As an avid reader and writer, you’ve decided that now is time to put both of those into practice as a freelance blogging business. There’s much you want to share, you just don’t know quite how to go about sharing it in such a way that you attract a meaningful, engaged audience.
It doesn’t help that so many resources out there grab your attention with titles that just seem to “get” your predicaments, only to be a “click here and get the full details for *insert possibly unreasonable and almost always unnecessary one-time or monthly subscription fee here*” – such a letdown!
There’s no one way to go about doing anything that involves the written word – it’s an artform, not an absolute. Sure, you can choose to follow certain guideposts that resonate, but it’s really about trusting your instincts, adapting and evolving in ways that only you can . Goodness knows the Internet is an ever-changing being in and of itself. So, here’s a nothing-in-it-for-me, truthful version of what to recognize and anticipate in your journeys within the freelance blogging world.
1. Never underestimate the value of content.
If I had a dollar for each time I clicked on a well-designed Pinterest pin, only to arrive at a page full of fluff, I’d be quite well-off financially. Your goal might be to fill your freelancer coffers with money, but if your focus is on design and promotion instead of actually helpful, engaging content, your efforts will be for naught. Sure, audiences like aesthetics, but if they want that, and only that, they’d be at a spa and not reading a blog.
2. Know your niche.
By this, I mean become an expert. If you haven’t lived it or put in the effort to thoroughly educate yourself about it, your content will ring hollow. Echoes will reverberate throughout your empty blog visitor statistics.
- Make sure said niche is something that’ll stay relevant, yet stand apart from already saturated lifestyle-types of markets.
3. Save the affiliate programs for later.
You need a decent amount of content (and visitors) before you’ll be taken seriously by the most potentially-lucrative affiliate programs. A few tips, though:
- Google AdSense will possibly allow you to join if there are several thoughtfully-crafted (I suggest 500+ words) posts present. There’s a $100 cashout requirement as of this writing, but it’s a place to start.
- If you’re a WordPress user and have purchased one of their more expensive plans, WordAds could be another means of getting your toe in the revenue-earning doorway.
- Then, there’s ShareASale, which will allow you to join with minimal-to-no strict traffic requirements and apply for various product affiliate programs.
- As for Amazon Associates, you can, again, join with minimal traffic, but only on a trial basis; if you don’t make any sales, you aren’t officially accepted into the program and can try again later.
- Mediavine is another much-prized source of affiliate income for established bloggers. However, it has strict traffic requirements – thousands of sessions within a monthly period to even be considered.
4. Don’t clog up your layout with advertisements.
Let’s say you’re doing great content and traffic-wise, and are ready to get the blogging monetization party started. Congratulations! Except, keep ads to the top, bottom, and sides of your blog for the sake of your readers’ sanity. You might want to earn, but they’re visiting to learn (and hopefully be amused at least sometimes).
This one goes hand in hand with the first truth I’ve already discussed. If I, as I go about my merry Internet-search-for- knowledge day, come across an interesting-looking blog in search results, only to find that it practically herniates my excellent hard drive/fast Internet connection just trying to load said blog, will I stay? No, no I will not. Don’t even get me started on what that might do on and to a smartphone.
5. Choose a mobile-friendly blog scheme whenever possible.
Smartphones connect us to content 24/7, so it’ll come as no surprise that much of your audience will come from a mobile source. This means that your blog might look quite excellent on a computer or laptop, but disjointed at best on a smartphone screen.
It’s understandable (especially if you’re not well-versed in design) to just skip this part and hope for the best. You like your layout just the way it is, thank you very much! If someone is interested enough in your blog, they can go visit the “old-fashioned” way = sans smartphone, right? Yes, though you’re running the risk of them forgetting to return or losing patience. Smartphones have, alas, made many people accustomed to immediacy.
- Google’s Mobile Friendly Test is an easy, free way to find out how responsive your blog is to “mobile means.”
6. Successful blogs are not built in a day (or even a year).
This is the truth that sends many promising blogs to their doom. All those “let me show you how I got tons of visitors and quadrupled my income in less than X amount of months/days” resources? Yeah, ignore those because such a notion just isn’t feasible. What worked even a year or two ago can’t be vouched for now – algorithms do indeed keep bloggers on their toes.
More specifically, posts need to be indexed by search engines. Corresponding social media accounts need to gain followers that in turn become engaged readers. You need to earn your Internet credibility by sticking with it beyond a year, even two years, or longer than that. The older your blog is (complete with consistent, high-quality, evergreen content) the better your chances of winning the blogging business game.
7. Maintain and market within a reasonable budget.
If you can’t afford a premium blogging plan, or outsourcing, or any of that sort of thing, there is absolutely, positively no shame in sticking to the basics/within what’s monetarily reasonable for you. Before you even register your domain, do a little research on blog hosts and their prices. Monthly plans and/or associated blog maintenance costs shouldn’t be akin to mortgage payments.
8. Don’t be afraid to revise and renew.
As you accumulate blog posts very patiently over a couple of years, you’ll probably have noticed that some posts (especially those early ones) didn’t get many-if-any views. Now, though, you’ve got an audience who you know will appreciate them. Consider reverting those posts back to a draft and adding some new nuggets of information – possibly even some pictures or video. Then, confidently repost them to get the exposure they deserve.
- Don’t revise posts within the last year or so, since that can mess with your standing in search results and lose readers who remember said posts.
- Focus on revising your oldest posts first and interchangeably reposting them with brand new posts.
9. Go out into the blogging world, and participate thoughtfully.
You probably already know that commenting on other people’s blogs and liking their posts is a free way to market your blog. Except, established bloggers are savvy to this tactic and use it sparingly for the sake of not looking spammy. “Nice blog” posts are often swiftly swept away into the trashcan. Tons of likes are given a nod, perhaps, but not taken seriously.
Unfortunately, even the most genuine of compliments can often read as self-promotion unless you provide real value to said comment. Mention/link to an article or post in your comment that could help the author and the audience. Share a helpful anecdote or two. Only like posts that you actually, honestly like. When you’re supportive from a pure place, you just might be happily surprised to find yourself the recipient of such kindness, too.
10. Blogging is very much alive.
Information is everywhere, and in no medium is it more prevalent than blogging. Those news channel or magazine websites that post breaking stories (or even just articles in general), categorized by reporter or author with a comments section underneath? That’s still a blog in my book!
Bottom line: there’s no more customizable outlet for self-expression through the written word, no more versatile platform for portfolios and even online stores. Blogging is more than a business, it’s a teacher – keep learning, keep building, and you can’t help but find your best blogging self.
Please note that all Fabulous Freelancer posts might contain affiliate links.