Last year’s gift idea post was a hit, so I thought I’d update the list for 2013! Here are 51 more holiday gift ideas for writers. Buy that special writer in your life something cool, or reward yourself for being awesome.
Every writer longs for the coveted top spot in Google search results—the one that everyone will see and, most importantly, the choice that will receive the most “clicks.” You’ve composed stellar content, tried to figure out the rules of search engine optimization, but your articles still inhabit pages 8 through 10—the veritable internet no man’s land. Well, stop banging your head on that wall. No, really, it’s quite distracting. There is good news for writers, thanks to Google+.
Here are some ways that Google+ is making life a whole lot easier for writers and bloggers.
Pictures = Clicks
By linking your blog posts to your Google+ account, you will create a search engine result that sets you apart from the rest. It will have your profile image, and everyone knows that the inclusion of a visual prompt makes it more eye appealing. And if your eyes are drawn to it, your mouse will likely follow. Simply put, a professional headshot and a link to your Google+ account will increase your blog’s traffic and readership.
Bios = Clicks
Thanks to Google+, people now have the chance to click on your name, exposing them to a portfolio of your works. It’s like having your own Google search engine. And all of the results lead back to you!
Now, potential followers will be re-directed to other posts that tickle their fancy—making them much more likely to join your readership. If you install a “Google+” recommendation button on your blog, it will also increase your Google+ rankings, which will push your blog further up the search engine results. It’s the gift that keeps on giving.
Good Writing = Rewards
Illiterate hacks will not be rewarded by Google+, but literary masters and rapier-witted humorists will. If someone clicks on a page, but only stays there for a blink of an eye, nothing happens. After all, the visitor moved on, unimpressed with what they found.
If, however, said visitor stays for a few minutes, captivated by a blogger’s clever prose and sharp intellect, this blogger will reap the rewards for a post well done. When the visitor presses the “back” button, they will see that your search result has changed. Beneath the original text, they will see a line that says “more by [insert your name here]” with the links to more of your works. Yes, your reward is more “clicks” and increased traffic—and that is exactly what every writer hopes for.
Original Works = Rewards
Google+ enables Google’s search engine to verify authorship. This means that a post by the original author will be much higher in search engine rankings than a copycat’s hack job. After all, it is your creative property, so you alone should receive the applause.
Separating the Smiths
If you were blessed, or in this case cursed, with a very common moniker, you are likely tired of having your works confused with those of other “Jim Smiths” or “Jennifer Joneses.” Thanks to Google+ authorship, you can now mark your masterpieces as your own—and set yourself apart from those who only wish they had your talent. Google’s search engine will finally be able to recognize you as the unique individual that you are—and so will potential followers.
So stop punishing your cranium and create a Google+ profile, instead. Your writing career and online reputation as a master wordsmith will thank you. And your landlord will greatly appreciate less holes in his walls.
What tips do you have for maximizing a Google+ following? How has Google+ helped your career?
Kimberley Laws is a freelance writer and avid blogger. A relative newcomer to the land of “plussers,” she is thoroughly enjoying building up her following. Her Facebook account, however, is feeling rather neglected. She clamors for attention at http://theembiggensproject.wordpress.com/.
I am a budding freelance writer. Truth be told I have been a budding freelance writer for more than three years now. I have spent a lot of time writing for low paying content mills, and to be honest I feel that I am pretty much burnt out from it. At the moment I am burdened with low paying clients, and I spend over 12 hours per day writing articles just to pay the rent and eat!
I am constantly reading that there are good paying clients around and I do not doubt that, but so far I have not had any success in attracting their attention or even finding where they are. I don’t think I am a bad writer, and I have a couple of decent clips on Yahoo, Blog Critics, and places like Hubpages.
I really don’t know what it is I am doing wrong. It seems to me that I am missing a piece of the puzzle. I know it all takes hard work and effort, and I am certainly not adverse to rolling up my sleeves and getting stuck in. I have just wasted so much of my effort thus far digging in the wrong fields. I am worried I will be burnt out before I realize my full potential as a freelance writer.
Dear Burnt Out,
My advice for you is threefold: dump the content mills, stop searching for work, and stop blogging for other writers.
I know what you’re thinking, but let me explain.
I spent some time writing for content mills back in the day, and I’m not surprised you’re unhappy. It might put food on the table, but it’s uninspired work that pays poorly with unreasonable deadlines. My first piece of advice to you? Fire them as clients.
I know you’re dependent on freelancing for your income, so phase them out if you have to. But you can’t accept better jobs if you’re spending 12 hours every day writing drivel. You also don’t have time to improve yourself or your business with such a workload. When will you update your portfolio? Your website? When will you blog for your business?
You also can’t build an impressive portfolio if all your clips are content mill samples. The best writers still produce subpar work when they’re burnt out and underpaid.
My next recommendation is that you stop searching for clients at all. Do you know why content mills can make outrageous demands and pay so little for the work? Because writers keep applying. And the only writers willing to apply to them have convinced themselves they’re desperate for the work. Trust me, the mills know this and they’re all too happy to exploit it.
So change up your business model. I haven’t searched for a client in a few years now, because at some point I realized I was wasting my time. Instead I’ve invested time and money assisting potential clients in their search for me. I built a website and blog and made friends on social media so that when people searched for “Indianapolis freelance writer” they found me. Then they contacted me.
All I do these days is respond to the requests for quotes that land in my inbox and reach out to potential clients in my network. I don’t cold call anyone ever. I don’t scour openings on Elance or oDesk or Craigslist.
Back to the website stuff for a minute. I’m not a keyword expert and I don’t know all the ins and outs of search engine algorithms, but I have common sense and know how to improve my chances of being found online. I recommend you do the same using “freelance writer” or “content writer” with a local qualifier like your town, city, region, or country to bring in search traffic. That’s how they’re going to find you.
The next problem is: what will those people find on your site when they get there? When potential clients see you’ve been blogging to other writers or complaining about the horrors of content mill writing, they’re going to be confused. You need to be posting content for people who hire writers not for other writers. At least until you’ve established a solid client base.
It’s great to commiserate with people who understand, and I don’t know where I’d be without my freelance writer friends, but none of them are ever going to become my next client.
I recently separated my blogs. I have the professional blog for clients and this blog for writing whatever the heck I feel like. But I have a full-time job paying the bills at the moment, so I have some freedom in that regard. If you don’t have the time to run two separate blogs, writing to a client audience should be your priority.
Now, I’m not saying this next part describes you, Burnt Out. But it’s worth putting out there for all the struggling freelancers:
Sometimes I think new writers see talented, successful writers running classes and giving advice to budding writers and they think they need to mimic that behavior to be successful. Great freelance writers have freelance writer followers! Great freelance writers are mentors and give advice! I should do those things to be a great freelance writer too!
Unless you’re in the business of educating new writers right now, it’s not a profitable way to spend your time. If that’s something you want to pursue later, awesome.
I hope this helps you, Burnt Out. Let us know how things go.
One of the things I’ve decided to do as a result of feedback from the web copywriting instructor at Mediabistro is focus on building the professional side of my web presence.
Don’t worry, this blog isn’t going away. And neither is any of the content. I’m just making a formal announcement so that those of you interested in my copywriting and freelance writing content know where to find it.
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