by Lyn Lomasi, Write W.A.V.E. Media Staff
When freelancing for a living, a business website to refer clients to is a must. This is a simple and professional way to let clients know what services and expertise you can provide. But what information is essential to share? As one who has been freelancing for years, here are 8 things I feel are absolute musts on a freelance web writer's website.
A bio describing some of your experiences, interests, and areas of expertise should be included in a prominent area. This lets potential clients know exactly what you are all about. You want them to know this because it helps them decide if you may be what they are looking for. Would you rather hire a construction contractor who was upfront with their skills and experience or one who simply stated he was a contractor with no additional information? Freelance writing is no different.
Experience is touched on briefly above, but you may be wondering what to include. Experience can refer to degrees and it also can refer to work or research that you've done. For instance, are there special clients or media agencies you have worked for? Do you have a degree that contributes to what you produce as a freelance writer? How many years have you been freelancing? These are just some of the things you can discuss on your website.
Potential clients will need to see what type of work you are capable of. It also is a good way to show your professionalism and skills to more people. You can still email samples to potential clients, but it will be much easier for both of you (and provide a wider reach) if you make these easily available on your website. Some may choose to display these as files that can be downloaded. Others may choose to link to work they've done around the web for various clients and content sites like Associated Content.
A contact form is an easy way for potential clients, as well as readers, to communicate with you. These are easy to set up and can be customized to fit your purpose. These forms will forward directly to your email address. It makes contacting a simple and quick process for those who visit your website. They also can help to cut down on spam requests, as many can be customized to track IP addresses, ask for a captcha code, and other preventative measures.
This is where you can engage and interact with your audience. It's where you can talk about different aspects of the writing business, give writing tips, and also give updates on your business ventures. Don't be afraid to add some fun things in every now and then. Who you went out with last night and what you did may not be a good topic for a blog on your business website, but adding an appropriate personal touch is good. It helps followers and potential clients connect with you.
RSS and Email Subscriptions
Freelance web writers should always have a way for their audience to stay updated on their work. RSS feeds and email subscriptions can be extremely helpful here. Some content sites that freelancers may write for already have RSS feeds available to the writer. These can be placed in widgets that allow readers to view or subscribe to the content via email or feed readers. Each time a piece of content is published to the feed, those who are subscribed will be updated. Making this available on your website can be helpful in building a following.
Social Media Connections
If you are using social media (Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc) to increase your online presence or to make connections in the writing world, place those links on your business website. This will help people connect with you around the web and can be useful in creating a following. Not everyone is comfortable with every form of communication. Social media helps create a variety of ways to connect with your readership.
Every freelance web writer should have some form of interaction on their website. RSS, blogs, and social media links are a few ways people can interact with you and the site. You may also want to have an advice page where readers can use a simple contact form to put in suggestions or ask advice that you can answer in upcoming articles. A forum is also a good source of interaction, but only create one if you have time to keep up with it. The main point is to have some way that readers can interact with you and/or your website. This will keep people coming back.
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*I originally published a version of this via Yahoo Contributor Network
by Lyn Lomasi, Staff Writer
As a long-time web writer who now also helps fellow writers succeed, people often ask me how to make more money. What are the best ways to succeed in web writing and how does one apply them for the maximum reward?
Maximize your content. Keep the rights to your content as often as possible and re-purpose it when you can. Many publications will accept non-exclusive work, which means you can do the work once and get paid for it repeatedly. Just be sure that the information stays up to date and syncs well with each publication it's submitted to. Even if you have ti make a few changes now and then, it will be easier than writing new content every time. While new content has its place as well, there's no reason you can't re-purpose existing content when appropriate.
Be flexible. We all have our own habits and methods. However, sometimes it pays to bend personal rules if it makes a client happy to do so. You of course want to always let a client know when you feel what they want isn't what's best for them. However, you should also be flexible in some of the ways you work so that may better provide the service in the way clients expect. They each will expect something different. Therefore, it pays to listen, keep an open mind, and be able to adapt to varying situations.
Meet or exceed deadlines and expectations. Happy clients will often be repeat customers, which means there will be more money lining your pockets (or your PayPal funds). A big part of keeping clients happy is meeting the deadlines and guidelines laid out in the contract. When you can do this every time -- and exceed expectations when possible, clients are more likely to use you again or even recommend you to others. Just like any other business, word of mouth can be paramount to making more money in web writing.
Spread your talent. Some people will be content with just one client. I've been there before. However, no matter how well one client pays, it's always good to have more than one. That way, if something happens unexpectedly, you don't lose all of your income. Keeping a variety of clients also provides more experience writing upon request in varying styles and topics.
All web writers need a website. I've said this many times before. But I will say it again and again. All writers need a website. Your website is where clients can find more about what you do and contact you for services. A good writer's website should include at the bare minimum a contact form, an online resume, samples, and a blog. For more on what to include, please read "8 Musts on a Freelance Writer's Website." If you use your site correctly, you'll be making more money just by having an easy way for clients to interact with you.
Maintain a blog on your professional website. As mentioned above, a blog is an essential part of a writer's website. In addition to helping fellow web writers succeed, keeping an active blog helps showcase what you can do to clients, which can lead to more money. Some things successful web writers can blog about include writing tips, marketing tips, information for clients, book releases, tour/book signing dates, events, and special features of your work. The possibilities are endless. Just keep it active and keep it relevant. The more you blog, the more traffic your site will get if you do it right. This can lead to more clients. Active writers generally make more money than those who are simply waiting around without action.
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by Lyn Lomasi, Write W.A.V.E. Media Staff
"Amy who?" If you get that question often, you need some help branding yourself. Have you ever thought about twitter? Perhaps you've tried twitter already but don't know how to brand your company with it. You're just talking to thin air, right? Wrong. If you use twitter correctly and tap into the available resources, you have access to a very wide audience. I've been using twitter to brand myself in several niche areas for years. So how do I do it?
Follow people who represent what you stand for. This is one of the most important ways to show people what your company is all about. If you want people to know you are involved in a particular activity, be involved in it everywhere, including twitter. One of my missions in life is to help rescue and bring appreciation to small animals. Anyone who knows me, even for a second, knows this. Why? I put it out there. I talk about it, write about it, have a web page about it, facebook about it, and yes, twitter about it with a twitter account dedicated to that alone. On that account, I interact with other animal lovers. Following and keeping up with these people not only shows I'm involved, but it keeps me up to date with what's going on in that niche area.
Tweet tips about your purpose. If your purpose is to bring attention to homelessness and you're tweeting about your new cat and his cute tricks, you are targeting the wrong audience. It's one thing to have random fun posts. But most of your posts should be related to the niche you want to brand yourself or your company in. Otherwise, your followers will be very confused as to what exactly you represent. Do people need to ask what your purpose is? Do your followers often have nothing to do with your niche? If so, work on tweeting more about your purpose, lest you branded for something completely unrelated, such as silly things cats do, instead of fighting homelessness.
Tweet links to more information. This shows your followers you know what you're talking about. An authority on a topic should have an outlet where the topic is further discussed. This could be a blog, a website, a facebook page, or all of the above. Tweeting these links helps to brand your name (or company name) to a niche topic because it shows activity on a particular topic. I am well-known for my parenting and pet content. Why? I live it, write about it, and share content about it regularly. Those links go out to twitter every single time so that followers know what I stand for. When your followers know what you're about, they will start to look forward to this information. That's when you know you've done a good job branding. But don't stop. Keep up the momentum.
Use hashtags that represent your purpose. This helps readers and potential followers find your tweets. If you tweet about homelessness, you might use the tags #poverty, #homeless, or #homelessness after your tweet to indicate what you're talking about. If you do this with every single tweet, people come to associate you or your brand with the topic. To reach the maximum amount of people, experiment and search twitter for various hashtags that mean the same thing. Choose the ones that produce the most results. The more people that regularly use a hashtag word or phrase, the better.
Use hashtags that represent your brand. You can also take it a step further and create tags that represent your company or name. Place those tags, as well as other related tags, in every tweet so that it's easier for people to find you and associate you with certain topics. I add #LynLomasi in many tweets that I want associated with my brand. One of my websites is called Life Successfully. When I tweet about something I want branded to that website, I use the hashtag #LifeSuccessfully.
There are many ways to brand yourself on twitter. Be clear and consistent in the methods you choose to gain the most positive results. Be fair and don't spam too many links or over post. That will actually cause you to lose followers, rather than gain them. Be authentic and use twitter to enhance what you already believe in.
**Photo Credit: Lyn Lomasi
by Lyn Lomasi, Write W.A.V.E. Media Staff
Comments from readers can make a person laugh, cry, or even stare off into confusion. Readers can do anything from asking genuine questions to trolling posts and leaving comments to get a purposeful rise out of the author or other readers. Should web writers answer reader comments? I've written on this topic before but it's been a while and is a good time for a refresher course, as well as some new information.
Is responding to your readers allowed?
Depending on where you are doing your web writing, responding to readers may not be allowed. If you are writing for a website or blog other than your own, be sure to know the terms and what is and isn't allowed. Some venues encourage commentary between authors and readers, while others prefer that only the readers do the commenting.
Is the comment genuine?
Before you lay your fingers on that keyboard to draft a response, consider whether the commentary left is genuine or not. Does the reader appear to be truly curious about the subject or does something seem off? Sometimes readers may leave comments meant to reel you in, so to speak. Consider the motive behind the comment before deciding about responding to it.
Is your response reactionary or truthful?
Are you just responding a certain way in a moment of frustration or passion or are you being completely truthful? Be genuine and true if you are going to respond to your readers. If you can't be truthful, there's no sense in engaging readers via the comment section. Sometimes what you want to say at first may not be totally in line with the way you truly feel after some thinking. Some comments don't really need a response and many times you'll find that your readers will come along and defend you if the comments seem to call for it. You won't have to say anything because they will do that for you. Of course, I am one who really doesn't care what people think of me, so I generally don't feel the need to be defensive anyway.
Is your response useful?
Don't waste your time typing up a response that isn't going to benefit your readership in some way. If your reader is asking about lizard care, there's no point in answering questions about your college degree, unless you graduated from some lizard specialty school and it's relevant to the questions at hand. A helpful comment section will include questions and information that adds to what is available within the article itself.
Is your response helpful or hurtful to your desired image?
Is the language and context you present in your commentary what you want to present to readers and potential clients? I personally am my true self no matter where I am. Therefore, I don't worry about this one too much. I know that I am not going to say anything that I wouldn't say in front of anyone, including business contacts. But if you know that you don't have the same awareness and control, be sure to examine what you are posting before hitting that comment button. Some people may find it helpful to type up potential comments in a document and read it aloud before posting.
At the end of the day, if you are truly comfortable with what you are posting and it is acceptable to the venue, readers do appreciate interacting with writers. Therefore, if done correctly according to your personal standards, this could actually boost your career.
Photo Credit: Lyn Lomasi
I originally published this elsewhere (no longer published there).
by Lyn Lomasi, Staff Writer
Try doing a Yahoo search on anything related to freelance writing jobs and you’ll pull up a multitude of opportunities, many of them scams. The simplest way to tell if one’s a scam is that it usually starts with “make easy money” just like any other scam. While it’s true that some aspects of a freelance writing career will become easy to an experienced writer over time, freelance writing as a whole is NOT an easy full time career path. But it’s worth it.
As a full time freelance writer, I used to spend countless sleepless nights thinking, researching, and typing out the results endlessly. Wait, “used to”? If I’m no longer a full time freelance writer, what do I know? The thing is, I spent years as a full time freelance writer and I slowed down, not because of the lack of money or interest, but because I wanted to help other freelance writers. That’s right. Now my full time job is helping others do what I did. But I still write almost full time as well. Therefore, I assure you, you can trust my experience.
Some people think “Oh, I can write. My poems from high school are great. I should be a writer.” And if that’s you, writing might be a good career choice for you. But just keep in mind that writing for the web and writing a poem here and there are two entirely different things. Freelance writing as a full time career path will involve writing for a considerable amount of time most days. Decide which you REALLY want to do and do that.
Writing for the web as a full time freelance writer is hard work. Yes, work. Forget all those scammers out there telling you it’s easy. Yes, it’s easy for them at first because they’re copying and pasting the text that I (or another talented writer) put real time and heart into in order to create it. But it no longer becomes easy for them when we decide to pursue it legally.
Ah yes, there’s another thing about freelance writing. You’re not JUST a writer. You’re a writer, researcher, marketer, CEO, manager, self-appointed attorney, and many other things.
The first part – the actual writing – may come easy to you sometimes and maybe even most of the time. But there will be days when you may not be able to form a complete sentence no matter how many deadlines you’re facing or how much money is on the line. Even for writers who seem to just sprout creative words in an instant, writing all day every day can become difficult. And you WILL need to write very often (among other things) in order to make the most money at web writing.
I know what you’re thinking because it’s me as well. I definitely said it too. You’re saying “but I love writing. I already write all day long, nonstop. I can do this.” If so, then you probably can, just like me. However, keep in mind that even you will likely have days where you just can’t. Also keep in mind that everything you write, though it may come from your heart, is for someone else. And, while you are in charge of yourself, you do still have to actually work. Otherwise, what are you getting paid for?
Up until this point, I may have turned some people off already because it sounds like a big complaint. But heck no! I love what I do and wouldn’t trade it for the world. The thing is, if you’re going to be in the business, someone needs to tell you the real facts. Yes, I can spend more time with my kids (human and fur variety). Yes, I make a fairly decent income when I’m consistent with it. But it does take real work and effort and if you can’t commit to that, this is NOT the career for you because if you stop working, the money stops coming.
For me, the benefits of staying home with my kids, the satisfaction of knowing my words may help people, being able to finally start saving some money, and some of the other things directly related to being a freelance writer are worth the hard work. It’s not easy, but it’s worth it.
Still want to be a freelance writer? If you said yes, I commend you. Feel free to reach out to me on my Facebook page for help getting started: facebook.com/LynLomasi
(No, I’m not going to charge you anything for advice, unlike those scammers out there looking for a quick buck. NEVER pay for work. You’re the one working. YOU should be the one getting paid.)
**Photo Credit/Copyright: Lyn Lomasi
I originally published this here on BUBBLEWS (no longer published there)
by Lyn Lomasi, Staff Writer
How many of my friends use a pen name when publishing their work? The name I use for the majority of my published work right now is Lyn Lomasi. If you use a pseudonym, do you have a creative way that you came up with your name or does it have special meaning? Mine is both creative and sentimental.
The name Lyn means "waterfalls" or "rain showers" and the name Lomasi is generally used as a first or middle name in a Native American language. It means "pretty flower". I chose to use it as a last name to be different. A good writer buddy also used to call me "pretty flower" so I purposefully chose a native name that meant as much. Lyn is my birth middle name. Combined, the two names mean to me "When the rain falls, a pretty flower emerges".
It holds significance to me because I identify with it on many levels. Obviously, one reason is because of my friend. Another is because I have been through quite a bit in my life. But, like a flower, I always emerge strong and beautiful no matter what kind of storms life brings into my life.
Tell us about your pen name in the comment section.
Photo Credit: Lyn Lomasi
(Yep, it's another pic of me)
(I originally published this on BUBBLEWS (no longer published there)
by Lyn Lomasi, Staff Writer
No offense meant to the writers this applies to. But I have been doing this a long time and am a natural observer. I've noticed that oftentimes the writers who have the most interaction from readers are those that update their profiles, especially photos. I mean, who wants to look at the same picture for years, no matter how good looking it might be?
When you update your profile photo often, it shows that you are active and it also gives readers something fresh to look at. Think of your profile photo just as you would your written content. Random browsers may find an older photo or piece of content interesting. But those faithful followers need something new to look at or they might wander somewhere else more interesting. Yes, most of what readers will be focused on is the written content. However, it does help when the author photo is shiny and interesting. People on the interwebs like shiny things. It's a given -- and new shinies appear often.
How often do you update your profile photo? Have you observed the same things I have? Tell us about your experiences in the comment section.
Photo Credit/Copyright: Lyn Lomasi
Why would online article writers need a website if many article submission sites allow a professional profile? This is a question I get asked often when I mention the idea. Learn some of the many reasons all freelance web writers need a website of their own.
When applying for online writing jobs and gigs, reference links and/or a resume are often required. This will be much simpler for those with a website. Some may create an area where a client can download their resume by requesting the link. Others may post links to samples. Yet others may do both or handle it another way. Online article writers need a website in order to reference their work all in one place.
Professionalism is key, even though you don't see your clients face-to-face when writing online. A freelance writer's website is like a virtual resume, meeting place, and office at the same time. This is where you can let your clientele know you are professional by including all of the right things. A bio, samples, and a contact page are just a few. Read "8 Musts on a Freelance Writer's Website" for more details on those and other must-include items for professionalism.
Even if a client finds your work elsewhere, they may want to know more than they can find in a limited bio attached to your profile on a content site. This is where your website comes in handy. Many content sites allow article writers to place a link to their website in their profile or bio. Also, be sure to link to it from any blogs or other profiles you have. Giving clients (both potential and current) a place to find more information about you as a person and as a writer is very beneficial to them as well as to your writing career.
If you have any big writing projects, off days, exciting news, etc it can be posted to your website. Of course you don't want to announce information that is too personal, but a web writer's website can serve as a great way to spread the word. Doing this has many benefits. Some include letting clients see that you are accomplishing things, engaging with your audience, and also depending on the announcement it might bring in more readers or clientele.
Depending on how much bandwidth your site allows, this can be a great place to store certain files. Of course you still need a hard copy backup, but storing them in a secure, hidden location on your website can help you keep everything related to your online article writing all in one spot. This also can free up space on your computer if you'd rather not have the files there. Just be sure, as mentioned above to keep a hard copy if you go this route.
Lyn Lomasi & Richard Rowell are life & business partners. Owners of the Write W.A.V.E. Media network, they are your content superheroes to the rescue! Running their network, tackling deadlines single handedly, and coaching fellow writers & entrepreneurs to be thought leaders is their top priority. While rescuing civilians from boring content and marketing, they conquer the world, living the RV life and making Crafts For A Purpose with their awesomely crazy family while recounting The Nova Skye Story, along with Kymani’s Travels. They also strive to one day cuddle with lions and giraffes. Until then, they’ll settle for furry rescue kitties and doggies.
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