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10 Reasons Your Writing Blog Isn’t Helping You Get Jobs

10 Reasons Your Writing Blog Isn’t Helping You Get Jobs

 Guest post from Danielle McGaw of the Social Freelance Writer

I’ve always been very pro-blogging. I think that when blogging is done right it can be beneficial for any career. Notice that I said when it is done right – because there is a wrong way to blog if you want to be taken seriously. If you don’t have a plan, your blog is more likely to prevent you from getting clients than it is to help.

If you are not getting clients from your blog, ask yourself if any of these things apply:

1. Your blog has no identifiable theme or purpose. You have 100 categories and none of them are really connected in anyway. Someone who visits your blog one day might think it is a mom blog while someone that stops at your blog a week later might think it is a blog about homeschooling. Stop by in a few more days and it might appear to be a blog about blogging. Find a central theme and focus on it. That way, when potential clients find your blog they will see that you are able to concentrate on a topic for more than a day at a time.

2. You talk about your kids all the time. Now, if you have kids, you’re bound to talk about them once in awhile but if you talk about them all the time, clients are going to just see you as a “work at home mom” – not a professional freelance writer. If all they see on your blog is that the baby has the mumps and the older children are taking up all your time with sports activities, they are likely to believe that the work that they might potentially assign you will fit in between the kids. This might be true but clients don’t want to believe that. They want to believe that they come first.

3. Your blog is pink and lime green. If you love these colors, that is fine – wear them or design rooms in your house around them, but don’t make them the prime colors on your blog! Use bright colors for accents if you want to but keep the main colors easy to look at and subtle. A blog with a pink background and lime green polka dots will never be seen as a serious business blog and you will not be seen as a serious business person.

4. Your blog is filled with ads for pay-per-click programs and lures to “get a free iPod”. Advertising on a blog can be expected from most sites these days but keep it subtle and keep it professional. If you use Google Adsense on your blog, make it match your theme so that it is not so obvious. If you have products that you promote, make sure that they are products you can be stand behind. At the very least, try to keep all ads below the fold (in other words, people have to scroll down before they see them).

5. You have no contact form. How do you expect people to be able to contact you if you don’t make it easy for them? If you use WordPress there are many plugins that you can use. My favourite is Contact-7.

6. You are boring. You’re writing the same stuff that everyone else is writing about and there is nothing original to read. You don’t have to write 1000 word posts every time to be unique but you do have to put some thought into it.

7. Your blog is slow to load. You can’t expect potential clients to stick around long enough to get a feel for your writing skills if it takes more than a few seconds for pages to load. Too many plugins or outdated software can slow your blog down. So can graphics that are too big or incorrect code. If your blog is running slow, start by changing your theme. If that doesn’t work, deactivate each plug in one by one. If you are still having problems and you don’t know how to examine the code, you might have to hire someone to do some trouble shooting for you.

8. Your navigation is lacking. If potential clients cannot find what they are looking for – a resume, a contact page, an About Me page – they won’t stick around for long.

9. Automatic audio or video. There’s nothing that will send someone away from your page faster than an audio or video file that plays as soon as they get on the site. Set audio and video files to play on demand, not automatically.

10. Poorly written text. This one shouldn’t need to be said if you are a writer but I can’t tell you how many writer’s blogs and web sites I’ve looked at that appear to have been written by a third grader. Treat each blog post as if it is going to be read by your next big client – because it might be.

 

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Danielle McGaw

Danielle McGaw is a freelance writer that has been obsessed with writing since she learned how to hold a pen. She lives in a small town in Canada where she writes daily and goes for coffee a lot. You can visit her on her blog, The Social Media Freelancer or visit her professional freelance writer site (http://daniellemcgaw.info) if you would like to contact her.

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25 Responses to “10 Reasons Your Writing Blog Isn’t Helping You Get Jobs”

  1. DanaB
    Twitter: Dana_Britt
    says:

    A very helpful list of tips for both new bloggers and those wanting to ‘reboot’ things–thanks, Danielle!

    ~
    DanaB´s last blog post ..From Fantasy to Parenting: Bold New Reads

  2. Missy
    Twitter: MissyMiss
    says:

    Great post, Danielle! I was guilty of reason #1 on my old blog – it was all over the place! I also like to talk about my kids a lot, so I’ll keep that in mind. :)
    Missy´s last blog post ..Top 10 Distractions for Freelance Writers

  3. Page says:

    Thanks for the tips Danielle! I’ll be going through these and reviewing my blogs and sites to see where I can make improvements.

  4. Sandi
    Twitter: sandijohnson1
    says:

    Great tips…for new & old bloggers alike, Danielle. I find these kinds of posts the most useful for me – they help remind me to stop and take a look around from someone else’s perspective.

    You might know what’s going on in your head…but if that doesn’t come through to the folks you’re trying to reach…you’re just spinnin’ your wheels.

  5. Sherri says:

    Came over from your Twitter feed and these are great tips. I often worry if someone comes over to read my emotional posts that they won’t also see that I write humor, too.
    Sherri´s last blog post ..Voices Unseen

  6. Danielle McGaw
    Twitter: DanielleMcGaw
    says:

    Hi Sherri. Glad you find them helpful. Emotional posts can be good, too – they show your passion. As long as they aren’t irrationally emotional, you know?
    Danielle McGaw´s last blog post ..Increase Your Efficiency with These 8 Tips for Using LinkedIn

  7. Crystal
    Twitter: MamaWorksAtHome
    says:

    Very nice! Thanks for all the tips.

  8. Kristi Hines
    Twitter: kikolani
    says:

    I’ve been thinking about a redesign of my blog – always wonder if it’s too loud to be professional.
    Kristi Hines´s last blog post ..Why I Am Attending Blog World Expo 2011 Plus a 20% Off Discount Code

  9. Crystal Case
    Twitter: CrystalJCase
    says:

    Danielle,

    This is such a great post! I’ve been trying to get my own blog started and this advice is sure going to help me out with putting it all together! :)

    Crystal

  10. Probably the only one I’d slightly disagree with, very slightly, is the contact form. I have an email address on all blogs that people can use to contact me. I’d rather it that way than using a contact form; I also don’t have contact forms on any of my websites.
    Mitch Mitchell´s last blog post ..Why Is Everyone Busting On A-Listers?

    • Danielle McGaw
      Twitter: DanielleMcGaw
      says:

      I know that leaving your email is an option, but I’ve always preferred contact forms when I want to contact a blogger because I don’t have to remember the email or copy and paste and then go to my email and type it in. I’m kind of lazy that way. :)

  11. Great points Danielle – although, as a creative you could totally go pink and lime green and still be taken seriously as a business person. It’s all in how you put it together and what industry you’re in – I’ve seen a blog with a shocking pink background and the designer who runs it has an impressive community and full client list :)

    It DOES have to be simple if very colourful, to stand out and have easy navigation and not everyone is or wants to be seen as a serious business person so this tip isn’t right for everyone. The other 9 are spot on though!

    Kristi – your blog looks really fresh and pleasing to the eye. Why would you want to tone it down to fit some stereotype of what professional means? That’s the whole point of branding, being different and uniquely you! You’ve got great presence, a loyal readership and I LOVE the sunflower and colours! Shine, girl, shine. Your personality and brand are interrelated.
    Tia Sparkles Singh´s last blog post ..YLYW Interview # 11: Joel Runyon Does The Impossible

  12. OOps … I guess you meant this post to be just for writers-with-blogs-who-want-to-be-taken-seriously. In which case, I should clarify and retract: my comment is directed to all creatives, not just writers :D
    Tia Sparkles Singh´s last blog post ..YLYW Interview # 11: Joel Runyon Does The Impossible

    • Danielle McGaw
      Twitter: DanielleMcGaw
      says:

      :) I figured out what you meant Tia. And I do agree that design does depend who your market is. For instance, even as a writer, you could have a blog about children and often implement stories about your kids (as long as it had a point) and have a very child themed design with greens and blues and pinks. And that would work because it is targeted towards a specific group of people and clients would understand that.
      Danielle McGaw´s last blog post ..Weekend Fun: Twitterize Faceoff

  13. Dede Watson says:

    Thanks for the tips! I click out immediately if I get blasted with a lot of flash or music. What is the hosts preference may not be that of the masses and that is where you want to reach ultimately:)

  14. Kostas says:

    Nice post, it is very important to have a professional looking blog if you want to work as a freelance writer because if it doesn’t look professional then people who are seeking to hire you as a freelance writer might think that you are just a kid who hopes to make some money and not a professional freelance writer, thanks for sharing.
    Kostas´s last blog post ..Tips For Becoming a Freelance Writer

    • Kostas, totally agree, many freelancers wanted to make big money online, but won’t spend a couple hundred dollars on putting together a professional looking website. They say oh I’ll invest in my site once I make the money, but the challenge is now a days when clients are determining whether or not to work with you. They simply type in your name and see what pops up. And if you have a free site or worse off no site at all, they will quickly pass judgment and move on to another freelancer.

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