Lessons learnt from taking a year off freelancing

I decided to take some time off freelancing last financial year. I want to take some time off working and travel, and freshen up myself. I decided only to take on projects that fitted in my requirements. I do work full time as WordPress Developer too, so I didn’t pressure myself to extra freelancing work and decided to relax for a year.

Most of my work comes as website leads. My website is ranking pretty well in SEO for few words related to web design and WordPress. I took calculated risk, as I knew being less proactive I will for sure loose some rankings. Then again I thought I will accept some challenge and will learn some new SEO standards.

Wow one year passed so quickly and I learnt fair few things. Looking back I am super happy with my decision. Here are few takeaways from what I learnt during the time.

SEO is competitive

SEO is pretty competitive. Well we all knew that. But with latest rankings, Google does show results from other countries too. So this is bit different to what used to before. Now, in order to rank well you really need to have a good strategy.

Content is king now. You need to have good quality content to rank well. I personally have decided to write less but more researched blogs from now on. If you look this from another dynamics, there is an opportunity in this challenge too. Write some really good content and then you will be ranking well globally and alternatively if you don’t you might loose your current rankings.

Major SEO Changes

Now SEO is based on so many factors. As mentioned above good quality content is the king. Apart from that you have to focus on so many things too.

Backlinks had been another main factor to rank your site. But now as with content, good quality backlinks matter more than any backlinks. Getting less good quality backlinks from relevant and high quality websites outweigh other backlinks from various irrelevant websites. Yes, quality is more important than quantity.

Rankbrain is another major changes in SEO. Basically with this algorithm Google is looking at your website performance relevant to your user in terms like time spent on your website, bounce rates etc. For example if a user come to your website and spend few seconds, this means s/he didn’t get what they were looking for and abandoned your website. This tell google that your website isn’t as relevant to the visitor and hence you will be pushed down in the ranking. And likewise if user spend more time on your site, this means your website is more relevant and useful to the user and hence Rankbrain will start to rank your website higher. User experience is key.

Mobile first indexing was another major changes in SEO last year. With mobile first ranking, Google will look at how your website is performing on mobile devices and rank based on that. So if your mobile website is vastly different what it looks like in desktop, you should be cautious. Take necessary precautions as needed or advise from good SEO. In simple layman terms, make sure your website content looks consistent over desktop and mobile devices. Make sure you don’t hide many web content on mobile sites.

WordPress is booming

WordPress definitely is booming. There are new jobs openings, so many agency are focusing on WordPress development.

This in turn have consequences both good and bad. With so many developers, good and bad, in the market, competition is stark. Clients are not willing to pay more.

But as always, my focus had been clients who understand the value of good quality website and willing to invest on the future rather than short term. My mantra had always been take less work but quality ones. This had helped me to deliver good quality websites.

There are still clients who are looking for good quality developers. And a good quality WordPress Developers are hard to find. It’s really up to your own hands which end you want to be.

Work Life balance

Taking time off freelancing work did helped me focus on work and life. Traveling was refreshing. I did tried to hit the gym more often.

I have learnt to manage time better. My planning had never been good before. Now I can manage time better. I do things in much more systematic way.

My personality had improved too. I can communicate to people better.

Passionate Photographer

I was always passionate about photography and willing to learn more. And I did. Got myself some new gears. Added D7200 on my kit along with 70-200mm zoom lens.

Photography is fun. It’s good time pass. I want to integrate website photography as my services package someday and I am pretty close to doing that.

Looking further ahead

I have started to implement few things I have learnt already. My web design and development strategy are even more researched these days.

I had been writing on various topics too.

SEO is also major focus now. I have started to rank well for some new keywords. And I have started to read more about SEO.

So in short, I have set myself a new target this financial year. And I will nail them for sure.

About Author

I am Robin - WordPress Developer based in Sydney. I work as Digital Developer. I do some projects now and then, and love blogging about WordPress and Web Design.