Whether you are starting a home based business, running a brick and mortar store, running a blog, or working writing web content: your online presence is important. I have noticed that not many bloggers or business people “get” SEO- and that’s okay. It isn’t something that many people have a lot of time to keep up with, particularly as it is an ever changing thing.
I have also noticed that there seems to be a large section of the populace in respect to content writing that don’t get SEO. That is not okay. Even more unacceptable are those marketers who are running around charging people when they don’t get it. Oh, they might have understood it about ten years ago, or even five, but they don’t now and it’s obvious in the tactics they employ. (Pro-Tip: if you’re spinning articles either by program or paying someone pennies to rewrite articles: you’re five years ago.)
I’ve decided to compile a sort of easy guide to the changes that have made the biggest impact and how you can use them to your advantage, regardless of which group you fall into. This is, in part, to help with the Work At Home series. It also will serve as a basic rundown of why as a content manager, I make some of the decisions I do respective of maintaining client blogs and article syndication campaigns. So, this is the introductory post to writing for the web and not losing your shirt. Or, for businesses, understanding how to find quality writers to produce the content you need and why it is important.
Pandas, Penguins, and Hummingbirds?
Now, when we talk about these animals, we’re talking, of course, about changes that Google has made to the way they run searches. This has an impact on you, if you have some form of online presence because well, if you’re a business: your customers won’t find you if you aren’t playing by the rules. I would also argue that when they do, providing sub-par quality content when they get there also reflects badly on you, regardless of what your business does. It just so happens that Google’s own Matt Cutts agrees with me.
What’s funny about that youtube link is that the comments underneath it are heavily, “What? What does he even MEAN?!”
That can be summed up, here:
“And so, if you think you might be affected by Panda, the overriding kind of goal is to try to make sure that you’ve got high-quality content, the sort of content that people really enjoy, that’s compelling, the sort of thing that they’ll love to read that you might see in a magazine or in a book, and that people would refer back to, or send friends to, those sorts of things,” Cutts said. “So that would be the overriding goal.”
So, ultimately, if you’re a business, you want everything on your site or that’s promoting it to be clean, clear content that people actually like reading and offers them some value for their time. If you’re a blogger, the same thing can be said. If you’re a content writer, you bear all of these things in mind when you are writing content. I could speculate why it is that “quality content” is difficult for marketers to understand, but that’d just be mean.
This is Your Investment: Act Like It
For businesses, all this means is an investment. Either it’s a time investment and you write your own solid content or it’s a monetary one, and you pay someone to do this. That’s where a content writer comes in. Something we see very frequently is the vast divide between those writing content and those writing articles, books, and otherwise. These are very different things, but that does not mean a content writer should be low-balling themselves, nor does it mean businesses should see them as somehow less deserving of appropriate pay for the quality provided.
If you’re just looking to scrape up a few dollars here and there writing, there are many content firms out there that you could go with. The rates at these places leaves a lot to be desired. If you go to the Work At Home Links post, you can find those firms at Workplacelikehome and at WAHM.com but I’m not linking to them here. It isn’t that we don’t want to be helpful to those who need money, it’s because content farms are very exploitative. (You’re looking at places that pay roughly $5.00USD per 500 words.) For a business, this might sound like a great deal until you realize that price paid is after the firm’s cut, and it does not forge a trust based relationship with a talented writer. What happens then? The writer burns out. The writer may not take the job as seriously or prioritize it as highly as they would a higher paying one. This isn’t a reflection on the writer: would you take yard sale prices for artisan work? No, you wouldn’t- and if you intend to write content, you shouldn’t. (But again, the rule of “do what you have to do” applies. If you have to- no one here is faulting you.)
First Things First
When Holly first introduced me to the concept of working at home, I’ll admit the whole thing had me shaking my head. This is because much of the claims you see online seem very unrealistic. How much you can make, how easy it is, and all the rest.
That’s because they are unrealistic.
So, I asked her, as someone who had been really just scraping around, what she would have done differently- starting over. She had a few things to say, actually, and not all of them were free of swearing. The first thing she said she’d do, however, is what I did.
Create a portfolio of work that displays what it is you have to offer.
She and I both sit down and write at least one article a day on any given subject. Sometimes, it’s about ducks. Sometimes, it’s about legal issues. Sometimes, it’s about politics, health, or diet. Some people create their own websites to do this, others opt for revenue sharing sites, and others still yet simply keep them in a folder to send when prospective clients ask. I do a little of both posting them and holding them back.
This is simply the first step in making an investment in yourself. Holly is working on an ebook, right now, which is an entirely different matter that holds the same concept. If you want to be a writer, you have to write. It seems very obvious, but you’d be surprised at how hard it can be to take that initiative. Once you do, though, it does flow more smoothly over time. Reaching out to prospective clients is much easier when you have taken the time to sit down and write presentable articles or blogs, so this is where we start.
In my next post, I will go a little into the way that I use the above mentioned algorithm change “animals” to put together a blog post for a client and why.
- Online Content Writing Mistakes That Will Instantly Hurt Your Credibility (benchmarkemail.com)
- 5 Tips for Writing Effective Online Press Releases (ladybirdink.net)
- Web Content – Are You Writing Bad Web Content? (stevemdoran.com)