This post first appeared on Business Insider on 25th March 2017.
Grammar rules can seem like a nuisance. Honestly, do you really need to check every single document for appropriate hyphenation?
According to CUNY Journalism Press editor and writing coach Timothy Harper, the answer is a resounding “YES.”
“The whole point of grammar and punctuation is clarity,” he told Business Insider. If you write that a woman has “dirty-blonde hair,” for example, people know that you’re referring to the color. “It doesn’t mean that she needs a shampoo,” Harper said, which it would if you’d written “dirty blonde hair.”
We asked Harper about the most common grammar mistakes he sees, and added some that drive us crazy on a daily basis. Read on for a list of tricky – but super important – rules that get broken way too often.
1. Confusing ‘fewer’ and ‘less’
Harper said he winds up correcting this mistake pretty often.
He explained that “fewer” is appropriate when you’re discussing countable objects. On the other hand, “less” is appropriate when you can’t count the thing you’re describing.
Here’s an example of each word in a sentence:
“Fewer than 20 employees attended the meeting.”
“I spent less than one hour finishing this report.”
2. Confusing ‘amount’ and ‘number’
Again, it’s a question of whether you can count the thing you’re describing.
Harper gave examples of how you might use each word:
“There is a really large number of books in that library”
“There’s a huge amount of water going over the dam right now.”
3. Confusing ‘it’s’ and ‘its’
Normally, an apostrophe symbolizes possession. As in, “I took the dog’s bone.” But because apostrophes also usually replace omitted letters – like “don’t” – the “it’s” vs. “its” decision gets complicated.
Use “its” as the possessive pronoun: “I took its bone.” For the shortened version of “it is” use the version with the apostrophe. As in, “it’s raining.”
4. Confusing ‘who’ and ‘whom’
When considering whether to use “who” or “whom,” you have to rearrange the sentence in your head.
So the question, “Whom did you give the letter to?” changes to “You gave the letter to whom?” “Whom” suits the sentence instead of “who” because the word functions as the object of the sentence, not the subject.
It’s not always easy to tell subjects from objects but to use an over-simplified yet good, general rule: Subjects start sentences (or clauses), and objects end them. In short, who does it to whom.
For reference, “Who is a hypocrite?” would be a perfectly grammatically correct question to ask.
5. Confusing ‘him’ and ‘he’
Harper said he often hears people say something like, “Him and me went somewhere.” That’s incorrect. Instead you should say, “He and I went somewhere.”
Things get slightly more confusing from here. It’s incorrect to say, “He gave it to she and I.” Instead you should say, “He gave it to her and me.”
If you’re having trouble with this rule, Harper suggested taking away the “and.” For example, you can probably tell that the sentence “He gave it to I” sounds weird, so you can figure out that “He gave it to she and I” is also incorrect.
A big thank you to the writers and designers at Start Blogging Online for this guest post-Infographic and kindly asking to post on the Virtuadmin website.
The most important thing in writing an e-book is that you inspire people to do something or to take a positive step forward. This is the theme of most e-books. They inspire people to either change their eating habits or start fitness routines that they can easily follow.
E-books cover a wide range of topics, but they were mostly written by experts in specific areas. This is why they can easily motivate people to change because what they have written was based on their personal experiences.
If you consider yourself an expert or knowledgeable enough in a particular field, then you can go ahead and start writing an e-book. Take note though that this is not an easy endeavour. You have to work overtime and come up with really interesting ideas for you to sell the book that you have written.
You need to speak from the heart, but also understand what it is that your target group wants to read. You must have coherent ideas presented in a beautiful manner. It takes time before you can finish the entire e-book, but once it is done, you will surely be proud of what you have made.
It is time to get moving now and write your first e-book. To help you out, we have compiled the best tips for you to follow. The image below will give you ideas on how you can start an e-book and come up with something special for people to read.
Are you ever worried about maintaining an engaged blog audience?
It all starts with detailed research and using the right blogging tools.
Here is the deal: Tools alone won’t solve your problems, but they will help you get things done more efficiently.
With that being said, I have compiled a list of 21 free blogging tools that you can start using today. These tools are a great way to improve your performance as a blogger, in terms of workflow, writing quality and visuals.
A perfect topic can make or break your content workflow
It doesn’t matter how great you are at writing, every now and then you will fall into a blogger’s pit AKA blogger’s block.
According to Allee Creative, producing enough content and content that engages, are the two most difficult struggles that over 50% of B2B marketers face.
Creating enough content is proportional to blog topic ideas. If you can’t find topics to write about, you can’t fill up the content calendar.
These are the tools that will you help find blog topics every day.
What if you could find a topic that you know has the potential to go viral? That’s what BuzzSumo is all about.
It gives a list of posts that have got maximum amount of shares in a given period. This way you know the potential of the topic.
It’s easy to use interface is one of its many benefits that makes it one of my favorite tools. Not only does it hook you up with great data, it binds you to topical relevance. So, you don’t go off topic when searching for ideas.
Just looking at the above topics you can easily tell that list posts are the ones that get the most social love.
Meet Google’s most awesome and popular keyword tool, Keyword Planner. And Yeah, it’s totally free of cost.
In order to use this incredibly powerful keyword research tool, first of all you need to get an AdWords account. And then, you can start the journey to find the right keywords for your business.
Google Keyword Planner might not give you the exact keyword suggestions, but it surely gives you a pretty good number of variations to your keywords, followed by average monthly searches, level of competition (high, medium, or low), average cost per click, and much more.
Effective tip: You can find more blogging ideas by putting your competitor’s url into keyword planner’s landing page search box.
How can I leave out one of the most versatile tools, Google Trends?
Google Trends displays a list of the top hot searches and charts of the day. You can also see searches by category.
Like other keyword research tools, Google Trends does not give you the actual keyword search number. But, it does not mean that it is completely useless. You need to be smart here and use this tool with the Keyword Planner tool to get the best results.
Rule content marketing by writing captivating headlines
Headlines are the bread and butter of great content. A great headline not only grabs a reader’s attention, it’s the main source of increasing click through rate from organic traffic.
Impact blog title generator is a great tool for quickly coming up with blog ideas and titles. Just like any other headline generator, you need to type in your primary keyword. It will then pull out hundreds of enticing title options that you can use.
Hit the heart button if you like any given titles. It will then be transferred to a notebook which you can email later.
One of the creative and fun ways of dealing with writer’s block in this tool is the writer’s block option. Click it and start doodling.
This is not a fancy tool with flashy visuals. However, as the name suggests it gets the job done. As a marketer, we need a headline that entices users to click.
Basically it pulls in headlines that can be a little buzzfeed-esque and targets click bait. If you are a blogger in an entertainment niche, you will fall in love with this tool. Some suggestions might be really insane but it gets the job done.
Although it’s not as colorful as the other tools in the market, it is easy to use and works perfectly. All you have to do is plug in the headline and choose an appropriate category. You will receive an EMV score that defines the emotional credibility of your headline.
37.50% may look bad as a number. But if you look closely, anything above 50% is considered the best. So, if you have anything within that range, you are doing great.
Add a touch of image beauty to make your blog attractive
Photos play an important role in making your blog visually stunning. If you have photography talent along with your writing skill, then trust me, you don’t need anything else.
The right post with the right photo is what audiences are looking for. But, in many cases, a blogger ignores the fact that images are an important component to user engagement and messes up with cheap stock images.
Finding free high quality images that perfectly match your blog content can be a challenging and daunting task. To help you with your free stock photo hunt, Pixabay offers millions of high quality images free.
Pixabay is a resource created with no copyright restrictions. You can use the images for whatever purposes you want, even for commercial purposes too.
A great thing about Pixabay is that there is no registration required. You can simply jump in, find photos and begin to use them.
Are you fed up with visiting websites in search of free stock photos? Well, here’s a solution for your problem.
Death to the Stock Photo sends you free high resolution photos of different categories to your email every month. All you need to do is submit an email address where you want to receive those images. Amazing, right?
Now, you can make your blog posts livelier and more visually appealing with the high quality resolution images that you receive from Death to the Stock Photo.
One of the best ways to grab images is through screenshots. And, one of the best tools in the market to do that is Evernote. It not only gives you sleek and clean graphics, it organizes your images in a proper format.
First go to evernote and sign up for a free account. Then, download it’s free chrome plugin. Now, whenever you need to take a screenshot, click the little elephant icon in the top right hand corner. You can select the part and save it. It automatically gets saved in your evernote account.
Are you looking for a photo editing tool which can spruce up your images and make your blog look attractive? PicMonkey is the best tool to check out.
You can use this fantastic photo editing tool without downloading it to your computer.
With its awesome photo edit, touch up, design and collage features, you have got everything that you need to make your ideas come to life.
PicMonkey also publishes awesome guides to help you create your own visually attractive images. So, if you are an amateur designer and don’t have good experience with editing tools, then PicMonkey is what you need to have.
Canva is one of the most used photo editing tools in the world. From its drag and drop feature, the professional layouts and amazing design graphics, Canva has everything that you need for creating your own stunning images.
Whether you are an experienced designer or just a beginner, Canva makes image creation super easy and fun.
With millions of images, hundreds of fonts, numbers of free icons and shapes, and amazing photo filters; Canva is without a doubt the most loved photo editing tool online.
Make writing faster and easier
Anyone can write a blog, but only an experienced and skilled blogger can write an extraordinary piece of content that offers valuable insights and attracts user engagement.
There are millions of amazing blog posts uploaded every second, which grab people’s attention and compel them to share on social media channels. If you want your content to receive such attention from readers, then you need to write amazing and original content.
Do you have a favorite blogging tool that helps you with this?
There are tons of writing tools available online and choosing the right one definitely takes lots of your time and effort. Here are a few tools that can help you with easy and fast writing.
Many bloggers use their blogging platform to write and edit their content. But, are you aware of the blog editing and posting features of Google Docs?
Yes, you heard me correctly. Google Docs can be used as a blog editor and you can post your blog entries directly from it.
Google Docs is my favorite blog editor. It allows you to collaborate with others and its amazing spelling and grammar checking tools are worth trying. Being a product of Google itself, you can directly research your queries from it.
Readable is one of the most interesting free blogging tools, which quickly analyzes your text for readability. This awesome tool takes your text and analyzes it by giving it a score for the most used readability indicators. So, your text is easier to understand.
It gives you flexible options to carry out a test; test by url, test by directly entering your text, and test by entering a referral link.
Is your content free from grammatical errors? Readers really hate to read content with grammatical errors.
Posts with many grammar errors can make a reader lose interest in reading further. They might not even bother reading your future blog posts. So, make sure to perform grammar checks before publishing your blog.
Grammarly is one of the most used online grammar checkers. It checks for spelling, sentence structure, style, punctuation, alternatives, etc. All you need to do is copy your content and paste it into Grammarly’s online grammar checker.
You can add this tool to your chrome browser and easily use it whenever you need to.
Get more engagement on social media
You just published a post, and you immediately share it to your social accounts. What you see after a few days rattles you.
Only a couple of people have engaged with your post. Sounds familiar?
For example, your preferred audience may be in a different time zone than yours. The frequency and timing of your post depends completely on the industry and brands.
You can take something from what the big brands do. Every brand has a different set of times to post on Facebook, Twitter or share it on other social accounts. Always check the analytics of your social account to get a better grip of your audience.
After you know the best time, you can schedule your post with these tools and save time.
Buffer has to be one of the most efficient social media management tools I have ever used. Even though Hootsuite has more supported networks, and is bigger than Buffer, I feel Buffer is easier to use.
Just like any content scheduling tool, you can easily integrate your social media accounts and start scheduling your posts. It also gives you a brief analysis that lets you A/B test your headline versions.
Pinterest can been a great source of traffic for many bloggers. Unfortunately, if you aren’t using the paid version, it’s not possible to schedule Pinterest pins from Buffer.
Out comes Ahalogy to solve this problem. You can easily schedule all your pins to your personal and community boards.
However, the catch is you have to get accepted by Ahalogy to start using it.
Once you get accepted, you have to place a code to track your results. If this is something you don’t want to do, you can download the Ahalogy plugin and it automatically pushes your content to your Pinterest account.
Click to tweet are tweetable quotes that are used widely on numerous blogs. What it basically does is offer more traffic from twitter and gives an easy one click path for the user to share your content.
Working with click to tweet is really simple. All you need to do is sign up for a free account. On your dashboard, you can type in the message you would like to tweet. Then, it generates a new line of code. Copy and paste it into the post that you want to display it. You can also see the engagement of your audience and click through rate of that simple tweet button.
Improve your productivity
The tough part after starting a blog is maintaining its quality. If you are a professional blog writer, then you must know how hard it is to write a quality blog with valuable insights at a given time.
Do you want to write better and faster?
There’s a number of free blogging tools that will not only make your writing easier but also help with your time management problem. Check out the time tracking tools listed below which can help you write faster.
Egg Timer is a simple countdown timer, where you can enter the time that you want to work.
As a writer, you must know how easily time goes by once you start writing. You have no idea how much time you are giving to researching your work, editing or writing. With this free time tracking tool, you can find out how productive you are and manage time for each individual task.
To start, set the time for your task, hit the “Go” button to start time tracking. When the time’s up, you will see a pop-up appearing on the screen with the timer sound.
Toggle is a fun time tracking tool which can help boost your productivity.
This one-click time tracking tool allows you to add tasks, and after completing your work, check the dashboard to know how long you spent on each task.
If you are a writer who spends a lot of your time on research and writing, and are looking for a tool that can help you manage your time, Toogle is definitely worth a try.
Track visitors on your site
A thing that separates a good blogger from others is the way he or she keeps monitoring and tracking the web traffic they receive.
Yes, it is true that anyone can write, but not everyone is capable of writing a high quality user engaging blog. The problem seen in most startup bloggers is that they just keep writing blindly. They have no idea whether their blog is getting exposure or not.
To be a good blogger and improve your writing, you should know what is working, and what isn’t, so that you can make improvements.
With so many web traffic analyzer tools available online, you can easily track visitors and traffic to your blog.
Google Analytics (GA) is the most popular and most used visitor tracking tool. And yes, it is totally free of cost.
This amazing tool not only gives accurate statistics on traffic, but it also tracks almost everything a cookie can store on each unique visitor. You can also see the live traffic status of your blog through GA.
It provides a variety of features like monitoring visitor’s behavior, source of incoming traffic, social media buttons, number of visitors each day, unique visitors, returning visitors, most visited pages, and much more.
Sitemeter is another great analytics program which I use after Google Analytics. It comes in two versions: Free and Paid. You can simply use the free version as it offers almost all the tools a webmaster needs.
You can keep track of your visitors’ referral information and at the same time also find how many people are online on your blog.
Sitemeter allows you to see some of the most important information regarding your latest referring URLs, live visitors, and visitors from the last 1 hr, day and a week.
Content creation should be the top priority of any blogger. I wish I could tell you that tools alone will make you a better writer, but that’s not true at all.
In fact, there are other key elements and methodologies that you need to implement to produce quality content. However, tools offer additional support and help you get things done more efficiently.
I hope these 23 free blogging tools can help you get through some tough times like they did for me.
There’s content to be edited and updates to be made to your website. You’ve missed two meetings and can’t remember who the contacts are to reschedule them. And your inbox count looks like the GDP of a small country.
There’s a lot to be said about optimizing your own daily routine to get the most out of your days, but that can only take you so far. While you may have aspirations of a tremendously profitable quarter, it’s probably time to compose yourself and admit that you’re not going to be able to do it all alone. You can’t continue growing a business if you’re tethered to your desk.
Traditional hiring processes take far too long when you need someone immediately who can take the load off your shoulders. Ideally, you want someone who can materialize, quickly get up to speed on what’s happening, handle the workload, and disappear until needed again.
This is where a lot of entrepreneurs will cringe. Sure, it’s hard to give up control, and you may find it a challenge to find someone who is reliable and whom you can trust with private company intel. But those someones are out there: You just have to know where to look.
Here are seven surprising places to start your search.
I am absolutely advocating that you search social media to find a stranger to trust with your business. Start talking about the need for a virtual assistant on Twitter, and you’ll be surprised just how fast VA businesses will respond and start following you. Some of the best VA companies have listening posts set up with alerts to find people just like you.
The best part is that if you’ve got a social-savvy VA, Twitter is just one more task he or she can help you with.
2. Your network
If your contact list includes other business owners, mentors, influencers, professionals or any combination thereof, then it’s time to make calls and let them know you need help. Chances are, they know someone, or can recommend a service they may have used in the past. Don’t ever forget about the power of referrals and word of mouth.
Inspired by Tim Ferriss’ The 4-Hour Workweek,New York Times bestselling author Michael Hyatt decided it was time to pick up a virtual assistant when he began to focus on his writing and saw his blog traffic (and workload) spike. He has had the same virtual assistant for years now and swears by her.
“I found that I was so much more productive that it was well worth the additional investment,” Hyatt says of his assistant. “She’s just one of my teammates — and a very valuable one at that.”
If you’ve never worked with a virtual assistant and you came up short on referrals, VANetworking is a good place to start. VAs often network and come together here as a means of finding work, as well as solutions. Not only do they provide information for clients who want to work with a virtual assistant, they also have a hiring section where you can post in search of a VA.
This one might be as surprising as Twitter. While the go-to classifieds site has its share of scammers, it’s very possible to find a top-notch virtual assistant on Craigslist. You can also look on Craigslist sites elsewhere in the world and choose your desired location, though the local aspect can be a huge benefit. Even though your assistant will be working remotely, you’ll have the advantage of setting up a face-to-face interview as if you were hiring an in-house employee.
Just make sure you do your legwork, like verifying work history and checking references.
Zirtual is a great choice for startups and entrepreneurs as the site specializes in providing dedicated virtual assistants to entrepreneurs, professionals and small teams. One of the biggest perks is that it works only with college-educated VAs who are based in the United States, so you don’t need to worry about the vetting process. Zirtual boasts that fewer than 2 percent of applicants get hired on to their service.
Pat Flynn, founder of Smart Passive Income, often shares the benefits of working with virtual assistants on his podcast. In his tutorial on delegation, he writes, “I know just how valuable my time is and where my time should be invested to give me the most return.”
6. Workshops and events
Hopefully, you’re consciously aware that you’ll need help down the road and that you have time to be on the lookout. If that’s the case, then always keep the VA search in the back of your mind as you travel to industry events, workshops, and lectures. Those are great places for industry professionals to gather. If you find a VA at an event like this, you know he or she already has at least one foot inside the door of your industry.
A local college, or any college for that matter, can be a great place to locate a VA. Talk with career counselors or professors, or post hiring ads on campus job boards to try to locate a student studying in your industry. You may find a student chomping at the bit for a paid internship, willing to act as a virtual assistant as a means of learning the industry and gaining experience in his or her chosen career track.
To improve blog writing skills, one of the things you need to know are powerful words that can evoke emotions that you want. Here are some of those words.
Are you trying to take your blog to the next level by improving your writing skills? This is a great idea! Good writing is the foundation of a great blog. If you don’t have that, all of the videos and infographics in the world cannot help you.
One way to increase the effectiveness of your writing is to use power words. These are words and phrases that grab the reader’s attention and evoke an emotional reaction or a desire to take some kind of action. Here are 100 power words that you can begin incorporating into your blog, and some notes on how and why they are effective.
Improve Your Blog Writing
Power Words that Encourage
These words are words that create a sense of encouragement. When readers see these words they feel courageous, ready to take on a difficult task, and empowered. These are great words to use when you want readers to be certain that they are not limited by personal difficulties. These power words are perfect when you wish to provide assurance that a difficult event or period of time is not insurmountable. Many of these power words can be used to lead into a call for action. This is because your readers will feel energized and more motivated to take action. Here are a few power words that encourage:
These are by no means the only power words that bring people encouragement, but they are quite powerful. Hopefully, knowing these words will help you to identify other power words that you can use when you want people reading your blog to feel encouraged and empowered. If you are posting on a subject that is heartbreaking or upsetting, you may find that these power words provide a needed balance to the news you are delivering.
Power Words that Make People Angry
Why would you want to make your readers angry? Actually, there are many reasons. Are you blogging about social issues? Are you trying to make your readers passionate about doing something to eradicate some horrible disease? Is there an injustice somewhere that you want to motivate your readers to address? Well, you do that by using power words that make them angry about the issue and ready to take meaningful action. Is your blog something that you use to market your products and services?
If so, do not skip this section. You too can benefit from using power words that make readers angry. Shouldn’t they be angry if they have been receiving poor customer service from your competitors? Shouldn’t they be angry if they have been overcharged all this time? Take a look at these power words that evoke a healthy sense of anger:
Taken advantage of
Hopefully, when people see these words in your blog they feel the kind of anger that motivates them to get out and make changes. Try using these words in your blog posts, and you can motivate your readership to do anything from donating to a cause, writing a letter to the editor, or converting to your products and services.
You may wish to combine these power words with some power words that cause encouragement. After all, who is more effective than a person who is justifiably angry and who believes that they are capable of making a difference?
Power Words that Tempt People
Everybody wants to be in on a secret. They want to access to information that others do not have. They want to do things that are ‘forbidden’. They want to see themselves as insiders, and as part of an elite, exclusive group.
Power words that tempt people evoke curiosity. It makes them want to find out more. It encourages them to find out what it is that they might be missing out on. These are some of the strongest call-to-action words that any blogger can use. Here are the power words that tempt:
What they don’t want you to know
Behind the Scenes
These power words are very effective if you want to attract more readers to your content, to create viral content, and to publish content that starts conversations. Have you ever played with the idea of using special rewards and the promise of access to premium content in order to get new subscribers and followers?
These power words do an amazing job of sending out a call to action to those who crave VIP status, and who love being the first among their friends to get the insider information. Of course, if you promise insider deals, special access, or to reveal secrets, you have to follow through.
Power Words that Evoke a Love of Money
Who doesn’t like getting something for free, or at least at a deep discount? People love feeling as if they are getting a great deal, or as if they will be getting something for nothing. Power words that manipulate people’s desire for freebies and special deals have been in use for years.
In fact, you will probably recognize many of these words from advertisements that you watched your entire life. Some of them may seem a bit corny, but they do work. Check out these greed inducing power words that you can use on your next blog:
One Time Only
Just for Loyal Customers
People love sales, free offers, door prizes, deep discounts, and coupons. Use these power words and you’ll keep your sales staff busy for days as they field calls and inquiries. If you are creating a post announcing a future sales event, you will gain significant traction with your audience if you incorporate just a few of these words in your posts.
Power Words that Evoke Feelings of Fear and Terror
Fear words are extremely effective in grabbing and keeping the attention of your readers. After all, fear words are what many media outlets use to keep people watching. Fear can be used as a call to action. It can be used to convince people that something deserves their attention. Fear can also be used to convince people that they will miss out on something if they do not continue reading.
There is definitely a danger of abusing these words and using them to unfairly manipulate your audience. But, as long as they are used judiciously and you are honest with any facts that you present, these words can really make your blog ‘pop’. Here are some fear mongering power words that you may be able to use when writing blogs in the future:
These words don’t just evoke fear. They evoke a desire to learn more, to stay tuned, and to get more information. Fear words may be initially shocking to read, but eventually shock will turn into a desire to take action. You can use these words to create a formula that moves your readers from shock and fear to action. Then, your job is to simply guide them to the action that you would like them to take.
A Final Note on Power Words
It may be difficult to imagine how 100 words and phrases can have such an emotional impact, but the truth is these words create responses in ways that other words don’t. If you combine the use of power words with other marketing techniques that are used to promote and market blogs/websites online, increase user engagement and make content viral (SEO, mobile friendly, social media, right keywords, etc.), you will be well on your way to increasing your readership and your internet presence.
So, why not give a few of these words a try on your next few blog posts. Then, take a few measurements. You will likely find that shares and comments increase. If you don’t see results right away, don’t be discouraged. It can take time to get into the groove when it comes to using power words effectively.
Semicolons help clarify construction of sentences. Using the punctuation mark, employed as either a comma on steroids or a strategically flexible period, is usually just one of two or more possible solutions, but though it has a stuffy reputation and many writers are confused about its applications, it often is the best choice.
1. This issue is not cut and dried, it’s actually fairly complicated.
This sentence demonstrates the simplest and perhaps most common error related to the role of the semicolon: the failure to use it when needed in the weak period function. This pair of independent clauses must be separated by a semicolon: “This issue is not cut and dried; it’s actually fairly complicated.”
Replacing the comma with a dash or beginning a new sentence with it’s are alternative strategies, though the
statement does not include a sharp break in thought (which a dash is intended to signal) and does not constitute two distinct ideas meriting separate sentences, so the semicolon is the most suitable solution.
2. For breakfast, he had eggs the way he liked them, over easy, bacon, locally raised, of course, toast, and coffee, which he always stirred exactly 10 times to blend in the milk.
This sentence requires semicolons to clearly organize a rambling list of words and phrases that constitute a menu: “For breakfast, he had eggs the way he liked them, over easy; bacon, locally raised, of course; toast; and coffee, which he always stirred exactly 10 times to blend in the milk.”
However, the preparation details can also be presented enclosed in parentheses, which renders semicolons unnecessary: “For breakfast, he had eggs the way he liked them (over easy), bacon (locally raised, of course), toast, and coffee (which he always stirred exactly 10 times to blend in the milk).” For consistency and to enhance sentence balance and rhythm, better yet, a corresponding detail about the toast should be inserted.
3. The act offers protection from lawsuits arising from monitoring information systems, including employee email, cyberthreat-related disclosures, and sharing of that information with other companies.
This sentence requires semicolons because even though “including employee email” seems obviously related to the preceding phrase, the sentence can also be read as if employee email, cyberthreats-related disclosures, and sharing of that information with other companies are being offered as examples of information systems. Use the stronger punctuation mark in such sentences so that the sentence organization is unambiguous: “The act offers protection from lawsuits arising from monitoring information systems, including employee email; cyberthreat-related disclosures; and sharing of that information with other companies.”
Cases of Semicolon Overkill
Semicolons serve a useful function in helping distinguish between elements of complex sentences, but lengthy sentences with long phrases do not necessarily require the support semicolons provide. These three sentences demonstrate an unnecessary application of the semicolon as a comma on steroids.
1. Electrical shock may cause serious burns; injuries to internal organs, such as your heart; and even death.
Semicolons should generally be employed as strong commas when elements of a list themselves include lists or otherwise include commas of their own. Here, however, the sentence construction is clear and simple; “such as your heart” is obviously part of the list element pertaining to injuries to internal organs (and doesn’t necessarily need to be set off from the rest of the phrase anyway): “Electrical shock may cause serious burns, injuries to internal organs, such as your heart, and even death.”
2. Examples of enhancements might include reporting on the status of critical enterprise risks; changes in key external variables impacting the validity of the organization’s strategic assumptions; significant emerging risks; the capabilities for managing other important business risks; and the status of initiatives to improve capabilities.
The elements of this list are wordy but not complex, so “super coma” semicolons are an excessive measure: “Examples of enhancements might include reporting on the status of critical enterprise risks, changes in key external variables impacting the validity of the organization’s strategic assumptions, significant emerging risks, the capabilities for managing other important business risks, and the status of initiatives to improve capabilities.”
3. The basketball star’s legendary moves—aerial assaults; triple-clutch reverse layups; facials on seven-footers; one-handed rebounds or ball fakes; opposing shots stolen from the sky; big-game buzzer beaters at any time—couldn’t be replicated.
As in the previous example, the use of semicolons in this sentence is overkill: “The basketball star’s legendary moves—aerial assaults, triple-clutch reverse layups, facials on seven-footers, one-handed rebounds or ball fakes, opposing shots stolen from the sky, big-game buzzer beaters at any time—couldn’t be replicated.”
I love writing. To me, there is nothing more cathartic or soothing than turning off the rest of the world and putting my thoughts to paper. This passion has made it easy for me to create content for Duct Tape…
I love writing. To me, there is nothing more cathartic or soothing than turning off the rest of the world and putting my thoughts to paper. This passion has made it easy for me to create content for Duct Tape Marketing. I don’t see it as a chore, I see it as an opportunity to relax. And once the blog post is written, I can look back upon it and smile with a sense of accomplishment.
But I do understand that many business owners don’t feel the same way about writing, or marketing in general. For some of you, writing content is a bore at best, an extreme source of anxiety at worst. I get it, the first few times I wrote something, I was nervous to share it with the world. Putting your content out on the Internet can make you feel vulnerable, particularly when the stereotype of Internet commenters is that they are demeaning and combative.
The truth is, the community on the Internet isn’t nearly what you think it is. In my experience, you all have been supportive and even empowering. However, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try to put your best foot forward when producing content.
That’s why I’ve collected these 4 handy tools that will help you become a better writer of great content. Of course, nothing replaces practice, but these tools will make it easier to recognize your writing style, polish your finished product, and even help you focus.
The English language is one of the most complex languages in the world. There are thousands of rules to remember, most of which people ignore on a daily basis in conversation. It’s easy enough to forget obscure grammar rules from back in high school, let alone specific writing conventions you may just be learning. Grammarly will make your writing better by helping you catch all of the errors you don’t even know you’re making.
Grammarly is extremely effective at catching small errors like correctly spelled, but misused words that spell check doesn’t, and even identifies advanced grammar errors. Grammarly also analyzes your writing patterns and helps you improve by identifying things like use of passive voice and overused words.
You can download Grammarly for your browser and even download it for your word processing program. Of course, you can also upgrade to the paid version and get even more advanced insights to your writing style.
If you’re just creating one or two pieces of content a month, Scrivener may not be for you, but it is without a doubt my favorite word processing program. Scrivener allows you to collect research, notes and your writing all in one file.
Do you like to use physical notes to collect your thoughts before writing? Scrivener allows you to outline your project with notecards and outlines. For instance, I used it to create digital notecards for each tool I was considering in this post and arranged them to turn them into a full outline. By the time I actually sit down to write, the words flow quickly from my keyboard.
Again, this isn’t for everyone, but if you’re serious about writing you may want to give it a try.
Earnest Hemmingway was well known for his short, easy to read sentences. It made his works surprisingly easy to read despite the thematic complexity. The appropriately named Hemmingway tool analyzes your writing and helps identify ways to shorten your sentences and make it easier to read.
It is important to make your web content as easy to read as possible. Breaking up your text into sections with sub headlines is a great way to make your content skimmable, but the body of your text will keep them. If your readers lose your train of thought because your sentences are too complex, they won’t stick around for you to make your point.
Grammarly will help you polish your writing and make it better. Hemmingway will make it easier to read.
I don’t know about you, but when I’m writing, I like to tune out the rest of the world. When you can just focus on the task at hand, it makes it much easier to complete it. That’s why I use Focus while I write.
Focus allows you to temporarily block time-wasting websites while you work. We all get writer’s block or are forced to take a moment to think about what we’re going to say next. At least for me, it’s pretty easy to take a break, go to Facebook, then suddenly lose some time looking at pictures of my friends’ pets. With Focus, you can prevent this, so the time you spend thinking about your content is actually spent thinking about your content.
If writing the draft takes less time to complete, you’ll have more time to edit and redraft. You spend less time making the content and more time making the content better.
This goes beyond writing content too. You can use it to block websites as you reach an important deadline or as you approach a new project. Focus is a great all-around tool for the easily distracted entrepreneur, as many of us tend to be.
What tools do you use to write? Do you have any secret weapons that help you create better content? Let me know in the comments below.
Alex Boyer is a Community Manager and Content Ninja for Duct Tape Marketing. You can connect with him on Twitter@AlexBoyerKC
Today, in May 2016 advancements in technology have progressed very rapidly over the last 10 – 20 years. Being from a time before computers and mobile phones, I am very glad for the progression of the internet.
For me it has meant I no longer travel out to work in an office transcribing, I can now freelance from home turning recorded audio into a digital Word document or Text file for videos. It is not easy always writing proposals for transcription work on freelance sites like People Per Hour and Fivesquid. It’s also not easy requiring to be paid in pounds and not dollars. Audio or video transcription is usually charged by the audio minute or audio hour. Some transcription companies charge by the line or page, but for me, it is easier for potential customers to know what they are going to be paying for their audio or video to be transcribed. Charging by the line or page it is not possible to know what you are going to pay until the audio or video has been transcribed.
Because of advancements in technology, it is there much easier to record speech, seminars, interviews…well just about anything really. Anything that is recorded that contains speech, or videoed and contains speech can be now transcribed digitally. It takes a matter of minutes for the transcriptionist to download an audio in mp3 format or a video even in mp4. They will upload this digital file to their professional software and start producing your transcript.
The value of a transcript
One of the advantages of a transcript giving it value is that you then have a permanent digital record, or if you choose to print the transcript off, you have a permanent hard-copy of the recorded audio. The audio may get corrupted or accidentally deleted for example, but by having a transcript you will always have the information from the content of that audio or video.
Another valuable aspect of a transcript is that you have something to refer to, make notes on, instead of trying playing and fast forwarding trying to find that certain part of the audio that you are looking for.
You can add a transcript produced in a .txt text file format to your video. This is an especially economical “do-it-yourself” method of enhancing your video’s search engine optimisation. Why? Because the transcript will be keyword rich and full of content that is relevant to you niche because of the nature of the speech contained in that video. Search engine bots and crawlers have a lot more information from the text transcript that has been uploaded to your video. It doesn’t have to rely on just a headline and possibly sub-headline, it has a whole transcript to know what your niche subject area is. Because of the transcript SEO bots will then rank your video higher in search results in your niche.
If you are a mentor or coach, a transcript is something that could be offered as an incentive for potential clients. They would be able to build up the mentoring or coaching session transcripts as a course for themselves to have and always refer to, for whatever reason they hired your mentoring or coaching services in the first place.
A transcript is a great way to get new blog post ideas from or social media posts. Say you listened to a great podcast, if you go that podcast transcribed you would always have that knowledge from the podcast to refer to. It’s certainly easier visually to find a certain part of the audio than playing back and forth.
Meetings that are recorded and then transcribed are a fantastic way of ensuring that what was discussed in the meeting is carried out in full. No excuses for the participants to say they didn’t make the notes correctly of what they were supposed to be doing. Everything from that meeting would be in a transcript to enable the better efficiency of duties to be undertaken.
Transcripts are especially helpful for the partially or totally deaf community. They are so valuable to be able to also understand what was in the webinar, podcast, interview along with everyone else. A text file added to a video with then automatically produced closed captions. These can be turned on during any part of the video; very helpful for deaf people. You may have created a marketing video with a voice over, having the option to have closed captions not only gives the deaf or hard-of-hearing community the opportunity to read what your video has to say, but at the same time it will automatically rank high in Google’s search results because the information gives the crawlers more information, as I described earlier.
Those are just a few examples of the reason why getting your audio or video transcribed is so important and it shouldn’t cost you the earth. See my infographic 7 questions to ask your prospective freelance transcriptionist. It’s an infographic to help anyone out there considering using a freelancer. The aim is to help you filter out the amateurs that could potentially cost you time and money, to hire a professional and get value for money.
Digital transcription is a growing industry, but there are people out there trying to make extra money typing and not really understanding that transcription is a professional skill and art. It takes many years of touch typing practice to be able to type at the same time as what is being spoken.
Transcripts can take certain formats; a one speaker audio would be set-out in a Word document differently to say an interview with two or three people. A professional will know from the start of the audio or video how to set out the document, whereas an amateur may not. If you get a poor, inaccurate transcript then it is going to be pretty useless to you, it will also have been a waste of time and money.
As a freelance transcriptionist working as Virtuadmin Transcription service my rates start at 50p per audio minute for up to 2 speakers in the audio or video. So an hour’s audio or video would cost you £30 to be transcribed. What the freelancer charges per audio minute or audio hour is entirely up to them and how they value their skill. I type at 70-80 words per minute with 98% accuracy and could charge more, but I’m here as a freelancer to be fair in my pricing whilst delivering the most accurate transcript in the best turnaround time possible.
One hour’s audio that is of good clear audio quality, no more than 2 speakers and no background with good speech clarity, would take me approximately 4 hours to transcribe. So I would advise any potential customers that it would be delivered in 24 hours. If I have queued audio’s I communicate this straight away to you so that you are not left wondering when to expect your transcript.
I love my job helping anyone and everyone either enhance their SEO for their video or producing a transcript from audio, I really do enjoy listening and typing. If you would like to get a quote for an audio or video, or even hire my transcription skills directly please click here>>>http://bit.ly/1TqN9j1
Can you think of any other valuable uses for an audio or video transcript? Please feel free to comment below this post. Thanks for reading and hope it has helped put the value of a transcript into some sort of perspective.
By Sophie Freeman For Mailonline Published: 05:43 EST, 7 March 2016
Researchers from Canada used text-analysis software to analyse essays The vocabulary became more sophisticated when typed with one hand Experts said slowing our writing down allows us more time to think.
Whether you have ambitions to be the next J.K. Rowling, or just want to send more impressive emails to your boss, try typing the words with one hand. The quality of our writing improves when we type single-handedly, according to a study.
Using text-analysis software, researchers found that the vocabulary used by study participants as they wrote essays became more sophisticated when they typed with one hand rather than two. The quality of our writing improves when we type single-handedly, according to a study. Using text-analysis software, researchers found that the vocabulary used by study participants as they wrote essays became more sophisticated when they typed with one hand rather than two. ‘Typing can be too fluent or too fast, and can actually impair the writing process,’ said lead author of the study, Srdan Medimorec, from the University of Waterloo, Canada. ‘It seems that what we write is a product of the interactions between our thoughts and the tools we use to express them.’
The research team said that by slowing our writing down, typing one-handed allows more time for an internal word search, resulting in a larger variety of words. However, it is important not to slow typing down too much, they said – as previous research has found this can impair our writing.
The one-handed typers in the current study only slowed down to about the speed of handwriting.
The research team said that by slowing our writing down, typing one-handed allows more time for an internal word search, resulting in a larger variety of words. The one-handed typers in the current study only slowed down to about the speed of handwriting.
‘This is the first study to show that when you interfere with people’s typing, their writing can get better,’ said senior author of the study, Professor Evan Risko. The researchers suggest that speed could affect writing quality regardless of the tools, whether they are text-to-speech programs, computers, or a pen and paper, but future research is required to confirm this theory they said.
For the study, which was published in the British Journal of Psychology, the researchers carried out three separate experiments. Participants were asked to write an essay describing a memorable day at school or an event that had a positive effect on them, or one in which they defended their position on banning mobile phones in schools.
TYPING PATTERNS MAY REVEAL BRAIN DISORDERS
Scientists claim the computer keyboard could be a powerful new tool in their battle against Parkinson’s disease. Researchers at MIT believe a person’s keystrokes may reveal a huge amount of information about their motor skills.
Now they’re working on creating a keyboard that can tell doctors if someone has the neuron impairment, simply by analysing the way they type. They have written an algorithm that can tell how effectively someone is striking a keypad. For instance, it can distinguish between typing done in the middle of the night, when sleep deprivation impairs motor skills, and typing performed when fully rested.
It does this by analysing something known as ‘key hold time’ – a measure of how long a key is pressed before being released. While the study focused on the effects of fatigue, the researchers say they could diagnose conditions that impair motor function, such as Parkinson’s disease, much earlier than is now possible.
Preliminary results from a study of about two dozen Parkinson’s patients suggest that the researchers’ algorithm for analysing keystrokes can distinguish people who have the disease from those who don’t. The team is now planning a larger study of Parkinson’s patients.
[This post originally appeared here http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-3480177/Writer-s-block-Try-typing-one-handed-Slowing-fast-type-boost-quality-writing.html]
Freelancing and procuring work on a regular basis to keep the cash-flow circulating in on the context of submitting proposals, quotes, or setting up gigs or services is hard to do. I’ve been freelancing as Virtuadmin on a variety of sites for the past few years but work has suddenly come to a halt and wondering why. I’ve been marketing Virtuadmin regularly the best way I know how; posting to our website by sharing great tools and information and generally being active on Social Media platforms such as Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, Google+ to name a few.
The most success I had was on Fiverr.com, unfortunately, the exchange rate of ‘$’ to ‘£’ doesn’t make working in a professional niche viable sometimes. To explain further, my success was transcription and was getting regular orders. It takes the average transcriptionist with touch typing speeds in excess of 70 words per minute 4 hours to transcribe one hour of good quality clear audio. To transcribe say 30 minutes for ‘$5’ would give the freelancer, me, ‘$4’. At the time of writing the exchange rate would convert that $4 into approximately £2.82. Break that down even further and it works out to £2.82 divided by the 30 minutes of audio is 0.09 per audio minute.
After discovering Fivesquid.com and the British equivalent to Fiverr.com in as much that it is working in £’s and not $’s suited me better. This would make £4 and not $4 for 30 minutes of audio to be transcribed (An example for ease of explaining and this would then make the audio 0.13p per audio minute. Other freelance sites offer multiple currencies to pay or receive payment in.
Fiverr.com and Fivesquid.com are two very similar sites with the same objectives of providing quality low-cost freelance services. This got me thinking why I’m not getting the views of my services on Fivesquid as I was getting on Fiverr.com (my account is closed on Fiverr). My ‘gigs’ are active on Fivesqid.com but even after cross promotion on various platforms, Twitter, Google+, Facebook, Linkedin, Pinterest, Instagram, Tumblr, StumbleUpon, Digg, Flipboard some days I am just not getting the views or orders.
A quick search on Google to see if there was a website out there that would show traffic rates and comparisons of traffic; hey presto I found www.similarweb.com. These two graphs have been generated by this wonderful website and show the difference in volumes in traffic and their sources.These two graphs are a comparison of estimated monthly visits website traffic between fivesquid.com and fiverr.com. To clarify this is the estimated number of internet users who visited fivesquid.com compared to its American competitor fiverr.com.
Estimated Monthly Visits
The reason for my comparison is to ascertain if Fivesquid as a freelancing website is actually growing in popularity or are regular users maintaining it? Are more people actually looking for and hiring freelance services via Fivesquid?
To look at the graph above for the last 3 months looking at the first two indicators, ‘Direct’ and ‘Referrals’ the answer would seem to be no. However looking at the results of ‘Search’ which is Search engine traffic is that traffic that comes from visitors clicking on links on a search results page this would change my opinion a little. There is a significant number of more clicks from search results for Fivesquid as opposed to Fiverr.
Fiverr has a much higher engagement rate to that of Fivesquid, it would appear that Fivesquid is remaining steady in popularity and Fiverr is decreasing in popularity. Certainly, over October, November and December their visits have fallen by approximately 10 million. In referrals, they are much pretty neck and neck but with the decrease in visits and referrals staying the same Fiversquid is getting a more trustworthy site to hire freelancers on. Their rate of conversion at roughly 9.58% compared to Fiverr shows that Fivesquid has a much stronger email marketing strategy and therefore better conversion rates.
This is only my opinion as an experienced Professional offering digital services as Virtuadmin Services working with years of experience working in an office and freelancing. Our conclusion and belief are that Fivesquid has a lot to offer small businesses and organisations or businesses or anyone looking for cost-effective digital solutions. Fivesquid has an awful lot to offer where benefits are to be gained outsourcing in the currency Great British Pound but unfortunately are not promoting.
It is encouraging that ‘Search’ results and ‘Mail’ initiatives provide much higher traffic sources and conversions hoping that one day they will increase their hundreds of thousands of visitors to millions like Fiverr.
Entrepreneurs, Solopreneurs, Small and medium sized businesses, organisations, self-employed are turning more using the professional services offered by freelancers that ever before. Outsourcing to a freelancer is a cost-effective solution and hiring freelancers via freelance websites ensure security for both parties in the buying and selling of a service, flexible that you can hire them to do a one-off job or long-term pretty much hassle free. The only drawback to a site like Fiverr for freelancers where the exchange rate is not favourable to their native country’s currency they cannot work for any decent amount of money without severely dropping their working rates of what they are willing to accept for a certain task. Many, many freelance professionals produce high-quality work and this alternative of compromising working rates does not seem at all fair.
I hope in the future that contractors using freelance sites will consider the currency aspect and appreciate that the digital world operates in different types of currency values and unfortunately, therefore, some parts of the world can outsource their quality services cheaply and work happily on sites like Fiverr whereas others like myself have to remain on less popular websites like Fivesquid.com that haven’t got anywhere near the same volume of visitors or traffic but the buying and selling of services are conducted in the native country’s currency. The quality of services is not to be doubted in any way, they are absolutely top quality and professional. It needs is recognition in countries that can operate on a sensible valuable level to the contractor and freelancer operating from their habitual residence. What would you want for £5? What would you do for £5? Visit www.fivesquid.com or visit fiverr.com for the alternative and see for yourself what works best for you, your wallet and your business!
If you are interested in hiring our professional freelance services please feel free to drop me an email or visit our profile on https://www.fivesquid.com/freelancer/Virtuadmin. Quality low-cost transcription service and Construction (CnDM Manual compilation.
What’s your experience of working on Fiverr.com or Fivesquid.com? Let us know your experiences as a buyer of freelance services or seller of skills and knowledge, we’d love to hear from you. Thanks for reading. – Virtuadmin
If you think there are no great-paying freelance writing gigs out there anymore and it’s all $5 blog posts, I’m here to spread some sunshine.
I have the advantage of chatting with hundreds of freelance writers on a regular basis in Freelance Writers Den. That’s allowed me to get a strong sense of what the trends are, and where writers are finding opportunities.
I’m hearing more and more reports of rising rates in some specific writing niches, and of growing demand for some emerging assignments.
If you’re hoping to up your game and find great-paying freelance writing gigs this year, check out my list of a dozen top niches.
All of these niches have two things in common, so let me call out those two key items first:
Look for complex topics
This one cuts across all the categories below. If you want to earn well, stop writing about parenting/travel/yourself/pets/books and all the other things everyone on earth can easily write about, and tackle difficult topics few writers can manage.
That continues to be where all the money is. If you can write about surety bonds, advanced washing machine technology, trends in shower-curtain materials, new energy efficiency technology, that sort of thing? You can name your price.
Bigger is better
Most starving writers I know write for solopreneurs, local publications, small nonprofits, or local small businesses in their town.
Want to earn more? You need to start pitching bigger clients who have bigger budgets. Yes, I know you’re scared. But writing for bigger clients is actually easier and more fun. Successful enterprises tend to be less dysfunctional, better planners, and more focused — and they’ve got experience working with freelancers that can make your job easier.
Start going after bigger fish to bring home bigger paychecks.
Now that I’ve got you thinking niche topics and bigger prospects, what types of writing are set to earn well this year? Here are my predictions (in no particular order), and a break-in tip for how to get going in each market:
1. Case studies
Wherever companies sell a complex product or service, they need customer success stories to help describe why their solution is the best one in the marketplace.
I’ve seen writers get $1,000 for their first paid case study, after writing a single sample.
Break-in Tip: Nonprofits and small businesses would always love to have case studies, but can’t afford to hire a writer — volunteer to do one to get a sample.
2. White papers
Anywhere you find a business with a complex product or service they sell to other businesses, there are white papers. A study conducted by The Content Marketing Institute and MarketingProfs reported 68 percent of B2B marketers used white papers last year.
If you’re not familiar with this format, which often runs 5-10 pages or more, it’s worth learning how white papers give buyers useful info while positioning the sponsoring business as the go-to source for a particular solution. Rates range from $.50 a word to $500 a page and up. (Steve Slaunwhite taught a nifty bootcamp we’ve got stashed in Freelance Writers Den on this topic.)
Break-In Tip: Look for tech startups that couldn’t afford a pro, and propose a brief white paper to help them gain visibility. Then, you’re set with a white paper sample.
3. Longform blogging
Have you noticed blog posts are getting longer and more detailed? Yes, marketers have learned Google hates short posts, and rewards sites that have more in-depth information.
Fortunately, that means a great opportunity for writers to earn more in blogging, as blog posts increasingly become more like articles.
Google hastes short posts and rewards sites that have more in-depth information.
The secret of good longform blogging is not to simply take longer to say the same thing (which I’m seeing a lot of). Great long posts are packed with useful information, and often use screenshots, infographics, fresh interviews, and unique research. I’m seeing $200-$400 and more for these, and I believe we’ll see many more markets up their game in the coming year.
My biggest blogging prediction for 2016 is that it’s the year that recycling stuff you found on other sites will simply no longer cut it. To win these clients, start digging for the new angle that will get their blog noticed.
What smells like a sophisticated, online magazine but is run by a company — and pays like copywriting? Brand journalism projects. These articles are usually overseen by an experienced editor, and you report the story like you would for any magazine or newspaper. The catch is the ezine content is there to get the brand name in front of consumers.
I’ve earned $2,000 an article writing these, and was able to pitch my own topics and write some fun stories.
Break-In Tip: Watch for brands that feature article-quality content. Many blue-chip brands are into this — I’ve worked on projects for SunTrust Bank, Dun & Bradstreet, American Express, and was recently approached by Intuit.
You may need to sleuth a little, because many outsource the editorial management to an agency. Try searching on LinkedIn or Twitter to see who’s connected to their content project, and reach out.
5. Annual reports
Along with their cousin the corporate social responsibility report, annual reports continue to be fat projects that can pay $5,000-$10,000. I’ve seen annual reports that easily top 100 pages — and if they like your work, this can be a nice repeat gig, every year.
More and more companies are feeling the need to do social responsibility reports to document their sustainability, human rights record, and more, particularly at public companies, so this is a growing niche.
Break-In Tip: Small nonprofits need annual reports, too — volunteer and claim a sample.
6. Big national consumer magazines
Reports of the demise of print have been widely exaggerated. Yes, there’s a lot of change going on, but some magazines are still going great guns and paying over $1 a word. I did a 1,200-word feature assignment this summer that paid $2,800 plus every dime of my travel expenses, for instance.
New magazines also continue to be born, though fewer than in the past — there were nearly 100 launches last year, and closures slowed — and new pubs are often more open to new writers than established rags. Crack that Writer’s Market online, dial their search tool up to five dollar signs (signifying highest paying markets), and see who you could pitch!
Break-In Tip: Start with those newer magazines, or your local ones, but don’t get stuck there. Keep pitching up to the next rung — and if you’re not getting responses, learn more about how to write queries and perfect your pitch.
7. Trade publications
These low-glamour industry-news pubs don’t get pitched a lot, and are usually desperate to find someone who can help pharmacists, restaurant operators, or convenience store owners wring another dollar of profit from their business.
As a result, pay tends to be good — $.30-$.50 a word at the low end, up to $1 a word or so. Trade pubs have survived the magazine fallout fairly well, as each has a niche audience advertisers who sell into that industry are dying to reach.
Go to tradepub.com and browse for topics you know or are interested in, scan some issues, and write a strong introduction letter that plays up your knowledge of the sector.
Break-In Tip: Play on your life experience here. Used to be a lawyer? Try one of the state lawyer magazines put out by the state Bar Association. This is a real use-what-you-know situation.
8. Video scripts
You’ve probably noticed that video is booming, from internal company announcements to welcome videos on blogs to video sales letters. It’s a great opportunity for you former TV and radio journalists, playwrights, screenwriters, and anyone else who writes for aural media to cash in.
Break in tip: Make a video for your website that shows your writing skill, or perhaps find a nonprofit that needs to promote one of their programs, write a script, and collaborate with a videographer.
9. Web content
If you can write an online sales page that gets your clients more revenue, you will earn well. I know writers who charge $2,000 for a long sales page.
But if salesy stuff isn’t for you, no worries — there’s plenty of earning opportunity in other static Web content.
Some of the best projects out there are revamps of big websites with 35-100 informational Web pages or more. I once worked on one of these projects for well over two years, billing $2,000 a month and up, every month.
As online presence becomes ever more important for companies, and changes like mobile require rethinking, I expect to see steady demand for Web content writing and rewriting. Remember my caveat about complex information — things like writing up hotel descriptions continue to pay poorly, but if you need to explain something like insurance consulting services or environmental engineering projects, pay should be at professional rates (at least $100 a page for under 300 words of copy, $300 and more for longer pages).
Break-In Tip: Finding starter clients for your Web content writing services is like shooting fish in a barrel. Get a list of prospects together in a particular industry, and then take a look at their websites. Contact the ones that look dated or lack basic info like a strong About page, team bios, or testimonials.
10. Marketing emails
All those people who predicted email would die are looking dumb about now, because email marketing continues to be one of the top ways blogs and brands reach customers and sell products and services.
Maybe at some point they’ll project these messages straight into our brains, but for now, building an email list and sending marketing emails continues to be a key marketing strategy. As with writing online sales pages, if your writing is connected directly to sales, you are golden.
I know writers getting $250 per email and more for autoresponder sequences or marketing campaigns.
Break-In Tip: Subscribe to a bunch of email newsletters in niches that interest you. Watch for brands where news turns up only sporadically, or sales angles seem weak — then reach out and offer to help.
11. Book ghosting for CEOs
Forget the regular folks who’re hoping you’ll write their life story, or the people advertising on Craigslist that they want an e-book written for $200. There’s real money in ghostwriting for busy, successful CEOs, coaches, motivational speakers, and other thought leaders.
I auditioned in the past year for several projects in the $15,000-$35,000 range, and $50,000 is not uncommon. If anything, the drumbeat of marketers telling thought leaders they need to build their authority by putting out a book under their byline is only growing — which means the audience that might pay well for a book is, too.
Break-in tip: Write an e-book yourself, so you’ve got a sample! Then start networking and connecting with the kind of coaches/CEOs who might do a major book.
12. Online Courses / E-Learning
This niche is huge — $107 billion globally, plus another $50 billion in self-paced e-learning courses, according to an elearningIndustry.com report. And talk about a global opportunity in every language — the three fastest-growing country markets for online education are India, China, and Malaysia. Much of this work is done by agencies or freelanced directly to writers and designers.
We’re not just talking online, universities, either — most clients are major corporations with the budgets to pay handsomely. From how to fill out your time sheet on up, companies are saving money and (wo)man-hours by turning trainings into online modules.
There’s a bottom line that putting training online instead of teaching it in person saves travel expenses for companies, standardizes learning, and creates convenience for learners. Interactivity is making online ed ever more efficient and valuable. Online ed is going to keep growing, as more companies discover the benefits — estimated growth is over 9 percent annually.
The opportunity for freelance writers in this niche, as Donald Trump would say, is huuuge.
Break-In Tip: There are a few moving parts to getting into this niche — but it’s easier to get started than you might think. If you’re interested, it’s worth taking the time to find out more about writing for e-learning.
To sum up, don’t believe the negativity out there, that all freelance rates are through the floor. There are still great-paying freelance writing gigs — if you know the types of writing that are in demand, and the clients that want you.
What writing niches do you think will pay well this year?Leave a comment and add it to my list.
This Infographic was created by Neil Patel at Quick Sprout and introduces his Infographic by stating that (when this article was first published in November 2014 to help get your head around Search Engine Optimization) that Google looks at over 200 factors when ranking a website and that was in 2014!
Today Cent Muruganandam has revisited this infographic and broken down each element of the page and explains the function of and how best to optimise it for better SEO rankings. This is "The Perfect On Page SEO Checklist for 2016" and was published on Business 2 Community on 14th January 2016.
Today we are going to look at on page SEO checklist every website should be taking advantage of; this includes new blogs as well.
After all, who doesn’t crave for Google Gods blessings?
This is an infographic checklist that delivers the message in an elegant way.
This checklist was created by Neil Patel so you know its undoubted quality!
SEO Friendly URL
More weight is given to the first 3 to 5 words of a URL according to Matt Cutts of Google.
Use H1 Tags for the Title (Also use H2 and H3 tags for Subheadings)
Include Target Keywords
Remember, only 512 pixel width of text will be displayed on mobile devices
How to Fix Title Issues
Use a plugin like Yoast SEO to investigate title and description issues. Yoast gives traffic light rankings for each post. (for WordPress)
Use Multimedia and Visual Content
Use pictures, videos and audio content to your advantage. Each media type has another avenue for promotion. Videos -> YouTube.Multimedia can keep online visitors engaged and reduce your website bounce rate.
Read more at http://www.business2community.com/infographics/perfect-page-seo-checklist-2016-infographic-01428523#ikX4KUvfzx72dtdR.99
Link to Authority Sites
Outgoing links tell search engines like Google what your page is about. The quality of your external links is a signal to Google of the quality of your page.
Internal Linking is the Best Form of Content Marketing
As a rule of thumb, link to your older posts when you publish a new post. Try to include 2 to 3 links in each post. The key is to internally link to posts naturally. Don’t try to sell a shoe that doesn’t fit the customer’s leg.
Use Keyword in the First 100 Words of the Content
Keyword should not only be part of your title and URL; it should also be part of the Meta description and content. The earlier the keyword appears in all of these elements the better.
How to Fix Keyword Issues?
Use Yoast SEO to manage keywords and on page SEO elements. (for WordPress)
Use Related Keywords or Similar Words in Your Content
Google uses Latent Semantic Indexing which looks at relative words in the content when ranking websites in the SERP (Search Engine Results Page).
Optimize ALT Tags and Image File Names
ALT tags tell search engines what the image is about. If your image name is ‘image1’ or ‘pic2’ it is useless from a search engine perspective. As a rule of thumb always make the ALT tag descriptive and include keywords. Remember, there is less competition in Google image search and you have a chance of being displayed as one of the images found for a user’s search term.
Website Speed Matters!
If you are stuck in traffic in a slow-moving lane, what do you do? Put the indicator and move to the next lane. What will happen if your website is slow? No indicator, just less traffic. We live in a fast-moving world so test your website speed every once in a while (monthly is a good idea) to make sure your visitors are not lost.
How to Improve Website Speed?
Glad you asked. Here is an infographic with 16 tips to improve a website’s loading time.
You can also implement a CDN (Content Delivery Network) to boost loading times. CDN sounds complicated but it is easy to implement. If you are on a budget try CloudFlare CDN which is free.
Use floating social share buttons. They are easy to use, always visible and a constant reminder to the user. Encourage users to share your content. Use hashtags when you post content in social media and share valuable content from others.
Content Length is Strength
Produce long form content that is useful to the viewer. This post not only tells what the on page SEO elements to focus on but also tells you how to fix them. The content length is determined by whatever it takes to get the message across. Some SEO’s will tell you to only write long post content that is 1,500 to 5,000 words.
Mobile Responsive Website is a Must
The number of mobile devices is growing rapidly; so is the number of people using their smart phones to browse the web. A mobile responsive website resizes its web pages based on the device type the user is on. Remember, social media usage on mobile devices is on the high and you don’t want to be losing out.
How to Make your Website Responsive?
Hire a web developer
Use a responsive theme (for WordPress)
Wrapping it up
A new website or blog will take time to build up its domain authority (DA) and backlinks. One good habit to get into early is to always focus on, SEO elements on the page as this does not depend on domain authority, domain age or backlinks. On page SEO elements are crucial for search engine traffic and rankings.
If you like this essential on page SEO checklist, then share it!
What it does: SEMRush tracks over 95,000,000 keywords and over 56,000,000 domains to provide a complete competitive analysis of websites in your industry. You can find out how they rank for keywords and get an estimate of their traffic.
What it does: This tool is slightly different than the previous one. It randomly shows you a blog title idea where you can fill in your topic. You keep clicking to see more ideas, until you find the one that grabs your attention.
What it does: HubSpot is the best end-to-end Inbound Marketing platform that allows you to manage your blog, social media, email marketing, list segmentation, lead generation and scoring, landing pages, and more.
What it costs: 30-day free trial; plans start at $200 per month
What it does: A free tool from HubSpot that lets you track user behaviors, convert visitors into email subscribers or leads, and provides detailed contact information.
What it costs: Free
Bob is the founder and CEO of IMPACT, an agency he formed in 2009 to help people and their organizations succeed by changing the way they market themselves online. Since its founding, IMPACT has achieved its status as one of HubSpot’s first Platinum Partners in less than 2 years, and secured its place as one of the top inbound marketing agencies in the country.
The broken link building strategy may be one of the most effective, white-hat link building strategies in years. In today’s post, Russ Jones outlines everything you need to know (really, everything) about how to effectively use this strategy in your next link building campaign.
As a link building tactic, broken link building is an effective, white-hat, scalable, content-focused link building strategy that builds links through finding broken links, recreating that broken content, and helping webmasters replace broken links with your corrected link.
Broken link building may perhaps be the most effective, white-hat link building strategy in years. In particular, broken link building is appealing because the success of the campaign is directly proportional to how much good you do for the web. You profit only if you create good content to replace lost or abandoned content that webmasters still want to link to. This is the type of strategy that marries so many of the competing interests our industry: content vs. links, link earning vs link building, inbound vs. outbound, etc.
Below, I attempt to organize as much as I know about broken link building tactics. Throughout the piece I mention tools that will help you make the broken link building process scalable and less monotonous. Let’s begin.
Broken link building is a link building tactic where a marketer contacts a webmaster who has a broken link on his/her site and recommends one or more alternatives that include his/her target site. For the purposes of this piece, we will use a pediatrician in Raleigh, NC as an example client.
The first step in any Broken link building campaign is to find relevant dead pages. However, there are different methods of prospecting depending upon the broken link building strategy you are employing. There are essentially three types of broken link building strategies:
Resource Page Targeting with Keywords
Resource Page Targeting with URLs
Direct URL Targeting
We will cover each of these in the prospecting section. I will mention multiple tools throughout this post and will give descriptions of all of them at the end. Keyword Based
Keyword based is the the most common and, in my opinion, straightforward method of broken link building. The method involves searching Google for keywords relevant to your site’s interests, finding resource pages that link to content related to your keywords, extracting all the links from those resource pages, finding missing pages among those links, and finally qualifying those opportunities.
Select Prospecting Keywords Like so many things in SEO, we begin with keyword selection. A successful broken link building campaign lives and dies by the keywords used. There are a couple of characteristics we want to look for in an ideal keyword.
Categorically relevant: This characteristic seems obvious. The prospecting keywords need to be relevant. However, they don’t necessarily have to be relevant to your product like the key phrase “health resources.” The keywords could be relevant to your audience “resources for kids” or your geography “Raleigh resources.” Remember, you are finding resource pages with these keywords, you are not finding the final targets. You want to cast a wide net, which leads to…
Generally broad: This is where most campaigns fail. Our mock client is unlikely to find any resource pages for the keyword “raleigh nc pediatrician resources,” much less any with good link opportunities. You should choose key phrases that you would consider to be categories that your company might fall in, rather than the specific term.
Prospecting Phrases: Once you have identified your keywords, you will want to pair them with prospecting phrases. These are searches to use in Google or Bing to find relevant resource and links pages like “intitle:resources” or “inurl:links.” Below is a list of prospecting phrases you can use to help find relevant linking pages.
Search Results Scraping: You now have the arduous task of finding all the results for all these prospecting phrases. Google is not fond of sending in automated requests, so you have a couple of choices. You complete the task by hand and use the MozBar to extract results, you can use a SERP scraping tool and risk Google’s ire, or you could look into use the Bing API, which would necessitate changing many of the search operators in the above list of prospecting phrases. Ultimately, you will want to pull down the top 100 results for each of the prospecting phrases you use. You will have quite a bit of crossover, so you will want to de-dupe those lists. You can use Virante’s free “Duplicate Deleter” tool to accomplish this, or you can simply use Excel’s remove duplicates function.
Link Extraction: Once you have a culled list of potential “linking pages,” you need to extract every external link from these pages and begin the process of finding all the 404s. You can also combine this step with the 404 header check using a tool like Domain Hunter+or Check My Links.
404 / Error Checking: Once you have extracted all the links, you will have to check the headers on each link to determine whether or not they are 404s, our ultimate target. If you used Domain Hunter Plus or Check My Links, you can skip this process. The easiest way to do this is with a simple HTTP Status Code checker. There is a free bulk tool here. Just copy and paste all your URLs here, without the http:// and it will find all the 404s for you.
Opportunity Qualification: There are two things you will want to determine about each potential opportunity to vet them for quality: relevance and backlinks.
Backlink acquisition: Once you have found a set of 404 pages, you now have to filter them to determine which are actually strong targets. The more backlinks pointing to a 404 page, the more opportunities you have for link replacement. These linking domains will be the sites you contact to replace the broken link with your own. There are several ways to do this, but the easiest at the moment is likely Majestic SEO’s bulk backlink checker. Remember, at this point you are trying just to get an idea of those with the most links and ignore those with very few. This will limit the amount of time you have on checking relevance.
Relevance analysis: Now you filtered your list of 404 opportunities to those with a good number of unique linking domains. Let’s say that number is 50 or more. You now have to determine the relevancy of that content. You can do that a few ways:
Visit the Wayback Machine (also known as the way back machine) to find cached copies of the URL in history. If the page is well linked and did not block web crawlers, you should be able to find the content here.
If this is not available, you can look at the anchor text of the links pointing to the page. You can use SEOMoz Open Site Explorer to get an export of the anchor text.
You can look at the URL itself for hints as to how relevant the content would be.
You can visit the linking pages to see if those links have descriptions of what the previous content was.
Prospecting Shortcuts: There are two tools that you could use to jump over a lot of these steps.
Broken Link Index (brokenlinkindex.com): This tool by iAcquire allows you to find tons of potential 404 pages from their gigantic database of opportunities. Unfortunately, all of the link qualifications have to be done one at a time, although you could export the list and automate the process if you are savvy.
Broken Link Builder (brokenlinkbuilding.com): This tool by CitationLabs is not free, but allows you to perform all of the actions above in an automated fashion. Just type in your kewords and it performs all of the steps above, from finding opportunities to qualifying them based on links and relevance. This is by far the most robust broken link building tool currently available and a huge time saver.
Resource Page Targeting w/ Model URL
Unlike using keywords, this method starts with a known site and mines their backlinks to relevant resource pages that, in turn, produce broken link building opportunities.
Site / URL Selection: This is by far the most important part of the process. Choosing the right site will make or break this strategy. I do want to give a nod to Garrett French for pointing this method out to me a few months ago. There are a couple of factors you want to use in identifying the perfect site or URL.
Non-commercial: In most cases, you want a non-commercial source. If the site has a direct incentive to acquire links, chances are there will be too much manipulated link noise in their backlink profile to properly mine them for broken link building opportunities.
Authoritative: If the site is not authoritative, it likely has attracted few links from resources that aggregate important links on the web. These are the resource pages from which we will find 404 opportunities. If they aren’t linking to your selected URL, you are wasting your time.
Relevant: Obviously, the site needs to be relevant to your industry. You can use this technique to find great opportunities based on nasa.gov, but unless you are SpaceX, you probably have no business doing so.
Backlink Acquisition: Following the example above of a Raleigh, NC dentist, let’s assume that we selected the American Dental Association (ADA.org). Using Open Site Explorer, Majestic SEO, or A Hrefs, export all of the links pointing back to this site. This list of URLs should be treated in the same way as the list of URLs in the keyword method that were pulled from searching Google with prospecting phrases. You can now skip to the Link Extraction section in the previous description and follow from there. The steps are identical, no need to repeat them.
Direct URL Targeting
This is the least scalable of the strategies and is used specifically to target a single link prospect. Unlike the previous two methods where you are trying to find potential broken content to replace and your link prospects are those who link to that broken content, in this method you have already chosen your link prospect and you simply want to find broken links on his/her site as an excuse to start a conversation. I hesitate to include this strategy because it is weak and unscalable, but it is a part of the grouping of strategies known as “broken link building” so I will include it.
Let’s assume that you are the Raleigh, NC dentist and you have decided that all you really want is a link from ADA.org. You feel that you have some great content they would link to if only you had a reason to open up a conversation that didn’t sound completely like begging. Well, the first step is to try and find a broken link on their site so you have a reason to reach out to their webmaster.
Site Crawling: Site crawling can be problematic because you must balance your need for relatively quick responses and a general respect for the site owner’s bandwidth and uptime. Do not turn on a crawler that you are not certain follows polite crawling policies and obeys robots.txt. Your best bet would be one of the following:
Xenu Link Sleuth A classic SEO tool, Xenu Link Sleuth makes it easy to spider a site and find broken links among other problems.
Screaming Frog SEO Quickly becoming the spider of choice for many SEOs, Screaming Frog can quickly spider your site to diagnose everything from duplicate content to 404s.
Deep Trawl Often overlooked, Deep Trawl is a worthy adversary for solving on-site issues.
Opportunity Selection: You now have a list of broken links on your ideal linking website. Identifying the best opportunity will greatly increase the likelihood of succeeding with this strategy. Here are a couple of pointers.
Choose a broken link opportunity where the link is external. This does two things: it makes the webmaster feel like it is not his/her fault unlike an internal link and it creates a 1:1 ratio of removing an external link and hopefully adding your external link. A webmaster is far more likely to replace a broken external link with another external link than to replace an internal link with an external one.
Try and choose a broken link on the same page as the one your link would most fit. This is most likely to occur if your ideal linking site has a resources section.
The next step in the broken link building process is creating content that matches or improves upon the broken page. The first step you will need to take is actually determining what the broken page is. We assume that you have already vetted this page for relevance so you should have a general idea, but getting as specific as possible will help you create content that meets the expectations of all of those who previously linked to the now defunct resource. There are two tools that can help with this right off the bat…
Wayback Machine: The Wayback Machine at Archive.org allows you to see much of the web as it existed in history. This is your first and best bet for finding the content. Pro-tip: Use Majestic SEO’s historical index to find when the links were acquired, and then choose the date in Archive.org that corresponds with this date. This will help you know the mindset of the linkers if the content changed over time
Warrick: Warrick is a little known tool by the Comp Sci department at Old Dominion that helps you rebuild an entire website by searching through public proxies/mirror caches to find copies of lost content. This is particularly good for rebuilding content that was blocQked by robots.txt. Unfortunately, Warrick is a perl program that may be difficult to operate.
Raised Expectations: Chances are the site for which you are replacing content has greater authority in the industry than does yours. Chances are it is less commercial, more informative, and more trustworthy in general. If you want to acquire a decent return on investment, you need to focus intently on content quality.
Expect to improve upon the content that was created.
Update relevant statistics.
Add new citations and sections.
Consider reaching out to the original author for more information to add credibility.
So, you have found your opportunity, created your list of link opportunities, and you are ready to start outreach. Here is how to make the most out of that link list you have.
Contact Finding: There are a growing number of resources for automating the process of contact discovery, although each comes with it’s own set of issues.
There are many strategies you can employ in the outreach, here are a few of them depending on how transparent you want to be. We find, in general, that if you write good enough content you can be very transparent.
Act as a user who happened upon the broken link
Mix your link in with other valuable, related links
Offer the replacement in a follow up email
Below is an example of a broken link building outreach email. The most important part of the outreach process is that you should tailor your outreach at least to the specific campaign and industry if not to each target specifically. If you can add even a sentence of plausible, relevant customization to each email you send out you will greatly increase your conversion. I promise you if you copy and paste this template you will waste a lot of your opportunities, no matter how good it is.
SL: quick note – dead resource on your site
I’m a licensed (industry specialist) and a health writer – I recently visited your site while researching for an article I’m working on…
This is a note for your webmaster, as I found a dead resource on your site that visitors like me surely miss.
Thanks for your help and for providing great resources!
Best, First Name Last Name Industry Credentials clientsite.org
Anthony Nelson has some fantastic templates here from his excellent piece “Broken Link Building Guide from Noob to Novice”.
Conclusions & Community
Like nearly any link building technique, sweat equity is ultimately going to make the difference between a successful campaign and a failure. The devil is always in the details. With that, I would like to see that this becomes a living document. Broken link building, while not a new technique, is becoming more and more scalable. As more agencies, consultants and business owners jump on the bandwagon, their voices need to be heard as well. Subsequently, I am requesting that if you know any tips or tricks that you feel free to include them in the comments here. Thanks, and happy broken link building!
Credit Where Due
While I would like to pretend that most of my knowledge came from divine inspiration or on-the-job learning, the truth is that many thought leaders have chimed in on broken link building. This posting can be attributed in part to conversations with or content provided by the following great SEOs: