Online Proofreading Tools That Will Help Make You a Better Blogger

Online Proofreading ToolsI know you’re a good writer. You know you’re a good writer.

But even good writers make mistakes.

Have you ever published a blog post you thought was perfect, only to realize after it’s gone out to your entire email list and your social accounts that there’s a typo? Dude. Face, meet palm.

First thing, why is it always after?! It can be something in plain sight, and we totally miss it on the first (or second or third) pass. And second thing, you’re not alone.

We all have writing slip ups. There are some days I just can’t grammar (yeah, I know what I said). I can’t spell entrepreneur without spell check (It’s that one “u.” I always forget which “e” it goes by!)

So, let’s make our lives just a little easier. Here are proofreading 6 tools that will help you write better.

Slick Writer. This editor is straight to the point. Type or copy your content into the site and it will check for any grammar errors, stylistic mistakes and punctuation mistakes. In the settings, customize your proofreading needs. You can set it to alert you to certain mistakes such as the use of passive voice, use of adverbs, wordy phrases and more. You can also choose how many words a “long” sentence is, or whether or not you want to include slang or clichés.

Hemingway Editor. If you have a habit of writing longer sentences, this editor is perfect for you. It identifies any long or hard to read sentences. It will also point out too many adverbs or the usage of passive voice. What also makes this editor great is that is gives you an overall readability score. You may have heard it’s best to write at a 6th-8th grade level; this editor will help you do that.

Grammarly. Grammarly says they will make you a better writer by correcting up to 10 times the mistakes your word processor will. Not too shabby. But does it work? Well, Grammarly does find grammar mistakes your spell check just overlooks. It ensures you have the same verb tense throughout your content, and will even give you synonym suggestions to help you clarify your thoughts better.

Grammar Check. While they do offer a deep check (paid, of course) that does a bit more, the free check will point out spelling errors, as well as grammar and style suggestions. Simply cut and paste your content directly in the editor and click the check button. That’s it. Easy peasy. It’s not the fanciest of grammar checkers, but it works if you need something simple.

Readability Score. This one won’t check your grammar or spelling, but it will check the readability of your content to make sure it’s suitable for online audiences. Paste in text, upload files, enter a URL, this site takes many different sources and analyzes them all.

Readability Calculator. This calculator from OnlineUtility.org will calculate your readability, and also show you any complicated sentences along with suggestions for improvement. It also gives you your basic statistics such as number of characters, words and sentences, as well as the average number of syllables per word, characters per word and words per sentence.

No matter how well you write, there is always a chance you may miss something. Use one of these proofreaders or readability checkers to ensure your grammar, spelling and readability are right on track.

 

 

 

How to Blog Consistently … Without Burning Yourself Out

Blogging ConsistencyLet’s get honest for a moment and talk about consistency.

People, the struggle is real.

I see it all the time, bloggers saying their main struggle is blogging consistently. Why?

Because life happens. We all start off with grand intentions of putting out blog post after blog post, getting tons of readers and building a loyal tribe. But then life, work, family … something gets in the way and takes up time. And next thing you know, you’re skipping a post here or there, or if you are posting, you’re struggling to get it published on time.

While it may seem okay to just get a post out whenever you get it out, blogging consistently has some serious benefits.

Besides the SEO-Google-loves-consistency mumbo jumbo, your readers like consistency even more. They will come to expect a post from you every week, or month, or whatever interval you choose. And messing up that schedule starts to mess with their expectations. Plus, if they know when you’re posting something new, it gives them something to look forward to. How awesome is that?

So how do you blog consistently? Here are 7 tips to help you stay on track … without experiencing blogger burnout.

Create a blogging schedule that works for you. Let’s be real here. Are you really going to publish a post every day? Or every other day? With marketing your blog and … life … it’s not that easy to stay consistent with a schedule like that. So be honest with yourself.

And don’t worry; you’re not going to lose tons of readers if you stop posting each day. In fact, it may even help your readership. Giving yourself more time in-between posts will give you more time to focus on quality, and put out content that really impresses people.

Have a running list of topics. Keeping a backup of topics means you won’t ever be at loss for a topic. And inspiration is everywhere if you look. Keep notes on the most popular posts on related blogs and look at what readers are saying in your comments or in social media groups.

Look for interesting facts or topics in news articles, conversations you have, books you read. Post prompts are everywhere. My son falling face-first off the slide into some sand inspired this post.

Create an editorial calendar. Make things easy for yourself, okay? Keep an editorial calendar, with your post ideas plugged in. Try to mix it up between how to posts, lists, case studies, opinion, roundup, etc. It will literally show you what you have coming up, what you have posted, and what topics you will focus on.

Know when you are most creative. If morning gets your juices flowing, schedule blogging time in the morning. If you’re better at night, do your writing then. There’s really no right or wrong time to do your writing. But getting it in when you are the most productive will help beat the “I don’t want to!” feeling.

Write more than one post at a time. If you have extra blogging time schedule, get in an extra post or two. Cranking them out when you’re in the mood, or all hopped up on caffeine (for me, it’s the latter), will help you build a queue of posts. Which will definitely come in handy for those times when life really does get in the way and you just can’t write.

Use tools to keep you on track. Now that you have your time schedule, you want to make sure you make the most of it.

Use time tracking tools like:

  • Toggl. This is a simple online timer. Build for time-tracking teams, Toggl works just as well for a solo blogger. Set a goal, set the timer and type away.
  • Focus Booster. Another timer, but this one is based on the Pomodoro technique, where each “Pomodoro” is a 25-minute cycle, then a 5-minute break. Technically, you’re supposed to do 4 Pomodoros and then take a 15-minute break.
  • Coach.me. Use their free habit tracker app to help you turn writing into a habit. Track, set targets and celebrate milestones with friends and the community.

You can also use tools to block the Internet so you can really focus on writing.

Try:

Fill in the blanks with guest bloggers. If you’re really backed up against a time corner, find another blogger to help you out. The benefits of doing this is two-fold: you get a small break, and you can find a whole new audience.

When someone guest posts on your blog, they’ll share the post with their email subscribers and their social media followers. Their readers will head over to your blog to read the blogger’s post, but they will discover your blog too. AND! Your readers will discover the guest blogger, so it really is a win-win situation.

Blogging consistently is a real problem for many people. Getting quality posts out on a regular schedule isn’t always as easy as it looks. By following these 7 tips, you can start to get on a regular schedule, without burning out of driving yourself crazy.

 

Can You Make Money With a Blog That ISN’T About Blogging?

make money bloggingI see this question asked quite often in social media groups.

Can a blogger who doesn’t blog about blogging make good money with their blog?

Can a blogger who doesn’t blog about blogging make good money with their blog? Click To Tweet

Say that 5 times fast.

But seriously guys, I’ve seen this question quite a few times. It seems to be this unspoken fear. That if you don’t teach others how to blog for money, then you’re not going to make any of your own.

So, to squash those fears, let’s take a look at 9 blogs that aren’t in the blogging or business niches, and are still killing it online.

Take a look at 9 blogs that aren’t in the blogging or business niches, and are still killing it… Click To Tweet.

Pulling Curls is a super cute blog about parenting, pregnancy, organization, and everything else in between. The blog saw $5,300 in the month of April.

Making Sense of Cents is a finance and lifestyle blog that will teach you how to earn more and save more. They pulled in $71,761 in April.

Pinch of Yum is a food blog (I may have gotten lost in the gluten free and vegan sections for a bit. Soo many yummy things in there!) I couldn’t find an exact gross income number, but after adding up their stats, looks like March was about $58,000 before expenses.

Jessica Gavin’s blog is also about super yummy food, but with a unique take. She’s a Certified Food Scientist. Forgive my naiveté, but I didn’t know there was such a thing. Their March income was $1,495.

Mostly Morgan is a blog written by a 20-something college student. She covers everything from fashion, college advice, blogging advice, and just random musings. March brought in almost $2,000 for her.

Coming Up Roses is a lifestyle blog about inspiration, relationships, style, health and beauty and some blogging advice thrown in there. According to her December income report, she pulled in $,1412 that month.

Arts and Classy is all about DIY home design, and is full of advice and DIY tutorials. The February income reports shows they brought in $3,205.

Build Your Bite is another food blog, with a focus on healthy food. Total income for March was $436.

Gen Y Girl is a “Millennial Career & Lifestyle Blog.” She seems to blog about everything from career and blogging, to money and productivity. According to her December income report, she made $2,416 for the month.

As you can see, the income runs the gamut from hundreds to thousands a month. And these blogs are come from different niches. Even the methods vary widely, from affiliate ads, sponsored posts, courses and ebooks and more. But the common denominator here is that all these blogs are making money online. Whether you want to make some side, passive income or a full-time income, it can be done through blogging – no matter what niche you’re interested in.

 

How to Introduce Yourself as a Blogger or Freelancer – And Blow People Away

How to Introduce YourselfWhen someone asks you what you do, do you hesitate?

While you know what you do, do you have a hard time telling others?

I’ve been freelancing and blogging for over 5 years now. So I’ve faced this many, many times. People ask me what I do. I answer “I’m a freelance writer,” and I get “Oh, so you write books?” Nope. Or I say “I work from home,” and I get that “Okay…” and that conversation just ends.

Or even worse, I get people who think I still stay home and do shit all day. I’m serious. To this day I still have family members who can’t quite grasp what I do. Probably cause they don’t really care …

But anyway, as a freelancer or blogger, the “What do you do?” question is sometimes annoying, sometimes painful and most often, unavoidable.

But when your job doesn’t quite fit into the norm, it can be hard telling people exactly what you do. It’s not always easy to sum up your work in a single word description. You can’t spout off a one word, recognizable and respected answer like a doctor or teacher can. And the truth is, unless they also work online, most people have no clue what you actually do.

So what’s a person like you, someone making a living online, supposed to say? How do you answer to avoid that dreaded blank stare or the “oh, that’s nice”?

Forget terms like blogger, designer and freelance writer. The key to telling people what you do, and blow them away with your answer, is to effectively tell them the value you provide.

Focus on Your Big Value

Now, I’ll be honest. Your big value answer is going to be longer than saying something like “writer” or “web designer.” But it will be something that people can understand, relate to, and (most importantly) be impressed by.

Your big value statement should focus on what you do for people. Not what features you have, but what benefits you bring to the table. It should also convey what sets you apart from other businesses or bloggers out there.  Lastly, it should include words that people recognize and understand. Don’t stuff your statement with techy words that only other WordPress designers will get. If you do, you’ll be met with blank stares. Your value should clear, concise and easy for just about anyone to understand.

Start by figuring out who you help. Be specific. What type of people do you help? For example:

I help:

  • small businesses
  • aspiring entrepreneurs
  • bloggers
  • parents

Now, what do you help them do? What do you help them achieve? How do you make their lives better? For example:

I help (your answer above) to:

  • Make money online
  • Get more sales
  • Organize their lives
  • Build a website they can be proud of

Lastly, what is your “how”? How do you help these people? For example:
I help _____ to ______ by:

  • Showing them how to brand their business.
  • Creating content that will help bring their business attention.
  • Showing them how to create a home schedule.
  • Using creative design services.

Make sense?

Put it all together now.

I help small businesses build a website they can be proud of by using creative design services.

I help parents organize their lives by showing them how to create a home schedule to get things under control.

I help businesses get more sales online by creating content that will help bring them attention. 

If you really can’t get away from your job title, go ahead and add it!

I’m a freelance designer and I help small businesses build a website they can be proud of by using creative design services.

I’m a writer who helps businesses get more sales online by creating content that will get their business attention.

Now that you have your big value statement, practice it. Say it yourself in the mirror. And be confident! No one will believe in you if you don’t seem like you believe in yourself.

You can even add your value statement to your website mission statement and use it in your social media profiles.

When you work from home, explaining exactly what you do can be difficult. Especially to people who don’t quite get working online. Instead of listing off a job title that most people just don’t understand, build a value statement that will clearly convey who you work with and what you do.

 

9 Big Blogging Mistakes That Could Keep You From Succeeding

Blogging MistakesDo you ever feel frustrated with your blog? Like you’re doing it all wrong?

That everyone gets it but you?

Don’t worry, it’s not just you.

Truth is … everyone feels frustrated at some point. And everyone makes mistakes along the way. Some of us more than others.

*raises both hands*

But if you know what the most common mistakes are, you stand a much better chance of getting ahead and not wasting years and money *again, raises both hands*

So to help you out, here are 9 of the biggest mistakes that bloggers tend to make.

#1 They over analyze. Bloggers, especially new ones, tend to worry a bit too much about their credibility. Being new to a field is enough to make anyone question their authority. But you know what? You’ve picked your niche for a reason. You know you’re stuff. You got this.

#2 They think they need design knowledge. Dude. You just don’t. The extent of my skills is basic. So basic I wouldn’t even call it skills. You can do what you know, and learn the rest (YouTube anyone?) Or you can simply outsource it and save yourself some stress.

#3 They wait until their blog is perfect. You are your biggest critic. The truth is that your blog is never going to be perfect. But you know what? No one but you will notice! The reality is that good enough is just that…good enough! Do not fall into this trap of trying to get it just right. Get it good enough and launch! You can always tweak anything later.

#4 They aren’t consistent. When new bloggers start out, they are eager and willing. But life can get in the way and posting can become more infrequent. Be honest with yourself. How many posts can you realistically commit to? And don’t think you have to post daily to gain that traffic. You really don’t. You can post once a week, even every other week and still get traffic, gain followers and make money. Set a schedule and stick to it. Your audience will start to know when you expect something from you, and look forward to it.

#5 They don’t have a writing voice. You’ve read blog posts that are super informative, almost educational. Yes, they offer great information, but they can come off as a little stiff. They have none of the blogger’s personality. They don’t say anything about who you are as a person. Avoid this by writing how you talk. Okay, maybe not exactly how you talk. Because if I did that everything would a lot more bad words in it. But spice it up a little, let your readers know who you are through your writing. Show them why you are different from the rest.

#6 They don’t have an opt-in. You’ve probably heard there’s money in the list. And it’s true. Your email list will be your loyal followers, the ones who will love your posts and jump at the chance to buy your stuff.  While you certainly can make money off your blog by having ads on it, you’re going to need thousands of readers a day just to make a buck. Building a list will give you a directory of interested people to email every time you post something new or launch a new product.

#7 They don’t take care of their subscribers. Your email list is all about building relationships. As soon as your blog goes live, you will start getting visitors who will eventually turn into subscribers. Take care of them from the get-go. Respond to their comments. Email them, but don’t spam them. Cultivating a good relationship from the very beginning will allow your subscribers to trust you, and when they trust you, they are more apt to buy things from you.

#8 They don’t connect with other bloggers. Yes, there are dozens of bloggers in your niche. But stop looking at them as competition and look at them as allies. Why? Because their audience is your audience. By connecting with other bloggers, you can increase your reach and build your audience. Read more on blogger outreach here and here.

#9 They succumb to shiny object syndrome. They tend to jump on the latest bandwagon. Whatever sounds like it will help them get ahead, they go and try it. Most times, this gets you nowhere. I did this for Five. Frickin. Years. Don’t be me. Just do you and what works for you and you’ll get ahead.

Many people start a blog hoping it will be their big ticket into making money online. The reality of blogging is it takes hard work to make any real money. And you will likely make mistakes along the way. Luckily, if you start off knowing what the biggest mistakes are, there’s a much greater chance you will find your own way and succeed.

 

Why You Should Forget Keywords … And Do This Instead

KeywordsLet me ask you, do you use keywords to gain traffic?

Do you do the research, carefully picking the right keywords your potential audience is looking for?

Do you hope against hopes that these keywords you are using will attract the types of readers who will be interested, engaged and (most importantly) will spend money?

But do they spend?

Sure, you can get interested readers to your site. They are, after all, doing the searches you optimized for. But are they converting into dedicated readers who keep coming back to your site with every post you publish? Are they jumping at the services or products you offer, just cause they know and trust anything you put out?

Probably not.

I hate to break it to you; you’re going about this all wrong.

Why? Getting people to your site isn’t the problem. The thing is, people aren’t going to be trust you off the bat. Most people aren’t going to buy from with on their first visit.

If you’ve been struggling to make it online, let’s forget about keywords and even SEO for a second.

Instead, focus on blogger outreach.

Blogger outreach is about relationships. It’s about leveraging the popularity and power of other bloggers, helping your grow your traffic, your audience and your revenue. Pretty freakin’ awesome right?

Why should you care about blogger outreach?

Because other bloggers can help you more than you know. Don’t think of other bloggers in your niche as your direct competition – think of them as your allies! Here’s why.

Their audience is your audience. Since their readers are the same people you want to attract, getting your blog in front of their readers can bring you tons of traffic. I’m talking readers who are genuinely interested in your content, and people who want to hear what you have to say. Once their audience discovers you, they will come to realize just how great you are.

Prominent bloggers are influencers. Do you have certain bloggers in your niche that you look up to? People that you listen to? Constantly read their posts and buy (or strongly consider buying) their products just because you know and trust them? If you look up to them, others do too. You could stand to gain a lot if a blogger recommends your blog or endorses your product or service.

Blogs can influence purchasing decisions. Big or small, people trust blogs (and bloggers!) when deciding to purchase something. In fact, close to 84% of consumers purchase something after reading about it on a blog, and blogs ranked as the #1 driving sources of purchasing decisions for consumers aged 18-34.

What does this mean for you? You know those influencers? If they share your blog, or product or service with their audience who has grown to trust them, the chances of you making a sale greatly increases.

You gain high-quality backlinks. Let me get something straight. I’m not against SEO. Yes, keywords can help you get your pages ranked. Linking to quality sites is a great way to show Google how relevant you are. And linking to influential blogs is a huge benefit to blogger outreach. The more blogs that link to your content and feature your blog, the better you look, not just to readers, but to Google as well.

Blogger outreach won’t do what keywords will. It will help you do so much more. By simply making connections, you can exponentially increase your traffic, rub elbows with influencers who will help promote your blog and start to really increase your blog revenue.

Interested in learning how to make connections that will skyrocket your traffic and your blogging income? Sign up to be notified when my new course on this very subject will be available!

Get on the waitlist here.

Blogging Credibility – Why Some Bloggers Just Ooze Authority

Blogging Credibility2Some bloggers just have it.

The innate ability to write posts that resonate with readers. Posts that grab attention, teach you something valuable, and then leave you wanting more from them. You know who they are. They are the bloggers that have become superstars in their own niches. The ones whose names are easily recognizable and known by all.

How do they do this? It’s not that they are the best writers out there. Or even the smartest. Okay, they’re pretty great at writing and they’re pretty darn smart, but those are not the reasons.

These bloggers are authentic. They have authority.

But they didn’t get there overnight. They built their authority over time. And a lot of it has to do with the type of content they write.

It’s not necessarily about writing new content. Authority bloggers often write about topics that have already been covered. It’s not what they write about, it’s how they write it. They write pillar content; content that tells a story, teaches, entertains, inspires, motivates, encourages and makes you think.

The good news is, anyone can write pillar content that will help grow their audience and increase their authority. The trick is knowing exactly what will continue to inspire, and how to write it.

What is a Pillar Blog Post?

Pillar content goes far beyond a regular blog post. While a regular how-to article will tell you the steps; a pillar post will tell you the steps, explain each one carefully, include images to help make it clearer, and more.

Pillar content is something that educates your audience, covering something they are currently struggling with. It is usually a comprehensive guide that can include:

  • A case study that uses real numbers and data
  • Examples and stories of real people and real results
  • Screenshots, image or video

And most importantly, pillar content is evergreen. It’s something that won’t expire soon and will continue to inspire long after it’s been published.

Crafting the Perfect Pillar Blog Post

Because pillar content goes beyond what a typical blog post does, it makes sense that it would require just a little extra work. To really write a blog post that is authentic and demonstrates authority, follow these steps.

Step #1: Understanding your audience

When the point of creating content is to increase your authority, that content should be something that is important.

But not to you. It should be important to your readers.

To figure out what’s really important to them, you need to start by understanding your audience.

You may have heard about profiling your readers, to compile information about their genders, social status, income, family size, maybe even making up an “ideal reader,” going so far as to envision this person in your head.

I’m not going to tell you to do that.

What I am going to tell you to do is to spy a little on your readers to understand them and find out what they really want.

Because they’re already telling you. You just need to know how to listen.

Start by:

  • Looking through your comments. What are common issues or questions that keep coming up? What concerns do your readers seem to have? What points do they agree or disagree with you on?
  • Looking at your emails. If you have an email list (and you should!) you have a direct connection to your readers. When they respond to your emails, what comments or questions do they leave? Make note of these things, as these are what’s important to your readers.
  • Checking social media. What are your readers, or potential readers, saying on social media? Many people come here to vent their frustrations, so it’s a great place to figure out what they want to know about.

Step #2: Analyzing what others are writing

Now that you have a better understanding of what your audience wants, look at what other industry leaders are writing.

Take a look at their most popular pieces to get an idea of what your target audience is really interested in. Use a tool like BuzzSumo or renoun to give you an idea of what topics are trending and getting the most shares on social media.

Step #3: Write something epic

You understand what your audience wants to learn from you, you know what others are writing about. Now it’s time to write your own epic pillar content.

While there are no set rules for creating authority-inducing content, here are some ideas.

  • How-to article. These are pretty standard when it comes to pillar content. Whatever it is your audience wants to learn, write an in-depth post teaching them how to do it. Go step-by-step and include images and screenshots to really help your readers understand what you’re explaining.
  • List article. List articles are great. They go above and beyond, giving readers a bunch of tips, ways, tools, etc. To create an epic list post, start by looking at list posts that are already popular. Now, add to it. If it’s a top 10 list, create a top 20 or a top 50 list. Take something that readers already like, and make it even better.
  • Case study article. Want to really drive your point home? Write a case study! Feature someone your ideal reader will relate to and tell their story. Include data and images that highlight your point.
  • Resource article. Provide your readers with the ultimate resource article. This can go deeper than a list article.

Make sure you write with authority – you are, after all, an authority!

Step #4: Promote your content

Once you’ve written your amazing content, make sure it gets seen.

  • Pin it to your homepage
  • Include it in your “favorite” posts widget
  • Mention and link to them in your other posts

And of course, send them to your email subscribers and share them on social media.

Step #5: Keep them updated

Pillar content should be something that’s timeless. The content should always apply, no matter when your readers access it.

But things can change in every industry. Stay on top of industry news and update your content as needed. Make sure your content continues to provide the best and most current advice.

There are some bloggers out there who never fail and delivering the best content. They write with such authority that other bloggers begin to look up to them. They turn to these authority bloggers for the latest advice, and follow their tips to the tee.

But guess what? Nothing is stopping you from becoming the next authority blogger. And it starts with writing content that people want to read.

Introducing A Valuable Resource For Freelancers

Introducing A Valuable Resource For Freelancers 750x450When Corinne invited me to guest post on her blog, I wanted to be sure I shared something that would be a valuable resource with you. So I took to the internet to do some homework and I stumbled across the Freelancers Union.

Have you heard of them before? I hadn’t. In fact, I didn’t know freelancers had a union. I thought this would be a great time to check it out and tell you about what I learned in case this is new to you as well.

The Freelancers Union was founded by Sara Horowitz whose mission is to help the self-employed community by connecting freelancers to group-rate benefits, resources, create a community and online networking opportunities to improve lives and the bottom line.

What’s more is; Sara is active in the political arena by giving a voice to the 54 million independent contractors out there to ensure freelancers receive adequate rights, protection and professional benefits. The Freelancers Union also plays an active role in community initiatives and advocacy campaigns.

To give you an idea about how passionate Sara is about protecting independent contractors, she gathered at the City Hall in New York City on February 29th to urge City Council to pass a payment protection bill to protect freelancers from nonpayment experiences, which, as you know, is the biggest downside of freelancing. You can read about it here.

Here is what else I learned out about the Freelancers Union.

Benefits

They provide resources for a variety of health coverage such as Freelancers Medical, Dental and Retirement.  You can also get Small Group Health Insurance, Liability, Traveler’s Medical Insurance, Disability and Term Life.

Resources

If you’re a freelancer, you now have to take on expenses like office equipment and software, promotion and marketing plus other cost of living expenses like healthcare and self-employment tax. But I know preaching to the choir.

With that being said, some freelancers look for great deals and discounts to help keep more money in their pocket.

We all know every penny counts nowadays so finding great deals on things we frequently use should be on our list but when do we have the time?

Freelancers Union members get extra discounts to places like Anytime Fitness, AT&T, Hyatt, and Hertz. And there’s plenty more where that came from. To see the entire list of Freelancer Discounts click here.

There is also a “taxes” tab filled with helpful article such as how one freelancer lost $3,500 due to check fraud and what to do if the check never arrives.

The “Advocacy” tab has helpful resources like a contract template, next-level contract clauses, a collection letter template and small claims court guide.

And who doesn’t want a community and resources to keep a freelance business thriving?

Community

The thing I liked most about the Freelancers Union was their community. We all know how important it is to connect with other freelancers and network, right? They have over 295,000 members in their Freelancers network.

I was browsing through the directory and their member profile tells you about the freelancer, their interests and which communities they belong to plus links to the website and site they’ve contributed to.

In looking at one member’s profile, he states under “Interests” that he is interested in “helping other freelancers with networking, hosting events, and teaching classes.” Right away I got the feeling being a member could be a good thing.

They have what they call a Hive which is filled with local networks, clients & gigs and freelancing tips.

They also have Spark Events for extra support and local networking opportunities.

Become a Member

It costs nothing to become a member of the Freelancers Union. If you’re interested in joining and would like to check out their website, click here.

Over to You

Are you a member of the Freelancers Union? If you are, I would love to hear about your experience with them…good or bad. Anything you share will help other freelancers make a decision about becoming a member.

How about you? After reading this, would you consider becoming a member?

I’d love to read your comments.

If you know other freelancers who might not know about the Freelancers Union, please share this post with them.

 

CoriCorina Ramos is a blogger and freelance writer. She lives in Houston, Texas with her family and two dogs. She has a multi-niche blog called Not Now Mom’s Busy and recently launched corinaramos.net to help new and not-so-new bloggers start and grow their blog.

Connect with Cori on Facebook and Twitter

8 Ways to Come Up with Blog Post Ideas That Your Readers Will Love

Come Up with Blog Post IdeasYou stare blankly at the screen.

You’re frustrated. Annoyed.

You just can’t think of anything to write about. Nothing that sounds worthy of sharing with your audience anyway. And of course, just any old topic isn’t going fly.

We’ve all been there.

I know I’ve been there tons of times. I’ve come up with ideas only to chuck them because “this is just a stupid idea!” (yeah, I’ve totally said that out loud)

So, in order to never have to face this frustration again, here are 8 ideas to help you come up with ideas that you know your readers will love.

#1 Write all your ideas down

All of them. Even if you think they are stupid. Why? Because even if they aren’t a good fit now, it may inspire something that is later.

It’s also important to be able to keep track of your ideas where ever you are, because you never know when you will get the inspiration for an epic post idea.

You can keep a document or spreadsheet file in Google Docs or Dropbox so you can access it on your phone and on your computer. Or use an app like Evernote to keep literally everything.

#2 Read. And then read some more

I love to read. Like I read for fun.

But I have found inspiration when reading. And not just reading article-type stuff or business books. I’ve gotten ideas from novels. I really like to read fiction. I love imagery, settings, characters. I love the way different authors describe things.

Other reason to read?

It helps keep your mind sharp. Reading is great mental stimulation. You know that phrase “use it or lose it”? Yeah, it totally applies here.

It helps expand your vocabulary and writing skills. I have discovered many new words from books. And not just words. Books help inspire the way you                             structure your paragraphs and the way you put words together.

#3 Look at what everyone else is writing

No, don’t flat out copy what they are writing. But you can certainly gain inspiration from what others in your niche are writing about. Especially respected, prominent people in your niche. If they are writing about it, chances are high it’s a great topic.

Take their popular post ideas and make it your own. Write an opposing piece. Or if they did a top 10 article, do a top 20 one. Turn a topic into a longer blog series or an infographic or video. The possibilities are endless, and all you are doing is using others are inspiration.

#4 Expand your own content

Just like the previous tip suggested looking at the most popular content of other bloggers, this one is to look at your own popular content.

Since you are me know your audience appreciates these topics, think of where you can expand. Could you break down one post into several, detailed posts? Maybe write a follow up post? If the information or tips are a bit outdated, you could write an updated post.

Make sure your link to the previous post in the end.

#5 Repurpose old content into new formats

Instead of expanding your most popular content, why not repurpose it into something else? Since people consume information in many different ways, there is always a need for different formats of the same information.

Use your content to create a video or infographic. If it’s a really meaty topic, you can create a webinar or podcast from it as well.

#6 Ask your audience

So if you really want to write a blog post your readers will love, just ask them what they want you to write about!

Pose questions at the end of your blog posts. Or simply ask your email subscribers what they would like you to cover.

#7 Get all stealthy on your audience

You don’t even have to straight up ask them if you don’t want to. Mine your comments and social networks for questions and comments that keep coming up. Check your Twitter replies to see what people are talking about.

You can go a step further and look for communities that revolve around your niche. Look for Facebook and LinkedIn groups and see what types of conversations they are having. What posts seem to get the most comments and biggest reactions? Look for online forums and do the same: look for questions that keep coming up and threads that have the most comments. These are the things people are really interested in.

#8 Jump on trends

A great way to find a topic that readers will really love is to turn to what’s currently hot. If your content follows the current trends, you can be sure there’s going to be someone searching for it.

To find out what’s hot right now, start here:

Google Trends-This will tell you what people are searching Google for

Twitter search– Find out what people are talking about right now. The bottom will show you what’s trending.

BuzzSumo-Search by topic, keyword or domain. BuzzSumo shows you what’s trending and how many shares they get on social media.

Renoun-Discover top content, articles and influences.

If you’ve ever been stuck on a blog topic, don’t worry. You’re not the only one. Luckily there is inspiration all around us if we know where to look.

Now to you: Where do you turn to for inspiration when you are stuck for a blog topic?

 

21 Top Bloggers Share What They Wish They Had Known When They Started Blogging

21 Top Bloggers Share the One Thing2You feel stuck.

Frustrated.

You started a fantastic blog, and wrote some epic content that should teach and inspire. But just aren’t getting the results you thought you would.

You’re not alone.

I’ve been there. Other bloggers have been there.

Running a successful blog is a process. In fact, it has taken many of us years to figure it out. I’ve been online for 5 years now and still haven’t figured it all out.

Luckily, you have some experts who have been there and done it all. So I posed the question to 21 expert bloggers:

What is the one thing you wish you knew when you started blogging?

Here is what they had to say.

Brian DeanBrian Dean of Backlinko

“I wish I knew how to build my email list.

When I look back at the #1 thing that’s helped grow my blog, it’s not even close: it’s my email list.

Even though I knew it was important on day 1, I had no idea how to build it properly. So I just copied techniques that other blogs were doing. I had the occasional win, but it was dumb luck.

Fortunately, after testing a million different strategies, I discovered two things that made all the difference:

  1. Popups (Yes, they’re annoying. But they work)
  2. Content Upgrades

You can almost ignore every other strategy and focus on these and you’ll be good.

I just wish I knew about them sooner! I’d have 2x+ more subscribers.”

 

Gary KGary Korisko of Reboot Authentic

“There’s a balance you have to strike between doing your own thing and doing exactly what you’re told to do by others. You need to study, to enroll in courses, and to get coaching from those who are already successful. Rather than winging it and hoping things eventually turn out ok (a horrible strategy), you really do need a formal education.

But you also need to create your own flavor and make those proven principles yours in a unique way that doesn’t just blend into the woodwork. So the tricky part is walking that line… taking time-tested strategies and making them look brand new with your own unique style.”

 

Adrian JockAdrian Jock of AdrianJock.com

“When I started blogging I had lots of things new bloggers don’t have: an online marketing experience of 7-8 years, a mailing list interested in the topic of my niche blog, two books written by me that matched 100% the blog, and more.

So I didn’t start the blog for the sake of blogging, or because that was the fashion. The blog was a marketing vehicle that I needed in order to increase the exposure of my books and the income.

The one thing I wish I knew when I started blogging is… nothing. Nothing at all. I wouldn’t change a thing from what I’ve done.
But let me tell you what I wish I knew when I started my last blog for a different kind of audience and for a different goal:

If people want to buy shiny stinky fish, you shouldn’t try to help them by teaching them how to catch some fresh fish.

(No, it’s not about buying and selling. And it’s not about fish. Just a figure of speech.)”

 

neil patelNeil Patel of Neilpatel.com and Quick Sprout

“Consistency. If you don’t blog consistently your blog won’t grow. When I started I thought I could do it for fun, but it didn’t work out well. When I started to blog consistently the blog grew… but I had to put in time on a regular basis for months before I saw results.”

 

 

Mi MubaMi Muba of Be a Money Blogger

“The one thing I wish I knew before I started blogging is the conceptual difference between blogging and advertising as the blogging simply influences people to buy which things from which companies while in advertising a company itself asks people to buy its product.

If a person gets to know what he ultimately is going to do on his blog he can easily plan everything from the very first day after starting his blog to bring the most relevant people who he can sell a product and equally first influence them with his freebies and free contents to eventually convince them buy the premium products on his recommendation.

So knowing the basic conceptual difference between blogging and advertising is must to do blogging successfully.”

 

DreaAndrea Beltrami of The Branded Solopreneur

“I wish someone would have told me when I first got started that it’s all about who you know! That it’s building relationships that is the secret sauce in the solo success recipe. It wasn’t until I pulled my head out of my ass and realized that my peers were allies and not competitors, and then started building friendships with them that I started raking in the traffic and exposure I wanted.

The second thing I wished someone would had told me when I was getting started was HOW to go about building those strong friendships with my peers…and in a way that was totally authentic for me. I’m NOT a fan of kissing ass or being fake in the name of making connections, so even after I knew what I needed to do I didn’t know how to do it. I know it seems like a no-brainer when it comes to how to make friends online {I mean, I have some of those in my real life….lol} but it wasn’t clear to me for far longer than I’d like to fess up to.

That’s when I turned to my go to tactic…stalking! I studied and watched every move my mentors made and eventually was able to reverse engineer their methods and find the best ways for me to celebrate my peers and earn their trust and support. These days my brand besties are precious gems I seriously don’t know how I’d live without!

I share 9 of my most kickass relationship building strategies in my post, How to Get an Influencer’s Attention Without Being a Suck Up. If you’re not the Mac Daddy of friend makers online yet I’d urge you to devour these strategies and implement them in your efforts ASAP. Your brand will high five your badass over and over again if you do!”

 

Sue AnneSue Anne Dunlevie of Successful Blogging

“The thing I regret the most about my blogging career is that I didn’t know about blogger outreach until I started reading Blogging Wizard, about a year into my blogging journey.

I don’t know if Adam Connell realizes what a big part he played in getting Successful Blogging to be a popular blog. I so appreciate it, Adam!”

 

Adam CAdam Connell of AdamConnell.me and Blogging Wizard

“Email beats social hands down

The first thing I did when starting my blog was to encourage my readers to follow me on Twitter and Facebook.

But this caused 2 problems:

1) Some people would click through to a social network and get distracted (and never return).

2) Negative social proof – showcasing how few followers you have on a social network is not a good thing.

So I was going nowhere fast.

What was the solution?

…. Build an email list.

For a long time I was too focused on publishing content regularly but conversion rates were shocking.

Eventually I offered a free PDF and my list finally started to move in the right direction.

And the great thing was that it was far easier to drive traffic to my blog from my email list; in comparison to using social media.

Here’s the kicker:

My Twitter following was around 8x higher than my email list. But my email list drove more traffic.

The 3 point formula to grow your list faster

1) Offer something of value to your audience

2) Make your offer as relevant to what people are reading as possible

3) Make it easy to subscribe and access your offer

If you want to check out some of the specific tactics I’ve used, check out my list building guide.

Here’s the bottom line:

Building a following on social networks can be worth while but you should never rely on it.

This is like building a house on rented land – if the network makes even a small change, your traffic could nose dive. So if you rely on your blog for income, that could put you in hot water.

When you build an email list, that’s yours. Nobody can take it away. Sure, email delivery is a big part of this but there is a degree of control that you have over that & steps you can take to improve it.

Remember – diversify your traffic, and diversify your income. You’ll be glad you did.”

 

AdrienneAdrienne Smith of AdrienneSmith.net

“When I started blogging I was doing affiliate marketing and I was taught the right way to go about this.  I had great success with it too.

The issue most people have today though is that things are always changing.  Hopefully everyone is already crystal clear on what it is that they do so that when people visit their blogs they know instantly.  That they are clear in each post they write with their message of how they can help their specific audience.  We’ve evolved though now to where you can’t speak to everyone and expect to get great results, you have to just speak to your target audience once person at a time.  The mass marketing approach is history.

I think the issue most people have today is that they aren’t 100% clear exactly on what it is that they actually do or how they can come across to their audience in a way to really help them with their needs.

It’s a process though but one definitely worth learning.  I’ve evolved a lot myself since those affiliate marketing days and I wasn’t 100% clear myself on what it was that I wanted to do so until you know that then I suggest not being upset if you’re not getting your desired results.

Blogging is a journey but it’s one that you’ll find so very rewarding.”

 

Julian SJulian Sakanee of Blogging Aid

“Google is NOT the only source of traffic.

When I started blogging, all I did was hope for first page rankings. I was taught that ALL backlinks were bad. And ended up wasting a whole year doing nothing but writing content that no one was ever going to read.”

 

BrenBrenda Pace of BrendaPace.net

“I wish I would have known what a time commitment it would be and everything that goes along with writing a post and clicking Publish. However, I’m glad I made the decision to blog because I’ve made so many awesome friends over the years and wouldn’t trade them for the world.”

 

 

EnstineEnstine Muki of EnstineMuki.com

“How I wish I knew how to build a list for my blog when I started blogging back in August 2012. Having a targeted list is a sure source of traffic and income.

I blogged for month before ever getting my first blog subscriber. I think that was the mistake I did and if I have to restart blogging today, I’ll do more on list building.”

 

Krista raeKrista Rae of KristaRae.co

“The one thing I wish I knew when I started was the importance of fellow bloggers, creatives, and business owners who understand you and have your back. I thought I was perfectly fine doing it on my own, but I was getting nowhere fast until I met the awesome ladies who are like my sisters now. Not only do they share my content, but they are always there to encourage me, keep me going when my mind is telling me to quit, and let me know when one of my ideas isn’t quite as great as I think it is. For anyone who hasn’t found fellow bloggers to surround themselves with I encourage you to start reaching out and making relationships. It scary, but it sure is worth it!”

 

kelliKelli Cooper of Life Made to Order

“The one thing I wish I knew about blogging when I first started was something I had known for awhile but was having a harder time applying it to this endeavor in particular, because it was something that was really important to me, something with which I really wanted to succeed. And that wisdom nugget is: It is all about what we are ‘being’ not what we are ‘doing.’

Our energy—the sum of our thoughts, feelings and beliefs—is the thing that determines what shows up in our lives. It really isn’t the actions we take, though that certainly plays a role. But our actions are always a manifestation of our energy. We just don’t do things for no reason.

And when we aren’t energetically aligned with success, and what we want to accomplish, the actions we take tend to give us lackluster results at best. We have to work really, really hard to make any sort of headway, and talk about frustrating and exhausting.

I got really caught up in what I should be ‘doing’ when I first started, and did a lot of stuff I really didn’t resonate with because I thought that was what I ‘had’ to do. It was harder to trust my energy-oriented approach because it has been very deeply ingrained that we have to ‘work hard’ to be successful, that the hard work is what actually makes us ‘deserving’ of the success.

But eventually I got back on track, and started focusing more on my inner world. I got more comfortable on letting my inner guidance lead the way as far as any action I took—if something resonated and I enjoyed doing it, I did it. If it didn’t resonate, I didn’t do it.

I committed to being myself on my blog, and writing for me first and foremost, knowing if I was authentic, ‘my people’ would find me. When a blogging tip that seemed interesting caught my eye, I read up on it, but for the most part, I just did things my way.

When I felt compelled to take action, I always checked the motivator—do I truly feel inspired to do this or do I feel I ‘have’ to do this or else I won’t get a specific result? When it was the latter, I would do my best to pull back, and that often felt very uncomfortable; but in doing that, I made room for the inspired actions to make their way in, and there is a lot more leverage behind them, and they are a lot more enjoyable.

I highly suggest bloggers make their personal development a priority. There tends to be a preoccupation with practical tips like using social media, how to write a catchy headline, etc… and that has its place of course. But all that ‘doing’ will only take you so far if you don’t have the right mindset, and you’ll work a lot harder than you have to, which will likely lead to you not liking blogging very much.”

 

Ron SelaRon Sela of RonSela.com

“Thanks to improved technology, the Internet has become the best tool for communication. It is also as a treasure trove of information. From students to scientists, everyone relies on the Internet. We all search for current news, historical data, scientific evidence and statistics.

Information found on the Internet has been posted by various people (like me) who own blogs and websites. Today, blogging has become the best means of offering users current information. Blogs also serve as forums for inspiring creativity. Also, they are platforms for discussing various issues.

Before I started blogging, there was one thing I wish I knew:

Never give up

When users browse the internet and search for benefits of blogging, the one thing that will stand out is that one will be able to make money. There are hundreds of posts that have been created describing how one became successful thanks to blogging.

What many bloggers don’t reveal is that professional blogging takes so many resources. Resources like time, money, hard work, intelligence and perseverance to be successful. It also takes time to recoup the initial investment.

Many people who have read such posts and have started their blogs gave up within the first three months (I was almost joining the group of quitters). This is brought about by the lack of visitors which is as a result of poor or no internet marketing.

What one needs to know is that there are billions of blogs and websites currently online. Therefore, don’t expect online visitors to find your new blog easily.

To be successful in blogging, never give up. Learn strategies that will help the blog to be visible online and attract more visitors.”

 

James MJames McAllister of Help Start My Site

“If there were one thing I wish I knew when I started blogging, it would be that you have to treat it like a business from the very beginning.

While it would be nice to think that we could do whatever we wanted with our blogs and make money doing so, this is unfortunately not the case. We have to adhere to market demands, and the same basic business principles that have been in place for hundreds of years offline still apply in the internet marketing world as well.

This means we need to choose a niche with real demand behind it. We need to take the time to come up with both a scalable marketing plan and a monetization plan, and understand how these systems will work with each other.

It also means we need to be willing to offer some unique edge against our competition. Blogging is becoming more and more competitive every day, so it’s very important to make yourself and your brand memorable. The easiest way to do that is to be exceptional at whatever it is you’re doing – whether it is publishing a piece of content or writing a blog comment. Regardless of what it is, if you’re average at something, you’ll never be remembered for it.”

 

Ryan BRyan Biddulph of Blogging From Paradise

“I wish I knew that blogging for fun is the way to go. Right now, I’m checking my emails for the week. This is 1 of many features I’m responding to, and I find myself offering the same exact piece of advice. The fact that I’m receiving so many feature requests while putting in 1/20th of the work I used to put in shows that it’s your energy behind your actions, not the actions themselves, that manifest certain outcomes.

The “fun” energy is irresistible. Can’t contain it. And you will shine stupid brightly (whatever that means) when you blog for fun. Doing so detaches you from outcomes and allows your energy to flow, making you a free, creative dynamo.

My wife Kelli and I are often spotted offering this energy advice in round ups. It’s because we have lived an amazing, inspired, wickedly special life, circling the globe, blogging full time from some of the world’s most gorgeous tropical hot spots, for years, by managing our energy and by following our fun.”

 

FrancescaFrancesca Nicasio of Be a Freelance Writer

“Grow your audience ASAP.

You don’t need to have a full fledged blog to grow an audience. As long as you can produce content, you can start building and engaging with your community. How? Start growing your email list from day 1.

That’s what I did for BeaFreelanceWriter.com. I set up a basic landing page to collect email addresses, and then I sent out newsletters (with just content—no links) while the blog was still in the design stage. At the same time, I also wrote guest posts for other reputable sites to grow my list.

When BeaFreelanceWriter.com was ready to launch, I already had over 1,000 email subscribers, and this enabled the blog to gain decent traction right from the get go.

If I had known about this when I first started blogging, my previous projects would have been a lot more successful.”

 

Erik EErik Emanuelli of No Passive Income

“I wish I had known more about SEO.
Now, I’m NOT an expert, but when I started blogging, I was really a newbie. I made several serious mistakes like purchasing 1000 backlinks for 5$, sidewide link exchange, over optimization and other SEO disasters.
Today, if I’m sure about something, it’s that I must focus on the users and readers, delivering original, high-quality and added value content.
I believe this is the way to go to feel safe and avoid any Google penalization.”

 

Carrie SmithCarrie Smith of Careful Cents

“The one thing I wish I knew when I started blogging is that you have to treat your blog like a business. It needs a consistent content publishing schedule, a monetization plan, a regular focus and goal for the results the content’s going to produce. It took me three years to realize this and I’m only now seeing results of my hard work. I lost a lot of time and wasted a ton of money trying to figure out how to make a blog work. Thankfully though, now it’s repaying me for the time and money lost.”

 

CoriCorina Ramos of Not Now Mom’s Busy

“The one thing I wished I had known when I started blogging was how much work was going to be involved. During my first year of blogging all I read were posts about putting up banner ads then just sit back and watch the money come in. That was very misleading. There was no direction as to how to create content, drive traffic and most importantly how essential it was to connect with visitors.

It’s not that I would have changed my mind about blogging but I would have been able to create a better plan for my blog and I would have known who my target audience was and what they were looking for rather than just posting ads I thought would make money.”

Now to you: If you’re just getting started (or even if you’re not!), What is the one thing you are struggling with in regards to blogging? Leave a comment and let me know.