If you’re just starting out on the Internet and you’re looking to become a freelance writer, one thing I do recommend is that you create your own blog. Set up a free blog and start writing. It will not only give you a place to showcase your talents but it gives you a place to practice and get hands on experience on how the internet works.
Your Online Classroom/Playground
Use your first blog as both your online classroom and playground. You should experiment, experiment, and experiment. Try using different keywords to see how tweaking keywords affect how visitors access your site. Play around with a little HTML coding to see how you can add a little punch to your blog. Learn how to change your blogs template, insert images, video, ads, or any other fun little gadget you may want to add to your blog.
You may not necessarily want to use all of the available blog gadgets, but while you’re in the learning stage, it’s good to open your mind to the possibilities. If you play around with the various gadgets now, they won’t intimidate you later.
Use Free Blog Hosts
Blogger and WordPress.com are two of many sites that offer free blog hosting. Be aware, however that if you intend to monetize your blog later on, you should select a Blogger account as WordPress does not allow for advertising on blogs hosted from their site. If you want to place ads on a WordPress blog (like this one), you will have to get your own domain. As a newbie, you might want to stick with the free-hosted blogs for a while until you find out whether or not you want to advance.
Track your Progress
Another important aspect to blogging is tracking statistics. Knowing your blogs statistics not only lets you see how popular your blog is, it provides information such as which search engines provide the most traffic, which search terms are most frequently used to find your blog, the number of hits and a day, which pages are most frequently viewed and what other sites on the internet have linked to your content.
This may not sound important to you now, but once you graduate from the blogging playground to serious blogging, you’ll be glad that you took the time early on to gain an appreciation for website statistics.
Use Free Site Trackers
Three site trackers that I use are Sitemeter, Statcounter and Google Analytics. Each one tracks traffic differently and their numbers NEVER agree. The fact that the numbers don’t agree is okay because I tend to average the three of them anyway.
The good thing about having more than one site tracker is that when one goes down for some unknown reason, you can always check your statistics using one of the other ones.
Once you sign up for an account, each site provides instructions on how to insert the code into your blog to begin tracking. As a newbie, this may seem overwhelming, but remember, your first blog is your classroom and playground. It’s okay to screw it up.
If you’re not having fun with your blog, then stop blogging. If it becomes a chore, then stop blogging. Blogging isn’t for everyone.
My suggestion is to take your time and have fun. Learn and play and learn some more and play some more. If you find that blogging is for you, then you can begin to consider making money from it and using it to showcase your writing abilities. In the meanwhile, have fun!