Blogging tips for time-poor freelancers

For time-poor freelancers, maintaining your blog is probably the last thing you want to do on top of your client work, admin, quoting, book-keeping, social media, marketing and everything else you have to do as a solo creative.

But, if you have a website and want it to be seen by potential clients, having a blog is one of the best ways to improve your rankings. It’s well worth it if you put the effort in.

So, how can you constantly come up with fresh topic ideas, optimise your blogs and stick to a plan? Here are my tips for creating a blog that will wow the world!

What to write about?

Thinking of a topic is probably the hardest part. Some people love writing blogs about their business and niche area, and that’s great. These people constantly have topics coming to mind, and have more ideas than they do time to write them.

But if that’s not you, you need a bit of help working it out.

My favourite way of coming up with new ideas is to listen out for questions I get asked. It’s more than likely a question that others would like to know the answer to as well, and voila, you have a blog topic.

Another way is to search through Google’s Keyword Planner for long tail keyword phrases. Often, these will be questions too. If 1,000 people a month are searching for “How to make calorie free chocolate at home”, then there’s a blog topic. If the competition for that phrase is low, there’s a good chance you’ll rank well for your blog.

And if anyone comes up with the answer to that question, please let me know!

A brainstorming session should leave you with at least 12-15 topic ideas. Whack these into your calendar and allow yourself enough time to write each one.

What to include?

What does a well-optimised blog post need to include? Here are some essentials:

  • A heading that makes people want to click. It’s important to get your keyword phrase in the title if you can, but more importantly, write it for your audience. You want people to click on your title.
  • An enticing meta-description. When your post shows up in search results, often it’s the meta-description that determines whether that reader clicks through or not.
  • A clear introduction. About 100 words for an introduction is ideal. Make it an outline of what you’re going to cover in the blog, and remember, many people will only read your introduction.
  • Subheadings that explain. These can be a more practical description of what your blog is about, and can break up the blog into structured, clear information.
  • Bold text and paragraphs. This is for readability more than anything. So many people these days scan content. Paragraph after long paragraph of plain text that isn’t scannable, likely isn’t going to get read.
  • An appealing image. People are visual creatures and love a good photo or picture. Choose something that goes with the theme of your blog, and use your keyword as the image alt tag.

How often and how long?

It’s the million dollar question! How often should I blog and how long should each blog be. There’s no right or wrong answer to either of these.

How often – is completely up to you. If you have the time and a list of topics coming out your ears, then blog daily or weekly. If you’re strapped for time or ideas, monthly is fine too. I suggest you focus on the quality of the blog rather than the quantity. A well written, optimised, informative blog once a month is far better than a rushed, flimsy blog once a week just for the sake of having one a week.

How long – the ideal blog length is apparently around 1600 words. Studies have also shown that blogs over 2000 words get the most traffic. But Google also seems to be happy with a mere 300 words. Again, don’t get too concerned about the length. Use as many words as necessary to get your message across, without waffling on just to get your word count up. Quality over quantity!

Getting a blog content plan together with a list of topics isn’t a mammoth task. Optimising your blog for maximum read and share rate isn’t an impossible task. And publishing a blog every Tuesday at 9.30am on the dot isn’t something you need to stress over.

As freelancers, we tend to try and do it all ourselves, it’s in our nature. Do what you can, when you can, and you should see some results.