The most important skills you need to possess as a Freelance Software Developer, providing software development expertise to global companies , unfortunately has nothing at all to do with software development! Marketing, Promotion, Sales, Project Management, Stakeholder Management, Negotiations and General Business Management are probably the most important skills you really need to master, actual software development skills although important are really only secondary.
If you haven't got the other skills, you're simply not going to survive as a remote freelance software developer. In my time, I have seen many come and go, all too often sighting they never realised just how hard attracting, gaining and retaining new customers can be.
You really need to have a well rounded skill set to survive and take every opportunity to explore and master new skills. Ironically, spending too much time perfecting your software development skills actually works against you!
Why I read this book?
When I initially started this blogging back in 2014, it was really just to learn new skills. I was exploring WordPress and trying to gain a better understanding of it. Primarily due in par, of its increased popularity amongst businesses as a quick way to get new business ideas and services out there, I was finding more and more potential customers were enquiring whether I had skills in the area. However, as a predominantly, Microsoft .net Development & Node.JS focused developer, I really had no experience of WordPress and PHP.
So I decided to spin up this blog and start learning all about it. This has been great not only in discovering a new passion i.e. writing tutorials and sharing my knowledge with the community out there. It also has helped me gain more customers., primarily as they can see I have skills in WordPress and have also developed my company website using WordPress .
Which has been great, but it has also made me aware that I know very little about practicalities and nuances involved in Digital Marketing. Sure I can spin up a website, develop features on it but I really had no idea what value and what would make those features work in making customers part with their cash to pay for them!
There was gaping black hole between technical proficiency and website profitability! Building high performance websites has nothing to do with code! Sure fast websites are important, but fast useless features are still pretty useless.
The problem is, there is a whole load of difference between writing for the Web and writing in general. The English, you use on the web, is very different from the English one will use on a daily basis.
Then there is also the skill of what is termed as Copy Writing and its alter ego Sales Copy Writing .
I had to learn how to write tutorials in a clear an unambiguous language, to ensure that people who are not native English speakers are able to understand. A skill which is quite difficult to master and I am still trying!
The other vitally important skill to master is SEO ( Search Engine Optimization), because its one thing writing tutorials its another to ensure that the people you want to help are able to find your tutorials on the Web!
It was by reading and implementing the basics I learned from SEO for Dummies I was able to ensure my site performs well in respect of SEO. Sure things can be improved, and it is something I continue to do on a daily basis.
Probably the most important thing I learned from implementing all the SEO advice and strategies contained in the book, is that in reality SEO is just one piece of an effective Digital Marketing strategy. SEO does not guarantee the success of a website.
I realised that I really needed to enhance my general Digital Marketing capabilities. So as in traditional Gary Woodfine strategy, I almost always reach out for a For Dummies book when I want to learn anything new.
I personally find the For Dummies range of books have been extremely helpful to learn new skills.
What I learned from this book
Digital Marketing or even Marketing in general is a vast area of expertise and it comprises of many separate niches of expertise. Just like Software Development, you can could just focus on one aspect and still not know everything. Things continually evolve and expand. However, there are still some basics that you can learn to get you started.
In my opinion, Digital Marketing For Dummies covers the basics really well! I certainly learned a lot from this book! Despite it only consisting of 312 pages. It was still 312 pages that took me over 6 months to get through!
The first 16 pages themselves took me well over a month to get through! In fact I think the first chapter by itself is worth the effort in buying the book!
Understanding the Customer Journey is by far the most important and even challenging aspect of any marketing campaign!
Marketing is still about developing a mutually beneficial relationships with prospects, leads and customers.
The development of this relationship is the customer journeyDigital Marketing for Dummies
It seems so simple to me now and it might even come across as common sense, but I can't telly how much of an epiphany moment the the opening chapter had on me!
The problem with developers, is that we tend to focus on the technical challenges of developing websites and applications. We very rarely get into why customers and users need to do the things they do, or even how to make money from it.
What I liked about this book
The thing I really liked about this book, is that each and every single chapter contains practical tips and strategies to help you to completely revolutionise your digital marketing capabilities.
I personally have been able to not only double my websites traffic, but also increase my sales generated by following aspects that I have been introduced to by this book.
I have also launched and revamped my start up company website, Denizon.com to sell 2 products we have developed over the years.
- FieldElite - Mobile Workforce Management Application
- Ecovaro - Energy Monitoring & Management Application
I will be the first to admit, that up until a few months ago I really had no idea on how I would go about selling these products. However, after working through Digital Marketing For Dummies I definitely have a clearer idea and we are gradually improving our sales pipeline and our conversion rates.
There is also an entire section in this book dedicated to Blogging for Business with really useful tips and strategies on how to create highly performing blog posts!
Why I recommend this book
This book has completely revolutionised my approach to blogging and digital marketing. I keep on revisiting a lot of sections of this book on a weekly basis, and it is really useful reference resource.