Online Freelancing Project Search Methods
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Searching for Specific Keywords
The most specific search method is to use the search function on the site to look for projects containing particular keywords. For example, if you specialize in WordPress programming, you might search for “wordpress” in the programming category, rather than scanning the entire category for Wordpress jobs.
The main advantage here, of course, is time savings: by doing specific searches, you will only bring up projects that have a high probability of being of relevance to you, and you’ll spend a minimum of time filtering projects you don’t care about. The main disadvantage is also obvious: you’re going to miss a lot. That includes not only projects that might not be exactly what you want but will still be of interest, and also projects you’d like to do but that didn’t show up in your search for whatever reason (for example, the client put “wrodpress” in his project description by mistake).
I generally consider this option to be ideal only for experienced freelancers, those who already have quite a lot of work to keep them busy, and those in very specific niche fields where particular keywords routinely appear in listings.
Some contractors enjoy browsing project listings on the freelancing sites they use, but others find this time-consuming, a nuisance, or even not feasible at all in some circumstances. Fortunately, most sites offer special tools and features to help freelancers find new projects efficiently.
The most basic option is the RSS feed. “RSS” stands for “Really Simple Syndication”, and is a Web-based technology that allows sites to inform you when new content arrives, without you having to go looking for it. It’s nearly ideal for the project search process, because it saves you from constantly refreshing listing pages to see what’s new. It’s also great for those who work on multiple sites, because you can use an RSS aggregator to view new projects from many sources all in one place.
Sites vary in the power and flexibility of their RSS offerings. Some only have one feed that includes all new projects posted. Some offer category-specific feeds, so you can see only the projects in the category or categories you work in. Certain sites actually let you create a customized RSS feed based on parameters that you select.
In addition to RSS feeds, some sites have an email notification feature, which will email you when a project meeting certain criteria is posted. This is usually only used for specific keyword searches, since you probably would not want to receive an email every time a new project of any type was posted!
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Last Site Update: February 1, 2012
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