Freelance Writing vs. Blogging – What’s the Difference?

So you’re looking at starting a new career or side hustle and you’ve narrowed down your choices to freelance writing and blogging. Great! Now which do you choose? After all, writing is writing, right? Not exactly. While money can be made with both of these popular options and they do afford you the freedom to do the work from home (or anywhere else you choose), there are numerous differences between the two with pros and cons to each. In this article we will look at a few of the key differences to help you choose the path that’s best for you.

Blogging 

The Upside

  1. Freedom of creativity

A blog is an excellent platform for you to share your insights and personal stories with the world and you can start one without a big initial cash outlay. You’ll have the freedom to write what you like in your own unique style and create your own personal brand. Blogging is a fun way to express your creativity and make some extra money at the same time. And you can do all this in your pajamas.

  1. You can monetise your blog

If you have a specific skill set or passion, that can become your niche and once you have a few posts up and start getting visitors (traffic) you can monetise your blog in a few ways such as affiliate links or banner advertisements. Knowledge of SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) is vital to getting your blog up the Google rankings so more people see it – more on that later. You could also create eBooks, courses, or tutorials you can sell on your blog if you have skills and knowledge others would pay to learn.

  1. Choose your team

If you’re not a fan of having to deal with many different people every day, blogging would suit you. You won’t have clients to answer to and you get to choose your collaborators.

Tip – Before starting a blog, do some research. There are many free blogging platforms, but some do not allow ads or affiliate links and they may reserve the right to delete your blog at any time. I suggest creating your own website. It will cost a bit (you’ll need to pay for a domain name and hosting) but it’s easier than you think, and you’ll be in control.

Setting up a post on WordPress, something you'll want to hear whether freelancing or blogging

The Downside

  1. It takes a while

You’ll need to be patient. It can take quite a while to build up a following. Unless you’re already extremely popular, it could take up to a few months to build your reader base and the less traffic your blog gets, the less money you’ll make. You will also constantly need to plan and write fresh content to keep your readers coming back and advertise wherever possible to get more eyes on your blog. The more readers you get, the more attractive your blog will be to potential advertisers but it may still be difficult to land lucrative deals.

  1. You’ll face a lot of competition

Another challenge you’re likely to face is competition. With blogging being so cheap and easy to start, the market is flooded with many bloggers all vying for the attention of readers and advertisers.

  1. It’s an unstable income source

If you’re starting a blog with the aim of getting money it is possible, but it can take a long time and your income may vary greatly from month to month. If you’re in need of quick and consistent cash, blogging may not be for you.

  1. It’s hard work

As with other freelance careers you might find yourself doing everything normally handled by company departments. Yes, that includes taxes. 

Not being office-bound comes with freedom but you won’t get paid days off and if you’re a fan of the occasional work lunch, the lack of co-workers could make for long workdays alone.

Is writing a blog worth it?

It’s hard to build up an income blogging, it needs dedication, consistency as well as business and marketing smarts. You can no longer say ‘write it and they will come’. Not only will you have to write consistently to make blogging worth it, you’ll have to produce engaging content that people actually want to read and then make sure those people see it. This is where SEO knowledge could make or break you. Learning the different facets of SEO can show you how to find the keywords and structure the article in such a way that more people see it.

Freelance Writing

What is freelance blogging?

As mentioned, blogging is time-consuming. Some people hire freelance bloggers with the time and skills (like writing in your brand’s ideal tone-of-voice, engaging your audience and winning readers with SEO) to write posts or even run the entire blog on their behalf. If a client requires only the post, they will tell you what they need written, you write and submit it, they okay it and you get paid. Very straightforward. Managing the entire blog involves quite a bit more keyword research, hub page creation, content calendar planning and topic relevance-building, all the while demonstrating a site’s expertise, authority and trust.

How to get started freelance blogging

If freelance blogging sounds like something you’d enjoy, there are many job platforms you can visit. For beginners I suggest Freelancer.com, Upwork and PeoplePerHour. If you already have a good amount of experience, YunoJuno caters to skilled freelancers who wish to charge higher rates. Thousands of businesses and individuals from all over the world post jobs on sites such as these so you’re bound to find something that suits you. 

Before you sign up with any job platform make sure you read the Ts & Cs. Some sites allow you to apply for positions for free while others charge a small fee.
My freelancing career all started with £20 to spend on advertising my services – and I used no cold outreach methods.

The Upside

  1. It’s lucrative if you can put the work in

This can be a lucrative career. As a freelance writer you will earn from your first project. Companies hire you (often on a per project basis) to write anything from copy for their website to informational pamphlets for new product launches. It all depends on their industry. Unlike a salary there’s no cap on your earnings and if you can bang out lots of quality, publish-ready content for numerous clients, you could get a good and consistent income.

  1. Know more? Earn more

Freelance writers can be generalists or specialists. Generalists will write just about anything; they are given a topic, word count and deadline and will need to go research the subject. This can be interesting and informative as you’ll learn new things while you’re researching. Specialists are those who have expertise in a particular field and so can write about it confidently. Specialist writers are also often paid more so if you do have knowledge or interest in a particular subject, brush up on it and market it to potential clients.

  1. Freedom

I don’t just mean the freedom to work your own hours,skip the daily commute and take more holidays-those are great, but temporary. A longer-term freedom is getting to choose your own career direction and make it happen on your time. No sitting in a cubicle waiting for someone to retire or resign so you can take their spot on the ladder.

It’s also a lot easier, especially for the introverts among us, as you’ll get to choose who you work with and good riddance to office politics. You might not like everyone you encounter but at least you won’t have to see them every day.
Tip – Create a website for your freelance writing business. It is an inexpensive way to market yourself and showcase your work especially if you are a specialist in a certain field. Potential clients will get to know a bit about you, see examples of work you have done, and you can add any testimonials you may have from previous happy clients. This may give you an increased chance of getting hired than being just a name on a job website application. If you need a hand with your freelancing business website, I can help you set it up for FREE with my freelancer website setup service (at absolutely no cost to you)!

Interested in freelance blogging? Your questions answered.

The Downside

  1. It can get dull

Creativity on demand can be tough and it can get monotonous if you are tasked with constantly writing on topics that you have zero interest in. You’ll need to push through until you build a good reputation and client base and can pick the projects you want to work on; there’s no telling how long that could take. There are plenty of freelance websites on which you can look for work. Some are free but others charge you a small fee to apply for listed jobs. Like blogging, there’s a lot of competition in this field too with some writers charging very little in order to get the client. You will have to decide how much your time and talent are worth.

  1. Anonymity

If you want to become a household name, freelance writing is not the best way to go. As is sometimes the case, as soon as your submitted work is accepted, it becomes the property of the company you are writing for. You may be prohibited from using it anywhere else, even as an example on your own website, and your name will not appear on it.

  1. None of the corporate benefits

There are some perks to working in a traditional office environment which you won’t have. Prepare to do your own taxes and all of life’s other necessities that often involve reams of paperwork and queues. 

Sure, you could hire someone to take care of the numbers but that will take a chunk out of your income (which may not be initially huge). Brush up on your knowledge of the finance side of things. Acquiring the basic skills won’t cost a mint. Try an online course or speak to a friend in the profession. Trust me, you’ll thank yourself when you need to start filing those returns. 

Instead of having one boss that gives you regular tasks, you’ll have to go pitch to clients and juggle all their projects at the same time. If you have a deadline or two looming you won’t be able to call in a favour from the next-door office for help. And don’t expect paid leave when it all gets a bit much. Good time management skills will become increasingly important so work on those from the beginning to avoid burnout.

It can also get lonely. If you are a people person and have spent a few years in an office environment you may find this very difficult.

Is freelancing worth it?

That’s for you to decide. I can help you visualise the numbers – for some people this is the biggest factor – but the final decision will depend on you and your individual goals and dreams. The wonderful thing about freelancing is that it’s not a life sentence. You don’t need to change your whole existence overnight. Try it out. Start looking around at the options that you feel would suit you.

Blogging and freelancing pros and cons

So, to summarise:

Blogging

ProsCons
Freedom of creativityYou’ll face a lot of competition
You can monetise your blogIt takes time to start earning
Choose who you work withIt’s not a stable source of income
Make your own hoursIt is hard work
Earn even when not workingDo your own taxes/admin
No daily commuteCan be a lonely career path
Work in your comfy clothesNo paid leave or sick days

Freelancing

ProsCons
Can be lucrativeIt can get dull
Learn while you workYou may not become well known
Freedom to choose your directionHave to do all your taxes/admin
You can work soloSeveral deadlines at a time
Work from anywhereYou’ll need to hunt for clients

Does a freelancer need a blog?

Aspiring freelance writers often ask me, “Should I have a blog?”. A better question may be, “Would having a blog benefit my career?” You can have a blog if you want but you don’t necessarily need one. All your posts will be written in your style so won’t showcase your ability. It may be a far better use of your time and effort to put together an attractive portfolio which will better demonstrate your versatility to a broad group of clients.

So, which is right for you?

Freelance writers can have many job opportunities but only get paid when they have work to do. Monetising your blog may bring in less money, but it could be fairly consistent as any ads or links will still be clicked on by readers even when you are not actively writing a post.

If you have the time, you may want to start a blog while hunting for freelance writing opportunities; having various income streams is always the smart choice.

It all boils down to what goals you have set for yourself and how quickly you want to achieve them. Regardless which path you choose, it’s always a good idea to up your skill set. A working knowledge of SEO (search engine optimization) is a must-have in a digital world. 

As a blogger, you can use these skills to generate more traffic to your blog resulting in a larger readership and higher income. For the freelance writers out there, SEO is a must! Being able to potentially get your client’s website on the first page of Google search results will put you at the head of the pack of job applicants.

My online course, Master SEO Copywriting, will equip you with the skills you need to go from beginner to expert. From finding useful keywords to crafting engaging copy to get your writing up search engine ranks, you will learn all you need to know about writing  SEO content.

The course includes:

  • 18 lessons across 5 topics (Understanding the real point of SEO copy, Choosing a topic, Planning and structuring a page, Writing for people and search engines, Understanding the technical side)
  • Practical exercises
  • Video introduction to each new topic
  • Access to a support forum
  • 1:1 email support
  • Video call surgery time for ‘face to face’ Q&A

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