Advice for Freelance SEO Writers: Should You Include a Phone Number on Your Site?

One of the best things about being a freelance SEO content provider is that you can work from anywhere, as long as you have an internet connection. However, it can cause a conundrum – especially if you’re new to freelancing and are unsure about what proper “freelance business” practices are.

This was underscored by an email I received from a new SEO writer recently. On 7/19/2012, she wrote: 

Hi I am one of your previous customers that has purchased a few of your ebooks, which are excellent by the way; specifically the SEO [content] writing ebook. [This] is the one I purchased that interests me the most and I have a question about marketing for clients for the first time.

When I . . . market to . . . companies to start getting work is it important and necessary to include a phone number . . . or is email interaction good enough?

I am just starting out and while I do expect to eventually provide a phone number to clients in this business, I am a little concerned about my inexperience when speaking to them on the phone initially since I am still learning about this type of work.

I feel that if its email interaction I have enough time to think about my response to clients and their questions, or find out if I don’t already know. But on the phone, I won’t have that kind of time and I will need to know everything right away so I can answer their questions and speak professionally with them. I think I may lose clients that I could have had if I sound too much like an amateur while interacting over the phone with them.

Do you believe it is important to provide a phone number and email address right away when marketing for clients, or is providing a contact email address enough in the beginning stages?

MY ANSWER

Before I get to my answer, let me give a little background on my beginnings as an SEO writer.

When I first started in 2007, I included a phone number on my site. I can count the number of phone calls I fielded on one hand. When I first started, I was marketing my services as an independent (ie, freelance) SEO writer, not a full-fledged SEO writing firm.

I started New Media Words, my SEO content writing company, in 2008. I believe it was sometime in late 2008 or early 2009 that I removed the phone number from the site. I did so for the following reasons: 

1) Few calls: As previously stated, I just wasn’t getting that many calls;

2) Personal cell: My phone number was my personal cell. I had always intended to get a separate business line, but once I realized that I received so few calls, I could never justify the expense (even though with things like the MagicJack.com and Skype, it really isn’t expensive at all).

3) How I like to operate: One of the joys of being self-employed is that you can build your business to suit you and your work style. I don’t like talking on the phone. Oh, I will when I have to. When potential clients wanted a phone consultation, I always readily agreed. But for the most part, they didn’t, so I didn’t feel like I was losing business. 

Now, does that mean I wasn’t losing business? I don’t know (you can’t account for what you can’t quantify). But, I’ve always managed to stay busy as an SEO writer, so I never worried about if NOT listing a phone number has cost me business. 

4) The competition: When I looked at a lot of SEO service providers – everyone from small internet marketing firms to large SEO companies – I noticed that a lot of them didn’t have phone numbers. 

They had forms that you fill out to “request a quote;” or email addresses to “contact them for more information” or for a “free consultation.” This made me feel even more comfortable not listing a phone number.

5) My goals: My goal as an SEO content provider was never to be the biggest company, but to build a business that would allow me to earn a nice living, while enjoying my life. If I was trying to build, for example, a $10 million dollar a year company, then I would probably have made a different decision.

This is where having a life plan comes into play.

The Most Important Thing to Consider When Trying to Decide Whether to List a Phone Number or Not on Your Content Writing Site

Once you know – across the board – what you want out of life, making decisions about almost everything becomes crystal clear because then it’s just a matter of choosing the course that’s going to move you closer to your dreams, or further away from them. Here’s a personal story that gives more insight into why having life goals is so important. 

I hope this insight helps you to decide about listing a phone number or not. FYI, here’s a related post you may find interesting when you’re just starting out as a freelance / SEO writer. See the comments section in particular for some great insight from other freelancers.

Share Your Insight?

Do you list a phone number on your content writing site? Do you believe NOT listing a phone number has/can cost you business? Please share in the comments section below.

On a Personal Note . . . 

It’s hot as heck here in Atlanta! I wish I was back in Jamaica; I could use some beach time. Here’s hoping the heat of summer is more bearable where you are. 🙂 

Best,
Yuwanda
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P.S.: Earn $250+/Day Writing Simple Web Content? Here’s the blueprint I used to start my SEO writing career.

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Copyright © 2012: All material on this site is copyright protected and cannot be reproduced in any manner whatsoever without the publisher’s written consent (linking to is fine). Violators will be prosecuted.

What Is Social Media SEO and Why SEO Writers Need to Know About It

One of the things I always impress upon enrollees in my firm’s SEO copywriting training class is that search engine optimization (SEO) is a constantly changing field. You can’t learn it once and be done with it. Hence, as an SEO writer, you have to constantly read and study industry websites, blogs and editorials to stay up to date with what’s going on. If you don’t, you do your clients a huge disservice because in a lot of cases, you’ll be the SEO expert (much to your surprise!).

One term you may have heard bandied about a lot in the last year or so is social media SEO.

3 Reasons It’s Important for SEO Content Writers to Know What Social Media SEO Is

If you don’t know what search engine optimization – as it relates to SEO  — is all about, this post gives an overview.  It’s important to know for several reasons, namely:

(i) You can integrate it into your SEO writing business’s list of services, eg, offer an SEO content/social media package;

(ii) You can earn more money: Piggybacking on the last point, upselling existing clients is one of the easiest ways to earn more – without doing more marketing and in a lot of cases, without doing too much more work! and

(iii) You can inform your clients about it so that they can integrate it into their online marketing efforts. 

With this being said, following is an official definition.

What Is Social Media SEO? 

Basically, it’s the practice of search engines (eg, Google, Bing, Yahoo!) using social media sites to validate the quality of content found on a website/blog. FYI, “content” includes everything from text to video to graphics. Just in case you’re wondering, this is not conjecture. Google has confirmed that it does indeed use social media sites to rank websites/blogs. Proof? It’s outlined in  the post, Google Confirms Using Social Signals to Rank Websites, this way:

Search engine Google recently came out into the open with the newest para­me­ter it uses to rank web­sites. Dubbed as social sig­nals, this new method of web­site rank­ing has added to the grow­ing impor­tance of the world of social net­work­ing and mar­ket­ing. This sys­tem of rank­ing will see Google use infor­ma­tion from social net­work­ing por­tals such as Face­book and Twit­ter to assess the rank of websites.

The Most Popular Social Media Sites

FYI, the largest three social media sites as of this writing are Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. Pinterest is also one that’s gained great popularity recently. YouTube IS also a social media site, although it’s not often thought or talked about in that light.

How Do Search Engines Use Social Media Sites to Impact a Site’s Search Ranking

To understand the example I’m about to give, read the free internet marketing report, SEO & Internet Marketing 101, to gain an understanding of how search engines find and rank sites if you’re confused. 

Now, let’s give an example: As discussed in the above-referenced report, search engines (SEs) use many factors to determine how high a site will rank in search results, eg, quality of content, backlinks, meta tags, etc. Now, a site’s visibility on social media sites is being added to the mix.

Using Twitter (my favorite social media outlet of choice) as an example, let’s say I write an post and it gets retweeted “a lot.” FYI, like with other ranking factors, only SE gurus at companies like Google, Bing, etc., know specifics of the algorithms used to rank sites.

But, for argument’s sake, let’s say a post on my site is retweeted 259 times. Not only that, let’s say it’s retweeted by well-respected bloggers in my niche – who all have more than 5,000 followers. Some may have 5,000; others may have 100,000.

Let’s also say something like this happens every couple of weeks; ie, sometimes a post on my site may be retweeted more than 259 times and sometimes a post is retweeted much less.

Well, a search engine like Google will factor this data into their ranking algorithm and say:

Hey, this site must be popular because the posts get a lot of retweets. Not only that, it’s retweeted by highly popular bloggers/website owners. Also, the folks who are retweeting the posts are popular Twitter account holders (eg, they have lots of followers).

And this is how/why building a social media following is important, and what has many internet marketing experts asking . . .

Are Retweets the New Form of Linkbuilding? 

Social media is becoming a major player in how sites are ranked. So, tangibles like number of RTs/followers (Twitter); number of likes/friends (Facebook); and number of connections/groups (LinkedIn) are important.

In short, they’re just another way for search engines to find and rank sites. Their job is to return the most relevant, validated content possible. A site’s visibility and popularity on social media sites is just one more piece of data added into the “search engine algorithm” mix to help them do this.

So, tell your clients about this. Get them proactively involved in being active on the most popular social media sites (which again are Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn, with Pinterest becoming a fourth favorite. And, don’t forget about YouTube, especially as search engines like to return “mixed media” results). Mixed media just refers to different forms of content, eg, a video, as opposed to a text post, as opposed to an infographic (graphics/photos), etc.

FYI, learn more about how to successfully offer social media account management services to clients here. It’s advice dispensed from a social media consulting pro!

Social Media SEO Tips

There are some great tips on “how to use social media for SEO” in the video below (I learned a few very valuable things).

Have Questions about Social Media SEO?

Send them to me in the comments box below. I’ll either answer you directly, or I’ll do a follow-up post here if necessary. 

On a Personal Note . . .

I’ve been inundated with questions from readers lately. As I stated in this post a few weeks ago, I’m currently training for my next marathon. Also, for the summer, I’ve taken a more laid-back approach to work; hence, it’s taking me awhile to respond. So if you’ve sent me an email, I most like received it and will get back to you as soon as I can. If you haven’t heard anything in a couple of weeks, feel free to send me a touch-base email.

Hope you’re enjoying your summer (for those of you who are in warm-weather climates this time of year)!

Best,
Yuwanda
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The 4 Ways I Make Money Online — Why Learning SEO Made It Possible

I’ve made my living completely online since 2007. I have a mobile career; I’m able to work anywhere there’s an internet connection. This is freeing because I also get to indulge my love of travel without worrying about my income suffering.

Speaking of income, I have four revenue streams:

i) Writing for clients (my SEO writing company);

ii) Affiliate Marketing: Learn more;

iii) Writing and self-publishing ebooks; and

iv) Developing and teaching e-courses on SEO writing and general freelance writing.

Who am I and why should you believe me?

In the free ebook, Living the Freelance Life! Learn How I  Live Internationally and Have Made My Living Completely Online (Since 2007) & You Can Too, I explain everything. Learn how to get it when you click through. Again, it’s absolutely free — no strings atttached.

I wrote this ebook because I want everyone to understand that, “Yes, there really are people who make a living online from the comfort of their own home  (a very good living).” And it’s something anyone can do — as long as you know “the secret,” which is learning search engine optimization (discussed a bit more below).

When I Started to REALLY Make Money Online

Even though I’ve been a freelance writer since 1993 and made a good living doing just this, I didn’t start to enjoy the freedom of being a freelancer until I learned SEO. As I wrote in the description to the SEO copywriter training course:

Why it’s so easy to make money as an SEO copywriter in so many ways?

Quite frankly because when you learn how to write SEO content, you’re learning so much more. You’re learning how to market online.

This is the main reason most people don’t make money online — they don’t know the rules of the game. As an SEO copywriter, you will. And, this will allow you to make money in so many ways. I’ll show you how.

If you want to learn SEO, there’s no better time to start!

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P.S.: $45 FREEBIE THAT COMES WITH THIS ECOURSE

With enrollment you get the ebook, How to Make $250 or More Per Day Writing Simple, 500-Word Articles free (delivered with your course files within 24 hours after course is paid for in full.

An SEO Writer Asks, “How Do I Transition from Writing for Clients to Being a Manager of My Own Writing Firm?”


As the owner/manager of an SEO writing company, I receive a lot of questions from freelancers who want to do the same; ie, make the transition from doing the actual writing to managing a team of writers. In just a bit, I’ll show you an email I received recently from a frustrated SEO writer about why she wants to make the switch.

I want to share a few of my thoughts on how to go about this first, based on my own journey.

3 Things I Did to Make the Transition from Being a Freelance (SEO) Writer to Managing My Own Writing Firm

1. Flip the Mental Switch: The first thing I had to do was decide to become a full-fledged writing company. I talk about why/how this happened in a post I did for Copyblogger back in 2009. In that post on starting an SEO writing company I wrote:

. . . I’m used to being “just the freelance writer.” I’m accustomed to getting my direction and feedback from clients. Once I realized that I knew more than many of my clients about internet marketing, I had to switch hats – from SEO copywriter to internet marketing consultant.

At this point, I knew I had two choices. I could either shy away from the challenge this presented and stick with basic web copy, or I could seize the opportunity to expand my writing business. I chose the latter.

And, this is where the work began.

2. Plan: Once you DECIDE (and this is where many get stuck), make a plan. I fully believe in the idiomatic expression, “If you fail to plan; you plan to fail.”

I’ve started at least a dozen businesses in my lifetime, and I can tell you that without a plan – and it doesn’t have to be a full-fledged business plan – you significantly decrease your chances of success. So once you make up your mind, sit down and sketch out a plan.

Fill in the blanks for the next year, answering such questions as how much you want/need to earn; service offerings; rates; niche(s) you’ll specialize in; hours you will devote to marketing; types of marketing you’ll use; etc.

3. Work Your Plan: You’d be surprised at how many people do the two things above, then fail to follow through – because this is where the real work comes in. You have to work your plan – while continuing to do whatever it is you do to keep the roof over your head and food in your belly.

Success often entails doing two things at once — ie, staying at a job you hate while you work your freelance (SEO) writing business on the side. This means burning the midnight oil; getting up with the early morning light; squeezing in work for your biz on your lunch break at your FT job; etc.

The fact is, many just don’t hunker down and make these types of sacrifices. Instead, they’ll reach for ready “excuses” – ie, I’m too tired after working at my FT job; I have kids, which makes it hard to find time; etc. But this is exactly what it takes.

I put the word excuses in quotation marks above because while things like this are a legitimate reason, if you really want something and allow anything to stand in your way then it’s an excuse – period – in my book.

I’ve mentioned this a couple of times in blog posts, but I draw my inspiration from my ancestors. Obviously, I’m black (African American). My ancestors were brought over here on slave ships, and many of them went on to thrive against impossible odds. So whenever I try to drum up an excuse for not doing anything, I think of them – working all day in the field for nothing, then finding time on the side to work a business and earn some income of their own (IF they got permission from their master).

Note: If you’ve never seen the movie about Harriet Tubman, A Woman Called Moses with Cicely Tyson, it’s an excellent one which speaks to this on one level. She was a slave who begged her master to let her work a piece of land (ie, grow a crop). Her goal was to buy her freedom. He gave her permission – but she had to give him 50% of her earnings.

Can you imagine working 6-7 days a week in the fields for free, then putting in time in your own field – and have to give someone 50% of what you earn from your crop? Like I said, THIS is what I think about when I try to drum up an excuse for not doing something.

Many immigrants from other nations came to the U.S. with nothing – nothing but a desire to have a chance to make something of themselves. And the reason so many still strive to come to America is the belief that if you’re willing to work hard, you can succeed – no matter your race, creed, color, sex, educational background, class, etc.

Is it harder for some than others? Yes.

Do some have unfair advantages like money, education and connections? For sure.

But for every story like this, there’s the story of someone who scratched and clawed their way to the top by sheer will and hard work.

I get passionate about success because I think too many of us today are too soft and quite frankly, just downright lazy on some level. And I’m totally referring to myself here as well. I work hard, but not nearly as hard as I could – and I realize this. But I also rarely give in to excuses. If I really want something, I know it’s usually totally within my power to get it – and I do just that.

Ok, I’m off my soapbox now. Now let me share that email I received recently from a fellow SEO writer – and my advice to her. She wrote:

Question from a Fellow SEO Writer about How to Transition from Being an SEO Writer to Managing an SEO Writing Company

I am at the point where I don’t want to write that much anymore.  Even though I still love writing, I am not passionate about it as I used to be.  I [would] rather be more like you, and take a managerial role in my business.  I enjoy other things like Sales calls, marketing, creating programs, delegating, editing, hosting workshops. Therefore I was wondering do you have any tips on how to transition from writing to being a manager of your writing firm?  (emphasis added)

I was on your website and didn’t see an e-book for it.  I don’t know how much demand is for that topic, because that’s where I am right now.  I just read something that said: You can’t become a Millionaire from doing $15 an hour work.   But I am stuck, because even though I am busy, I am not reaching my financial goals because I feel like I am doing the $ “15” an hour work.   So, I am wondering if you can share any insight/tips to a typical day of your business manager skills or direct me to a blog post you wrote.   Thanks. 

My Answer

Note: Let me say up front, I’ve corresponded with this freelancer before on a few occasions. This is reflected in my answer.

I feel that we’ve been over this before. Only you can decide which direction you want to take your business in. I have 2 ebooks on transitioning. One is referenced in this post: http://inkwelleditorial.com/freelance-advice-on-transitioning; the other is here: http://inkwelleditorial.com/building-a-six-figure-freelance-business-how-to-hire-outsourcers.
 
The fact is, you’re going to have to charge more if you want to eventually be able to outsource and work “on” your business and grow, instead of “in” your business as a worker. This takes time and planning; it won’t happen overnight.
 
To be honest, I don’t think this is your problem though; there is some internal conflict you need to figure out b4 moving forward. And only you can figure out what this is and how to fix it. You’ve been saying the same thing for a while now, but you don’t seem to be taking any steps to fix it. The fact is, going from working in your business to on your business is the easy part; the hard part is figuring out what’s holding you back. And again, only you can answer this.
 
I hope this advice doesn’t sound harsh, but I’m a “call it like I see it” kind of person. It’s meant to keep you from wasting time and get on with the business of doing what you need to do to get where you need to be.
 
Good luck, enjoy your summer.
##

FYI, another good book to read about working on your business instead of in it is The E-Myth by Michael Gerber. I read it years ago when I ran my editorial staffing firm in New York and it literally transformed how I think about being a small business owner.

If you’re stuck on the road to success, I hope the info dispensed here will help you remove whatever obstacles are holding you back.

Best,
Yuwanda
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P.S.: Earn $250+/Day Writing Simple Web Content? Here’s the blueprint I used to start my SEO writing career.

P.P.S.: Don’t Know a Thing about SEO but Want to Start this Recession-Proof Career? Get SEO Copywriter Training.

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Submit a Guest Post: This site and its parent site, InkwellEditorial.com, now accept guest posts. Get the guest post submission guidelines.

Want to avoid freelance writing dry spells by making extra money as an affiliate marketer? Learn how to earn $50-$150/day online pretty seamlessly in the best-selling ebook, How to Make Money Placing Ads on Free Classified Ad Sites.

Copyright © 2012: All material on this site is copyright protected and cannot be reproduced in any manner whatsoever without the publisher’s written consent (linking to is fine). Violators will be prosecuted.

Happy Birthday America!

. . . at 236 years old, you’re looking good girl!

A big shoutout to all the men and women of the Armed Forces — at home and abroad. Your service is always appreciated.

Yuwanda
P.S.: Declare Your Independence! In One Week, You Can Train for a Career That Allows You to Earn Enough to REALLY Quit Your Day Job: 
Get SEO Copywriting Training Today.
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Find this post informative? Follow Us on Twitter.

Submit a Guest Post: This site and its parent site, InkwellEditorial.com, now accept guest posts. Get the guest post submission guidelines.

Want to avoid freelance writing dry spells by making extra money as an affiliate marketer? Learn how to earn $50-$150/day online pretty seamlessly in the best-selling ebook, How to Make Money Placing Ads on Free Classified Ad Sites.

Copyright © 2012: All material on this site is copyright protected and cannot be reproduced in any manner whatsoever without the publisher’s written consent (linking to is fine).