Archive for the ‘writing’ category

Freelance Writing Online: 3 Places to Start

June 30th, 2010

freelance writing onlineIf you’re looking for a couple of places to get started freelance writing online for pay, there are a few good places to start.

Suite 101 is a website where you write articles about whatever topic you want to and get paid for your efforts.  Sign up for Suite101.com and get started. I know a few people who make pretty decent monthly checks from Suite101, but of course they write quite a bit AND they write smart, keeping keywords and research in mind.

The first place I started writing freelance online was Associated Content. It’s not a bad place to write and earn if you know how to write SEO copy that targets specific keywords.

The reason is that you get paid per pageview (on top of the initial fee you are paid for your work, which can be anywhere from a dollar to twelve dollars). As you move up the ranks at AC, which are dictated by how much traffic your articles receive over time, you earn more money per thousand pageviews.

But this isn’t exactly going to pay your bills since the highest you can get paid is $2 per thousand views. Still, it’s a good place to write and make money. You just need to know that it’s not going to be a career for you.

Hubpages is another very good place to write online, even if it takes time to start earning. You don’t get paid anything up front but you do get a 60 percent share of the revenue your written pages earn from Adsense, eBay affiliate links, and Amazon affiliate links. This is a cool site because you can edit your work for eternity and write pretty much anything you want as long as it meets Hubpages decency and quality standards (which really shouldn’t be a problem for any serious writers).

A lot of people start at Hubpages thinking it’s a good place to promote their personal websites and blogs, and often these same people realize that they can do better the other way around.  Read an article I wrote a while back about how to make money online with Hubpages.  When you’re done reading that article, you may also be interested in 5 ways to make more money with Hubpages.

Try out all three of these online writing sites and get a jump on your freelance writing career.  The reason I think it makes sense to try out as many writing sites online is because you should keep trying to find one that clicks really well with you.

It may be the style of the publishing system that gets you or it may just be the look of your published articles, but you should keep trying until you find a writing site that works well for you. The more comfortable you are writing somewhere, the more writing you will do, and that’s really the point.

Where do you do your freelance writing online? Leave responses in the comments below.

How to Use Delicious to Write Blog Posts

October 22nd, 2009

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Sometimes the hardest thing about blogging is deciding what to write about.  Either you have no idea what to write about, or on the contrary, are so consumed by the sheer amount of information freely available on the internet that you lose focus.

This happens to me quite often.

Using social bookmarking site Delicious is one way to avoid not having ideas ready for blog posts or feeling the pain of information overload.

Delicious is the best place to store and find links to websites and blogs online. Since anyone can see how many times a given link has been saved by the community, it’s easy to see which stories or sites are the most valuable and interesting.

If you’re looking for a story idea, having a look at the front page of Delicious will show you what people are saving, what’s fresh, and what’s trending. This may give you the little push you need to write an epic post.  It’s an interesting site because you never really know what you’re going to find.

Well, maybe you do actually.  You’re going to get a mix of links of interest to web designers, marketers, and tech folk, but there’s always a few wild cards like news stories and random cool links that have bubbled up to the surface.

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Often, you will find an idea for a story right there on the front page.  But even if you don’t, you can try the Delicious search function. Type in the category or genre of your blog and see what comes up.  The top entries will be authoritative sites that you probably know (if yours pops up, congrats) and you can work your way down to find links and sites that may interest you and give you a fresh idea or a new take on something.

You can also break down your searches by selecting tags to help filter your search and you can search by “freshness.” In other words, you can look for bookmarks that have been saved over the past year to the present, 2 months to the present, or 4 hours to the present. This will allow you to find perennially popular links and the hot, trending ones.

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Delicious gives you a good sense of the authority of an article or blog post because you can see how many other people have saved it. Sure, it’s not a perfect system, but items with fake authority (ie, 20 friends saved it) stick out like a sore thumb.

You can also easily save and tag items you find on Delicious for use as research for a future post. If you’re going to do a link post, like a “100 Ways to do Whatever,” this is a good place to do your research.  Use a unique tag for the items you’re going to include in your list or use for research and you will be able to reference them at your leisure.  Pay attention to tagging saved links and you’ll make your job easier.

Also consider following the bookmarks of people you respect or listen to online.  This can give you a good inside perspective on what topics they are interested in.

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Hopefully, after reading this post you can see that Delicious can be an idea generating powerhouse that can help you avoid blogger’s block.

I didn’t get hugged as a child. Show me the love.

Update (4/21/2012): Delicious sucks now.  :)

How to Write (Blog) with Authority

March 17th, 2009

I read a great post at Copyblogger about how to write with authority.  I thought it was a good refresher course in how to write in a strong, effective voice in the online medium.

Authoritative writing is dependent on one thing: having authority.  This means you need to have some information of value to people–you need to be able to help people.  You can’t fake this.

Another thing that is becoming more and more important in business is transparency.  People are desperate to find someone who will give them honest, valuable information.  It’s called loyalty and it’s not free.  It takes effort, passion, and great content to create loyalty.

Once you have a dedicated base of readers or followers who trust you and you honestly care about them, that’s all you need to succeed in online business–or any business for that matter.

Writing in a Headline-Driven World

December 13th, 2008

Today, Seth Godin wrote about the importance of headlines.  Sure, we all know that writing a good headline for an article is perhaps the most important part of the writing process.  

After all, if you can’t communicate succinctly what you are writing about, why would anyone want to read any further?  

But being able to write a good headline isn’t only a skill you need when writing a blog post or some sales copy.  It is important in your daily life.  You should be thinking of the best subject line for an email so that it gets read.  You should take the time to craft the objective line on your resume and the first line of your cover letter. You should think of the first line you want to use when you talk to the attractive girl or guy at a party. (I’ve found that the combination of “hello” and “what’s your name?” work better than anything else.)

Joe Sugarman (who Godin references in his post) writes that the main job of a headline is to get people to move onto the first line of the body of whatever you are writing.  If people don’t move on, then nothing happens.  Your email or article is useless.  

A good headline does three things:

1) It makes clear what you are writing about without being wordy.  This is obvious but so often overlooked.

2) It catches eyes.  A clever or even just carefully-written article or well-crafted first line will get more attention than something boring.  Life is short.  People are busy.  Be interesting.

3) It starts the “slippery slide.”  Sugarman, the brilliant direct mail copywriter that he is, writes that the title is designed to get a reader to read the first line.  The job of the first line is to move on to the second line.  And so forth.  When a reader gets involved in a piece of writing, they start to slide down the rhetorical slippery slide.  Then you’ve captured your audience’s attention and move closer to whatever your intended goal may be.

Attention is hard to come by these days.  Communicating succinctly and getting your point across in as few words as possible will help your writing immensely.

Read more about online business.