This post contains tips from our interview with Madefromhome, a startup founded by Siddharth Goenka that focuses on creating economic opportunities for creative professionals and freelancers.
I derive satisfaction from mentoring candidates and talent and helping them upgrade their lives with permanent services and professional placements. Supporting their growth, unleashing their imagination, and helping them live a much-dreamt life has made my journey enriching and meaningful.
Over the past 21 years of my service, I have mentored and grown with numerous creative talents with whom I now share a close familial tie.
Here are some of my tips for emerging freelance designers and creative professionals.
Related: 13 top freelancing websites in India
1. Leveraging free digital learning plans from Google
Building every new organization involves invaluable lessons. As we started out, at every step, we took it upon ourselves to learn about each facet, analyze, apply and move a step forward.
To begin with, we took the Google Digital Course to understand the basics of the technology. With that in perspective, we were better equipped to build what we really wanted for our MVP/beta site.
We then knew exactly where we were heading with the next upgrade, what we needed, what tools we would like to add, and what would be most valuable as we grow to the next stage.
The Google Digital course helped us drill down to the smallest details of requirements and possibilities.
We were fascinated to debunk a lot of myths. We gained knowledge about how analytics work and what to look for in a data bank of stories.
We could understand with great clarity how search engines work and how we need to align, evolve and grow ourselves with each platform while they are evolving too.
2. Optimizing content strategy
Case studies taught us that peer-to-peer communities thrive on the success of each other and not on individual successes.
For example, to crack the SEO code and get our website on top of the search engine results, we formulated the following steps. We are happy to pass on this information to other startups like us.
- Write a two-line synopsis of the company, its stakeholders (back end and front end).
- Write goals that both need to achieve.
- Write the adjoining synopsis that defines the platform which connects both.
- Create an inventory or wish-list for the digital presence. For example, search engines, Google Business, social media pages, websites, etc.
- Space out the digital goals over six months, 12 months, 18 months, and 24 months. Assign estimated costs, time, and resources for each stage and requirements to achieve them.
- Take stock of competitors’ communications.
- Define clear synopsis for Page Titles, Meta Descriptions, and all images and content to be used on the website. Nomenclatures of all the uploaded content should maintain a linear structure.
- Set up Google Search Console. This is also where one can check the website’s health and visibility in Google Search.
- Start creating an SEO plan with the above points in mind first. Then create a list of keywords that resonate with the synopsis of the website page/pages’ titles, Meta Tags, and content nomenclatures.
- Brainstorm the keywords and long-tail keywords (three to five-word phrases) with the help of Google (you can find tips on how to do this here). Focus down on keyword strings that apply to the product or service.
- Find the right balance and relevance between the keywords and the website content, page descriptions, and meta tags.
- Keep innovating and researching the keywords using Google Search Console.
3. Demystifying SEO
The key to optimizing a site for search engines lies in understanding that SEO begins with the end in mind i.e., keywords. Keywords are the words/text that a user types in a search bar.
Create a good bank of about 20 keywords, including long-tail keywords. When searching for specific results, users type longer queries of three or more words, for more relevant results.
Long-tail keywords are specific because users know exactly what they are searching for. Short-tail words, on the other hand, are used for generic searches. For example, researching a product before purchase.
The quickest returns are often found by employing long-tailed keywords that drive the most valuable traffic to your website.
Long-tail keywords typically offer a vastly higher return on investment (ROI). That does not mean one does not invest in short-tail keywords. However, the game is a longer one here!
Editor’s note: Here are some of the SEO tools offered by GoDaddy that can help you get your site Google Ready.
A few things to remember
These are the words your target audience would be using to search or reach out to websites they are looking for.
Now, equipped with the entire set of keywords, use them as the core base of your website content. Make sure that they resonate with the website title, metadata, headings, and content.
So, to get your SEO right, start from the customer end: find the exact keywords that your audience is using to find businesses or services like yours.
The importance of client communication
As a freelancer, there is a very heavy mandate to control creative freedom. This happens mainly due to two reasons:
- Unavailability of a brand guide
- Lack of clarity on the brief and expectations
In a nutshell, communication plays a key benefactor.
The idea is to avail both the freelancer and the business, a certain leeway in art and creativity.
This way, individual skill sets, and styles can be prominently visible in the work produced.
Such freedom can only be derived with correct alignment of expectations, communication, and understanding of the project and the stakeholders. This gap needs to be bridged.
Madefromhome has developed its own set of parameters for brief and feedback communication. With the help of this framework, freelancers attain maximum potential in the least amount of time. This, in turn, accelerates the turn-around time and credibility.
There are opportunities for every creative individual to deliver high-impact and long-lasting expressions of their talents and perspectives through work that holds value for them and their audience.
Siddharth Goenka has been a Creative Executive Producer. He went on to launch a News Channel for Star and later, a General Entertainment channel for NDTV. After a long stint with television channels, he spent years learning the craft of advertising from Print – Radio – Television, and Digital Media. From the past years, his focus has been shifted to digital and branded content.