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Well, if you’re an impatient idiot like I was, it’ll take you a long time.
I started my first blog many years ago, but due to a lot of impatience and stupid ideas and mistakes, I couldn’t seem to build traffic.
What’s annoying is that if I’d taken a minute to think about how I find good information, I might have stumbled across the strategies I use earlier.
Please learn from my mistakes and shorten your learning curve.
How do you define when you become a writer?
You’re a writer as soon as you write something. I write a lot, and have done for a long time. My issue was that I wanted to write about a lot of things, I was disorganised, and I refused to concentrate on more than one thing at once.
If I’d taken the time to write out a content strategy, and put it into a content calendar, I’d have been more successfully more quickly.
You’re already a writer. Let’s just work on you becoming a writer that makes money from writing. Bonus points if you can write about stuff you actually enjoy.
How to make money writing quickly
Let’s just preempt this section with a disclaimer: it’s really hard to make good money writing quickly.
In fact, I advise that you start a blog now, and hope that by the time you need to make money, the traffic will have started rolling.
I know that that isn’t much use if you need money now, but if you want a sustainable career writing for yourself (as opposed to freelancing) it takes time. The time will past anyway. Make a start now.
You could buy a course on freelance writing, and start pitching. I personally don’t like freelance writing, and growing my own website to 1000k+ views a day using only Google has only cemented my views.
Occasionally I apply for freelance jobs that I think I might enjoy, but my GOD, they expect a lot. So many companies want freelancers to write an article that will rank number 1 on Google but will only pay for 1000 words.
They’ve obviously read up on SEO but haven’t quite grasped that it’s practically impossible for brilliant 1,000 word article to rank higher than a brilliant 8,000 word article.
I would prefer to take the slow route, and build sustainable traffic by writing however I like.
How to make a sustainable living as a writer
- Pick a niche that you enjoy writing about
- Do keyword research and competition analysis
- Niche down further if you feel like you can’t compete
- Pay for hosting and a domain name, and start a website.
- Write a load of really great articles optimised for SEO
- Be patient. Keep writing.
- When you have traffic monetise. Put ads up, do affiliate marketing, sell your own products
It’s both as easy and as difficult as as it seems. You need to learn a lot of skills BUT these are skills you can use elsewhere if you want. Being able to link to articles that you’ve written that rank number one on Google is a concrete skill that precious few freelancer writers have.
You need to be patient. You need to create a lot of content. I had 100+ articles on my site before I saw any real traffic.
You also need to be able to set yourself apart from the crowd, which is why I advise picking a niche that you love/have experience in over one that can make a lot of money.
There’s always the option to make another site that’s more money-driven once you know what you’re doing.
How to become a freelance writer
Cold pitching works in theory, but it’s a lot of work. If I was starting again, I’d do exactly the same steps as outlined above, but add a ‘hire me’ page. Then I’d just scour the job boards.
I’ve tried using the Twitter hashtags, I’ve tried advertising my services on Reddit. It looks super spammy if you don’t have numbers to back up your writing (my site in a similar niche gets x pageviews day or whatever).
So yeah, I’d always suggest that writers create a niche site, even if they ultimately want to freelance. Not only do you have a built in portfolio, but you have a monetisation one too.
How to publish your fiction novel
Work your arse off. Query. Pitch. Hope.
Get it distributed through Smashwords, start a niche site with a similar target demographic, and try to build a following using SEO.
As you can probably tell, I’m a big advocate of creating your own site. It’s another income stream if nothing else.
I know it’s a lot of work. But it’s writing. And we’re writers. What’s the problem?
How to make the transition to being a full time writer
Get used to writing. A lot. Determine whether it’s really something you want to do.
I wouldn’t advocate quitting your day job until you’re making fairly regular money, and have decent savings. I wouldn’t have started doing this full time, but the old Covid-19 forced my hand somewhat.
Factors that will affect how quickly you can become a full time writer
- How much you write
I see people on Reddit asking how to get more traffic when they have eight articles up. EIGHT.
Every article you write will increase your chances of Google finding you. Every time an article that’s found on Google links to another of your articles your page views will increase.
Don’t quit until you have 100 articles. By the time you’ve written them, Google should be starting to rank you, provided you don’t write ten articles a day. Commit to writing articles a month, and by month eight, you should start to see some real growth.
- How good your keyword research is
Keyword research isn’t rocket science. If you can write high quality articles that answer the questions that people ask within your niche, and are better/different than the content being put out by your competition, you will get traffic.
- How unique your content/niche is
The less competition you have, the quicker you’ll rank. Usually there’s lower search volume though.
However, if you keep an eye on the recurring questions being asked in forums like Reddit and Facebook groups, you occasionally stumble upon a unicorn of keyword.
You only need one great article to make Google notice your other content.
How to become full time writer quicker
- Write a lot of content
The more content you produce, the quicker you’ll be able to monetise your site. Make sure that you’re creating content for users, not for yourself. Forget about yourself. Put yourself in the shoes of someone that researching your niche for the very first time.
- Don’t rush
I advise that you write at least 30 articles before you start implementing any monetisation strategies, simply because I want you to concentrate on getting to grips with writing content for search engines.
Monetising a website involves a totally different skill set that you don’t want to burden yourself with in the beginning.
Even something as simple as Adsense can be a massive distraction in the beginning. You’ll end up becoming fixated on the couple of pennies you’re making, so I think it makes sense to concentrate on content creation first.
Affiliate code and ads also slow down your site down significantly. Site speed is great for user experience, Whilst it’s not a metric that Google focuses on too much with older sites, it’s beneficial for newbies, since it shows Google that you’re more concerned about user experience than monetisation.
Final thoughts on how long it takes to become a writer
If you’re willing to pivot a little and and focus on building a niche site, it help you become a professional writer quicker (you can monetise your site within a year) and you can use your site as a way to pad your resume.
Publishers and editors are fighting to hire people who can get sites ranked on Google. It means they don’t have to apportion as much if their budget to ads.
Even if a niche site isn’t ultimately the kind of writing you want to do, it’s a great to earn money by writing without having to rely on pitching cold emails and becoming too reliant on social media.