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Why does my website need a blog? – We have 5 reasons

Here at Fi Darby Freelance we have seen first hand the marketing advantages of including a blog on your website. After the question, ‘What is a blog?’ the next thing we are usually asked is, ‘Why would I want a blog on my website?’ We have five important answers below:

  1. A blog allows you to tell your story, to let people in on your company values, to explain what you stand for and, maybe most importantly, to let prospective clients in on your personality. This is important because human nature prefers us to work with people we trust.

2. A blog, particularly one with well-managed commenting, allows you to interact with prospective clients. We all know that making contacts is key to successful marketing. There are lots of ways to do this but blogging is definitely proving to be one of the most successful.

3. A blog builds authority. This goes back to the old saying, ‘Say it with confidence.’ Blogging is an excellent way in which to demonstrate your knowledge. The bottom line is that clients value the confidence they get from employing an expert; your blog is your way of proving that you are that expert.

4. A blog will support and enhance your social media strategies. Social media users are looking for readable, high quality web content. You need to provide that content on your website in order to encourage them to click through.

5. A blog is fabulous for SEO. One of the best ways in which to ensure high rankings with Google is to publish regular, high quality blog posts. Scatter these posts with relevant keywords and long-tail keywords and Google will reward you with more visitors. Blogging will also enable search engines to pick up the context of your posts and direct web traffic accordingly.

Hopefully by now you understand why you should include a blog post on your website and are thinking about how to ensure that this happens soon. The good news is that you don’t necessarily have to write posts yourself. Here at Fi Darby Freelance we offer a supportive blog writing service and provide can excellent quality content in a wide variety of niches. Contact us for more information.

What is a blog?

Almost the first question clients ask us is, ‘What is a blog?’ Hardly surprising, we are surrounded online by all sorts of web content. Social media posts, articles, reviews, product descriptions, the list is endless and sometimes confusing.

The answer is simple: blog is a portmanteau (blended) word created from ‘web’ and ‘log’ which was entered into the Oxford English Dictionary in March 2003. In effect a blog is an online diary. Blogs tend to consist of short articles, written in a friendly tone that are regularly updated. The other common feature of modern blogs is interactivity, i.e. the ability for users to comment and engage in two-way conversation. All of this is great but blogs take time to create and manage.

People read blogs because they are interesting; many of them appeal to niche interests. For example, my outdoors blog Two Blondes Walking is very popular and almost all of our followers love getting outside. People write blogs for different reasons but the main two are: a) because they love their subject and enjoy writing. b) to gain a following.

There is some blog-based terminology, none of it is too complicated:

blog = ‘web’ + ‘log’ (also a verb ‘to blog’)

blogger = the blog’s author (some bloggers have multiple blogs)

blogging = the act of writing a blog

blog post = one section of writing (this could be weekly, monthly or even like Two Blondes, daily)

live blog = a blog written in short snippets as an event is happening

blogosphere = the wide and varied community of bloggers on the internet

blogroll = a list of blogs to which you subscribe

subscribe = sign up to receive updates when new blogs are posted

comment = join in a conversation about a particular blog topic

share = tell other people that you have enjoyed a blog post, usually through social media

You can share this blog post if you like and make this blogger very happy. Our next post will explain why all businesses should seriously consider including a blog on their website.

Ever wondered what SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) is? We have some answers for you:

http://www.fidarby.co.uk/2017/01/11/so-what-exactly-is-seo/

Which freelance writing niche?

One of the regularly asked questions at Fi Darby Freelance is,

‘What are your writing niches?’

You would imagine that this would be an easy question to answer, we all have our own favourite topics and expertise in certain areas. In an ideal world everybody would be writing about the things they love. I would choose the outdoors and literature above another topic anytime. However, as freelance writers, we live in the business world and we can’t control demand any more than we can control the weather.

Client Choice of Niche

Clients (particularly web development agencies) require blog posts and other web copy on a wide range of topics. When I started out as a freelancer I was tempted to turn down topics I didn’t understand. This would have been a bad idea for three reasons:

  1. Freelance writing is a competitive world and annoying your client by being fussy about topics is not a tactic set to impress.
  2. Learning about new topics is actually quite easy; much of the required information is already on the web and just needs verifying and assembling.
  3. The more niches you can demonstrate in your portfolio, the more chances you will have of being picked up by a client.

Most Interesting Niches

It goes without saying that if you are interested in your topic you will produce a piece of work that is more lively and engaging, you will also feel more motivated. The same is true if you have developed a level of expertise in a subject. If you have got to a stage in your writing where you can be more choosy about your work, you might want to have a brain-storming session in which you consider topics away from your main interests on which you would like to write.

A great way to test your levels of interest is to write a piece. You could either do this for practice or pitch it to possible interested parties.

It also pays to know which niches you definitely would not like to write about. For me this would include sport as I find it a tad confusing.

Best Paying

Even if you always enjoy your writing, you should remember that freelancing is your business; it is the bread and butter that is going to keep a roof over your head and pay your bills. To this end, and to help you enjoy the freedom of freelance work, it can be a good idea to work out which niches pay best.

Traditionally these have included real estate, technology, medical writing and e-learning. However you might find in the future that other factors such as blog length, media (e.g. video scripts), graphics inclusion (e.g. infographics) and an innovative angle are the things that tip the pay-scale balance.

We have found here at Fi Darby Freelance that it pays to keep an open mind about niche writing work. What was a chore one week may well become your favourite topic the next. What pays well in February might not be as lucrative by April. We wouldn’t want to stop you having your favourite topics however; that way you can look out for matching clients and savour your writing when a job in a niche you love lands in your lap.

Keen to avoid some of the common writing pitfalls? We have some advice for you here

http://www.fidarby.co.uk/2017/01/13/freelance-writing-pitfalls-three-things-a-new-freelancer-shouldnt-do/

After some tips on how to make money from freelance writing?

http://www.fidarby.co.uk/2017/01/09/how-to-make-money-from-freelance-writing/

 

 

What is the gig economy?

The gig economy has been getting some big news headlines over the last few months. If you have been reading the news, you will have heard the company names ‘Uber’ and ‘Deliveroo’ because they have both found themselves in disagreement with employees over workers’ rights. Both Uber and Deliveroo are big players in the gig economy, but what exactly is it?

Continue reading “What is the gig economy?”

How to find freelance writing work online – Copify

There are no shortage of online job boards from which the budding freelancer can choose work. However each one requires you to share a certain amount of information, create links to a portfolio and sometimes even take a writing test before they will take you on.

This makes sense but as a freelancer who is keen to start making some money, it can be frustrating to spend hour after hour creating profiles and uploading work samples. So where should you start? Which freelance writing sites are the most effective? Today we are going to take a look at Copify.

Copify is not the most popular of boards for writing jobs and it definitely isn’t the best paying, but it does have a few advantages for the new freelancer:

1. Copify is UK based
In many ways the country of origin of your writing jobs doesn’t matter. At Fi Darby Freelance we have clients across the globe including Argentina and Australia. However there are two main advantages to finding writing jobs from your home nation: the first is that you will be less likely to make colloquial language mistakes and the second is that you will be working in your own currency.

2. You don’t have to bid for Copify jobs
Most job boards require you to make bids for jobs. This becomes easier once you know where to pitch your work but until then it can be frustrating waiting only to find out you didn’t get the job. With Copify you select a job and it is yours.

3. Copify is a great learning platform
The range of Copify jobs is varied and changes from day to day. One day you might be writing about drone technology, the next composing product descriptions for printer parts. This is all excellent practice but more than that, if you keep a record of your work it helps you to build a varied and impressive portfolio.

Copify isn’t perfect however (no freelance job boards are). Here are its main disadvantages:

1. Copify jobs are low paid
You will definitely get paid more for jobs from other freelance job sites, however Copify makes an excellent starting point and always lets you know exactly how much you will be earning. Besides, having to do more jobs to get the money in is no bad thing; it will teach you to write faster.

2. Copify ‘professional status’ will not greatly improve job rates
Copify do offer freelancers the opportunity to promote to ‘professional status’ after completing 25 jobs. This is useful but relies on professional level jobs being available. As these are more expensive for clients, you will have to look regularly if you want to find them.

3. Some Copify jobs can be monotonous
Sometimes the only jobs available on the Copify site are large sets of very similar requests. Not only can this become boring, it can be tricky to ensure that you don’t repeat what you said in previous pieces of work.

Copify is a great place to start for someone who is thinking about online freelance work. It offers a good range of jobs that fit into relatively short time spans. I still use Copify to fill in slots between larger jobs. The Copify pay system is reliable and easy to use and they are very quick to provide support via their live chat set up. We recommend giving Copify a go, but here is a little warning, you will have to complete a writing test before you are allowed to join.

Have fun!

New to freelancing and want to avoid some pitfalls?

Freelance writing pitfalls – three things a new freelancer shouldn’t do

The gig economy – the pros and cons of working from home

Freelance writing isn’t the only way you can earn money working from home. The ‘gig economy’ has become so important in the US that it even found a place in the presidential race. In London alone there are over 30,000 Uber drivers and we are starting to see interesting court cases about employment law and employee rights.

Continue reading “The gig economy – the pros and cons of working from home”

Freelance writing pitfalls – three things a new freelancer shouldn’t do

Starting any new job can be a worrying time. Switching from a salary to freelancing is exciting and it means you can work from home, but it is inevitably scary and brings with it its own set of risks. To help you as you start out as a freelance writer, we have three initial pitfalls for you to avoid: Continue reading “Freelance writing pitfalls – three things a new freelancer shouldn’t do”

So What Exactly is SEO?

SEO is important and has an impact on the success of our online marketing campaigns but (in the words of youth), ‘What EVEN is it?’ Continue reading “So What Exactly is SEO?”

How to make money from freelance writing

I have an announcement to make… are you ready?

The truth is that you can make enough money to live on from freelance writing and you can do it from home, from the beach or from the top of a mountain (well a mountain with internet access).

But… and here is the caveat (bad news)… it’s going to take you a while to build up enough income to give up the day job altogether. Before that can happen you will need to:

Continue reading “How to make money from freelance writing”