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A Work-From-Home Guide to Blogging

A Work-From-Home Guide to Blogging

We offer a shotgun scattering of tips for work-from-home bloggers. In our guide to blogging, we cover things such as picking your blog genre, tips on running your blog, why you should use your comment section, and we even offer a few tips on how to stay safe while working from home.

Ideas When Picking A Blog Genre To Start Your Blog

This section of our guide to blogging describes a few things to consider when you start a new blog. It explains how picking a blog genre is very important, and how targeting the right reader is the fastest way to achieve any online success. It details a few things to think about whilst picking a blog topic or theme.

You Need To Pick A Theme, Genre And Then Target Your Audience Accordingly

You need to make sure that you pick a blog theme or genre for your new blog. This is what will attract people, and is what will keep them coming back week after week. You need to target a specific audience. The more targeted your audience is, then the higher the probability that they will return and spread the word of your blog throughout their personal online community. It is possible to make your blog too focused, to the point where only a small group of people will attend, but this is the risk you have to take. It is far better than having a very general-themed blog because most people will only visit for the blog post that applies to them and then will never return again.

What “Use” Does Your Blog Offer?

People need a reason to attend your blog. The blog needs to have some form of “Use” (aka – it must be useful) because very few people are going to attend your blog because they simply fancy reading something. Every popular website has at least one overriding use, such as offering the best prices on a certain product or offering information on the latest share prices. You need to target a certain group of people, and offer a service that they can use. Since you are running a blog, you are only able to give information or opinions. Therefore, you need to find and produce information that your target reader can use.

How Stiff Is Your Competition?

If your target audience is already being served by one (or more) of your competitors, then you may have to choose a different blog field, topic or theme. Even if you were to copy the entire paradigm of your competitors’ blog, you will always be viewed as a cheap alternative.

On the other hand, it is quite possible to write a blog with the same theme as a popular blog, and still differentiate yourself from your competition. You may be seen as the pleasing alternative to your popular competition. You may also take your place side-by-side with your competition, where readers will read their blog posts and then move on to you. Such a phenomenon is not uncommon, for example, some people who have a Facebook profile also have a Google+ profile. This just shows that you may not have to steal the readers of your competition (you may simply share them).

Find Out What Your Target Audience Wants

You will need to do some research to find out if there is a demand for your blog theme or topic. There are still lots of groups out there who are being dangerously under served. Not only can you write for them, but you can write in a way that goes in a different direction from your competition. For example, there is a website that measures how many times the word “Fag” is used in popular media. It highlights how the passive use of some words may still set negative social trends. You need to find your target audience, and research into exactly what they want from a blog.

Time Sensitive Topics And Genres Are Difficult For Bloggers

You should consider a blog based on current events and news, but be aware that time sensitive blog themes comes with a whole new set of problems. It will be very difficult to use a scheduling device in order to create a backlog of blog posts. It will also mean that you will not know the topic of your next blog post until the time sensitive issue occurs. In addition, it also means that your blog posts will become dated very quickly. Some news may become irrelevant within a matter of days, which will render most of your old blog posts as useless.

Tips For Improving Your Blog

This section gives tips for people who are looking to improve their blog. They are three things that you should start with before moving on to things such as blog audits and HTML code bug hunting. Improving your blog will mean that you have to take a good hard look at your blog design, SEO (Search Engine Optimization) and content. In addition, you will have to do it with a very critical eye, whilst trying to put yourself in the shoes of your viewer.

Backup Your Blog If You Intend To Improve It

This is just common sense for in case things go very wrong. It also makes it easier to reverse things if you decide you liked things the way they were. You should save a local copy of your blog, and you can save a version of your blog on the cloud too. There are CMS plugins that will routinely save a backup copy of your blog; however, you should save manually prior to making any blog improvements.

Improve The Most Obvious Blog Problems First

Do not make a list of all the things wrong with your blog and then try to improve them one by one. This will take days or weeks, by which time a completely new batch of problems may have arisen. If you want to improve your blog, then sit down, find the most glaringly obvious problem with your blog and fix that first. Do not move on to fixing another in between, or do not try to tackle two problems at once. Fix the most obvious problem and then re-examine your blog. Make sure that the improvement you have made is actually an improvement. Do not be afraid of changing your mind and putting things back the way they were.

Narrow Down Your Theme And Your Subsequent Topics

You should not make your blog theme too generalized, as this will make it harder to retain a target audience. When you come up with your blog post topics, you are able to make them more focused if you purposefully try to target them after the fact. Here is an example of how you may make your blog post topic more focused and therefore more targeted.

Do Not Act On The Advice Your Critics Give You (Most Of The Time)

As a prolific content creator and a veteran freelancer, let me offer some advice about critics and criticism. In a perfect world, I would say you should put your fingers in your ears and hum a medley of Guns & Roses guitar riffs whenever people criticize you. However, there is the 1 out of 100 time that the critic will be right, so there is a small argument for listening to them.

Only Listen To Critics Once Per Week

Limit how much you listen to critics, especially on social media and comment sections. Only moderate once per week, and be ultra aware that some critics are just trying to upset you. Don’t forget that we live in an age where people enjoy getting on their high horse and tearing people down. We live in a time when getting offended is a hobby and people will scour the Internet for anything they can criticize. We ourselves have had comments suggesting that we are “Fat Shaming” a dog because we showed a picture of a fat dog. Among other criticisms, we have had several saying that I shouldn’t use “Him or her.” They say I should use “Him or Her or Cis or Undecided.” If people are offended, it is not your job to change, it is their job to stop following you.

If You Are Pleasing Everybody, And Upsetting Nobody, Then You Are Bland At Best, And Dull At Worst

Great work means offending and upsetting some people. Some people say Van Gogh’s work is brilliant and some say it is dumb (including the people alive in his time). Some people are very offended by the work of Quentin Tarantino, and some think of him as the ultimate movie-making master artist. Imagine the reaction you would get if you wrote an article for a Neo Nazi group, but you wrote it with content that was only fit for the My Little Pony crowd, or if you wrote comedy content for a funeral website. Trying to please everybody is not how the game works. Some people have to dislike your work in order for your target audience to like it.

Dealing With Clients If You Are Being Paid By A Client To Run A Blog

If a client criticizes more often than he or she (or cis or unknown) fawns, then drop him/her/it. I am ultra serious about this point. I have turned down some very juicy contracts with some very sexy pay checks because the client frustrated me. Don’t get me wrong–I like the money, but I like being proud of my work more, and it is tough to be proud of your work when you have to keep explaining it to rich idiot.

You Are Going To Create Some Crap, There Is No Getting Around That

The creator of the Dilbert comic strip is an idiot (hopefully, Mr Adams has his fingers in his hears when somebody reads that unfair criticism out to him), but the creator said if he creates one funny strip, then people forgive him if the next four are not funny. It is powerful advice for all freelancers because you need to come to terms with the fact that you are going to create some crap, but if you keep creating, you will create something great. Keep creating until you create something awesome.

What Is The Point Of A Comment Section On A Blog?

This article gives reasons for why a comment section should be installed on a blog. It explains a few of the benefits for a blogger, such as how comments may inspire new ideas. It also describes two SEO (Search Engine Optimization) benefits that may come from installing and using a comment section on a blog. Blog comment sections seem to be all the rage at the moment, but few people seem to be willing to explain the benefits of comment sections. From an outsider’s perspective it just appears to create more work for the blogger.

A Comment Section May Help To Improve Your Blog

Comment sections have a lot pros and cons. However, there are more positive points to comment sections on a blog than there are negative points. That is why so many blogs have a comment section.

Many of the benefits are for the blogger. Some comments will inspire the blogger with new ideas for blog posts. Sometimes this comes through the constructive comments of readers and sometimes comes through the arguments that commenting readers have with each other. The constructive criticism of a blog can sometimes help a blogger to begrudgingly improve his or her blog. Other times a reader who comments may have a genuine amendment to the blog, which the blogger may integrate into that blog post or future blog posts.

There Is An Search Engine Optimization) Benefit To A Comment Section

There is also a search engine optimization benefit that comes from blog comments. This occurs in two ways. The first is that a search engine may be able to judge how valued your blog is by how many comments the blog has. For example, a blog that has a comment section but hundreds of posts without comments may be viewed as a poorly attended and unpopular blog. However, the search engines are aware that bloggers may write their own comments, so the search engines will often only recognize the comments that they may verify as uniquely from readers.

For example, a comment section that allows people to comment by signing into Facebook would go some way into proving that the comments do not all originate from the blogger. The search engines such as Google will pay more attention to blogs that they believe are more popular and so will rank it further up their search engine.

The second way that comment sections help search engine optimization is that a correctly optimized comment section may be seen as a page update. If you update your website regularly then the search engines will rank it higher in the search engine results. A comment being added to a blog post may be seen as a page update. This means that a blog with a comment section will be seen as more regularly updating itself.

Health And Safety When Working From Home

When homeworking health and safety regulations were first introduced, both home workers and employees took a while to get up to speed. Awareness is now much better, with the issues affecting home workers well documented, but there are still many employers and employees who do not know their health and safety obligations and responsibilities. This guide offers a clear introduction to health and safety risks, regulations and management for the self-employed and employers who hire work at home employees.

Working at Home: The Risks

The risks of working at home are usually related to the job role in question. The most common risks involve working at a screen, using manual equipment and electrical equipment, handling hazardous substances, and tripping and falling. There are a number of indirect hazards directly related to working at home on your own, such as isolation and stress.

As an employee your employee should not only ensure working safety, but the correct working environment too – one that is quiet, well lit and fitted with the right furniture and equipment. They are required to supply the appropriate equipment for you.

If you are self-employed, you are responsible for managing the health and safety risks. If you work with others or you deal with customers/clients at your home, you are responsible for their health and safety. Public liability insurance is crucial in this instance, in the case that an incident occurs and you are found liable.

Considerations for Employers

According to the Safety at Work Act 1974, employers have a general duty to ensure health and safety of all employees, including those who work from home. The employer must conduct a thorough assessment of the risks to home workers (Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999) – particularly the work station. Screen equipment risks must be assessed (Health and Safety – Display Screen Equipment – Regulations 1992). Any equipment that the employer provides must be suitable and safe, and the employee must be adequately trained to use it properly and safely (PUWER). Employers are responsibly only for the equipment they supply.

Given that there are indirect hazards associated with working alone at home, you should negotiate a plan of contact with the employee – to ensure their safety and provide them with the support they need during working hours. Working at home does not suit everyone, and though regulations do not demand it, the employer should see it as their responsibility to ensure that only appropriate people work from home, and a thorough discussion should be conducted. See this link for more information.

Considerations for Employees

For employed persons, reasonable care must be taken for personal health and safety and for that of others who are involved. All employer-provided equipment must be used according to regulations, and the employee must notify of any changes to the working situation. It is also the employee’s duty to inform the employer if any new health and safety risks become apparent, regardless of whether or not the employer is doing their job properly.

About The Author

Ash The Great

After a varied career in different industries from the hospitality industry to the financial consultancy industry, Ash now spends his days working as a professional writer.

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