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Writer Tip

Starting Strong: Writing A Great Intro For Your Blog Post

If you’re going to do one thing right on your blog, make sure you start strong. When you nail your blog post intro, you hook your readers. High traffic and engagement numbers follow.

But how does it happen? Can you do it well? With a little common sense and creativity, it’s easier than you think. If you can remember just two steps, you can get it done.

Start With An Invitation. Make It Memorable.

Just as with any other party, start your blog post with an invitation. Make it compelling and personal. Use it to address the reader directly and tell them what to expect.

Ultimately, this your invitation should be a more developed follow up to your headline. It leads the reader down a path to the rest of your content.

As you set your invitation, get creative and make readers curious about the details. Don’t show them everything right away so that they’ll want to stick with you to learn more.

Add Humor, Personality, Or Both

Nothing reflects better on your company than a well-told joke. Once you know what you want to say in your invitation, consider adding humor. It can give a more down-to-earth impression of your brand or business culture, and seem more welcoming.

Along these same lines, don’t be afraid to let some of your personality shine through. What does this look like? Think about the kinds of things your company represents.

Are you casual? Sometimes shocking? Playful? Does a certain kind of music embody your mission? Show that and more.

Two Steps Keep Readers Around

Revealing who you are from the earliest parts of your blog is one of the best ways to keep your readership and engagement numbers high. It helps people want to get to know you for the long term. Sure, it may take a little longer to get it right. It’s worth it.

Writer Tip

How to Find Images for Freelance Writing Work

As a freelance writer, there are many challenges that you face in your pursuit to provide a powerful product for your clients, especially if you’re trying to keep your costs low.

One such challenge is finding the right images that will add context and value to your content without breaking your bank.

The following is a quick and dirty overview of how you can find images for your clients:

#1 – Use Royalty-Free Images

Royalty-Free images are stock photos that are a part of a service like Shutterstock, Getty Images, and iStock. You pay license one time and then can use it as much as you’d like. Searching for the perfect image is easy, as there are numerous photos on most any topic and featuring all sorts of people, animals, products, places, and more. If your budget is limited, this option may be a bit pricey — if so, reach out to a sales rep and see if they can give you a deal. Sometimes they are willing to work with small companies and freelancers.

#2 – Public Domain

There are some images that have copyrights that expired or never existed. You are free to use these photos for both personal and commercial use. Just make sure you understand that public domain laws are different for every country.

In the United States, public domain images are free to be used throughout the world. When using an image, make sure you read their disclaimers. Visit Flickr Commons, USA.gov, 1 Million Free Pictures, Free Stock Photos, and My Public Domain Pictures to find tons of great images.

#3 – Creative Commons

Creative Commons refers to image licenses that are free to use but have restrictions based on type. Types include Attribution 3.0 and Zero.

Attribution 3.o images can be found on:

Zero images can be found on sites like:

As you navigate through the realm of finding images, try to think out of the box. Have fun with the process, and you’ll be amazed at how thankful your clients will be!

Career Help, Writer Tip

Common Writing Mistakes Every Writer Should Watch For

Writing mistakes can quickly ruin even the best-researched and well-written pieces. New writers may feel intimidated by all the grammatical, story flow and other rules whether written or unwritten.

To forge ahead, understand that a handful of key tips can help avoid writing mistakes consistently. Don’t repeat the same mistakes over and over; and in the process strengthen your writing work potential.

Know Contractions

First, know how contractions operate. They just combine two words, as in “you” and “are” into “you’re.” When in doubt about it’s vs. its, or your or you’re, try this. Insert the option with the apostrophe, then say it aloud as the two words it’s supposed to represent. For instance, if you wrote “It’s you’re game,” say it without the contraction. “It’s you are game” indicates to use “your” instead.

You vs. you’re, its vs. it’s, and they’re-their are among the most common grammatical problems with writing. Often the option without the apostrophe, such as their, your and whose, describe possession of something: like your game in the example above. But saying it aloud is an easy trick.

Straightforward Grammatical Rules

Simple grammatical mistakes can convince readers that an article is sloppy or untrustworthy. Get comfortable that when choosing between “who” and “that,” go with who if it refers to a person. Joe is a driver who rarely speeds. Picking “then” or “that”? Remember than helps compare things. You’re better than that.

Some little writing rules are straightforward. Never use “alot” – a lot refers to a huge number of something, and allot means to assign or share. “Alot” is nothing.

Beyond Spelling and Grammar

Beyond grammatical and spelling errors in writing, important things to avoid are sentences that are too long or have too many commas. Good, easy-to-read text is best in bite-sized pieces. Keep sentences short. If you run across a long sentence divided by a comma, consider making it two sentences.

Same with too many commas in a sentence; it can break a reader’s train of thought and possibly confuse. Again, consider breaking the sentence into separate thoughts, or use a semicolon instead. To delete a comma, try “but,” “and,” “if,” “since” or “although” instead.

Eliminate Clutter and Plan Ahead

A writing mistake to avoid is clutter. If something seems to interfere with the flow of text or a reader’s ability to digest content, eliminate or replace it. Examples can include too many quotation marks around words; the above-mentioned overuse of commas; and too many pronouns.

Finally, a big writing mistake to avoid is disorganization. Either start from an outline or rough sketch of points you want to make and in what order, or in the end broadly review a draft from the perspective of organization. Does A lead to B which leads to C? Think of paragraphs as acts in a play.

Help guide the audience along with transitional words or sentences between acts, or with formatting options like subheadings or bullet points.

Writer Tip

Writing Short Sentences And Paragraphs The Right Way – And Why It Matters

Why do writers and bloggers struggle to write short sentences and paragraphs? It’s vital today to acknowledge demands on readers’ time – and make it brief accordingly. Writing short sentences and paragraphs the right way means better readability and more powerful statements. Consider these tips and see what happens to your content:

Write It, Then Quickly Revisit It

Write out ideas as they surface, so during a first draft let it flow regardless of brevity. However – and this is where it’s important – go right back and try to shorten each sentence. The “delete” key can be your ally. Go back and consider eliminating:

  • Unnecessary words. Delete a word and read it again. If the sentence still makes sense, you were right to delete it. Try deleting the word “that” whenever possible and see if it changes anything. Do you “write down,” or “write”?
  • Overload of phrases. Poor writing contains too many phrases. “In today’s world,” for instance, can be simply “Today.” Or consider this: you’re not cutting it out, you cut it. Fewer words, and even shorter words, get readers to the point faster.
  • Adverb clutter. Few things bog down content more than adverbs. Do you totally or actually agree, or agree? Delete words like “actually,” “totally,” “usually” and “fairly” and your content will be shorter and clearer.
  • The needless modifier. Words like “good,” “just,” “almost,” “hardly” and “simply” just modify nouns and are often superfluous.

Split Long Sentences And Paragraphs

Find sentences of 30 words or more and try to break them in two. You can be amazed at how easy this is; using a semicolon can be helpful. Same goes for paragraphs exceeding 100 words. Shorter paragraphs are easier to digest.

Why It Matters To Write Short Sentences And Paragraphs

Consider two things: competition and short attention spans. Readers have evolved accordingly. One summary says during Elizabethan times the average sentence was 45 words. They shrank to 23 words by early last century, and down to as little as 14 words today.

Studies show today’s average human attention span is eight seconds – down from just 12 seconds at the start of this century. This at a time when technology brings information to our eyes at alarming speeds. Readers have little time for the unnecessary. So many things vie for attention that short sentences and paragraphs are critical toward maintaining interest.

Keep messages clear, short and sweet, or readers won’t stick around.

Career Help, Writer Tip

Simple Tips to Keep Freelance Clients Happy

No two freelance clients are alike. Any freelance writing veteran can tell you keeping clients happy can depend on a number of factors, including a company’s size, the industry, or personalities involved. Still, there are a few tips for keeping freelance clients at peace that seem to apply to most of them.

Deliver on Time

Always meet given deadlines seems simple. Make it a habit by properly planning ahead, and this super-simple tip pays dividends on a broad scale. Remember, time is money in business, so lost time equals lost money.

Know Their Wants

It can seem easy to get a topic and keywords and go off to the races to deliver. Not so fast: first you should truly ascertain what the business does, and what it wants. Knowing the end goal should help in producing the content, whether its more leads, more sales or just more attention. Acquaint yourself with all the client information you can to truly know the audience and purpose of the content.

Provide Quality

It seems a no-brainer, but learn to be consistent in weaving in search engine optimization best practices into colorful and engaging content, and you limit opportunities for complaints. Think how your client’s audience might type phrases into search engines, and lace that into paragraphs.

Compete Well

Along the lines of No. 3, go the extra mile to ensure your content uses top-quality, credible sources, and information from high-traffic websites to solidly back up your writing. Properly research topics, validate your work and compare well with the many other freelance writers out there.


Never hesitate to ask clients questions if you have them, and try early on to establish an easy and comfortable line of communication. It doesn’t have to be lengthy conversations, either. Send one-line progress reports, ask a question well before deadline, or just post-submission feedback to keep communication lines robust.

Finally, try to go above and beyond what is asked. Spend extra time to consider what clients may need or want next. Simply suggesting new topics can do wonders toward making freelance clients happy. And nurturing satisfied clients keeps jobs coming and helps bring even more work.

Writer Tip

How Grammarly Can Make You A Better Writer

All professional writers would love to be complete masters of grammar. However, creating flawless first drafts isn’t a natural skill. Producing nothing but error-free work is nearly impossible. Even those who are well-practiced at proper grammar can still make handfuls of mistakes in their work.

Although applications like Microsoft Word can catch grammatical inconsistencies with a fair amount of accuracy, they don’t necessarily help improve your relationship with proper grammar across the course of time.

One superb program, Grammarly, could be your long-term solution to not only correcting your grammar upfront but learning how to avoid mistakes and write more effectively in the future.

How does Grammarly work—and how can it make you a more adept writer?

No first draft is perfect.

However, writers often struggle to look at their own work with a critical eye. That’s what makes Grammarly such an essential tool for writers—it helps you recognize your mistakes and turn any first draft into a grammatically-polished gem. From exposing misused punctuation to pointing out misspellings to identifying errors in sentence structure, Grammarly ensures that your final drafts are free of any errors that turn audiences off of your writing.

It’s extremely easy to use.

Signing up for Grammarly is completely free (unless you want to upgrade). One phenomenal feature of Grammarly that competitors haven’t matched is that you can plug the application into your Google Chrome browser. Grammarly will then help you with your grammar, vocabulary, and general writing across all online platforms, from your work emails to your Google Docs files.

How does it work? Grammarly jumps into action while you write. The platform catches grammatical errors in real-time and suggests a number of thoughtful solutions to improve skewed sentences, misused vocabulary words, and incorrect usage of punctuation.

A major plus of the program is that Grammarly is both highly useful for improving individual pieces of work and for helping you achieve artistic success in the future. In addition, the application can help you develop essential skills for constructing well-written pieces on a deadline.

How does the solution-based application help you become a more skilled writer over the course of time?

Grammarly helps make your writing both error-free and effective.

The application doesn’t merely seek out issues with the simple grammar of your work. A unique feature of Grammarly that sets it apart from other grammar-checking software is that it also helps you find ways to improve the pre-existing, grammatically-correct writing on the page.

For example, if Grammarly notices a string of words that could be more concisely summarized in one word, it will suggest that you replace them in order to make your work more succinct (i.e. suggesting that you replace “a great number” with “several”).

Features such as these (i.e. recognizing a need for conciseness) can help you produce writing that communicates more effectively and is consistently engaging. In addition, as Grammarly reinforces practicing effective sentence structure, word choice, and punctuation, it’s training your brain to recognize how to make more effective writing choices on your own in the future.

Grammarly Premium offers even more ways to improve.

If you choose to upgrade to Grammarly Premium, you’ll be treated to a plethora of useful features that can vastly improve the quality and content of your writing. Grammarly Premium has all of the same tools as the free version, yet includes features that can take your text from great to outstanding.

These include suggesting thoughtful and unique vocabulary words to replace bland ones, scanning your writing for genre-based stylistic choices, detecting plagiarism, examining your document for readability, and much more.

The upgraded version also provides logistical insight about your writing process (number of unique vocabulary words, your average sentence length, etc.) and facilitates access between yourself and a human proofreader ($.02 per word). The prices for Grammarly Premium currently sit at $29.95 per month for a monthly subscription, $19.98 per month for a quarterly subscription, and $11.66 for an annual subscription. While you may feel that this application is a bit pricey, it’s difficult to place value on an application that is a virtual editor, a grammar checker, and a writing coach, all in one.

Final thoughts

Grammarly can help you improve both your finished pieces/works-in-progress and expanding your writing abilities, making it one of the best grammar-checking applications available on the market.

Not only does Grammarly help you improve your writing in real-time; the application also enriches your writing skill-set over time.

Whether you go for the free or paid version of the program, Grammarly’s reinforcement of proper and thoughtful grammar, sentence structure, word choice and more is certain to help you become a more effective, succinct writer in no time.

Writer Tip

Are Long-Tail Keywords Still A Useful Tool In 2019?

keyword usage is essential to master. Most writers use short keywords compulsively in their prose. However, many bloggers don’t realize the significance of utilizing long-tail keywords when it comes to their traffic and SEO.

So, what are long-tail keywords? How important are long-tail keywords when it comes to building a blog, brand, or site? Are they still a useful tool in 2019?

The Short Answer: Yes.

Long-tail keywords can be extremely useful when it comes to your site’s content, ranking, and traffic. This being said, they aren’t a magic tool that can instantly improve your site’s rankings. However, long-tail keywords can help you organically improve your traffic (and, in turn, your SEO ranking) over time.

How Do They Improve Your Site’s Traffic?

If a consumer is searching for information about types of fruit that help with weight loss, they won’t type “fruit” into the search bar. Average people tend to search using long-tail keywords such as “fruit for weight loss” or “weight loss fruit.”

Specific keywords are more useful for consumers. They won’t have to hunt as hard to find the specific content that they are seeking. Long-tail keywords help to guide consumers in the right direction while narrowing the scope of their searches. As a bonus, this will decrease competition from other sites.

How Do They Support Your SEO Ranking?

Above all else, Google is concerned with providing their users with secure and compelling search results. The specificity of long-tail keywords suggests that a site’s content is likely strong and/or specific rather than vague, general, or diluted. Due to this, long-tail keywords can help improve your SEO ranking over time.

Google tends to optimize sites that practice consistent use of long-tail keywords.

Practices To Keep In Mind

Your long-tail keyword should relate to your site’s main keyword. Whatever long-tail keywords that you utilize should always branch off of the main keyword of your site. If your long-tail keywords are irrelevant to your site’s central topic, you won’t enjoy the SEO boost that consistent and relevant long-tail keyword usage can bring you.

Long-tail keywords shouldn’t be too lengthy. You want long-tail keywords to be specific. However, long-tail keywords that are too lengthy are unhelpful. Consumers don’t typically search in complete sentences. Your long-tail keywords shouldn’t be more than a few words, either.

Strike a balance between short and long-tail keywords. You shouldn’t only utilize long-tail keywords in your prose. Short keywords are helpful when it comes to attracting a broader audience. Additionally, using a mixture of short and long-tail keywords can help you analyze the searchability of any variety of keywords related to your site, brand, or blog.

Repetition is key! In order to enjoy the organic traffic boost associated with the use of long-tail keywords, you can’t only plug them in once. Consistent usage of the same long-tail keywords is what will ultimately improve your following and SEO across time.

Final Thoughts

Long-tail keywords are an essential tool for writers, bloggers, and brand-builders. When utilized properly, they can improve traffic to your site and boost your SEO ranking. Do you have any tips for using long-tail keywords effectively? Have you enjoyed success utilizing long-tail keywords? Let us know in the comments below!

Writer Tip

How To Stay Motivated As A Freelance Writer

Ask a professional how to stay motivated as a freelance writer and a variety of suggestions will surface.
Often repeated will be the importance of setting goals, staying focused and, believe it or not, getting away from writing (at least for short periods).

Setting Goals

It’s imperative as a freelance writer to remember that unlike a regular job, no one is watching that tasks get done. Since freelance writing puts that burden on you, it is helpful to start each day (and week) with goals to shoot for.

Keep a list of deadlines for each day, and the days following, and use it to plug away at assignments.

Goals, by the way, can include setting a certain number of new-business pitches each day or week – a different kind of writing that can break the monotony from assignments like writing blogs.

Tips For Staying Focused

Working off a checklist helps establish a routine and a focus on what needs to get done.

When your focus feels like it may be blurring, set reminders about why you’re freelance writing in the first place. Place inspirational quotes or slogans around the workspace; set up alerts to be emailed or texted to yourself. Whatever it takes to establish and maintain that drive that is needed to succeed on your own.

Engaging with other writers can be quite helpful, too, to pick up motivation tips and just for general support.


Supporting your mental and physical health as a freelance writer is a third common denominator to surface when asking someone for freelance writing motivation tips.

Once again consider a routine, such as turning off the mobile phone or other electronic gadgets while you write.

Health-wise, be sure to get enough exercise as doing so forces you to get away from the keyboard and let your mind “recover” from an overflow of word production that freelance writing can cause.

Force yourself to take breaks from writing, such as attending social events are just scheduling a 30-minute walk each day, to get fresh air, rejuvenate your mind, find inspiration for writing topics or to simply break from thinking about writing all the time.

Writer Tip

3 Essential Skills For Full-Time Freelance Writers To Master

In the 21st century, many professional writers are turning to freelancing as a full-time occupation. While being your own boss, setting your own schedule, and choosing your own clients may sound like a dream, freelancing isn’t as simple as it sounds. It’s necessary to develop a handful of unique, well-refined skills, both in terms of writing and personal management, to succeed as a freelancer.

These are three essential skills that full-time freelancers must master in order to thrive in the field of freelancing.

1. Become a dynamic writer.

If you plan to freelance long-term, becoming a dynamic, adaptable writer is essential. You may feel that your niche is in a particular area of writing. However, breaking personal rigidity and becoming flexible enough to write in multiple writing styles can open you up to a variety of new clients.

What types of writing styles are most important to master?

Lifestyle writing and formal writing are two of the most widely-utilized writing styles in freelancing. Lifestyle writing tends to be amusing, engaging, and entertaining, utilizing an informal tone, casual wordplay, and humor. Formal writing tends to be educational and informative, utilizing an authoritative tone, calculated word choices, and formal stylistic choices. The ability to write both lifestyle and formal pieces is indispensable when it comes to acquiring a more diverse selection of work, and, in the process, more clients.

2. Know how to manage your time.

The importance of time management cannot be emphasized enough. As a freelancer, you serve as your own boss, so your entire schedule is in your hands. This means that you decide both when you are going to work and how much you are going to work. If you don’t know how to manage your time properly, your productivity (and your income) will suffer.

What are the best ways to manage your time as a freelancer?

As your own boss, you should strive to construct your own work schedule. This means setting aside specific hours of the day/days of the week to focus solely on your work. If you’re a workaholic, scheduling in breaks is important, too. Overworking yourself is just as unproductive as underworking yourself, as you will burn out and begin to produce sub-par work. It’s essential to understand your workload, your deadlines, and how to produce quality work with quick turnaround times to keep yourself and your clients happy.

3. Develop your own editing skills.

Many traditional publications have upper-editors that browse your work for errors and inconsistencies. However, when it comes to freelancing, you must typically serve as your own editor. Learning to properly revise your writing is as important as writing the piece itself.

Why is editing your own work such a significant skill?

Proper editing is essential for turning a good piece into a great one. Being able to view your writing with a critical eye can help you consistently produce high-quality final drafts. The ability to spot typos and grammatical errors, inconsistent tone, confusing wording, unfocused content, and other issues in your work is invaluable. Learning to correct issues and do so with ease is what separates a talented writer from a skilled one.

Writer Tip

How To Create A Writing Routine As A Freelance Writer

At first glance, a writing routine as a freelance writer may seem superfluous, or just flat-out unnecessary. But take a closer look and the freelance writer can discover multiple advantages available by establishing simple repetition.

Figure Out When You’re Most Productive

As with many endeavors, it’s probably best to begin with what works best. That said, think about starting by determining your best time to write.

Many writers perform best in the morning, others at night, some in between, even others in bits and pieces. Most established writers will know, and focusing on working during those optimum times is vital.

Write Every Day

Once the best time to write is set, get in the practice of writing every day, no matter what. Besides meeting client obligations, this helps train the mind to best switch gears into writing mode, much like elite athletes get themselves into the “zone.”

Over time this makes it easier to execute writing assignments – and may even allow you to complete more tasks overall.

Think of it the way athletes consider practice: it develops and hones skills, which only can help.

For writers, this could be as simple as an extended Instagram post, a marketing-related email message, blog writing or writing pitches for more content marketing work.

Guard Your Time

Finally, establish times just for writing, and protect it.

That is, set a schedule, stick with it, and don’t let outside influences like text messages or email inboxes distract. Even use a digital calendar (such as those on smartphones) to hold writing time – and even text or email reminders to yourself to get to it.

Key Takeaways For Writers

These four things – determining the best time to write, writing daily, and scheduling and protecting writing time – are the base for creating a solid writing routine for a freelance writer.

Using this foundation should free more time for associated activities like coming up with new content ideas, marketing yourself, or planning ahead with outlines or a looking-ahead calendar.

All together, these things can only lead to success.