A freelance writer can only spend so many hours a day before she has to eat or sleep. Why should you, as a writer, take time away from your freelance writing business to blog? After all, most bloggers make minimal money off of their work — if a blogger relies on Google AdSense, she’s literally only making pennies a day.
Despite the fact that blogs are not necessarily the best income producers, I do think that they are useful for most freelance writers.
A Change of Pace
Many freelance writers get a little burnt out by working on similar projects day in and day out. Blogging can be an opportunity to just change things up a bit — you can blog about a topic you don’t normally cover, or write in a style that you couldn’t use on a client’s project. Even better, there is absolutely no barrier to entry with blogging. You can write about anything, at any level, without having to worry about getting an editor or client’s okay.
A Place to Experiment
In the same vein, if you need a place to try something new, and get a little feedback, a blog is ideal. Do you want to try out a new style? Or build some samples of writing on something you’ve never even considered trying before? A blog can even be an ideal place to practice a new skill, to perfect it before approaching clients.
A Marketing Tool
A blog is a collection of samples of your work. A potential client can see off the bat that you are a decent writer, and a good blog can lead to new projects. Furthermore, taking your blog seriously can get your name higher in search result for a particular term. Consider this: if you type ‘Laurel’ (the town I live in) and ‘freelance writer’ into Google, my blog is the 8th search result. If someone was trying to find a freelance writer in Laurel, I’d be one of the first people they ran across — and all the other results are about writers named ‘Laurel,’ not Laurel residents.
Didn’t I say that blogs don’t produce much income right at the start of this post?
Yeah, but that’s because most bloggers don’t make much money off of their blogs. A lot of bloggers rely on advertising, usually through Google AdSense, to monetize their blogs. To make money that way, you literally need thousands upon thousands of regular visitors, who are willing to click on your ads. It’s extremely hard to pull that off. But there are a couple of other ways to make sure that your blog at least pays for itself.
- Advertise yourself: Put up ads for books or other products that you’re selling. It only takes a few sales to actually make money, when you’re advertising your own products — and they’ll always be relevant! Your blog can be an easy-to-maintain platform for selling your own products.
- Affiliates: If you’re going to be writing about a product anyhow, check if any sellers of that product will give you a cut for any sales made from your link. Amazon already such a system set up — you can link to any book (or other item) sold by Amazon and make a cut if someone clicks on your link to buy that book. Amazon’s system is nice and easy, although you’ll make a smaller profit than you can with other affiliates. Consider Amazon a starting point, not the whole of your affiliate plan.
- Spin off blog entries into an ebook or other product that you can sell.