150+ Blogging hacks for write Viral Blog in 2019
This tutorial explains how to write a Viral blog and 150+ New Blogging Hacks that used in 2019.
It’s not just about search engine traffic, though. Real people will read the words you write. Bland, poorly written content may trick search engines in delivering traffic your way, but it won’t satisfy intelligent beings once they’re on your site. And they won’t come back.
Blogging’s many benefits all derive from well-written, interesting content. Great articles will be linked to more often, be shared a greater number of times on social networks, receive more positive comments, attracting an increasing number of regular readers, and convince more potential employers, customers, or employees that what you’re saying or selling is worth their attention.
The quality and quantity of, as well as how you promote, your posts is what determines the success of your blog.
Write for the Web
Writing for the Web is different from writing a book or a letter. You only have a few seconds to captivate a visitor, who often has the attention span of a chipmunk on crack. How do we capture the reader’s attention then? Let’s consider a few do’s and don’ts when writing for the Web to make your text more readable and more likely to be read.
Write a catchy headline and first paragraph. Most visitors follow an F-shaped pattern with their eyes when scanning a web page. Your headline and top paragraph (or two at most) is what the majority of your visitors will read.
You need to grab their attention and lead them to the rest of your post. Divide your text into short paragraphs. Nothing bounces visitors away like a huge wall of text.
Make lists using numbers or bullet points. They tend to make your content quick to scroll through for the many readers who aren’t going to read every word of your post.
Divide your long posts into sections through the use of headers such as <h2> or <h3> tags. This approach is good from an SEO standpoint as well. In fact, your theme should surround your post titles in <h1> tags for SEO purposes.
Be concise. Although long articles are a sensible style of blogging, understand that their length will greatly reduce the percentage of readers that actually follow through and read your post until the last line. Keep to the point. The expression TL;DR (“too long; didn’t read”) is quite popular online for a reason.
Reference, link, and quote other blog posts. Generously link to other people’s posts, and other bloggers may return the favor and do the same with you.
Include one or more pictures. If applicable at all, strive for at least one image in each post.
Try to kick off each paragraph with useful information. When users scan your article on the left side of your site (at the bottom of the aforementioned F-shaped pattern), they’ll find keywords that are of interest and they will be more likely to actually read your post.
Be as clear, direct, concise, and unceremonious as possible. For example, don’t use words like unceremonious. Always assume that some of your readers will misunderstand what you’re saying; clarify ambiguous parts to ensure the concepts are clear to your audience.
Be informal. Your posts initiate conversations.
Acknowledge corrections. If you make corrections to your text after a post has been published and the problems aren’t just typos, use the HTML tag to strike through the erroneous content. Doing so conveys an important sense of honesty to your readers.
Add updates. If you publish small updates to existing articles, disclose that you did so at the bottom of your post (with a date stating when the changes occurred). In particular, credit the updates if they are the results of corrections or comments left by your readers.
Proofread. Web readers are often quite forgiving of typos and mistakes, but to be taken seriously you must try to be grammatically correct and make sure to proofread your content before sending it live.
From time to time, you may run into a so-called “grammar Nazi,” who will point out every typo you make. Most readers, however, understand that your blog is not The New Yorker and will rarely if ever, point out small typos.
“Natify” your content. If you are not a native English speaker and plan to write your content in English, disclosing this point in your About section will cut you some slack with your readers.
If possible, you could also get some help from a native English reviewer, either through friends or colleagues or by paying a native speaker to be your virtual assistant.
Don’t abuse bold or italic text. Use font emphasis parsimoniously. They can increase readability, but they also tend to annoy readers if they’re employed too frequently. One exception to this statement would be to set off headings.
Don’t use underlined text for anything but links. Ever. Your readers will assume your underlined text is a link and click it.
Don’t engage in blogspam. Blog spam is the act of republishing someone else’s original content without adding much (or any) of your own in terms of commentary or value.
Quoting and crediting others as you add your own ideas is OK and encouraged. Scraping, republishing, or even rephrasing without adding much is not. As a rule of thumb, your posts should primarily contain your own original writing.
Can Linkbaiting Be Ethical
The two most important off-page SEO factors are the quantity and quality of your inbound links. It’s not surprising that people go to great lengths to attract links.
The most ethical bloggers work hard on the quality of their content and at diligently promoting it, whereas the so-called “black hats” will pretty much do anything to get links, including buying them in bulk.
Somewhere in the middle of the link-building ethics spectrum lies link baiting. In principle, the concept is innocent enough. Link baiting (or link baiting) is the art of creating content that attracts a lot of links and generates buzz.
In practice, however, link baiting often has a negative connotation. Even the inclusion of the word bait in the name echoes the idea of tricking people into linking to you.
When commenters say, “This is just linkbait,” what they are really saying is that they feel that the sole purpose of a particular post was to attract links rather than to provide readers with valuable or interesting information.
In the wild, link baiting can be good “white-hat” marketing, or it can be a questionable “gray-hat” practice. It all depends on how you do it.
(White, gray, and black hat are terms borrowed from the security world. White hats operate within the rules and take a strong ethical approach to their work. Black hats do not and will do everything necessary, including illegal activities, to obtain what they are after. Gray hats are, as their name implies, in a gray zone between the two.)
At heart, all forms of linkbait, good or bad, share two common traits: a catchy headline and some form of content that will instigate readers into linking to a particular post.
Bad link baiting is characterized by the following traits:
Overly sensational headlines that don’t match the content.
Needless controversy for the sake of controversy.
Content that has no real value to the end user but that people may at first think is cool (e.g., shiny infographics with no real insight).
Here’s what you should do instead:
Write catchy but not overly sensationalistic headlines.
Create unique content that people genuinely want to read and will find value in.
Write Catchy Headlines
You should stay away from writing sensationalistic titles for your posts, but don’t write boring ones either. Through enticing but factual headlines, you can attract inbound links without misleading your readers with content that doesn’t match the headline of your post.
As you write your post titles, keep in mind that you are not simply doing so for the sake of link baiting reasons (of the good kind). Your title is what needs to convince a passerby to read the rest of your article and not just the headline.
Lastly, your titles should also try to organically include relevant keywords for SEO purposes. As usual, finding the right balance is key.
Let’s see this at work with a practical example. Assume that you’re writing a review of a relatively new search engine called DuckDuckGo that you compare to Google. What should the headline be? The second and third ones below would work.
1. “Review of DuckDuckGo”: It’s boring, and it doesn’t tell people what DuckDuckGo is.
2 “Google and DuckDuckGo: A Tale of Two Search Engines”: Definitely honest and interesting. It also contains the keywords search engines.
3. “DuckDuckGo—A Google Alternative You’ll Love”: Catchy, and it will definitely grab the reader’s eye and pique curiosity. You’re being bold by telling your readers that they’ll love the alternative search engine, but you are not being overly sensationalistic.
4. “The Search Engine That Will Put Google Out of Business”: Unnecessarily sensationalistic. It would certainly attract links, but you stand to quickly lose the respect of many of your readers.
The content would, in fact, have to be extremely outrageous to try and justify an indefensible position (controversy for the sake of controversy) like this or, alternatively, not address the point made in the title at all (thus being a misleading headline).
Capitalize your titles to make them stand out better. Other elements commonly used to create catchy headlines are providing numbered lists (e.g., “Ten Ways to Improve Your Code”), using attention-grabbing words like free (e.g., “Free NoSQL Course Available for Download”), and asking questions (e.g., “What Minimum Specs Should Your Development Machine Have?”).
Remember to be useful to your readers. Your headline should sell your audience on the benefits of what you’re conveying instead of the features within your article. Why should they bother reading it?
Why read it now? Consider introducing an element of urgency, if one is applicable. For example, “Free CoffeeScript Webinar. Sign Up Before the Deadline!” In this particular case, a strong call to action (i.e., needing to sign up) has also been put out to the reader.
The degree of catchiness you can get away with also depends on the type of audience you have and the kind of communities you promote your articles in.
For example, if I thought I could derive most of my traffic for a given article from Hacker News, I would choose headline 2 over headline 3 because that particular community has little tolerance for sensationalism.
Hacker News also frowns upon numbers in lists and the use of exclamation marks, so much so that they are often removed from submissions when a story you submit becomes popular.
Write Your Headline First
Write your headline before your post. This will give focus to your writing. In fact, you should adopt the so-called Inverted Pyramid approach to writing that journalists use.
Put the most important information first, starting with the headline, then in the first paragraphs. Proceed to provide other important details and background information as the article carries on.
It’s tempting to provide a lot of background info and slowly work your way up to the essence of your post; however, try not to do so or you’ll bury the point of your article, and many readers may give up on it before they get to the marrow of your post.
Develop Your Own Voice
If you do a good job with the headline, people will click and check out the actual content of your article. When they do so, what they expect to read is useful, interesting, unique content. Above all else though, your regular readers expect to find your familiar voice.
Your style and approach to writing, your selection of topics, your personality, and your way of interacting with your audience is what makes your blog truly unique. These elements work together to create your voice and are what you need to hone and develop as you start blogging.
You could be caring, friendly, witty, funny, clever, enlightening, bold, controversial, pretentious, off-putting, vulgar, or a downright bully. It’s up to you and your character, but in my experience, it pays to be humble and admits that you don’t know everything while at the same time being bold with what you truly believe without the fear of coming across as controversial.
Nothing you do or write will ever please everyone, so don’t try to impress or please the whole world. Write what you really think and on topics, you’re genuinely passionate about.
Controversy works extremely well not when it’s done purely for the sake of stirring the pot, but when it stems from real conviction. Convey passion in your writing and you’re bound to garner a following.
Adjust your tone and content to match the blogging goals you defined and the audience you hope to attract. If you have a business blog or are a freelancer, you don’t want to come across as pretentious; try being approachable instead.
Whatever voice you develop, become a bit of a storyteller. People love stories that go with the useful information. So rather than putting just the bare facts out there, try to give your writing a more human element by expressing why you were facing a certain problem.
How you felt, what you learned in the process, what could have been done differently, what you are still unsure about, and similar points. Provide some background and context for what you’re writing about.
Where to Find Ideas for Your Posts
Before writing a post, you should ask yourself if your idea for an article satisfies any of the following criteria.
Do I care about this topic?
Will readers find it useful?
Does it tell a compelling story?
Is the post in line with the goals of my blog?
Does it add any value to my field?
Does it start a conversation with the community that’s worth having?
Is it newsworthy in the context of my niche?
If the answer is no to most of these points, you shouldn’t write that post. Instead, search for a topic that qualifies with a resounding yes to one or more of the rhetorical questions above.
Finding ideas for your posts is not too difficult when you expose your brain to other people’s writing in your own field and in other niches.
I highly recommend you use a feed reader such as Google Reader to subscribe to blogs that you find useful, inspiring, and entertaining. Spending as little as thirty minutes a day reading other blogs will fill your mind with new ideas.
Personally, I use an iPad for my casual blog reading at night. It’s given me a workflow that’s very useful to me because it clearly separates work and play, leaving me feeling more focused when producing content or doing other work on my main laptop.
Now, you don’t need an iPad just for this, of course, but if you own a similar device, you may consider taking the same approach.
[Note: You can free download the complete Office 365 and Office 2019 com setup Guide for here]
Ask Your Readers What They Want
The easiest way to figure out what your readers really want is to ask them. Don’t be shy in your posts, and feel free to ask your readers how you are doing and what they’d like to see next.
You can also run a survey once in a while to learn more about how regular readers see your blog and what they think can be improved upon. Don’t take everything at face value; instead, consider the overall feedback you receive.
To run surveys for free, you can use Form on Google Docs. Alternatively, you can avail yourself of more sophisticated premium solutions such as SurveyGizmo, SurveyMonkey, or Wufoo.
I also like to keep an idea.txt file in a Dropbox folder that is synchronized in the cloud. This file contains a list of ideas for my posts, which I add to whenever something new comes to mind.
You can use Google Docs for this purpose if you want to have your list available anywhere there’s an Internet connection and you don’t use Dropbox. Either way, this file usually contains at least ten prospective headlines for each of my currently maintained blogs.
You can use tools such as Keyword Tool and Insights for Search (or Market Samurai) to find ideas for highly sought-after content and keywords (it’s useful for coming up with good headlines, too).
With this system in place, the real bottleneck is not finding ideas but rather finding the time to sit down and actually write out the content that’s in your head.
To help you look for ideas as you get inspired by other bloggers and compile your idea file, here are some types of posts to consider.
Write about what you’ve been working on lately (just be sure it’s not confidential).
Write hands-on guides or tutorials for subjects that you are an expert on. Spread these guides across multiple posts to create an engaging series.
Tell a story about your past failures or successes.
Quote and link to an interesting idea found elsewhere on the Web, but be sure to add your own commentary. Disagree and stir controversy if that’s truly how you feel about the issue.
Write an essay or even a rant about a subject you care about. It could be something that grinds your gears or simply a topic you believe more readers should know about.
Interview popular people in your field (more on this in the next blog).
Review blogs, services, gadgets, or products that are relevant to your niche.
Collect, organize, and present links to relevant resources all in a single post (e.g., “White Papers on the Scalability of Web Applications”).
Create cheatsheets (e.g., HTML5 Cheatsheet). If possible, include both an HTML version and a PDF version for printing.
Collect interesting data about your industry and compile it into a useful infographic. If you are not a designer, you can usually commission it to designers who specialize in creating infographics that go viral online.
Check out Visual.ly for inspiration and to find good designers who specialize in infographics.
If you run a business, consider writing about your social media campaigns, A/B testing experiments, and sales and earnings figures. Traditionally this would be considered bad advice, but being open and frank in posts on such topics has allowed several companies to become the center of attention.
Many advanced bloggers tend to prefer desktop blogging clients over the default web interface that’s available for WordPress, Blogger, or equivalent blogging engines.
Hacker types may enjoy blogging directly from TextMate, Vim, or Emacs, given that these text editors can be configured to post directly to your blog either through a blog generator, such as Jekyll/Octopress, or via the remote API that’s available from WordPress, Blogger, and others.
These three programs excel at editing text, but there are more user-friendly solutions out there that were designed specifically for bloggers who want some help with their workflow to maintain multiple blogs, create drafts, take notes, and so on.
For Mac, I recommend MarsEdit. For Windows, it’s hard to beat Windows Live Writer by Microsoft. Mobile devices and tablets have blogging clients too, particularly for WordPress.
Explore some of these options before committing to one client.
3. Do the same with a “Best of” page. Unlike the Getting Started page, this should just link to your best posts, perhaps organized by category or some other logical criteria. This too should be promoted within your blog as much as you can (definitely link to it from your home and About pages, for example).
4. Create a Table of Contents page. WordPress already has archives, but these are not as nice as having a list of posts that have been organized by month all included on the same page.
For my blogs, I use the WordPress plugin called Clean Archives Reloaded, which allows me to achieve. Blogger doesn’t offer this capability, so you may have to settle for its Blog Archive gadget in the sidebar or come up with some clever piece of code to showcase such a list within a page.
5. Assign tags to your posts. Through them, users will be able to quickly access similar posts. This is also beneficial from an SEO standpoint, as it increases your blog’s level of interlinking.
Avoid Infringing Copyright Laws
Laws can vary drastically from country to country, so you should check what rules apply where you reside. Generally speaking though, most countries have a doctrine of fair use that enables you to quote other works for the purpose of parody, criticism, and similar uses.
We are entering a giant gray zone, where the legality of certain actions is entirely debatable. You can read the Wikipedia entry for an overview of the topic at en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fair_use. I’m not a lawyer so I’ll skip the legalese and give you some practical advice instead that, while not legal advice, is generally accepted to be good online etiquette.
It’s usually considered OK to quote a few paragraphs from other blog posts as long as you credit and link to the original source and use them to add your own commentary.
Often microbloggers on sites like Tumblr and so-called link blogs highlight quotes or links and rebroadcast them further across the Web verbatim. It’s generally fine, but without your insight, doing so won’t add much value to your full-fledged blog.
Try to limit the number of such quotes to keep their use fair in the eyes of your readers and to the blogger you’re quoting. This means that you should definitely avoid quoting a full blog post (unless it’s a very tiny one, where quoting only a part wouldn’t make sense).
Be extra careful when dealing with mainstream news outlets. AP (Associated Press) made the news a while ago by claiming that quoting five of their words would have required a fee.
Of course, this is entirely contrary to the spirit of the Web, but as a blogger, it’s in your best interest to respect copyright owners’ rules so as not to run into a legal confrontation. It’s just not worth fighting over such matters.
Don’t use images unless they are in the public domain or released under a license that allows republishing. In particular, look for images released under the CC (Creative Commons) license, and observe which conditions apply (e.g., commercial use allowed).
Alternatively, you can also request permission for their use directly from their respective photographers. Asking nicely usually does the trick when it comes to amateur and enthusiast photographers.
Even if you have permission to use the images, you should never hotlink them. This means that you should serve your users with a local copy of the image rather than using the original image directly.
Among the reasons not to hotlink is the fact that you don’t want to have the photographer incur bandwidth expenses on your behalf. As well, keep in mind that the original site may not be configured to handle high volumes of traffic.
Hosting a local copy also prevents your posts from having missing or broken link images if, in a few months or years down the line, the photographer decides to shut down that site, forgets to renew the domain name, or simply moves the image to a different location.
Following these simple rules should help you stay out of trouble. If a blogger with a stuck-up attitude complains to you about being quoted, you can always promptly remove the quoted portion from your post when asked.
After that, stop quoting and linking to that blogger. It’s entirely that person’s boss (who doesn’t like a little positive free publicity?) and not yours.
In theory, the worst that can happen for copyright infringement is a lawsuit against you. In practice, however, the more likely outcome would be a DMCA (Digital Millennium Copyright Act) takedown notice filed against you with your hosting company.
Depending on the legitimacy of the claim and your hosting company’s policies, your site may temporarily be taken offline until you remove the supposedly infringing content.
Issuing DMCA Notices
By following the guidelines mentioned above, you are not very likely to be on the receiving end of a DMCA takedown notice. You are, however, likely to have your content illicitly reproduced elsewhere without any credit being given to you. Lazy spammers need posts for their ad-filled content sites, and they’ll get it one way or another—even if that means blatantly ripping it off from you!
Plagiarism can easily be spotted with tools such as Copyscape and Google Alerts. Every single one of my many blogs has been plagiarized at some point in the past. So how are we supposed to deal with annoyances like these?
The easiest way is to politely ask any offenders (by email) to remove your content from their site(s). If you can’t find the email address of a violator on a site, try the WHOIS register.
Don’t insult offenders, and don’t be vulgar or threatening. Simply state that you noticed that they reproduced the copyrighted content of yours on their site and that you request its prompt removal. Be specific in your request and point out which URLs are infringing on your copyright.
Many times asking nicely is all it takes. The offenders may remove the content to get you off their case as they go about focusing on lower-hanging fruit instead. Other times this approach doesn’t work.
What can you do if your precious, precious content gets shamelessly copied and you can’t take it down? You probably guessed it. You can file a DMCA takedown notice with the hosting company or with the blog provider (e.g., WordPress.com). You can see an example of this procedure at the following URL: www.hostgator.com/copyright.shtml.
Remember that you can always use creative thinking and get to them where it hurts: their wallets. You could, for example, report the offenders to their advertisers or ad networks.
There will be times when copyright violators will appear untouchable. They may reside in a foreign country or host their sites outside of the States, and nobody will cooperate with your request. In such instances, it’s up to you to decide if you wish to continue pursuing the case or simply let things be.
Don’t overly concern yourself with protecting your content, and choose your battles wisely. Spending too much attention to fighting copyright violations tends to be a waste of your valuable time and energy.
One positive aspect of getting copied is that if your content includes products you promote, copyright violators will inadvertently spread your message further, thereby doing you a favor.
Back Up Your Content
You work hard to write your content, so wouldn’t it be a shame if it were lost? I can’t stress enough how important it is to back up your blog’s content.
Your hosting company may offer you backup solutions for a fee. Take advantage of such options if possible. What you are really interested in is saving the database that contains your posts as well as the folders where you store images and other files (e.g., wp-content in WordPress).
To save the database, you can perform a dump of the data (e.g., using MySQL-dump) in a file and then upload it to multiple safe places (e.g., on S3, locally, and in a Dropbox folder).
For WordPress, check out a plugin called WP-DBManager, which will even email you your backups at intervals that you’ve specified in the plugin’s settings. You can also consider VaultPress and BackupBuddy.
For Blogger and other hosted services, once you’ve accrued a significant number of posts, you might want to try a premium service such as Backupify. Google is unlikely to lose your blog’s data, but if it kicks you out of the system for whatever reason, it may deny you access to the data you worked so hard to produce.
Taking Full Advantage of Your Blog
There are many non-monetary advantages that derive from having a popular blog. Some of these will inevitably benefit you economically, even if indirectly so. In this blog, we’ll review the most common advantages and I’ll provide you with some pointers for how to maximize your chances of obtaining these perks.
Improve Your Skill
As previously mentioned, blogging is not simply a pulpit but also a conversation starter. Your readers will generally be ruthless about inaccuracy and mistakes in your posts. Likewise, if your thoughts and ideas are flawed or can be stretched farther, chances are your visitors will point these things out.
This collaborative aspect of blogging has the huge benefit of helping you learn and grow, thanks to the power of constructive criticism and the discussions that will ensue from your posts.
The experience of blogging regularly will enhance your writing and technical skills, help you deal better with criticism, and possibly provide you with a thicker skin when it comes to handling harsh comments. It could be argued that, overall, you’ll also become a better person and communicator because of your blog.
The benefits derived from blogging don’t end here, though. When you are researching a topic for an article, you’ll be doing the focused learning for a specific and practical purpose (something that turns out to be very effective).
Teaching others requires a good mastery of the subject at hand. Personally, I find that teaching people something highlights the shortcomings in my own knowledge. If I can’t explain a concept or subject simply and effectively to others, it means that I don’t know that topic well enough.
Sometimes you’ll have ideas or assumptions in your head that are nebulous because you haven’t formalized them or fully thought them out. As soon as you start to make your case in an article about those ideas, you may find out that they were wrong, flawed, or weak.
Or, on the flip side, it may turn out that it’s a remarkable idea. Either way, blogging can help clarify, streamline, and spread your thoughts further, all with the help of your audience. So not only do you get to be a teacher who helps others, but you grow and learn much in the process as an individual.
Communication and well-defined ideas are at the heart of most professions. So if you are a programmer, blogging really stands to make you a better programmer. If you are a CEO, blogging can make you a better businessperson. Focus your writing on what you want to improve upon and not just on what you know best.
Finally, blogging can be a useful way to remember things you learned but have since forgotten, help you look up snippets of code from the past, and/or share technical information with a small group of friends or colleagues.
Advance Your Career
Blogging can advance your career in multiple ways. Improving your skills, as just discussed, is the first way. But there is much more to it, depending on your current position and ambitions.
If your main goal is to find a better job, place a LinkedIn button/badge and a link to your printable résumé on your sidebar in a spot that’s easy for visitors to quickly notice. If you have other relevant or important presences online, such as on StackOverflow and GitHub, link to those or embed badges for them as well.
In fact, if you are a student or are unemployed at the moment, don’t be afraid of placing a call to action, such as “Hire me” or “Give me a job,” within your navigation bar, sidebar, and so on. Then link to a sales page, where the thing that you’re selling is effectively yourself.
Write a nice cover letter that details what you are looking for, and be sure to include links to your résumé, projects, open source contributions, etc.
If prospective employers think you’d be a good match, they can use the contact form you provide on the page to get in touch and discuss the interview and/or employment opportunities with you. I would argue that a compelling, popular tech blog is one of the easiest ways to obtain a job in today’s rocky economy.
As a Freelancer
Blogging can aid you as a freelancer by helping you find more clients and even command higher rates. The way you go about it is not all that different from the role of a job seeker.
You still need to blog on subjects you intend to write about as a freelancer while showing your expertise in the process.
For example, if you are an Android OS freelancer, you’ll want to focus on writing about developing Android applications in Java. Don’t just talk about it, but show code and HOWTO material that clearly demonstrates your mastery of the subject.
If you can score a domain such as [TOPIC]freelancer.com, you’ll position yourself ahead of the curve. Even if you can’t, make sure that your blog does a good job of selling you and your expertise to both humans and search engines.
Your theme keyword could be Android freelancer, for example. You’ll want that same keyword throughout your blog, even if the site is actually located at firstlastname.com.
For example, your home page’s title could be “John Smith’s Blog—The Adventures of an Android Freelancer.” And your tagline could be “The Adventures of an Android Freelancer.”
As a freelancer, aside from making it obvious that you are indeed a freelancer, you need your “Hire me” call to action to be very prominent. In particular, the sale page for your services needs to be specific. Don’t vaguely say that you’ll do anything; instead, try to be specific about what you specialize in and what you’re good at.
Above all, don’t waste your and other people’s time. Include your rates. You’ll spare yourself the grief of dealing with low ballers, and you’ll attract qualified prospects who are serious about hiring you for a given assignment. If you don’t have a set hourly rate, provide a range or starting price point. For example, “Logo design starts at $2,000.” Naturally, the higher your prices, the more impressive your portfolio and service need to be.
Your contact form should have a series of fields to collect information about a project, in case a prospective client wants to get the process started right away. Also include your information, such as your location, (business) phone number, and so on.
Another important point for freelancers to remember is to leverage guest blogging on other peoples’ sites if your own blog isn’t that well known.
Guest blogging takes work, but taking advantage of large audiences on other blogs and online magazines could truly make the difference between a continuous stream of clients from the very beginning or a long dry spell as you gradually try to grow your own blog.
Take advantage of this unique opportunity to obtain free blogs and other products that you’re interested in. Sometimes you may even approach the publisher yourself and ask for a review copy, instead of having one come to you first. Over time you may develop relationships with publishers who will routinely send you blogs in an unsolicited fashion.
There are a few ground rules to keep things ethical and fair for everyone involved in these kinds of relationships. I suggest the following:
Always use a disclaimer in your review, letting readers know when you’ve received a product for free. This isn’t just ethical, it’s actually the law (at least it is in the United States).
Inform the publisher/publicist that you will only review the product if you find it to be worth recommending. It would be unfair to the publisher for you to bash a blog that was given to you for free, and it would also be unfair to your readers to promote a blog you found to be subpar.
Only post reviews of blogs you’ve read (or products you have tested). Again, if a blog or product isn’t good, feel free to not review it at all and ideally inform the publisher about your decision not to post a review.
If you requested the blog, find the time to read it and write a review post in a timely manner. Then send the link to the publisher or publicist.
• Don’t feel obliged to read blogs that are sent out by publishers to their list of media contacts if you haven’t agreed to read a particular title and it just showed up at your door. Of course, if it’s interesting to you, read it.
If not, feel free to not review it and perhaps inform the publisher that the blogs being sent are not a good fit for you and your blog.
There will be times when you may build up a backlog of freebies to review, which can become overwhelming. Time is your most valuable asset, so don’t overcommit yourself to reviewing too many products during a given period of time.
If a publisher is making you jump through hoops to get the freebie, consider giving up on the deal. Remember, you are the one doing the favor.
Organize contests and sweepstakes in collaboration with publishers, as most publishers and readers alike will love this idea and be eager to go along with it.
If you follow these rules, you’ll enjoy a wealth of great products for free, some of which can earn you money thanks to affiliate programs such as Amazon Associates.
Your readers will receive great product recommendations, and the publisher will get some much-wanted exposure for the new product. It’s a win-win situation for all the parties involved.
Prepare for Success
•Outsourcing companies (or individuals looking for a job): If you are in a decent position at a well-known company, you’ll be inundated by companies and individuals who are ready to work or consult for you.
Depending on your position, you may not even be permitted to hire such people, though you still receive plenty of requests. Ignore or reply to them depending on your circumstances and available time.
Recruiters looking to hire you or asking you to help them find a candidate: Do you burn bridges with these people by telling them not to bother you, or do you grow a relationship that could help you down the road if you ever need a job?
I personally prefer to foster such relationships, freely referring jobs to friends who are looking for a position, as long as doing so doesn’t require me to post job ads on my blog. That’s where I draw the line, and it’s been a compromise that’s worked well for me so far.
Conference organizers inviting you to speak: Being a speaker on stage is a fun, challenging experience unless you have stage fright. Unfortunately, it often requires you to travel and spend copious amounts of time preparing a world-class presentation. Be very selective about this type of engagement.
One remarkable presentation a year that gets everyone psyched about you and your message is far better for your career and blog than five unremarkable ones, in my opinion. (Always put your blog and main social media URLs on your first and last slide when giving a presentation.)
Bloggers and members of the media who want to interview you: Interviews are another activity that can increase your blog’s reach and your own visibility.
Unlike conferences though, the amount of time required is usually way less substantial, so the trade-off between what you get and what you give is more in your favor. Don’t miss out on worthwhile interview opportunities.
Publishers inviting you to write for them: If you’ve always dreamed of writing a blog, by all means, take advantage of this opportunity. Just be warned from someone who has written more than one blog—being an author takes time and it won’t usually make you rich. However, it can be a career-altering move.
As usual, figure out what you want, and then see if writing a blog helps you reach that goal. Sometimes you may be asked to be a technical editor/reviewer rather than an author. The commitment and glory are both drastically lower than when you’re writing the blog, though this still requires hard work and an ongoing portion of your time.
SEO “experts” and link buyers: People will contact you to tell you how your company (even if you don’t have one) is not doing well with various search engines and propose all sorts of shady techniques to improve your Google rank. Save your money and ignore such emails. Reputable SEO experts don’t usually spam people at random and propose their services to bloggers.
Other times, such SEOs will want to buy links on your blog. It’s not a good idea to do so, even if they are linking to a reputable source, due to Google’s stance on purchased links. Ignore them, reply that you aren’t interested, or propose a nofollow sponsorship if you want to see how legitimate they are.
People interested in getting an autograph: OK, this one is much less common, but it can still happen to you. How would you react if someone at a conference were to ask you for an autograph?
If you prepare mentally for this occurrence, things should go smoothly and you’ll be able to enjoy this flattering kind of encounter. (Just remember, it’s not an autograph if you’re asked to sign a blank check.)
Think about how you want to approach these opportunities so that you can establish a consistent and fair policy before you’re required to take action.
Usually, such invitations end up benefitting you and your blog in some capacity. For example, an invitation to speak at a conference can further extend your blog’s reach and get more people interested in your work. The downside is that it’s easy to overcommit and either burn out or deliver poor results.
You must strive to avoid overcommitment, and being selective becomes key. You’ll end up rejecting someone at some point, so you should also consider what kind of tone you intend to assume when replying to someone that you’re not going to work with.
My suggestion is to avoid burning bridges or making people feel rejected. Instead, plainly explain why you are not interested. More often than not the case will be that you don’t have enough time to commit to something new.
Stating “I’m afraid I don’t have the time X requires” is a sincere and gentle way of getting off the hook. If the person doesn’t take the hint and insists, then feel free to reply in a firmer—but still polite—manner.
Other Benefits for Startups
If you write content that attracts your prospective customers from the very early days of your business, you’ll be able to leverage this target audience by surveying them in regard to the urgent questions you have about their needs in relation to the way your business will attempt to meet those needs.
Attracting new hires and interns:
Talk about your wonderful offices, the great hardware, and perks you provide developers, the state-of-the-art software engineering methodologies you employ, your team’s bragging rights, and be sure to include lots of pictures. Paint an accurate picture of how cool it is to work for you and mention that you’re hiring and/or looking for interns.
You’ll attract highly qualified candidates in little time, saving you many thousands of dollars in recruiting efforts. For an example of this approach at work, check out the “The Price of (Dev) Happiness” series of posts.
Finding partners and investors:
This one is a little trickier, but business partners and investors can certainly be among your blog readers, too. If you blog about the cool things your company has been doing and the impressive metrics that show substantial growth, you may end up getting noticed by the right person. There is no magic wand that can make this happen; instead, it’s all about increasing your “luck surface area.”
Producing Content Regularly
What’s the Post Frequency?
A high publication rate has the ingrained benefit of providing you with plenty of articles to promote, as well as multiple opportunities to be discovered by visitors coming from search engines (i.e., organic traffic).
That’s the theory; the reality is that producing plenty of content can take a toll on you. It’s not unusual for new bloggers to start producing a lot of posts during the first few weeks, only to gradually give up on their blogs as soon as they see that the results, in terms of traffic and income, do not justify their huge investment of time and energy. Trying to do too much is the surest path to burnout and failure.
The ideal post frequency then becomes one that you can sustain over a long period of time without it becoming a source of stress in your life. Posting more often than you can realistically sustain will lead you to have diminished interest in your blog and potentially burn out.
The table below shows the current average post frequency per week for a series of successful technical and business-related blogs (as estimated by Google Reader).
As you can see, the frequency varies mostly from a post every couple of weeks to two posts per day. The exception to this sensible range is collective blogs.
TechCrunch, which are more news sites than regular blogs and can take advantage of large teams of paid writers.
I can’t tell you what your ideal posting frequency is—not without knowing your blog goals, the amount of time you can commit, and how long it takes you to write an average post.
But I can recommend that you start with one to three blog posts per week and adjust the pace as it fits your life. If you can only dedicate much less time, try posting once every two weeks at least.
This suggestion assumes that your entries are medium (e.g., above 900 words) to long (e.g., above 3000 words), and not just link collections, quotes, or other forms of microblogging. Your posts shouldn’t all have the same word count either, or Google may see your blog as fishy.
Keep in mind that average web readers tend to favor content that is shorter and more frequent rather than longer and less frequent due to the average human attention span being somewhat limited.
Nevertheless, don’t ignore the power of well-written essays, detailed reviews, or longer HOWTO posts. Lengthy, insightful content may win over quite a few first-time visitors and convince them to become subscribers.
Consistency Is Queen
When you have chosen, and perhaps even publicly announced your posting schedule, you should try to stick to it for a period of at least a few months (after which you can change your schedule again, if required).
Interestingly, there is almost a Pavlovian mechanism at play when you start posting on a regular basis, wherein your subscribers get excited and start looking forward to your next post. This, in turn, builds loyalty toward you and your blog.
If your articles stop appearing at their usual time, you may end up breaking this cycle of expectation and as a result, lose a few readers. Imagine reading a given newspaper every day and suddenly not finding it on your doorstep one morning (or perhaps worse, having it show up on random days). Humans are creatures of habit.
What Days Should You Post On
Unless you choose to post every day, you may be wondering just what the best days are to post on your blog.
This is a conundrum that’s well known to marketers who manage large newsletters. What’s the best day? What’s the best time? The difference an opportune choice of the day makes can be measured in many thousands of dollars if a marketer’s mailing list is large enough.
Bloggers don’t have the luxury of A/B testing the same way email marketers do, because you can’t publish the same public post one day for 50 percent of your audience and on a different day for the rest and then compare which day was more successful.
What you can do, though, is publish articles on different days of the week and see if over time any clear traffic trend emerges. It’s not exactly a scientific approach, but it may give you a better picture of when your specific audience is most receptive.
Generally speaking, I have found that early to midweek days are the most effective days traffic-wise. It’s not unusual for technical bloggers who post three times a week to publish their best content at the beginning of the week (Monday and Wednesday) and then publish something lighthearted on Friday.
It’s the blogging equivalent of Casual Friday. Just don’t overdo it, or you may bring the overall quality of your blog down too heavily.
Some bloggers opt to run a series of posts on different days. You could, for example, publish a pundit-style essay on Monday, a handy HOWTO on Wednesday, and a roundup of fresh new links to some of the latest articles from fellow bloggers in your niche on Friday.
When it comes to the specific time of the day, I tend to favor early morning (e.g., 7 a.m. ET) for my English blogs that target a predominantly North American audience. This time of day still captures part of the afternoon European traffic while welcoming American and Canadian readers as they sip their morning coffee.
Please note that organic traffic coming from search engines is not directly affected by the day or time you publish your content. All the considerations in this section relate to the behavior of timely traffic you receive shortly after publishing a blog post. Indirectly, it still has an impact because the more buzz you generate, the more links you’ll attract.
Schedule Time to Blog
If you can’t commit the same amount of time every week, I would highly encourage you to take advantage of the good weeks and schedule time for writing as many posts in advance as you can.
Then you’ll be covered for weeks when you are too busy, are traveling, or encounter unexpected situations that deter your ability to devote as much time as you usually do to your blog.
I like to write down ideas (in the ideas.txt file mentioned before), notes, and even whole paragraphs in a notepad or on my computer as they come to me. But in my experience, it’s far better to treat blogging as a serious business and schedule time in your calendar for the sole purpose of this activity.
The good news is that as you gain more experience, you’ll become faster at preparing new posts and should be able to get more out of your scheduled blogging time, however long it is.
If you are truly struggling to find the time to write, look into tracking software like RescueTime. You may discover that a nonnegligible amount of your time is spent on unnecessary online activities that can be swapped for some solid focused writing instead.
Producing Content Regularly
Check your idea file to see if you can write about a different topic that is less challenging or time-consuming than the one you’re having trouble with.
If the writer’s block is there regardless of the post you are attempting to write, consider changing your environment. Go to a local cafe, the library, a park, or somewhere else that is different from where you normally hang out while writing your posts. Switch to writing with pen and paper if you have to.
Edit your posts in fullscreen mode to achieve maximum focus. WordPress and several editors offer this feature.
Rewrite the post from scratch after you try the stream-of-consciousness exercise above. Chances are this time the words will come to you.
Lower your writing expectations and give yourself a break. What you write doesn’t have to be perfect. It can simply be a spontaneous thought, a reflection, or a quick consideration. You’ll be surprised at how often posts like this end up becoming extremely popular and well-liked by your readers. “Perfect” is the enemy of “good enough.”
Don’t write your technical post down. Instead, talk about it with someone else, explaining the subject matter to them in a clear and interesting way.
Doing so will help you organize your ideas and express the thoughts you’ve had tucked away in the back of your mind on a given topic. As you approach the blinking cursor again, you’ll probably find it easier to simply rewrite what you just said to your spouse, colleague, or friend.
Consider having a reserve of unpublished, evergreen posts (such as content that will still be current and useful a few years from now). That way, if you can’t snap out of your writer’s block in time for a given week, you can use such posts to keep up with your usual schedule nevertheless.
Arrange Email Interviews
The premise behind email interviews is straightforward and only requires that you send out one or two messages. The first ask an expert in your field about doing an email interview with you. If that person says yes, you can send a second email with a series of interesting questions tailored to that person that your readers may want to know about.
Coming up with a series of intelligent questions and handling the email communication back and forth may take a bit of your time, but since your interviewee will be doing most of the writing for you with his or her answers, you’ll end up with an interesting post that required relatively little work on your part.
Find Guest Bloggers
Guest blogging is the act of publishing posts on a blog that you don’t own. This is typically done in order to obtain some form of free publicity through backlinks to the guest blogger’s own blog or site.
The easiest way to attract guest bloggers is to advertise that you’re accepting such submissions. You can write a post on your blog that welcomes contributions from your existing audience—a “Write for us” page—as well as put an invite to do guest blogging below each guest post you publish.
I constantly receive emails from prospective guest bloggers and authors simply because my Write for us page on Thesis-Blog.com does a good job of selling the benefits of doing so (it also clarifies what type of content I’m interested in publishing).
Thanks to that page, I found John F. McGowan, Ph.D., a scientist, and consultant who has become a regular writer for the blog, and as of late has been publishing more posts than I do on a pure volunteer basis.
My blog receives high-quality content for free, and he gets a platform to advertise his technical expertise and consultancy business. It’s a win-win situation that truly benefits both of us.
Another easy way to find guest writers is to email bloggers you respect, asking them if they are interested in guest blogging for you or in doing an exchange in which you guest blog on their sites and they do the same on yours.
You will want to have established your blog a bit already before attempting to solicit other people to write for you, but tasks like this take little time and can often lead to symbiotic relationships with other bloggers.
If you’re reasonable with your request (don’t expect them to write a 10,000-word guide that gets spread out across ten posts) and persuasive enough with your pitch, you may also be able to create guest bloggers from people who have never blogged before in their lives.
Insightful commenters who are already hanging out in the comment section of your blog, valuable technical mailing list contributors that you approach privately, and experts you know from the offline world may gladly take you up on this sort of offer. Going to technical meetups and conferences is a great way to befriend potential guest bloggers.
The only downside to being open to guest bloggers is that you’ll have to sort through some rather rubbish proposals to find the quality authors you’re seeking.
Internet marketers are quite aware of the effectiveness of guest blogging, so you’ll likely receive requests from people who are solely interested in getting a backlink to their unrelated—and often less than reputable—sites that were MFA (made for AdSense) or for the sole purpose of pushing specific affiliate offers.
I consider these emails to be little more than spam and tend to reply to them with a polite but candid response about not being interested due to the nature of the links. Alternatively, you may simply ignore them, if you’d prefer.