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Want Freelance Clients? Here’s How to Find Them

Want Freelance Clients? Here’s How to Find Them

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No matter your industry, be it online or offline if you’re a freelancer there is going to come a time in your career where you need to find clients. It might be out of necessity or it might simply be that you fancy a change. Whatever your reasoning, you’re going to need to know how to go about it and specifically where to look.

Whilst the scope for such a subject as finding freelance clients is undoubtedly huge, this article is going to focus on finding freelance clients for web based/online work. Whether you’re a web design, programmer, online marketer or content creator this article should have something for you. I hope you enjoy the read and hopefully, some of the sources I’ve documented below will yield you the fresh clientele you desire. So without further adieu, let’s get started.

Forums

Typically, forums have a bit of a stigma attached to them. In the past, they’ve been almost looked down upon as a place where the low ballers hang out trying to broker themselves a cheap employee from a third world or emerging country. Whilst this is true and the statement is not completely unfounded, there are users of specific forums who still have a good budget and are willing to pay a correct and fair price to get the job done.

In my opinion, the various freelance forums around the web contain primarily two groups of people. Firstly, it’s the low ballers as mentioned above but they also tend to be a great source for first timers who have never hired a professional freelancer before. Sure, there is also everything in between but these two groups are the majority.

Forums such as DigitalPoint and Warrior have long been a great resource for both freelancers and there would be clients alike. Whatever your industry, you’ll find sub forums and people looking to buy and sell their wares across all niches via simple, well-categorized offerings. You just need to learn how to separate the wheat from the chaff and have a thick skin to rebuke the low ball offerings.

Freelance Websites

Freelance websites such as Freelancer.com or PeoplePerHour.com are fantastic resources for freelancers looking to find work. The popularity of sites such as these, especially over the past few years has exploded. Previously it used to be limited to extremely experienced individuals doing the hiring and that meant that in order to compete you had to be significantly better than the next guy. These days, every man and his dog are hiring workers at all levels via sites such as these which has really opened the market right up.

As mentioned above, these websites are popular from a customers perspective but because of that, you can expect a lot of competition. Especially if you’re in a field with a vast array of competitors such as content writing or online marketing. The whole process can be a bit of a dog eat dog experience but like with the forums, you have to learn to take the rough with the smooth, to rebuke the low balls and be willing to compete for the better projects.

Your Own Website

This might sound obvious but a lot of the freelancers I know don’t even bother with a website offering their services or at least offering a portfolio illustrating their capabilities. I recently read this guide which doesn’t mention running a website at all, which is surprising to me as personally I think your own website if built correctly can yield more potential customers than any forum or freelance referrer website could. If nothing else it can be used to provide more information to would-be clients.

If you do go down this route and consider putting your own site together, make sure it’s loaded with content. By that I meant whatever service you offer, even if you’re not massively experienced at such, make sure it’s on the site. Who knows what it could yield.

Referrals from Existing Customers

I call this turning one into two. By that I mean if you’re lucky enough to land one customer, do everything in your power to make sure that not only do they come back to you the next time you need something but they’re also willing to pass you on to someone who needs a similar service. How many people do you think need a web design or a piece of content but don’t know anyone in their life who needs the same either currently on further down the line? If you do a good job for one person there is no reason they wouldn’t pass you on to someone else and those, in turn, would referrer you also. If you’re good enough you should only need a handful of clients to get the ball rolling.

Finding clients doesn’t need to be difficult. If you know your capabilities, know where to look and can take a knock back on the chin you’ll no doubt be able to find enough work to survive. In truth finding the client and negotiating the deal is often harder than the work itself. If you’re serious about freelancing you can’t afford to fall at the first hurdle or wind yourself up into a frenzy if someone doesn’t want to pay your quoted price. And don’t even get me started on the non-paying clients who unfortunately plague every industry and who you’ll undoubtedly come across.

Freelancing can be fun and profitable if done right, you just need to know where to look and have to be mentally prepared sufficiently to take it on.

How to build the perfect landing page for free with Wix

How to build the perfect landing page for free with Wix

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Why are they important to your business, and how to build a great one that converts?

But first, what is a landing page? – Know the facts

According to Google analytics glossary:

The first page a visitor views during a session; also known as the entrance page.

And according to Wikipedia:

In online marketing, a landing page, sometimes known as a “lead capture page” or a “lander”, is a single web page that appears in response to clicking on a search engine optimized search result or an online advertisement. The landing page will usually display directed sales copy that is a logical extension of the advertisement, search result or link.

We can see that we have two definitions on the subject; the first one references an initial page a visitor sees during its session and the second one explains it as a single page you get after clicking on a link that is part of a marketing effort in order to obtain a lead or a sale. (more…)

Why you should care about speeding up your WordPress site?

Why you should care about speeding up your WordPress site?

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If you ever have sat and wait for a website to load, you were surely after some very important piece of information, because the majority wouldn’t have just go elsewhere to find that info.

According to this Kissmetrics post, 40% of people abandon a website that takes more than 3 seconds to load.By having a slow blog, you are missing out on increasing your traffic and therefore your revenue.

  • Reduce user frustration by Improving the overall UX (User Experience)
  • Google takes in to account its ranking algorithm
  • Faster website means more visitors and more conversions

These are actions are in no particular order, some are very easy to implement and others require more expertise to use them be careful with them. Most of them are very straight forward like installing and configuring plugins.

 

Google PageSpeed Insights as valuable yet frustrating tool to analyze your site performance

This tool have a rating score that goes from 0 to 100 points. With 85 or above you will get the “green light” of approval that indicated that your page performance is inside the standards.

You might me wondering how does PageSpeed insights evaluate your site? It looks at factors like: Server configuration, the html structure and the use of external resources like images, javascript and CSS.

Evaluating your site using this tool can be an eye opener if you haven’t performed any optimization task in the past. The great thing is that it provides a great starting point to improve site performance.

 

Benchmark Your Site.

PageSpeed is just one of the options in the market to speed test your site. In order to get a more complete panorama on how your site is performing you should refer to Pingdom Website andGtmetrix every time you take a new measure in place.

 

Hosting Matters

When you are beginning as a blogger you tend be money wise and you start in non-expensive shared hosting options.Share hosting are an inexpensive way to host your sites. Among the most popular hosting options are

1 & 1 , Dreamhost and Host Gator. All of them offer a non-expensive entry level service of share hosting and also more robust ones like VPS ( Virtual Private Service) and Dedicate Service.

Shared hosting is meant for low traffic blogs, if your site is getting bigger you must consider move to dedicated host where your blog be able to handle heavier loads of traffic.

 

Stay up to Date: Update your WordPress Core and Plugins

The core is faster today than previous versions and also being up to date reduce security risks.

 

Make sure you are using a solid framework/theme.

A light framework is a key ingredient for a speedy site. They are optimized to keep the “guts” simple and tidy. Well organized CSS and JS and the use Image Sprites are common practice in premium themes.

A great example of light and professional theme is Thesis site as big as Copyblogger.com use and praise about it. Another great option is the Canvas theme developed by WooThemes.

 

Clean up: Keep your plugins at their minimum expression.

Plugins have a huge impact on your blogs performance. They are responsible for many conflicts among other plugins and could be server resources hogs. Thats why you must keep them up date and whats more important get rid of the one you are not currently using. Monitor that load with P3 (Plugin Performance Profiler). It will creates a detailed performance report for your site so you can see which plugins are slowing your site.

 

Images: Optimize them automatically.

For this task there are a couple of plugins that makes a wonderful task reducing the file size of the images in WordPress. One is called Smush.it from yahoo, but in my experience it is a bit slow, and the my personal favorite EWWW Image Optimizer, it is faster and I have got some better images compressions ratios with it. Both, once installed will optimize all your images on the fly and you can also bulk edit the ones that are already stored in your blog.

 

Add an expires header to static resources.

With the addition of expires header you can specify the duration that the browsers doesn’t have to re-fetch static content from your site like css file, js, images etc.

That could reduce significantly the load time for your regular visitors. All you need to do is copy and paste this code in your root .htaccess file. More info in this article.

<IfModule mod_expires.c>

# Enable expirations

ExpiresActive On

# Default directive

ExpiresDefault “access plus 1 month”

# My favicon

ExpiresByType image/x-icon “access plus 1 year”

# Images

ExpiresByType image/gif “access plus 1 month”

ExpiresByType image/png “access plus 1 month”

ExpiresByType image/jpg “access plus 1 month”

ExpiresByType image/jpeg “access plus 1 month”

# CSS

ExpiresByType text/css “access 1 month”

# Javascript

ExpiresByType application/javascript “access plus 1 year”

</IfModule>

 

Install a Caching Plugin

This only recommendation give probably the most dramatic results in cut your load time. It makes static html versions from your blog pages and post. Improving drastically the speed of your blog. They are tree fantastic plugins for that. The most acclaimed is W3 total CacheWP Super Cache and my personal favorite Quick Cache I like the last one better over the other two, because is really quick to configure, basically is just download install and forget.

 

Combine, minify and compress the JS/CSS resources loaded

The minimization, (cutting unnecessary characters) compressions and putting together all your JS/CSS you optimize so the browser takes makes more and smaller queries loading those files.

You must find the plugin that suits better for your theme, because it could make your JS/CSS to load improperly altering the look and functionality. You must tweak the settings to find what is best for you.

My recommendations are: JS & CSS Script Optimizer and Async JS and CSS

 

Enable GZIP Compression

Compression is a safe bet to save bandwidth and speed up your site. It will compress the data from your server it will be decompressed by the client (browser). So you must configure your server to returns zipped content to the browser.

If your server is ISS follow these instructions in the Microsoft TechNet document to enable compression.

For Apache you will need to add these lines of code in your .htaccess file.

# compress text, HTML, JavaScript, CSS, and XML

AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE text/plain

AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE text/html

AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE text/xml

AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE text/css

AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE application/xml

AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE application/xhtml+xml

AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE application/rss+xml

AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE application/javascript

AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE application/x-javascript

# remove browser bugs

BrowserMatch ^Mozilla/4 gzip-only-text/html

BrowserMatch ^Mozilla/4\.0[678] no-gzip

BrowserMatch \bMSIE !no-gzip !gzip-only-text/html

Header append Vary User-Agent

Add an expires header to static resources.

With the addition of expires header you can specify the duration that the browsers doesn’t have to re-fetch static content from your site like css file, js, images etc.

That could reduce significantly the load time for your regular visitors. All you need to do is copy and paste this code in your root .htaccess file. More info in this article.

<IfModule mod_expires.c>

# Enable expirations

ExpiresActive On

# Default directive

ExpiresDefault “access plus 1 month”

# My favicon

ExpiresByType image/x-icon “access plus 1 year”

# Images

ExpiresByType image/gif “access plus 1 month”

ExpiresByType image/png “access plus 1 month”

ExpiresByType image/jpg “access plus 1 month”

ExpiresByType image/jpeg “access plus 1 month”

# CSS

ExpiresByType text/css “access 1 month”

# Javascript

ExpiresByType application/javascript “access plus 1 year”

</IfModule>

Knowing What to Put on Your Mobile Site

Knowing What to Put on Your Mobile Site

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If you have a website for your business and need to have a mobile site you may be thinking you can just convert the regular site to the mobile site without any changes. While this may work in theory, it isn’t always a good idea. There are reasons why full site content doesn’t always work with mobile sites, including the size of the devices that mobile sites will be viewed on, the operating systems in these devices, and the ability of the content itself. When you begin building your site, knowing what to put on it and what to leave off will help you in a big way.

Pick the Right Content

Look at your smartphone and think about the things you read on that screen daily. Think about the length of the pages and the type of content on them. Think about the sites that frustrate you the most, and the ones you actually enjoy reading on your phone. This is how you need to think about building your mobile site. If you are working with lots of content, break it down by links and subheads. Don’t put pages and pages on your site and expect someone to read through it all to find that they need. List only the very important content on the first page, and link to the rest with multiple links that organize the subject of the content.

Choose Good Effects

Use mobile website templates to help you get the right effects for your mobile site. This could be something as simple, but useful, as “click to call” features or social media tie-ins. Whatever type of effects you want to use to make your site better, use a template to keep it simple and organized.

How to Organize

Use links with clearly defined titles so that people looking for things will know exactly where to go when they are looking for certain types of content. For instance, if you are selling old vinyl discs, make different links for genres or bands that you have discs for. If you have specific information for your company that you need to express to readers, you should list those in links, too, but don’t put too much content into the links. If you have contact information, list it clearly and concisely. List your history in the “About Us” section, but don’t put in information that doesn’t help clients know what they need to know about you. Finally, link back to the full site where clients can go if they want more information or more content about you and the company.

When you are building a mobile site from your main site, you may be tempted to just pull all of the content over and be done with the process. This can harm you, though, because traditional web content doesn’t always show well on small devices like smartphones, and people won’t read that. Pick the right content, use links to organize content, and choose effects that enhance the site, not hurt it to build the best mobile site.

Freepik: Best place to download Free Vectors and PSD resources.

Freepik: Best place to download Free Vectors and PSD resources.

As designers we are always in the hunt for coffee and design resources (and sometimes for our clients to pay). When I need to find resources I usually look for them in different sites. For vectors I go to good old vecteezy and for photographs I always go to sxc.hu (even though their inventory is not as good as it used to be); and of course the classic search in google images. Sounds like a hazzle, doesn’t it? well it is! Just until I found freepik.com the all in one free vectors, photos and PSDs search engine.

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Easy Metal Effect Tutorial in Photoshop

Easy Metal Effect Tutorial in Photoshop


Metal finish is always a very usefull effect. But all the people goes for the complicated way. As an apple fan I’m in love with the clean anodising aluminium finis in Apple’s products.

So here is a very easy way to reach a very clean metal effect.

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