In today’s blog post, I thought it apropos to answer a question I received from a reader. Sometimes, I think those of us who are more experienced leave newbies out because well, “everyone should know that, right?”
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So, here’s a question a lot of aspiring or new freelance writers might wonder about. The reader, Fred, wrote the following to me:
QUESTION: Hi Yuwanda, I realize you’re busy, so if you don’t have time to deal with my question, I completely understand. I can take it like a man, sort of. Do you have any thoughts on blogs? As I scour the ads, there are a lot of people looking for blog writers. The pay isn’t much, but might this be a good way to get start building a resume, since I ain’t got much right now? Thanks for any insight you can provide, and keep up the great work on your blog. There’s a lifetime of information on it.
MY ANSWER: Fred, I think any experience you can pick up to start building your freelance writing resume is a good thing. But, like most things in life, there are some guidelines that should be followed. Following are a few as they relate to blogging to build your resume.
Guidelines for Using Blogging to Build a Freelance Writing Resume
How You Begin is How You Will End: My mother used to say this a lot. What exactly does it mean here? If you start out taking low and no-paying blogging gigs to build your freelance writing resume, it will take you longer to start making any real money as a freelance writer.
While blogging/writing for free will definitely get you credentials, you can also get them by simply writing sample articles for your portfolio and/or donating your writing skills to a charity (an excellent outlet in my opinion) if you’re going to write for free.
The point I’m trying to make is – don’t start out with the mentality of “I have to write for free to build my portfolio.” You don’t!
Unless the blogging gig is with a major site that’s going to get you noticed, I wouldn’t consider doing it for free just to get samples.
Guest Posting: In an article I wrote for this blog a couple of weeks ago entitled 5 Rules to Adhere to When Approaching Others to Write for Your Blog, I outlined some things to think about if you want others to guest post on your blog.
If you’re considering guest posting on other blogs, read these tips from the other perspective – ie, what do YOU, the guest blogger, get out of it.
Start Your Own Blog: Instead of blogging/writing for others for free to get freelance writing samples, start your own blog. In your instance, I would figure out what niche I wanted to target, and start a blog talking to that niche. This will serve a double purpose:
(i) Position you as an expert: To make real use of this, watch the news and do short blog posts about what’s relevant to the industry you’re targeting. For example, I write a lot in the real estate/mortgage industry. If I were just starting out, I’d start a blog around that right now.
(ii) Provide ready writing samples for clients: Continuing with the example cited above, to get good writing samples out of your blog, as news about the real estate/mortgage market is in the news almost every day, you can post numerous times a day to your blog.
Your blog posts could be simple abstracts of industry articles, your thoughts on a particular industry happening and/or new articles you thought of because of something you read in the news. Or, it could be a combination of all three.
Whichever method you use adds up to samples, samples, samples. Don’t forget to include a link to your blog whenever you query clients.
If there’s one thing I wish new freelance writers would remember – you don’t have to write for free to build a freelance writing portfolio.
And please, please, please, I beg of you, stay away from the $2 article writing gigs and sites that offer such garbage work – especially if they promise “more work.” It practically never happens and if it does, oh joy, you get to write 100 more articles for the same $2. One of these assignments will do more to turn you off freelance writing as a career, than get you excited about it – which is what you should be.
As these guidelines illustrate, there are numerous ways to go about getting freelance writing samples without giving your talent away. Good luck!
eCommerce: 3 Simple Ways to Increase Traffic, Sales and Revenue
For most people blogging is used as a fun and easy way to share their lifestyle or write about their passion. But for some this hobby had become their profession.
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Nowadays there are many options to make money with a blog – for example by getting paid for advertising products. Another way is to add your own eCommerce to the blog and sell the products that you are passionate about in your own web store. Creating an online shop can be the first step into your life as a digital nomad or simply being your own boss.
A few years ago, it was necessary to work with a professional developer to integrate an online store to your website. Especially for small manufacturers, this meant a huge investment before they could even start selling their products. Nowadays setting up a web store has become a lot easier and cheaper: Platforms like Shopify can easily be integrated in existing domains and therefore help makers and crafters to start their own eCommerce without professional help. Once you have set up your own Shopify store it is all about increasing the traffic. A bigger reach will eventually lead to a higher number of sales and more revenue.
So, let’s have a look at three simple steps to do so:
1 – Turn your small business into a smart business…
…by adding automation and product management to your website. When launching your business, it might be fine to keep track of the orders in an Excel spreadsheet at first. But since you expect your business to grow it will become one of the most important things to have a management platform in place that allows you to process orders and handle inventory professionally. Therefore, it can be handy to add a production planning and scheduling software as integration to your existing web store. An easy-to-use solution for Shopify-users is the Shopify inventory integration that adds products to your website, manages inventory or tracks shipments.
2 – Make your products sound and look good…
…by adding high-quality images and longer product descriptions to your page. Not only will this make your eCommerce look more professional, but it is also a great way to increase your traffic by reaching a higher rank in the search results. If you are not able to create these yourself, you can outsource writing or graphic design work to freelancers on sites like Fiverr or Upwork.
3 – Don’t stop blogging…
…or get it started if you haven’t done so yet. While it is exciting to start your own business it also takes a lot of time and energy to set everything up. Anyhow, this should not lead to giving up on your blog. Why? Because a growing eCommerce site and an active blog go hand in hand. And remember: The content of your blog should be interesting to your targeted audience and contain at least one thousand words in order to effectively rank in the search results. Here are some examples of the top eCommerce blogs for inspiration.
…and that is it!
You are now almost ready to start your own eCommerce! In addition to following these three steps, it is always good to keep an eye on your ecommerce competitors. Do not steal their idea but have a look at what is working for them and aim to go beyond that. As long as you focus on your product, the content of your site and a growing search ranking you will successfully manage to increase your traffic, the sales and the revenue of your business.
Should You Answer that Blogging Question Again?
“Ryan, how do I increase blog traffic?”
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“Ryan, how do I make money blogging?”
If I had a dime for every blogger who asked me each question I’d have quite a few dimes. Toss in all the times I observe bloggers asking each question via Quora and various Facebook Groups and you have as many dimes as grains of sand in the Sahara Desert.
I know what you are thinking; should you answer the same question for the 2nd time, 10th time or 100th time? Confusing. One part of you wishes to be generous. Another part of you fears missing an opportunity to help someone who can be a potential client or customer. Another part of you feels annoyed at being asked the question again. Another part of you feels annoyed at embracing and releasing the guilt of ignoring the question.
Should you answer these common blogging questions again and again?
Of course not.
Answering the same, common question more than 1 or 2 times is:
- an inefficient use of your time
- amateur hour stuff
Here’s what I do to:
- answer questions quickly and easily
- open myself up to more potential blogging business through possible clients and customers
- be calm, cool, collected and at peace despite being asked the same question many times
Are you ready?
Write a blog post!
Or write and self-publish an eBook.
If someone asks me how to drive more traffic to my blog I send them this link:
Or I send ’em a link from any one of my myriad blog traffic driving posts on Blogging From Paradise.
If someone asks about specific income streams for making money through their blogs I send them a link to my eBook:
Or if someone asks how to make money through guest posting I send them this link from my guest post on the blog of the awesome Enstine Muki:
What an easy, simple, efficient, effective way to:
- answer a common question many times
- answer a common question in 1-2 seconds
- drive traffic to my blog
- increase my blogging profits
- help people, and be helped by people through their prospering of me
- avoid anger
- avoid annoyance
- avoid judging people who have no idea how to blog
Fools complain about new bloggers asking the same, old questions. Why does a new blogger ask a question? They have no idea how to blog! Duh. Why anger at their ignorance? Why get annoyed that you need to answer the question again? Write a blog post answering the question. Send the blog post to anybody who asks the question. Seize opportunities to help people and to drive traffic and profits to your blog.
Do you own Gmail? I do not. Since I do not own Gmail it’d be foolish for me to answer questions via Gmail when I can be answering the same question on my self-hosted blog. I own Blogging From Paradise. I own that online real estate. Answer questions on your owned cyber real estate. Brand you. Grow your business. Increase your traffic. Keep the ball in your court. Have posture.
If I spend 10 minutes answering a question for 1 human I am a fool when I could spend 45 minutes answering the question for 100, or 10,000 or 1,000,000 humans, by writing a helpful blog post answering the question and sending the blog post link to all future folks who ask the question. Plus; when the post goes live, I answer common questions passively, said common questions no doubt in the minds of thousands of bloggers out there.
Leverage. Write a blog post. Do not help one person. Help 10,000 people. Save your time and energy. Make more money.
Matthew Loomis at Build Your Own Blog is a smart guy. Peep his home page. He lays out clear, concise steps for building your blog via his sidebar. You just know how many people asked him the common, pressing, basic blogging questions that he skillfully answered through those clear steps.
He leveraged his knowledge. He answered common questions BEFORE people asked him common blogging questions. Smart! Help a ton of folks quickly and easily. Drive blog traffic. Increase blogging profits. Lower your bounce rate. Improve the amount of time people spend on your blog.
Write a blog post. Send the blog post link to anybody who asks the common blogging question.
Why Cold Pitching and Bartering Do Not Work in Blogging
2 words: nobody cares.
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I just checked my email. One stranger who came in cold – as strangers always do – emailed me a reply:
“Is that your lowest price?”
I deleted his email. On a day when feeling less compassionate, I junk the email. Label it as spam. Why?
I genuinely care about someone who genuinely cares about me. I do not care much about a stranger who tries to barter with me when he ignored the email where I told him my final, fixed, non-negotiable price. Thousands of strangers have tried this approach. Thousands of strangers get ignored.
That was one of the bartering emails.
I received a handful of cold pitch emails. Bloggers emailed me as strangers, asking to guest post on my site. 90% did not even bother to address me by name.
2 words: nobody cares. Meaning, I do not care about them. I delete. I ignore. I move on.
I checked my spam folder to delete the emails. I scanned. 3 more pitch emails popped up in spam. The bloggers pitching through these emails pissed off enough bloggers to ensure; all future emails of theirs land in spam. Try building a blogging business from the spam folder. I dare you.
Genuinely, nobody cares.
Imagine someone knocking on the door of your home right now. Go ahead. Visualize this scenario.
This person wants to sell you a vacuum cleaner. You shut the door in their face unless you are 1 of 1,000,000 people who would actually buy a vacuum from a stranger at your door. The remaining 999,999 human beings either buy one on Amazon or via their local department store.
Save the 1 person, nobody cares about a stranger who blindly pitches their sales services or who blindly pitches an opportunity at the door of their home. Just like nobody cares about a stranger who blindly pitches them a guest posting opportunity.
How to Get People to Care
If you want people to care enough to buy your blogging course or to feature you on their blogs, care about them.
If you want to land on Blogging From Paradise just do these things:
- spend 3-6 months promoting me on your blog
- spend 3-6 months promoting me on social media
- publish 2-3 posts weekly
- practice writing daily; offline
I begin to care about people who care about me generously and genuinely.
You stand out from the thousands of strangers who I do not care about when you care about me. It is such an easy tactic to build bonds with leading bloggers. Simple, too. Care about me as a human being. Ask for nothing. Expect nothing. Pay your blogging dues. Be generous. Be genuine. Be patient. Be persistent. Guaranteed; you will stand out from the crowd eventually. You have to, because generosity is always repaid in some way, shape or form down the road.
My generous, skilled friends get links on Blogging From Paradise for free.
Strangers need to pay my rate. If a stranger tries to barter my rate after I noted my fixed, non-negotiable, price, I delete the email. I may spam the email. People who do not have enough respect for me to read the entire email belong in spam. Landing in spam is the blogging business kiss of death; you will fail blogging for 1,000 years if your emails wind up in spam. The Blogging Scarlet Letter is S, for Spam.
Just freaking care about bloggers. How hard is that? Stop focusing on yourself and your needs and what you want to GET out of me and do some GIVING. Fool proof, simple, powerful way to build a successful blog. Plus you will have the money to invest in sponsored posts so you need not try to barter like a cheapie. Plus you will receive more and more free links on top blogs.
Doesn’t that sound fun?
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