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How to Start an SEO Writing Career with No Experience: One Freelancer’s Success Story! (Part IV of V)

This post is an update on “Mary,” a freelance writer who has been allowing me to chronicle her foray into writing SEO content for a living after buying my ebook on the subject….

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How to Start an SEO Writing Career with No Experience: One Freelancer’s Success Story!

This article is an update on “Mary’s story.” Who is Mary? Mary is a freelance writer who has recently started to do SEO writing. She bought my ebook on SEO writing and started to get queries from clients before she even started to market.

Note: Update July 2016. To follow this entire series from the beginning, click the following links: Part IPart II; this is Part III; Part IV; Part V; Part VI; Part VII; Part VIII; and Part IX.

Along the way, Mary has generously allowed me to chronicle her story, from her panic of answering that first email query from a client, to advice I gave her on how to grow her business to make $5,000/month, or more, by outsourcing work to other freelancers.

Here’s the latest on Mary’s foray into the SEO writing sector.

Email Received from Mary: “Yuwanda . . . I just finished an e-mail “blast” to 15 SEO companies. I’m making some progress. I just checked my site’s stats . . . after sending out queries the last couple of days. And this time they [site visitors] stayed longer . . . and looked at almost all of my site’s pages, something that hasn’t happened yet. So I’m rather pleased.

Email I Sent to Mary: Mary that’s great! Keep up the good work, and let me know about that first PAYING project.

Email Received from Mary Later that Same Day:

Mary: So I come home from work and what do I see, this e-mail from one of my queries:

Client Query to Mary: “I don’t usually respond to unsolicited offers in our RFP, but I am curious what you would charge to develop 6 pages of content for category pages at the top of silos. I would provide you with a tag cloud, keyword discovery reports and some keyword density guidelines.”

Mary: “Yuwanda, I know I ask alot, but he’s talking SEO that I don’t know …;-) What are “category pages,” “top of silos,” “tag cloud,” “keyword discovery reports?” At $25/page (my stated rates), is that what I should charge? Or are these he is asking for more detailed and I should charge $35 or more?

Good golly, I need to do some SEO-speak research. I thought I knew enough — I know what long tails are, what density is, etc., but he’s speaking a language I’m clueless about. I’ll do some research tomorrow and e-mail him then.

My Email to Mary a Bit Later that Evening:

Mary:

You’re getting closer.

FYI, all he’s asking you is what would you charge to write six pages of content for lead categories on his site. He will send you all the info (eg, keyword density reports, what keyword density he wants) to help you out.

Some definitions to help you out:

Siloing is basically categorizing a site so that information can be found easier. You’ll also hear it referred to as site mapping, site structure and site categorizing. A good in-depth definition can be found here.

Category pages are the subsections of a site, relative to the overall content on a site.  If you have a shopping site for example, some Top of Category page might  be Ladies, Men, Housewares. Some subsections might be Shoes, Handbags, Lingerie, etc.

To read more about it, click here.

A tag cloud is just keyword that you enter to describe the content on the page. Tag clouds are just clusters of keywords, labels or tags. When it’s more than one, it’s called a tag cloud.

As for charging more, you might quote him a project rate based on how long the articles are. If you want, feel free to call me and I’ll answer any questions you have.

Hope that helps.
###

Well, Mary went on to land that client. I’ll post the rest (hmmm, I think Part III) of the story on Thursday (2/14/08) and next Monday (2/18/08), I’ll post the finally to wrap up the series.

And a big thank you to “Mary” for allowing me to chronicle her success. You know who you are! 🙂

P.S.: I’m Ready to Start a Lucrative Career as a Web Writer.

x-click-but22$49.95

How to Start a Freelance SEO Writing CareerUnsolicited Testimonial

Hi Yuwanda!

Just wanted to say thank you for your e-books! I bought your SEO e-book on May 10th and just received payment for my first order of SEO blog articles! It’s a recurring job for an SEO company that is working with an allergist. All I have to do is take some stock articles and rewrite 8 articles per month at $25 each. I got this job by [following the marketing plan] in your e-book. … Now I am confident that I can charge more for my work!

This is just in time because I was worrying about having to break down and find a full time job. I want to stay home and work because my fiance has kidney failure. He needs a transplant and we fully expect that he will receive one and live a long life. However, if he does not, then he has a good 15 years of life.

While 15 years can be a long time and any number of things can happen in that span of time, I don’t want to spend it stressed out about a job and commuting to a place I hate. Thanks for giving me the tools to create a flexible online career!

P.P.S.: Have something to stay to the freelance community?

Have some freelance advice, tips and/or a success/failure story to share? Submit a guest post. Read the guidelines and if I like it, I usually publish it within a few days.

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How to Earn $5,000/Month or More as an SEO Writer

If you’re an SEO writer (aka article writer, SEO content provider, web writer, etc.), you’re probably busy. And if you’re not, I guarantee you there’s a marketing flaw. SEO content writing is a hot niche in freelance writing right now, and you can quickly become overwhelmed, as one freelancer recently learned….

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Freelance Success Story: How One Freelance Started to Get Queries Before She Started to Market (and what she did about it)

A panicked freelancer recently contacted me with a problem most would love to have – before she even started marketing, a potential client came a’knocking! “Huh, how did that happen?” you might be wondering. Let me explain….

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5 Reasons Freelance Writing Websites & Blogs Don’t Make Money on Ads

Advice for Advertising on Freelance Writing Websites

Last month, for perhaps the first time since I started writing ebooks, I started to place ads to promote them – small ads on popular freelance writing sites.

On quite a few sites I ran across, I wanted to place an ad, but hated where the ads were placed, so I didn’t. I think a lot of website owners who are seeking to monetize their sites via ads are losing out.

As a potential advertiser, here a few things that would make me advertise with you – and a few others that turned me off.
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Read here how I routinely make $250+/day as an SEO writer – and you can too!
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Things that Make Me Want to Spend Money to Advertise On A Site & Some That Don’t

1. Ad Placement: Many webmasters bury ads or give them inappropriate placement. For example, on some popular freelance writing blogs, I saw ads that were placed below the “About”, “Feeds” Categories” and “Archives sections.

If I’m spending money with a site I want my ad to be as prominent as possible. To me, this signals that you think your “Categories” section is more important than my ad.

The reason I was turned off when I saw this is that many sites have quite an extensive “Categories” section. This means in some cases that ads are near the bottom quarter of the page where it’s less likely to be seen. 

So, if you’re seeking advertiser, give them the most prominent placement possible; after all, it’s what they’re paying for.

2. Traffic Generation Stats: I ran across one site that said something to the effect of “we’re growing; take advantage of low ad rates now.” But, there were no hard and fast stats.

Don’t make advertisers search for your traffic generation stats. If you’re seeking ad dollars, the most important reason advertisers are considering advertising with you is your traffic generation.

Many webmasters try to monetize their sites too soon – ie, when their traffic levels are not high enough to justify seeking advertisers. What should this standard be? I don’t know, every niche is different.

As for freelance writing sites, I did some poking around to find out traffic levels of some of the most popular sites to see how they all compared. And, you know what, even wildly popular freelance writing sites don’t get as much traffic as one would think.  I’m not naming names because I don’t want to offend. But a couple of the most popular sites I checked get between 3K-10K/day.

I was surprised because I expected much more. Makes me feel good about the 1,000+ visitors/day my site gets.

Want to get a good handle on the traffic a site generates. Mosey on over to StatBrain.com. And, thanks to Paula Mooney over at PaulaMooney.blogspot.com for turning me on to StatBrain.com.

FYI, in case you’re interested in this kind of stuff, I get lots of helpful tech hints from Paula’s blog. She’s an online entrepreneur who was a techie in the corporate world. A non-techie myself, her occasional tips and hints come in handy.

3. Advertise Button: One major pet peeve I had with some blogs/websites who marketed for ad dollars is that they made it hard to find the information on their site.

This bowled me over. I mean, if I want somebody to buy something from me, the least I’m going to do is make it easy to find out what the requirements are. A simple universal “Advertise,” or “Advertise with Us” button will do.

4. Announce My Ad: Finally, one thing I would like to have seen more of is something along the lines of “Please Visit Our Sponsors” category.

While this is paid-for advertising and people will ignore it, many won’t. It calls attention to the fact that, “Hey, there are some products/services here that might interest you.”

5. Explaining Rate: A few websites/blogs I visited made it hard to understand exactly what their rate was. I hate it when things are explained in terms of “CPM” or “Ad Units.”

While this is standard Madison Avenue ad agency jargon, many don’t understand the jargon. I’ve been in publishing forever and should understand this terminology, but it still confuses me and I have to stop and figure it out. In most cases, this just seems ostentatious and unnecessary. A simple $30 for $30 days will do.

One of my sisters majored in Advertising & Communications at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York and one of the rules of advertising she learned was, “If you confuse the customer, you lose the sale.” Sage advice.

For better or worse, these are the things that stood out to me as I actively went to spend some ad dollars. If your ad sales are not what you think they should be, perhaps some of the reasons listed here are why.

Read more.

5 Reasons Freelance Writing Websites & Blogs Don’t Make Money on Ads

Last month, for perhaps the first time since I started writing ebooks, I started to place ads to promote them – small ads on popular freelance writing sites.

On quite a few sites I ran across, I wanted to place an ad, but hated where the ads were placed, so I didn’t. I think a lot of website owners who are seeking to monetize their sites via ads are losing out.

As a potential advertiser, here a few things that would make me advertise with you – and a few others that turned me off.

Things that Make Me Want to Spend Money to Advertise On A Site & Some That Don’t

1. Ad Placement: Many webmasters bury ads or give them inappropriate placement. For example, on some popular freelance writing blogs, I saw ads that were placed below the “About”, “Feeds” Categories” and “Archives sections.

If I’m spending money with a site I want my ad to be as prominent as possible. To me, this signals that you think your “Categories” section is more important than my ad.

The reason I was turned off when I saw this is that many sites have quite an extensive “Categories” section. This means in some cases that ads are near the bottom quarter of the page where it’s less likely to be seen. 

So, if you’re seeking advertiser, give them the most prominent placement possible; after all, it’s what they’re paying for.

2. Traffic Generation Stats: I ran across one site that said something to the effect of “we’re growing; take advantage of low ad rates now.” But, there were no hard and fast stats.

Don’t make advertisers search for your traffic generation stats. If you’re seeking ad dollars, the most important reason advertisers are considering advertising with you is your traffic generation.

Many webmasters try to monetize their sites too soon – ie, when their traffic levels are not high enough to justify seeking advertisers. What should this standard be? I don’t know, every niche is different.

As for freelance writing sites, I did some poking around to find out traffic levels of some of the most popular sites to see how they all compared. And, you know what, even wildly popular freelance writing sites don’t get as much traffic as one would think.  I’m not naming names because I don’t want to offend. But a couple of the most popular sites I checked get between 3K-10K/day.

I was surprised because I expected much more. Makes me feel good about the 1,000+ visitors/day my site gets.

Want to get a good handle on the traffic a site generates. Mosey on over to StatBrain.com. And, thanks to Paula Mooney over at PaulaMooney.blogspot.com for turning me on to StatBrain.com.

FYI, in case you’re interested in this kind of stuff, I get lots of helpful tech hints from Paula’s blog. She’s an online entrepreneur who was a techie in the corporate world. A non-techie myself, her occasional tips and hints come in handy.

3. Advertise Button: One major pet peeve I had with some blogs/websites who marketed for ad dollars is that they made it hard to find the information on their site.

This bowled me over. I mean, if I want somebody to buy something from me, the least I’m going to do is make it easy to find out what the requirements are. A simple universal “Advertise,” or “Advertise with Us” button will do.

4. Announce My Ad: Finally, one thing I would like to have seen more of is something along the lines of “Please Visit Our Sponsors” category.

While this is paid-for advertising and people will ignore it, many won’t. It calls attention to the fact that, “Hey, there are some products/services here that might interest you.”

5. Explaining Rate: A few websites/blogs I visited made it hard to understand exactly what their rate was. I hate it when things are explained in terms of “CPM” or “Ad Units.”

While this is standard Madison Avenue ad agency jargon, many don’t understand the jargon. I’ve been in publishing forever and should understand this terminology, but it still confuses me and I have to stop and figure it out. In most cases, this just seems ostentatious and unnecessary. A simple $30 for $30 days will do.

One of my sisters majored in Advertising & Communications at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York and one of the rules of advertising she learned was, “If you confuse the customer, you lose the sale.” Sage advice.

For better or worse, these are the things that stood out to me as I actively went to spend some ad dollars. If your ad sales are not what you think they should be, perhaps some of the reasons listed here are why.

Read more.

How Will a Recession Affect Freelance Writers? Insight into What It Takes to Land Gigs in a Down Economy

This question was written about recently on ChrisBlogging.com. He states, “Personally, I do not know much about American economics. …. While it is hard to predict the future, a lot of so-called experts feel that a recession is on the way. Like most, this worries me for a number of different reasons.”…

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SEO Writing: How to Convince Potential Clients to Hire You

As a freelance SEO writer, I send out a lot of queries. I think I’m clear about the services I provide. But, as human beings, we tend to get our wires crossed, so sometimes I receive responses from potential clients that kinda throw me off guard….

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How to Land Freelance Writing Jobs on Craigslist: 4 Tips from a Writing Agency Owner

When I first started writing SEO content, I once landed three new clients in one day. Hence, I was slammed – too much work to meet all the deadlines without help. S, I immediately placed an ad on Craigslist for SEO writers….

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SEO Copywriters: How to Stop Competing on Rate & Win as Many Clients as You Can Handle

As I contemplated writing this post, I thought, “Another one on this dreaded topic (freelance writing rates).” Why can’t we all just get along, is the motto running itself over and over in my head right now. BUT, I’m going to tackle it anyway. Sometimes, progress just takes a while….

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Blog Marketing: 7 Tips to Get More Weekend Traffic for Your Blog

This post was updated (a bit) on 5/4/2012.

Conventional wisdom is that blogging on the weekend is not a good idea simply because there is less Internet traffic. However, can you use weekend blogging to increase your traffic and make more money? …

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4 Easy Ways to Increase Your Freelance Writing Income

I’ve been freelancing since 1993, and have been in the publishing industry since 1987. As such, I’m often asked for advice from other freelance writers….

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