It's been just over a month since I wrote my introductory post on my Freelancing with WordPress journey, so I figured it's probably time for a little update.
This is especially for those out there keen to do similar. Why go through the trials and tribulations alone when you can follow my progress and at least gain some insights into what you too can likely expect? I'm happy to be the test subject.
So, what's happened in the last month-and-a-bit?
LOTS! I've been really busy. The lack of activity on this blog (or any of my other blogs, or my quieter-than-usual Twitter account, or... may have given it away. You did notice, right? I thought so. Of course you did! I miss you too!)
Anyhoo... so here's what I did: I spent quite a bit of time playing around in WordPress and Elementor (free version, for now) to get the hang of what it does.
Then, brainwave! I need a portfolio. So, I'll be building sites (I have a gift for stating the obvious!).
Cue much building...
But, no one has ever heard of me, at least as far as building sites goes, so I ALSO need to get my name out there a little bit.
Next brainwave! (I'm just full of them, aren't I?) I know a few friends and extended family with businesses without any form of current web presence other than a Facebook page. Why not offer them a free landing page? I'll be building anyway to create a portfolio, so why not make a portfolio out of real business websites right from the outset?
Obviously, they would include a link to my services in the footer - 'site by alder_code'; that sort of thing.
And that's just what I did: I created a one-page site, in Elementor, for a local ballet school that currently has none. The email to them, with a link to their proposed site build (currently hosted as a subsite on my own domain), went a little something like this (Note that I do already know the owner, which may change the tone somewhat and allow for the use of an emoji...):
I'm trying to get my freelance website design business up and running, and am thus building a number of sites as practice and to build up my portfolio.
On that note, I took a shot at building a 1-pager / landing page for **, as I see you don't currently have a website.
If you like it, you're welcome to have it for free. Was great practice for me (plus I'm keen to have a few real sites out there in the world for my portfolio.)
The temporary/interim url is: **
If you want it, the only costs would be the hosting fees - Afrihost charges R39 a month, and the ** domain that I'd move it to (or whatever site address you want) is free for the first year as part of their package.
If not, all good. I enjoyed building it and got some good practice / learned some new skills 😀
Please let me know either way.
The response was very positive indeed! They want the site, with some minor modifications to personalise it a bit further. Win!
Then, I shared a link to a more generic version of this ballet page with an extended family member. They in turn showed it to another dance school. Another hit - they too have an old and outdated site, and would love a new one.
That makes two sites to date.
Finally, the abovementioned family member has a construction business - keen on a landing page. And finally, a friend of his has a plumbing business. Wants a site.
Perfect. Four sites to do. That's plenty to keep me busy for a while and to list on a portfolio. I thus feel that, for now at least, the freebie offer has closed.
My current goal is to thus complete all four of these and get them live, out there on the web, for everyone to see.
(I will of course share links to all relevant sites as soon as they officially launch to the world.)
However, as far as my portfolio is concerned, I'm keen to build sites for people all over, not necessarily just here in South Africa. So, while all four of the abovementioned sites will be local, and thus use the .co.za domain, I'm also keen on adding a couple of international ones into the mix.
On that front, I have approached a friend in England to offer a free site to someone there. It'd be nice to have a .co.uk one too. One lead is already pending on that front. One more, for a local volunteer organisation in SE England, was sadly declined. Apparently, even though they posted that they're looking for a volunteer to build them a WordPress site, they'd prefer someone local. Oh well, so be it. On to the next opportunity then.
As an aside, I'm aware that WordPress isn't the only solution out there. When I get a chance, I'm playing around with plenty of other options too. I've had a look at Webflow, watched some YouTube videos on how to use Oxygen Builder and started tinkering around with a relative newcomer which looks very promising, and one I'm rather excited to learn more about: primo.
However, right now, I need to get these four sites out, sooner rather than later. My focus is thus building them right now using the tool with which I'm currently the most comfortable: WordPress.
Once they're live I'll be sure to brush up further on the alternatives too. I'm always keen to expand the toolbox, thereby ensuring that I can use the best tool for the job in each instance. Posts on these alternatives will surely follow in the near future.
And that's where I currently find myself: hard at work building WordPress sites, using Elementor for most of them. While I may not generate any income from these, it's a solid start to establishing my brand.
More updates coming soon...
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