Tag Archives: freelance blogs

Resist The Urge

Joe Wallace Vinyl Collector and authorI can’t say I learned any valuable lessons today after reading some of my fellow freelance lifestyle bloggers, but I do feel I’ve gotten a good reminder to count to ten, hold my breath, check and double check my writing after ranting.

Not that all my fellow bloggers are ranters, just me.

I was reading a better-left-unmentioned freelance blog post about what freelancers can learn from celeb missteps in the public eye. Something bugged me about the article and I really, REALLY wanted to open fire with both barrels over it. But I’m sure (OK, I am HOPING) it was just poor word choice at work, so I decided to let it go.

Sort of.

The article mentions a famous person’s far-too-open comments during interviews and in social media–using them as an object lesson for freelancers on what not to do in the public eye. The article stated the celeb made “racial comments”, offered up too much sex life detail, and made “homosexual comments”.

The “homosexual comments” bit really bugged me and it took a good five seconds to figure out why. In a not-quite-a-laundry-list of ill-advised things this famous person did, “homosexual comments” stood out as being a negative and a bit singled out–the previous complaint had to do with sex life TMI, so why the attention on “homosexual comments”?

I can’t accuse the writer of being a gay basher, and that’s not my point. But a more thoughtful choice of words would prevent the impression–however fleeting (or not)–that there’s some anti-gay sentiment going on in that article. Note that I’m not accusing anyone of actually being a hater, but rather pointing out that poor word choice can lead to that perception.

My inner optimist wants to think the person who wrote this is only guilty of a poor turn of phrase and has no real bone to pick with consenting adults who spend their time in a manner of their choosing regardless of how intriguing or threatening that might seem to people unfamiliar with a given lifestyle.

But my inner pessimist thinks maybe sometimes some people somewhere make a Freudian slip (intended or not) and that slip can be a big red flag with regard to professionalism, EEO and a myrid of other things. Is that true in this particular case? I’m going to side with the optimist for fairness’ sake. I can’t honestly say there was malice aforethought here. But again, that’s not the point.

As professionals, our words are read, scrutinized, absorbed, made fun of, regarded as wise, and repeated. We’re all guilty of writing, saying, and doing insensitive things. But it’s a different sort of thing when you’re trying to give advice to other professionals and those aspiring to follow your lead.

Dispensing advice from on high is pretty damn easy to do (beautifully illustrated here by me), but don’t let a throwaway phrase knock the wind out of the entire presentation. Nobody likes to be excluded, but in this particular case one segment of the audience may have gotten a little taste of exclusion–whether intentional or not. “Homosexual comments” could mean anything to anybody. But it doesn’t sound good, and it’s not what the writer wanted that article to be remembered for.

And there’s the lesson.

–Joe Wallace

Blogger Advice: Are You Guilty Of This?

Joe Wallace Turntabling Rare Recordsby Joe Wallace

Last night I read yet another blogger advice post telling people how to make their blogs an “internet sensation”. By the time I was done reading it I was so annoyed that I threw my laptop across the room counted to ten and said pleasant things to myself in an effort to prevent having a major wig-out.

Here’s a bit of advice for people who want to give a bit of advice: BE SPECIFIC.

If you want to tell people how to make their blogs more noticeable on the Internet, try giving them something actionable, like “Insure the headline of your blog contains an SEO-friendly keyword related to your topic and also make sure that keyword is repeated within the first two sentences. You don’t need to stuff keywords, just make sure you have something Google can latch onto within both the headline and opening statements.”

This is much better than the nonsense I read last night, which was basically a straight-faced, humorless version of what you’ll see in this clip. Don’t be like the people in this short video…seriously.

Joe Wallace is a writer, author, social media manager, video editor, and musician. He manages to combine all these pursuits at his vinyl blog Turntabling.net. He is available for assignments–contact him at jwallace(at)joe-wallace.com.

Traffic Boosting Experiments For Your Freelance Writing Blog

top ten excuses not to go fulltime freelance

by Joe Wallace

Over last week we tried a few experimental posts designed to boost traffic to Freelance-Zone. A couple of them were squarely designed to appeal to people’s basic desire to save (and earn) a buck. You might have noticed a few random Freelancer Freebies posts–that was one of our experiments.

Results? About what we expected. More people are interested in freelance jobs and resources directly related to freelancing. Fewer people thought free Cold Stone ice cream was cooler than freelance jobs. Everybody loves free ice cream–why didn’t we expect that to perform?

It’s all about the power of highly targeted niche blogging. Take a mass-appeal idea and try adding it to the mix on your blog without tilting it directly towards your target audience. That idea gets a lukewarm reception unless you can address the “Who cares?” factor.

Freebies WORK as a blog topic. They also work as a traffic-driving gimmick, but unless you target your gimmick directly to your existing audience, it won’t give you the results you want.

Over the weekend I stumbled across a variety of sites gamely trying to attract viewers via Google by using a practice I call keyword stuffing. They take popular search terms from Google Trends and try to stuff them into their new blog posts. Sometimes the stuffing worked–one blogger tried to tie in her blogging work with the fictional writer in Sex In The City. It was a stretch, but it wasn’t too far out.

One blog I saw was literally dictated by specific trends, spending a few months dedicated to one topic, ditching the idea when it didn’t go viral and switching to a new topic for a few months, dumping that, and trying yet a third and fourth unrelated topic. None of them ever had a chance to gain traction. The blog shed its skin and tried to survive with a brand new identity over and over. None of the identities took off.

To make any blog work you need a good topic you actually know something about, time, and the dedication to pull it off.  It’s crucial that you use your expertise to give authority to the site, put in the required online PR work and allow your site to attract long-tail traffic. Anything less will result in your blog going dark in, say, six to nine months.

In case you’re wondering, we definitely ARE doing the freelance jobs feature–that wasn’t something we just dangled out there to see how you’d react. Stay tuned.

Why Do They Do That? Freelance Blog Mysteries Explained

writing advice

This post will annoy some people because I’m pulling the curtain back on certain practices that, for better or worse, drive traffic to blogs in spite of their user-unfriendliness.

There’s a fine line between “Don’t do anything to alienate potential readers” and being honest and transparent about silly practices and bad advice about our craft. More than once I’ve felt that playing by the rules or obeying the status quo is a bad idea. In the blog world, one sometimes has to choose between having an uber-sticky, traffic-laden site and telling it like it is.

Some Google-bait blog practices are relatively harmless at best, simply annoying at worst. One blog for writers has a forum section linked from the main page. “Ohh!” You might think, “A new forum to make friends and network with.” But don’t light the fireworks just yet; when you click on the link you get taken to yet another page which has “Click here to access the forums” on top in large letters.

Click on THAT link and you get taken to a message page saying the site no longer offers forums. Now you’re just plain irritated. WHY do they DO that? Why don’t they just take down the links and stop directing people to parts of the site that don’t exist?


The users who are used to having the forums there get a notice that the forums are dead, but the site still has those forums–or at least the forum landing page–indexed by the search engines. Rather than loose that Google clout, the page stays up, retaining the power to annoy for ages.

That’s just one of the eyeball-rolling practices blogs employ. But what about more harmful practices? Continue reading Why Do They Do That? Freelance Blog Mysteries Explained