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Blogging can be complicated when you're a freelancer.
That's because a freelancer's blog can serve two different goals -- it can help you find clients, and it can be a niche business of its own, on a topic unrelated to your freelance services.
But it's tricky to combine those two. Slather your blog with ad banners and affiliate links, and prospective freelance clients may be turned off.
They also may conclude you've got your own blog-based business going and probably don't have time for their assignment.
Still, it's possible to earn well from your blog while also using it to attract new clients. Here are a few approaches that work well:
1. Sell on Subpages
Keep your home page clear of advertising and set up pages that offer your sales items instead. These tucked-away pages sell in the background, while you keep your main focus on attracting prospects and showing them what a nice, clean blog you've got.
For instance, on my own freelance writing blog I have quite a few sales offers, but they are rarely seen by the casual blog reader.
Instead, I have tabs for books related to freelance writing, my own ebooks, products and courses I affiliate sell, and my paid membership community. But there isn't a lot of obvious selling visible on the home page.
Occasionally, I have a single ad or might end a post with a short P.S. about a class I teach. Increasingly, I don't even have that, and the home is entirely devoid of advertising.
A prospect might well check out my blog and then proceed to my About page and learn about my writer site and contact me from there, never noticing these other pages, which don't signal they are for freelance prospects.
2. Sell on Email
I've recently had a chance to test out the theory that blog subscribers prefer to be sold via email marketing rather than within blog posts or on your Home page...and I found it does work better.
It’s a quirk of human nature, but apparently we’re more responsive to these email offers and prefer not to be sold on blogs.
if you have a sales offer to make, don't worry about posting it to your blog in hopes of catching new readers. They are rarely your buyers, anyway.
Instead, concentrate on selling to your subscriber list in targeted emails. Interested parties will respond, and meanwhile your blog stays free of ad clutter. It's a quirk of human nature, but apparently we're more responsive to these email offers and prefer not to be sold on blogs.
By making this switch, you may actually increase your sales, while also making your blog a better environment for attracting freelance clients.
3. Host Webinars
One of the biggest sources of income on my own blog comes from hosting live events for experts who'd like to sell a course to my audience. Once again, this occurs off the blog and is advertised to my list primarily on email.
I take an affiliate commission on the product if my people buy. Many people love to come to free Webinar trainings, so this is a popular way to please your audience while also delivering an opportunity to earn.
Just make sure the person and product you're presenting is something your readers would be highly interested in, and be selective about who you present. Meanwhile, over on your blog, prospective clients will be completely unaware of your affiliate-sales activity.
4. Choose a Partner
Sometimes it makes sense to team up with an expert in your field -- maybe someone who isn't blogging and just has a static website that sells their training material.
Partner with them to create or market a class. Also, let all the marketing run from your partner's site instead of yours. The partner can handle making a hard-selling landing page and collecting emails.
You might mention it on email to your list, but let the partner do most of the heavy lifting to keep your blog clean.
5. Sell to Your Clients
This can be a best-of-both-worlds scenario. Some freelancers develop products aimed right at their freelance clients, such as a training on how to be a better business blogger, or design tips for small business owners.
The fact that you present finished products packaging your expertise helps portray you as an authority in your freelance niche.
Selling products such as these signal that you are focused on your core client. The fact that you present finished products packaging your expertise helps portray you as an authority in your freelance niche.
You could make some extra sales, impress prospects, and end up getting more freelance work, too. This strategy will only work if your blog is focused on your freelance clients, but if so it can work well.
6. Have a Separate Site for Sales
I know quite a few bloggers who simply created a tab that heads readers over to another site for more info, where they keep all their sales offers.
This can be a simple way to keep your blog ad-free and focused on simply providing useful information -- and showing prospects you understand blog fundamentals.
7. Use Contextual Advertising
Remember the cheesy, early-Internet ads that triggered if you clicked on double-underlined words? Well, the world of contextual advertising has a come a long way since then.
More sophisticated tools can allow you to pop up a shopping cart to sell that video or handbag you mention, whenever people mouse over that word.
More sophisticated tools can allow you to pop up a shopping cart to sell that video or handbag you mention, whenever people mouse over that word. If you blog on any type of products, this might be something to look at.
On a quick browse, the ads are not very obvious, but they can allow anyone who blogs about products to pick up some additional revenue.
Whatever route you take, remember to look at your blog through a prospect's eyes.
Is your blog well-focused on a niche and a good sample for freelance work? Keep the obvious selling down, and your blog will help attract the freelance gigs you want.
Do you earn from your freelance blog? Leave a comment and tell us how you keep your sales from alienating prospects.