Quick Tip: Create Custom WordPress Sidebars for Categories or Pages

Many bloggers set up a single sidebar and then include that sidebar on every page of their blogs. But what happens if you have categories that would benefit from different sidebar content, or pages on your blog where you’d like a custom sidebar? Maybe you want to place hand-picked affiliate ads, or you want to promote different books on different sections of your blog. Whatever

Weekend Reading: Pinterest for Writers

While it might sound strange, one of the best social networks for writers might also be the most visually oriented. Yes, I’m talking about Pinterest. Even though Pinterest doesn’t revolve around your writing itself, it offers a lot of opportunities bloggers and authors, in particular, shouldn’t pass up. So in this week’s “weekend reading” roundup, let’s take a look at a few resources that can help you

The Bloom Email Opt-In Plugin: Pros and Cons

I’ve been a customer of Elegant Themes for years, using their themes on several of my smaller sites and blogs. I loved their recent social media plugin, Monarch, which I use on my small business blog. And I was rather excited about their launch this week of Bloom, their new email opt-in plugin. While I was excited to test it out on a few of

Get More Out of Your Blog by Repurposing Blog Content

Recently you might have noticed that I’ve been adding audio versions to some All Freelance Writing blog posts. One example is “Gamification: Make Freelance Writing More Fun.” Not only can new visitors read the original post, but they can choose to listen if that’s what they prefer. And now they have another option: a condensed version in a SlideShare presentation. Why would you want to

Weekend Reading: Writing Effective Calls to Action

Last weekend we took a look at resources to help you write email marketing copy. This week let’s stick to the overall copywriting theme but narrow down our focus to calls to action. Here are three resources that can help you when designing or writing effective calls to action for your blog, freelance writing projects, or other marketing copy. Enjoy! The 7 Qualities of an Eye-Catching

Quick Tip: Talk Your Way to Faster Blogging

Do you suffer from the common blogging problem of never feeling like you have enough time to write? Do you type slower than you’d like? Do you wish there was a secret to faster blogging? There isn’t just one thing. But here’s something that might help: Let your computer (or phone or tablet) do your “writing” for you. How? Give voice-to-text apps a try. Let me

3 Ways to Build Flexibility Into Your Blog’s Editorial Calendar

This isn’t the post I planned to publish today. This month’s blog editorial plan just began, and already I’m off-track. As mentioned over the weekend, I’ve been dealing with the aftermath of a minor plumbing disaster. And my husband and I have had contractors in and out of our house for the better part of two days. Sometimes things come up and we have to

Bad Pitching and Bitching: Should Journalists Expose Bad PR Pitches?

This post was originally published on NakedPR.com (my now-retired blog featuring commentary on PR and social media issues). While I’m considering reviving my Naked PR brand this year, I’m considering taking it in a slightly different direction — back to its roots. In the meantime, I’m moving most of the original content to other sites I own, saving only a few key posts from the

The Easy Editorial Calendar Template for Bloggers

It’s no secret that I usually have a lot going on as a writer. I run quite a few blogs of my own. I take on freelance writing projects for clients. I write nonfiction e-books. And I’m working on much more fiction this year as well. As a result, one of the biggest questions I get from colleagues in my network is “how do you

Quick Tip: Take Control of Your WordPress Revisions

If you’ve been blogging with WordPress for a while, you probably know that WordPress saves several revisions of your posts as you create or edit them. These revision backups are saved when you save drafts or update live posts. WordPress revisions can come in handy if you made changes you aren’t happy with or if you accidentally delete something from a post draft. But they

Quick Tips: Prepare Early for a Successful New Year

The New Year will be here before you know it, and there’s no time like the present to prepare for it. Recently I shared three things to do this December to close out the current year. For this week’s quick tips, let’s expand upon that with some easy things you can do now that will have you ready to hit the ground running after the

Free HTML Cheat Sheet for Writers and Bloggers

For this week’s resource for writers, I’ve updated and re-released an oldie but goodie — my HTML cheat sheet for freelance writers and bloggers. The cheat sheet used to come with my now-retired e-book, The Web Writer’s Guide, which was released back in 2008. The new version will be available for free permanently in the All Freelance Writing Resources Collection. This download includes some of the most basic

Quick Tip: Use Google Webmaster Tools for Your Writer Website or Blog

Readers and colleagues often come to me with questions about problems they’re having with their websites or blogs. In some cases, such as sudden search engine ranking issues or site indexing problems, one of the first things I tend to ask them is to check Google Webmaster Tools. That’s when I sometimes get the mind-blowing responses of “What’s that?” or “I don’t use that.” Not good. So

Is Your WordPress Database Too Large? Thin Out Revisions

A great feature of WordPress is its ability to save different versions of your posts as you go — such as when you hit the “save draft” or “preview” buttons. These saved versions are called “revisions,” and they give you restore points if anything goes wrong. Awesome, right? Well, it can be. But WordPress revisions have to be saved to your database just like your

Quick Tip: Mute Twitter Accounts to Cut Back on Social Media Noise

Do you wish you could spend more time using social media to connect with colleagues, clients, or readers? Do you ever feel like trying is almost a waste of time because of all the noise? If so, here’s a simple solution for you on Twitter. Use the “Mute” feature. Why Mute Twitter Accounts? Twitter gives you a few different options for eliminating noise from users

Want to be a Well-Paid Freelance Blogger? Do These 3 Things

Are you tired of competing with countless other bloggers for every advertised gig you find? Do you wish you could reliably earn $100, $200, $500, or even more per article as a freelance blogger? If you’re looking to build a more stable and higher-paying freelance blogging career, you can. Opportunities are practically endless, if you know how to look and how to make yourself stand out. Consider giving

Quick Tip: Back up or Clone Your WordPress Site with the Duplicator Plugin

No matter what kind of website you run, frequent backups are a necessity. With WordPress sites and blogs that’s especially true because of the frequent core, theme, and plugin updates you have to perform. Having a fresh backup means you can revert all, or a part, of your site if something goes wrong during the update process (or if you’re ever hacked). Whenever I would

Bloggers: Get More Twitter Mentions and Followers with This Quick Tip

Whether you’re a professional blogger or you simply have a blog attached to your freelance writer or author website, chances are good you have social media sharing buttons attached to each post. And if not, you should. They’re simple tools that allow your readers to easily spread the word about your posts. Yet I see bloggers make a common mistake when using these sharing plugins.

Quick Tip: Protect Your WordPress Login Page From Brute Force Attacks

If you’re a WordPress blogger, chances are that you’re aware of the massive brute force attempts targeting WordPress sites lately. If you’re not sure what these are, basically it’s when someone attempts to hack your site by guessing your username and password. But they usually do this with bots that let them automate the process, and your site can be hit hundreds (if not thousands)

Weekend Reading: Build a Blog

For this week’s Weekend Reading segment, let’s look at launching new blogs, from choosing a blog design to developing your blog’s content strategy. If you’re thinking about starting your first blog (or a new blog in general) here are some articles and resources that might help. How to Start a Blog in 2014 — By Pete Zaborszky at Make-a-Web-site.com How to Launch a Self-Hosted WordPress

How to Change Your Twitter Handle Without Losing Followers

Today I’m kicking off a new weekly post series: Tuesday Quick Tips. Each Tuesday moving forward I’ll publish a short post with a simple tutorial, generally covering a common question or something you can do in just a few minutes. Let’s start by talking about Twitter. If you follow me on Twitter you might have noticed that I recently changed my handle (the name I

Freelance Blogging Pay Rates: Exposing Some Myths

This post was originally published on June 20, 2009. But I wanted to share it again today (and update it a bit) as the issue of blogging pay rates is hotter than ever as more and more freelance bloggers come onto the scene. As some background, this was originally written in response to Kevin Muldoon’s post, Bloggers Need to be Realistic About Blogging Rates. It

Free Scrivener Template for Managing Multiple Blogs

Recently I wrote about my decision to move to Scrivener for blogging. I also released a free scrivener template for bloggers that allows you to easily manage a single blog as its own project. But personally, I use Scrivener to manage multiple blogs, and I manage them all from a single project file so I can see all of my blogs’ content in one place.

Free Scrivener Template for Bloggers: Manage a Single Blog

Recently I shared some of the reasons I now use Scrivener for blogging. In the comments on that post I promised to look into creating a simple template you can use. Today I’d like to share that Scrivener blogging template with you. About the Scrivener Blogging Template This simple template was designed to be used in managing your content strategy for a single blog. The

5 Reasons Not to Write Blog Posts Directly in WordPress

All of my blogs are run in WordPress, and that’s been my blogging platform of choice since switching to it in 2006. WordPress offers fairly extensive writing and editing tools right within your site’s admin area. Over the years, I’ve written many of my blog posts directly in WordPress using these tools. That was probably a mistake. In my last post I mentioned that I

Scrivener for Blogging: Why Scrivener is the Ultimate Blogging Tool

A while back I mentioned that I was giving Scrivener a try. My hope was to use that writing software during last year’s NaNoWriMo instead of a standard word processor. That didn’t happen. I was still uncomfortable with the software at the time, and I worried it would slow me down. I’m still a Scrivener beginner by a long shot, but I’m finally putting it

How to Add Custom Tweetable Quotes to Your Blog Posts (Without a Plugin)

Have you ever seen custom quotes in a blog post with a “tweet this” link? It’s cool, right? Instead of focusing your Twitter links on your blog post title, you can have several tweets with unique content for each of your posts. And by highlighting your best quotes, you increase your chance that readers will share your posts. Here’s an example of a completely customized

3 Things to do Before Upgrading WordPress Plugins

I wish I knew why, but over the last month and a half or so I’ve noticed far more WordPress plugin updates than usual being pushed through. Perhaps developers are getting ready for the WordPress 3.9 core update. Whatever the reason, more plugin updates equals more risk for your website or blog. Plenty can go wrong when you update a plugin. Sometimes the updates will

Weekend Reading: Guest Blogging

Guest posting has been a hot topic lately around the writing, blogging, SEO, and marketing communities. That’s a result of Google’s Matt Cutts making the proclamation that guest posting (for SEO) was dead, and him more recently mentioning that Google had penalized MyBlogGuest. That site, owned by Ann Smarty, connects guest bloggers to host blog owners.  While I don’t know Ann well, our paths have

Pick Your Perfect Blog Post Schedule

Your blog’s content strategy is about more than the type of content you plan to write. It also includes your blog post schedule — when you post, and how often you post. Should you post daily? Just on weekdays? Once per week? Monthly? There’s no right answer to cover all blogs. You have to find the right post frequency and schedule for your blog. Picking Your Blog Post