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Freebie Friday #4

Freebie Friday #4

Friday Freebies

Hello and Happy Friday! This week I have included a number of free fonts and images along with the usual ebooks, ecourses, website apps, etc. And don’t miss out on the Just for Fun freebies from Smashwords which are available for the whole month of July.

Courses and Classes

Writing for the WebOpen2Study

Understanding the difference between writing for print versus writing for the web starts with learning about how readers behave differently online. This course brings to light how to accommodate the needs of online readers through web design, writing style, and structure and search engine optimization.

What you will learn:

  • how to structure a web page
  • considerations for search engines and accessibility requirements
  • making your content scannable
  • using keywords, headings, lists and links
  • matching your company’s tone of voice
  • creating a content strategy and style guide
  • and many other things!

How to Get More Twitter Followers – Kelsye Nelson

In this three day course, Kelsye will show you:

  • how to gain an average of 500 quality followers
  • how to get the right people to follow you
  • her favorite tool for managing following and saving time
  • her hack for fast growth without buying ads or followers
  • how to avoid mistakes that get your account flagged and locked

Fonts and Images

Bloggers that are horrible at taking pictures (like myself) are constantly looking for free images to use on their blogs. I am regularly on the lookout for images that match my blog topic and fonts that I can use with my Pinterest and Twitter images.  This week, Creative Markets (a new favorite place of mine) is sharing a number of both fonts and images for free.

creative market

Graphic Design Services

Pixlr

Make every moment beautiful with Pixlr’s family of photo editing apps.

BeFunky

Free yourself from complicated software and design the way you want.

YouiDraw

No signup, no download! You can draw, create logos, and design.

FatPaint

Make pages, vector illustrations, logos, edit photos and design products online.

Fotor

Free online graphic design tool. Design your photo, banner, poster, or card online!

Just for Fun

I absolutely love reading and find it a great form of relaxation. Some people like to take vacations, I like to find a comfy spot to sit, unwind, and escape in a good book. For the entire month July over at Smashwords they are offering a huge selection of free ebooks in all genres. Just click on this link, add any of the books to your shopping cart, and enter SFREE at checkout.

Here are a few that I found (just click on the individual book covers and it will take you right to their Smashwords page):

the journey journal

Fox Island

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Stay tuned for next week’s edition of Freebie Fridays were you will find a lot me free ideas for your business, blog, and you. Please feel free to comment and leave any freebies that either you are offering on your sites or feel the Pursuing My Dream readers might be interested in.


To Blog or Not to Blog: Blogging as a Career

To Blog or Not to Blog: Blogging as a Career

To Blog or Not to Blog
To Blog or Not to Blog

Blogging has been a widely known concept for quite some time now. While some may not know the technical ins and outs of how it works, many  have heard about blogging in pop culture.

Julie and Julia is a good example of this. It’s a movie that originated from a true life tale of Julie Powell, who set out to blog about her experiences cooking each of Julia Child’s 524 recipes from her book Mastering the Art of French Cooking in just 365 days.

Her blog became so popular that she was offered a book and movie deal for her efforts, and she also published her second book. Her success isn’t common, but not everyone needs a book and movie deal to make a substantial profit from their blog!

Blogging Conceptsblog-49006_1280

Looking for “blog jobs” online is something many people do these days. They know they love to post on Facebook and they hate their current 8-5 job, so they think they’d love to get hired as an official blogger for a company.

It’s true that more and more companies are coming onboard as blog entities – because they understand the value of having a social media presence online, part of which is their blog audience (in addition to Twitter, Facebook, and Google Plus, for example).

But you have to understand that when a company sets out to attract a blogger to represent their business online, they don’t want an amateur blogger. They want someone who understands the business side of blogging – because when you’re a blogger, you’re building a brand (or destroying it, in some unfortunate cases).

When you start looking at professional blogger-for-hire jobs, you’ll see that they want you to understand online marketing fully, they want you to deliver a certain number of blog posts per week (usually five), and sometimes want you to go out and find guest blogging opportunities where you can blog elsewhere and link back to their main blog.

It’s not a good career for someone who is new to blogging and thinks it “might be fun.” This is for seasoned professionals – and sometimes the company will even want to investigate to see what kind of current reach you have with your own content in the social media world.

If you’re already at a company that doesn’t have an online presence, then maybe you can make a suggestion that they allow you to head up that operation. This would give you a little experience so that you could then go out and brag about launching and generating a good buzz for your current company.

Choosing Blogging as a Career

Blogging as a Career

The do-it-yourself route is far more rewarding when it comes to blogging. It’s something you can do anytime – in the morning before work, on your lunch hour, after work and on the weekends.

Then when it becomes profitable, you can use it to replace your current income and begin blogging fulltime. When you choose this path, you have much more personal satisfaction in your blogging career.

Blogging is a real business when you start pursuing it for financial reasons. Yes, it gives you much in terms of happiness – but when you’re making money doing something you love, it’s very rewarding.

You have to treat this like a business from the very start. If you start blogging haphazardly, then your readers will recognize that it’s an amateur site. Yes, some will become fans anyway – but others want to know they’re following a leader in whatever niche you choose to blog about.

How do you pick a niche for your blog? Some blogs have a multitude of topics – from entertainment to fashion to business to health. You can do that, but unless you have a team of contributors, it’s hard to maintain the momentum needed for a broad blog like this.

A better option might be to narrow down your focus into something that you really love. It can still be broad – like a women’s health blog for example. But it’s not as narrow as “everything” or “health in general” (including both genders).

You can even drill down more and go with one form of women’s health, like menopause or pregnancy. You don’t even need to be an expert in it – it’s all about sharing information and as you learn, you can share!

One thing that’s important is that you make sure that you love whatever topic you’re blogging about. You should want to wake up every day, eager to get to your computer.

If you dread it because it bores you or it’s depressing, then you won’t help your readers and the blog won’t become profitable for you.

Aside from the overall slant, you get to choose what each individual entry on your blog is all about.  If you were blogging for another company, they might tell you what to blog about each day – even if you found it mundane.

You can set an entire editorial calendar for your blog where you choose which topics are presented to your readers. You also get to pick the tone for the blog pieces.

For example, let’s take the diet niche. You could be a fad and trend diet blogger who emphasizes fast weight loss – or someone who harps on the fact that weight loss should just be the adoption of better nutrition and exercise and the pounds should come off slowly.

Developing a Relationship with Your Readers

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Having a relationship with your readers mean they value your blog and they share the link to it with other people. You want that type of connection because as a professional, the traffic and branding that you gain will be priceless.

When blogs have a loyal readership, they enjoy a fantastic word of mouth traffic flow. While many bloggers are out there buying links back to their site and paying people to help them get traffic, you can do it all for free.

First, pick topics they want to know about. Part of your job in relationship building is to listen to your audience and meet their needs. There are many ways you can do this.

Do some preliminary keywords researches to find out what people want to know in your niche. Using the menopause example, you could go to UberSuggest.org and type in what is menopause.

This is known as a sentence starter – and it gives you some insight into what type of blog post you might want to do, such as:

  • What are menopause hot flashes like?
  • What are menopause symptoms caused by?
  • What are the best menopause vitamins?

A good keyword tool gives you help on what to blog about. But there’s more that you can do to find topics. You can look in forum threads and see what people are asking.

You can also simply invite your readers to submit questions to you. You can do this on your email auto responder opt in form, or have a special contact form on your blog where people can engage with you that way.

Whenever someone emails you with a question, you can assume there are more people out there who are wondering the same thing. Use those questions as fodder for your blog topics.

When you start blogging about all of these things, it makes the audience feel like you’ve really got your finger on the pulse of the marketplace – like you have great instincts.

Next, write in a highly conversational style and end each blog with an invitation to connect. People need to feel like you’re speaking just to them – even if you’re not.

If you write, make sure it’s conversational and not stuffy like you’d write for a professional publication. If you make a video blog, look right in the camera and be casual and relaxed, not stuffy and nervous.

When you end a blog post, you can ask a question or invite people to share their own $0.02 about the topic in the comments. Make sure that whatever comment system you’re using, it’s easy to find – because some are almost hidden.

Participate in the conversation that goes on in your blog comments. If people are kind enough to take you up on your invitation, then make an effort to have a dialogue with them.

Thank them for their comment, call them by name, and open up a discussion about what they had to say. You can use a plugin to help the comments become “threaded,” which helps all of your readers see who was responding to whom.

Supporting Yourself Financially With Blogging

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When you start blogging for profit, you should be consistent with your efforts. You should blog regularly – daily if possible, but at least several times a week. There are a few ways you can make money as a blogger.

Build a list from your blog so that whenever you have a new blog post, you can notify people about it. Also have an RSS system set up for people who use RSS feed readers to get notified of your new content.

Whenever you have a list, it gives you a certain amount of power – the power to instantly communicate with your target audience when you are selling or promoting products.

Because of this, you have to make sure that you don’t abuse that power by spamming their email with useless or irrelevant offers. If you do this, you build a reputation as a spammer.

Sell ad space for a certain amount of profits. You can arrange a specific area of your blog for ad space that people rent on a monthly basis, paying the ad revenue to you directly.

If you go this route, make sure you have specifics in place to control what kinds of ads can get placed on your blog – all the way down to the colors and animation of it if you want.

Sign up for AdSense, too. This can help you get clicks and revenue. You can put different sized ad banners on your blog, from buttons to skyscraper ads. You can include images or go with just text.

One thing you have to remember whenever you place any ads on your blog is that yes, it gives you some money when people leave your site for somewhere else – but in leaving, it also means someone else is capturing their name and email address and selling something to them, not you.

Promote tangible products as an affiliate. You can sign up as an Amazon Associate and promote anything they sell there that they offer a commission on.  Using our menopause example, if you promoted a chilled pillow, you could earn a percentage of each sale from your blog post.

Promote digital products as an affiliate. Digital products can be found at sites like ClickBank. You can sign up for free and get a hoplink (affiliate link) where you earn around 50% for each sale.

Create your own products and sell them from your blog. You don’t have to promote other people’s stuff. Why not create an info product (eBook, video or audio course) and teach something you blog about in more depth – or in a more comprehensive manner?

Offer services from your blog. Freelancing like writing, graphics, or other services can be offered right from your blog. Coaching is something you can offer. Many people pay top dollar for one on one coaching sessions via Skype or even email!

Blogging can be a very fun and very profitable venture if you approach it correctly. Don’t make the mistake of flying by the seat of your pants. If you do this, your blog will be scattered with topics, have no set monetization plan, and you’ll end up unhappy with the effort you’ve put in.

With proper planning and enthusiasm, you’ll never need to look for “blogging jobs” again – in fact, you might be the one putting out feelers for a professional blogger to come onboard and help you with your content needs! Don’t you agree that being in a position of power makes a world of difference?

Comments

Are you a blogger that has found success? Please share some of your success tips, struggles, or anything else about blogging that might be of interest to a new blogger.

How to Succeed in Making Money Online – Freelance Work

How to Succeed in Making Money Online – Freelance Work

How to Succeed in Making Money Online - Freelance Work
How to Succeed in Making Money Online – Freelance Work

Welcome back to the How to Succeed in Making Money Online Series. To recap, in part one, I introduced you to the concept of affiliates and discussed how to make money online with affiliate marketing programs. That was followed up with part two and the discussion about incorporating and developing information product creation to your website. In part three, I discussed membership marketing sites; what they are, what they do, and how to build one.

In the fourth part of the series, our main focus will be on freelance work. Working as freelancer, as your talent, is a good way to earn money online. There are always marketers that are looking for freelancers who know how to do a great job.

Freelancing

If you’d like to get into freelancing, the first thing you need to do is pick what type of freelancer you’d like to be. A Freelancer has many career options and can branch out into many different career paths including:

  • Copywriter
  • Editor/Managing Editor
  • Writer
  • Blogger (Niche) Writer
  • Technical Writer
  • Marketing/Sales Manager
  • Creative Director
  • Editorial Director

When you are first starting out as a freelancer, you can find clients on sites such as Upwork, Fourerr, Guru, Freelancer, or Fiverr. The amount of money that you can make on these sites will vary. Remember that these are your starting points into the freelance world where you define and redefine your writing skills (and niches), build your portfolio, build a following, and attract clients. Once you’ve established yourself as a freelancer who delivers good quality and services, then you can consider branching out on your own by finding clients so that your business continues to thrive and expand.

Finding Clients

Finding clients to build your income doesn’t have to be difficult. If you’re a freelancer, you need to have a professional website with a personal blog on that website. Building a professional website doesn’t have to cost you a lot of money as you should be able to get started with a domain name and hosting services for around $25 or less a month.

Before you balk at the $25 a month, consider this fee as a small investment into your future. Sure you could go with a free hosted website such as blogger, but a self-hosted blog (through bluehost) gives you the peace of mind that you have control of the website and also allows you to easily monetize your site at any time.

Think of your website as a letter of introduction to potential clients. These clients may go to the Internet and search for freelance services. Because of this, you want to make sure you have a professional website to tap into the market and pull in traffic, while gaining clients.

On your website, you want to include a blog, an about you page, a page for your portfolio with testimonials, and a page of writing samples. The blog and about you page will pull the client in and let them get to know you and your personal writing style.

The portfolio page would include a collection of work that you have currently completed including links (if allowed by previous clients) for the potential clients to view. This is your time to shine so try to showcase your best work. You will also want to include a list of your skills like you would on an online resume. This will let the potential client know your previous work experiences (example: 10 years developing websites and creating web design), your expertise (example: creating standard operating procedures manuals), and you skills (example: 10 years as an Administrative Assistant who sent out email notifications, typed business letters, sent out marketing and advertising materials, etc.).

Don’t forget to include testimonials that you have gathered from previous clients. This will let potential clients know that you have completed exemplary work, satisfied a client, and are the type of person they are looking to hire.

If you are just starting out and don’t have a portfolio or testimonials, then you will want to have a page of writing samples. What you will need to do is create sample articles, blog posts, and other materials that will showcase to potential clients the type of work you are capable of completing.

Now that you have your website set up and your list of potential clients and freelance websites in hand, you are now ready to venture into the world of freelancing.

Comments Welcome

If you have experience as a freelancer, I would love for you to share your experiences with my readers by commenting to this post. What are some of the obstacles/successes you have faced as a freelancer or blogger?

Please come back again to read the final in the series, part 5, where I discuss making money online as a success coach.

 

How to Succeed in Making Money Online – Membership Websites

How to Succeed in Making Money Online – Membership Websites

How to Succeed in Making Money Online: Membership Sites

Welcome to the Making Money Online series. In part one, I introduced you to the concept of affiliates and discussed how to make money online with affiliate marketing programs. That was followed up with part two and the discussion about incorporating and developing information product creation to your website.

In the third part of the series, our main focus will be on membership marketing sites. There is a good reason that membership sites are popular business avenues with Internet Marketers. Its popularity stems from the fact that they provide a consistent monthly income and in a lot of cases, this can be a great deal of money.

What is a Membership Site

A membership site is a private website with exclusive content that allows members the ability to interact with one another. As the membership site owner, these members pay you a monthly fee to have access to the site and all of its contents. An example of a membership site is Authority, which is a highly popular content marketing training and networking community. It is so popular that they have a membership waiting list.

Researching Membership Sites

If you plan out and implement a membership site, it won’t take you months or years to generate enough income online to be able to support yourself. If you design it properly, you can grow your site as well as your income very quickly.

What you have to do first when thinking about creating a membership site is to figure out if you have an audience that’s willing to pay well for access to your site.

If you are thinking about starting a membership site in a particular niche but can’t find other sites in the same niche that can be a warning sign. Though it’s not always the case, not having competition in a niche could potentially mean that the audience is not interested enough in your idea.

But don’t let that stop you from doing a bit of research on the topic as it can also be a sign that your niche is too narrow. If you broaden your niche and find membership sites, then you have found your market.

When you have a niche in mind, you will want to look at other successful membership sites. A good suggestion is to join some of these other sites if possible. Think about it this way – if you were going to open a car dealership in a city, then the first thing you would do is scope out other car dealerships in the area.

You don’t do this so you can steal their cars or so you can duplicate their marketing. You do this so you can study the other dealerships’ successes and failures. Review these sites for:

  • What is working well
  • What does the site lack (add these to your own site)
  • Is the site worth the fee you are paying
  • How can you replicate the good things on your own site
  • Do they offer resources and are they easy to find

Knowing what works well in your niche can position your membership site for success.

Building Your Membership Site

The next thing you need to do is decide how you are going to build your membership site. You can build a membership site by using software like WordPress and a plugin like S2 Membership. This will help keep your costs down – especially in the beginning.

But if you do go this route, it also means that you are virtually on your own for technical support. Since the backend management is the toughest part of having your own membership site, you need to compile a list of trusted service providers.

You want several providers that are capable of dealing with technical problems and can troubleshoot if something breaks down and you need help. If you would rather not deal with this hassle, then you could consider paying for membership software like aMember Professional. This means that if something does break, you’ll have a dedicated team that you can reach out to for help.

When you start building your site, you’ll want to assemble a team of moderators. Unless you plan on being chained to your computer for days on end in the beginning, you’ll need moderators. These should be people that support your vision and can help enforce member rules.

You probably already have some followers who would make great moderators. Look for the people who always comment on your blog posts, that promote your newest products, and that may already be involved in other communities. To make it worth their while, you can give moderators free membership and even throw in some perks from time to time.

Where to Go From Here

In this article, I was only able to touch upon a fraction of the things you will need to consider when developing and implementing a membership site. If you are seriously considering setting up a membership site, I highly recommend doing further research and signing up for an ecourse which will take you through the steps from start to finish.

If you have a membership site, I would love for you to share your experiences with my readers by commenting to this post. If you are member of a membership site, what are some of your favorites and what things do you like about them?

Please come back again to read part 4 of the series where I discuss making money online as a freelancer.

How to Succeed in Making Money Online – Information Product Creation

How to Succeed in Making Money Online – Information Product Creation

How to Succeed In Making Money Online: Information Product Creation
How to Succeed In Making Money Online: Information Product Creation

Last week I spoke about how to succeed in Making Money Online by utilizing Affiliate Marketing. This week I am continuing the series by introducing you to information product creation.

Information Product Creation

Information product creation is another lucrative way that you can make money online. But this area of money making has a lot of other benefits as well. When you write and then promote your own informational product, this helps establish you as an expert in whatever niche that you are in.

It also works to strengthen whatever brand you are trying to develop and on the plus side it gives you a source of passive income. Passive income is the kind of money (income) flow that can put cash in your pocket for many months or even years after you have created your product.

One of the reasons that some people don’t create any informational products is that they believe they have to do all of the work themselves. But you don’t; there are many successful Internet marketers who use service providers who perform micro jobs to help them.

Service Providers/Micro Job Companies

The top service providers/micro job companies in 2016 are:

  • Fiverr – for as little as $5 you can hire individuals that enjoy helping you get whatever task you need (blogging, ghost writer, digital marketing, etc.) done at an unbeatable value.
  • SEOClerks – with gigs starting as low as $1, SEOClerks is a marketplace dedicated for all SEO related services from link building to social signals. They also offer services such as article writing, tutorials and guides, virtual assisting, and social networking.
  • GigBucks – for $5 to $50, you can hire expert digital marketers, creatives, writers/freelancer, SEO wizards, and so much more.
  • Fourerr – they have the same services as Fiverr, just start their gigs at $4.
  • TenBux – starting at $10, you can hire experts in writing, web design, graphics, advertising, digital products, and more.
  • FiverUp – offers the same services as Fiverr and Fourerr and you can hire experts from $4 to $100 per gig and

By paying a service provider, you can shorten the amount of time that it takes to create a product. Plus, this can help you in any areas of the creation process that may not be your strong point.

For example, if you’re good with graphics, then you should create your own graphics because it will be cheaper and easier if you do that. But if you’re not, then you should outsource.

The same thing with writing; if you are not great with writing, then try to outsource to a professional ghostwriter. Even if you outsource things like writing, you will want to put your own unique voice into the final product.

Once you’ve completed your product, you will still need to market it. This is where a lot of new marketers go wrong. You need a marketing plan. Having a solid marketing plan can make the difference between a launch that soars and one that flops.

Marketing Your Product

Your marketing plan needs to go into effect before your launch ever happens. You can start by mentioning on social media that you are working on a special project then post hints and teaser in the following weeks.

This will make your followers curious and make them more likely to read about your product when you’re finally ready to release it. Every good marketing plan should include an affiliate program.

You want an army of affiliates that are eager to share your product with their own followers. This not only brings you more cash, but it also gives you more subscribers and helps you find new customers.

You don’t have to manage your affiliates yourself because this can be a big job. Instead, you can use a platform like ClickBank, JVZoo, or Warrior Plus. By using these platforms, you’ll have access to affiliates who are already looking for great products to promote.

In order to get the best affiliates promoting your products and helping you earn more money, you need to set a good commission rate. No one wants to promote your product for only a ten percent commission.

The best affiliate promoters usually expect half the purchase price of the item they’re promoting. If this seems like a lot, remember that good affiliates can put your product on the bestseller lists, which will result in even more sales for you.

But setting a generous commission rate isn’t the only thing you need to do. You should also create plenty of extras so that it’s easy for your affiliates to promote your info products.

Some of the tools that you could give your affiliates include graphics, product links, comparison charts, email autoresponder swipe files, free bonuses and more.

Once your product has launched, you will get returning as well as new customers signing up to your list. Many of them will have questions about the product. Make sure you handle inquiries promptly and don’t outsource customer service until your business grows to a point where it’s impossible for you to handle it yourself.

If you like what you are learning then stay tuned for part three of the money making series where we will discuss how to start a successful membership site.

Are you currently marketing an informational product on your website or planning to? Have you created the materials or are you using a service provider? Please use the comment section to share your experiences (good or bad), questions, or comments.

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