pros and cons, and make the right decision that suits your needs.

How to register a domain

Here is a step-by-step guide for registering the domain on GoDaddy:

  1. Go to www.godaddy.com
  2. Enter business or website name in the Search Bar without any space, www or .com and click on SearchDomainhow-to-register-domain-name-on-godaddy-1
  3. If the domain name is already taken up, then it will display a message as shown in the picture. The website will also suggest other extensions that are available. If you want .com extension then you need to experiment with the name. Else, you can take up the other available domain extensions. how-to-register-a-domain-name-on-godaddy-after-search
  4. After finalizing the domain name and extension, click on “Continue to Cart’ on top right corner register-a-dmoain-godaddy-click-on-cart
  5. GoDaddy will try to cross-sell its other services like professional email services, website builder, web hosting and domain privacy. You can select the ones you want to buy or simply skip them by scrolling down and clicking on “Continue to Cart”
  6. In the drop-down, select the number of years for which you want to purchase the domain.
  7. Click on “Proceed to Checkout”
  8. Fill the contact details and credit card details to purchase the domain name. Please note that the contact information will be displayed in public domain. So either you should buy domain privacy to protect your privacy or use official contact details (email id and phone numbers) that you will put on the website for public use.

Congratulations! You have registered the new domain. You can now move on to purchase a server that hosts everything you put on your website.

Everyone can do freelancing without initial investment or training!

Everyone can do freelancing without initial investment or training!

After reading this blog on maximizing freelance income, readers asked several questions. While I answered specific questions, many readers asked a pertinent question, the answer to which will require an entire blog post.

Through this blog, I will answer “How one can freelance without having a technical skill set or a specific domain knowledge?”

Although I answer each and every question through social media, emails or in person, I request you to post questions in comments so that other readers can also benefit from the answers.

Before I proceed, let me explain the kind of services I provided as a freelancer and why I chose them.

In my last job, I handled digital marketing for the organization. And therefore, digital marketing services were the natural choice for me. I registered my profile as a digital marketing freelancer. However, in 2013, Google updated its search engine algorithm that gave more preference to high-quality content in search engine rankings. This led to a flood of content writing projects on every freelancing site. Since I was in the experimenting mode on the website, I placed few bids on content writing projects and finally won the first project. As I had no formal training or experience in professional writing, I had to work almost 10-12 hours to research and write a four-page content that was worth $10. The client was delighted with work and came up with next set of projects. Over a period, I gained confidence in professional writing, and it became a great complement to digital marketing services.

Until this time, I didn’t know that content writing could also be a business. I didn’t limit myself to just content and digital marketing, but continued learning whatever came on the way.

I will write a dedicated post on learning professional writing later.

For now, let us discuss the main question: How should you choose an area of freelancing, especially when you are not an expert in any one particular field?

Based on my experience, I can only say that start with any one niche and keep learning new (but related) skills to expand the range of services. To become a successful freelancer, you don’t need to be an ‘expert’ in any one field. Rather, you have to be sincere and need to have the full commitment towards the projects that you undertake. Also, you shouldn’t just leave a non-technical project offer simply because you don’t have prior knowledge of the field. The Internet has plenty of free resources that will be useful in learning the required skills quickly. However, for this, you must have commitment and patience to work without being discouraged or dissatisfied at the monetary value of the first few projects. Remember that freelancing demands time and sincere efforts on your part. So, you should choose the kind of work that you are passionate about and love doing it. Something which, if required, you can do for 12-14 hours a day without getting bored, tired, or frustrated.

Here is a comprehensive list of skills that you can choose to begin your freelancing career.

Non-Technical Skills

  1. No or little experience needed

You can become better and efficient at anything you do consistently. So, with experience you may become an expert in Google Search. However, to start a project in searching something on Google, you don’t need to have an experience or a particular educational background. Here is a list of similar tasks that you can choose to work on when you don’t have profound knowledge about anything. If you wish to start freelancing right now, choose any of these skills and start bidding.

Click here to see the list of skills

Article Submission
Bookkeeping
Call Center
Customer Service
General Office
Helpdesk
Data Entry
Data Processing
Desktop Support
Email Handling
Order Processing
Phone Support
Procurement Research
Telephone Handling
Time Management
Transcription
Video Upload
Virtual Assistant
Web Search
Classifieds Posting
eBay
Internet Research
Article Rewriting
Copy Typing
Forum Posting
Newsletters
PDF to Word/Excel/PowerPoint
Product Descriptions
Reviews
  1. Some Prior Experience/Knowledge Needed

Skills that require some prior experience/knowledge, however, can be learned in 3-6 months of self-study. If you are passionate about jobs that involves following skills, it is better do spend some time for self study.

Click here to check the list

Some Prior Experience/Knowledge Needed
BPO
Customer Support
Excel
Microsoft Office
Microsoft Outlook
Technical Support
CRM
Etsy
Facebook Marketing
Google Adsense
Internet Marketing
Market Research
General Marketing
Sales
Social Media Marketing
Telemarketing
Visual Merchandising
Entrepreneurship
ERP
Recruitment
Legal Research
Legal Writing
Academic Writing
Blog Writing
Content Writing
Financial Research
Ghostwriting
PowerPoint Presentation
Press Releases
Report Writing
Resumes
Short Stories
Technical Writing

3. Significant Experience/Expertise Needed

To complete projects that require any of the following skills, you should possess extensive knowledge or skills. If you want to to work on project related to following skills, you first need to learn and apply the concepts in low-risk environment. You may consider working as an intern or offering free services to validate your skills  and acquire some experience before selling your services to serious buyers.

List of skills that requires significant experience or expertise

Investment Research
Conversion Rate Optimisation
Email Marketing
Google Adwords
Lead Generation
Search Engine Marketing
Viral Marketing
Accounting
Business Analysis
Business Plans
Compliance
Event Planning
Finance
Financial Analysis
Inventory Management
Personal Development
Project Management
Risk Management
Book Writing
Business Writing
Catch Phrases
Copywriting
Creative Writing
eBooks Writing
Editing
Medical Writing
Proofreading
Proposal/Bid Writing
Slogans
Speech Writing
Translation Services
Data Science
  1. Specialized/Niche Skill

Although you don’t need to have a technical background to learn these skills, you must work on specific software/platforms to get acquainted. The list can go on and on. However, I have tried to list the skills for which freelance jobs are readily available across the internet. If you want to learn any of these platforms/applications, it is better to use trial versions and practice it before offering freelance services.

Click here to check the list

Journalist
Mailchimp
Mailwizz
Periscope
WooCommerce
Translation Services
3D Printing
Buyer Sourcing
Logistics & Shipping
Manufacturing
Product Design
Product Sourcing
Supplier Sourcing
Attorney
Audit
Autotask
Contracts
Crystal Reports
Employment Law
Fundraising
Intuit QuickBooks
ISO9001
Legal
Linnworks Order Management
MYOB
Nintex Forms
Nintex Workflow
Patents
Payroll
PeopleSoft
Property Law
Public Relations
Salesforce
SAS
Tax
Tax Law
Unit4 Business World
Visa / Immigration
Xero
Grant Writing
LaTeX
Wikipedia
Brain Storming
Business Coaching

Technical Skills

You can even choose to work on technical projects. However, you need to learn specific skills before venturing into the technical freelancing world. The best part is you can learn those skills easily by enrolling on any online training websites. These pieces of training are as good as or sometimes better than offline training provided by local institutes in your area. Some of the popular online training sites are Lynda, Udemy, CourseEra, etc. There are some open source technologies like WordPress etc. that you can learn by self study and its practical application. You can choose the skills based on your interest and decide a future course of action.

  1. IT, Website & Web Applications

Freelancing job opportunities related to  hundreds of programming languages are readily available across internet. You simply need to master any programming language and get started your freelance career.

List of IT, Web & Software Skills

.NET
AJAX
Amazon Web Services
Analytics
Android Wear SDK
Angular.js
Apache
App Developer
ASP
Asterisk PBX
Augmented Reality
Azure
backbone.js
Big Data
BigCommerce
Bitcoin
C Programming
C# Programming
C++ Programming
CakePHP
Cisco
CLIPS
Cloud Computing
CMS
Cocoa
Codeigniter
Coding
Database Administration
Database Development
Database Programming
Debian
Delphi
Django
DNS
DOS
Drupal
Dynamics
eCommerce
Game Development
Google Analytics
Google App Engine
Google Chrome
Google Maps
Google Plus
Google Web Toolkit
Google Webmaster Tools
Google Website Optimizer
Hadoop
HTML
HTML5
Instagram
Internet Security
Interspire
Ionic Framework
Java
Javascript
Joomla
jQuery / Prototype
JSON
Kinect
Knockout.js
Laravel
LESS/Sass/SCSS
Linkedin
Linux
Mac OS
Magento
Metatrader
Microsoft
Microsoft Access
Microsoft Exchange
Microsoft SQL Server
Mobile App Testing
MySQL
Network Administration
Nginx
node.js
NoSQL Couch & Mongo
OAuth
Objective C
OCR
Odoo
Open Cart
Oracle
OSCommerce
PayPal API
Perl
PhoneGap
PHP
Pinterest
Plesk
PostgreSQL
Prestashop
Python
Ruby
Ruby on Rails
Sharepoint
Shell Script
Shopify
Shopping Carts
Smarty PHP
Social Networking
Software Architecture
Software Development
Software Testing
Splunk
SQL
SQLite
Squarespace
Stripe
System Admin
Twitter
Ubuntu
Umbraco
Unity 3D
UNIX
User Interface / IA
VB.NET
Virtuemart
Visual Basic
VMware
VoIP
Volusion
VPS
vTiger
Vuforia
Web Hosting
Web Scraping
Web Security
Web Services
Website Management
Website Testing
Weebly
WHMCS
Windows
Windows API
Windows Desktop
Windows Server
Wix
WordPress
WPF
XML
YouTube
Zen Cart
Zend
Zendesk
Zoho
  1. Mobile Development Technology

Mobile technology is rapidly changing the entire technology ecosystem. There are thousands of freelance jobs available for mobile technology experts. You can launch your freelance career in mobile technology by mastering any of the following skills.

List of Skills related to Mobile Development

Amazon Fire
Amazon Kindle
Android (956)
Android Honeycomb
Appcelerator Titanium
Apple Watch
Geolocation
iPad
iPhone
J2ME
Metro
WebOS
Windows CE
Windows
  1. Designing & Multimedia

There are thousands of designers available on freelancing sites. However, the demand for quality (creative) designers still exceeds the supply. So if you have a creative bend of mind, you will do very well in design and multimedia field. All you need to do is, learn a related technology and practice it for 1-3 months. Good designers will always be in demand from all type of business from across the world.

Click here to see complete list of skills related to Designing & Multimedia

3D Animation
3D Design
3D Modelling
3D Rendering
3ds Max
Adobe Dreamweaver
Adobe Fireworks
Adobe Flash
Adobe InDesign
Adobe Lightroom
Adobe LiveCycle Designer
Advertisement Design
After Effects
Animation
App Designer
Apple Compressor
Apple Logic Pro
Apple Motion
Audio Services
Autodesk Inventor
Autodesk Revit
Axure
Bootstrap
Building Architecture
Capture NX2
CGI
Cinema 4D
Covers & Packaging
CSS
Design
eLearning Designer
Fashion Design
Fashion Modeling
Filmmaking
Final Cut Pro
Flash 3D
Google SketchUp
Graphic Design
Illustrator
Maya
Motion Graphics
Photo Editing
Photography
Photoshop Design
Presentations
Prezi
PSD to HTML
PSD2CMS
QuarkXPress
Stationery Design
Sticker Design
T-Shirts
Tattoo Design
Templates
Typography
User Experience Design
User Interface Design
Vectorization
Video Editing
Video Production
Website Design
Wireframes
  1. Local Jobs (Mostly requires your physical presence at the clients’ location)

Following job requires you to be physically present in clients’ location. You shouldn’t look for these kind of jobs on freelance marketplaces like Freelancer or Upwork. Rather, you should get a premium listing on top local classified site in your area. In 3-6 months you should get decent number of leads from sites like JustDial, CraigList, Locanto, OLX etc.

See the complete list here

Appliance Installation
Appliance Repair
Bathroom
Bricklaying
Building Consultants
Building Designer
Building Surveyors
Computer Help
Courses
Decking
Decoration
Drafting
Event Staffing
Furniture Assembly
Gardening
Gas Fitting
Hair Styles
Home Automation
Home Organization
IKEA Installation
Installation
Interiors
Landscape Design
Landscaping
Landscaping & Gardening
Lighting
Make Up
Painting
Weddings

Conclusion

While choosing a skill set, the interest and passion should be preferred over anything else. Don’t just jump into something because it has a lot of potential. Of course, the potential is crucial while considering the options. However, freelancing requires a lot of efforts and hard work, and if you are not passionate about the work, it can be a never ending nightmare. Depending on the time you have, you can learn any of the skills in 3-6 months. To apply theoretical learnings in real life, you may offer your services at a minimal cost. After working with a few clients, you will not only gain confidence and charge competitive rates but also help your customers achieve their goals. The critical point is, the short term hiccups and conflicts with clients shouldn’t deflect you from the long term goal. If you can manage this, the success will be entirely yours.

This post was proofread by Grammarly!

How to Maximize Your Income as a Freelancer?

How to Maximize Your Income as a Freelancer?

Warning – If you are looking to make a quick buck without working hard, you may be disappointed, and this article isn’t for you. For others, who value hard work, keep reading.

I started working on Freelancer in November 2013 and have earned around $66,000 (INR 41 lakhs) through the website in 23 months. I could have earned even more if I had sufficient bandwidth to manage all the incoming projects. My income increased consistently from $23 in December 2013 to around $5000 in September 2014.

I left freelancing in October 2015 and today I use Freelancer mostly for hiring freelancers. I will soon write another blog post on why I left such a lucrative career and what did I do after that. You may like to subscribe to my newsletter for regular updates on how to develop a sustainable business online with prestige.

This blog is an account of my journey from being a freelancer to an employer. Freelancer has already published a case study on my freelancing career. You can read this here.

Started by Accident

I left a well-paid job to start a digital consulting business. During my last job, I spearheaded a successful digital marketing campaign that generated 60+ B2B leads, and the monetary equivalent of it was almost US$400,000. While this success boosted my confidence and revalidated my digital marketing skills, I had no clue of how will I get clients for my new business.

Soon after acquiring few local clients, I realized that it is too difficult to provide high-end digital marketing services to SMEs at the price they are willing to pay. It was rare to come across a small business owner who has a professional approach towards his or her business, especially towards marketing (There were some excellent clients too, and I will talk about how I acquired them in a new blog). After struggling for five months, I stumbled upon Freelancer.com and then never looked back.

The process of making it big 

Let us see the factors that can influence your earning on Freelancer.

freelancer-earning-framework

Earning Framework for Freelancers

The factors that affect your earnings

Before you proceed, please spend some time in understanding the Earning Framework. Your earnings depend on the number of projects you have completed successfully and average project value. You can increase your earnings either by working on more projects or increasing your professional fee. Both of these are directly linked to your profile rating on Freelancer. So you can’t charge higher than other freelancers until you have a good number (say 100+) of ratings and excellent reviews on your profile. To gain 100+ ratings, you need to win more projects. To win more projects, you should place a large number of bids and at the same time ensure that the award rate is also high.

Award rate = Total Number of projects awarded/Total number of bids placed

For beginners, award rate is 1-2%. This means you need to place bid on 50-100 projects to win your first job. You can increase your award rate if you take care of the following:

  • Place your bid as soon as the project is posted
  • Keep your price on the lower side
  • Write an impressive proposal

This will help you win maximum projects. More projects will lead to more money and ratings. Higher earnings and ratings will lead to the better rank of your bid that in turn helps you fetch more projects. And, after few months the cycle will be automatic. You simply have to ensure that you deliver the work as per your commitment. You will never run short of projects. In the process, you can also experiment with pricing raise or keeping it the same for new clients.

If you think you can’t do freelancing because you have no domain or technical knowledge, please read this article on how every can do freelancing without initial investment or training.

As a beginner, you need to understand the following:

Start Small

My first project on Freelancer was worth $25 and the second one was worth $5. I got the first project after placing a bid on over 45 projects while the second project was awarded after placing 25 bids. Despite low value of projects, I gave my best and both the employers worked with me for two years.

Don’t give up in first 100 Days

New freelancers need to make huge efforts to build the trust. For first 100 days, freelancers don’t work for money. Rather, they work to get ratings on their profile. They work to improve their bid rank as explained in next section.

Have a look at my 1-year earnings report and you will know why I am saying this:

freelancer-earning-report

My 1st year earnings report on Freelancer.com

My 1st year earnings report on Freelancer.com

You should not lose patience and self-belief in the first three to four months, even if you are not able to make your ends meet. Never give up. Remember that the efforts required to earn first $1000 are same as efforts needed to make the next $5000.

Improve Bid Rank

In late 2015, Freelancer introduced pagination system for bids as shown in the following figure. According to the new system, the list of bidders is split into some pages. Each page displays only eight bids.

freelancer-bid-rank

 

As a new freelancer, your bid may end up at 3rd, 4th or even 10th page. Employers usually prefer to review 5-6 profiles before selecting a freelancer. So, only 20-30% of the serious employers will go beyond the first page of bids.

The website also gives you an option to sponsor your bid to the top position. However, this doesn’t enhance your prospect, so don’t waste money on this feature.

sponsor-bid

You should try to complete at least five projects by offering your services at lowest cost. Once you have five ratings on your profile, your bid rank will go up significantly.

Write a Custom Proposal

This worked wonderfully for me. Most of the freelancers write standard proposals for all the projects. If you can write a short and clear plan based on the project description, it will immediately attract employers’ attention.

Complete Your Profile

Before start bidding, complete your profile including display picture, cover photo, education details, work experience, skill sets, and portfolio. It impacts the decision of the employers.

Choose your Niche

Don’t bid on every project only because you need to get started. Choose your niche and focus only on the relevant projects. If you are a graphic designer and want to build your profile on graphic design, then don’t work on data entry projects. All the ratings and money earned on data entry projects will not be able to help you rank higher in the Graphic design category. So focus on a niche which suits you in the long term.

Be Quick and Consistent

On Freelancer.com, 80% of the genuine projects get awarded within 24 hours of being posted. 60% of these get awarded within an hour of being posted. So try to be first to place a bid on new projects. Competition is less in the morning and evening times so bidding on these times can be helpful. Also if you want to build a long-term freelancing career on these sites, make sure that you have ample time to bid. 40-50% of your time will go in bidding while remaining in completing the projects in hand.

Pricing Strategy

Freelancing marketplaces position themselves as low-cost marketplaces. They attract a large number of entrepreneurs who want to get things done on a shoestring budget. As a new freelancer, you can’t compete with top freelancers on value; hence you need to compete on the budget. For the first ten projects, you have to keep your prices to lowest possible level. Once you have ten ratings on your profile, you may increase the prices slightly. You can similarly raise the prices once you achieve a milestone of 50, 100 and 200 ratings. Average project value on Freelancer lies between $50 and$200.

Communication with Employers

  • While discussing the project, explicitly specify the timeline by when you will be able to complete the project. Ask as many questions as possible. If you feel that the bid price is way too less than you can accommodate, it is better to quote the right price before accepting the project. You should take care of following points before or after taking the project:
  • Never work on a custom sample, however, small the work maybe – Like any other marketplaces, you will find a lot of scam artists on Freelancer.com as well. They ask for a small piece of work to check your quality. Once you send it to them, they never get back to you. So never work on a free custom sample. The best you can offer is to create a small $5-10 hourly project.
  • Never accept a project until a milestone is created – You must ask an employer to create a milestone before you accept the project. The moment you will accept the project, the site will deduct a commission from your funds (irrespective of whether you get paid by your employer or not).
  • Never work out of Freelancer.com – Getting paid through Freelancer boosts your profile.

While Working on a Project

  • Ask your doubts
  • Keep your clients informed about the assumptions you have made
  • Avoid any delays, however, inform customers about any possible delay
  • Communication is everything – Respond quickly and immediately

Be careful about

  • Never work for free
  • Avoid projects that need to be delivered within the next 24 hours
  • Don’t get into the trap of promises made by employers on long term work – Everyone says it to get the max out of you. No one can guarantee long term work.

Conclusion

There are 20 million members on the website. Obviously, the competition is very fierce. Also, almost 80% of the projects posted on these sites never get awarded. So you need to work hard to get many projects. However, if you can work hard for the first 100 days, there is a real possibility of making it huge over a period. You will face several challenges until you have 20+ ratings. You need to figure out how to deal with those challenges. Also, you should look at the larger perspective rather than, the smaller daily earnings in the initial days. Once you understand the right strategy, you will never run short of projects.

This post was proofread by Grammarly!

Increase your blog traffic by 500% or more

Increase your blog traffic by 500% or more

Albert Einstein once said, “There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.” Getting impressive results from content marketing falls under the first category – Nothing is a miracle. There is a strong reason behind every successful blog post. You too can master the art and science of content marketing and generate massive traffic to your website that costs a bomb otherwise.

What I am going to write here is already known to you. The idea of writing this blog post is to use that knowledge to maximize the benefits from your content marketing efforts.

Quality is the oxygen, and quantity is the sweet poison in blogging

The following calculation changed the way I thought of content marketing. I stopped following the content calendar and never looked at the number of words in my blog posts.

This snapshot depicts the monthly Pageviews data of top ten pages of a website. The website has 221 pages in total.

Pageview Snapshot 1

Of the 221 posts, the traffic share of the top blog is almost 70%. The combined traffic share of the top ten posts is approximately 84% while the remaining 211 posts share just 16% of entire traffic.

This statistic indicates that out of every 1000 page views; top ten pages were viewed 840 times while the remaining 211 pages were viewed just 160 times.

Let us take another example:

Pageviews Snapshot 2

Here, out of 658 pages, top ten pages received 65% of the total page views while the remaining 648 pages had a combined share of just 35%.

After analyzing Analytics account of 68 Websites, I arrived at the following conclusion:

On an average, top ten posts/pages attract 70% of the total traffic of the website.

Check the traffic share of top ten pages of your website and let me know through comments if your data is similar to what I have found.

If your website has 100+ posts and faces a similar situation, the traffic can be increased by almost 7.5 times by changing the approach of content curation and promotion.

Let us understand this by a hypothetical example:

  • A Website has 100 Pages (Including Blogs)
  • Total monthly traffic is 10,000
  • Traffic of top 10 Pages = 7500
  • Traffic of the remaining 90 Pages = 2500

Assuming each page has a similar potential; the remaining 90 pages can potentially receive a traffic of 67,500 (7500*9). In this case, the total traffic could have been around 75000. (Of course, the potential of every page would be different, but it is definitely more than the traffic it is receiving now).

These examples clearly indicate that posting another blog with average quality is not going to make any tangible difference to the website traffic.

I consider ‘quantity’ as sweet poison because a large volume of content sucks up the business resources without delivering much in return. I have seen many business owners saying ‘content marketing doesn’t work for us.’ ‘Large Quantity’ has been the primary reason behind most of these failures.

It is high time you get rid of a content calendar and put a quality improvement framework in place to excel in marketing.

Unique Content doesn’t mean Paraphrasing

The Internet is full of articles on almost every topic. Adding another blog post on your site will not make much difference until the quality stands out from the rest.

The good thing is you can always deliver unique and better content than your competition. Unique content doesn’t mean taking the idea from another source and paraphrasing it in your language.

“Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing about.”

I consider this quote by Benjamin Franklin a guiding principle for content curation. This approach has helped me immensely, and I am sure, it will help you too. No matter what business you are in, you must write something your customers care about.

Don’t use Google or another tool to get content ideas for your blog. Rather use following methods to generate ideas that will touch your customers’ life:

  • Day to day conversation within the team,
  • Questions by the prospective clients,
  • Queries/Doubts of existing customers,
  • Post Purchase questions by buyers
  • Customer Support
  • Product or service related misconceptions
  • Behind the scene actions
  • Revealing industry secrets to a certain extent
  • Industry News Analysis
  • Case Studies

One blog should be devoted to a ‘single idea’. Don’t mix multiple ideas in a single blog.  You must write all aspects of the selected idea in one blog. If it makes the blog lengthy, you can link different blogs by providing a hyperlink to ensure you cover a complete idea in a short and crisp manner. The final objective should be that a reader should get complete information about the topic they are reading on the blog. Build your arguments with suitable facts from credible sources. The final product must be brief, concise and meaningful, and provide accurate information.

Points to be noted if you outsource content:

  1. Hire subject matter experts and not just excellent writers
  2. Provide them pointed instructions on what exactly you want them to write
  3. Ensure that they don’t just paraphrase the existing content. You need to support your writers with appropriate data so that they can create unique content.

Common Mistakes to be avoided at all costs:

  • Searching Google for topic ideas
  • Taking help of idea generators or Google keywords planner to select a topic
  • Paraphrasing existing content to make it unique
  • Creating content keeping in mind search engine algorithms
  • Mixing multiple ideas in a single blog

Improving quality is not a one-time job. It is an on-going process that will last as longer as our existence. Therefore, it is important to make quality improvement an integral part of your content marketing.

Seek Feedback

A blog is not a platform for monolog. The purpose of a blog will only be served when the readers are engaged and respond to your content. The reaction can be in the form of comments, sharing it on social media, Quora, Forums, Bookmarking, or sending it to their friends, etc.

It is true that blogs must get sufficient readers to get feedback. To get more readers, you should promote the blog in an intelligent manner. Share it on social media, appropriate forums, and on favorite blog posts to expand its reach. Derek Halpern believes that marketers should spend 80% of their time in content promotion and 20% of the time in content creation. While this ratio may be different for you, extensive promotion of a blog is as important as creating a good blog.

You can see the efforts that are required to succeed in content marketing. Fortunately, the results of such efforts are stunning, to say the least. If you can’t make this kind of efforts, then it is better to avoid doing it half-heartedly as the same will only waste resources.

Now it is your turn to tell secrets of successful blogs that attract massive traffic even for years. Through comments, please let me know how well these techniques have worked for you.

Working together is better than working in silos. Subscribe to my newsletter and I assure you that together we will make your business a grand success.

Facebook Statistics

Facebook Statistics

Relevant Facebook Statistics at one place. Updated on July 21, 2016.

Parameter Statistics As of Date Source
Users
Monthly Active Users 1.65 billion 31-Mar-2016 Facebook
Average Daily Active Users 1.09 billion March 2016 Facebook
Mobile Monthly Active Users 1.51 billion 31-Mar-2016 Facebook
Mobile Daily Active Users 989 million March 2016 Facebook
Number of Employees 13,598 31-Mar-2016 Facebook
Finances
Total Revenue $17.928 billion 2015 Facebook
Advertising Revenue $17.08 billion 2015 Statista
Share of Mobile Advertising Revenue 77% 2015 Statista
Average Revenue Per User $10.73 2015 Statista