Freelance Writing Meets Internet Marketing

Welcome back to this freelance witter blog of mine. I’m going to re-visit the whole freelance writing thing from a slightly different perspective in this post. I’m not going to promote it as a way to make money online, although it absolutely is. I’m going to take a look at where it can take you in terms of growth, then show you what is possible when freelance writing meets Internet marketing.

There is one great problem with working as a freelance writer online which mirrors working at most forms of gainful employment and that is there is a ceiling on what you can earn. Ok, for some writers who can command a good rate for their work, that ceiling is higher than for most but its still there in the form of time.

What I’m getting at in my usual roundabout fashion is that there are only so many hours in the day and a writer, no matter how prolific, can only write so many words before the physical limitation of the need for sleep shuts them down for the day! So there’s the ceiling. Even if you work flat out, seven days a week you will hit the ceiling because online, especially now in these times of economic turmoil, there is only so much that content writers can expect to be paid.

Unless you are fortunate enough to be able to make the leap from content writer, or ghost writer to full blown, published author in your own right, the sky is considerably higher than the limit.

I know of several freelance writers who are just about at the top of their earning potential and they are not enjoying an easy life by any stretch of the imagination. In fact, in order to earn the kind of money that represents financial freedom, they are literally working their arses off seven days a week, twelve hours a day stuck in a chair chained to a computer. That’s no life! At least not one that has a pot of gold waiting at the end of all those long hours of toil.

This is the problem. Once you’ve worked so hard for a month and made a decent income, paid all your bills and everything else, you can’t sit back and relax while the next month looks after itself. To sustain that income you have to keep going. And keep going some more until you’ve saved enough to allow you to take a couple of weeks off and have a nice holiday. At the end of the holiday, what have you got to look forward to? The endless grindstone, that’s what.

In fact, its no different from working at a job, except you get to work from the comfort of your own home. The downside is that no company would expect you to work 12 hours a day, seven days a week. Ok, the pay and the conditions may be worse at a J-O-B and you’d probably have to commute (I’d rather shove bamboo splinters up my fingernails) and job security no longer exists, but at least you’d get weekends off and a few weeks paid holiday.

So am I advocating quitting the freelance writing game and returning to gainful employment?

Absolutely not!

I’d sooner commit Hari Kari than work for someone else ever again! But there is an alternative to slogging the hours away writing content that still allows you to stay at the computer and work from home. Its just that it also takes a monumental amount of work, time and perseverance to pull it off.

I know so, because its exactly what I’m doing. Its a marriage of two disciplines, where freelance writing meets Internet marketing. Writing and building a business that has no ceiling on earnings. While still working as a freelance writer I can transfer the writing skills I have to building my ever growing collection of websites which are quietly growing in size and authority with the search engines. I already make money from my freelance writing, and I’ll keep that side going because it would be foolish to stop. But now I also make money online from my websites and the monthly earnings keep growing, steadily month by month.

The Internet marketing income comes from different sources, but the main ones are affiliate commissions on products, services and merchandise that I promote on certain websites, advertising revenue and PPC (Pay Per Click) advertising from Google Adsense. This is what is known as Internet Marketing, or selling/marketing for profit using the Internet as your medium. This income grows in direct proportion to the volume of sites I have out there and their increase in age, stature and authority as they mature. There is no ceiling on this area of income as the Internet is huge, steadily growing and will continue to grow for the foreseeable future.

This income will gradually displace the freelance writing income and become a kind of income that is what is known as passive, meaning that it will continue whether I sit here in front of my computer slaving away, or sit on a beach enjoying a day off, or lying fast asleep in my bed. Its 24/7 income that just keeps coming. Of course, the more I put into it now, the more it will continue to grow, making for an ever upward spiraling source of income that will not stop if I decide to take a holiday, which it certainly would do if I were relying solely on income from writing.

Is this an easy thing to do? No it is not and when I said it takes perseverance, I’m talking 2 years of learning, implementing what I learned, making mistakes, suffering setback after setback and still hammering away at it until I started showing a profit. I still suffer setbacks and still make mistakes, but they are fewer and father between these days. There is a very bright light at the end of this very long tunnel and getting there has been extremely trying. Luckily for me, I’m a stubborn, tenacious bastard when I get an idea in my head and decide to go for it! Once I get the bit between my teeth, I’ll keep going at it until it pays off.

Failure is a word that does not exist in my vocabulary. Setback and obstacle I can take, because I know that these can be overcome with dogged perseverance, belief and sheer tenacity. Most people give up too soon in this game and that’s a shame, because it really can be done and you really can make a decent living from the Internet if you’re willing and prepared to take everything it can throw at you and still bounce back to progress toward that point where you’re in profit and the money that comes in pays the bills and keeps growing so that the next holiday will be better than the last!

Do you think you’re up for that?

Terry Didcott

Posting Pictures Legitimately

Posting pictures legitimately seems to be something a lot of bloggers and the odd freelance writer needs to do, but they often cross the line with regards to copyright. This is because published photographs that appear on the originating website often turn up on other people’s blogs without any credit given to the owner. While the Internet is a vast place chocked full of millions of pages of web content and images, it doesn’t necessarily mean that if you post someone else’s picture on your blog without due credit that you will get away with it because no one will notice.

There are some websites out there that do publish royalty free images that you can legitimately download and post to your blog. They make it clear that their images cane be used on a non-commercial basis which is perfect for most general niche blogs. So if these sites, some of which have many thousands of images to choose from, are allowing this then why do some bloggers still go out and steal photos that are not royalty or copyright free?

One reason may be that they can’t find exactly what they want on the free image sites and when they come across that perfect image on another site, they think “what the hell?” and take it anyway. Another reason may be that they want a higher resolution image. Free image sites generally only give away small images, say 300×200 at best which is fine for sprucing up a blog post, but no good if you’re designing a fancy header banner that requires a much larger image.

Whatever the reason for stealing someone else’s photos, its plagiarizing and the owner can come after you with a lawyer and give you all sorts of legal headaches. Not worth the trouble, really, but it wont stop anyone who is already actively doing it, because they probably think that they can’t be caught. Geographic location has plenty to do with this kind of blogger’s attitude. A blogger in China probably feels very safe from the US lawyers who think they rule the roost. That blogger is probably right if he steals an image from an American’s site, but if he steals one from a site based in China, he will be caught and prosecuted. It happens!

Same goes wherever you are in the world. Just because a site looks like it originates in a certain country, it doesn’t mean that it does. Many of my own sites look like they originate in the US because I’m targeting US traffic – even down to the American way of spelling if that’s what it takes. But I’m not in the US at all. Not even close.

I’m drifting away from the point of this post, which is to tell you about posting pictures legitimately on your blogs, so let’s bring it back. There are two ways in which to post images on your blog without upsetting anyone and still enhancing the look of it, assuming pictures are needed to do that. You may have noticed that I don’t personally use many pics in my own postings – for me they distract the reader from the beauty of the written word… mmm ok whatever!

1. Just sort through the royalty free stuff and use what fits most closely to what you need it for. Sure it’s time consuming, but you stay legitimate and that’s important.

2. Go out of the house with a digital camera, or phone if it has a good camera built in, and take some of your own!

The second point is something that I have been doing for some time now when I want that certain angle that I know I can get locally. I’m lucky in that I live quite near to the beach in a tourist town in southern Spain, so in summer the place is packed with tourists of all descriptions and perfect for taking “people” shots that can work. I generally stick to candid group shots rather than taking individuals, or they might get a little upset at being singled out and want to know why.

In fact, my new header image was taken recently on my phone while I was walking the dogs up in the hills behind where I live. Nice view from up there!

Sometimes, if you’re faced with this dilemma and want to photograph an individual, then be bold and go up and ask their permission. Explain what you want the shot for and they might be happy to agree. Remember, people are generally quite vain and the thought of their image appearing in the online “media” will sway any misgivings and they’ll most likely be happy to let you. If not, thank them for their time and move on to someone else.

The beach is not just for photographing people, but also I have great scenery with a backdrop of tall rugged mountains, a wealth of bars, restaurants and shops that can add character to any post especially in a locally oriented blog, castles, ruins and interesting old buildings, people walking dogs for dog and pet oriented blogs, plenty of traffic for shots of cool sports cars, even cooler motorbikes and all kinds of vehicles, plenty of scope for abstracts, sunrises and sunsets, moon rises, choppy seas, calm seas, low flying planes and helicopters etc.

Plenty of scope in fact to embellish with images a wide variety of blog themes and its all completely royalty and copyright free because I took the photos myself and I own the copyright.

So if you need an excuse to get away from the computer for an hour or so while still remaining in “working” mode, then grab your camera or phone and go take some images of your own. They may even turn out to be much better than what you can steal!

Terry Didcott

Words of Wisdom

As a freelance writer, I often write for other people’s websites on a variety of subjects. But while this is what pays the bills, the bulk of the time I spend online is taken up with building new websites and blogs for myself.

The reason I do this is because I eventually want to be earning a generous income from them, rather than just a mediocre one as at present. Slowly does it with this, as the new sites are all at various stages of aging and of course some of the older sites are now over 2 years old (that doesn’t account for the expired domains I buy which are a good deal older).

My strategy is not too dissimilar from that of the great Griz who has, whether he likes it or not, become something of a mentor to many in the cut and thrust world of making money online. Incidentally, you can read some of his words of wisdom at his newest and rapidly becoming hugely popular blog here: Make Money with Adsense (link removed). It’s perfect for beginners wanting to know how to make money online using free resources and Google’s Adsense program, rather than follow the empty promises of the many scammers that litter the Internet with hyped up promotions to buy their magic beans.

These people are known as A-listers, or gurus, although both terms are misleading and when it comes down to the truth of the matter, wholly false. These so called gurus are merely leeches, feeding of the new blood of the thousands of newbies who enter this arena every day. Many of these are sucked in by these hucksters who promise magical earnings of thousands of dollars in a crazily short period of time if you just donate $47 of your hard earned cash for their ebook which promises to show you how. Unfortunately, the ebooks are full of bullshit which basically teach you how to write an ebook and sell it to clueless noobs like yourself.

Of course, calling people clueless noobs is a harsh thing to do and rather unfair, but its how these scammers see new people who are looking for ways to make money online. Noobs are clueless in the beginning because they haven’t learned how to spot these fakes who only teach you how not to go about making money online. For this reason, noobs are very easy shark-bait. When you look around for ways to make money online and find the attractive and almost believable ads these sharks create, it’s easy to see how noobs can be so easily taken for a ride.

Everyone wants to drink from the forbidden chalice that promises great riches for little effort. Its just normal human nature to want something for nothing and these so-called A-listers, or self styled gurus know this very well. They prey on the uneducated by appealing to their greed by offering something that we know deep down inside must be impossible, yet we are still curious enough to click the link to see what its all about. And like any good salesman, these people are skilled in the art of selling refrigerators to Eskimos. So they will sell a noob one of their ebooks because it promises exactly what the noob wants.

The truth is that none of these ways work, unless of course you are the person selling the ebook, then if you’ve been around long enough and have mastered the art of selling refrigerators to Eskimos, then you will make a good living off the backs of those who can least afford to part with their hard earned money. And so it goes for the whole world.

But it doesn’t have to be this way.

You don’t have to get your hooks into every newcomer to the Internet and use them like cash cows, flogging them useless ebooks that will not help anybody but the author. You can make money online in other, completely legitimate ways. The way I go about it is by building lots of websites and blogs, aging them, writing lots of relevant content for them and obtaining backlinks to them so that they rank well in the search engine results pages (SERPs).

That way, people who are searching for something that I write about may come across one of my sites on Google, or Yahoo, MSN or whichever. They will find my websites which carry Google Adsense ads, or affiliate ads for products such as items of clothing, collectibles etc. Essentially, my sites provide either a product that the surfer was looking for, in which case I will redirect them to the merchant’s site where they can buy the product (and for which I earn a commission) or they do not. In that case, they may see a pertinent Adsense ad and click that, which earns me some money for the click.

Now I’m not going into the mechanics of how Adsense works here. Griz does that extremely well on his site (which you will find by clicking the link above).

By this method, no one gets ripped off. Noobs don’t get sold useless ebooks that only teach them how to become scammers themselves. People looking for a certain brand of shirt, or a watch, or maybe information on how to get free blogs will find what they’re looking for and everyone makes a little in the process, while the person buying often gets a discount on what they’d pay for a similar item in a High Street store. So everyone wins and no one loses. Except maybe the High Street store, but that’s business!

So these words of wisdom are for anyone who has found an ad for a money making guru who promises to teach you how to make $3,000 in three weeks by using their special, guaranteed, unfailing method.

Ignore it.

There are better, more honest ways to make money online and I’m doing it and Griz is teaching it. For free!

Terry Didcott