Tag Archives: make money from home

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.

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.

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.

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.

Working from home -how to boost your self-improvement

Home working can be an amazing experience for everyone if you have in mind the commodity and flexibility of doing your job. In comparison to the office work, homeworking offers your more flexibility but probably less competitiveness. You are on your own as you dictate your pace without any stress produced by the environment. However, you should know how to become more productive and catch up with the latest trends.

The first thing that pops up in mind when talking about home working is “time”. Creating a schedule according to your needs can be awesome but it can also lead to procrastination and laziness. If you don`t have to wake up at 7.00 am to catch the bus for work, it does not mean that you can`t keep the habit when you work at home. Setting your working time and sticking to it is important to develop good working habits.

Dress code is something that you are bound to in your company so why not to go on with the habit. People often say it might be fantastic being able to stay in your pajamas during work but wearing the clothes that bring to your mind rest and sleep would not make any good. There is no need to dress up but some casual everyday outfit can cheer you up and break the monotony of the day.

When you work from home you are not stuck to work hours as you would be in the office. Though, you should set your specific working hours and stick to the schedule. Find out when you are most productive. Some people do better early in the morning, while others are night birds.

Make sure you set aside a specific place for work. No matter how handy is using your laptop it does not mean you can crawl around your home with it. Being disciplined when working from a particular place can make you get in the working stream right ahead once you enter this realm. It does not have to be a room- a small, cozy corner in a room is enough to be named “my office”.

Being in a place accessible and needed to use by all the family members is not a good idea so you need a quiet space and the possibility not to get interrupted. Make it clear to everyone around your household that you are working seriously and you need your privacy and complete concentration. If it is difficult, use headphones and pick up some good ones with sound cancellation option.

Finally, you can`t work without a break, so go ahead and use your time for a nice cup of coffee. You can do it even better, take the opportunity to stretch your legs and go to the nearest coffee shop. Just as in a regular office when having lunch time.

Remember-you can always change your workload, but always think about ways you can work smarter not easier or harder.

Some basics of affiliate programs and affiliate marketing

Global Network - affiliate marketing
Global Network by fdecomite, on Flickr
Global Network” (CC BY 2.0

Affiliate programs are used for businesses when you want to promote your product or service to affiliates.  It can be done either through companies and networks like Awin and Tradedoubler or individually.

Affiliating through networks can be rewarding though it has a few drawbacks. Indeed your business can grow up quickly as there are teams who look for affiliates for you. However, this can be costly, around 30% of your charge of affiliates.

On the other hand, building your own affiliate program can be an enjoyable experience and also beneficial for your online business. You can affiliate people and groups via different sources. LinkedIn is one of the best know social networks for connecting and affiliating. If you want to recruit affiliates you need to advertise your business with a few words. You can mention your conversion rates as well as your preferences what you are looking for. For example, affiliates with product review experiences might be preferable to you, though you should opt for possible testing to each interested party.

So what are the benefits of having an affiliate program?

First of all it is much cheaper, around 5 % for each commission. Also, contacts are more direct because key affiliates can be contacted immediately to arrange promotions. This makes it easier to get a better understanding of the product and the needs of the customers. Also, you can have a complete control of the affiliate program.

A few disadvantages should be considered with this type of affiliating. You will have to take care of all the payments and commissions. It might be difficult to monitor the performance and variables as it can be time consuming for one person to do it.

When affiliating, it is important to set your aims and objectives. You may want to increase sales over a year or to increase the order value in a defined period of time. After you have defined the aims you need to build the strategy of how to find the right affiliates. There are a few steps of this strategic engagement. You must clarify how the affiliates can promote you. Then, you must define what will be promoted through cost-per click and one of your aims can be to increase your visibility within search engines. There are other things to think about, like linking to your website straight away or by using your URL.

Next you will have to define the cost you are ready to spend on a new customer. Calculating the commission is important because the profit and costs must relate to visitors, leads and sales. It means you decide how you want payment to go: per click, per lead or per sale so that you improve your conversion optimization.

Speaking of affiliating marketing strategy, there are many more details to take into consideration, such as customer retention rate, customer lifetime value and  the ability to calculate the optimal commission without putting your business into a financial risk.

What is AdWords?

AdWords is a system for advertising provided by Google where advertisers bid on specific keywords so that their adverts appear in Google`s search results. It`s an online advertising platform and the most widely used online advertising network. If you want to advertise your business. This tool is the right place to reach new customers and let your business grow.

Advertising through Google AdWords can be done across the two central networks –the search net and the display network. The search network is the advertising when clicks are paid. Advertisers make offers on keywords connected to their business. Thus, users who are searching a particular item or service will be able to see the advertisement for a keyword they have put in the search field. This is also known as paid search as what customers do is paying per a click. With the display network, those who advertise can put advertisements visually looking like banners on websites that are part of the display network. The display network is used by millions of global internet users.

How to use AdWords

The question is how to stand out of the crowd when the world in a highly competitive online business world. Here are some helpful copywriting tips that will enable you to create desired ads that will attract customers. The very first thing you should keep in mind when you start using AdWords is that the number of words is limited to 130 characters. It means, you have 25 characters for your headline, 35 for the URL, and 35 words for the first and second lines respectively. These are the lines where you give the description of your ad.

Be purposeful when you decide what keywords to use in the search for your target audience. Be familiar with them using “you” so that they know you speak directly to your audience. Also, tell them what they will achieve of your product/service in a specific way. For example, instead of saying “How to become a good portfolio writer” you can title it “How to become a good portfolio writer in ten steps”.

Make use “camel case”. The words “PowerPoint” and “SlideShare” are examples of camel case as well as “AsWords”. They are compound words and each of them begins with a capital letter. This is related more to the URL than to you as combination of long and multiple words are easier to be read when word beginnings are marked with capital letters. For instance, if your website`s URL is creativecontentblogger.com, it`s easier to read if you write it as CreativeContentBlogger.com.

Creating attention grabbing Adwords is not that much difficult if you consider the above hints. A catchy logo design with some ASCII characters, like percent sign, registered trademark, plus sign and the asterisk can be all used at one place and can do a great job. Finally, do not forget that people want to know what they are supposed to do. So, let them use a Call-to Action and you may have an online order of your dreams.

If you want to make money from home, this tool allows promotion and advertising controlling your budget, so I think it is very useful foor all the projects that are just starting.

Branding your blog

Branding is essential for your blog as it creates important messages for your clients. It helps them see how different you are from your competitors.

When you create your content it is necessary that you have in mind what picture you present to your customers.

Here are some hints to follow for the purpose of having a branded blog.

Come up with a creative and catchy blog name. Naming gives the first impression to the audience. Therefore make sure is it related to the product or service you are blogging. Also, are easy search terms included in the name?

Select a unique address. Many bloggers use WordPress.com but having your own URL is more authentic. Put a tagline as well as taglines tell more about the blog`s content. What is the blog about? An effective keyword in the tagline is a must. For example, if you have a blog on learning Spanish, you can define the type of information you present with “Actionable Spanish. “

Carefully choose the blog theme and the colours. The theme gives the overall framework of what you present and adds up to your brand name. Pay attention to the sample texts given by default and change them so that the captions look catchy to readers. Colours are an integral part of branding, so at this point keep in mind the psychological effect colours have on people`s perception and feelings. Now you can say I am not following this. It is because speed is against design and I bet in speed above everything when it comes to SEO results.

Typography is another element to be considered when branding a blog. It refers to the text in a blog and it can be incredibly influential on visitors to your blog and may have either positive or negative impact on to prospective customers. Typography expresses the general attitude about your content. The more creative and innovative you are, the more you can reinforce your personality and ideas by using the right typography.

Creating a blog brand in content writing for example, means considering the length of posts and the language that is used. Depending on the topic, you may go for longer articles, such as in language learning instructions or you may just share short notes in the entertaining business. As for the language, no matter whether you write in a standard language or in slang, good grammar and correct spelling are important.

Another authentic feature when branding your blog is to produce a voice for your blog. Remember that in the cyber world there is no real human interaction and you need to be recognizable as a brand among your visitors. Here comes the true meaning of “a brand”. Ask yourself these questions: “How do I sound to my readers? Will they recognize me? “

Finally, you need to protect your exclusiveness. You may choose one of the many public online copyright licenses.  Decide about the terms of use on your blog and whether you allow others to use your content. If you do, on what conditions they can do it. Do not forget, you are the one who is creating the brand.

The importance of fluent communication with clients

Someone once said that the client is always right. But until getting to say that your client is always right, you have to first get to know some information about who you are working for.

Why is this important?

The client is ultimately the one who decides whether he or she wants to work with you or not. Knowing who your client is gives you the upper hand. You can learn to adapt to their needs and what things to say or not to him or her.

Adapt your offer

Adapting your offer to the needs of your client is key. For example, if you are a Spanish content writer and your client is from Latin America, then you should adapt your vocabulary to that of the region, as it can be a bit different from the one in Spain.

Spelling and vocabulary are not the only things that you should take into account. For example, when applying to a job which requires technical writing skills, send them a sample of similar work, as opposed to your poems from 5th grade that you are so proud of.

Communication is key

If you are not sure what to do regarding an aspect, you should always double check with the client, as it is better to be safe than sorry. For example, if you are writing a SEO article, you should ask beforehand if the client wants the keywords to be highlighted, in bold. An other example would be whether the post should include images. All these aspects are key, because knowing them beforehand could save you a lot of work and time.

Feedback

The job ends, but your relationship with your client does not always stop here. It is important at the end of every task to ask for feedback. By knowing what you did wrong, you can improve your skills and not repeat the same mistake again. Also, you can use this opportunity to modify the things that your client is not happy with in order to ensure that you have delivered your task in a satisfying manner. It will leave both you and your client happy with the job that you have finished.

Respect deadlines

Regardless of your client, respecting deadlines is very important. Not doing so can reflect badly on your part and it can also have negative consequences such as: not being paid the full amount or the client never working with you again.

Knowing who your client is represents a key aspect in any type of business, regardless of whether it is freelance or not. You should take into account the above mentioned elements as they can take the relationship with your client to the next level. These little things make you get higher paid jobs and long lasting relationships with clients. Here is an other article that you might find useful.