Keeping people on your website for as long as possible is something everyone who owns a website wrestles with. The longer people stay on your site, the more engaged they become, the more you can sell—whether it’s your services or web advertisements.
But how do you do it? How do you engage your visitors and entice them to click through more of your pages?
Getting 1,000,000 unique visitors a month will not matter that much if they are all leaving in droves as soon as they get to your homepage. Keeping that traffic on your website is just as important as getting them to your website in the first place. —SloDive
Scott Gerber, founder of the Young Entrepreneur Council, tackles this very topic in one of his recent “Ask Gerber” videos on Inc.com. I found his points to be helpful, so I thought I’d share some of his tips, along with tips from others, in this blog post. Continue Reading
I hate typos. They are so embarrassing. When I make one, I cringe and want to hide under a rock for a good 24 hours. Recently I had to make some room under that rock for Mitt Romney.
Last Wednesday, presidential hopeful Mitt Romney’s team rolled out a mobile app that had the word America misspelled. Oops. Sure, America has a lot of letters, and there is that pesky “I before C” rule, but come on.
The gaffe, presumably by some poor developer hired by the campaign, appears on “With Mitt,” the campaign’s newly released iPhone app. The app invites users to photograph themselves with their choice of 14 pro-Romney slogans such as “I’m a Mom For Mitt,” “Obama Isn’t Working” and “The America We Love,” and then share them on social media. —CNN.com
The typo has been fixed…but I have to say I am jealous beyond words at the people who got their hands on the misspelled version before it was caught. In fact, there is already a Tumblr blog called Amercia Is With Mitt! showcasing some great spoofs with the misspelled logo.
We all make mistakes. Obama has made them and former president Bush made lots of them. But when you are running for political office, they aren’t easily swept under the rug.
I’ve had some funny and weird things happen to me lately that concern freelancers. I don’t know if the moon is full or what, but I have gotten some great examples of how NOT to pitch an editor that I thought I would share with you.
A month or so ago I got an email from a university student who was looking for an internship for the summer. I get a lot of such emails from students in the spring, and, unfortunately, we don’t have the space or equipment to take on an intern at this time. But that’s not the funny part.
This young woman did not spell check her email to me and misspelled the word “opportunity” to say “pooportunity.” This struck our art director and I as so funny we are still laughing about it at this poor student’s expense. Continue Reading
There are lots of reasons why people start a freelancing career. Maybe they’re sick of working for someone else. Maybe they want the freedom to work from home. Perhaps they are tired of the 9 to 5 routine. There are too many reasons to list, really, and we talk a lot about these reasons on this blog.
But there is one big reason that we don’t discuss often. Many people choose to start a freelance career because it’s better for their health. I’m not talking about stress—I mean people that have medical conditions may find it easier to etch out their own freelance career rather than work for someone else.
I recently found a woman who did this very thing. We’ll call her Susan for the sake of this blog post. Most of Susan’s clients don’t even know that since she was in her early twenties, she has been suffering from lymphedema. This condition leaves her right leg swollen from fluid retention and tissue swelling. “To be precise, my right leg is 20% thicker than my left,” Susan says.
I thought I would share Susan’s story with you as she told it to me. Read on in her own words: Continue Reading
Here’s the situation: You are a successful freelancer who has a hard time turning down work. And you’re busy.
Too busy, in fact, to do much of anything but work. Because you work by yourself, you are not only bogged down with the projects you owe your clients, you are buried under phone messages, emails, bills that need to be paid, invoices that need to go out, and don’t even mention updating your blog and website. Facebook, Twitter, and Google+? Please. You don’t have the time.
Does this sound familiar? It doesn’t have to be this way, you know.
Hiring an employee might not be in the cards for you for a number of reasons. If you work from home, maybe you don’t have room for someone else. Or maybe you just don’t want someone working out of your house. Maybe you live in a rural area where there isn’t a large talent pool to choose from. Maybe you’re a total slob.
The thought of hiring someone and paying them a salary might be overwhelming—and what if you have to fire them? There are lots of reasons why hiring someone to work alongside you doesn’t make sense. But you don’t have to sacrifice getting the help you need because of it.
Have you ever gotten stuck in a rut? I think most of us freelancers have been there at least once or twice in our lives—I know I have. I got this email from a fellow freelance writer a couple of weeks ago and I can’t stop thinking about it. I figured if the topic resonated that much with me, perhaps it would resonate with other freelancers. So I’ve decided to share it with you.
Lately, I’ve struggled to get the creative juices flowing. My desire and passion for writing is still going strong but I’m struggling to get started. And it’s just been since school let out the first week of May. What do you do when this happens to you? Any advice?
This woman, we’ll call her Jenn, and I are both adjunct professors at a local media college. I don’t know about Jenn, but my semester was rough! I felt like I was battling with my students each week. It seemed no matter how many times I reminded them, they just couldn’t pass in any assignments on time. And my rule is that if you miss deadline, you fail the assignment. I really hate failing students, and the fact that I had to do it so often was exasperating.
I do know that I wasn’t the only professor in the sinking boat of missed deadlines, and I think Jenn was struggling with her classes as well. Which, in turn, made other aspects of her life a struggle, too. Like her writing. Continue Reading
Every five weeks or so, our team finishes up another issue of our magazine. The last week of production is always the most stressful. We send our issues to our printer on a Tuesday, and then we all sit back and collectively sigh with relief.
Those Tuesdays always feel like Fridays to me due to my adrenaline rush. By Wednesday, I am exhausted…but I still have the rest of the week to do…something! These three days, and sometimes the week after, are the slowest days in our production cycle, and while I really don’t feel like doing a whole heck of a lot…I have to keep pushing forward.
Here are some ideas I found online on how to stay productive when there isn’t a whole lot on your plate: Continue Reading
There very well may come a time in your freelance career where you need to hire a freelance contractor to help you out on a project. Perhaps your expertise doesn’t quite match what your client needs, or you are so busy you need someone else to help you reach your deadline. No matter the reason, you need to think carefully about who you hire to help you out.
Asking for a resume and checking references is an important thing to do whether you know the freelance contractor or not. I would do this before hiring anyone—especially friends or people you know well outside of a business relationship.
“If this person can’t name a few people they’ve worked with who can say good things about them, it’s not someone I should gamble on financially,” says Nicole Ouellette of Breaking Even Communications.
Know that when you do call people about the freelance contractor in question, they aren’t always allowed by law to tell you everything about that person. One good question to ask is, “Would you hire this person again?” If they say no, that’s a huge red flag. Continue Reading
I recently wrote a blog post sharing the news that The Times-Picayune out of New Orleans, Louisiana, will cease to produce a daily newspaper. Instead, the company will be printing three days a week and ramping up their online news gathering for their website. New Orleans will be the largest city in the U.S. without a daily newspaper.
There’s been a big shake-up at a couple of other national newspapers as well.
The Denver Post has decided to do away with its copy desk, spreading the copy-editing duties throughout the newsroom. The pros to this model? Stories can be published to the web faster because they don’t need to be read and edited by so many people. The cons? Stories have a greater chance of being printed with errors. Continue Reading
This fall, New Orleans will be the largest U.S. city without a daily newspaper. The Times-Picayune, with a weekday circulation of 134,000 and Sunday circulation of 155,000, will be published only on Wednesdays, Fridays, and Sundays.
The Times-Picayune, which has published since 1837, was bought by the Newhouse family in 1962 and later merged with the afternoon daily. Up to now, the paper has avoided some of the deeper cuts in the industry, in part because the newspaper played such a critical role in the coverage of Katrina and its aftermath. —NYTimes
Poynter.org points out that before Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans and its population, the paper had a weekday circulation of 257,000 and 285,000 on Sundays.
“I think this is a big blow,” said Poynter business analyst Rick Edmonds. “Yes, it’s happened in a few places, but Saginaw and New Orleans are not the same thing. You’re talking about a major-league city.” —Poynter.org
It’s that time of year when thousands upon thousands of twentysomethings don caps and gowns of every sort of color and graduate from colleges and universities around the world. They have a spring in their step and stars in their eyes. Or at least they will until they have to find a job.
I had the luck of graduating twice, earning my bachelor’s degree and master’s degree during two recessions. The first was the dotcom bubble, the second was the start of the current recession in 2006. I have impeccable timing!
But I ended up landing on my feet—it just took a little longer than I had expected. I always worked, whether it was waiting tables at a restaurant outside of Fenway Park in Boston (where, admittedly, I made boatloads of money in tips) or working my way up from a receptionist to becoming the sole marketing person at a mid-sized staffing agency. I bided my time, worked hard, and kept my eyes open for other great opportunities.
When I felt uninspired, I started freelance writing, which led me to enrolling in NYU’s journalism school for my graduate degree. Graduating in another economic slump, I didn’t wait so long to start freelancing, and eventually landed an editing job at a great magazine.
I have a lot of mom friends who have decided to leave the typical workforce after having children.
With daycare being as expensive as it is these days, many of these moms didn’t make enough money in their jobs (a couple of them were teachers) to make daycare worth it. Working just to put your child (or children) in daycare can be frustrating—but many moms don’t want to quit their careers to stay home with their kids. I hear that!
But sometimes the numbers don’t add up, and many 9-5 working mothers are left feeling as if they are spinning their wheels. Starting a freelance career suddenly sounds like the best way to keep a healthy work-life balance. And sometimes having kids is just the thing a mom needs in order to make the leap.
There was a recent blog post on The New York Times that asked “Is There a ‘Right’ Time for a Mom to Start a Business?” The author interviewed a mother, Laura Kelly, in Pennsylvania who had opened a shop that offered sewing and knitting classes for children. Kelly always knew she wanted to run her own business, and wanting to provide crafts for her kids gave her the edge she needed to start her own company.
Here are a couple of questions from the blog that I particularly liked:
Q. Do you think that women business owners face different challenges than men?
A. I think women feel like they need to take care of everything in the family; the kids, husband, groceries, cooking, cleaning, birthday gifts, paying bills, etc. I’m not sure that men with families feel the same way.
Q. Does it bother you that women tend to get asked about work-life balance more than men do?
A. No, it doesn’t bother me, but I have a husband that does laundry and dishes — and so much more — so I have nothing to be bitter about. I just feel fortunate.
When asked if there was a “right” time for a mom to start a business, Kelly replied that what worked for her might not work for other moms. She started slowly, when the kids were small, and her business grew as they did.
This interview got me thinking about what sorts of things moms need to consider before starting their own freelancing business. Here’s what I came up with: Continue Reading