Category Archives: Work at Home

Learn from my experience working at home as freelance writer. Tips and useful information for those who want to work from home.

How to Get Paid from International Clients

Working as a content copywriter in Spanish I am experienced receiving money from international clients, and it is always important to know the best ways to do and receive a cheap money transfer.

When you give a budget or price to your clients, it is important to take into consideration the fees you will need to pay because of currency exchange and the money transfer service. Clients expect to have a final price, and they do not want to see how the price increase a 5 or 10 % or even more, due to the money transfer. So if when you give your budget you give the final price including all the costs and explaining them you will seem more trustful.

Since I am based in Spain, international clients from European Union are not a problem. They work in euros and bank transfers are cheap and most of the times free. But when it comes to clients from USA, India and other countries things are much more difficult.

PayPal is usually the best-known tool among the ways to send money. Problem is it’s fees are not very transparent when you work with different currencies. They sometimes charge slightly more than 3 % and sometimes the micropayment fee that is a 5 %.

Since you don’t want to overcomplicate things when you are talking with a new client, having a PayPal account is a must because it is likely what they are used to use.

However, when your payments are above 200 € there are much more efficient ways to send money.

Nowadays there are websites that allow you to receive local bank transfers in many different currencies.

To avoid PayPal’s fee you need a way to do money transfer to a bank account with cheaper costs. I have found TransferWise

If your country’s currency is for instance euros, it allows you to set up a bank account number that works in dollars.  In other words, you can create your USD account and give them the bank account number, so they will just need to proceed as they do when paying people with a bank account in the US. This way, your American client’s can send you money paying the costs they would have had if they were making a bank transfer to someone else in the US. These costs are usually much lower than international bank transfer costs, besides they are more used to them so they won’t be a bad surprise.

They don’t even need to create a TranferWise account!

If you have the account, that’s enough.

Once you have received your money in USD you can change the currency to EUR or whatever currency you use (well check in TransferWise if they work with your currency, but they work with a lot of them). This has a cost, but when you receive money in PayPal there is also a currency exchange fee paid by you or your client, so in this case both ways to send money are equal.

Having an account in TransferWise you can also send international bank transfers much cheaper than usually. So it is also very helpful if you hire foreign freelancers.

Ther are other services like Skrill or Payoneer, but I personally find that PayPal and TransferWise satisfy all my needs.

Do it Yourself vs. Freelance: When to Hire an Expert

Running a blog can be a lot of work, especially when your site starts picking up speed and you have a large audience to contend with. If you’ve been in this game for a while, you will surely know how large the work volume can get, and all the different things you have to juggle: social media, coming up with content, writing posts, proofreading, formatting… the list goes on!

Luckily, there is a whole group of people out there that come in to save the day with things like this – freelancers. Freelances are independent experts in a variety of fields, and therefore there will always be someone you can rely on to get the job done. What exactly can they help with?

Proofreading

If you find yourself tight for time when you’re managing your blog, hiring a freelancer to lighten some of the load might be worth the money. The cost for proofreading jobs tends to be fairly low since there is not too much labour involved (depending on the length of the piece), and therefore it certainly pays off.

Many people tend to get complacent and skip the proofreading when they are short of time, but simple mistakes can decrease the professionalism of your site. For the sake of keeping up appearances, make sure you either proofread, or hire a freelancer to do it for you.

Regarding Spanish you may be tempted to put your English text in Google translator and go ahead. Well, I’m sorry but this doesn’t work well. If you want a high quality text in Spanish you need someone to proofread that text.

Translating

Wanting to branch out into new areas? Perhaps you want to try marketing your content or services in a different country or region, and you’re in need of the linguistic ability to do it. The solution here is simple: hire a freelancer!

There are hundreds of bilingual freelancers out there who can sufficiently translate exactly what you want to say and turn your words into a multinational advert.

Regarding English to Spanish translations, in order to be sure you are getting a good quality, check if your freelancer:

  • Do the relatives clause properly which means that in Spanish the relative clause has a different order of words than in English.
  • Don’t over use passive voice because in Spanish we usually use reflexive se instead.
  • Don’t give you a translation that is a Spanish version of the English one word by word.

Graphic Design

If you’re wanting to spice up your website or design a professional logo, try asking a freelancer to do it for you. Someone who has the skills and knows exactly what they’re doing will be a lot more capable than a beginner (i.e., you) when it comes to designing images or graphics in Photoshop.

Writing

This is a slightly different field. If your blog is quite personal, stick to writing all the content yourself. However, if it is a site used to promote goods and services, then maybe hiring a freelancer to help with some of your content might be worth it. Bear in mind, however, that there are other options when it comes to writing. For example, if you’re really struggling for content, then it might be worth looking into encouraging guest posts on your site.

If you feel that hiring a freelancer is expensive, but your texts are not good enough, I highly recommend you to look for proofreading services. It is the perfect balance between price and result.

Summary

All in all, it’s completely up to you whether to hire a freelancer or not. It is a very useful option if you feel inundated with tasks or if you don’t know how to do the wrk with a high standard, but if you feel that you can do it yourself then stick to that and make your blog totally your own. This in mind, remember that freelancers are extremely skilful and can offer you a helping hand in areas where you have little expertise, which can only improve your blog on the whole.

3 places to check for SERP

First of all, many of you might not be familiar with the term SERP and its implications. For this reason, it is important to first explain a bit what it means, and why it is important for your blog, and only then talk about some of the best sites where you can check for it. Let’s get started.

SERP is an acronym for Search Engline Results Pages. They are used by people when they want to look for something online using a search engine, like Google. You simply enter a keyword and the search engine provides you with a SERP.

It is not this simple though, because SERPs are different one from the other, even if you search for the same keyword on the same search engine. The main reason why this happens is because basically all search engines make the experience of using them unique by adapting to their users. The keyword is not the only factor, but the person’s location and browsing history are also taken into account.

Basically, if you want to see how well your latest post on your blog is ranking, then you should definitely check out for SERP on one of these websites. Let’s take a look at some of the best sites out there.

  1. SEMrush

On SEMrush you simply put your website URL or an URL of a blog post and this site will tell you which keywords you rank for. In addition, you can click on any of these keywords in order to see the keyword competition. It works for both Google and Bing. You can get a free 14-day trail of SEMrush, but you will need to register in order to use the software.

  1. Google Rank Checker

If you do not want to spend money on a SERP online checker, then you should definitely give Google Rank Checker a go. It is a great online keyword rank checker which is also free. All that you need to do is to include the domain name along with the keyword. Then you will get the position of that keyword in Google. It is quite simple.

  1. SEOCentro

SEOCentro is an excellent tool for checking keyword ranking. The best thing about this website is the fact that it allows you to check out the performance of specific keywords in more than one search engines. Among these engines we can count: Google, Yahoo, and Bing, but not only. It does not require you to create an account, but it is recommendable that you do so.

Now that you know where to check out your SERP, you can increase the performance of your personal blog. It is truly one great tool that you should take into account. After all, you do really want to get visitors on your site. This is an excellent way to find out how your site is performing. You should definitely keep this in mind when you write your next post.

Why You Need Crawlable Content

Chances are that, if you’ve ever heard people talking about search engine optimization, you’ve been hearing a lot about keywords. The truth is, that’s not all there is to SEO. There are a variety of other techniques that you can use to boost your blog online and help improve search engine rankings, therefore directing more traffic your way. Build a crawlable site is one of them.

How Search Engines Work

To understand how to work with search engines, you need to know a little about how they actually work. Think of the internet as a big database of information, which the search engines need to filter through in order to find content that their users are searching for. They do this by storing every webpage on the internet in smaller databases based upon keywords (which is the main basis for returning searches).

In order to find webpages, search engines use bots called crawlers that scour the internet for content by following links, and then putting this content into their databases depending on keywords in the raw text and the HTML. Of course, then, keywords are a major factor in search engine optimization, but there are other things you can do to make your site more accessible to the search engine crawlers.

Indexing

Crawlers, as mentioned above, have to group the webpages they find into smaller, more manageable databases. This is called indexing. How, then, can you make your content indexable for search engines?

Crawlers form pathways through the content they find, following links they come across to find content they haven’t yet come across. For this reason, it is extremely important to establish a link structure on your site that is easy for crawlers to navigate. Many website-builders create a navigation structure that is impossible for crawlers to navigate.

Another thing to note is that certain pages cannot be reached by crawlers even if there is a link, such as those that require visitors to fill in a submission form (like a password or survey). Other links that cause problems are those embedded in plug-ins including Flash or Java.

Crawlable Content

There are also ways to make your content crawlable. Firstly, ensure that your content is accessible in a HTML format, so that crawlers can read the text and sift through keywords. This is where it gets a little more complicated, because non-text formats, such as images and flash files, are often devalued, or may even be ignored by search engines. Try providing alt text for images and formatting, or just try providing a transcript for video and audio content so that the keywords are still accessible.

Summary

To conclude, there are other techniques to optimize your site for search engines than just keywords. The main idea is to ensure that everything is linked together well and readable in HTML format. Finally, remember that search engines rank sites by relevance and popularity, and this is what will be pushed in the future. So try to up your user engagement to boost those ratings even further!

The meaning of “branding” nowadays

The word “brand” is an extraordinary example how language can change over time. Depending on the application of the word, its use can transform with a use for different purposes.

The origin of the word dates from Middle English when it referred to identifying something by a hot iron. Ranchers in the past used it to show ownership of animals. They would mark heads of the cattle and as it moved across the country for pasture, branding was an easy way to indicate who the animals belonged to. Later on, at the beginning of the 19th century branding started to be used for a specific type of goods. As soon as packed goods and mass production appeared on the market, the source or the manufacturer was put on the products.

For example, Levi Strauss is a very distinguished American clothing company that has been attracting customers for more than a century by their appealing logo. In this case the brand is a kind of non-generic name for a product that tells about the origins of the product. Levi`s are blue jeans created by a guy with the same name. Earlier these names were called “brand names” but today there is no difference between a brand name and the brand. For instance, the Italian chocolate producer Ferrero is a well-known brand and so is their brand name Tic Tack.

Actually the term brand name goes back to the beginning of 20th century when marketers became aware that the very product or service is more important than the sound of names. The name only speaks about the source of the product while the brand tells how people perceive the product and its worthiness. So they started aiming towards creating a particular perception among the customers about the quality and characteristics of the non-generic products or services. This is how the perception was named “the brand”. In other words, this feeling or perception is what people think of when they come across your brand name. It gives them the sense of knowing about you. It can be factual, like how your product looks like, a blog, a network service or any other form of marketing. Also, it explains the emotional side like what it offers-is it informational, entertaining and so forth. To put it simply, the brand name can be seen but the essence of the brand is held in people`s mind.

As the brand is growing and getting stronger the brand name may alter. Apple, the tech giant was initially called Apple Computers but later “computers” was dropped as more and more consumers adopted the more convenient variant “Apple”. Customers` perception is a very fragile issue. If people experience multiple advantages of a product or service they may use the brand name for a wide range of similarities. Take the example with Google. What do you do when you want to look up something online? You  just Google it.  This is what branding does nowadays- product, service, organization, cause, or ideas are not only identified by their names but the mindset of people using them.

Enhance your affiliate recruitment skills

In affiliate marketing as a process of expanding the creation of a product or service on the market, various parties participate receiving their benefits. Those benefits or better to say revenues depend on their contribution in the affiliating process. If you decide to start your affiliate programme you need to know how to attract affiliates. You need to know where to search and how to approach them.

Firstly you should know that affiliates are in fact publishers so you need to make your programme noticeable so that the interest for visiting it will increase. You also need to do a lot of searching for different websites, content that fits well with your product.  Offer them to get linked to your programme and get connected.

When creating a programme, prioritize some important facts to mention, like how much profit affiliates get of a product or how long cookies will be. Also will there be a list of priority regarding who called first for affiliating? Of course, do not forget to define when you pay them and how you do it. So you need to clarify certain points which affiliates might be interested in.

Speaking of money, carefully think about the amount you will offer. Low commission may turn off prospective affiliates. They say 25-30 is the ideal percentage. Obviously, this will not be possible if you do not offer an attractive product or service to your customers.

Try different advertising services like Google Adwords or Facebook ads where you can find new affiliates. Another way to catch up with prospective affiliates is joining affiliate marketing forums. You can meet people and discuss aspects of affiliate marketing and you can even promote your product in a roundabout way. You may offer a small discount to fellow members when it comes to commissions.

Be generous-make sure you come up with some good ideas of offering something extra to new affiliates or potential customers. This may be a good motivation prior they decide to join your programme or an incentive to continue affiliating if they receive the award at the end of job.

Stay in the affiliate network keep in touch by providing affiliates with information. It can be an article, a promo email or a banner. It shows that you take care to give additional details.

In some parts of the world affiliate events take place. See if there is one near where you live or look for a webinar. These are some good ways to meet important affiliates and to promote your program straight away.

Finally, you should not forget that none of the above will be valid and worthy unless you have an awesome product or service to offer. You must offer something that is unique in a way, something that stands out from the crowd and is catchy.

If you want to read more about how to find affiliates follow the link.

When is it ok to use online translation programs?

Nowadays, we have more and more access to information. As opposed to our local library, the Internet is a limitless source of all types of documents that might awake our interests in one way or another. However, not all of the information that interests us is in our native language, or in a language that we understand. For this reason, we want to find a way to understand it. This is why we decide to rely on a dictionary. We end up finding it quite annoying to open and close a physical dictionary for every unknown word, and this is why we go to our friends, the online translation programs.

As these online translation programs are becoming more and more popular these days, you probably all know the fact that they are not always reliable and you can end up with embarrassing translations. However, this does not mean that you cannot use them. It is important though to know when it is ok to use these types of programs. Do not panic, because this post has you covered. Below are some instances when you can use online translation programs with no fear.

  1. When you don’t have a dictionary at hand

Some translation programs are also really good dictionaries. This means that if you want to look a word up, you can use these programs to do so. It saves you the time of having to open a physical dictionary and find the word that you need. However, it is essential to look at all of the meanings of the word before you decide which you want to use. This way, you are sure that you do not make a mistake.

  1. When you want to understand a mail

It just happens that you got a mail in a language that you do not understand, or do not know very well. However, you do want to know what is written in it and you do not really have the time nor the patience to wait for your friend to translate it for you. This is when you can rely on an online translation program. You might not get a 100% accurate translation, but it will help you get the main message. However, it is essential not to write your answer by using the translation program as mistakes will most probably slip.

  1. For translating websites

If you want to read something on a website, you can just use a translation program. As in the case of a mail, this will help you have an overall understanding of the main message. In the case that there are idiomatic expressions or some colloquial phrases between the lines, you might just have to rely on a specialist.

Now that you know when you can use online translation programs, you can go ahead and do so. If you want to translate your text from English to Spanish, however, you should seek professional help from a translator.

Creating a Freelance Portfolio

A good way to attract clients for freelancing is to create an online portfolio. This is relatively easy to do, even if you are new to freelancing. A good way to do this is through a website of your own. The website should look professional and modern, so if you are unfamiliar with website building then consider hiring someone to create one for you, or alternatively use one of the many easy-to-use website-building tools available these days.

What Should the Portfolio Include?

The website should not only showcase your talent and give examples of what work you can do, but it should also provide an easy way for clients to contact you. Furthermore, a portfolio should include a brief description of yourself so that the client can get to know you a little better before asking you to work with them. This can make things a little more personal, and makes you instantly more trustworthy.

Something that a lot of freelancers miss out on is explaining their work. Many people decide it’s better to show their work rather than say much about it, but taking the opportunity to explain the project and what you actually did may help to swing some clients in your favor.

Showcasing Talent

The portfolio should put on display your best work. This means that you should include a variety of pieces in your portfolio to show off the various things you can do. Include a range of topics, a variety of writing techniques and try to include pieces that use different layouts. This will attract a wider variety of clients and thus more work.

Another thing to note is that you can include unfinished works or snippets from pieces. As long as the excerpt shows off your writing skills, it is a valuable thing to include in your portfolio.

In addition, try showing off any results you have achieved. If you have been involved in social media management and content creation for sites that show number of likes and shares, screenshot the results and post these somewhere on your portfolio. These make for a very attractive strategy that will draw in more clients.

What if You Don’t Have Much to Showcase?

New freelancers can still create a decent portfolio. How?

Well, you could start by creating pieces for imaginary clients. Write a few example posts of your own, on any topics you fancy, and post them up as an example of your writing. Another way to rack up some new content is to guest post on other blogs, and use these writings as proof of your talent. Alternatively, you could do some unpaid work just to get your feet off the ground, although the first two options may be much more appealing.

Keep in mind that these new posts should still be explained in your portfolio, so your potential clients can see exactly what you did.

Final Tips

It is important to always keep your portfolio updated – it should grow with you. As your career flourishes, your portfolio should expand too. Building a portfolio is definitely worth it for freelances wanting to turn over more work and attract new clients. Try getting started now!

How best to use Feedly

Feedly is a relatively new application for web browsers and iOS and Android mobile devices and also as a cloud based service. Through gathering feeds form many online sources, it enables users to customize and share with others. Feedly is a powerful tool that helps you organize, read and share contents of different sites.

Feedly offers a number of convenient features. It is particularly useful for bloggers, content and copy writers as it enables arranging favourite blogs, news sites, podcasts and Youtube channels with the possibility of accessing them easily by keyboard shortcuts. Moreover, it allows transformating websites into smaller cards and save articles and share them via   Twitter, Facebook, Google+ or Pinterest.

Helpful hints for using Feedly

Follow the link https://feedly.com/i/welcome and move to the left side bar where a new tab appears with the `Get started` option. By clicking this button you will be able to create an account through any of the given social networks. Whichever you chose you need to provide your personal information to log in, username and password after which you are directed to Feedy page.

You can start by adding favourite sources by clicking `+` on the left upper corner. If you subscribe to a lot of sources you can put them into categories. Feedly allows the `today` and `saved for later` button to sort the items according to your interest. You can also mark as `read` any of the current items. The `saved for later` feeds enables `change layout and filtering` by clicking the  sun icon on the right near the `search` tab.  Here you can assign the right layout to each source, like different views to different sources. Learn about the keyboard shortcuts if you want to navigate around the content. Just type `?` in Feedly to see the list of the keyboard shortlist. This option may not be available depending on the operating system on your computer. Additionally, sharing contents and participating is possible in cases you want to recommend something you find interesting. If you have accounts on Facebook, Twitter or a personal webpage you can use the built- in sharing features to communicate more effectively with other users or clients.

Feedly is particularly useful if you blog and want to optimize your feeds.  In Word Press, for example, you can do optimization in dashboard-settings-reading and change the feed option to a bigger number. Make sure you use short pieces of a whole article so that users who find them appealing they will click through to your site to read the rest. Image, size and author`s name are important features when it comes to how your feed displays in Feedly. Visuality is important, as well as using a nickname instead of your Word press username. As soon as you have adopted the basics of Feedly, start tagging your content to get more traffic to your website. Don`t forget to add quality comments on articles you have read. This may be a great way to get referrals as your comment may lead the reader to click your link. Detailed and coherent comments are the best to provide desired links.

Feedly may be one of the best options for your online business strategy for many reasons. Some of the most beneficial features are the quick access to information and easy customization without manually searching the Internet. Though, the best part is that it is free.

Asking clients for feedback

Getting feedback from your customers is an imperative for your business as it helps you sell your products or services in the best possible way. The question is how to get it so that you can find the suitable solutions to convert customers` opinions into more profit.

Customer feedback provides you not only with possible ideas of how to direct your business but it also enables you to do the right measurements of satisfaction with current customers and visitors to your website. In order to obtain reliable information you need to clearly define what exactly you want to improve regarding customer service. Then, how you will utilize the collected data and finally figure out which are the most beneficial channels to achieve your goals.

  • Get in touch with customers via email

Email correspondence can help you receive honest feedback from customers and in this regard you must consider some aspects to assure that your customers are heard.

Firstly, you need to provide your customers with fast replies without any delay. A simple body text such as `We will contact you soon` may convince your customers that their voice is important to you.  Secondly, try to organize a feedback loop within your mailbox. This makes easier to keep things in order. A convenient board system for these purposes is available under the name of Trello, were you can keep your tabs on the projects you are currently working. It serves as a reminder of which customers` requests have been asked before as well as whether to implement certain features. Lastly, use personal emails. Upon signing up through their email, customers can reach your website which gives you the possibility to ask them simple questions regarding the reason why they have signed up difficulties the face, what their preferences may be. This may develop into a thread of correspondence since it is not public, only between you and your customers. Remember to reply on timely manner otherwise your request might be rejected next time.

  • Use surveys to engage your customers

You may find this a rather tough task but once you have gone though it you can have multiple benefits. Survey answers will increase your possibilities to enhance your business since they are more thorough than random questions via email. They provide various types of questions from the simplest yes/no questions to more insightful ones. Pay attention how you formulate your inquiries, let your goal lead to construct short, clever questions one by one. Do not follow similar questions in a row. In case the answer does not require a yes or no answer, do not ask questions that can be answered dimly or without a definite clue. Make them precise without a hidden trap or implication. Customers do not wish to be guided to a desirable answer. Include rating scales for your respondents with a defined format that focuses on specific details you are curious about.

For the purposes of carrying out a survey you can use various tools like Qualaroo for conducting short surveys for a few customers or Survey Monkey which can be adapted to different types of questions.