Want to know why most blogs never really take off?
I discovered the answer when I reviewed about 100 readers’ blogs earlier this week on a free-feedback day.
What’s the big stumbling block? Most bloggers are writing all alone.
No mentors. No collaborators. They’re not guest posting, and there are no guest posts on their blog.
They’re blogging in a vacuum. That means you don’t know the best practices, the trends, the sweet little design tricks and shortcuts that help you get more subscribers.
Don’t blog alone
Loads of bloggers are trying to connect with big influencers — but few do it successfully.
Most blogs are just…sitting there.
How do I know? Because I’ve been reviewing bunches of them as part of the coaching service I’m launching along with my upcoming e-book, Small Blog, Big Income.
At this point in the life of the blogosphere, I have to say I’m surprised. There’s no shortage of advice out there from mega-successful bloggers on how to build a blog-based business.
So what’s up?
I started asking these bloggers questions…and discovered a problem.
House built on a weak foundation
There are some very basic building blocks that should be in place when you launch a blog — and often, they’re missing.
We press ‘publish’ because we can, without thinking through where we’re headed. The result is incoherent, rambling blogs with no apparent focus…and vague dreams of quitting freelancing and earning from our blogs that don’t come true.
If you’re here learning how to make a living as a writer, you’ve probably already got your writing skills down.
But even the most skilled writers can struggle with the design side of their blog.
Internet users are bombarded with information, and each mental transaction taking a toll on their brainpower. Presenting content so it requires minimal effort from your audience is not just considerate–it also improves your chances that reader will subscribe and return.
What common design errors drive your blog readers away? From my experience as a user-experience expert and Web designer, these are my top five:
Guest posting can be a superb way to collect email subscribers. But it can also be a huge waste of time, as you write a compelling and well researched guest post perfectly targeted at the blog’s readers — and get no engagement or new subscribers.
Maybe you know a couple of blogs you think would make a perfect fit for you, because their readers are the people you want on your list.
But how can you tell if it’s really a good site to pitch? Is there any way of predicting how many subscribers you can get?
Many factors are in play, and you can never predict your results for sure. Still, I have done my fair share of guest posting, on sites including Write to Done, The Write Life, Boost Blog Traffic, and many others.
Over time, I’ve found these five factors help me decide whether to pitch a guest post or move on:
If you think there are no great-paying freelance writing gigs out there anymore and it’s all $5 blog posts, I’m here to spread some sunshine.
I have the advantage of chatting with hundreds of freelance writers on a regular basis in Freelance Writers Den. That’s allowed me to get a strong sense of what the trends are, and where writers are finding opportunities.
I’m hearing more and more reports of rising rates in some specific writing niches, and of growing demand for some emerging assignments.
If you’re hoping to up your game and find great-paying freelance writing gigs this year, check out my list of a dozen top niches.
All of these niches have two things in common, so let me call out those two key items first:
Need a shot of freelance writing knowledge to start the New Year off right? I’ve got it for you right here — our annual list of the most popular new posts that went up this year here on Make a Living Writing!
That’s right, the all-time most populars you see over in the sidebar from past years are out of the running for this fresh list.
Winners here must have been published for the first time in 2015.
You, my awesome blog readers, voted for these by coming and reading them.
The posts that got the most traffic clearly had the most compelling topics, and are ranked below in order of the views they got.
These are your picks for the most helpful posts this blog put out in the past year.
Without further ado, here are your picked for 2015’s top 10 best posts:
- Websites That Pay Writers 2015: These 79 Websites Offer $50 and Up by Jennifer Roland — This one’s coming up on 20,000 readers to date! And reminds me that the top thing I can do around here that’s useful is provide job leads. Which is why we’re laying plans to present market lists more often in 2016.
- Writing an Article Vs. Writing a Blog Post: What’s the Difference? by Carol Tice — The raging debate over what makes an article different from a blog post, and how to charge for each as these two forms increasingly converge, made this a lively topic.
- Think You Can’t Earn $100 an Hour on UpWork? This Writer Does by Megan Williams — While I spend most of my time warning people away from sites like this, clearly, success tips for profiting from the bid sites are appreciated.