This blog, and all of my other “serious” websites, are built on WordPress. I’ve tried Blogger, but just can’t seem to get into it, and frankly, if you are going to build up an empire of websites, the blogging ones should pretty much be built on WordPress or Blogger.
As you know, I am a professional writer, not a web designer or webmaster, or whatever people are calling themselves these days. So, why am I building any websites at all, and why am I telling you about it on a freelance writing site?
The answer is total freedom and independence. Yes, as a freelance writer you get a lot of independence. I can choose my own hours, write what I want to write, go to work in my pajamas, and I have no commute to the office, up to a point.
It’s that “up to a point” that I’m looking to change.
Freelancing Is Not Total Freedom
Don’t get me wrong, I love freelance writing, and I wouldn’t go back to doing anything else. But, being a freelance writer doesn’t mean not having a boss; it means having lots of temporary bosses who have deadlines, and expectations, and send emails and so on.
I’ve been pretty lucky and been very happy to work with almost every single one of the clients I have had so far. Maybe that streak will continue forever, or maybe it won’t.
However, at the end of the day, someone else is still telling me what to write, when to write it, and ultimately, how it should be written. (Thankfully, everyone who has hired me so far has done so because they trust what I write and how I write it, so I don’t get into many re-write situations.)
I was a financial advisor for several years before becoming a full-time freelance writer. I got into finance because I liked it. I enjoyed learning new things, trading stocks, bonds, and options, and I liked working with my clients. So, it makes sense that I do a lot of finance related professional writing.
But, sooner or later, you start going over the same territory over and over again. You see, just like everyone else on the planet right now, the companies that buy my writing want fresh, informative articles that will both reflect well upon them, build up a loyal readership, and generate search engine traffic.
And, that is the rub. In order to draw a meaningful number of readers via search, you have to stick with the basics. It is just simple math. In any given month, a couple million people might search for something about trading stocks online. The catch is that the more knowledgeable you are, the less likely you are to be the one doing the searching, and when you do search, it won’t be for what other people are searching for.
For example, if you don’t know anything about buying and selling stocks, you might start by searching for “buying stocks online.” There will be 4 bazillion webpages for you to look at, and a highly ranked one will get thousands of visitors per day.
But, if you have already traded stocks and bonds online for years, what would you be searching for? Certainly not, “how to trade” articles. You might search for something like, “hedging currency risk with high liquidity options,” and man, I would love to write that article. Unfortunately, you will be the only person to make that search on that day, and even if my article is ranked number one and you click to read it, that is still just 1 page-view, and no one can afford to pay for that.
So, my goal is to build up my own websites that generate plenty of traffic thanks to, you guessed it, my own arsenal of articles and information covering the basics and much, much, more. Since it is my site and no one has to pay me for that hedging article, I can write it and publish it, and if it gets 30 page-views a month, I’ll be happy, and maybe the 30 of us will build a nice community.
Meanwhile, I’ll be making my money off of the hordes of other visitors who stop by each month. If I’m really, really, lucky, they’ll see that hedging article, realize that they have found a real gem of a site and keep coming back.
Of course, I want to eat today too, so I do regular freelancing with most of my work time. With the rest of my work hours I build my own websites, many of them as blogs, and most of those as WordPress blogs.
I’ve been through literally hundreds of WordPress Themes and I continually run into the problem of nothing being exactly what I want. Too many columns, or too skinny, or too fat. Not enough footer space, or weird font sizing, or whatever.
Even worse, the current paradigm of WordPress Themes seems to be to make a “horse” theme with lots of pretty horse graphics, which is fine, except for what I really need is a theme that has a nice layout, solid coding, and loads fast. After all, I’ll be replacing all of those graphics with my own.
Fortunately, I think I finally found a solution for Building Customized WordPress Theme Websites Easy and Free. (Coming Monday May 18)