Blogging for a Living: Don't Enter into it Blind

Last weekend I placed an ad here for a blogger for FWJ. What surprised me was how many applications I received from people who have never blogged, have no idea of what it entails and figure it’s just a bunch of writing.  If you’re going to apply for any gig, it’s probably not a good idea to tell a potential client you have no clue of what you’re doing. If you’re going to apply to blogging gigs, you should know what you’re doing first. Blogging may seem like an easy job but there’s a lot to learn beyond the writing part.

Here are just  a few things you should know if you’re going to apply for a blogging gig.

How to use various blogging platforms

Anyone wishing to blog for a living should know how to use the various blogging platforms. WordPress is generally the platform of choice but there’s also Blogger, TypePad, Moveable Type, Drupal and several others. If a blogger doesn’t know how to maintain a blog on a potential client’s platform, she’ll either be passed over in favor of someone more experienced.

How to build traffic and Community

Bloggers are expected to build traffic and foster community. What good is it to have a blog if no one is going to read it. The clients who are hiring bloggers are doing so because they either want to bring in advertising dollars or raise awareness and build a community around a product or service. Not knowing how to do these things can mess with your clients livihood.

Comment policies

Do you understand what it takes to maintain a peaceful, congenial, yet active community? Can you create a comment policy everyone can live with. Do you know what it takes to keep the comments coming while avoiding negativity?

SEO

Many writers who have backgrounds in print markets or business or advertising copywriting try blogging but don’t know anything about using keywords or implementing Search Engine Optimization. A potential client will probably not want to take the time out to teach and would prefer to higher someone who already knows how to find and use the proper keywords.

Basic HTML

I’m not a techie but I know a little basic HTML. Not enough to build a website, but enough so that I can do some simple formatting. Blogging clients expects bloggers to know a little about coding.

So what do you think? Are you still prepared to apply for a blogging job?

Comments

  1. Thank YOU! I am so tired of having people come up to me and ask what I do and then having them say, “Oh! I like to write, I should do that!”

    By the way, applying for the gig was awfully tempting but the other thing people need to know about blogging is when they are over extended. I am over extended. :/

  2. @Marye – You so would have made the short list.

  3. DANG, Deb, I always make the short list. I am vertically challenged, you know. :)

  4. List? What list?

    Blogging truly is an art, and right now I’m getting more paint on my damn shoes than the canvas.

  5. I have the writing part down and am working on the blogging platform part as I build my portfolio. I need to find someone who is building slowly so that I can grow with them, helping us both!

    I could certainly use some guidance as to the best way to go about learning the various platform. For me, it’s really not enough to just read through how-tos; I need a task to apply the skill. My brain doesn’t work naturally in HTML!

  6. I use WordPress, but it is a template that someone else set up for me. Everybody says that it is very easy, just point and click, but I set up my own WYSIWYG website, and WordPress is not the same. You have to know some language, and I am having a hard time.

    Plus, some of the jobs I apply for specifically ask for fluency in WordPress, and I know that means more than what I have!

    • Noemi Tasarra-Twigg says:

      It’s different for everyone, I guess. I use both Blogger and WordPress, but I am one of those that find the latter easier. It also has more features.

      On another note, at least you know your limitations, and you’re not afraid to admit it!

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