How responsive is your blog design?

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Hey Sparkle Writers, did you know that mobile users spend more than 63 percent of their time on their phones accessing mobile websites and apps? 

So what do you think this means to you as a blogger? Your blog design must be responsive enough to accommodate all kind of users. 

Mobiles and tablets are now a primary source of web traffic all over the world.

If your theme doesn’t respond well to the smaller mobile screens there is a good chance you will be losing valuable traffic as people click away to find something easier to navigate

If you want to keep these people there’s only one way to do it, make your blog design responsive. 

You can use this to test to find out if it is responsive or not.

We’ve checked ours and its very responsive! 

 

 

 

 

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Chronicles of a Writer – Let’s talk about how you can make money as a writer

Adedoyin Jaiyesimi

This is a very important topic – how to make money as a writer. During my sessions with writers on our coaching program, it is one of the most frequently asked questions. They always want me to show them how to make money as a writer. And I know for you reading this post, this is something you must have thought about. So today, I am going to tell you what you need to do to make money as a writer.

Before I go on, there is one important thing I need you to do. You need to remove that mindset that writing is just a hobby. It’s more than that. It’s a business that can feed you and your family if you take the right steps. It is something you can do successfully and it can open great doors for you.

Now that the above is out of the way, let’s talk about how you can make money from writing!

I know by now, you must have heard that you can make money from blogging, from writing articles for various publications, for ghostwriting and so on.

I’m not about to list the kind of things you can write to make money. A simple Google search will give you that. I’m going to share what I have learnt in my personal journey.

What I have discovered is that to make money as a writer, you need to have a plan. That’s something that people don’t talk about. It’s not enough to say you want to make money as a writer, how do you want to go about it? What skills do you have now? What are you capable of doing? What areas do you need to improve?

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When I decided to become a freelance writer, what I knew how to do best was to write, edit and create magazines. I could do that from my sleep. So in the first few months of making that move, as I shared in a previous post, I made some thousands of Naira from being commissioned to write several articles for different magazines, and then the money stopped coming.

No one commissioned me to write any article or edit any magazine. The magazines I worked on at the time were free jobs. So I got stuck.

One day, the head of the Publications Team in my church asked me if I could work on a book for the team. She had been thinking of publishing a book but she did not know who could work on it.

I had never worked on a book before then. The closest thing which I had done in the past was to collate articles in a series to form an eBook. Even though I wasn’t 100% confident in my ability to bring this book to life, I took the opportunity.

Well, it wasn’t difficult to create the book. I learnt a lot from that process and even though the book could not be published eventually for reasons beyond the Publications Team’s control, I had gained a new skill.

A few months later, I was paid N5,000 to edit a book. Peanuts I know but I needed to build my portfolio. I have worked on several books since then and not only do I edit books, I can also create a book from scratch. Of course, my fee for this service has increased significantly.

From creating books, I also discovered that I could make money from writing social media copy which was something I had never done before. I also discovered making money opportunities that could become open to me once I increased my capacity and I began to develop myself. 

Today, I write and edit books, write social media copy, manage social media accounts, create content strategy and I also train people to do all of this.

So have a plan. What can you do? What skills do you want to learn? Find ways to develop yourself. In my private coaching sessions, I share online resources that are great for writers who want to increase their capacity to earn. I can share these resources and much more with you when you book a coaching session 🙂

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Another thing that isn’t emphasized when the topic of making money as a writer comes up is research. You need to have great research skills. It will drastically increase your capacity to earn as a writer.

I may have to do a separate post on how research skills are very important for any writer who wants to be successful but know that it is something you should take seriously. Not only does research expand your mind and gets your creative juices flowing, you can get hired by companies to carry out research.

I never thought much of my research skills until I was commissioned last year to conduct a research and write reports for a project that an international organization was about to launch in Nigeria. When I heard the amount that was to be paid, I was shocked. Today, the organization still calls me to work on their other projects.

Develop your research skills. It’s very important.

Next week, I will share some more tips with you and show you other ways I have been able to make money as a writer.

Sparkle Writers

If you would like to book a coaching session with me for more in-depth information or get yourself positioned to earn a lot of money from writing, please send an email to thesparklewritershub@gmail.com. We have a package for every budget. See you next week!

 

5 stress free ways to grow the traffic to your blog

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Hey Sparkle Writers! We hope by now you have started your blog and you have been learning new things from our blogging series. If you haven’t been following the series, you absolutely need to read our previous posts!

Today we want to show you how to increase traffic to your blog. Once you’ve chosen the topic you want to blog about and you blog consistently, the next thing to think about is how to increase traffic to your blog. Traffic is essential if you want to monetize your blog. The numbers matter.

Here’s how to grow your blog traffic without any stress 🙂

Use a variety of content.

The visuals matter if you want to grow your blog traffic. Don’t just write text alone. Add pictures (beautiful, high quality pictures), videos, infographics and interesting links.

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Play around with different types of content. You want your readers to be excited to visit your blog. 

Break it down

Don’t write an essay on your blog. Let your posts be easy to read and digest. Break things down. Preferably, break your points down into steps and use lists.

People hardly have time to read lengthy blog posts. The more you can break your post down, the more likely it is that people will visit your blog again.

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Make your content useful

There is no point putting up a blog post that will be of no use to your readers. They will never visit your blog again. Your blog posts must add value.

Let there be at least one thing your readers can take away after reading a post on your blog. This means that you need to have your reader in mind when you write.

Create how-to posts

People always want to learn how to do things. Find out what your target readers want to learn and create how to posts that will teach them what they want to learn.

This is a great marketing tool for you. The trick is not to give too much away in your how-to posts. Give them enough to whet their appetite and increase their desire for more. When they ask for more, add a price to it. 

Don’t go off topic

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Whatever you do, stay true to the essence of your blog. Don’t go off topic for the sake of making your post go viral. It will have dire consequences later. Determine what your blog is about and stick to it. Find interesting things you can infuse into your blog posts to make it more attractive.

We do hope you will implement some of these tips. Next week, we are going to show you how to write great headlines using an awesome free tool we just discovered.

If you would like to know more about blogging as a writer or you’ve been having issues with blogging, fill the form below and we will get in touch with you. We’re always happy to help!

Chronicles of a Writer – Taking a plunge into the world of freelancing

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Over the last few weeks, I’ve had the privilege of interacting with many aspiring writers. The passion to write is there but they’re not ready to pursue it fully mainly because when you first start, writing does not pay so much. With the way our economy is right now, you definitely need all the money you can get.

So today I’m going to share how to survive as a freelance writer. I remember when I took the plunge into the world of freelancing. It wasn’t something I planned. After creating issue after issue of Y! Magazine, I got bored. I also did not like dealing with the celebs. Too much drama. I preferred to seat behind my laptop to write or curate other kinds of content that did not involve dealing with celebrities.

Not exactly sure what my next move would be, I decided to enroll for the NYSC. I needed time to think and it was the perfect opportunity to go and serve. While I was in camp, I joined the Orientation Broadcasting Service (OBS) where I wrote and edited news articles. After leaving camp, I moved from being a member of the Oyo State NYSC Editorial Board to being the Vice President. I served for two terms working on the two publications we had for corps members in Oyo State.

Knowing how little the NYSC allawee is, it became necessary to look for another source of income. The only thing that I knew I could do was to write. Hence, I decided to take plunge to being a freelance writer. Naturally, I turned to my colleagues at my former place of work. It’s very necessary to build relationships if you want to succeed as a freelance writer. A former editor who I had worked with commissioned me to write four articles for a popular magazine and I was well paid. Shortly after that, another editor I had worked with also commissioned me to do a research piece. I was excited. I was making money and then the calls stopped.

For months, I didn’t make any money from writing but I didn’t stop pushing out my work. I wrote on the Y! Africa website weekly for free. I also contributed to other websites here and there just to create more publicity for myself. You won’t get jobs as a freelance writer if no one knows you. Start your blog. Offer to write for free. Take up guest posting opportunities and make sure whatever content is posted from you has your bio. Oh let me add; let your bio be outstanding. That’s an opportunity to advertise your skills.

I’ll add one more thing – make good use of social media. That’s your platform. Let people know what to do. Add value with everything that you write and post. Next week, I will share with you how I started my blog and how that blog helped me to build my authority as a writer and how I also got writing jobs through my blog. Don’t miss it! 🙂

Blogging Series – Use this 6 tricks to make your blogging experience more rewarding

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It’s Friday and we have some awesome blogging tricks to share with you. If you find blogging tedious and daunting then this post is for you. If you’re looking for ways to spice up your blogging experience, this post is also for you.

Have a catchy blog name. Sounds simple right? Well, it is not so simple. Sometimes finding a blog name that is unique and attractive takes time but you need it to stand out in the crowded world of blogging.

Use social media creatively. Don’t just set up a blog and focus on it alone. You should promote your blog on social media. Instagram and Pinterest are great for this. Using social media creatively makes it easier for millions of people to find your content.

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Tag your posts. Blogging sites like WordPress.com allows you to tag your posts. Tagging makes it easier for people to find your content. It makes your post visible when a keyword search is done via Google. So pick out the main keywords/ theme from every post, and add tags appropriately.

Engage your personal network. Put your 1000 or more Facebook friends to good use by sharing links to your blog with them. Ask close friends to share content on your blog and drop comments too. Your readers will increase gradually that way.

Use great headlines. You can kill a great blog post by using a boring headline. Your headline is what will draw your readers  in. Make it as catchy as possible.

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Explore guest blogging. Look out for bloggers in the same niche as you and offer to be a guest writer for their blog. This is a great way to gain more visibility as a writer and it also brings free publicity for your blog. Link backs to your blog from other blogs is also great for your SEO ranking.

 

 

 

#WriterSpotlight-Sometimes getting the finished product out is almost always torture

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” You should always say what you want to say, not what you mean to say or what they expect you to say.”

Welcome to another #WriterSpotlight feature. Wilfred is one honest and down to earth writer, you will love his interview with us.

Hello, please introduce yourself.

My name is Wilfred Okiche. I am a medical doctor by day and a writer by night. Scratch that, I also write during the days and practice medicine at nights too I’ll have to look for a sexier way of expressing myself.

Why did you choose to write or what led you to writing?

I have always been a reader and writing naturally came after but if you mean professionally then the answer would be failure. I was in 5th year medical school and was repeating this course. I had some months to prepare for this exam again and I suddenly realized I had a lot of time on my hands. I spoke to a friend who spoke to a friend and hence my internship at a media house (RED media) began. Everything else followed. Before that it was the usual (unbearably cheesy) Facebook notes and stuff.

What is your most challenging moment as a writer?

Sitting down to do the damn writing. Sometimes I can see the finished product in my head but getting it out is almost always torture.

Can you share any lesson you have learnt from writing?

You should always say what you want to say, not what you mean to say or what they expect you to say. I also learnt that writing pays crap, especially at entry level.

Can you tell us your most rewarding moment as a writer?

I don’t know that I have any particular moment but getting feedback by people who get it is always pleasing. Getting paid well too helps.

If you didn’t become a writer what else would you have done?

I’ll be in some teaching hospital toiling away at a residency programme.

Have you ever been rejected as a writer and how did you handle it?

Yes. I dismiss them as idiots and convince myself how awesome I am. Then I come down to earth, take the comments seriously and start to correct what I need to correct.

Will you ever retire from writing?

I suppose. Maybe not. Who truly knows these things?

What do you do in your leisure time?

I barely have any but I try to catch up on movies and TV series. There is so much to see and I fear that I will die before seeing all the films/TV I want to see. I also read books and magazines. Not as much as before but I try.

What would you pick;

Continental Food or African Delicacy? African

R&B or Hip/hop? R&B

Fiction or poetry? Fiction of course. Eewww! at poetry

Fashion or music? Music

Do you have a writing mentor?If yes why?

I guess it would have to be my boss, Mr Chude Jideonwo. He directed me towards the kind of writing I currently put out and pointed me towards the material I should be reading. I still read everything he publishes and I don’t think I have met a finer editor of my work. I will also read anything A.O Scott of the New York Times writes and every page of Vanity Fair

Your best article or story so far?

This is where I say I love all my stories and cannot choose but I recall a long read I did about a year ago on the Half of a Yellow Sun movie and I always come back to it for some reason.

Any last words for upcoming writers?

Keep reading, keep writing. One day it will all make sense.

 

Blogging Series – 5 important things you need to know before you start that blog

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Blogging is fun. It’s a great way to share your ideas and knowledge with the world. It can also be daunting at the same time if you do not have realistic expectations. To be a successful blogger takes time. Don’t expect 1000 views every day if you just started blogging yesterday. You must put in the work to grow your readers.

These five important tips will keep you right on track as you start your blogging journey.

You must work to make your blog known

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Don’t simply put up a post on your blog and secretly hope readers will ‘stumble’ on it. You must put yourself out there. Post links to your blog on social media. Talk about your blog in conversations with friends and colleagues. Pinterest is a great platform to publicize your blog. You should also interact with other bloggers. Make yourself known.

Swallow the criticism

The internet is a free playing ground; you’ll get good comments on your blog, you’ll get bad comments and you’ll get horrible comments. Sometimes you’ll get no comment at all. This is where self-confidence comes in. Don’t let a horrible comment weigh you down and don’t let a good comment get into your head. A little tip – when you get a bad comment, simply ignore. Acknowledge those with positive criticism and move on from those who spew hate.

Be mindful of your pictures

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A lot of bloggers underestimate the power of a great picture. Using a picture of low quality and resolution will chase readers away from your blog quickly. Let your pictures be ‘wow’ worthy. Always opt for bright pictures and pictures that stand out. Pictures tell a story so be creative when choosing the pictures you use on your blog.

Authenticity is key

We cannot over-emphasize this point. If you want to succeed as a blogger, you must be yourself. Don’t try to sound like anyone else. Don’t try to copy the way the most successful blogger you know writes. Also, can we add, blog about things you love. There is no point blogging about something you don’t care about. Such a blog will die in no time. Stay true to you.

Have realistic expectations

We touched on this at the beginning of this post. If your main reason for starting a blog is to get rich, we advise you to stop now. It’s true that you can make a lot of money from blogging but this does not happen overnight. You need to build your audience. You need to build your expertise in the field you are blogging about. Set realistic goals and enjoy the milestones achieved as you go further in this journey.

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There’s a bonus point we’ll like to add – be consistent. If you want to post weekly, choose a day of the week and post consistently on that day. If you want to post daily, do it consistently. Haphazard blogging is never a good strategy and it is one of the fastest ways to lose readers.

We do hope you found this post useful. If you have any questions about blogging you can write them in the comment section or send them to us via email – thesparklewritershub@gmail.com.

Succeed as a freelance writer with these 10 tips

Being a freelance writer is exciting. You have your time to yourself. You don’t have to rush off anywhere before the sun rises, you don’t have to answer to anyone and you can plan your day as you like. Great stuff we must admit but the reality is this – without great discipline and hard work, the perks of being a freelance writer can also be the cause of failure.

We want you to succeed as a freelance writer and these 10 tips will help you to do just that.

  1. Promote yourself. Be visible on social media. Let people know what you do and how good you are. Join in trending conversations and add your opinion. But please, make sure they’re meaningful.
  2. Start contributing. The more platforms that publish your work, the more likely it is you will get writing jobs. It doesn’t matter if these platforms pay you or not. Take advantage of this free publicity.
  3. Create a blog. By now, you should know the benefits of having your own blog. That’s the first thing most potential clients look out for. They use it to determine how good you are.
  4. Be professional. The fact that you are a freelance writer doesn’t mean you don’t have to be disciplined. In the way you write and communicate, be professional – even on social media.
  5. Always network. That’s one of the best ways of getting new clients; networking. Go to events, strike conversations with people and chip in what you do. Build useful contacts.
  6. Be good at what you do. Even if you get clients and you deliver poor work. sooner or later. they’ll stop giving you jobs. So perfect your craft. Be the best at what you do.
  7. Never stop learning. Don’t ever think you know all there is to know about writing. Be open minded. Have a teachable spirit. Be ready to learn and unlearn to move forward in this field of work.
  8. Have a price list. It’s necessary. Sit down and determine what you will charge for the various things you write. Let that guide you as you negotiate with clients.
  9. Keep your ears open. Clients will not walk up to your door to give you jobs (won’t that be great if that actually happens). You have to go out and find them. So keep your ears open especially on social media. Follow hashtags, find out who is looking for freelance writers and market yourself!
  10. Believe in yourself. If you don’t believe you can do it then you have already failed. There’s a sparkle within you; let it shine through. You can do this!

Did you find these tips helpful? Let us know. Watch out for more tips on our Twitter page @SparkleWriters.