The world is a much different place today than it was just a few months ago, thanks to COVID-19. It’s been a difficult season for every industry, and that includes developers.
As a new freelance developer looking for ways to turn the current situation into a growth opportunity: there are still plenty of opportunities — if you know where to look.
Not by making the tired “In these difficult times…” posts to drum up new dev clients, but by making smart decisions that will generate you more business — both now and into the future.
Here’s the deal — nearly 5 billion people use the internet around the world. And a vast number of those people are staying home and spending more time than ever on the internet.
This means businesses need freelance developers more than ever before. How can you capitalize on this need and generate business while working from home?
Here are five ways to generate more business as a work-from-home developer.
Update Your SEO Approach
When was the last time you updated your SEO approach? Are you still relying on meta titles, links, and questions people were asking several months (or even years) ago?
If your site isn’t getting the traffic you want, now may be the time to leverage an SEO tool to help you master your SEO.
Search behavior has drastically changed in the last few months, and if you haven’t updated your target key terms, links, and content, you could be losing out on traffic — and sales.
Here are SEO strategies you can use to up your SEO game and capture a portion of that online traffic increase due to COVID-19 and stay at home orders.
First, update current content and create pillar content around your target keywords. What’s that?
Pillar pages, like this one from Zoma, explore everything you could ever want to know about memory foam. Simply repurpose this tactic for developer-related topics:
If you are overwhelmed, consider hiring a freelancer from a site like Toptal to do an SEO audit or even make the changes for you.
As a developer, you have the skills to add features like charts, embedded forms, and interactive content. Adding these features will help highlight the work you are capable of — just make sure the pages load fast, as page speed is an important SEO factor.
Start a Podcast to Improve Branding, Drive Leads, and Create Additional Revenue Streams
It might sound strange, but podcasts could be just the tool you need to drive leads — and even create an additional income stream outside of client work. A popular podcast establishes you as an expert developer that people will want to hire.
Nearly 70% of Americans are familiar with podcasts, and half of Americans report listening to podcasts regularly. Creating a podcast can help you build brand awareness in your space, attract new clients with your expertise, and open doors for connections and referrals.
You can use podcasts to repurpose content you’ve already published, interview industry experts, or just share your thoughts on the industry.
You can also drive income by including ads or by using podcasts to drive users to affiliate links where you earn a portion of sales.
If you are worried about making time to record your podcast, try using a calendar app to keep podcast recording sessions organized — especially if your podcast includes interviews.
Then, use a podcast editing program to add an intro and outro and send it live on platforms like iTunes!
Look for Guest Posting Opportunities to Increase Referrals
Guest posting is a tactic that has been around for some time. And as a freelance developer, it’s one that you can take advantage of quickly.
Creating guest column content on industry-relevant sites not only is beneficial for your brand, it’s an incredibly effective way to generate business while working from home.
According to Adam at Loganix: “Guest posting is also fantastic for increasing referral sales. So those working from home right now can benefit greatly from acquiring mentions across the internet, helping to open doors to new potential customers faster.”
Start by searching for industry sites and craft topics and headlines to pitch to their staff. Focus on creating the best content you can to both impress and educate readers while driving referral visits back to your homepage to convert.
Automate Parts of Your Sales Process
While some workers might find they have more time on their hands, others may have less. If business is picking up, or caring for other family members is taking up more of your time, consider looking for ways to automate your sales and conversion process.
Sales automation tools can help you stay organized and connected to sales prospects as they move through your funnel — with very little actual interaction.
For example, Reply.io allows you to create complex drip campaigns that reach out to prospects through email, LinkedIn, and even reminds you to make phone calls.
A word of caution — don’t over automate this process. Sales is still about people, so make sure you are taking the time to create personalized emails and create real connections, not just firing off automated messages without a second look.
Update Your Website UX
We’ve covered SEO, but when was the last time you took a deep look at how your website functions? Have you updated it in the last year or two? Now might be the right time to improve UX (which also impacts SEO!) and look for ways to pivot your current business model.
For example, if you own an event-based business, there’s a good chance you aren’t doing in-person events right now.
Pivoting to online events might help you bridge the gap, but it’s likely not driving as much revenue. Finding ways to make your event website more user-friendly will ensure you are prepared when business does pick up again.
Here are a few website changes that can help drive business now — and in the future.
- Create and publish a lead magnet to drive email sign-ups.
- Update older blog posts with new data.
- Check for security updates.
- Add popups to promote ebook sign-ups.
- Add a services page.
- Add links to social media accounts.
Personally, one of my favorite strategies is incorporating video content. According to CTC, video is far superior when it comes to “hooking” your audience in and increasing conversions.
Are there any changes you’ve wanted to make on your site but didn’t have the time or resources? Now might be the right time.
Nearly one in four small businesses have shut down due to COVID-19 — and many may never reopen. As a freelance developer, you may have a lot of anxiety about continuing to drive business during this time.
Finding ways to generate more business while working from home as a developer isn’t just about increasing revenue — for many freelancers, it could impact their ability to weather this crisis.
The strategies above can help you drive more business, but be careful as you navigate this time. Clients and consumers are paying attention to businesses that try to take advantage of the crisis. Instead, look for ways to provide value— and a helping hand, when you can.