SEOno News

3 Things I’ve Learnt 3 Years Into Self-Employment

Three coffees imageIt’s been a month of birthdays…

In addition to this very blog turning 5-years-old very recently, on 7th May my freelance business – – reaches its 3rd birthday.

Way back in 2013, only a mere 3 months after taking the plunge, I wrote a post titled 3 Things I’ve Learnt 3 Months Into Self-Employment. 33 months later, I wanted to pass on 3 more things I’ve discovered now that I have a longer-term view of freelancing life, and I also thought that it might be interesting to revisit the initial 3 things I blogged about – to see if they’re just as true/more true/less true – now that a whole bunch of time has passed…

3 Things I’ve Learnt 3 Years On

Alrighty then… Let’s go.

1) You can’t say “yes” to everything

As you’ll see below (or here), the #1 of my original ‘3 Things’ was also about saying “yes” – but it was from the other person’s perspective. This time it’s about me saying yes.

You often hear the common wisdom that is to “say yes to everything.” A guy I know and look up to on the Cardiff entrepreneurship scene admitted to me that he follows this course, saying yes to absolutely everything/anything that comes his way and never turning anything down.

But you know what? That’s borderline foolish. (Sorry person-referenced-above-who-I-have-now-insulted…)

Because when you say yes to something, you could be saying “no” to something else.

So while you can say yes to everything, you probably shouldn’t. Our time is finite, so if you agree to do something and it takes x hours to do, you can’t save or reuse those hours on something else (unless you sacrifice time from something else, such as time spent on a hobby, with family/friends, or sleeping). What if you say yes to something good, but then something great comes along, and you can’t do the great thing because you’re busy doing the good thing? That would suck, wouldn’t it?

You have to be careful about what you choose to do and not just say yes to things willy-nilly. It may seem harsh and even cruel to say no to certain things, but you have to be careful and tactical with your time.

I certainly feel like I’m getting better at this, especially in the past year or so.

2) Do away with distractions

Early on in my freelancing career, I was a moderator for for a time. I took to the moderating quite obsessively, upsetting some people in the process (but that’s a whooole other story…!), before quitting for good. While I was doing it though, I noticed that I was doing it a lot. To touch upon the above point, our time is finite. I could’ve spent that time differently – especially in the early days of freelancing.

I don’t regret it too much though. The whole upsetting-people thing aside, I made a lot of great contacts and friends in the SEO industry while I was living and breathing, and it helped to get my name out there. Hell, I’ve not contributed on there for years and yet I’m still in their Top 50 all-time members as I type this, hah!

…But at the same time, it wouldn’t have helped with sales or client acquisition, at a time when that was absolutely crucial to focus on. Obviously I did ok in the end (otherwise I wouldn’t be writing this!) but it might’ve been a much smoother ride if it’d been distraction-free.

So, if you’ve got any distractions in your life, try and put them to one side. (He says, still absolutely obsessed with Twitter… We’ve all gotta have at least one vice, right? Right.)

3) The community around you is so, so important

I harp on about them all the time (most likely to the point of causing boredom and sickness), but I love Welsh ICE more than I can explain. The coworking space and startup community just outside Cardiff has been pivotal to my freelancing success.

When I first looked into coworking, I thought it consisted of just three things: a desk, coffee, and WiFi. Oh and I knew that I’d go stir-crazy it I worked from home all day everyday, spending every waking minute talking to my cats. But there’s been much more to it than that: I’ve had support from members (whether it be dedicated mentoring sessions or a simple pick-your-brains moment with someone who’s been-there-and-done-it); I’ve networked with members; members have passed on referrals to prospective clients; members have become clients (including the space itself!); I’ve hired members to do things for me; we’ve collaborated on projects together; and so on. I’ve also made a bunch of friends up there (aww).

I’ve read (well, listened to) quite a few books recently, and most of them have said that you need to surround yourself with positive people and not negative people. Places like ICE aren’t perfect for sure, and I don’t get on with absolutely everyone (because life just ain’t that perfect), but there’s certainly more of the former than the latter. And their on-going support has been really important to me.

Click to read more!

SEOno is 5

Birthday cake image
This April, SEOno (this very blog) turned 5-years-old.*

Since my very first post on 1st April 2011 – the innovatively titled “My previous posts for other blogs and sites“, which wasn’t an April Fool (despite the date) – I have published 141 posts totalling 144,481 words (whaaat?!), an average of 990 words per post.**

…I need to get out more.

In all seriousness though, I’ve enjoyed running this blog, which I always only ever considered a hobby (I still do), and yet it’s helped me to learn a more about SEO as I work on it, and has even helped me to win clients for Morgan Online Marketing (my SEO freelancing business).

Here’s to another 5 years! 🙂

* Hilariously (to me anyway), I thought my first post was on 30th April 2011, so I was going to post this on Saturday and say “I posted my first post five years ago today!”… only to realise that it was actually 1st April. Oops. So much for that plan. Numpty.

** Kudos to Dashboard Wordcount for that quick little insight.

[Image credit – Andy Eick]

I’m Leaving SEO to Start a Career in Modelling

** Sorry, modelling industry! This was an April Fool. See my AF from 2014 here. **

The other day I announced the launch of Cardiff SEO Meet. It’s generated a bit of PR interest (due out next week), and in addition to being asked to pass on info about the meetup, I was asked to provide a photo. Rather than to simply pass on a picture of the logo and call it a day, I decided to get some proper photos done. Joe of Eyes Open Media kindly took some photos of me in Welsh ICE‘s courtyard.

Anyone who knows me well knows that I hate how I look in photos (this is one of the only photos I’ve ever liked, which is why it was my avatar on Twitter, LinkedIn and almost everything else for 5+ years…). Joe’s done an extraordinary job, but I’m a self-critical git who hates various facial features.

Steve Morgan Cardiff SEO Meet photo 1
Steve Morgan Cardiff SEO Meet photo 2
Steve Morgan Cardiff SEO Meet photo 3

  • Uneven eyes? Check.
  • Crooked teeth? Check.
  • Horrendous bags under my eyes? CHECK.

But then… from out of nowhere… one photo bowled me over:

Steve Morgan Zoolander pose photo
Oh my.

Let me just zoom in on that:

Steve Morgan Zoolander pose (close-up) photo
That look – that Zoolander-style pose – made me realise something. I can do this. I can do this for a living. No more keyword research. No more inbound link building strategising. No more 301s, 404s, canonicals or hreflang. I am a born model.

Just so long as I do that pose. And only that pose. Ever.

…But I’m confident that I can.

So here I am, making this announcement via blog post – just like Jonathan Colman did years ago when he announced his move from SEO to UX. I hope that you will support me in my journey to modelling stardom.

Vote for SEOno in the UK Blog Awards 2016!

Vote for SEOno in the UK Blog Awards 2016
UPDATE: Voting is now closed!

Just like last year, SEOno has been entered into the UK Blog Awards 2016 (#UKBA16).

Last year I made the shortlist of PR, Media, Marketing & Comms blogs in the Individual (non-Company) section. I didn’t win, losing out to industry peer Matthew Barby… who I’ve noticed is up for it again this year. Game on… 😉

As it says on my profile, I think the blog’s old design let the side down, plus my writing style – and blog topics covered – have improved this year in my opinion. So who knows… maybe I’ll do better this time around! I guess we’ll have to wait and see.

It takes less than 30 seconds to vote, so if you’re a fan of this blog or you’ve found some of its advice useful then I’d really appreciate a vote. Just go to my dedicated profile page (, scroll to the bottom, enter your name and email address, choose one or both* of the categories, and you’re done! You can even vote more than once (on different days) if you feel like it!

* *cough*both*cough*

The first phase (the public vote) ends on Monday 25th January, so if you’re reading this before that date then please vote now!

Thanks in advance – here’s to a good 2016!

A (Long Overdue) Theme Change & New Logo for SEOno

SEOnoOver the weekend I finally got round to implementing a new WordPress theme on SEOno. The last time I did so was nearly three years ago (October 2012) and while the previous theme – SmartOne – had been an absolute pleasure to use over the years, it was starting to look and feel a little dated, so inevitably I felt that it was time for a change…

I’ve always liked the idea of using a plain, minimalist theme, so the new theme – Emphasize – mostly retains that feeling. In fact, I’ve gone as far as editing the theme’s colour scheme to mostly match the previous theme…! I’ll probably keep tinkering away and making the occasional tweak here and there, so what you see now might not end up being the finished product.

I also decided to get an official logo for the blog – the first time that I’ve done so. Previously I simply took a screenshot of the previous theme’s title (which was basic italic text in blue) and called that my logo, which was… naff. When I was asked to give a logo to the UK Blog Awards last year (I was shortlisted in a category), it felt a little embarrassing. So now I have something proper. Well, I say “proper”… It was generated using the Hipster Logo Generator. Say what you will… I’m happy with it. Besides, having a hipster logo kind of fits with the often tongue-as-cheek-as-f*ck style of the blog, don’t you think? 😉

What’s interesting is that I was recently chatting to a designer that I know via Twitter and it seemed odd to him that I was going the cheap/DIY route with this and not investing in it properly. I guess that I’ve always liked going down the DIY route – especially with the blog – even at the risk of aesthetics. I’m certainly no designer (saying so would be an insult to the design community!) so I know that it probably could be better, but for now I’m happy with keeping things simple.

I welcome any and all feedback – good or bad. Feel free to email me, tweet me or drop a comment below.