If you identify as a WordPress freelancer, you don’t have to go it alone. In this post, we discuss tools and resources available specifically to make WordPress freelancers’ lives easier.
First Things First: What is a WordPress Freelancer?A WordPress freelancer specializes in designing, building, maintaining or optimizing WordPress websites.
As the web design community grows, most web developers, designers and online marketers specialize in a certain CMS (Content Management System). It’s a good idea to distinguish yourself as being a specialist in a certain niche.
By specializing in WordPress websites, you open yourself up to clients that may already want to use WordPress, or have an existing WordPress website that needs a redesign.
By becoming a WordPress expert, you can also help educate clients on why WordPress would be a good fit for their website needs–from blogs, ecommerce, business sites, nonprofits, membership sites and much more, WordPress can handle do it all.
WordPress Freelancer Basics
If you’re just getting started launching your freelance WordPress business or WordPress service offerings, there are some basics you’ll want to cover.
- Logo – Have you designed a logo for yourself or your WordPress freelance business? Start putting yourself out there and making your brand recognizable.
- Website – As a WordPress freelancer you should have a website that introduces you and your service offerings. Your website should also include your contact information so potential clients can reach you.
- Portfolio – Do you have a portfolio of your WordPress web design work? Great! Get that thing in front of people and make it prominent on your website. Show them what you’ve got.
- Testimonials – If you’re just starting out, you may think you don’t have any testimonials to show off. But have you done any pro-bono work? Helped a friend fix a website issue? Tap past clients or anyone you’ve worked with to provide social proof of your work and expertise.
- Social Media – Social media is free marketing. Take advantage of it by building your social media profiles, sharing useful information and joining discussions.
- Business Cards – As a web designer, you may be surprised how often people ask for a business card. Even though you may work in a paperless world, business cards are still an easy way to share contact details with prospective clients.
WordPress Freelancers Wear Many Hats
As a WordPress freelancer, you can offer a wide range of services related to WordPress websites, including:
- Website design
- Website development
- Online marketing
- Content development & blogging
- Social media
- Email marketing
- WordPress maintenance (backups, security & updates)
- Analytics reporting
- Ecommerce reporting
WordPress Offers Loads of Help
Fortunately, there are a number of helpful of tools at your disposal to help you streamline your WordPress workflow. First, let’s cover a few WordPress specific tools.
WordPress Development Tools
Before I discovered the convenience of WordPress, I developed sites from the ground up. I had dreams of offering freelance services, but on my own, that was a long way from being a possibility.
- WordPress Theme Frameworks – I was recently introduced to iThemes Builder, a powerful WordPress theme framework for creating WordPress sites quickly and easily. Let me just say that I feel unstoppable with the combination of WordPress plugins and iThemes Builder. With Builder’s page layout editor, I feel like I still have the freedom to create the layouts exactly how I imagine them. I’m not forced to work with pre-made templates if I don’t want to. I can’t speak for other WordPress theme frameworks, but I’m certain there are some good ones out there. Just find what works for you.
- WordPress staging – If you’re developing WordPress websites, it’s a good idea to use a WordPress staging method to deploy new websites. With a plugin like BackupBuddy, you can set up your WordPress staging environment and push from the staging site to the live website. You can also preform a WordPress migration to move a WordPress site to a new host or domain easily with BackupBuddy.
Now that you have development covered, let’s move on to how to secure your work.
WordPress powers over 25% of the entire internet and can fall victim to cyber attack.
As a WordPress freelancer, you are responsible for multiple websites and you need to have a security plan. There are loads of WordPress security plugins out there, but it should be no surprise to hear I have a bias towards iThemes Security, our WordPress security plugin.
Regardless of which WordPress security plugin you prefer, just make sure you secure your websites. There are a number of ways sites get hacked and it is up to you to secure everything with a good WordPress security plugin.
There are a number of WordPress security tips are available to explain why security is important and how to implement it on your own websites.
In addition to implementing a good security plan, it is wise to have a solid WordPress backup strategy. There is no way to secure your sites 100%. Fortunately, if worst comes to worst, a WordPress backup plugin will allow you to rest easy knowing you have a plan B.
With a WordPress backup plugin, not only will you have a backup to revert if your site is ever compromised, but you are also able to migrate sites. BackupBuddy backs up your whole WordPress site, provides scheduled backups, allows you to send/store backups remotely off-site, and has a process for quickly and easily restoring WordPress from a backup.
WordPress freelancers often experience the cycle of feast and famine when it comes to clients. This means sometimes you’ll have more work than you know what to do with and, other times, you might struggle to get your next project going.
There is an easy solution to end this cycle: WordPress maintenance. As you know, WordPress is updated often and users are responsible for installing those updates. When you leave it up to your clients to install updates when they are made available, then you can probably guarantee they will be calling you with support issues. Neglecting updates can cause security issues, bugs, and slow websites.
Fortunately, all of this inconvenience can be avoided. By offering a WordPress maintenance service, you will create consistent revenue and lasting client relationships.
The problem is that logging into multiple sites in order to install updates can get time-consuming and tedious quickly. WordPress freelancers have a lot to juggle and time management is important.
The good news is, WordPress management tools are available specifically to make the life of a WordPress freelancer easier. Tools like iThemes Sync allow you to manage multiple WordPress websites quickly and easily, so freelancers can speed up and improve their workflow.
iThemes Sync is an easy way to manage updates for all your WordPress sites from one place. Instead of logging into each site individually, you have one place to view and install available updates, making WordPress maintenance easy.
As a freelancer, you need to be constantly learning, growing and expanding your skill set. There are a number of excellent resources on how to learn WordPress (if you’re just getting started) to how to become a WordPress expert.
For WordPress training, iThemes Training offers an entire library of on-demand WordPress training videos that cover everything from coding and development to business and marketing.
Resources and Training Specifically for Freelancers
Since freelancing comes with a number of potential hurdles, from the actual work to dealing with clients to building your business, you might want to check out these great resources developed specifically for freelancers:
- The Freelance Summit – This three-day online training covers everything from marketing to productivity to profits. If you missed the live training event, video replays of the training are available to watch at your convenience.
- Freelance Productivity Interviews – Almost every freelancer struggles with productivity, time management and process. In this post series, we interview successful freelancers and how they stay focused.
- How WordPress Freelancers Are Leaving Money on the Table – This post covers stragies and ideas for making more money in your freelance business.
- Profitable Freelancer: How to Make More Money – How can you make more money as a freelancer? That’s the golden question for freelancers looking to boost their profits and make life more sustainable.
- Improving Freelance Processes – We talked with successful WordPress freelancers in a series about improving your business and client process.
- Taking Stock With WordPress Freelancers – A series of interviews with WordPress freelancers, taking stock of how far they’ve come.
- Happy Freelancer series – This series of posts covers fascinating insights for freelancers based on the book Happy Money: The Science of Happier Spending by Elizabeth Dunn and Michael Norton.
Other Tasks for the WordPress Freelancer
Obviously, when you are a WordPress freelancer, you are working for yourself and you have many other responsibilities in addition to creating websites.
- Get an accountant
- Get an attorney
- Learn how to manage time. Without a project manager, this task falls to you
- Create a pricing model
- Learn the basics of SEO and implement it
- Market yourself and your services
- Find a mentor. This will be challenging, but having someone to help guide you and talk through decisions with will alleviate some of the stress
There is a lot to being a WordPress freelancer and it is okay to feel nervous. Understand you are 100% capable and if you need help, just ask. Mistakes are going to happen and you aren’t going to have all the answers. Form a support system and believe you can do it because you can.
For even more information about how to become a WordPress freelancer, download our FREE ebook “So You Want To Be a Freelancer?” today.
Saylor writes blog posts and designs/develops various projects for iThemes. Saylor loves gardening and is currently at war with all squirrels (if anyone has tips on how to get rid of squirrels, she’s all ears). If she’s not traveling or hanging out in OKC, there’s a good chance she’s in southwest Oklahoma doing manual labor, including roofing, or as her father likes to call it – “building character.”