My blog has moved!

You should be automatically redirected in 6 seconds. If not, visit
and update your bookmarks.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Freelancer? Try blogging!

Last weekend I met with an old friend who specializes in providing trainings and tools for grassroots organizing in Germany. One of her campaigns had introduced her to the content management system Joomla, and she was wondering whether this was a good occasion to create a website to promote her business.

here are now some ideas and reflections on where to start when starting a website.

Web publishing has become so easy that there no excuse anymore not to put things online. As a trainer - and as a learner - you have plenty of opportunities to discover new things, to explain good concepts and to evaluate processes in your everyday life.

I would encourage you to build a web presence around this. As I indicated, I believe that every website should have static and dynamic content: A few static pages explaining who you are, why you are doing the things you are doing, and how you can help others with your work. These will only have to be updated every now and then. With dynamic content, you can create a continuous mechanism in addition to that to let people know what you're up to, to archive material for specific events, and most of all - to write, reflect and learn. Some people would call this blog.

Why do I think this could be powerful for you?
To explain something to others is often the best way to understand it yourself. Blogging is a wonderful way of sharing the little things that we learn everyday: The book that I've just read, a speech that I've given or a quote that has touched me. Over time, you build a repository of wisdom - for you and others to learn from.
  • A colleague of mine has started the blog "Welearnsomething" entirely devoted to learning within her unit.
  • Some people write blogs to get into the habit of writing for a books or a thesis.
  • And of course, there are my Minor Contributions.
Lots of freelancers have discovered blogging as a way to build their reputation: A number of good blog posts tell the story of their skills and qualities a million times better than a brochure written in marketing speech.

But how to get started?
Remember: Not the technology is the hard part, it's the content. Pick technology that is fun to use, and gets stuff online in a breeze. What you'll need (in order of importance / chronology):
  1. A good name for your site: Is it just your name? Is it a slogan?
  2. Text describing who you are and what you offer
  3. A very simple content management system or blogging tool (I still love Blogger) with a standard template
  4. Your first four posts (one every week?)
  5. Your own domain
  6. Most important links/content in your navigation bar
  7. More content
  8. A custom template/look for your website
As you can see from this list, such a website would be an ongoing project, but I believe that it's worth the effort. Once you've reached step 5, you can start promoting your website. The easiest way: Put the address in your email signature, and on all your training material. And if people like the content that they find on your site, they will keep coming back.

Thus far, I hope this answers your questions. I'd be more than happy to help you getting this started!

More information on how to start a blog: [Squidoo] or [WeLearnSomething].

No comments: