There are whole armies of freelancers who are willing to do all, or some of the work, required to set up, design, develop, promote and manage your blog. There are also lots of writers willing to write content for you.
As this is an international market you can find people willing to work from $5 per hour upwards. However, be a little bit cautious as the very low rates are likely to be at a low standard.
The internet is a great place for finding freelancers. You can just type a search command in Google, such as blog writer or WordPress theme developer and you will quickly find hundreds or thousands of people willing to work for you.
However, I advise using one of the freelancing sites, such as Elance or Guru, where you can post a job, businesses and individuals can bid for the job. You agree a price, select the one you want to use and away they go and in most cases you will find the work completed in a short time.
The advantage of this system is that the site acts as an escrow. That is before the job starts you deposit some money with the site. This is only released when you sign off the job. If the freelancer doesn’t deliver you get your money back. This protects both you and the freelancer. Many high quality professional freelancers use this system as it saves them hassling their clients for money.
For graphics, such as a logo for your site, I recommend the really excellent 99designs website. They have a pool of quality designers.
Managing a freelancer
The secret of managing a freelancer is by sitting down and thinking through what you actually want and then stating your requirements in writing.
Through the freelance sites you can then clarify your requirements through email with prospective freelancers.
Bloggers can use freelancers to:
Install WordPress and a theme
This should be quite straightforward and relatively cheap. It should take about an hour to do a basic installation and to load and install a particular theme.
It will obvious take more time, and therefore be more expensive, to install extra plugins and widgets, or provide training and advice.
Quite a lot of business website employ a freelancer to maintain their website: this could include making backups, updating the software, making modifications to the theme, changing widgets and plugins and providing support.
These contracts can be a set number of hours per month or an hourly fee as and when required. As you could employ someone from, say India or the Philippines, you could employ someone quite cheaply to do this work.
Theme development and customisation
There are a host of WordPress and other content management systems theme developers. You can get someone to either modify an existing theme or develop a theme from scratch.
The lowest price I’ve heard for a WordPress theme is $400 – the highest £14,000. For other systems I have heard of considerably higher fees.
My suggestion is that when specifying a theme is to search the net for websites you like, or look through the free and premium themes available and decide which features you like.
You can then specify the layout that is close to what you want. You can then specify the features and colour scheme that you may require.
Customisation of a theme: Here you just need to specify in detail the modifications that you need to make.
As an example I’ve used the StudioPress Freelance theme, (which has a good framework for a blog), with a different heading, and I have taken some of the features, such as the sidebar and colour scheme of the StudioPress Lexicon theme.
Promotion of the blog ranges from writing comments on sites in the blog’s niche, using social media, writing guest posts on related blogs to re-writing posts to include important key-words.
The routine work can be done very cheaply. However some of the more intensive, search engine optimisation work is highly paid.
There is a growing profession of content writing, where freelance writers write some or all of the blog’s content. Rates range from around $5 to around $40 a post for a 400 word post. Other contracts include weekly or monthly numbers of posts, usually with some discount on the cost per post rate.
The value of the writing goes up if the freelancer uploads the post, supplies images or has some expertise in search engine optimisation.
A word of caution: I have had more problems with writers than any other group of freelancers. My advice is to offer a number of small writing contracts on a freelance site and see the quality and reliability of the different writers.
For some blogs a variety of writing styles may also be beneficial as the subject can be approached from different angles.
For some blogs, particularly business blogs, it might be the best solution to employ freelancers to sort out the technical and design, promotion and content writing.
I recommend using a freelance site, such as Elance or Guru, to find a wide range of professionals and to give yourself some protection.
You need to specify very clearly what you want or you could have communication problems with your selected freelancer.
Over the you
Have you used freelancers?