Can you believe it? It’s already 2015! (Jaw drops to the floor.) I don’t even know what happened to the last year, but I can tell you one thing: it was an exciting one.
As some of you may know, I stumbled into Freelance Blogging quite by accident. After I realized how much easier it was to land long-term clients and reoccurring revenue when compared to doing Web Design, I ultimately switched tracks and dove right in.
In the short time that I’ve been writing for the online world as a Freelance Blogger, I’ve learned quite a bit that I thought would be worth sharing as well as what it is I plan to do for the new year.
What I Learned in 2014 as A “Newbie” Blogger
I’ve learned so much about blogging this past year that it is sort of hard to find a place to start when it comes to sharing it all. I don’t want to overwhelm you with small details, so here is the really good stuff that I hope you find a bit interesting.
1) Blogging and Writing Are Completely Different
I wrote a post over on one of my regular client’s site where I touched on this point a bit. I have been writing for fun since I was a teenager (mostly songs to play with my two-man band and short stories), but even though I could write, I still had to learn how to blog.
It sounds a little strange, but writing is very different from blogging. Why? Because the formatting and styling of blogging is not the same as traditional writing (there are some exceptions to this, but this is something that holds true to all sites I write for.)
If you’re a writer who wants to make money as a Freelance Blogger, then you need to learn how to blog (i.e. shorter paragraphs, use of bullet point, conversational tone, following format guidelines for each site you write for, etc.) It doesn’t take much time to get the hang of, but it’s important.
2) You Need To Know The WordPress Editor
Since I started off as a WordPress web designer, I found that working with the CMS (Content Management System) software was rather easy, but that did mean it wasn’t important. 98% of all the writing work that I do requires me to work with the WordPress Editor.
Often times I have to set a Featured Image, add Tags, and Meta descriptions along with using the correct Headings for SEO (for example: Using Heading 1 in posts is usually bad for SEO, so some blogs have me use Heading 2 through Heading 4, depending on their theme). My work also often requires I know how to add things like Links or how to turn a link into a NoFollow link.
The easiest way to learn to use WordPress is to start your own WordPress blog. Both the free version (WordPress.com) and the self-hosted version (WordPress.org) have the same Editor, so either one will allow you to access and learn the ins and outs of the WP Editor.
3) Editing Is Vital
This goes without saying, but I’ll say it anyway:
Edit, edit, edit!
It’s not my favorite part of the job as my dyslexia tends to get the best of me, but it is still part of the job. I like to write and edit at different times, and most times I try to make sure that I do them on different days so that my brain can handle it (I hate writing a post and then editing it right after).
When I was first starting out, I realized that my grammar and punctuation skills had gone way downhill since high school so I bought some grammar workbooks and brushed up on everything I had forgot—I even learned some stuff too!
Editing takes more time than you would expect, but any budding blogger has to learn how to do it. Granted, none of us are perfect so there are going to be punctuation errors, but it is best to make sure that no words are misspelled or used incorrectly.
4) You Don’t Have To Be A Grammar Maven To Make Money Blogging
This is one point that I think many will find encouraging. Some aspiring bloggers want to make money from blogging but fear they lack the grammar skills to really get started. I understand this fear, and I too was afraid of calling myself a writer when I felt that my skills were lacking.
But even when my skills were not up to par, I still made money and found new clients. If I can do it, so can you!
5) You Need an Online Portfolio
All of the money I make from online writing comes from leads to my online portfolio (which happens to be this blog right here). I know that some writers say that you don’t need one, but in my experience, you do. When I write a post (unless it’s ghostwritten) I get a link back to my portfolio so that prospective clients can easily find me and hire me.
Without my blog, I would probably need to send a ton of blog applications on sites like Paid To Blog or ProBlogger, but thanks to my site, I actually don’t need to do that anymore. All the work I land is through this site and I no longer need to go searching for work—this blog is invaluable to me in that regard.
So if you don’t have an online profile where clients can see your work and easily contact you, then now is that time to get one.
You can set up a free blog on sites like Blogger or WordPress.com if you’re low on a budget, although, I prefer the flexibility and layout options that you are given through a self-hosted WordPress site.
6) It’s Not All It’s Cracked Up To Be
Freelance Blogging is great! I love it and I’ll probably always be doing it, but it’s not all raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens (hopefully some of you will appreciate that reference *wink*). At the end of the day, blogging is still a job for me.
Don’t get me wrong—it’s a great job! But being able to work when I want and do what I want just isn’t a reality for me or most other bloggers that I know.
I’m a stay-at-home mom who also helps run my husband’s business which means that my time is split in about a thousand different ways. Errands, laundry, phone calls, emails, sick kiddos, and that doesn’t include running my own business. (Yeah, I’m a busy twenty-something girl!)
Since I’m so busy, I usually have to work after my hubby is home from work and on weekends, which isn’t ideal but that’s just how things go right now. I really don’t like being this busy, but I’m someone who does better when her hands are busy.
Plus, I look at this career as something I can teach my kids to do, and I love that I can go anywhere in the world and still help bring in income for my family. And it helps take some of worry off my husband’s plate if we ever have a setback of some kind.
I have to work hard to keep my life in order and to find time to write while still producing high-quality content. It’s not easy and sometimes I really don’t want to do it, but I still have to hunker down and do it anyway.
My Plans for 2015
As 2014 was winding down, I did a lot of thinking about my business and what I want to do with it. There is a lot that I still have to learn and even more that I want to do, but 2015 is a year that I still have to keep in balance with life. However, I do have some goals that I plan to reach for and I want to share them here.
1) Restructure My Business
One thing that I plan to do this year is change my business name and structure it as an LLC. Even though being a freelance blogger doesn’t seem to have a lot of financial dangers, being a Limited Liability Corporation offers some protection that will help give me some peace of mind.
I still do web design and landing page design as part of my business and my new business name (and upcoming website) will reflect both my writing and my designing.
2) Launching a New Blog
It may sound like a crazy thing to do, but I’m going to to it anyway. All of my writing has to do with WordPress in one way or another and my new blog is going to be on that topic.
I plan to launch it soon and will be accepting guest posts on the site so look out for a post on the brand new Job Board that I have here on the blog.
3) Get More Up On The Freelance Freedom Fighter Blog
I really want to focus on adding more content to the blog here and so I am now looking to have some new guest bloggers here on Freelance Freedom Fighter!
If you’re a new blogger or know of anyone who fits the job, then be sure to apply for a paid guest post here. I’m looking to build some fun and encouraging relationships with other bloggers so don’t be shy!
I have more things that I hope to accomplish this year, but I’m trying to be realistic and not put too much on my plate.
What about you guys? Any plans for the new year? I’d love to hear your goals and plans for the future so be sure to comment below.
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