Category Archives: Blogging

Write a Guest Blog for the Feckless Goblin

write a guest blog

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We’re currently looking for some great content for the site from indie writers and other artists. If you think you’d like to write a guest blog for the Feckless Goblin then contact us on the form below and we’ll get back to you as soon as we can.

Benefits When You Write a Guest Blog

It’s gone a little out of fashion in some circles but guest blogging is good for getting additional traffic to your site and widening your reach to a whole new audience. It can also help you improve your search engine ranking because of a strong inbound link. We’ll publish your post and then send out a message to our 30,000 Twitter fans as well as our Facebook followers.

What to Write in Your Guest Blog

We’re looking for anything relating to the writing process and the marketing of books. It should be informative and useful to our readers and shouldn’t be about promoting your own book or product. Ideally the length needs to be between 500 and 2,000 words. Each post will include a bio of the author at the end with a link to your website, Twitter feed, Facebook page etc.

Fill in the form if you’d like to write a guest blog.

 

Retweet Those Old Blog Posts

Old Blog Posts

If you’ve been writing a blog for while, chances are you have a fair number of articles online. Many of these are doing the digital equivalent of gathering dust – they sit getting the occasional visitor but largely exist in the web-sphere, unloved and forgotten.

It pays to take a look back and check out those old blog posts once in a while. Update them and retweet them. You probably have a lot of new followers who weren’t around when you first put up that article on how to juggle ferrets and wink at the same time.

And just maybe people would like to read it.

The other advantage is that Google et al like movement on your pages. So if you do tweak those old blog posts a little and update, the search engines love it.

The great thing is it takes a couple of minutes to go through your back catalogue and find something that is still, after all this time, interesting.

Business Blogging Tips: Blog Posts Don’t Have to be Long

Business Blogging Tips
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Looking for ways to fill up space on your website?

Shorter posts can be just as good as long ones. The marketing adage that you need word count on content to create an impact isn’t always true, especially when it comes to that all-important blog.

Breaking up your blog content with short and long posts is a great way to breathe life into your content and get more people visiting.

Sometimes, people don’t want a long read. What they want is a quick tidbit that gives them ideas. Provides a useful tip or simply brightens up their day.

Add your own business blogging tips in the comments section below.

Finding a Good Content Writer for your Business

content writer
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Let’s face it, your customer doesn’t care about you.

They don’t care about your products, about your logo design, about your workload or your website, about your two point four children,  your staff or your ingrowing toenail.

They don’t care that your Skoda just got pranged by a Porsche. They don’t care that you want to save the environment, they don’t particularly care that you work 17 hours every Monday through to Sunday, and they certainly don’t care you haven’t pulled a sickie in the last ten years.

They don’t care that you prefer red wine to white, have a dog called Boo and your favourite colour is taupe or that you treat your staff with respect.

They’re selfish. They care only about themselves. That’s all. Nothing else.

Nada.

Only when you realise this can you begin to make sense of the purpose of content marketing.

Okay, we may have gone a little overboard here with the pathologically selfish thing. We’re talking about your customer in relation to your product or service, not their entire lives.

The point is this: You customer comes to your site to get something.

They gotta have it…right now. Right here. Okay?

What is good content writing?

There’s content and then there’s good content. You can fill your web pages with all sorts of wonderful stuff. You can wax lyrical on every topic under the sun.

But does it really give your customer what they want?

According to the Content Marketing Institute:

Content marketing is the marketing and business process for creating and distributing relevant and valuable content to attract, acquire, and engage a clearly defined and understood target audience – with the objective of driving profitable customer action.

And just so you’ve got it, this is what WebSiteDesigns.com say about it:

Your audience don’t care about you, your products, or your services. They care about themselves, their wants, and their problems. Content marketing is about creating interesting information your audience is passionate about, so they seek you out and actually pay attention to what you have to say.

Why you think you don’t need a content writer

You know how to write. Of course you do. You’ve been doing it for years – writing letters, emails, even the odd tweet now and again. You’re proficient at it.

Before we go any further: Yes, there are business owners who are good writers, know exactly what content marketing is all about and can deliver it without breaking into a sweat.

But there are plenty who aren’t good content writers. They fill their pages with too much stuff, confuse their customers with badly constructed sentences and half the time don’t even bother to check grammar and spelling. Then, to cap it all, they publish it to the web without even a hint of a proofread.

There are plenty of reasons why you might want to write your own content:

  • It’s cheaper.
  • Who knows better how to make your online pitch than you…the entrepreneur.
  • People don’t actually read that stuff anyway.
  • It’s just for show, right?

The benefits of hiring a good content writer

Notice I said GOOD content writer there. It’s an important point. With every indie writer and would-be marketing guru thinking they have the skills to write great copy, the major problem business owners have is sifting through the rubbish to find that one content writer who delivers quality work on time.

Here are the benefits if you manage to do just that:

  • You get better written, more focused copy for your website.
  • You get the right balance between features and benefits for your product or service.
  • You get expert opinion on what works and what doesn’t.
  • You get someone who has worked at their craft and knows what they are doing.
  • You get quality, okay?

If you want your business website to look professional and attract and retain more customers, then you need to employ the services of a content writer who can deliver.

Take some advice from copywriter Susan Green:

In today’s media-rich world, there’s no shortage of messages competing for your customers’ attention.  You don’t want to lose out because your copy is ineffective. Quality content written by a professional copywriter may cost you money up front, but your return on investment in sales should make it well worth the expense.

What you want your writer to do

You want your content writer to work with you closely and produce the kind of copy that attracts customers and keeps them coming back for more.

Business owners often worry they haven’t filled enough of that digital space with content – it leads them to throw everything but the kitchen sink onto each web page. Rather than making it easier for customers to buy their product it merely confuses the hell out of them. A good content writer can focus and pare down your content so that it is fit for purpose.

Another problem you find on many websites is that they are so feature rich it’s difficult to find the benefits. A good content writer will be able to look at your product and see it from the customer’s point of view – that old marketing mantra What’s In It For Me?

It’s not what’s on offer but how it can help transform your customer’s life that helps you sell and you need to bring that across in your online content.

Where to Find Your Content Writer

There are plenty of platforms that showcase freelancers available to work on projects for your business, including People Per Hour and Elance. Most platforms provide customer feedback and star ratings so you can find out who’s good and not so good, though it makes sense to start off with a small job before you part with too much of your hard earned cash.

Another way to find freelancers is to do a local search on Google, especially if you want that personal contact which is often lacking in the online world.

However you do it, our advice is to build a strong relationship with your chosen content writer and treat them with respect. Good ones are hard to find and even harder to replace.

The Difference Between Site Content and Blog Content

There is a world of difference between your main site content and the stuff you put into a blog.

Content marketing for your product needs to be slick and to the point, designed to give the customer what they want and not distract them with information that doesn’t matter. It’s about pushing the benefits of doing business with your company, not discussing the pros and cons of trout fishing or listing the top twenty things to do with a bar of soap.

When it comes to your main site the mantra is quick and easy to understand: KEEP IT SIMPLE STUPID.

Your blog on the other hand is less about selling and more about providing value added extra information. It’s a key tool in attracting customers to your site with entertaining and enlightening articles.

They may not buy from your straight away (see the Moz video below) but they’ll keep coming back because your information is so darned good. And if they do that, they’ll eventually engage more profitably.

According to The Guardian:

The key to a successful business blog is giving your readers valuable content. That is how you establish your website’s authority in your industry. In addition, if you give your readers valuable content, they will reward you by becoming return visitors and also parting with their money.

You Get What You Pay For

If you are a business owner then you should know the old adage: You get what you pay for. Low cost jobs generally deliver low cost results and bad writing can be catastrophic for your business.

I’ll leave the last word on that to Contender Content :

In an increasingly content-centric industry, copywriting can be the decisive factor in determining the efficacy of your marketing efforts. Business blogging, website copy, landing pages, email copywriting and asset creation are the building blocks of a successful marketing campaign – and your copywriter has a huge hand in the creation of each. If corners are to be cut, content is not the place to do so.

Finally, if you feel like turning the concept of content marketing on its head and see how it really works then check out this video from Moz.

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Bad SEO Can Damage Your Site

Bad SEO links kill trafficBad SEO can make you jump up the rankings one minute but then drop like a stone the next. The Feckless Goblin explores why so many small businesses opt for the cheaper option and get into trouble.

There are people who believe search engine optimisation (SEO) is dead. There are those that don’t. There are those who think SEO is all about keywords and are too idle or too in love with the concept to let it go and there are those who have long known that it is a little more complex than that.

There are those who wouldn’t know a Google algorithm if it stood up and kicked them in the toosh. Oh, yes, they mention it to their clients every four or five seconds, but they don’t have a clue what it is or what it does. Yes, I’m talking to you Bad SEO man (or woman) with your penguin stuffed up your shirt and list of keywords written on your arm.

Here’s the first tip for your business: BEWARE, SEO IS EASY TO BLAG.

To Blag: v. meaning to get by clever talk or lying.

For businesses trying to do the right thing and maximise their brand presence online, it is tempting to put your trust in the first SEO expert who comes along. Unfortunately, there have always been some worrying trends in the world of SEO and the people who are catching the brunt of it are SMEs who don’t quite know what they are looking at.

The Simple View of SEO

There are particular keywords that relate to your business. If you put those keywords in your web content, Google will wet its pants and throw you, with a scream of “LOOKY-SEE”, to the top of the search engine rankings.

This is largely a bunch of old tosh. If an SEO expert is telling your business that all you need is to stuff in enough keywords and your ranking will explode, then take out a gun and shoot him or her.

Want to know why? SEO is more nuanced than that. If you want to take an alternative view, SEO as we know it, or has been popularly presented, has been dying out for a while now. Take a look at this article by Parker Schultz in Marketing Weekly and you’ll begin to see what I mean.

Okay, here’s my first serious gripe of the day. I was asked to write some blogs for a site recently. The owner said he had got someone to sort out the SEO, they’d produced a report and it suggested having regular blogs.

Fine. That’s a good start, isn’t it? Blogs are good nowadays. Doesn’t everyone say so? They’re top of the marketing to do list.

Then I read the report.

It was brevity personified and not too revealing (contained a few typos as well) and included a very short list of keywords that I could have produced in a few seconds without any research. The suggestion was that the proposed blog articles should utilise these keywords. The sweeping naivety of the report got me wondering.

I read the website content that was already there. It seemed to me that whoever had written this rubbish was intent on getting that narrow set of keywords in every sentence, sometimes twice, more often than not at the expense of coherent prose. It looked like it had been written by a four year old who had been asked to practice using certain words by their teacher.

Now get this: The person who had issued the SEO report said that he expected there to be a ‘significant’ improvement in ranking within the next week or so. Not only did this make my heart sink but it also made me worry about what else this person had been up to in his capacity as an SEO expert.

The kind of SEO this person was up to has given it a bad name and hastened rumours of the demise of the industry. There is a reason why this kind of bad SEO has been consigned by more diligent marketers to the garbage bin of online faux pas. Not only does it not work, when people do visit your site they will be presented by the most appalling written content.

The result: Are you going to buy something from a site that is poorly written? Are you going to trust them with your credit or debit card details? Do I really need to answer that?

Why Businesses Opt For Bad SEO

So, why do people offer a service like this? And more importantly, why do businesses buy into it?

There are those who provide an SEO service but have never bothered to update their skills. They live in the past where keyword stuffing was a valid, if slightly unseemly, practice. There are others who know it is wrong and still do it because it is easy and people are still willing to buy.

I’ll quickly diverge here and just mention link building in an attempt not be too one dimensional. There’s no doubt that quality links to your site are a good idea. The important word here is ‘quality’. Linking is a whole industry in itself and has led to some real bad SEO spamming practices.

Take this advice. If someone offers you ‘quality’ backlinks on the cheap, run. Run as fast as you can. Check the video out at the end of this piece for more information on why and how you should be building links, especially if you are a start-up business.

Anyway, back to the point. Businesses buy into bad SEO primarily because it is cheap and, on the surface, sounds like a good idea. It’s easy to sound knowledgeable about SEO and many businesses get fooled.

But it’s also laziness on their part. You can find out the basics of SEO and then make a valued decision about what you are getting for your money. There are plenty of good articles and videos out there that are easy to understand and will give you an informed platform to start off from.

The worrying thing is that there are so many of these people still about, giving internet marketing a bad name. In the end, it comes down to a number of individuals who don’t care about the service they offer. Outsourcing to freelancers is taking off big time; it’s useful, especially for SMEs on limited budgets.

And it’s often something businesses spend too little time thinking about.

I’m not one of those who says SEO is dead. Keywords have their place but they are only a small part of a more complicated process that involves combining good content, sound site structure, and linking it all that into social media.

And it takes time and hard work to put together.

Too often cheap and bad SEO is being used to attract visitors without regard to the integrity of the content. In other words, the SEO is overbalancing the content. It should be there to complement your site, another facet of your online persona. It is not the be all and end all of online marketing.

Do something for me small business person: Before you settle on someone to do your SEO, take a look at this short video from SEO MOZ. It explains clearly the aspects of SEO that you should be looking at and nurturing and those bad SEO practices that you should be avoiding.

It may end up saving you and your burgeoning business a lot of heartache.

My Business Blog is Dull

my business blog is dull

The answer is probably yes. Maybe. Almost certainly. If you’re asking ‘Is My Business Blog Dull?’ then you already know the answer. You wouldn’t be asking the question, if you didn’t think it wasn’t. Right?

See what I’m doing here? I’m asking you a question.

Even more, I’m asking you to think.

I’m not just listing 10 reasons why X or Y is true. I’m involving you. I’m…I’m commm-uun-icating.

10 reasons why your last 10 blogs have been pointless.

  1. They’re dull.
  2. They don’t engage.
  3. They’re written without enthusiasm (They’re dull).
  4. You don’t see it as important.
  5. You don’t realise it’s important.
  6. You don’t have the time.
  7. What? You don’t have the time for your clients?
  8. You run a niche business, there’s not much to talk about.
  9. You really, really don’t have the time?
  10. I just plug a link of my product on Twitter. 5 times a day, on auto.
  11. I’m having a nervous breakdown, leave me alone, why dontcha!

Okay, so that’s eleven. Let’s make a point. It’s not write, write, write. It’s engage, engage, engage.

You need to write something meaningful. Think you can do that? No? No.

See, the problem is this: You have to keep your business face on and you have to make sure that people know that you are serious and that you are…well…just like every other provider in your business.

You’re nothing new.

We hate being different, don’t we? We hate being contentious. We hate stepping over THAT line. We hate being the one to peek over the parapet and say: Hey, you know what? I might…I just might do something different.

How many words do you think there are in the blogosphere? At this particular moment in time? I’m wowed by that question, more than I’m wowed by the fact that my Word autocorrect just corrected the word blogosphere (meaning there is actually a word and I hadn’t just made it up).

Know what that means?

Someone had the audacity to make it up. Someone thought, we don’t have a word for this, so I’ll create one. Here it is guys. Blogosphere. The sphere in which a blog exists.

Back to my point.

How many words? To read? How many do you think? If there are 10 x 500 word blogs written every minute….sheeze, Louise…where’s that calculator? That’s a lot, right? A zillion gadzillion million billion. How much of that stuff do you think is good? And by that I mean how much of that stuff is ever being read? Most of it, I bet, is sitting in dusty corners of the internet, unloved and unappreciated.

Be honest, how many people are visiting your business site and reading the blog? Chances are, for most businesses, the number is a big fat zero.

Here’s the point: A well-sourced, engaging, regularly updated business blog can enhance you as a respected source of valuable information and drive traffic to your site. Combine that with a strong social media presence and you have one of the most powerful and effective marketing tools on the planet today.

My business blog is dull. Damn right it is.

What are you going to do about it?

 

Blog Maintenance for Beginners

blog maintenance and broken links

A good blog maintenance regime can save a lot of trouble

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Like most things, your blog needs a little tender, loving care once in a while. Most of us are so focused on adding valuable content that we often don’t pay much attention to what is already there.

Here’s the news: You need some blog maintenance. We all do. Blogs aren’t static things, you see. Stuff changes. Example: I recently checked my site for bad links. There were 23. So for all of you who think blog maintenance is not for them, think again. Here are a few tips to get you going:

Is your site mobile friendly?

This is one of my bugbears at the moment. You see an interesting link on Twitter, click it and it goes onto a site that has not been set up for smartphone. I use my Samsung mobile to access the web quite a lot, so I know – a large number of you haven’t set this up yet.

It makes sites difficult to navigate on mobile, especially if you add in one of those floating social media panels (which if you have one – stop it, please, they are annoying). There are plenty of plug-ins available that can convert your site to something more user friendly when people view it on smartphone. All you have to do is install it, the rest is done for you.

Want another reason? Smartphone usage has exploded in the last few years. According to the Business Insider, 1 in 5 of us own one and it’s fast becoming the tool of use for online shoppers and browsers. It can be viewed on the move, see, and people love it. You’re losing out on valuable readers if your content is not mobile friendly and too difficult to read.

Blog maintenance – broken links

blog maintenance typos

Typos can often be embarrassing

Checking your old pages for broken links is a must do piece of blog maintenance. Not only is it annoying for the reader when a link goes straight to a 404 page, but it’s also bad for your search ranking.

There are a couple of programs that can seek out bad links such as brokenlinkcheck.com which is free, or you could do it for yourself manually, though for large sites this could take a while.

But do it, you must.

Similarly, check that none of your images have disappeared. This, more often than not, happens when you have transferred a site to another url, as I found to my dismay recently. Replace when you find it, don’t leave that blank image-not-found space.

Update outdated content

Things change. Yes they do. Read through your content and check that it’s still accurate. Is that book you were promoting still for sale? Are those top tips posted two years ago still valid? Or do they need updating? It’s also a great way to spot any typos you may have missed first time around.

Delete posts that have no purpose

When I transferred from Blogger to WordPress a couple of months ago, I kept 100 of the 147 posts I had written. The rest just weren’t relevant or useful anymore.
If you have stuff that serves no purpose, be brave and delete it. At the very least, update it.

Don’t forget the sidebars

Many bloggers have a blog roll, a list of sites they have as favourite links. Sometimes people choose to give up and delete their beloved site or haven’t updated it in a long while. When you do your blog maintenance, remember to check your sidebar links.

Schedule time for blog maintenance

Ideally, spend a couple of hours a month checking out your blog. Have a list and work through it diligently. If you find broken links, change or update. The same goes for everything else.

It might seem laborious, but blog maintenance is a necessary process. Remember, it’s your window to the world and it needs to be as good as it can be. Your first run through may take a while but if you keep a regular date for blog maintenance after that it should be an easy, pain free process.

Have I missed anything out? Let me know in the comments section below.

If you found this article on blog maintenance useful, please take some time to share it with your friends. Thank you for spreading the fun.

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10 Ways to Liberate Your Blog Writing

Follow my blog with Bloglovin Blog writing has a lot in common with a Chicagoinsane asylum

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Now that I’ve kicked off as a freelance writer and have actually landed some jobs, I’ve been thinking of how to optimize my blog so I can get more relevant traffic.

Eeeeekkk!! The world screeches to a halt. Heads bow. Random nobodies burst into fits of rage. Screams of ‘burn him, burn him!’

That’s a terrible word: ‘optimize’. See, I even spelled it the American way. It’s OPTIMISE, dummy. And don’t you forget it.

By the way, there are no ‘10’ ways to liberate your blog writing here either. That’s another one of those apocryphal marketing notions. Someone, somewhere, probably on a night of weird sex and cocaine, wrote that people like lists. And then someone else saw it and plagiarised it. And then others came along, saw that the world was a list and did the same.

And so on, until it became gospel.

Lists will not make your blog more popular.

So, how do you liberate your blog writing?

Simple. You write the stuff you want to write. Scribble it from the heart, dear friends, and damn the literary consquences. There are too many people out there following the rules of blogging. The truth is: THERE ARE NO RULES!

Write something interesting.

Write fast and furious.

Don’t stop until all your blood is left on that digital page.

And, above all, stop pretending there’s a blog writing formula.

You want to write a post about peanut allergies one day and the malaise that is British politics the next? Go right ahead. You’re a writer, aren’t you? You’re supposed to wax lyrical on a whole range of different subjects.

Forget about being popular

You weren’t put on this Earth to be liked. You are here to create, to challenge, to muse. You are an individual. You don’t have to follow the rules. Not anymore. That’s what They want you to do.

They?

The people who make up the rules.

Writing is about freedom, not constraint. If you want to rail against the growing tide of inhumanity, go rail. Scream. Shout. Blaspheme.

Tell Them you can’t be bound by their rules. They’ll moan and wail, say that it will hurt your traffic; just kick them in the literary nuts and move on.

They are not worth your time.

Did Hemmingway worry about traffic? Does Stephen King care about keyword selection? Why should you? It’s all a load of horse cack and that’s all you need to take with you as gospel. Most blog writing advice ain’t worth spit, anyway. You want a list?

I’ll give you a blog writing list!

  1. 98% of visitors won’t read your blog entry. They’ll scan it, pick their nose and trundle off. Why? Because it’s dull.
  2. If you want to grab someone’s attention, you’ve got to surprise them and that means saying something new.
  3. 70% of blog writing is just a rehash of something that has been written before.
  4. Cheese selection says a lot about a person.
  5. And rats have a 60% chance of dying in the first couple of days of life.

Okay, I made that last one up. I bet it’s original though. No? Oh, okay.

The point I’m making is this: We’re only here for a short while so make those words count. Write what you want to write, fill your web pages with truth and wonder and forget all that marketing rubbish. It’s insincere bullshit.

That’s how you liberate your blog writing, with courage and conviction…

…and maybe a little wine.

If you liked this post, then please take a moment to share it with your friends by clicking one of the buttons below. Or all of them…hell, knock yourself out!

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SEO Expert: How to Fail Big Time

The essence of an seo expert

I’ve lost track of the times an SEO expert has asked me if I am an expert in SEO copy writing.

See what I did there? I did some basic SEO content stuff. Which is basically…repeating stuff.

Oh, they didn’t tell you that?

If you want to be an SEO expert, you need to do this kind of thing. All the while, you smile like a drug soused whore and tell people you are an SEO expert and they believe you…well, hell, who would lie about such a thing? People lie about being secret agents or having a love child or liking Marmite, they don’t lie about being a marketing SEO expert.

See what I’ve done there? See?

I’ve done the SEO expert thing again in the hope that it will get me to the top of the search tree and make my post popular, even though what I’m writing is about as useful as a broken leg at a line dancing contest SEO expert twinned with other SEO expert people party (head explodes and out pops an evil hamster).

See how tempting it is? To just put the search term “SEO expert” into the mix and forget about anything like a coherent narrative?

I bet this gets me lots of hits. Hang on, I better say SEO expert a few more times. Well, not say it, write it. Because writing is fun and creative isn’t it and us SEO expert types (see how I winged it when most people would have put an ‘s’ on the end) are so fecking creative?

The difference between me and an SEO expert

I have a life.

Hey! I’m shouting it from the hilltops. I HAVE A LIFE!!!!!

First of all there is a lie perpetuated here. There are no SEO expert people (see, I did it again!). There are just people who can randomly repeat the same words or expressions over and over and over and over and over and over and over over over over and over and over and over and over and over again.

That’s not a skill. It’s a recipe for a nervous break down.

You want your business to succeed on the internet?

Avoid these denizens of mediocrity. They will tell you anything to get your money. They are the biggest marketing scam going. Sure, SEO expert fecking dumb feck used to be useful. See, I threw SEO expert into there without you noticing. Know why? Because you’ve stopped reading by now and SEO expert feck who cares…

Let’s be honest. They are the dregs of the Earth. And that’s with a capital E. That’s not just earth you pull out of the ground, it’s Earth where we live, man! Wake up and smell the SEO expert coffee!

Here’s the point.

There’s a point?

You got this far, okay? You want a point.

People like to read interesting content. They like to be informed. They like to be entertained. What they don’t want is some SEO expert repeating the same feck awful content over and over again.

I’m going to bet you a tonne of poop in a handcart that this gets to the top of the “SEO expert” list. I’ll bet you, because probably you won’t be reading it otherwise. But what has it said? I’m up to over 500 words now. I have waffled (mainly because I’m drunk) and just repeated the same stuff. What I’ve said is:

Don’t trust people who profess to be an SEO expert.

Repeating the same stuff over and over again is idiotic.

That’s 20 words people. 20 words!

Think about it.

Don’t you want to say more about your product than that?

I have just finished drinking and decided to put a bullet through my head and my last thought is this: SEO expert please just get a life. It isn’t as important as you think.

And neither is it as interesting.

So stop.

Stop now!

Take up tapestry or interior design or squirrel juggling but, for god’s sake, do something useful with your life.

For those looking for an SEO expert: Look in the mirror. What’s the difference between you and them? You care about your customers and hopefully you care about what they read too. An SEO expert doesn’t.

All he cares about is…well, you know the answer to that, don’t you?

Okay, rant over. I’ve said my piece.

While you should stop writing spamming content, there are other SEO techniques you also send to the recycle bin in the sky. Try Neil Patel’s informative 5 SEO Techniques You Should Stop Using Immediately for an update.

 

 

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People Per Hour: How to succeed as a freelance

People Per Hour

For those who don’t know, People Per Hour is a freelancing site that boasts around 4 million users, both employers and those hawking a variety of skills and services. I joined the site just before Christmas and thought I’d give you the benefit of my experience – particularly to those few on Twitter who contacted me recently and said they are yet to receive a job from the site.

There are two ways for freelancers to get work on the PPH site:

Bid on jobs

The first is to bid on jobs offered by employers. They post requests and freelancers say what they can offer and for how much. I’ve had little success going down this route (1 job in three months), but I have to admit that I haven’t tried terribly hard. The average number of bids appears to be around 15-30 which strikes me as bad odds, so I’ve opted for posting hourlies instead.

Post an hourly

An hourly highlights a service you offer as an individual freelancer. For instance, one of mine states: “I can write an engaging 500-600 word article or blog post for £10”. People visiting the site can choose to buy it and it’s the easiest way, I think, to get work. On PPH you can find a range of skills offered in this way from digital art, copywriting and web design to administrative and virtual PA services. This approach works for me and I’ve received longer term jobs following the purchase of a single hourly .

What does People Per Hour charge?

PPH charge 15% for the first £175 you earn in a month and after that 3.5% (both excluding VAT). Transfers of your hard earned money can receive a further 1.9% charge if it goes to PayPal but is free if it goes direct to your bank account.

You can choose to have your hourly featured (advertised) for 7 days or have your bid placed at the top of the queue for around £10.00. While some may baulk at this additional cost, it has worked for me.

Ratings on PPH

As with most freelancing sites, your work is rated 1-5 stars. Customer ratings add to your overall rating – PPH recently changed this to a Cert rating which, the higher you go, should mean you get more work (in other words, you become a trusted supplier). I’ve been there since December and I’m already on Cert 4 (out of 6).

How to increase your chances of success on People Per Hour

While this is not meant to be a promo for the site, I like People Per Hour because it’s simple to use and, so far, has been successful for me. That doesn’t mean work is going to drop like confetti into your lap – you have to put in the effort, and sometimes the money, to make it work for you.

  1. Write a good profile that gets straight to the point. While what you have done in the past may seem more important, try to concentrate on what you can provide. To use a time worn cliché: What are you bringing to the table?
  2. Have some samples. Provide customers with a selection of your work. Make sure it is of good quality and error free. If you are a writer put up 5 or 6 blog posts. If you’re a designer add jpegs of your work.
  3. Consider promoting your hourly. Yes, it’s an extra expense. No, it isn’t a con. When I first began it was tempting to sit there and just wait for the work to come rolling in. Unfortunately, no freelancing site works that way. I began to get work when I featured my hourly.
  4. If you land a job do it well and do it on time, no matter how small it is. Do I need to add anything to that? It’s obvious, right?
  5. Communicate. Some customers will give you all the details you need to complete a job, others may require a little prompting. Don’t try to use the force to complete a job, it rarely works. Ask for more details or clarification.
  6. Be customer focussed. If you get it wrong, offer to put it right and do so quickly. I have got it wrong once when a customer said what I’d written was too flippant for her audience. I swallowed my pride and rewrote completely and have since had 7 further jobs from the same customer.
  7. Be prepared to research and write on any subject. This week my brain hurts because I’ve had to write on currency transfers in China (which I know nothing about) and have just received an order for 4 blog posts on e-greeting cards (which I know even less about).
  8. Don’t sell yourself cheap. It may seem like a good idea to offer rock bottom prices to get yourself going. Resist the temptation – most people will equate low price with low quality work. Charge a reasonable price. If an employer expects you to work for peanuts then they are not worth your time.
  9. Be reliable. Here’s the good news: There are plenty of unreliable people out there, check some of the reviews on the site. If you provide a good service and bring it in on time and at the right price, customers will choose you again and again.
  10. Be patient. For the first couple of months I found the work patchy even after paying to feature my hourly. The work is now starting to build quite nicely. I have a good selection of 5 star reviews and a body of recent work with which to impress prospective clients. I’m not earning ga-zillions but I’m doing alright.

I’ll end this post with a gratuitous plug for PPH. If you click here you can go enrol and see if it works out for you. I wish you every success.

If you have enjoyed reading this post, please take the time to leave a comment below on any aspect of freelancing. We’d be interested to hear what you have to say.

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