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 Best Ways to Research for writing

Unfortunately, as a freelancer, sometimes you don’t initially have all the required knowledge on the subject. So, you are forced to conduct some research on the topic.

Scratching the Surface

The first part of the research is the mostimportant. If you have little to no knowledge on the matter at hand, theintroductory research should be brief and broad, covering the topic as a whole.

Once you have an overview of the subject,you may feel like you have found your footing a little better, and so canconduct better research. Sometimes, in the early stages of researching you maystumble across something that you need to look into a little deeper, somethingthat you had not previously considered. This is why this overview is soimportant – it may give you new ideas and a new way to tackle the project.

Where to Research

Nowadays, it is highly unlikely that youwill go to the library to find your research. There is a multitude of onlineinformation that makes it way easier to access any knowledge within a matter ofseconds. However, not everything that you find online is trustworthy.

Knowing the difference between atrustworthy source and an unreliable one is difficult for some people.Generally, if the work has been published by a big company (such as awell-known news network) or someone of high status, then the informationincluded will be sound and reliable.

Another thing to take note of is the siteitself. Old websites that look dated may have been created by an amateur, andthus are not always the most trustworthy. Also, they may not have been updatedfor some time, meaning the information could be out of date. This is not to saythat all drab-looking websites are scams, nor that all high-tech websites arefactually correct; it is simply a rule of thumb to take into account.

Organisation

Something that is often overlooked is theorganisation of things found during research. In order to do your job to thebest of your ability, you should note down things you find out or things youwant to include. This may be typed up on a Word document or scrawled on apost-it note, but it is important to take notes so that you remember to includethings.

Once you have finished your research, youmay choose to make a plan for your piece, incorporating all the information youhave found. This makes it easier to write the whole article with all theimportant bits included.

Research is an essential step in thefreelance writing process. It should never be overlooked, even if it may be themost boring part of a writing project. In order to complete your best work andimpress clients, all pieces should be written from a place of knowledge andunderstanding of the topic, which is why researching any topic is absolutelyvital.

Don’t be afraid to research. Knowledge ispower, after all.

Choosing a Domain Name

When you are starting out with a new site,one of the trickiest but most important factors is the domain name. You need tochoose something that speaks volumes about your site, is easy to remember, andis brandable enough to make your new business venture a success.

A domain name is so important because it provides a first impression about your company, but it also affects SEO. Using keywords in the domain name can affect rankings! (yeah, yeah, I know they say they don’t, but they do).

Here are five tips to choosing the perfectdomain name…

1. Make it Easy to Type

The most popular websites in the world areeasy to type because they are easy to spell. Think about it: Facebook, Google,Yahoo, etc… You don’t want people to misspell your domain name and end up onanother website.

Ask 10 people to write down your new domainname without telling them how it is spelt. If they get it wrong, you need tosimplify it. Also, you should keep it concise easy to remember.

2. Avoid Hyphens and Numbers

This is related to the above tip, ashyphens and numbers make domain names harder to type and harder to explain.Domain names should be smooth, which means you have no time for symbols.

Furthermore, it just looks lessprofessional. The nicest, most professional domain names just stick to letters.

3. Think Long-Term

A domain name needs to be future proof. Youcan’t build a business on one domain name and then switch to another when youget bored of it or when you decide to expand. Therefore, you need to keep yourlong-term plans in mind when choosing your domain name.

If you choose a very niche domain name andthen decide to expand your business into other areas, your domain name will nolonger apply. It should not be limiting in this way, but it should stillindicate what your brand is about currently.

4. Use Keywords

People definitely won’t know what your business is about unless you use keywords. This will help to improve your SEO and attract the right kind of audience. Place the keyword at the very start of the domain name for maximum impact.

Note, however, that you should avoidsounding too generic when you do this. Otherwise, you risk becoming mistakenfor other brands in the same industry, and that will only do harm to yourbusiness.

5. Use the Right Extension

The ‘extension’ refers to the part of thedomain that comes after the dot. There are plenty to choose from, and you maybase your decision on whether the domain you have chosen is already taken witha different extension.

If you have started your site throughwordpress or another tool, then the original domain name will be something like.wordpress.com. However, this does not come across as very professional, as itdoes not seem like a true business organisation’s site. As a result, it is bestto change to something else.

75% of domain names end in .com.

The Best SEO Tools for Your Site

No matter what task you are performing, it is important to have the right tools for the job. When it comes to website-building, I can’t recommend enough the importance of having an SEO tool at your fingertips.

If you work as SEO writer having a basic knowledge of this tools can provide you an extra value to offer to your clients.

These tools can help you improve your website’s SEO with ease, without you stressing over whether you’re doing something right or wrong. In this article, I will be giving you my favourite three SEO tools to use for websites, along with some of their features.

Yoast

You might have already heard of Yoast SEO, as they are the number one WordPress SEO plugin. When you install Yoast, there is an option between a free version and a premium version, which costs £79 (excluding VAT) per year, with this cost including updates and support.

When you have the Yoast plugin installed, it will ‘read’ your text to ensure you are using keywords often enough and in the right spots. All you need to do is enter the keyword or keyphrase you would like Yoast to register. In the Premium version, you can also add multiple keywords and keyphrases to search for, including related keywords. Premium also provides you with suggestions for internal linking to improve your SEO in terms of crawlability of your site.

Yoast gives you a little preview of your site in Google, and the premium also gives you an option to preview your page in social media. It couldn’t be easier!

Ahrefs

Ahrefs provides multiple SEO tools to help you improve your website. They will show you how competitors are ranking in search results so that you can check out the competition. You also gain lists of keyword suggestions from an enormous database of over 3 billion keywords.

Ahrefs runs the world’s largest index of backlinks, which is updated every 15 minutes. You can see the backlinks of any site with ease.

This tool is really helpful for finding out what is working for your competitors and how to adjust your own SEO accordingly. Ahrefs can give you a 7-day trial for $7.

SEMrush

Another good tool to use is SEMrush, which gives you analytic insights into competitor’s strategies. This includes advertising research and display advertising. Furthermore, SEMrush can give you an in-depth analysis of backlinks and allows you to gather the right keywords and keyphrases to get ahead. The best feature here is that you can explore multinational and multilingual keywords!

Another good feature of SEMrush is that you can compare different domains side-by-side to get more precise insights into your competitors. The data that SEMrush gathers can be compiled in an easy to read PDF. This really is a great tool.

SEMrush offers different pricing options including Pro, Guru, and Business, which slowly increase in price from $99 to $399. The top end option is definitely pricier, but you can compare the options to see which is best suited to your company before buying.

Reasons to Break the Rules of Writing

Writing is a subject most of us were forced to take at school, especially when we were tiny young things coming to grips with our own language. In lessons, the rules of grammar are drilled into you, but are they really that important?

It’s a common misconception that a writer should always have perfect grammar. However, perfect grammar should not stand in the way of writing something meaningful and emotive that really connects with an audience. If you can do both, do it, because grammar is important in terms of actually understanding the language and putting words in the right order. But being picky might only serve to destroy good writing, and not help it.

Here are 4 reasons why you don’t need to have perfect grammar all the time.

1. Nobody is perfect

If you’re really that obsessed with grammar and getting every little thing right all the time, you won’t be able to write at all. Perfectionism is one of the biggest obstacles to writing, because nothing and nobody is ever 100% perfect.

Amazing writers are ones that practice, and keep writing, and get their work done. Without this, you can never reach your full potential. Essentially, getting hung up on grammatical mistakes is not going to allow you progress as a writer. Don’t focus on being perfect, focus on being as good as you possibly can be.

2. Policing grammar wastes time

Rather than googling where a comma should go, you could spend your time much more productively, say, writing. Or, if you want to learn how to write better, read writing blogs that focus on the actual craft rather than linguistic rules.

It’s more important to write in a way that matters instead of constantly scouring your work – or other people’s – for correct grammar.

3. The grammar police have bad attitudes

I’m not just being rude here, studies have actually shown that people obsessed with grammar are more likely to be introverted and disagreeable. The field of writing – especially freelance – relies on networking and making connections, so being likeable and communicative is important.

So next time you catch yourself being pedantic, try to let it go!

4. You have an artistic license

Sure, grammar can be a little important in understanding the fundamentals of a language. But writing for an audience is about making connections and speaking to someone on a deeper level, which is why you have the artistic license to do whatever you please. Read your writing aloud; if it sounds good, then keep it as is.

Final thoughts

Striving for high standards in your writing is not a bad thing – you’re not going to be a good writer if you have a terrible grasp of the language.

That being said, it’s not necessary to be a complete stickler for grammar. Allow yourself to be free and let the words flow from your fingertips to the page. That’s how to be an amazing writer.

New to Copywriting? How to Break into the Market

Are you new to copywriting? It can be a pretty intimidating industry, particularly because it relies on selling yourself to potential clients. If you don’t have an extensive portfolio to sell yourself, however, this can be tricky business.

Luckily, we’ve put together a brief article with a few tips to help you out.

1. Find your niche

If possible, try to delve into copywriting in a specific niche. This way, you will be able to tie your skills to a specific field and promote yourself as an expert. Nowadays, many companies desire field experts, since they are likely to make better sales.

That said, a niche isn’t everything, and it’s good to be flexible. But for the purposes of breaking into the market, it’s advisable to try and find something you are very knowledgeable about to try and plug yourself.

2. Establish a portfolio

You should set up a website where potential clients can view samples of your work. This website portfolio should be very professional and represent your values and work ethics. Most importantly, clients should be able to peruse examples of your amazing copywriting work.

If you haven’t had any employment to date, then write anyway! Set yourself a copywriting task and complete it, then post it online so clients can see your skills. Think of this website as an online resume that will sell your skills for you.

3. Get a LinkedIn profile

LinkedIn is a great way to meet potential clients. Posts on here are sure to get a good level of professional engagement, and it is often high-paying clients that work through this platform. Some freelancers say that clients they find through LinkedIn are willing to pay more than those who stumble upon your website.

4. Connect with businesses on social media

Social media is a great place to meet people. As a freelancer, you have to make sure that all your networks are either completely clean or on private – potential employers won’t hire you if they see bad stuff on your social media profiles!

You could even make separate accounts for your freelancing. It is a good idea to reach out to companies on here instead of just waiting for them to come to you.

5. Research!

Whether it’s reading copywriting books, taking courses, or listening to relevant podcasts and reading relevant blog posts, research will help to propel you into the world of freelance copywriting.

If you are armed with great knowledge and information, you will be a better copywriter, and this will only serve to get you better jobs. Knowledge is power, after all, so make sure you soak in as much information as possible.

6. Don’t let on about your newbie status

As long as you aren’t asked directly about how long you have been copywriting, there is no need to tell the employer that you’re new to this. Providing that you are a great copywriter, there shouldn’t be any need to discriminate based on experience, but employers do it nonetheless.

It might feel like you’re lying by hiding this truth, but it’s nothing that is damaging to anyone else. If you have confidence in yourself and your amazing copywriting skills, then you should be able to provide high-quality work that meets similar standards as a veteran freelancer. So don’t worry, it’s not pulling the wool over anyone’s eyes!

Final thoughts

It can be intimidating being a little fish in a big pond, but everyone has to start somewhere. By following our above tips, you should be on your way to becoming a renowned copywriter in no time at all.

Just remember, a freelancer has to be able to sell themselves well, so above all else, think about your online presence and how you communicate with clients. It should all be fine!

Research vs. Writing: Getting the Balance

As a freelance writer, it’s quite easy to fall into the trap of over-researching. ‘You can never have too much information!’ You might say, and you’re not exactly wrong, but you can spend too much time researching and end up wasting your precious working day. It’s important to get in more time actually writing, instead of all the bits leading up to it.

Planning to write is not writing. Outlining, researching, talking to people about what you are doing, none of that is writing. Writing is writing.

This quote by E.L. Doctorow sums it up. Writing is the bulk of your work! Sure, Doctorow was talking about fiction pieces, but the same logic applies.

Of course, it might be pretty important to research, especially if you’re writing outside your usual niche. That said, how do you actually get the right balance between writing and researching. Well, it depends on a lot of factors, which we in explore in further depth in this article.

So, read on if you want to make sure you’re getting things done, and not just wasting time.

What field are you working in?

Let’s say you’re a writer that specializes in social media marketing. You already know a lot about marketing and business, and if you’re an established freelancer then you already know a lot about writing, too.

If you get hired to write about social media marketing, you’ll not to research very much, if at all. If you are asked to write about search engine optimization and blog writing, then a little more research might be required, but chances are you’ll know a bit of the terminology and basic concepts already. But if you land a job writing about the best dog training techniques, for example, then you’ll certainly need to do a hefty amount of research!

This is pretty much common sense, but you basically need to make sure that the time you spend researching ties in with your existing knowledge on the topic.

How specific is the topic?

Some writers are employed to write reviews, which are obviously a lot more specific than generalized blog posts. Specific posts like require detail, including statistics and particular words or phrases, meaning that you will have to do a little more research in order to really understand the topic.

In short, the more specific the topic, the more research required.

How original is the piece?

Have you been hired to write an opinion piece? If so, you should already be pretty well-versed on the topic at hand. And the clue is in the title: opinion piece. Sure, if you’re including stats and facts to back up your opinion then maybe a little research is required, but all in all a text like this would need less research.

On the other hand, if your piece is supposed to relay facts and only facts, then you will be more or less changing the wording from other studies already out there, which obviously relies more heavily on research.

Final thoughts

Generally, research depends a lot on your confidence. The more you already know, the less you need to research. Furthermore, it depends on how much time you feel you need to plan.

In summary, there is no right amount of research, it’s down to what feels right for you. There are no set rules, but it is important to try and find a good balance so you don’t waste any time.

Four Differences Between Blogging and Freelance

In a world like today, where blogging is absolutely huge, there can be some confusion between blogging and freelancing, namely because freelance blogging is such a large sector in itself. The overlap between these two categories mean that the lines are blurred between the categories of ‘blogger’ and ‘freelancer.’

If you are a writer that earns money through their work, it is important to have an understanding of the difference between the two, lest you end up settling for subpar blogging jobs when you could be earning much more. Not only is the extra money an upside, but writing the way you are meant to is so much more fulfilling.

The Similarities

Both blogging and freelance writing can be done part-time in addition to a full-time job. Both can be done from the comfort of your own home, or whatever environment you prefer to write in. Neither require an enormous amount of education (well you need to know some basics about copywriting of course); just a laptop, internet access, and a way with words. And finally, both require a good command of the language you are writing in – who would hire a freelancer or read a blog with atrocious spelling and grammar?

So, what actually are the differences between the two?

Freelancers don’t just write blogs

Since so many company websites have blog sections these days, a lot of freelance work that is available happens to be about writing blogs. This means that, really, all freelancers should be very capable of writing blogs, but they should also be skilled in other genres and capabilities. For example, freelance writers can usually conduct research and study and be able to complete a range of pieces including blogs, articles, transcripts or manuscripts.

However, bloggers write blogs. This is just one style of writing, which tends to be more personal and stylised.

Blogs have a niche

Blogs, and in turn bloggers, often have a specific topic. In order to be a successful blog, it must have a subject that appeals to a certain audience. For example, there are blogs for cooking, blogs for pet-lovers, blogs for fashionistas, and so on. And so, bloggers also have a niche, or a field of expertise.

Freelancers, on the other hand, write on a whole variety of topics. As mentioned in the first difference, they are capable of conducting research on any given topic to produce a high-quality piece, no matter what the subject (almost).

Freelance is balanced

The thing that you will learn quickly as a freelancer is that not every job is a dream come true. Some jobs seem perfect, because they are on a topic that you enjoy or know a lot about, and perhaps the client has given you freedom of writing style. However, a lot of freelance jobs that come your way are disappointingly boring or dreary, but they are a source of income nonetheless. As a freelancer, you have to know how to write on command. Furthermore, the field is often fraught with disappointment when you get bad feedback from a client, or when you get turned down from a job.

But blogging is more about inspiration and freedom. Since the blog is yours to run, you can pour your feelings out onto a page and publish whatever you like. This is why freelancing can seem more difficult at first, but it can be easy once you get used to writing on command.

Blogs are opinionated

Similarly, to the above point, bloggers have freer rein when it comes to writing, and thus blogs tend to contain more opinions. In fact, readers often come to blogs to receive opinions and form connections with the individual blogger.

Freelancers have to be more discreet with their opinions. Since they are hired by clients, they sometimes have to conform to the ideas of the employer, and often have to present a neutral take when writing articles.

Conclusion

Despite the rather large overlap between blogging and freelancing, the two are quite different when you look into it. Although both encompass a certain degree of creativity and good writing skills, blogging is more independent while freelancing is more structured.

A lot of people try both over the course of their writing career, so don’t be afraid to step out and try something new if you think it will further you in your professional journey.

Digital Marketing: Basic Options Out There

If you want to get the best out of your website, it is important to know a little about digital marketing. There are a variety of tactics you can use to improve your digital advertising, boosting the amount of views on your blog and improving popularity in the long run.

So, what are the best techniques you can use to market your brand and improve popularity? Read on to discover some of the best digital marketing tactics to get you started.

Pay-Per-Click

This is a kind of paid advertisement that you could use if you want to appear at the top of the search engine results page. The advantage of this is that you have complete assurance that people will see your pages.

However, there are a few downsides. Firstly, of course, there is the fact that payment is involved, whereas other digital marketing techniques may not require a fee. Additionally, studies have shown that people sometimes instinctively ignore the paid advertisements and jump straight to the ‘organic’ content beneath, which means you still aren’t guaranteed views.

If you want to use it, one of the best options is Googel Adwords.

Search Engine Optimization

SEO is probably the most popular digital marketing technique, and also the most talked about. This is quite a broad umbrella term which encompasses a lot of other tactics, such as use of keywords, creation of a strong link structure, and a small amount of knowledge on HTML.

Search Engine Optimization is free to perform and can be a very strong technique, as it also makes your website valuable, engaging and easy to use, which improves popularity with readers.

One great site to keep you informed is the Search Engine Land.

Content Marketing

Put simply, content marketing involves optimizing your content and targeting particular audiences in order to expand your readership and popularity. Marketers publish original content that will draw in readers, allowing them to build a brand and reach new audiences through this branding.

Once again, this is free, and since it is such a simple technique it is easy to get your head around. All it takes is a good writing style and a little research into your audience’s personas.

If you want content marketing done in Spanish look here.

Social Media Marketing

In this day and age, cracking into the social media market is the essential key to success. The modern world relies on social networks as a source of news, reviews and a wealth of information about the world. Nearly half of all internet users use Facebook, among other popular sites.

Posting on social media is an excellent way to pick up attention for your site, and it provides a mechanism to set up a personal relationship with your readers. Engagement with content is important in getting your site recognised by search engines, so linking your blog to social media accounts will certainly help you garner more views.

Communications Advertising

Another paid form of advertising comes in the form of e-mail or mobile marketing. You may need to pay for access to new audience e-mails, or to promote content on social media, but it can be worth it in the long run.

If you run a blog with subscriptions, e-mails will ensure that your readers stay up to date with everything you post.

One of the best tools to manage your own email data base and promotions trough it  is Mail Chimp.

Digital Marketing

There are numerous benefits to digital marketing, so make sure you take heed of the different options above and begin mastering the tricks of the trade. Digital marketing is a surefire way to increase views, clicks and readership, and therefore help you sell your blog to the world.

Why Am I Not Getting Top-Paying Clients as a writer?

Trust me, you are not the first person to sit in front of the computer and ask yourself, “What am I doing wrong?” Freelancing can be really tough work, especially if you’re near the beginning of your career. There are so many successful freelancers making top dollar out there, so what is it that’s standing in the way of your success?

Well, there are a few things it could be. In this article, we’ll take a look at three big mistakes freelance writers often make; and tell you just how to fix them!

Mistake #1: You’re undercharging

Clients will often ask you what you charge before hiring you. If you don’t think you’re worth the money, why would your clients?! If your anxiety gets the best of you, then it’s very likely that you won’t even shoot your shot. Sure, asking for a high price is a little daunting – what if they say no? But if you don’t ask, you don’t get!

As a general rule, if every client accepts your quote, then your prices are too low. You could raise it until you get around a 50/50 conversion rate.

How to fix it: If you shoot high, then at least you have a definite answer and aren’t left wondering whether they would have paid you more. So next time you have the chance to set your price, take the plunge: just do it. A good piece of advice is to put your project price together and then add 25%, and that way you avoid any chance of underpricing.

Moreover, adding a little extra means you’ve already covered for any extra time it takes that you didn’t factor in. Perfect!

Mistake #2: You’re not confident

When interviewing with clients and communicating over price, it’s important to give them a reason to hire you. If you don’t think you’re the man for the job, then your clients aren’t going to believe it either. Uncertainty will shine through no matter what you do, so it’s essential to make sure you project the utmost confidence.

How to fix it: Remember to give yourself a pep talk before you start talking to the client. Remind yourself how kick-ass you are as a writer, and why you deserve to be paid for your services. You are the professional copywriter, and you are the one who is bringing expertise to the project. If you go in with that mindset, then you’ll definitely avoid underselling yourself.

Mistake #3: You’re sending a quote

I know what you’re thinking: are you not supposed to do that?! Well, not exactly. A quote focuses entirely on price, but you should be turning the tables and thinking outside the box, making sure that clients don’t consider you as just a commodity.

How to fix it: Turn your quote into a proposal. Basically, you need to persuade clients to hire you in a document that sells you as the perfect employee. Make sure you include things like:

  • Your project objectives.
  • An overview of your process.
  • A description of your service to highlight exactly what benefits you bring to the table.
  • Your terms of service.
  • Testimonials of happy clients.
  • A call to action so that clients know what to do next.

Final thoughts

Yes, it’s that simple! If you make these three quick fixes, then you’ll be on the top shelf for earnings in no time! As you can see, everything in freelancing relies on self-confidence and an ability to sell yourself and highlight all the wonderful benefits that you bring to any team.

Now that you know what you’re doing wrong, hopefully you can make the necessary amendments. Good luck!

Do’s and don’ts of writing a blog

Whether you have already been blogging for a while or you are thinking about starting your own blog, there are some things that can help your blog either get a head start or get to the next level. The thing is, no matter how good of a writer you are, there are always some things that you might not know and get your blog noticed.

At first, or even after a while you might not get those views that everybody is longing for. This means that you need to change something and here are some tips that may come in handy.

Do’s of writing a blog

  1. Be yourself

The main difference between bloggers and newspaper articles is their voice. People read your blog because they want something relatable, they want to know the real you. Instead of writing something extremely somber, try lightning things up with something funny, maybe a joke.

  1. Use links

Even though you might want to keep your readers to yourself, you also want them to get informed as much as possible. This is why you should provide links to similar articles written by other people or if not other articles from your blog that might be of interest to them. For example, in the case of this post an example of an external link is here and an example of an internal link is here.

  1. Respond to blog comments

As previously mentioned, it is important to maintain your audience. Getting closer to your readers is not necessarily something you can do by being yourself, but also by answering their comments. People usually want a dialogue with you, not just them reading your posts. This is mainly why some of them write comments. In order to show them that you care, you should respond to those comments, even if it’s with a simple thank you.

Don’ts of writing a blog

  1. Don’t set unrealistic goals

It is important to know your limits. If it is impossible for you to write an article every day, than do not promise your audience. If you do not keep your goals nor respect the promises that you make to your readers, then your audience will lose interest in your blog.

  1. Don’t make grammar mistakes

People usually hate reading texts that have a lot of grammar or spelling mistakes as they sometimes denote a lack of education. If you are not native, tell your audience this as your readers might be able to understand you. However, it is best for you to hire a proofreader or use applications such as Grammarly to both correct and improve your writing.

  1. Don’t use bright colors

Bright colors and strange looking fonts might be hard to read for the audience and thus your readers will soon lose interest in your blog. In addition, even though the content is good, elements such as colors and fonts might damage it.

Above were just a few of the things that you should and should not do for your online blog. I hope they are useful and help you improve.