Being a writer is a glorious thing for those who love to write. The only thing better than being a writer, is working for yourself as a writer. Being a professional freelance writer, you might think, is the same thing as working for yourself, but being self-employed is not the same thing as working for yourself.
I have no boss who stands near my desk scolding me if I show up a few minutes, or even a lot of minutes, late. There is no office manager, no HR department and the dress code requires nothing more than flannel pants and a sweatshirt. But, that does not mean that I work for myself.
Rather, I work for my clients. Some are more demanding than any corporate boss could be. Others are laid back and easy going, but in the end, I work for them. I write what they want me to write, when they want me to write it, in the way that they want me to write it. That is, above all else, what makes someone a freelance writer.
Make Money Writing Your Own Websites
One of the ways you can make money writing for yourself is by publishing your own websites. Writing what you want when you want about topics you are passionate about is very fulfilling. Whether it’s an opinion piece about current events or an in-depth discussion of an age-old topic, your own online properties always have a place for your well constructed prose. For example, check out my article about is Credit Karma a scam, that I wrote after hearing about and checking out the service.
The drawback to publishing your own websites is that online, there is no such thing as, “If you build it, they will come.” Instead, you have to market your websites, just like you have to market your freelance writing business. While some writers excel at marketing, many of us prefer the cozy confines of our home offices.
When I was a Certified Financial Professional (CFP) building my financial advisory business, I loved researching, staying current, examining investments and giving professional financial advice to my clients. Unfortunately, those things are not the elements of being a successful financial advisor. Instead, the key to building a successful financial planning practice is selling. This may account for why financial planning is such a tricky industry sometimes. It is a rare combination to find someone who is honest, passionate about helping people, AND a good salesman all at the same time. As it turns out only one of those skills is fundamentally required, and it isn’t the first ones.
Likewise, building a successful website is contingent less upon writing high-quality content and presenting it in a pleasing, readable manner than it is upon cultivating a lot of links from other websites.
As it turns out, Google is little more than a glorified link counter coupled with a basic text matching system. If you search for freelance writing samples, for example, Google basically pulls up all the webpages in in index that have those words on them. The ones that have those words in that order are considered the most relevant. The incoming links to each page that has the exact key phrase match are counted, and whoever has the most links wins, and is ranked number on on Google search engine results for the query.
There are, of course, modifiers to the algorithm. Google likes to say that it makes hundreds of tweaks to its algorithm each year, but most of those tweaks do nothing more than discount the most blatantly fraudulent links. So, certain kinds of links might be worth one-tenth of another type of link. However, while those little ranking variables might make a page with 175 links outrank a page with 220 links, a page with 3,000 links will almost always outrank a page with 10 links, no matter how many adjustments are made in the link counter.
The idea is that each link is a vote of confidence. The more votes, the more valuable. However, the days of that being true have long since passed. These days, honest publishers are careful to link specifically to their own stuff as much as possible and avoid linking out too much. Less honest publishers sell outgoing links to the highest bidder or spam the comments and forums sections of websites to create additional links to their own properties.
In other words, links are no longer votes, but carefully cultivated, “Vote for Me!” signs placed at busy intersections.
MyBlogGuest.com Guest Post Service
Getting backlinks is marketing for websites. Enough backlinks gives you enough ranking in Google SERPs to get traffic. Once you have enough backlinks, you can get enough visitors from search engines that enough people can find your content, like it, and build links organically (assuming anyone does that anymore) without having to manually make your own links. But, the Catch-22 is that to get traffic from search engines so readers can find you (and link you), you have to have links to rank high enough, but you can’t get the links until you rank high enough for people to find you, so you have to start out making your own links happen.
To get around this, there are numerous ways to build links “by hand” so to speak.
One of the ways to get links is by writing guest posts on other blogs. The idea is that in exchange for providing free content to another website, you get links from their website back to your site. The catch is that there are far more people who want to get links than are willing to give links. Thus, the process is much like when I was cold-calling financial planning prospects. You contact someone with a blog and ask if you can write a guest post for them. Ask enough website owners and you can get some of them to say yes. It sucks about as much as cold-calling does.
The catch to this process is that the best candidates for a guest post are other successful blogs about the same topic. Since linking is marketing, how often do you think your competition wants to help you market your site over theirs? And, since the most successful blogs are very good at generating plenty of quality content on their own, why would they need your content,even if it is free?
To help facilitate the process of guest posting, Ann Smarty, formerly of Search Engine Roundtable, has created a new online service called My Blog Guest. I just singed up last week and published my first guest post over on my financial advice blog at FinanceGourmet.com. It’s called Are You Capable of Handling Your Own Business. It is certainly not what I would have written, but I suppose that is part of the point. The two links at the bottom of the post are the backlinks the author received in exchange for this content.
What do you think?
I’m experimenting with MyBlogGuest.com and some other ideas for search engine marketing. Let me know what you think, and what services you use, if any, to market your online properties.
I’ll post a review of MyBlogGuest once I get a chance to use it enough to form a solid opinion. Grab the ArcticLlama feed to avoid missing out!
Update: See my first impressions of My Blog Guest here.
- How to Guest Post to Promote Your Blog (socialpeel.com)