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If you’re a writer that’s struggling to get pitches accepted, or you’re trying to break into freelancing, I urge you to start a blog. And by blog I mean a website that you add valuable content to.
Stop waiting for other people to notice you. Don’t take the chance that someone will magically discover you. That’s not a strategy. Start a niche website. You can control the content, the style, everything. You don’t need to worry about rejection – you can even turn the comments off if you want.
Writers love writing, and a lot of content means higher traffic
I’m in a lot of niche website subreddits, and one of the biggest issues website owners have is finding great writers. They often can’t afford high-quality writers, so they pick cheap ones and spend hours editing the results.
We can cut out the middle man! I love writing content. All I needed to do was pick a niche that I also love (I chose house plants) and I could make money writing (which I love) about house plants (which I love).
My dream isn’t to write about house plants. It’s to get my fantasy novel published. But I’ve learned a lot of skill about writing content that gets views. At some point I’m going to sit down and think of a website that can combine both. I’m think probably a niche website about an existing book or series that’s inspired my novel.
But you know what? When those first pageviews came in from writing about plants, it was more exciting than when I finished the first draft of my novel. I’d written about something, and people actually wanted to read it.
Blogging gives writers opportunity to write for an audience
Writing is an inherently selfish act. We write about what we want.
That can be hard to sell. By creating a website, you learn to write for other people. You may have a load of article ideas about one topic, and it turns out no one cares. They care about something else in your niche that doesn’t matter to you. You still write it though.
This is great practice for dealing with editors. Editors will sometimes have to gently tell you that no one cares that you invented a whole language, but maybe you should flesh out the character that you introduced then kind of got bored of and accidentally left in a pub ten scenes ago.
When you learn to write for search, you learn that sometimes no one’s interested in your ideas without an actual human having to break it to you gently. Can you tell I hate criticism?
It’s an opportunity for writers to monetise their writing
Most writers also work a full time job. Some of them work low paid jobs that are flexible, to allow them time to write. Now imagine you could quit that job (or reduce the hours) because you’re making money from your website.
And website money can be passive. If you spend a couple of year creating a lot of content, that could drive traffic for years to come. Write content, get traffic, add ads and a few affiliate links and you’ve potentially created a revenue stream that’s pretty passive.
I would recommend keeping the articles up to date, so it’s not totally passive. I don’t offer courses and such because that really removes the passive aspect.
It can serve as a portfolio for freelance writers
If you want to freelance, having a website is a ready-made portfolio. What’s ever better is that you can say ‘this website gets 10K views per month (or whatever) and I spend £0 on promotion’. You have prove that you can add value to someone’s site.
I will warn you though: once you’ve cracked SEO and know what you’re doing, it can be hard to told that your article isn’t good enough.
A lot of companies only know the basics of SEO. I quit freelancing when companies kept insisting my content wasn’t good enough because Yoast gave my articles a red light.
Dude, look at the number of people on my site, not some outdated keyword-stuffing tool.
You can add a ‘hire me’ page should you wish
If you have a full-time job and you just want to maybe dip your toe into freelancing but don’t want to actively pursue it, you can add a ‘hire me’ page.
Your content is aimed at a specific demographic and has a lot of content that can rank on search engines. It’ll only attract people that are actually interested in your niche. How often do you click on a random Google result you don’t care about? Hardly ever. Traffic to niche sites are looking to have their questions answered, and may be looking to buy something.
Now think of a big company in your niche – say you blog about your dogs and they sell dog beds. They may be scoping out product reviews for their product and came across your ‘favourite dog beds’ article.
Unlike the other sites, you’ve actually tested ten different dog beds for 6 months. You know your shit. Google likes you. Your audience likes you.
The dog bed company have been half-heartedly looking at employing a writer but don’t know if it’s worth their money. Then they see your ‘hire me’ page.
Your email is there, your rates are there. Sure, they’re higher than a lot of other writers, but you know their market and you know SEO. They know you rank highly because they found you on Google.
Hiring freelancers can be expensive. It can be cheaper just to reach out to someone established in the field (you) and hire them.
Writing for the internet & being able to drive traffic to your site are valuable skills
There are very few companies that don’t at least have a website.
If you can put down SEO as a skill on your resume and have figures to back it up, that’s something that’ll set you apart.
Not only can you help the company grow (and for the cost of you, not you plus some fancy keyword tools) but it proves that you’re a driven person that motivated to improve themself outside of the work environment.
Final thoughts on why writers should have a blog
Writers love to write, but there are a lot of us. Competing for freelance work is hard, stressful, and dull.
Make your own niche website, and write about whatever the hell you want. The only caveat is that it must be content that is useful and that people are searching for. You only need hosting and a domain name, so you can get started for under £100. Not many other potential passive income skills have such low startup costs.
Sure, it’ll probably take over a year to going, but you can money by sitting at your desk and writing, and isn’t that what you want to do?