How to get started as a freelance blogger.
Freelance blogging is a great way to make money while working from home. You get to be your own boss, decide when and how many hours you work each day, and you can make a full-time income working part-time.
Plus, you can even wear pajamas while you work!
So, is it hard to get started freelance blogging, and can anyone do it? Freelance blogging is one of the easiest freelancing businesses to start, and you can get started quickly for little to no money, even if you’re a beginner with no experience.
This step-by-step guide will help you get started as a freelance blogger without the headache of trying to figure it all out on your own. Learn what freelance blogging is, how to find high-paying clients that can pay you what you’re worth and much more.
What is Freelance Blogging?
Freelance blogging is a niche of freelance writing where you get paid to write blog posts for businesses that need high-quality blog content. Freelance bloggers are freelance writers who focus only on writing blog posts for clients.
The best thing about freelance blogging is that you can scale over time to earn a full-time income working part-time, and that’s exactly what I do. What other traditional jobs can you work part-time to make a full-time income and wear pajamas while you do it? None!
The key is niching down to establish your expertise so you can write for clients that can pay you what you’re worth. Combined with the fact that you reduce your commute from hours in rush hour traffic to from the bed to the coffee pot and you have the ultimate dream job.
Freelance Writing vs. Blogging: What’s the Difference?
Freelance writing and blogging are very similar, but there are a few key differences.
First, freelance writing is when you write for clients in any niche. As a freelance writer for businesses, you may get paid to write many types of content like copywriting or writing blog posts, emails, white papers, and much more.
Or you can niche down to a particular type of writing project like blog posts which makes you a freelance blogger.
Now blogging is when you start a blog to make money or just as a hobby. You write each blog post specifically for your target audience and use social media and SEO to drive traffic to your website.
With blogging, you can make money with affiliate marketing, selling your own courses or products, putting display ads on your site, or offering services like writing blog posts for other businesses. Offering services is one of the best ways to get paid to blog initially.
Since you already write your own blog posts as a blogger, freelance blogging jobs are easy ways for bloggers growing their blogs to make money while they wait for SEO to kick in.
Now here is how to start freelance blogging step-by-step.
Step 1: Identify Your Ideal Client
Finding your ideal client is critical for being a successful freelance blogger. Choosing a niche and identifying your ideal client are sometimes woven together, but it’s essential to know who you want to write for and what topic to focus on. Finding your perfect avatar or client is crucial, so you know exactly who you’re targeting and the industry you want to specialize in.
That’s because attracting your ideal client means you need to tailor your messaging to them. Clients want to know that you can walk the walk and talk the talk of their industry and speak directly to their audience and customers.
Step 2: Pick a Niche
One of the most important tasks for any freelance writer is to choose a profitable niche. Picking a niche allows you to specialize in one topic so you can establish your expertise and be the go-to freelance writer in your industry.
But what if you have no clue what you want to write about? In the blog post linked right above, I teach you how to choose a niche. And I even have a mini-course that teaches you exactly how to brainstorm niches and validate them.
Often, beginners need to figure out what they want to write about, so it’s okay to apply to jobs on writing job boards while you’re trying to decide. It’s the best way to get a blogging gig when you haven’t chosen a niche yet.
Step 3: Create Your Freelance Writing Website or Start a Blog
Starting your own blog is the next step to becoming a freelance blogger.
Whether you’re already blogging or a newbie freelance writer, starting a blog gives you blog writing experience, and it’s a way to show potential clients your writing style. It’s also a way to create writing samples for your portfolio.
Creating a freelance blogging website is vital to attract clients and house your portfolio if you don’t already have a blog. And starting a blog on your website shows businesses looking for high-quality content, your writing style, and how well you can write. As a blogger, you already have a website, but freelance writers can really benefit from adding a blog to their business website for the reasons mentioned above.
You don’t have to be a blogger to make a living writing blog posts, but you need a blog to showcase your writing and build your experience.
Here are some of the things you need to do to build your freelance writing website and start a blog.
Find a Platform
First, you want to choose a blogging platform, which can be a little overwhelming for new bloggers. Whether you’re starting a blog for passive income or a freelance writing business, the best platform is WordPress by far and not just any WordPress website, specifically a self-hosted WordPress website.
WordPress also has a free platform over at WordPress.com if you’re strapped for cash until you can transfer over to a self-hosted site on WordPress.org. Both versions of WordPress are free to use, but you need to pay for web hosting with a self-hosted site.
So, why is having a self-hosted WordPress website so important? For starters, you have complete control over self-hosted blogs and how you monetize them. The free version of WordPress places ads on all the free websites, and you don’t get any say over them or any of the money from them.
You also can’t sell ads on your site or add most of the helpful WordPress plugins that make building and running your blog so easy. You also can’t upload custom themes like Astra or Kadence that help your blog run faster for SEO.
WordPress has more than 50,000 helpful plugins that add features and increase your site’s functionality. They help you integrate your WordPress website with the other systems you use in your business to make everything easier and streamlined.
You’ll hear of other platforms like Wix, Blogger, and Square Space, but I don’t recommend any of them as many are very limiting, and I know people who have lost hundreds of articles when a platform changed. Of these three, Square Space is the best but learning how to create a WordPress website is the way to go, even if it seems overwhelming in the beginning.
I am not tech-savvy AT ALL, and now I am pretty comfortable with WordPress.
Choose a Name for Your Website
Before you actually create your website, you want to choose a name for it. This is where selecting a niche comes in handy because you want potential clients to immediately know what you do and who you do it for.
If you decide to choose a website name without a niche, you may consider picking one related to writing. If you’re brand new and not well-known, using just your name is not advisable because people don’t know who you are as you’re not a popular influencer yet.
But you could use your name in conjunction with writing as I did with Ritchie Writing. That leaves you open if you want to choose a niche later (or more than one) and clearly shows that you offer writing services.
Whatever name you choose, keep it short and sweet, and I advise you to go with a .com name as people find those trustworthy.
Once you create your website and business name, you’ll also need a professional email address as it’s an important part of communicating with clients. You don’t want to start emailing clients back from email@example.com, as that doesn’t make you look like a serious professional. So, keep that in mind when you create a business email address.
Mine are all based on my domain names, for example, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Choose the Best Blog Hosting
Of course, hosting is the next important thing you need with a self-hosted WordPress website. One popular hosting service that I started with, as many others did, is Bluehost. Bluehost has excellent customer service and is easy to use, but it is a little slower, so you’ll likely change later if you’re serious about blogging and SEO.
I recommend SiteGround or Name Hero. I’ve used both, and SiteGround is more expensive. Their customer service is more likely not to step in and do something for you, which helps you learn how to do something but wastes time if you’re clueless.
Many more prominent bloggers recommend Name Hero now, which I currently have. I like them, and they will definitely do some tasks for you if you’re hopelessly lost, but I found SiteGround easier to navigate and use versus the C Panel in Name Hero.
Install Your Theme and WordPress Plugins
Once you have the basics like choosing your name and finding hosting done, it’s time to install your theme and set up WordPress. I recommend you pay a little extra for Kadence or Astra or something else lightning fast.
But if you can’t afford to until you get some money coming in, that’s okay, as there are plenty of free WordPress themes to choose from. Just make sure the one you choose has the pages you need like a services page, blog, about page, ability to create a static home page, and portfolio page. If it doesn’t have a portfolio page, you can use a plugin for that.
Step 4: Create Your Freelance Blogging Portfolio
As a freelance blogger, you need to create a freelance writing portfolio so clients can see your work. Since freelance bloggers write blog posts for a living, you’ll want to create blog articles for your portfolio pieces.
So, how do you build a freelance writing portfolio when you just recently started blogging or are a complete newbie? You create sample portfolio pieces until you can find blogging jobs that you can add to your portfolio.
You can find a company you would like to work for and write a sample piece as an example of what you would write for that client. Just make sure that you don’t misrepresent the sample as an actual assignment that you wrote for them.
Potential clients just want to see that you can write and get them results.
There are a few other ways to get pieces for your portfolio.
Offer Your Writing Services, Pro Bono
Now, I don’t usually advocate working for free, but you can approach businesses or even non-profits and offer to write an article for free if you can use it in your portfolio.
But you want to be very specific with your agreement. Don’t offer to run their blog for free for six months. You could offer to write just one article or may one free article for free for a month as long as they agree that you can use them as portfolio pieces.
By setting a specific time frame and benefit, you have an end date when both you and your potential client understand that you have fulfilled your duty. And who knows, this business could even become a paying client if they like your work.
Publish Blog Posts on LinkedIn
Another way to get portfolio pieces for your new writing business is to publish content on your LinkedIn profile. These pieces show up on your profile for possible clients to see, and you can easily add them to your portfolio as a published piece of content.
You can also publish articles on Medium and other similar platforms. Publishing articles on other platforms is a good backlinking strategy, too, for SEO.
Writing guest posts is another way to get writing samples for your portfolio. Until you can find freelance blogging jobs, you can guest post for other businesses in your niche. Yes, there is that vital niche topic again!
If you haven’t chosen one, you can look for blogs that focus on topics you enjoy. Guest posting signals to potential employers that other people like and trust your content. You’ll also find that guest blogging still helps with SEO even if the links are now nofollow instead of dofollow.
Outreach Mama is a great resource to find websites to guest post for. Or you can just use Google and just type in your niche + guest post.
These are just a few ways to create samples for your portfolio, even if you have no experience.
Step 5: Search for Clients
So, the most critical part of offering freelance blogging services is to find freelance writing jobs, right? Finding clients is often the most challenging part for people when they decide to become a freelance blogger. But it’s totally doable, I promise, just a little scary at first.
How does a new freelance blogger find blogging gigs? Two of the best ways are job boards and cold pitching. Let’s look at both of these in a little more detail.
Freelance Blogging Writing Job Boards
One of the best ways to find freelance blogging jobs, especially if you haven’t chosen a niche, is to apply to writing gigs on online job boards. The most common assignment you’ll see listed on these websites is clients looking for writers who can write a high-quality, engaging blog post.
That’s because this is one of the most common types of content that businesses need for content marketing. Crafting shareable content is a huge part of digital marketing, and 70 percent of marketers actively invested in content marketing in 2020.
Plus, writing blog posts for businesses is an easy writing gig for new freelance writers, as blog writing is easy to learn (if you’re not optimizing it for SEO). Also, you will likely find great niche ideas when you start writing content for businesses.
Cold Pitch for Freelance Blogging Clients
Cold pitching is also one of the scariest parts of freelance blogging, and I admit I was terrified initially. But it’s one of the best ways to get high-paying freelance writing clients that can pay you what you’re worth, unlike the clients you find at content mills like Upwork.
Finding blogging jobs on places like Upwork and Fiverr can be soul-sucking as whoever can do the most work for the least amount of money wins the bid. I know because I found my first freelance blogging client on Upwork.
Cold pitching allows you to find clients in your niche once you’ve specialized, and they will pay you more because you’ve positioned yourself as an expert. That’s the key to cold-pitching success.
Over time, cold pitching gets easier and less stressful, and once you optimize your LinkedIn profile the right way and build your network, clients will come to you instead of you searching for them.
Step 6: Set Up Your Social Media
Once you set up your freelance blog or website and start looking for clients on job boards, it’s essential to set up social media accounts in your business name. Creating an online presence is vital because using social media is another excellent way to find freelance writing clients.
When you optimize your social media profiles and freelance writing bio the right way, clients can find you, and as soon as they see your profile, they’ll know if you’re the perfect writer for them.
But you don’t want to be active on every social media channel when you first become a freelance blogger. It can be overwhelming. The best way to find blogging jobs on social media is to show up in front of them on the social media platforms they frequent.
Finding the right social media platforms to look for clients may take a little research. I advise that you sign up for LinkedIn as most freelance bloggers will find their niches represented there as it’s the number one social media network for professionals.
Facebook and Twitter are also great social media platforms for writers and finding clients. Believe it or not, just about every freelance blogger can find clients on Twitter. I know, I was surprised when I heard that too! I had no idea that Twitter was fantastic for finding freelance blogging jobs.
Here are some examples of places freelance bloggers can find writing jobs on Twitter:
To make social media for your business less overwhelming, start with one or two platforms, and then once you master those, move on to others. But I advise you to go ahead and set up profiles on the major platforms if you even think you may want to use them in the future as you could lose your business name as I did on Twitter. Someone else created a profile with Writer’s Life for You, so learn from my mistakes!
Step 7: Learn SEO
The most critical piece of freelance writing advice I can give you is to learn SEO. Seriously, it’s super important whether you’re a blogger or just want to focus on being a freelancer. Finding clients is a vital part of starting a successful freelance blogging business.
But social media algorithms can change, so whether you want to monetize your blog with affiliate marketing and ads or offer freelance blogging services, getting organic traffic from Google ensures your success.
However, I understand that learning SEO can be overwhelming, especially when you’re trying to learn everything you need to know to start a freelance business. But, once again, learn from my mistakes because I chose to push it off until later. Now I’m much further behind than other bloggers and business owners who learned and implemented SEO from the start.
Let’s look at a few important aspects of SEO that can help you take your career as a freelance writer to the next level. When you learn how to write SEO-optimized blog posts, you become an even better writer and blogger. Plus, you can also offer SEO content writing services and charge more money for them.
Conduct Keyword Research
Keyword research is a critical part of writing blog posts that rank high on Google, whether it’s for your customer or your own blog. So, why is keyword research so important? Because you don’t want to waste time writing content that no one cares about or you’ll never rank for.
Even though I didn’t learn SEO initially, I knew that keyword research was necessary. But I would get frustrated because keywords in my niche are hard to rank for, so I would just pick a moderately difficult one. Little did I know that I had NO chance of ranking for it anytime soon.
Using a keyword research tool like KeySearch helps you find keywords you can actually rank for and that your audience (or your clients’ audience) is searching for. You must write content that solves your readers; problems and optimize it to rank higher in Google.
The traffic is already out there, you just need to get in front of it, and you do that by choosing the right keywords and then optimizing your blog posts, so they show up in Google SERPs.
Keyword research is one popular and lucrative service you can offer as a freelance blogger. Many of my clients like me to do the keyword research and write the content.
This is another essential aspect of blogging that many people don’t think about. The best way to get organic traffic from Google and social media (which I’ll discuss in a minute) is to create content people want to share.
That means you need to write high-quality content that’s engaging and easy to read using keywords you can rank for. Good blog articles provide helpful solutions to a reader’s problems, and they’re in-depth and comprehensive guides that prevent someone from going back to Google and searching for more information.
A blog post outline helps you write good content and ensures you don’t miss anything important, like the steps for on-page SEO and points you want to bring up in your post. You may not be a big fan of outlines. I certainly wasn’t in college, but they are necessary to write the best blog posts.
Writing great content is a process. It starts with keyword research, then you create a solid outline, write your article, and edit it. But it doesn’t stop there. You need to do several things after you publish a post, too, like check over it again, build backlinks, share it with your audience and on social media, and more.
It’s a repeatable process that becomes like a well-oiled, fine-tuned machine over time.
Practice Good On-Page SEO
Every time you write a blog post, you need to be familiar with on-page SEO best practices. Debbie Gartner has an excellent eBook called Easy On-Page SEO, and if you can’t afford an entire course right now, it’s a great inexpensive resource for optimizing your content.
So, what is on-page SEO? It’s the things you optimize on your website for SEO versus off-site strategies, such as building backlinks. It’s knowing where to put your keywords, interlinking articles on your site, structuring your post, and much more.
As a freelance blogger, one of the most important things you can learn is SEO, as you’ll be more likely to get hired for more of the freelance blogging jobs you apply to. Clients may not know how to do SEO themselves, but they understand its importance.
How do freelance bloggers get paid?
Freelance bloggers get paid in various ways, but the most common is PayPal because they have a simple invoicing system. You can also use accounting software like QuickBooks or FreshBooks to send invoices and get paid then you can accept credit card and ACH payments.
How much do freelancers charge for blog posts?
How much you charge depends on several things:
- The length of the article
- Your experience level
- How much your clients can afford
- Whether you can write SEO-optimized articles
A new freelance writer can’t charge as much as someone who has been writing content for five years. I started writing content for about $10 per 1,000 words. DO NOT DO THAT! That pay is way too low.
The going rate for a brand new freelance writer is about $0.05 to $0.10 per word, but the sky is the limit for how much you can charge. I’ve made $300+ for 800-1,000 words, and I know people who make $1,000 per post (that’s what I’m aiming for).
How do I start freelance writing with no experience?
The way to start freelance writing with no experience is to follow the steps above:
- Identify Your Ideal Client
- Choose a Profitable Niche
- Create a Freelance Writing Website and Start a Blog
- Create Your Writing Portfolio
- Look for and Pitch to Clients
- Set Up Your Social Media
- Learn SEO
And then you can scale your business over time. The good thing is that starting a writing business is one of the easiest ways to make money freelancing, and you don’t need money or a college degree.
Final Thoughts on Freelance Blogging
Now you know the steps you need to do to become a freelance blogger. It’s easy to find freelance blogging gigs even if you’re a beginner. You can use job boards and writing platforms to find writing jobs even you’re not sure what niche to pick or while you wait to hear replies from your cold pitching efforts.
Beginning bloggers and new writers can easily make money writing blog posts without experience. Learning SEO and crafting engaging content sets successful bloggers apart from mediocre ones, and it helps you become a six-figure freelance blogger.
Do you have any questions about freelance blogging? Let me know in the comments below.
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