Everyone makes mistakes. Whether you do one post per week or 50, something is going to go wrong and it is important to be prepared for those mistakes before they happen.
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They key to respect and trust while blogging is not to never make a mistake (though keeping them to a minimum is important), but rather, to handle the ones you do make gracefully while learning from them.
So how should a blogger handle their mistakes? There are many different rules and suggestions, but there are a few generally well-accepted practices that seem to work in most cases.
Spelling, Grammar and Minor Changes
If you make a mistake that is not a matter of fact, such as spelling, grammar or punctuation, you can usually just push a corrected version live and not make any note of it. Though some sites and forums have a custom regarding noting that a post was “edited for grammar”, the specific error usually isn’t cited and this is only common when posts automatically display an “edited by” time stamp.
For the most part, if you find a grammar and/or spelling error that does not change the meaning of a post, you should feel free to edit it and move on. Mistakes happen but it is better to fix the mistake, when practical, than leave it.
Minor Factual Errors
Errors of fact are the most difficult to deal with. Some bloggers have the instinct to quickly rush in and fix the mistake, others want to delete the post and still others want to just create a new one. Unfortunately, none of those responses work out great in the end.
Fixing the mistake with no mention does not allow those who come later to understand that there has been a correction, deleting the post does nothing to fix the error and creating a new post, though a good solution for RSS subscribers, does nothing to help those who stumble upon the first post from Google or via an external link.
If the error is relatively minor and doesn’t change the overall post, such as getting a person’s name or a specific fact wrong, WordPress offers a simple solution to the problem, namely the strikethrough button. If you use the HTML editor, you’ll notice a “del” button at the top and those who prefer the visual editor will see what looks like the “ABC” but with a line through it. What it does is strikes through the text you want to remove and, in the HTML code, adds a time stamp for when the change was made.
I am striking through this text and, if you view the source, you’ll see that it adds a “datetime=”2009-05-19T19:31:01+00:00″” to the tag, indicating when I pressed the button.
Then, in the post itself, you can add the correct information after the strikethrough, either as a parenthetical or as new text.
This lets readers of the post know that there was an error, what it was, and what the change is. This keeps transparency to the maximum and, since strikethrough text is very visible, it actually draws people to the error, unlike a correction in a footnote.
Major Factual Errors
If the entire crux of your article has been compromised, more drastic action may be necessary. For example, if you wrote a post about an upcoming game being released next week and, it turns out, that the game won’t be released for another year, a simple strikethrough will probably not be enough.
Though these errors should be fairly rare, especially for blogs that attempt to follow up and do their homework, they can still happen. Fixing them, however, is no simple task.
It is important, first and foremost, to make sure that readers who stumble across the existing post know that the story is an error. Posting a header saying that the story is “Updated” with the new information at the top of the story is a good beginning. If needed, you can provide additional information in an update section at the end of the post, similar to what others do when a breaking story is unfolding, but it is important to ensure that every reader of the post sees the new information first.
However, given the nature of RSS and that many readers may not have read the full story but did skim the headline, it may be wise to go ahead and post a new entry on the topic, one you can reference prominently in the original post. If the post in error is short, you can consider doing a massive strikethrough and adding new text at the bottom. However, removing the erroneous information, without at least explaining what it was, gives the appearance of trying to “hide” the error. Given the fact that Google Cache and the Web Archive both likely have old copies of the page, it may not do much good anyway.
Being upfront about the error and doing everything you can to clarify it is, quite literally, the best thing you can do for your reputation and for yourself legally.
If you’re lucky, you will spot the error yourself and can handle it appropriately. However, odds are that most errors will be pointed out to you by readers, either via comments or emails. Should that happen, it is important to acknowledge and thank the reader for their help, ideally in the comments and in the post itself if appropriate.
Remember, you want to encourage people to notify you of corrections and inform you when you make mistakes. For every person that lets you know of an error, it is probable that a dozen saw it and said nothing. Readers who report mistakes are not your enemies, they’re people trying to help you and should be treated as such.
There are many blogs and Web sites that seem to let mistakes languish even after they learn that they aren’t true. In addition to harming their reputation (this is a common practice of gossip sites), it also carries with it legal risks.
Defamation law, in this case libel, makes it very dangerous to knowingly publish false information that may harm the reputation of another. Though defamation suits over Web postings are still fairly rare, they are becoming increasingly common and the damages awarded have been very high.
Though a good correction policy may not remedy all of the legal issues of publishing false information in the first place, it makes a lawsuit much less likely and mitigates against any damages that could be awarded.
Though it is best to be accurate with everything you publish but it is equally important to be ready in the event of a mistake to handle it swiftly, accurately and with transparency. Giving your readers the appearance that you are hiding your mistakes or simply doing nothing about them may not only hurt your reputation among your readers, but also may hurt your chances in the courtroom.
Since we’re all human, it is best to start planning for our mistakes before they happen even as we work to ensure that we don’t make them in the first place. Though no one wants to go through the humiliation of having to publicly admit they were wrong, it’s a part of life on the Web and a part of being a responsible person both online and off.
The good news is that very few mistakes are lethal. Most people get up the next morning and resume blogging none the worse for the wear. The only way most mistakes can become disastrous is through poor handling of them.
If you plan smart, keep your mistakes to a minimum and are open about the errors you do make, most people will forgive you for being human.
4 Blogging Tips for Freelance Writers
Freelance writers, do you blog?
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You better be blogging.
Running a well-stocked, self-hosted, WordPress blog showing off your writing skills is the most direct way to earn a lucrative living through freelance writing. Why? People with ample means get to see what you can offer through your blog, then, pay up. Both parties win. You have fun rendering a useful service. Clients get helpful, business-building content.
Blogging is a skill freelance writers need learn, and practice, to grow their business through blogging.
Follow these 4 tips to make money freelance writing through your blog.
1: Show Off Your Writing Skills by Publishing Content
Most aspiring freelance writers expect to make money freelancing without showing off their writing skills for free. Why in the heck would anybody hire you if they have no idea what you do, how you do it and why you do it?
Show off your writing skills by publishing content to your blog. Be generous. Publish one post weekly, at a minimum. Running a freelance writing blog seems smart to me. Along with teaching people how to be a skilled freelance writer, you build your friend network and show prospective clients your writing stuff.
Note; do not hold back. Many freelance writing blogger newbies publish one post and expect the floodgates of traffic, profits and clients to open up. Nope. Be generous, patient and persistent to gain client trust and to build your business over the long haul.
2: Network with Fellow Freelancers to Grow Your Reach
Get out of a competitive, poverty conscious vibe.
Enter into an abundant, generous, vibe.
Comment genuinely on fellow freelance blogs. Promote freelancers on your blog. Promote freelance writers on social media.
Here’s how money works, guys; if you do not fear losing money or clients to other freelance writers, you make tons of money through freelance writing over the long haul because all freelance buddies you make through your generosity promote you, endorse you and heck, some may even hire you.
Be generous. Help people. Make friends. Amplify your reach. Grow your business.
3: Build a Clear Freelance Writing Services Page
If you claim to be a freelance writer you better publish a clear, easy to understand, freelance writer page.
List specific services offered. Be clear to attract ideal clients who love what you offer.
Consider adding your writing rates to avoid tire kickers and other folks who want to bargain, barter and do other silly stuff. You are a business person. Bartering is for people in a Middle Eastern Souq. Set fixed prices. If people cannot afford your prices they can move on to another freelancer. Have posture.
Feel free to show off client testimonials if you have these endorsements but I have found this; if you get clear on your writing skills, show off your work through free content and clearly state what you offer, clients will find you and hire you. I did not even have a freelance business page when I landed my highest paying client. This shows you the power of clarity and mental alignment.
4: Build Blogging and Freelance Writing Posture
Please guys, do not barter, bargain or debate your writing rates. Do not charge $5 for a 600 word post. Do not work for peanuts just to say you landed a client. Do not work for demanding, overbearing clients. Never work for someone unless the person aligns with you, your values and your work.
Work for nice people who appreciate what you have to offer. This is the path toward great success online.
You choose clients. You pick clients. Have posture. Think and act abundantly.
Most freelancers struggle terribly because they have little or no posture. Believe in yourself. Believe in your abilities. Have faith. Trust in yourself.
The more you practice writing the more you gain confidence and clarity in your offering.
Enjoy your freelance writing success!
3 Rewarding Benefits for Bloggers to Consider Joining An Honor Society
Over approximately one million students are members of the National Honor Society (NHS). Many of which are likely bloggers, freelance writers, and/or have a passion for writing or pursuing their own path in life.
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High school students with outstanding achievements are joining the organization every year. But you may not be familiar with the NHS and what it does, and also how it can benefit you as either a blogger, affiliate marketer, or an entrepreneur.
You may be asking, “should I join an honor society?” Is it really that important? Before you become an honor student yourself, you should weigh the benefits.
Here’s your guide to the benefits of the National Honor Society.
Should I Join an Honor Society?
In order to join the NHS, you’ll need to know what they do.
Established in 1921, the foundation recognizes students who have achieved excellence in several different ways. These include areas of service, leadership, character, and of course, scholarship.
Members need to meet certain criteria to join. Students who want to join should have at least a 3.0 on the GPA scale. They should also show great leadership and a commitment to volunteer work.
If you think you may be eligible, here are three rewarding reasons why you should join the NHS.
1. Making a Difference
One of the great aspects of the NHS is the opportunity to make a difference. Given the foundation’s emphasis on helping others, each student must meet a service hour requirement.
As a member, you’ll be a part of service projects whether individually or as a team.
This is not only an amazing way to get involved in your community but a way to meet new people. Volunteering opens up so many doors, personal and otherwise. It helps you find yourself and connect with people in the process.
The service you complete may also open other doors and interests for you along the way.
2. Building Your Resume
Every college and university knows what an NHS membership suggests about a student. This makes it a wonderful addition to your resume or college application. It makes you competitive and helps you stand out in a sea of students.
An NHS experience shows that you’re an outstanding citizen who’s engaged with the world. It shows that you have great academic standing and the potential to be a future leader. However, academics aren’t everything, and if you can compile all of your achievements and goals into an online resume website, you may win over some new audiences and personal opportunities as well.
Joining the NHS will help you turn your goals for the future into a reality and set your professional life into motion.
3. Developing Skills
To become an NHS student, you need to exhibit certain traits and character. But your experience as a member will also help you further develop your skills. The NHS is an excellent avenue for becoming even more well-rounded and capable.
The NHS helps students flex their skills as a leader and a part of a team. The volunteering component will help you develop great time management skills. It can also motivate you to maintain your good grades.
You’ll also learn a lot about networking and professionalism during the process. This will be indelibly valuable in the future.
The answer to “should I join an honor society?” is a resounding yes. There are no downsides to becoming an honor student and so much to gain from the experience, and if you are thinking about launching a website or blog of your own, the experience and skills you will gain from such an environment and community will only help.
Not only does being in the NHS prepare you for what’s to come, but it’s also a nice way to celebrate what you’ve already worked so hard to accomplish.
To learn more about school and lifestyle tips, be sure to visit our blog.
The Do’s and Don’ts of Writing Your Very First Blog Post
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Your very first blog post is a very big deal.
For businesses, it’s their way of attracting more clients by creating content that resonates with your target audience.
For hobbyists, it’s their chance to of sharing to the world your thoughts and ideas about their topics of choice.
Either way, nothing validates your online identity more than a well-written blog post.
Therefore, you need to make the most of this opportunity by writing the best possible blog post. Assuming that you don’t have much experience in writing, you can always keep things simple by following the basic do’s and don’ts of writing a blog post for the very first time.
Do: Come up with a topic that your audience would like
The success of bloggers stems from the ability to determine what their audience wants to read. To reach their primary goals, bloggers must appeal to the need of their target readers for useful and relevant information. Doing so allows them to attract lots of visitors with the content they publish, resulting in increased conversion rates.
Therefore, you need to approach blogging deliberately. You can’t just pull a topic out of thin air and expect your audience to come in droves. You must find out what makes your readers ticks and what their wants and needs are.
That means research, research, and more research!
First, you need to come up with a reader persona that you will target for your post and the succeeding ones. The persona you will develop will embody your demographic such as age, gender, hobbies, and others. Researching these factors will help you refine how you will write your post and what you will write about. From here, unearthing blog post ideas to write about will become much more convenient for you.
Don’t: Veer away from your branding and persona
Your brand is what defines you online. Your audience will associate all your online activity with the brand you’ve developed. Part of your brand is the persona you project from the blog posts you will write.
The best blogs exhibit unique voices that set them apart from the rest. The Onion is popular for its tongue-in-cheek humor veiled in satire. Lifehacker is famous for producing informative blog content geared towards readers who want to find ways to simplify their lives.
The brand and persona these sites exude help bloggers develop consistency in their writing. By observing their persona on all the posts they write at all times, they allow readers to create a level of expectation every time you publish a post. By meeting their expectations with every post you write, you can develop a sustainable stream of blog traffic over a period.
Therefore, it is crucial that you develop a writing voice that resonates with your readers and then sticking with it. You need to play your brand and persona across all your blog posts, starting with the very first post you’ll be writing.
Do: Edit before publishing
Before hitting the “Publish” button, you need to make sure that there are no grammar mistakes and errors in your writing. Your command of the language is crucial if you want to send the right message to your readers.
A post that’s filled with errors will cause readers to leave your blog and possibly not read another post from you. If you can’t write correctly, then why should your audience read your posts?
Double-checking your post and reading it again can do wonders for your edits. It’s best to take time between finishing the post and reading it for review. The time allows you to get your mind off from writing so you will have a fresh perspective on the post, which lets you spot errors easier.
If you’re not comfortable with your editing skills, then you could use tools like Grammarly and Hemingway Editor. Both will make recommendations on how to tighten your sentences and improve your blog post. Keep in mind, however, that these tools are meant to complement your editing process and not replace it entirely.
Don’t: Worry about word count
If you’re counting words when writing your post, then you’re blogging for the wrong reasons.
When writing, your focus should be communicating ideas as clearly as possible.
For SEO reasons, you want your post to be as long as possible. According to the latest studies, your post should be at least 1,890 words if you want to rank on top of Google Search.
However, if you can’t reach that many numbers of words, you don’t have to beat yourself up about it. Having lots of words doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s a great post.
What’s more important is that you can share everything that your readers need to know about the topic. By focusing on the quality of the post and not the number of words, you can engage your audience and keep them longing for more.
Do: Promote your post
Promoting your post is not part of the writing process. However, part of your job as a full-fledged blogger is to be a marketer as well.
Sharing your first blog post is your step towards reaching out to your online audience. After all, your post won’t promote itself. You need to proactive share your blog post to the right channels, so you show it to as many people interested in your topic as possible.
One of the best ways to promote your post online is to hop on Facebook and Twitter.
“If you have created high-quality content on your blog then social media is a great way to your blog to go viral.” said Scott Chow of The Blog Starter.
You can also submit your post on platforms that allow you to reach out to your audience more effectively. I have detailed the best sites where you can send your post for promotion in this article.
Don’t: Set unrealistic goals
Starting at the bottom and working your way up to where thousands of blogs are also vying for the attention of your readers will be a tumultuous journey. Therefore, you have to curb your expectations as a blogger. It is ideal to set the bar with attainable goals in mind instead of aiming for the moon.
Don’t get me wrong – reaching thousands of visitors for your blog post in a day is not impossible. However, like catching lightning in a jar, it’s more improbable than anything else. In fact, this problem is what plagues most bloggers. They set high goals that are difficult to achieve. As a result, they get discouraged once they realize that they can’t fulfill them and stop blogging altogether.
Therefore, it’s always better to follow a tried-and-true template that you can sustain for a long period. You don’t want to be one of those flash-in-the-pan bloggers who fizzle out as fast as they started.
Did I miss any other tips for first-time bloggers in preparation for their very first post? Chime in with your advice by commenting below!
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