Tag Archives: pro blogger

My Top Five Freelance Resources

by Joe Wallace

Top Five Freelance ResourcesIn my daily freelance work, I write on a variety of topics–everything from finance to music. To get all this done, I need a range of information, images, and research material, and I thought I’d share my top five resources here.

It’s not that I think these specific resources will help all freelancers, far from it, but I am hoping the sheer diversity of them will inspire other to share their own resources and consider looking in places they had not thought of using in their daily work before. I’ve learned that the most unlikely sources can often be of great value.

That’s why Portland, Oregon PR agency North is in my top five list. The insights about digital culture are thought-provoking and inform my work in social media for my clients. I don’t get a ton of writing ideas from reading this site, but it does inform how I market those ideas.

For royalty-free digital images, I’m a huge fan of Stock Xchng, which is where the image you see in my post today comes from. I use them every day.

HootSuite is a major time-saver for me. I run social media accounts for six different websites, plus posts on my personal accounts about my auctions on eBay and my Etsy store, so Hootsuite is a real lifesaver for me. I manage all my social media via HootSuite, and it sure beats running back and forth between accounts, with one big exception; Continue reading My Top Five Freelance Resources

This Is Not a Slam On Darren Rowse

joe wallace editor/writerI am a huge fan of Pro Blogger for reasons that go beyond the obvious. One of those reasons is because of the “hidden” messages a savvy reader can take away from Pro Blogger. I don’t mean things that anybody has purposely slipped in there in hopes that the cool kids will find them and learn, but rather the message that a series of seemingly unrelated posts all gang up to say.

A sort of generative philosophy, if you’ll permit me a total egghead moment here.

On the surface in the last few weeks, I’ve found a nice little contradiction in the posts at Pro Blogger. Something that, on first glance, seems to tell you two opposite things at once. Upon closer inspection (and introspection) you realize that not only are the posts NOT contradicting themselves, but actually make perfect sense.

In one post, one writer warns business owners not to be inconsistent with their blog content, saying unpredictability can potentially hurt the business. In another post, there is an admonishment that sometimes bloggers serve themselves better by posting less. Both pieces of advice are good, but it’s easy to see how one might be confused by the two. After all, how can you avoid being inconsistent when you’re trying to dial back your posting schedule to help boost traffic and make the site more readable?

The trick here is to get the bigger message Pro Blogger sends with both messages. There’s no such thing as one-size-fits-all writing, blogging, networking or job hunting techniques in this business. It’s an individual journey. For some, posting every hour on the hour works like a charm. For others, it’s the kiss of death for regular traffic. There’s a sweet spot on every single blog out there–the specific place where you have to stand on your metaphorical stage to get your guitar to make that cool feedback noise.

Cut back, increase, slow down, speed up…longer, shorter, what’s right?

It all depends on you and the people who read you.

Pro Blogger rightfully encourages people to find their own voices, to hit that sweet spot and stick to it (unless it stops working for you.) There really is no one right way to go…and that’s why seemingly contradictory advice isn’t such a contradiction. It really works the moment you realize you’ve got to make your own way.

Continue reading This Is Not a Slam On Darren Rowse

Does Your Hobby Blog Eclipse Your Pro Blog?

dangers of assuming on freelance jobsby Joe Wallace

If your hobby blog is overtaking your professional blog, getting more hits and more attention, ask yourself a couple of important questions. After all, we all want our pro blogs to do well and make money–but some people find their pro blogs lagging behind the ones they do for fun.

And there lies the answer, I suspect.

Hobby blogs are often more informal, more fun to read, and definitely more fun to write than pro blogs. I think pro blogs could take a lesson here–at least the ones that don’t seem to be able to compete. I run Turntabling.net, which is a lot more snarky, informal and goofy than Freelance-Zone.com. While Turntabling isn’t a hobby blog per se–I do try to earn some coin on it–I don’t worry nearly as much about content there because it’s far more opinionated and as such is easier to write. While there are opinions here, I find striking a balance between information and opinion more crucial to the success of FZ in general.

If your hobby blog is outpacing your pro blog, ask a few questions of your work:

  • What makes the hobby blog fun to read? What is it you do there that you DON’T do on the pro blog?
  • Is your pro blogging work too long? Too densely packed with information? Or is it “skimmable”?
  • What is the central idea of your pro blog? Can you sum it up in two sentences or less?
  • Look at the visual presentation of your pro blog. Is it easy on the eyes? Or is it a cluttery mess?
  • Give your blog the Who Cares? test for all your most recent posts. The So What? test is also a good one.

These are only a few of the things you can try, I’ll cover some additional ways to give your pro blog a good, hard look in another post. Continue reading Does Your Hobby Blog Eclipse Your Pro Blog?

Google Yourself

I recently stumbled across freelancer Daniel Brantley’s blog and decided, based on his most recent entry to take his advice and run a Google search on myself. Lo and behold, I was quite pleased to see that I’m in the top five results on page one for my very common name. Not bad for a humble freelancer with a bit of net-knowhow, eh?

Something more disturbing–a blog post rife with cringe-making spelling errors, and nighmarish violations of Strunk & White’s “omit needless words” law which should be reported to the feds. This blog post was NOT written by yours truly, but it’s so badly written and assembled that this guy’s hamfisted attempt to credit me as a source for a drunk driving statistic actually makes it appear as though I wrote the damn article. I know that’s a stretch, but it’s true.

I’m not going to embarass this poor halpless doink by linking to the badly written slop. He got plenty of bad comments about the awfulness of the article and in light of that I think he’s been punished enough. But the moral of this story is, you really ought to Google yourself to see what’s being done in your name on the net. In my case, it looks pretty rotten–if you read this blog post and assume that it’s written by me, you would never hire me to polish the brass on the Titanic.

Fortunately for me, this crapola is buried three pages deep in the Google results. Anybody looking for me on Google will find my GOOD stuff and move on long before getting bored enough to click over to page three at the bottom of the pile. That said, I know plenty of people who have had work “borrowed” for other web sites who didn’t learn about it until they randomly Googled themselves out of boredom. If you don’t know how your name is represented on the web, take a moment and pull up Google.com and give your own name a spin. You could be shocked by what you find. Cheers to Daniel Brantley for reminding me to have a look…

Why You Really Need to Start a Blog


According to a Freelance Switch survey, only 15% of surveyed freelancers write a blog. To the 85% of you who are not writing blogs, I say a hearty thank you. Thank you for making my quest for more paying gigs that much easier by taking yourselves out of the race. Self-promotion is one of the most important parts of this crazy business of ours, and by not promoting yourself, your expertise, and years of experience in the game you seriously cut down the competition for yours truly. You guys are awesome.

When I read that 15% factoid as reported in Mike Gunderloy’s post at Web Worker Daily, I admit I was fairly surprised. I would assume a much higher figure. Any freelancer who wants to get paid should be taking a serious look at how they market their number one asset–themselves. If you aren’t pushing your skills, you sell yourself short. Doing a blog is not going to drive employers to your virtual doorstep in droves, they won’t be beating down your door just because you have your shingle out. But any time you apply for a new gig, you should use every tool at your disposal, every advantage over that other 85%.

Continue reading Why You Really Need to Start a Blog