Importance of a Blog for a Freelance Writer

Our society today is constantly coming up with various ways to make our lives convenient. The great thing about these modern times is that we have the technology to make it into a reality. That may be the microwave ovens that we use to heat our food in a matter of seconds. Or it could be that simple remote control that enables us to sit lifeless on the couch and still be able to flip through channels.

Importance of a Blog for a Freelance Writer

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Or it could be this blog that I am maintaining for my professional career.

I was writing a finance article the other day about the importance of tools in keeping your accounts in order. I suddenly thought about the tools that I used as a freelance writer.

We have a lot of tools that are essential in writing. That includes our laptop, reference materials, dictionary, thesaurus, grammar and spell check programs, Copyscape and a lot more. To be successful as a freelance writer you need to possess the right ones to help you create high quality output.

Of all the tools that you need, I realized that a blog is one of the most versatile and useful in helping me with my professional growth.

As a writer, we all need that journal-like tool that can we can use to store our thoughts and ideas. That is what your blog can be for you. In truth, it can be anything that you want it to be. You can post your own opinions, your photos, and even what you ate for dinner. And you have the freedom to share your personal thoughts about your professional life as a writer.

For me, I use my blog, earnathomeph for a lot of reasons. If you are a writer who wishes to be a freelance writer, feel free to browse through the different uses that I have for by blog.

My online portfolio. Initially, I set up my blog to be my portfolio. Most clients would want to see a sample of my writing so I need an online presence that will allow them to view my articles anytime they wish.

Sample protection. Not to scare you or anything, but there are sneaky clients who ask samples from you and use it without paying you for it. Be wary of them. If I have to submit a sample, I always pick one that is already published on my blog – and it is usually in PDF. Some of them ask for new samples based on their preferred subject. I usually do not agree to submit unless it is paid. If they simply wish to see my writing style, my blogsite should suffice for that.

Professionalism. Another use of my blog is for me to appear professional. My clients will not think twice about my credibility as a writer.

Earn on the side. My blog can also be a source of extra income. Advertisements can be placed on blogs and your visitors can click on them if they wish. You can earn through PPC commissions.

Help others with your experiences. This is my favorite of all the uses that I have for my blog. I have directed friends and acquaintances to my blogsite if they wish to know more about freelance writing. Although my blog does not have hundred of articles (yet), I can assure you that my posts are based on my personal experiences and topics that I know will be useful to freelance writes like me. I hope that people who come to my site can learn valuable lessons from what I have gone through.

These are only few of the reasons that a blog can be useful to you. Feel free to explore the possibilities that a blog can bring your professional life. If you need a tip, wordpress is the easiest platform to create a simple site. Click here to learn more about creating a blogsite.

SEO Tips from Google

SEO Tips from Google

Website owners have got their hands full trying to look for the latest SEO tipsthat will get their sites back on the search engine map. For the past couple of years, Google changed their algorithms repeatedly as a response to user’s request for quality search results. They came up with the Panda and Penguin algorithm changes that was meant to provide users with the information they are searching for. These two changes rocked the traditional world of SEO and the websites that used to rank well in searches are now found to be at the latter pages.

SEO Tips from Google

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While Google is not the only search engine but it is the most prominent compared to Bing or Yahoo. This is why every website has to get on the good side of this search engine for them to drive in the traffic that their site needs.

If you will adhere to the old SEO tips, your website will not rank. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) has become a tricky technique to keep up with and it remains to be one of the driving forces that will get your online business to succeed.

So the question remains, how do you conquer the algorithms that Google placed upon their search engines?

Google’s Advice on SEO

Matt Cutts of Google has one advice: stop focusing on discovering SEO tips and concentrate on delivering quality content.

For a long time now, site owners focused on making sure that search engines will notice them by placing keywords strategically on their content. While this still works, Cutts advices against it. Content is still king and here are the major points that will make your website get ahead.

  1. Feel free to use the synonyms of your keywords or keyphrase. The search engine crawlers of Google are programmed to recognize synonyms. For instance, if your keyword is “doctor”, the words physician and medical professional will be identified together with the main keyword. Using all three will tell Google that your content is all about doctors.
  2. Do not be too technical about it. The new algorithms of Google will be able to view the totality of your content to pinpoint its relevance to a user’s search.
  3. Focus on quality and not what the search engines are looking for.

These are the new SEO tips that you should live by when creating your content. Be true to the information that you will be providing your readers and Google will see just how relevant your website is.

How to Start a Blog Part 2 Basic Requirements

How to Start a Blog Part 2: The Basic Requirements

In part one of this how to start a blog three part series, we discussed the things that you need to identify before you can actually start your blog. Now, we are ready to create the actual blog site that you will use to publish your written creations online.

As easy as it goes, I learned that there are clear steps to follow in order for you to succeed in this. Thankfully, the web is a haven full of information and you can literally find answers to anything. As mentioned in my previous post, you need to be really determined to come up with a decent blog site for yourself. That should give you the willpower to find what you need on the Internet to achieve your goal. The tools are there, you just need to find them.

How to Start a Blog Part 2 Basic Requirements

So to continue with our endeavour to learn how to start a blog, let us continue with step number 5.

Step 5: Register your Domain Name

In the last post, we ended with step 4 that involved coming up with a name for your site. This is important because this is how online users will identify you. When you have your site name, see if it is available by doing a search in domain registrars. I used GoDaddy.com for my domain registrar. When it is available, you need to pay for the domain name.

If you do not want to pay for it, there are free versions. For instance, if I chose to create a free site through the WordPress platform, my URL will appear to be earnathomeph.wordpress.com. This is acceptable but a paid domain name will give you a more professional image. It is all up to you of course. A paid domain name just provides more room for growth – in case you want to take your site further.

Step 6: Choose a Web Host

A free site through WordPress will not require a separate hosting service. But if you pay for your domain name and you wish to profit from your blog site, then a paid hosting service is highly recommended.

Think of your website as a folder containing various files. The web host service provider will allow you to use a server from their infrastructure to store all those files – just like a computer does. The monthly payment that you need to shell out will be the rent for that space. The bigger the site, the more space you will need. A hosted server will allow users to access your site via the web – even if you are online or not.

There are cheap hosting packages out there that you can avail. A blog website does not really need much in terms of hosting services so feel free to choose a cheap one. The considerations will include the bandwidth, disk space, email hosting and a secure server that will hold your website files.

Step 7: Create your Website

Once you have the basic requirements like a domain name and hosting provider, you can start putting together your website using the platform that you selected. I only have experience with WordPress so I can only tell you how it is done through this platform.

Start by choosing a theme. WordPress has hundreds of themes to choose from – both free and paid versions. Like the domain and hosting service, you can opt for the free templates but they can be quite limiting.

After choosing a theme, you can continue to activate various widgets and select from the many tools available on the site. You can place social buttons on your website and enable the RSS feeds so other sites can link to you.

This is all about aesthetics so keep your creativity running high. You don’t need to be an expert web designer to do this.

Feel free to explore that platform you are using to add widgets and tools that will make your website look as professional as possible. If your intention is to create a portfolio for your written works, that is a must.

We are nearing the end of this series about how to start a blog. We will be discussing next the most important aspect of your blog site: the content. :)

Too Much Alone Time

Too Much Alone Time? Reconnect.

I came across an interesting article in the About Freelance Writing site and they gave me an idea about my next article. The article was about a freelance writer’s support system and how we oftentimes isolate ourselves from the world.

Believe it or not, work from home can sometimes be very boring. I am an extrovert and you can just imagine how I’ve struggled at first to come to terms with working alone at home. As much as I love what I do right now (and I still refuse to work elsewhere) I oftentimes find myself missing the moments I can just turn my chair around to talk to a colleague from the cubicle beside me.

So what do you do when you find yourself with too much alone time?

Tips to Avoid Too Much Alone Time

Befriend your Co-Workers
I do crave intellectual conversations now and then. It is probably why I find myself chatting with my favourite employers. Some of them are really chatty and I love the fact that they share tidbits of their personal life with me. While keeping things professional is still imperative, it is nice to have friends from across the oceans. My Australian employers are quite dear to me because they are not only great clients, they are also very friendly. These cordial relationships encourage me to work harder so as not to disappoint them.

If you are part of a team, get to know them. You don’t have to be instant BFFs but it helps to keep things friendly with them.

Too Much Alone Time

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Take a Break
This is the tip that I often use. I stand up, play with my son or call someone on the phone. It is usually my husband that I talk to because most of my friends are busy at work as well. Sometimes, I go outside with my son to chat with the relatives living next door. There is nothing like real-time human conversation to keep me from getting bored throughout the day.

Make Time for your Social Life
A popular misconception about working at home is we have time in our hands. What people don’t know is that particular arrangement comes later when you have established your business. Before that, we are driven to work long hours because we want to earn more. No work means literally no pay when you work for yourself. This is why some work from home people tend to forget about their social lives. This is a big NO-NO. It is always good to reward yourself every now and then by meeting up with friends and reconnecting.

My friends can attest to the fact that I am the most enthusiastic among the group when there is a hint of a social gathering in the near future. In fact, I am usually one of the first people to arrive in every meeting place. I also love having friends over. I practically beg them to have dinner here and I am the most willing cook that you can find. That’s probably a sign that I need to reconnect more often, don’t you think?

What about you? Are you having too much alone time?