Archive for the ‘Blogging’ Category
Sorry about the absence.
I’m publishing my new post very soon, and until then you might want to head over to Sarah Russell’s Write Your Revolution blog to read my article 9 Simple Ways Writers Can Find Paying Web Markets. The article lists how to create your own ever-growing list of web markets in any niche since when it comes to web markets, we don’t have a definite resource.
And hopefully this month will be the month when I’ll turn bulk-writing a habit. I’m good at taking notes and brainstorming in bulk when ideas hit from north and south, but maybe because I’m good at with the brainstorming, I end up writing one post at a time.
Do you occasionally take posting breaks without wanting to?
Tom Ewer is enjoying his well-deserved popularity as he runs the popular and authoritative blog Leaving Work Behind where he writes about quitting your job and building a career that’s right for you.
While his posts aim to help you realize your goals of quitting your job and running a successful online business, he focuses a lot on freelance writing/blogging which makes it very relevant for writers.
But another thing that makes Tom’s posts relatable is that he is not so far gone in his freelance income that he’s doing $500/hour copywriting gigs or $1/word magazine writing jobs.
Yes, he could accomplish that if he wanted to but with his current schedule he has the time to work on other projects. And flexibility is one of the best things about working for yourself.
He encourages you to take well-paying, respectable jobs but he knows that if you’re just starting out, you might not want to pass up on $30/piece blogging gigs, especially if it is from a growing, respectable company.
He started taking gigs on the side before he left his full-time job.
He’s all for passive income, but he suggests you improve your writing, and start making money through it because passive income streams take a lot of time and effort to develop.
Tom also offers useful additions to topics when you think you’ve heard it all before.
Below are 3 of my favorite posts:
This is primarily a video post, and I’m usually more into reading than watching or listening. But he makes great points on how to pick the best jobs on job boards by actually following all the links, looking at and analyzing the employer’s site and giving you the pros and cons, including educated guesses on what the pay might be.
This is by far the most comprehensive and useful post I’ve encountered about job boards.
This post isn’t just for freelance writers. It points out how internet marketers/online business owners shouldn’t disregard the power and potential of blogging. Even if they don’t get paid for it, writing good web copy plays a crucial part in making money online.
But if you could, why not get paid for it?
This is a great guide that covers how/where you should go about looking, how you should apply (including the template of his application) and how to handle the project once you land it.
Tom Ewer’s Leaving Work Behind is informative, easy to relate to and fun. Established writers are following him too, so I suggest you take a look if you haven’t already.
Yep, you’ve read it right. We aren’t talking about paying guest posters, but getting payment from guest posters so that they will have a chance to be published. And it’s not like these blogs are just selling spots to anyone who wants to have their articles published- they want the same quality, original and targeted posts that other respectable blogs (that either pay by bylines and exposure or the ones that do pay actual money in addition to that) do. And while these blogs that require you to pay do offer the bylines and exposure, they have the added requirement of payment exchange for a quality guest post from you.
I first came across this on We Blog Better’s guest posting guidelines. Now, in all fairness, the editor gives you two options:
1) You can apply to be a regular contributor (though the contributor will be paid by exposure only),
2) Or you can deposit $40 with your guest post, and if it is not accepted, you will get a refund. If it is published, you’re not getting the refund.
She also explains her reason for these options: crappy, time-consuming submissions. And while her new set of guidelines seem to be an effective way of eliminating the careless and generic articles, it might put off bloggers/writers who actually pay attention to their pitches and writing.
Granted, this successful blog doesn’t exactly need all the guest post writers out there, but I don’t think many good writers would tempted to deposit or apply for a regular position (which probably doesn’t pay either.)
It just might be easier for them to apply to other popular blogs that they don’t have such guidelines. They might have to wait longer for a response, but that comes with the pitching territory.
But there is another blog that doesn’t offer a refund, at least not on their guidelines.
Million Clues says “Cost per Guest Post is $50,” meaning they do want to be paid $50 – no wonder a lot of the other guest-post guidelines are yelling “get featured for free.” This “benefit” listed on their guest post guidelines had seemed redundant to me until I came across this one.
Yes, you will only need to pay after your post is accepted. But honestly, if Problogger or Copyblogger doesn’t request money, I don’t think anyone else should. And then there established blogs for writers/bloggers who actually pay for the guest posts their publishing – such as Make a Living Writing, The Renegade Writer and Rock Solid Finance, among others.
Imagine what would writers’ lives be like if suddenly established magazines started charging money to read submissions? Ouch. It gives me the shivers to think about it.
You might say one is blogging and the other is writing, but come on. If a blogger is truly researching the publication, sweating over her query, outline and the article, I’d say that she is a writer. Why should she also pay in addition to her efforts, especially if she is content with byline and exposure for her efforts?
There might be more blogs charging for a guest post (opportunity), but I have stumbled upon these two so far.
So what do you think?
- Are you a fan of guest posting as a marketing strategy, whether it is for your blogging/writing career and/or your business?
- Do you think blog owners should pay guest bloggers?
- Do you think it is a good idea to ask money from the posters?
There are many ways of running a successful blog, and you’ll see that a lot of successful bloggers have followed (and/or broken) a different set of rules to get to where they are now. Sometimes breaking the rules will work in your favor. Sometimes they will stall your progress.
But as long as you don’t break the rules in the name of procrastination, being a sinner might just work in your favor.
So today I’m sharing my blogging sins, and my reasons for committing them:
1) I don’t post frequently as I should/want.
As a writer, I’ll be the first to admit that despite my best intentions, I don’t always write as often as I should, or as often as I’d like.
In addition to life getting in the way (and by life I mean getting sick, approaching deadlines and the ultimate enemies-procrastination and depression. Come on, who doesn’t get writer’s blues? And, no, you are not allowed to say Stephen King. )
Then there’s the other writing I like/have to do. Fiction and non-fiction. Posts for me and other publications.
And while writing is one of the things I should be doing, as researching/marketing/blogging/finding inspiration in different places are also vital parts of freelancing description, I don’t write as much as I should. And without writing, you don’t have something to pitch, market or edit.
Oh, and there isn’t only writing fiction or non-fiction, and with non-fiction, there are several blogs of mine as well as markets to pitch.
Now, while I love my blog and I’d publish once a day in every one of them in an ideal world (where the days last at least 48 hours), sometimes I get lost in a blogger’s other important tasks, or writing other things.
Do these sound like invalid excuses? Maybe you are right. But guess what I did right after the pain from my severe ear infection – I wrote 3,000 on the novel I’m working on, wrote and published Resources for Writers & Bloggers:Travel Blogger Academy Review, researched markets, organized bookmarks and my home office and…well, did this post of course. I might be a sinner, but I do work hard to compensate for the sins.
2) I don’t post on a constant schedule.
Sometimes I post twice a week, sometimes twice a month. Partly because of the sin covered above, but mostly because I like to write things that not everybody else is already writing. I don’t want to read another post about how to optimize your blog for the search engines. Yes, we need that post, but there are a million of them out there. You don’t need to read them here as well.
And yes, there have been other posts on the deadly sins of blogging- but these are my personal sins, and their reasons and why they don’t have to be deadly.
I also don’t want to write about killer headlines. Not because I am not fond of the topic, but so many people have done that, and they have done it well. You might want to check out Headline Hacks, where you only need to give your email address to download Jon Morrow’s free report (52 Headline Hacks) for instance.
3) I don’t treat a current topic as timely- because ultimately, even the current topics I’m interested in tend to be evergreen.
I saw Bryan Adams live in August this year, and I’m yet to post my review/experience post in the music category of my entertainment site. Partly because of sins number 1, partly because…well, a Bryan Adams concert isn’t something that’ll go out of fashion. I was a fan 12 years ago, and I still am. So the important thing is to find the current element in the post, highlight what matters and publish the post in its relativity.
After all, I have a couple of more slants I have up in my sleeve. For instance, why concerts are a great way of staying fit (for my unconventional beauty and fitness blog), why I tend to get over the worst colds at concerts (motivational post)- oh and then there’s the musical aspect – the testament to how Bryan’s rocking skills are “aging like wine.” So you see, maybe I missed out on my “Sarsborg” or Norway audience (not that I am saying I had audience there.)
So maybe it is not that sinful to commit this delaying sin, depending on which angles you are taking and why.
4) I don’t comment frequently enough on other blogs.
In the world of blogging, some marketing tactics don’t always remain valid. Some do remain valid, but lose its level of impact. And some are too valuable to be dismissed as a marketing tactic.
To me, blog commenting falls into that “too valuable” category. I genuinely like commenting on other blogs, and I enjoy it when people comment on mine. Of course when I say commenting, I mean actual commenting- comments that say something personal, meaningful and related to the post.
So I don’t think it is a great idea to try and comment on every related post, regardless of where they are posted. Because let’s face it: forcing yourself to leave 20 distinctive and worthy comments are going to come out as just that: forced.
I comment when I want to say something others haven’t mentioned, or I want to share my own personal experience. Or I just have to say that post made me laugh/cry/think/feel inspired and why.
Then there is also the commenter’s block. It just exists for me. I don’t feel like commenting, even though I thoroughly enjoyed the post. So I either save and come back, or have a reading marathon when I’m in the commenting/researching mindset. This saves time, and makes commenting a natural act, and not a promotional tactic.
Oh, and then there are these powerful blogs who have disabled comments for their own reasons. Now, they definitely want us to commit this sin.
I like reading comments where my readers have shared what’s on their minds while having fun doing it. That’s what I like to do when I’m commenting.
Chores are boring. Promotion might feel forced. Instinct and passion, on the other hand, make for better comments, don’t you think?
5) I write for my audience- even when the audience is me.
As wonderful as it is to be read, and as valuable as it is to write for your readers (and write what they want/need), I can’t write a post I have absolutely no interest in writing, even if my readers were dying to get it.
Some bloggers will definitely disapprove of me saying this, but for me, blogging is an amazing form of expression- and as a writer, the freedom to express comes first. I love being read, and it is an awesome feeling when somebody reads, and hopefully resonates with, your work. But in order to be read, you need to write. But I can’t write something I don’t want to read.
Yes, I love having readers. Yes, one day I’d love to have thousands, millions of daily readers. But I want those readers to come because they identify with what I write. I can’t do that if I am not happy with my topics.
Yes, I write for my audience. But guess what? Before anyone else sees your writing, you still get to read, proofread and edit your writing. You’re the first set of eyes to see the work, and if you are not happy, you won’t want to pass it along.
Audience comes first. But don’t ignore the needs of your first ever reader.
6) I write more than I market. Or pitch.
This is a sin I’m not proud of. But it is a sin I find very hard to stay away from, because as you can see from the name of the blog, I’m addicted to writing- first and foremost. This of course can harm future earnings, or delay how much you are going to make. It might also stall your career. But I try to use this to my advantage.
Because guess what? As much as I often drown in ideas and have a hard time keeping up with them despite my best efforts, sometimes even I get writer’s block. It doesn’t mean I don’t write anything for days or weeks. I wouldn’t have managed that even if I tried.
But I know it goes against my nature to stop a writing flow to market or do anything else. So I let myself write until I drop, or the ideas stop exciting and/or entertaining me. Then I move on to other tasks. Then I organize, plan, market and do all other things on my to-do list- until inspiration comes flooding again.
Is this the most effective way of marketing? Absolutely not. Can/Should it be improved? Hell, yes. But does it result in a happy writer who doesn’t get depressed over lack of inspiration, eager to learn more about self-promotion and improve her marketing skills? Certainly.
It is a big sin. But it is not a deadly one as long as you have a counter-attack plan.
7) I have many niches.
I can’t be a generalist, and I don’t want to be a generalist. Meaning I don’t want to write about anything. However I also can’t be a specialist in one area and keep writing in only one area. I’ve published 545 posts on my entertainment blog at time of writing this article, and over 400 of them are on movies. And despite my obvious passion for movies, I have also written novel/book reviews, album and concert reviews and so on. I am passionate about music and reading too.
And while I’d have probably have come a longer way in any one area, but it is impossible for me to work that way. I’m passionate about a lot of topics, and I love writing about a lot of different topics. I have either the experience, enthusiasm or both to justify this need and want of mine.
I also realized that writing in a lot of different areas is a great way to prevent writer’s block, or at least a chance to move to another topic when one road gets blocked.
So here’s the thing. If I wanted to write about one thing alone, I’d have gotten a desk job. It may not be so for everyone, but diversity is a part of my definition of freelancing.
Verdict: A Sinner With A Cause
So there you go. I’ve just shared my 7 sins. I’m proud of some of them, seldom ashamed of a few and determined to improve on the shortcomings. But I like knowing what I do and why I do them.
While I make some mistakes along the way, I tend to come up with more ways to compensate for them. Committing some sins are also a nice way to learn what works, what doesn’t and how to get where you want to get to faster, without compromising your personality and passions.
What about you, fellow bloggers? Should you been forgiven? Have you sinned? : )
A blog is a must for all writers these days as it is a great tool for promoting your work and services, publish original content, interacting with other writers and even for therapy. It feels great that you have a visible online medium where you can share your thoughts and see it published immediately.
But with your own blog, comes responsibility. You need to update it, enhance and improve it. You also might want to monetize it, and you do need a lot of space if you are planning to use your blog as a writer’s website and portfolio as well. And typically, free blogging platforms don’t usually com with unlimited space and diverse monetizing options.
So if and when you feel the need to host your blog through a webhost company, your research might give you headaches as there are many host companies with very similar plans, fees and properties.
When choosing a host, you want it to give you enough space and bandwidth, a solid up-time (so that your website will be ready to browse and visitors won’t encounter a blog they can’t open) and the capacity not to crash when it sees a sudden increase in traffic.
But how do you choose a host when all host companies have affiliate programs and people are trying to earn money? Sure most affiliates are open about being affiliates, but how do you know the glowing reviews are real? Because for every good review, there is a bad one for the same brand. One writer’s ideal host can be another writer’s nightmare.
Which company do I use?
Now, there is nothing with affiliate marketing. I do it too. My blogs are hosted on Justhost.com, and I have an affiliate account with them.
What I like about Justhost
- They have good and generally fast customer service. They respond to your problems quickly and do genuinely try to help.
- They are not expensive.
- They offer a free domain name with the account, and you can host as many websites as you want with them.
- They have a user-friendly website.
What I don’t know about Justhost
- I don’t know how helpful they would be if I wanted to change host. I never tried.
- I’ve been experiencing some downtime lately, and I don’t know you get the same amount of time with another host (assuming you have the same shared hosting model there).
What I don’t like about Justhost (although this can be an issue for all shared hosting plans, regardless of the company)
- That unlimited space and bandwidth isn’t that unlimited. After hundreds of photos and videos, and experimenting with lots of plugins, you might actually go over. Don’t ask me how, but it happened. I suddenly found an email explaining that they can’t open my blog because it went over and I should consider dedicating hosting. The kind of hosting that asks for $100/month and more. Well, I am not going to go dedicated until my site gets like a million visitors a day so I sent them a panicky and frustrated email. Fortunately, the problem was solved after me deleting the plugins that I weren’t using.
- My entertainment blog doesn’t load as fast as I want it to be.
Why did I go with Justhost?
That’s my experience with one host company, and I have admit I chose them before I didn’t really know anything about host companies. I was on a tight budget, I didn’t want to pay extra for a domain name and I had several blogs I wanted to host. Currently they cost 3.75month at the time of this post, but please remember that the prices might change by the time you sign up.
3 Must-Read Posts for Choosing Your Host Company
So to give you a fuller picture, I found some great articles on how to choose a host company based on your needs.
This includes options and definitions for different hosting plans such as shared hosting, virtualized hosting, dedicated hosting and more. It features the pros and cons, as well as which option will be good for who. This is a must-read post if you have questions about hosting, whether you have used hosting companies or not.
This no-BS post about hosting gives you the list of the elements you need to pay attention to and why. It also includes reviews and suggestions for 4 host companies, including pros and cons.
This is especially useful if you are going to have a website with lots of images. I have an entertainment blog, so I use lots of pictures: movie posters, pictures, videos, stills…. I need space, I don’t want my image-rich posts slowing down how fast the blog loads.
Which host companies have you used? Which one are you considering using? Why? Please let me know in the comments, whether your experience was positive or negative.
When I first heard the concept “paid-to-blog”, I felt like I had hit jackpot. What was there not to love? I loved blogging and writing about a variety of subjects. Hell, even some of the famous probloggers like Yaro Starak or John Chow had initiated some of their incomes through sites like Review Me.
- Not all of them accept free blog platforms like Blogger (Google’s Blogspot).
- The well-paying and most-sought after ones might be hard to get accepted into (in terms of traffic/etc).
- Not all of them are OK with URL extensions such as blogs. For instance, this blog’s URL is writing.pinartarhan.com, and it is OK. However my entertainment blog, http://pinartarhan.com/blog/, wasn’t accepted to some sites because of the “blog” extension at the end. Smorty was one.
- Most of the review jobs offer low pay, such as $1-5 for 100-200 words.
- Most of the advertisers require that it is a positive review- which wouldn’t have been entirely unacceptable if they hadn’t also required you to not mention it is a paid review. Why would you put your credibility on the line for anyone?
- Most of the advertisers/websites offered to you are irrelevant to your blog’s topic.
- Some of them only accept sites that get over a certain amount of traffic and/or have a certain PR (Google Page Rank). Even if the site doesn’t require that, a lot advertisers listed require a certain PR, even though they pay ridiculously low amounts.
- Some of the sites are country-specific, so you can’t write for them if you are out of their preferred/obligatory tax/geographical zone.
Aren’t there advantages? Sure there are:
- Almost all these sites come with their own affiliate programs, so you can recommend using them. Why do you think there are so many articles written about them? I suspect many bloggers using these sites make more money through being an affiliate rather than actual blog posts they wrote for the sites.
- Many pay via PayPal.
- It’s relatively easy to write 100 words and place a couple of links.
- If you are using one of the top sites, and your site is a strong one, you can get paid a decent amount/review.
- You can use your experience and recommendations when you are applying for website/blogging jobs.
What are some of these sites?
Smorty (However Smorty also enables you to publish banner ads.)
Where do I stand?
For me, the disadvantages far outweigh the advantages, so I don’t get excited about these sites anymore. Sure, if a great site with lots of pros comes out, I might give it a try. But for now, I am staying away. What’s your take on these sites?
Please note that I used the site links to the review sites. They’re not affiliate links.
- It is not a shocker that I didn’t discover Gary’s sites through my enthusiasm for wine. Frankly, I can’t stand the taste or smell of any wine most of the time. But I am always on the lookout for a good resource about social media and blogging, and I came across Crush during one of my book hunts.
Considering that Gary Vaynerchuk has been a famous online figure for quite a while, my discovery was a little late. After all, this guy has been on Conan and on Ellen and a lot of other places and yet I had no idea who he was when I bought the book.
And after reading, I didn’t find it strange that this guy was this popular.
For one, he uses a conversational tone, and he really knows what he is talking about it. He also has great pieces of wisdom to offer to any blogger/entrepreneur on every level.
After having read the whole book, including the appendixes and all, I can safely saythe book is by no means just for bloggers. It is for anyone who wants to make money out of doing what they love (yep, including writers), who wants to make a brand for themselves-even though they are not selling or producing anything (let’s face it, we all sell our CVs at the very least).
So yes, Crush It! is for anyone who wants to take advantage of the internet, social media and the new age in marketing.What does Gary say in this book? I highlighted a lot of stuff and used some serious magic markers on i. Below are some of my favorite quotes from Gary:
“Skills are cheap. Passion is priceless.”
“There is room for everyone in the world of social media, which is the same thing as saying there’s room for everyone in today’s business world”
“…crying about how things should be instead of embracing how things are doesn’t do anyone any good”.
He proves his points by showing you what you can do with a blog-whether audio/video/written- what you can and should do with twitter and facebook. He lists resources, and names sites we should be keeping an eye on. And by sharing true stories, he proves over and over again why he is the right guy to write this book.
At 142 pages, it is a page-turner, but it doesn’t mean you should read and then do nothing. Take the advice, take the action. When you read his life story, you will understand how much he accomplished and so can you.
I am big on self-improvement books in the business area. And being a writer in the web-dominated age, I learned a lot from him.
P.S. I love e-books, but I still prefer paperbacks. Yeah, I am one of those people who print out their e-books whenever they can:)
P.P.S. I used affiliate links for Crush It and The 4 Hour Work Week.
Here are the definitions to some of the most used terms in the world of blogging. Relax, grab a (healthy) drink and go over some of the most used terms in blogging. And remember, in this glossary, I don’t get technical. Just practical.
Blogging platform: This is basically where you blog. WordPress and Blogger are the most famous ones. I like to use them both.
Blogger is free, and you can monetize it. WordPress has a lot more options, but any monetization comes after you buy your own hosting. So there are pros and cons to both.
For instance, this blog is a self-hosted WordPress blog. My entertainment blog is also on WordPress.
For a Blogger example, you can check my Dating and Relationships in the 21st century.
Webhost: Webhosting basically means that you pay to have your own websites and blogs to be out there. Why should you pay when there are many free platforms? Well, it depends on your intent.
The webhost lets you choose your own domain name. And even though my platform is WordPress, my blog URL doesn’t have WordPress, a benefit of having a self-hosted blog.
Webhosts also allow you to be free with your storage capacities (obviously up to a certain point, but you are much more comfortable with space than you are on the free platform), create an e-mail address (many advertising networks) require you to have a hosted email address and not a free one such as from Yahoo or Gmail).
And there is the fact that WordPress.com (free WordPress platform) doesn’t let you put advertising on your site. If you are in this for making a living for yourself, you need to get a webhost. Mine is Justhost. While it has its ups and downs, I have been using them since late 2009. They are cheap, and the customer service is pretty accessible. I occasionally get the message that I need to upgrade. I handle this by getting rid of the things I don’t use for the site.
But alternatively, you can monetize Blogger with Adsense, Amazon and other advertising opportunities – as long as you are allowed to have a URL on a free platform. It is best to check with the Publisher FAQ’s of the advertising company you want to use.
I heard that Bluehost is pretty good, but I have been too lazy to move. As long as Justhost keeps it up with the customer service and prices, I am happy.
Monetizing: You can put ads, make affiliate deals and sell other people’s stuff, sell your own product and services, make paid reviews…but these all have pros and cons. One of the cons is money is hard to make, especially if you are low on traffic.
Traffic: How many unique visitors do you get? Daily? Monthly?
Guestblogging: Writing for other blogs or other bloggers write for you. Guest-writing for popular blogs will be great for prestige and your popularity. There is a couple of lines for writing your bio, which includes your website link. You’ll also get to interact with people who comment on your piece. Just apply to guest-post and abide their guidelines. Then give it your best shot.
* Carol Tice pays her guestbloggers $50, but of course she selects them carefully.
Link building: How powerful your blog is usually dependent on how many (powerful/quality) sites are linking to you.
One great method is networking with others. Another fun, albeit less effective, way is blog commenting.
Problogging: Blogging about blogging- how to monetize, attract readers, etc…
Some of the problogging blogs I like are Problogger, Blogginglabs, Blogging Teacher (especially if you want to make money writing blog posts) and Carol Tice’s Make a Living Writing (especially if you are a writer who blogs). I have a lot more, but these four should get you going for starters.
Seo: Seach Engine Optimization. You need to optimize your blog for search engines like Yahoo, Google, etc… so that your blog will be easier to find on the Internet. In order to do that, you need to pick the right keywords.
What are your blog posts about? What keywords are in demand? What words are people typing into search engines? What are they interested in?
You can either search first and prepare a post accordingly or write your post first and make the search and optimize it later.
Frankly, I have read so many blog posts and e-books about SEO that I wouldn’t be able to direct you to one individual source.
Let me know if you need/want any other concepts explained. I’ll either explain here on the comments, or will link to a resource I like. Or both:)
The article is short and to the point. It lists 5 reasons why you (as a writer) should blog:
Do you have multiple blogs or websites? If you do, how do handle promoting through social media (Twitter /Facebook/ Linkedin..etc)? Do you have different accounts for each website? Or do you promote your posts and blogs through the same social media accounts?
As a writer who is running several blogs, I realized that keeping different accounts on some sites (such as Facebook), while using only one account on some sites (Linkedin/Twitter) worked the best for me.