Expand your business, increase profits and build credibility by engaging our ghostwriter, writer and blogger service.Richard is the Owner and Senior Writer for The Writing King, a bestselling author, and ghostwriter. He's written and published 63 books, ghostwritten 12 books, as well as hundreds of blog articles.
It is my belief that to be truly happy in this world, every person must focus their life towards fulfilling their passion. Your passion is the activity that makes your heart flutter, that brings you satisfaction over and over, and that gives you that feeling of success. For some of us, it is ministering or helping people, for others it is painting or dancing, and for me, it is writing.
In order to succeed, your passion and your personal goals must be in alignment. I believe this is a primary reason many very successful people are unhappy – they have lots of money or power, but in spite of all that, they are not succeeding where they want to succeed.
For a long time, I denied my passion, which is writing, speaking, and communicating, and proceeded along other lines. I made money and felt accomplished, but something was missing.
Now that I am working towards goals that fulfill my passion, I am happy, and I feel like I am succeeding in life.
Sure, it’s frustrating at times, and occasionally stressful, but I go to bed each night with a smile on my face, knowing that during the day I progressed, even a little bit, towards a place where I actually want to be. I’m not just working a job to make money or pay the bills; I’m doing what makes my spirit sing.
Are you wondering why a LinkedIn account is even necessary? If you’ve got a profile, do you wonder if you need to spend any time keeping it up-to-date and accurate? Do you know how to use LinkedIn to your best advantage?
I receive many questions about LinkedIn from friends and co-workers, and many seem confused by it’s value and use. It’s well known that Facebook is for social networking with friends and others, and is a great way to stay connected across long distances. I’ve reconnected with friends on Facebook from grade school, remain connected with people I’ve met at all stages of my life, and in general it has been a very positive tool for that purpose.
However, for business use, I’ve found Facebook to be seriously deficient. I’ve posted notices in Facebook groups with literally tens of thousands of people, and received not a single hit or inquiry. While status updates of cats and breakfast seem to get hundreds or even thousands of likes and shares, serious posts get ignored and are lucky to receive one like.
LinkedIn, of the other hand, serves a very different purpose: that of business networking. If you are in business, have a career, or are creating a brand, you need to be on LinkedIn. If you are not, than you are missing a huge opportunity and it is costing you money and connections to people who could help you move forward with your business goals.
Why use LinkedIn?
My LinkedIn profile is targeted precisely towards the business services that I offer. Because of that, I receive inquiries from all over the world, at all times of day, and from all kinds of people. Some of the uses include:
Groups help expand my reach to millions of people who have similar interests or could use my services.
LinkedIn’s search capabilities pulls people directly to my profile, where they can find out more about me and, if they are interested, connect with me and request more information.
Potential employers can review my experience at any time of the day to see if I have the skills or experience they need.
By spending an hour a day scanning groups, I can help people with my experience and knowledge, and people can return the favor and help me with theirs.
The key point about a well-designed LinkedIn profile, which is targeted and get up-to-date, is that it works for you 24-hours a day, 7-days a week across the whole planet. That’s an amazing thing to consider – you can reach hundreds of millions of business people, employers or like-minded peers with just a few hours effort and a couple of hundred bucks a year (if you purchase the basic service, which I recommend.)
I find the service to be exceptionally valuable, and returns the price of the basic membership a hundred times over every year.
What does your linkedIn profile say about you?
Do you even have a LinkedIn account? If not, you are missing out on offers for your services (if you own a business) or for employment.
Is your LinkedIn profile barren and empty?
As an employer, that tells me nothing about you other than you don’t see the value of a business social network.
If I am looking for a fit for a position, a person with a barren or skimpy profile requires that I contact them for more information. That’s another step, and as an employer I am not going to go to that trouble. You can get my attention with a few hours work.
Is your profile out-of-date? Keep it up-to-date because employers and customers are looking for information in the here-and-now. I want to know what you can do for me NOW, not what you did ten years ago.
Is your profile optimized? LinkedIn has a built-in search engine, and other search engines may also be used to find you. Without proper optimization, you are making yourself less visible, or even invisible. That isn’t help you land customers or a position.
As an employer in the past, I always took a few minutes to check out a potential employee in the web. The state of a person’s online presence tells a lot about that person. A well-done LinkedIn profile gave me a piece of the puzzle-picture about a person.
They understand LinkedIn and it’s value
They care about their online presence (assuming everything else is equally good)
They told their story in the way they want it to be heard
Spend the money for a LinkedIn basic account as this will help you connect more easily.
Optimize your profile and keep it accurate and up-to-date.
If this all seems like a lot of work, if you don’t know where to start, or if you just don’t have the time, I can help.
Sometimes the hardest part of writing is the beginning, or getting started. I’ve sat there for hours, sometimes an entire day, desperately trying to come up with something to write about. I’m sure all writers, regardless of whether they are seasoned professionals, college students writing their term papers, or just someone writing a letter, go through the same thing.
What do I write about today?
I’ve found over the years that the absolute worst thing I can do at the beginning is to try to come up with an idea for my next writing project. There’s something about thinking which doesn’t fit with good writing. This is more true for fiction than non-fiction, but the concept still applies.
But don’t you want think up an idea before you can write about it? Isn’t it best to sit down with pen and paper in hand, and just stare off into space, trying to come up with that incredibly idea for your next novel, non-fiction book, short story or whatever?
I’ll answer this with a resounding HELL NO! Thinking is great for writing a thesis or term paper or some other assignment, but out in the real world, when you are trying to actually create something from your heart, thinking gets in the way.
A Good Idea Comes from the Heart
The day I stopped looking to my brain for ideas, and instead looked into my heart (or soul as some would call it) is the day I became a professional writer. My books and stories and novels came to life, and my ideas morphed overnight from flat, purposeless, lifeless collections of characters and words to living recordings of feelings, thoughts, and emotions directly from my heart.
You see, the brain has limitations. We’ve all bought into various dogmas, formed by our background, upbringing, religion, education, and profession. Those dogmas are burned into our brains from an early age. These dogmas get in the way of good writing, because they are barriers to prevent freedom of thought. A dogma, regardless of whether it’s true or not, is a straightjacket and holds a person in place as if wrapped in spider webs.
On the other hand, the heart knows no such boundaries. Scientific dogma states unequivocally that going faster than light is a physical impossibility. That may or may not be true (I suspect it is as true as the earlier believe that the world was flat) but the heart doesn’t care about such restrictions. Writing a story from the heart eliminates being bounded by that particular dogma (or choosing to be bound by it to create a particular story.)
The thing is ideas come from the heart spontaneously and of their own accord. You cannot sit down and think think think until an idea spills out of your heart. You just look and the idea is there or it isn’t.
Ideas from the heart cannot be forced.
For me, the best way to get ideas is to relax and let them flow. I open my mind, take a walk along the beach or at a botanical garden, paint a plastic model or work on my stamp collection. While I do such activities, my mind opens up and the ideas flow.
Conversely, stress kills ideas and makes it almost impossible to even see the heart. Ideas don’ t flow well when a person is under stress.
You see, for four decades I wanted to be a writer. I decided I needed to hold a job, and I accepted offers in the computer industry. The stress was exceptionally high. I made lots of money and had a great career, but I couldn’t write anything that was important to me. Oh sure, I wrote hundreds of technical articles, books, manuals, and guides for the companies who employed me, but I never wrote anything of significance from my heart.
There was too much stress in the way.
So there you have it. Find a place to relax, get a good cup of tea or water (avoid drugs and alcohol as they throw up a barrier making it more difficult to create), and let your mind wander free.
I think you will find, as I did. that the ideas start to flow. Write them down. Don’t write your story or article while getting ideas. Just jot down the ideas and write later.
Today someone mentioned to me that they didn’t see the value of having a LinkedIn profile. I can understand their thought process to a certain extent, because up until a couple of years ago, I didn’t think much about LinkedIn. I was more concerned with my Facebook profile, because I was very involved in the local area on a social level. Facebook is perfect for social networking.
Because of this during the time I worked at Trader Joe’s keeping an up-to-date LinkedIn profile wasn’t even on my priority list. However, in mid-2013 I decided to move on, move to Florida, and pursue my dream of becoming a professional writer.
For 35 years, I worked for someone else, first as a Vice President of Consulting, and finally as Director of Technical Services and Computer Operations. Networking was a task that did in person, by going to computer related events, conferences, training classes and seminars, as well as by visiting clients and vendors directly.
It never really occurred to me to use services such as LinkedIn to leverage my professional background for networking purposes.
That all changed when I left Trader Joe’s. Since I felt that customers for my writing business could come from all over the world, the value of a LinkedIn profile became obvious. Once I looked over my profile and realized that I had little understanding of how to make it work for me, I called a company that writes LinkedIn profiles. I bought the high-end premium package and was interviewed by Donna Serdula, the owner of the company.
What’s Important In A LinkedIn Profile?
You should read the book Focus On LInkedIn to gain a full understanding of what is important in a profile. There is an art and a science to understand what to include, and almost as important, what to exclude from your online professional presence. Better yet, I’d be happy to optimize your profile for you. Click here to find out how.
Briefly, though, remember LinkedIn is a search engine, and even more importantly, other search applications such as Google also index LinkedIn profiles. All of the SEO techniques that you use for web sites and blogs also apply to LinkedIn profiles. Also, all of the mistakes that can cause a web site or blog to be classified as “spam” equally apply.
What does this mean? Be honest and truthful in what you write about yourself. Not only does this make a better impression with potential employers, but it will find you better qualified positions and work.
Additionally, don’t spam. Don’t send connection requests to people you don’t know, unless they make it clear in their profile that they want unsolicited connections requests. LinkedIn is not very forgiving about spammers, so don’t get caught up in that or you’ll find yourself with reduced capabilities or even banned.
What Does An Optimized LinkedIn Profile Do For You?
An up-to-date, accurate and honest LinkedIn profile allows prospective employers and business people to find you online. It helps separate you from the millions of other people on the web. The better job you do in creating your LinkedIn presence, the more luck you are going to have at getting contacted by the right people.
Conversely, if you have a poorly written LinkedIn profile, it shows you don’t understand how to use one of the most important resources available for a business professional.
These days, being internet and network savvy is critical to survival. Create a beautiful, accurate, and on-target profile and you demonstrate you value contacts and understand how to network online.
Learn how to write a short Kindle eBook fast, get it ready for sale, and make money. Find out what people want to read about, write a book targeted at those people, publish it, and sell it on Amazon. Sounds like a dream, right? Yet it’s completely true. You can write and sell non-fiction eBooks fast and furious.
I’ve been writing for most of my life. In fact, I wrote my first book, albeit primitive, about geology when I was just eight years old. It was actually pretty good – given that I was so young – and gave some excellent information about rocks and the earth and how it relates to human society.
In those days, we didn’t have computers and my parents didn’t own a typewriter, so the entire manuscript was handwritten. Since I was very young and had just learned how to write cursive (handwriting), it took a long time and a lot of patience.
Over the coming years, I wrote hundreds of articles which have been published all over the web, plus my own autobiography and a family history, which I published myself for other family members. As a computer specialist and manager, I wrote over a hundred technical documents to train users and others on products and services.
Writing is a passion of mine. I love to write and communicate ideas and facts to other people to help them with their lives. By the time I took an early retirement at age 53, I had dozens of non-fiction books started and in various stages of completion, plus another dozen novels. Everything was outlined and sitting in folders, and I presumed never to be completed.
Yet in spite of all of this writing, none of my works were published or for sale to others. I despaired of ever being published.
At that point, my life changed. I discovered Udemy.
Udemy has a massive selection of courses. All are short and to the point, and filled with tips and techniques on every conceivable subject. After finding this treasure trove, I took dozens of courses about how to write, market, promote and sell books. These courses are filled with practical advise, and by using the information gained, I was able to build a career as an author. Within a short time, I’d produced two bestsellers and written over 60 books.
In 2018, I’d been publishing my own and ghostwritten books for years. I decided it was time to share the knowledge I’d gained with other authors.
I founded Fiction Master Class, which contains a large number of specialized training courses to help authors write, publish and promote their books. I wrote these courses myself focusing on the questions and solutions that I know are important to writers.
I suggest you take a look through these selections of courses and find a few that will help fill in the gaps in your knowledge. You’ll be happy you did.
I am sure that every freelancer goes through periods of rejection. Regardless of the niche, whether it be writing, creating applications, making costumes or putting on parties, rejection is a regular occurrence and part of the business of working with clients.
A few years ago I was photographing a masquerade ball, and I wanted to have an excellent, head-turning costume. I hired one of the top costume-makers in Southern California, and we spent several hours going over what I wanted. I was so excited as I was sure the costume was going to be spectacular.
When it arrived, and I saw what she had created, I had to struggle to keep tears from my eyes. The monstrosity that she gave me was so horrible that I can’t even begin to describe it. On top of that, the thing was a heat trap, which, given the 100-degree weather, was not going to work at all.
We had a conversation which turned a little heated, and finally, I agreed to pay for materials and half the labor. I never wore the outfit and after a few years of collecting dust in my closet I threw the thing away.
As a freelance writer, I go through the same thing from time to time. I listen to what the clients says he or she wants and do my best to deliver on their stated goals and needs.
Most of the time, I hit the mark or come reasonably close. My interviewing skills are pretty good, and it’s usually just a matter of asking the right questions to be sure I understand their goals, their audience, and their voice.
Out of those that do come back with a negative reaction, it’s usually corrected with a little communication and revision. As all writers know, that’s part of the game we play. This is especially true of ghostwriting – sometimes we don’t quite hit the mark on the first try. That’s why it is vital to ensure our clients understand this is a more-or-less collaborative process.
Here’s an essential point: ensure your quotes include time for revisions. There will ALWAYS be revisions, and sometimes they can exceed the time it took to create the original by several times.
Once in a while, the client outright rejects the writing with words such as “horrible” and “you call yourself a writer?” What’s amusing is in virtually all instances, after a conversation with the client, I have found the revisions are minor, and their objection was to something misworded, a single phrase or a word they didn’t like. In other words, there isn’t that much wrong at all. Sometimes the client is even mildly embarrassed about what they wrote as if they forgot there is a human being with feelings on the other side of that email message.
Then there are those clients who just reject it for various reasons and refuse to get even into the discussion about what to do to correct the deliverable.
It’s rare, but occasionally you’ll run across a client who rejects the work time and again in an attempt to get you to do more than you are contractually obligated to deliver. I’ve been on projects in my computing career where we provided tens of thousands or more dollars of services over and above what the contract to “make the client satisfied.” Guess what? It didn’t work. The client wasn’t satisfied no matter what we did.
Resist the temptation to deliver more than your obligation. Doing so is a losing game, and with 35 years of experience, I can tell you that not once has this worked out well. When the client asks (demands) additional “free” services, deliver a quote for the extra work. A freelancer’s time is money, and by giving away work for free, you cheapen yourself, and you may wind up losing money on the deal.
Rejection is part of being a freelancer. It doesn’t matter if you write articles for magazines, code applications for businesses, create costumes for dancers, or clean houses. Sometimes the client will not be satisfied. It’s part of the game. All you can do is deliver your best work, communicate with the unhappy client to correct any issues, if possible, and move on.
Most important of all, never get emotional with your customers, regardless of whether they are right or wrong or even if they are yelling and using profanity. Remain professional, deliver your best work, work with them when there is a disagreement, and move on.
Do you want Google and other search engines to index your site high up in the search engine rankings?
Of course you do. The fact of the matter is if your site isn’t on the first page, or at worst the second, you won’t get much traffic. On top of that, the difference between the bottom of the first page and the top can be thousands of visitors per day.
How to you get to the top of the search engine response pages (SERPs)?
Before we begin, take note that this is a simple explanation of link building and getting backlinks. There are many methods that are much more complex, but the concepts and ideas presented in this article will give you a base on which to build.
Start by Defining your Brand, Message and Target Audience
Begin the process by defining your brand – the message or messages that you want to deliver and your target audience. If you are, for example, a non-fiction author you would want to build a blog that demonstrates your credibility – the idea that you know your subject. Your message is related to the content of your books. Your target audience is who you are writing for, and that should have been defined well before you began writing your books.
Brand – The image that you want to portray. In the case of a person, this would be their appearance, mannerisms, reputation, abilities, skills and so on. For a product, it can simply be “our soda is cold and wet” or “our cables hold up bridges.” A brand is the idea you want to put into the minds of your target audience.
Message – The concept or concepts that you want to deliver to your target audience.
Target Audience – Your customers or whoever else you are trying to reach. It is impossible to reach everyone, and the more precise your target audience, the more accurately your message will be delivered, and the more likely you will get the results you desire. The wider your audience, the more difficult it is to deliver a message and the less likely you will make sales or get whatever other outcome you desire.
Once you have those defined, the next step is to create good content that targets a number of keywords and phrases related to your topic.
Matt Cutts talks about how small sites can become popular.
Create Good Content for your Audience
What is content? It’s the published “stuff” on your website, including:
Pages that contain text and other media
And so on
The idea is to create quality content that other people want to read or look at, and is enticing to other blogs and websites. Your content should be a mixture of text, images, videos, infographics, slideshows and anything else that helps readers understand your message. You also need to include outbound links to authority sites when possible to add credibility. This builds trust among your target audience.
Additionally, it is vital to create a site that is well organized and free from gross errors. A future article in this series will dive into this deeper.
Why is it Important to get Backlinks?
A backlink is simply a link (URL) that points to your website or a page in your website. Someone (or, in the case of automated tools, something) decided your site or page had information pertinent in some way to their audience. For example, if your blog contains southern recipes, other recipe sites could link to yours to add value for their readers. Additionally, restaurants and newspapers in the local area might link to your site to give their readers some cooking ideas.
Backlinks can point to your site (the front page) or a specific page on your site. It’s important to get a mixture of site links and page links.
Anchor text, the name or text of the backlink, is also important as this is used by search engines to help understand the topic of your page or site. For example, for my site, The Writing King, a few backlinks with anchor text of “The Writing King” establishes that as my brand. Additionally, anchor text of “ghostwriter”, “copywriter”, and so forth gives the search engines additional information so they understand what my site is about.
The key point about anchor text is these tell search engines what others believe your site or page is about. By getting backlinks with a variety of anchor texts, you widen the net you are casting and you’ll get more results from searches.
Remember that you should get links to individual pages on your blog, and these should use anchor text in the links that describe the topic.
Backlinks are vital for SEO because they establish the credibility of your site
The reason why backlinks are important is they establish that your site and pages have credibility. Other people have stated, by adding links to your site, that your information is a good fit for their readers.
The Chicken and the Egg Problem
The best practice is to get links from sites that have more authority than yours.
Domain Authority (DA) was developed by MOZ to predict how well a website should rank in search engine results. Websites are rated on a scale of 1 to 100, with 100 being best. New sites always begin at one, and as sites mature in a white hat manner they will get higher scores. Sites such as Google and Wikipedia are at the top of the scale, while small business or personal blogs start near the bottom.
Page Authority (PA), also developed by MOZ, measures the ranking strength of an individual page.
Page Rank (PR) is a number indicating the quality and quantity of links to a page on a scale of 0 to 10, with 0 meaning no inbound links and 10 meaning a great number of quality links.
However, if a site is relatively new with a low DA and PA values (PR is no longer published by Google), then how will it get inbound links?
This is the classic chicken and egg problem, as in which came first? It’s also a classic catch-22 because you need to get links to raise in the rankings, but you can’t get links until you raise in the rankings.
The answer is you create great content which other webmasters want to reference from their sites, and you use some techniques such as guest posting and a Reporter Out. Additionally, establish relationships by networking with other bloggers, business people and webmasters.
Don’t Build Links Too Quickly
If you are like most bloggers and business people, you want to get Google and other search engines to take notice of your blog as quickly as possible so that you can start making income or build an audience.
Slow down. Get a few good quality backlinks a week, at most. Take your time. If you go too fast, Google may decide you are attempting to spam them. This may result in a downgrade for your page or site.
If you write good quality content, people will naturally want to share it anyway. Get more people to look at your content via social media, press releases and other methods, and if your quality is high you’ll find it shared all over the web.
In other words, be patient.
Networking is a Great Way to Get Backlinks
One of the best ways to get backlinks, especially if your site is relatively new, is to network with other professionals. These could be:
Peers in the same or a similar niche or genre.
And so on. The idea is to get others to know, like and trust you, and to create great content on a well-optimized blog or website. These relationships will quite naturally result in a certain amount of cross-linking.
Things to be careful about:
Do not use link exchanges. Search engines frown on obvious exchanges of links where you put a link on your site in return for a link on their site. Instead, add links that make sense, and ask for links that make sense, and make sure your networking partners understand it’s not necessarily an even exchange.
Don’t link to or ask for links from low-quality sites. In other words, if the sites or blogs are not of high quality, don’t consider them in your link strategy.
Avoid “thin” sites. These are sites with little or no real content.
Stay far away from any black hat SEO. Just don’t do it. Google will catch you.
Excellent Link Building Methods for Authors
The following sections describe some link building techniques that I’ve found to be useful for me as an author. Many of them require writing content, either short or long, which fits right into what I do every day.
Keep in mind this is a brief list of ways to build backlinks. There are literally thousands of other methods. Use the ones that fit best with your style and methodology. Over time, you’ll discover what works for you and what doesn’t.
One great way to get links to your site is to comment on blogs. This generally will not improve your search ranking, at least not directly, because most commenting systems will mark links as NOFOLLOW. This means the search engines will ignore them for the most part.
However, by making intelligent, thoughtful comments in blogs you can gain the attention of the blog owner, and they then become a networking partner. You can ask them to link to your site, write guest posts for them, and so forth.
You may also get traffic from people who click on those links to check out your site.
Here’s a note on commenting from Matt Cutts from Google.
Find podcasts, radio shows and bloggers who want interviews, contact them, and offer to do an interview. These places are always looking for content, so you have a good chance of succeeding. You’ll most likely get a backlink from their site for the interview. Sometimes these interviews will be a response to a written questionnaire, sometimes audio podcasts, and occasionally they will be video.
To get an even bigger bang for the buck, ask them for copies of the interview in MP3 (audio) or MP4 (video) format along with rights to use republish them. This will give you content for your own blog.
A fantastic method to use to get backlinks is to write guest posts on other blogs. How do you do this? Find a blogger and start communicating with them. Comment on their blogs, join their email lists, reply to their newsletters and so forth. Once you’ve established a relationship, ask to do a guest post.
Take care to ensure these posts are of the same or even better quality than those you do for your own blog, and include a link or two back to your own site.
Make it a point, if possible, to write more than one article for each site. Otherwise, it might appear that you are posting articles simply to get backlinks.
Help a Reporter Out
An excellent technique for getting backlinks is to join the Help A Reporter Out service as a source. You’ll get daily emails with questions from reporters. By properly answering their query (this is called a pitch) you’ll get a few responses, and most of these will result in backlinks to your site. On occasion, you’ll run into a reporter for a print publication or for a site that does not allow backlinks, but that’s just part of the game.
If you forgo from selling your products and services, and instead focus on answering their query and explaining why you are a credible source, you’ll get responses.After a while, you may find the same reporters coming back to you for more material.
I’m sure you’ve bought many products and services from companies that have a presence on the web. Send them a short, glowing testimonial, and give them permission to republish it on their website as they see fit. Be sure to include your link. Quite often, this will result in a link from the home page of that site.
How to Destroy your Rankings
Any of the following actions can cause your site to be banned, temporarily or permanently, from search engines. This is not a full list of so-called black hat SEO techniques. However, it will give you some ideas things you should avoid.
Article Directories – Google will most likely just ignore these as they are generally only intended for linking purposes.
Link farms – These are sets of web pages that include hundreds or even thousands of links in an attempt to influence search engine rankings.
Keyword stuffing – Repeating keywords and phrases over and over in an attempt to fool the search engines.
Unrelated keywords – Adding extra, unrelated keywords in an attempt to get the search engines to send more traffic.
Hidden text – Making text very tiny, using colors to make text invisible to readers, and hiding links so they can be picked up by search engines but not seen by viewers.
ALT stuffing – loading your image descriptions and ALT text with keywords (keyword stuffing your ALT tags)
Cloaking – Making your pages appear different between search engines and human viewers.
Doorway pages – Creating pages on different domains with duplicate or similar content. Often these redirect users to a primary site.
Page swapping – Once a page has been indexed, swap it out with a different page.
Duplicate content – Copying content from other sites and using it on your own. Instead, use a small quote and link to the primary source of the information.
Spam or automated blog posting – Creating blog posts that are garbage just to get people to click on links.
Comment spam – Posting links in comments on other blogs which add no value, especially in an automated way.
Traceback spam – Similar to comment spam, except the traceback mechanism of WordPress is used instead.
Pingback spam – Abusing ping services by notifying them of your content over and over. The idea is to make them think your content is new when it is not.
Cybersquatting – Registering domains similar to popular domains (often called typo-squatting).
Social network spam – Using social networking in a spammy way to get people to click on ads going to your site. For example, posting a cat video which links to a get rich scheme.
Article spinning – Creating multiple variations of the same article.
Content automation – Using automated programs to create content.
I’ll say this over and over in this article series about SEO. The way to get your site ranking well in the search engines is:
Create excellent quality content.
Get links from high quality authority sites in an organic (natural) manner.
Matt Cutts talks about negative SEO.
What If You Have Several Sites
Be careful about linking together different sites that you own, especially if they are on the same IP address. This is common when using shared hosting services, because they often allow multiple blogs or websites with their own domain names to be defined for a single account.
For example, let say you own mywebsite.com, and you want to also create myproduct.com, anotherproduct.com and myservices.com. On first glance, it might seem advantageous to link all of these together in a kind of web, and even include all of those links in the menu on each page.
While it won’t hurt to include a link here and there to other sites that you own, even if they are on the same IP address, it’s best to avoid including those links on every page of all of your sites. Instead, create a hierarchy in your main site which includes each of your other sites as subfolders. For example, mywebsite.com/myproduct, mywebsite.com/anotherproduct and mywebsite.com/myservices works much better for SEO purposes.
If you want to get your site ranked in the search engines, start with excellent quality content that others will want to share. Use our writing skills, include graphics, videos and other media.
Once you have quality content, create a plan to contact other webmasters and bloggers and ask to do guest posting. This is the most effective way to get traffic to your website.
The other methods, such as blog commenting and testimonials, can help – just don’t overdo it.
Finally, stay away from anything that is even remotely related to search engine spam (black hat SEO.)
If you follow these recommendations, and build links at a regular pace over a period of time, you’ll find the search engines will take notice and you will get more traffic.
When a writer creates a book, they have an intention or reason for doing it. A book is an immense amount of work, so there’s always a goal or something that the writer wants to accomplish with their book.
What were your goals and intentions in your book (pick one), and how well do you feel you achieved them?
Here are their unedited responses.
I have definitely felt emotional writing my novels. If you’re not feeling it, you’re not doing it right. If you don’t experience the emotions of the characters as you’re writing it, neither will your reader. Readers of fiction want to be taken on an emotional journey. I don’t care how technically correct you write, if you’re not touching the reader’s feelings you’re wasting your time and theirs. The way I deal with the emotions IS to write. Unloading it, putting it down for posterity is very cathartic.
I feel it’s vital for a writer to feel the emotions of their characters. We create them and then, often put them in dreadful and desperate situations. In order to write compelling scenes, it’s our job as writers to create emotional tension. When I begin to write such a scene, I write poetry to help me to tap into the desired emotions for those characters. These poems also are a means to help me process the emotions I feel as a writer. I never intend to share these poems, but I do consider them a vital aspect of writing emotional scenes.
This is tough for me to answer. Even though I write fiction, I usually have a reason for writing the book. A visceral reason for either a character or a situation. Just about all of my books -whether a romance or a mystery- deal with injustice or justice, how ever you want to look at it. I try to bring injustices to light or show justice has won by the end of the book. There are times I am gritting my teeth as I write a scene that I hate but that needs to show the injustice. Or I smile and feel lighthearted when someone wins or challenges an injustice and wins. So my dealing with the emotion is to, hopefully, make the reader feel the feelings I and my characters are going through. .
My third book was the first time I had ever killed a friend. A smartass friend, but nevertheless a friend. As the details of his death began to unfurl and I imagined how his wife, daughter and friends would react, I got a bit choked up.
When I realized that my emotions were getting carried away I had to take a step back. My emotive reaction was indicative of a few things: that my writing during that period had been all mushy-gushy, not something anyone would want to read, and especially not something anyone reading a comedy would want to read and that I wasn’t equipped to write about the death of a friend.
The first part was remedied in a lengthy and thorough edit. The second part…well, that would be a spoiler alert. I will ask one thing, if you ever have the pleasure of meeting Ed, my 3rd book victim, don’t tell him about this post. I know I’ll never hear the end of it
In the first seventeen drafts (or so) of Storytellers my ending never failed to make me cry. I thought – that’s amazing, I am so going to ellicit a response from the reader…until I remembered the movie Dancer in the Dark. The ending made me cry and Lars von Trier just cut the movie right there, the lights in the cinema went on, and everyone was completely quiet except for the occasional sobs. I hated this feeling. And I realised this was exactly what I was doing. The ending changed.
I also had a part in the middle where my protagonist told a story of his father. It made me cry every time as well. It was also completely unrealistic for this particular character to speak this way about any topic at all, and didn’t actually add anything. It had to go. It was a way to make the reader react, sure, but it was so on the nose it would practically make the reader look like a professional boxer with a fresh injury.
On the other hand, after 21 drafts there are parts that still make me laugh. They are still in, polished, rewritten many times until I felt they were just right – but still funny. I would never want to read a book that would just be dark and sad all the time. Why would I write one? So now when I get emotional while writing I examine the emotions, then decide whether they actually fit what I am aiming for. Scary? Good. Funny? Yes. Exciting? I sure hope so. Forced tear-jerker? (No offense meant, Lars, but…) No.
These two words go together like peanut butter and jelly when I think about how I write. My books are fiction and tell stories of everyday women overcoming the trauma of domestic violence and other types of abuse. In the stories, I reflect on my past through the characters. The characters open up their hearts to me as the stories unfold. I often find myself pausing over the keys as I rediscover how writing has been essential in my healing process.
I often hand write in notebooks, on napkins, random scraps of paper and anywhere I can when ideas strike me, especially if they invoke emotion. I have voice memos in my phone that contain thoughts that I can’t get out of my mind when I am driving. Many of these notes and ideas are never seen or heard of again. Some of the ideas make it into a box or a notebook at my house and are buried away for months or years. When I come across them, I am amazed at the depth and often forget even creating them.
When I was writing my first book, Coming Home, I often found myself crying and going back to journals I’d hand written when I was working through escaping a domestic violence situation. I took heart in using my experience to craft strength in my characters as they pressed forward through similar situations.
Dreams do come true – but only if we listen. When budding and hesitant writers ask me for advice, I often tell them to keep a notebook handy at all times. Write down random thoughts and tuck them away. Date them if you remember to. Get started on your dream. Just go for it. One word at a time.
Book 1 in my Whisper Creek Series is available now in both print and ebook.
Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and anywhere books are sold!
Books 2 & 3 are coming soon!
The Locksmith made me cry at the end, every time. It went through eleven edits so … eleven cries! I didn’t deal with it, I just enjoyed a good cry. My current novel has a particularity nasty scene in it that makes me feel upset and uncomfortable. I’m not sure how to deal with it, and with the current talk about ‘triggers’, just how readers will deal with it. I’ll see what my editor has to say, and the beta readers. Maybe this scene will get doctored, but currently I feel it’s important to the readers understanding of my antagonist. It’s not vital to the plot as such, but shows some vital elements of characterisation and will up the reader’s sense of danger for the protag. We shall see…
When a writer creates a book, they have an intention or reason for doing it. A book is an immense amount of work, so there’s always a goal or something that the writer wants to accomplish with their book.
What were your goals and intentions in your book (pick one), and how well do you feel you achieved them?
Here are their unedited responses.
I am answering this question two days after my editor sent me an email with the complete, final version of the book and congratulations upon finishing it. Which means my goal has been achieved on Monday, January 28, 2019.
Ever since I turned seven I wanted to be a writer. The problem was that being a writer involved actually writing, which took a lot of time and effort. I was supposed a genius artistè, not some sort of hard worker! So until my late 30s I remained the sort of person muttering “pffft, this book is crap, I could write a better one in my sleep” – yet not writing anything that would progress further than an unfinished first draft. That part of the process wasn’t so bad. It was the idea of revising and editing like some losers who didn’t have my natural genius, especially since I already knew how it was going to end. Why would I bother doing the same thing again, I’d ask myself, shrug, then return to complaining about other people’s writing not satisfying my high standards.
And then things have changed.
Storytellers went through twenty-one drafts and took me 25 months to finish from the first word until receiving the email from the editor congratulating me on the final version of the book. It definitely didn’t feel that way when I got my horrid back injuries in 2015, but I feel a lot of gratitude now. Because if I weren’t confined to a chair most of the day I don’t think this book would get finished either. In a way, I wrote it out of boredom since it was one of the very few things I was able to do. But as time has passed, my attitude began to change. I became excited about research and revising. I realised how much I was learning with each revision and each email full of my editor’s remarks. And I remembered how much I enjoyed learning new things.
The first novel is officially finished now – goal achieved. It’s time to move on to the real work: logistics, design, promotion, reviews, but most importantly writing – and finishing! – the next novel. Storytellers might sell or not, get five-star reviews or get absolutely massacred by the reviewers, but it has proven to me that I am, after all, capable to writing a book. The next goal in front of me is to write, and finish, the second one.
They say it’s the journey that’s important and not the destination. But I have to say that it’s nice to arrive somewhere once in a while before going further into unexplored lands.
My goals in my first book: Is It Still Murder Even If She Was A Bitch? grew in number as the writing progressed. I wanted to show that menopausal women can be cool and that female amateur sleuths don’t have to be 20-something, stunningly gorgeous and brilliant (but end up doing really stupid things like meeting the murderer with no weapon and no back up in a dark alley). Female sleuths don’t have to be either 20-something or Miss Marple with nothing in between. My sleuth, Donna Leigh, is menopausal, attractive but not perfect and smart but not flawless.
I wanted to clearly avoid my most common pet peeves, the ones repeated throughout cozy mysteries that I read, e.g. men are always telling female sleuths “I am angry, you need to stay out of this investigation.” This rant is generally repeated ad nauseum throughout the plot. The female sleuth typically ignores this command, yet often frets that she’s making the macho guy mad with every move she makes. I’m sick to death of this and I’m guessing others are as well.
I wanted to show that the most appealing woman doesn’t have to be the thinnest – that women can be spectacular, desirable and stylish at any weight.
I also wanted to show that comedy doesn’t have to detract from the mystery in a murder mystery. If the author is careful not to leave a trail of red herrings and is diligent in answering every question in an interesting and compelling way, a comedy can be every bit as suspenseful a drama.
Have I met these goals? Feedback from readers tells me I have – maybe not every goal with every reader – but enough to know it’s all in there.
My intention with my first published novel was to write a crime yarn that would appeal to females as well as males. I believe I achieved my goal based on the 4.6 rating Southside Hustle holds on Amazon. The majority of the 4 and 5 Star reviews were by females. I wrote my second published novel, Razorback, for me, for my own entertainment. I didn’t think female readers would take to it as much as they did because the protagonist is a womanizing, opportunist bank robber. Thankfully, Razorback has a 4.4 rating. (thought I’d give myself a shameless plug)
My intention for my novel-in-progress, Haunting of Maple Creek, is to weave a few sub-plot lines in with the theme and main plot and have them all come together nice and neat. With revisions and fastidious attention to the various plotlines, I’m confident it can be achieved.
One of my main goals with Forsaking All Other was to write a story that reflected the reality of life in late 16th century England, though I did draw the line at smell. I know that 16th century life was not as fragrant as ours is but to paraphrase Josephine Tey, if they did not smell bad to each other, then they have no right to smell bad to us.
Overall, I wanted show the lack of freedom that women, and men too, had in determining their own lives, even to their choice of spouse, and the difficulties that could arise when they stepped outside the boundaries of a far more rigidly structured society than our own. My main characters, Bess Stoughton and Edmund Wyard are reasonably ordinary people, with the attitudes and beliefs of their time, caught up in situations that did arise in that period, resolved in ways that were probable rather than extraordinary. In no way did I want them to be 21st century people in period dress.
If reviews are anything to go by, I think I have achieved what I aimed for with praise for the historical reality I created. One reviewer said, ‘I felt as though as I was living at the same time as the characters.’ What more could a writer of historical fiction ask for?
With Secrets of a Mayan Moon, book 1 in the Isabella Mumphrey Adventure series, my intention was to write an action adventure with romance. My main character is a female Indiana Jones/ MacGyver. She carries a pocket-sized emergency tin that gets her out of trouble along with her high IQ. Unfortunately, she is a bit socially naive.
I do feel that my intention for the book was met when I finished. It won an award for best romantic suspense in the Reader’s Crown and the reviews have raved about the adventure in the book.
I took the plunge quite some time ago to install WordPress version 5 on all of my WordPress blogs. I installed the Gutenberg plug-in sometime before on a couple of sites, and thus was familiar with the editor. I have 15 blogs, so upgrading promised to be a lot of work.
If you are not familiar with this new version of WordPress, it changes the user interface dramatically. The familiar classic editor that’s been used since I can remember is replaced with a block editor. I’m sure there are many internal changes as well, most likely the usual mix of small features and bug fixes.
After using Gutenberg for a few months, I’d rate the editor as okay – it’s not fantastic and it’s not bad. I found it easier to use than some of the applications such as DIVI and Instabuilder because the interface was more consistent and easy to use. I’ve used quite a few of these block editors, and Gutenberg was right in the middle as far as features and ease-of-use. Of course, a big advantage is that Gutenberg is free and is part of WordPress core so it will be supported forever.
That’s the problem with many of these block editing themes and plugins – support often fades away when a company goes out of business, the lead programmer leaves, or they change their focus. It’s one of the reasons why I’ve steered away from buying any of them in the past except when unavoidable. There are few things worse than having to go through and tear out one of these old, unsupported block editing applications. I’ve had to do it a few times and, let me tell you, I never want to do it again.
My plan was to install it slow and simple, take a few days, test it on some of the innocuous sites to make sure things work fine. Well, you know what they say about the best laid plans of mice and men, don’t you?
The day after WordPress 5 was released my web host automatically updated all of my sites for me. That was mildly annoying especially because I’d read that WordPress 5 was supposed to be a manual update and not automatic. I really did want to do some testing first since this was a major update. I suppose I could’ve rolled it back to an earlier version, that I decided to go ahead and stay with the change.
from there, I spent a couple of hours checking over my sites. Everything worked fine, although some of them require the Classic Editor plugin because I didn’t plan on using WordPress Gutenberg on everything. the Classic Editor plugin lets you use the old TinyMCE editor that’s been with WordPress forever.
A little tweaking here and there and everything was fine.
I decided to ensure that PHP was at its newest version – 7.3. This is because PHP is the underlying foundation upon which WordPress is built. PHP is a programming language that is used quite heavily on the web. Older versions of PHP, especially pre-7.0, tend to have security issues, performance problems, and other concerns. I figured since I might as well do it all at once.
The PHP upgrade went perfectly with no side effects at all, except that several plug-ins were unsupported and didn’t work. It was a easy job to find newer plug-ins that works fine on the newer version of PHP.
Two of my blogs used InstaBuilder and one used Prostyler. InstaBuilder doesn’t seem to be supported, and Prostyler isn’t sold anymore. These are not good signs for their future, so I also took the opportunity to convert those blogs to Gutenberg.
At the same time, I checked over all plugins on all of those blogs and discovered that several of them were no longer supported. In fact, three of the plug-ins that I was using hadn’t been supported in three or four years. They didn’t work well on the newer version of PHP and there seem to be issues with WordPress 5. I found different plug-ins to replace all of those old ones.
Overall, given that I upgraded 15 of my own sites and two customer sites, I was impressed. I’ve been through hundreds of upgrades during my long career in the computer industry, and this upgrade was comparatively painless. I suspect e-commerce and other, more complicated, sites might have a few difficulties. Additionally, anyone using plugins or themes such as DIVI should probably hold off on upgrading until they do thorough testing.