I've decided to stop dragging my feet and jump in to freelance writing. I figure, what's a better time to start a new, high-risk career than an economic depression? Here is a sample article from my portfolio…
Looking at popular blog sites like Dooce (www.dooce.com) or Lifehacker (www.lifehacker.com) makes many amateur (and some professional) writers say “Man, I wish I could do that!” Well, guess what? You can! However, just wanting to do it is not enough (trust me, I know this feeling). No, you have to get started and it’s easier than you may think.
First, start by signing up with one of the free blog hosting sites, such as Blogger (www.blogger.com) or WordPress (www.wordpress.com). You may feel the temptation to jump right in and sign up with a paid service or purchase space on an ISP web server. I would advise holding off on those decisions if you’re just starting out. Writing is hard work and it can be intimidating to know that strangers are looking at your work. Developing a style and vocabulary takes time, adding a monthly or annual bill to that pressure makes many a potential blog superstar a non-starter.
However, once you become comfortable writing for the web, you will want to move or upgrade to a paid blog hosting service. The free sites have a great advantage in that they are, well…free. However, ‘free’ often comes at a price. A free blog host can put ads on your site and will, generally, prevent you from selling you own advertising. It makes sense, why should you reap financial gain from their free service? Also, with a free host, you do not ‘own’ your site. You are basically a guest on their service and they can delete your blog any time they want, not to mention that the blog hosting service itself could go out of business and shut down. What happens to all your hard work then?
Most paid blogging services, such as TypePad (www.typepad.com) offer more features and support, as well as letting you sell advertising space on your blog. Another great feature of a paid blog host is that, depending on your plan, you can use your own domain name. Picking a clever, catchy domain name can be one of the major keys to your future success. It’s essentially a brand name, look at Google (www.google.com), for instance. The nice thing about having your own domain name is that if you want to change blog hosts or even purchase or host your own website, you can go anywhere you want and point your domain name to your new location. Nobody will even know (unless you tell them). Also having your own a domain name (and a service that supports it) makes you look more professional, which is not only good for drawing in new readers, but also for drawing in advertisers. And let’s face it, wouldn’t you like to get paid for doing what you love to do? Of course you would.
The most important thing is to get started and get writing. The only way to build a successful blog is to write as often as you can. Don’t worry if your words are not flowing like a river from your heart through your fingers. You’ll get there, but you have to write, write, write.
Good luck …and get started already!