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.

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.

The ins and outs of Guest Blogging

For a while, bloggers and writers alike stopped using the practice of guest posting. The technique picked up an infamous reputation, because it became abused by spammers and click-bait writers. But guest posting is back and better than ever, and is actually a very useful technique for those wanting to boost their ratings and appear higher up in the search engines.

What is Guest Posting?

One of the things search engines take into account nowadays when ranking sites is the links that direct traffic to the site. This is similar to academic papers, in that a paper references by many other scholars is usually considered a better paper, because it has made more of an impact on the community.

Here’s how it works: a blogger will offer to write content for other similar blogs in their industry, as a guest blogger. In return, the blog posts a link to their own blog, providing them with an opportunity to promote their own brand.

The aims of guest blogging are threefold. Generally, bloggers want to build up their reputation as a well-known name in the industry, direct traffic to their site, and build a network of backlinks to their blog.

Using Guest Posting to Build a Rep

There are several guidelines to follow when using guest blogging in order to achieve the maximum result. These will be explored below.

First of all, the link should always be of some value. When writing a guest post, it should always still be of valuable content. Some people abuse the guest posting system by writing very short, vague posts, or even those that could be considered spam. Clearly, these posts were written with the sole purpose of getting a link, and add nothing of value to the community whatsoever. Any links included on the site should definitely be high-quality and worth clicking for the readers – this is the most effective way to optimize search engine results.

Any links included in your blog posts should also be completely relevant to the content being published. The reader should be able to gain more by clicking on the link. So, the links should not only lead to high-quality work, but also pieces that will further what they are reading and give them a good reading experience.

Another thing to bear in mind is that you should only write guest posts on a site you’d be willing to write for without anything in return. Links should not be a primary marketing strategy, nor should they be your sole goal in writing guest posts. A few years ago, the crash of guest posting came about due to this very thing: many bloggers saw their demise thanks to a link-hungry attitude that encouraged them to make too many guest posts. Quite obviously, their content began to suffer because of it. Don’t make the same mistake, and ensure that any work you complete can still be high-quality and avoid sounding ‘spammy.’ Other than links to your site, guest blogging can help you to position yourself in front of a new audience and sound like more of an expert in your chosen field. Therefore, links are not the only advantage of guest posting, and should not be the be-all and end-all of your posts.

Additionally, guest posts should not only link back to your own site. It can be tempting to stuff in a lot of backlinks to encourage visitors to your blog, but it is also important to include links to other sources and high-quality sites. The blog owner (and perhaps worse, the readers) will realise that you have only written the piece for the links if you cram in too many backlinks. This is a dangerous strategy, because it has the opposite effect of good guest posting in that it ruins your reputation. Good luck getting asked to guest post again! A general rule is to never link to your own site more than 2-3 times on a long article. In fact, it’s even best to include a few internal links as well, just to please the blog host.

Finally, don’t forget to include a link to your site in your author bio. These links do not usually generate the most traffic, but they are undoubtedly a source of traffic to your site and therefore are still important. People clicking the link to your site will definitely increase search engine ratings thanks to the increase in site traffic.

Finding Guest Posting Opportunities

When trying to find an opportunity to guest post, the main thing to consider is finding a site relevant to your field. The blog you are wanting to post on should not only be centered around the same niche, but also have an engaged readership and an active blog owner.

A good way to find blogs on which to guest post is to do a keyword search in google. For better results, search for the keyword followed by “guest post,” or something along those lines to find a blog that will allow you to write a post for them.

If you are aware of well-known guest bloggers in your industry, try searching for their articles and reach out to the same sites.

Once you have found a site you want to write for and reached out to the owner, it is essential to get to know the blog and its content. Research will unveil what posts do the best and what the blog owner is looking for, increasing the likelihood of a successful pitch and an overall successful post.

Final Thoughts

Guest posting is far from dead, but it is also not the primary marketing strategy you should be using. Still, it is very useful for writers looking to boost their ratings. Just make sure you avoid those ever-dangerous practices such as keyword stuffing, and guest blogging might just earn you the site traffic you need to become a blogging sensation. Now you know some of the basics, get to guest blogging!

I can help you with your guest posts in Spanish, drop me a message!

Why Knowing What Your Client Wants is Important

Perhaps one of the most important things to consider when taking up a new job is what the client actually wants. This sounds obvious, but there are several things to consider when applying for a job and discussing with the client what the job specifically entails.

Applying for the Post

You should only apply for jobs you are certain that you fit. Being a freelance writer you are likely to be drawn immediately to writing roles, or perhaps proofreading. If you have a flexible writing style, it is okay to apply to several different types of writing jobs, such as blog posts, news articles or product descriptions.

This said, it is important to make sure you are an appropriate fit regarding the content. Writing about something you know about and care about is one hundred times easier, after all. Some posts may require a little research, and that is not a problem. However, if you are being hired to write about business or use plenty of legal jargon, you must ensure that this is a field you have some experience in. Otherwise, you may struggle to write the content even despite research, and this will only cause trouble with the client.

Communication is Key

After you have applied for the post and received confirmation from the client that they wish to discuss your hire further, it is vital to establish a line of communication with the client. This may be via the messaging service of a freelancing website, via e-mail, or via a voice tool such as Skype. Different people prefer to communicate in different ways, and the client may prefer to dictate where you communicate in order to facilitate business and transaction. If you ask me, even when you chat with your client by Skype, it is a good idea ask they to write you an email with the instructions, so you have a place to look at when you have doubts about such instructions.

Before you even consider starting your work, you must discuss the job thoroughly with the client to understand fully what they want out of the job. Otherwise, it is easy to make mistakes which cause a lot of back-and-forth between yourself and the client, only creating more unnecessary work. Do not hesitate to ask questions! It is absolutely key to make sure you know how and what to write before you start.

Asking Questions

Throughout the process, it is okay to continue to ask the client about something if it springs to mind. You are not pestering them; in fact, it is likely that they will prefer someone who is dedicated and keen to complete the job to the best of their abilities.

It is better to check as you go along instead of wasting time sending off various draft copies to be marked and edited and sent back for corrections. This is why establishing a good line of communication early on is so important.

Criticism

Sometimes, despite your best efforts, there will still be things that the client wants to be changed. Do not take this to heart, it isn’t personal. The client is hiring you, after all. If you have followed all these other steps and done your best to satisfy the client completely before sending off your work, it will likely only be minor changes that can be finished very quickly.

This amounts to minimal time wasted and a high level of satisfaction with the client, probably earning you a good future reference when you require it.

Fulfilling a client’s needs is far from impossible. It’s simply all about communication, creating a better way to understand exactly what is being asked of you. I hope you heed this advice and that it serves you well in your freelance career. This is not to say that every future job will come up roses – some things just aren’t meant to be!

Technology and Artificial Intelligence in Freelancing

Technology is changing significantly these days, and with the world so focused on using technologies in our day-to-day lives, scientists are unsurprisingly eager to make everyone’s lives increasingly easier.

Artifical intelligence, or AI, is a relatively new field, but one that is expanding at a rapid rate. AI involves creating “smart” computers or machines that can, in a sense, think and learn for themselves to perform complex tasks. But how is this relevant to the world of freelance?

Proofreading

Already, there is a variety of sites and tools out there that proofread your documents and correct errors without you having to go through the effort of proofreading yourself. A basic example of this is SpellCheck and GradeProof, which points out simple mistakes to you. However, there are now also free sites such as Hemingway App, which goes into detail about your piece, including how lengthy and complex the sentences are, whether the words are over-complicated and can be simplified, and how many adverbs you have used.

This new kind of “smart-proofreading” is a good example of how AI can help in freelance work – it certainly speeds up the process of nit-picking!

Already helping us in our researches

AI-powered systems can also help freelancers with their research. Any freelance content writer worth their salt will know about SEO. Search Engine Optimization is a vital part of content writing, because there is no point in writing articles and posting them on the web if nobody is going to see them.

Ten or so years ago, web and article writing commonly featured keyword stuffing as a way to boost traffic through the site, because search engines were not able to detect this. In the last few years, however, the game has changed drastically. Now, search engines such as Google are integrated with AI in order to search for high-quality content, rather than just turning up sites that feature keywords. Search engines can now understand the content, and therefore push pages that are well-written and relevant rather than ones containing multitudes of keywords.

In addition, a relatively new AI algorithm can summarize long documents, therefore saving you a considerable amount of time researching. Of course, for many topics, the research you conduct may have been brief skim-reading anyway, which is why AI tools such as this come in handy.

Some people even use this technology to sift through messy e-mail inboxes, helping them to better prioritize their tasks. Again, this is an extremely useful freelance tool.

Even Logos

AI has a lot of uses other than writing tools. For example, Logojoy is a company that uses artificial intelligence to produce high quality logos for any business. The logos are created instantly after the user answers a few quick, simple questions about their preferences, and thanks to the AI integration, Logo Joy creates unique, aesthetically-pleasing designs.

The Future of AI

There are currently scientists working on ironing out the kinks in AI writing tools, meaning that in the future there may be bots capable of performing content writing tasks. This is a pretty scary thought for those of us who make a living off content writing, but as of yet the technology is extremely underdeveloped. Furthermore, it’s unlikely that computers will ever be able to surpass the flow of human language use.

A fair handful of freelancers are not limited to just one field. Perhaps writing is not your only expertise and you like graphic design, or perhaps you are wanting to branch out of freelancing into running a business of your own.

The uses for artificial intelligence are endless already, and who knows what will happen in the future.

Tips that guarantee success when starting an online business

Starting and running an online business is connected to many difficulties and issues that should be considered. Secrets to success vary among the individuals engaged in cyber work and tips that warrant a success may differ as well. Yet, here is a hit list of some common hints to follow.

Getting ideas

The capacity of our brain is predetermined to thinking and observations. This is how creativity emerges in the process of acquiring, gathering and storing information. You may never know when the right time is for an idea to come out of the bubble. This refers not only to places but people as well. Never avoid meeting a new face that may give you a refreshing perspective and an entirely new way of thinking. You might have come across useful tips on the benefits of searching the net for solutions, though it can be hard to remember everything we find interesting. Sometimes our mind is crowded with loads of thoughts and data. That is why keeping structured and developed tracks of the records you want to keep. It may be a diary or a bookmark folder in your browser. Something that is easily accessed when work has started.

Sell your experience and uniqueness not your items

Online business is not a physical space where customers and clients can see and touch the products or the service. You may think you offer and sell a service but it is more than that. It is an entire process which involves a range of activities based on your experience that need to guarantee success. The best way to do it is to be different and not imitating others. The more areas you are different the greater chance you have to make progress. For example, you can have a few satellite web pages or projects revolving around one venture. Though, remember that even in the most popular attraction you need to find and launch a very peculiar part that will make others follow you. Do not copy, but let others copy you.

Keep track of the community following you

Even the most successful business might fall apart unless you a constant back up from the people giving assurance that your job is meticulously directed to meet their interests. Try not to rely on your good sense or perceptiveness. What you actually need is a valid metrics to see where you are heading or whether you need to change your trends. Also, do not hesitate to cut off ideas no matter how much enthusiastic that might have looked at the beginning. Keep watching what people like or detest as there is no universal rule about leading a successful on line business. Just like scientists collect data based on field work before they have come up with a revolutionary theory. Measure your impact and keep your eyes wide open for any fluctuation in the process.