Practice Writing By Blogging

Using a Blog to Practice Writing for Freelance Clients

Last Updated on by Michael Brockbank

When someone asks me how they can develop his or her writing skills, blogging is usually among my top answers. This is because it comes with a wide range of benefits that help writers, especially new ones. So, why use a blog to practice writing?

Let’s take a look and see why you should start one today if you haven’t already.

And you don’t really need to self-host a blog. You can use the free platforms available. However, you have far more control of what you can do should you start your own website.
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Benefits of Using a Blog to Practice Writing

From a professional standpoint, blogging is quite beneficial. I know a lot of people simply like to share their lives and stories. And that’s fine. But, blogging can also offer a variety of benefits for those looking to turn writing into a career.

In reality, it’s one of the biggest reasons why I created this website in the first place.

Improving Your Skills

Obviously, the most important aspect of using a blog to practice writing is honing your skills. But this goes beyond simply being able to type fast.

In reality, you can develop a range of skills by trying to maintain the best website you can.

Advancing AP Style Writing

If you start with content mills like Textbroker, editors will comment on the pieces you submit about things you can improve. That’s how I learned I was terrible at comma usage.

Take what these editors tell you, research a bit on Google, and then implement the knowledge on your own blog.

Repetitive action often boosts people’s ability to learn. So if you keep drilling the improvements into your head, it’ll become second nature when you write for a client.

But you don’t have to use content mills to learn AP Style writing. For instance, I’ve spent hours upon hours researching it in Google and then applying what I’ve learned to WriterSanctuary.com.

Constant Work on Grammar and Spelling

As I mentioned, repeating your actions helps keep it ingrained in memory. This is true for improving grammar and spelling. Again, Google is your friend. If you’re not sure about a word, look up its definition.

In fact, keeping up a blog has helped me remember how to spell all kinds of words that I used to have trouble with in the past.

Improving Proofreading Skills

One of the most important skills of any freelance writer is the ability to proofread his or her own work. Unfortunately, this is an incredibly difficult skill to develop.

This is because you don’t often see your own mistakes unless they’re glaringly obvious. I am a professional editor and I still miss some of my own mistakes.

However, it’s vital to improve proofreading skills if you want clients to take you seriously. And blogging every day gives you a chance to continue practicing.

Being Known as an Expert in the Niche

Being An Expert

If you focus on a specific niche, eventually you’ll be seen as an expert. Of course, this could take quite a bit of time and depend greatly on the topics you write.

For example, I am seen as a Textbroker expert, especially on YouTube, because of the amount of content I’ve created on the topic.

Some clients will hire writers who focus on a particular niche over a general freelancer. Besides, focusing a blog on a particular niche while you practice writing can help you monetize the site later should you choose.

Creating a Portfolio to Land Private Clients

A blog can act as a portfolio of your work. Those who are interested can take a look and see if you’re ability, tone of voice and workflow is good for their brand.

Blogging gives you a way to create published pieces as samples of your work. Instead of emailing a doc file to a prospective client, you can simply send the URL to your site.

In reality, you can use a blog to create any kind of portfolio. For instance, many people will use WordPress to show off photography, video production, music and much more.

Monetizing the Blog While You Practice Writing

Monetizing The Blog

Since you have a blog set up to practice writing, you might as well make a few bucks from the site. And if you can get a great flow of topics to drive an audience, you could make quite a bit.

Some ways you can monetize the blog without trying include:

  • Using Adsense
    With Adsense, you just add the code snippet from Google. It’s a no-brainer and requires nothing more than a simple copy-and-paste to start.
  • Using Affiliate Banners and Links
    Affiliate marketing is when someone clicks a link from your blog and purchases something from a third-party. You’ll then earn a commission.
  • Sponsored Posts and Paid Links
    If you have a contact form, sometimes brands will contact you for sponsored posts and adding paid links to your site.

Now, there’s a lot of different ways you can monetize the blog. The above are just a few of the easiest that requires very little effort on your behalf. In most cases, it’s nothing more than a quick copy-and-paste into your blog.

How to Blog While You Practice Writing

Out of everything that has contributed to my success, I think blogging ranks among the top. If you look back at my past works in 2012, you’ll see a profound difference in my style and tone.

So if you’re ready to launch your own site, let me quickly break down what you’ll need. Just keep in mind that everyone is different. You may find something that works better for you.

1. Pick a Niche of Which You’re Interested

Decide on what you want to blog…what topics interest you the most.

Now, this isn’t necessarily a requirement. You can practice writing by blogging about anything that comes to mind. However, picking a niche will help you focus on a specific industry or if you want to monetize the site later.

Currently, I have three blogs plus building a forth for experimenting. They include this site, a gaming blog and recording my journey to lose weight. All three are completely different in terms of topics.

2. Set Up Your Hosting Account

Next, you’ll need to set up a hosting account. There are two ways you can do this, and it really depends on what you want out of your blog.

If you can, I suggest keeping in mind what you want out of your site in the years to come. It’ll make things much easier in the long run.

Free Blog Hosting

A free hosting account at something like WordPress.com is a great place to start. You won’t need to pay upfront fees and can start writing almost immediately.

However, you’re limited in what you can do. For example, you can’t monetize a free blog the way you can with a self-hosted website. And you won’t have access to root folders if you want to customize the site.

Self-Hosted Blogging

GreenGeeks Web Hosting

A self-hosted blog is what I prefer. This is when you use something like GreenGeeks web hosting and use the one-click installer to add WordPress. That’s what I’m using for all four of my blogs, actually.

This way, you have absolute control over every aspect of your site. And since I have enough traffic coming to the websites, the hosting pays for itself and then some through Adsense.

In reality, I spend about $170 per year maintaining all of my blogs. This is the hosting plus paying for four domain names. But Adsense brings in almost double that by itself, which essentially pays for the sites.

3. Write More than 1,000 Words Per Day

Writing 1,000 words per day isn’t really all that much. This is especially true if you’re simply blogging to practice writing. This means you can write about anything you wish, which is faster and easier than researching a client’s topic.

But if you really want to get the most out of blogging, you should research high-quality information for your blog. This will somewhat simulate the experience of working for a client as a freelance writer.

Regardless of how you go about it, writing every day is greatly beneficial to hone your skills.

4. Research and Learn, then Practice Writing Some More

Spend time researching and learning how to properly structure AP Style content. This means you need to take to Google and look up anything you can about how to properly word phrases and use punctuation.

The more you learn and add to your own blog, the more likely it’ll stick into your head. I promise you, it’s worth the effort!

5. Study SEO Methods for Your Blog

Practice Writing SEO

Even if you don’t plan to take your blog anywhere, it’s imperative to learn search engine optimization from a content perspective. Your clients are going to look for this skill, and it could determine whether someone hires you.

And I’m not just talking about keywords and phrases.

Headers, reading ease, paragraph and sentence lengths, understanding passive voice, and more will vastly improve your chances of success.

6. Don’t Forget the Contact Form

Whether you’re using your blog as a portfolio or not, a contact form is important.

Not only does it give clients a chance to ask about your services, prices and availability, but it also gives brands a chance to contact you for things like sponsored posts or paid links.

Adding a contact form can open all kinds of doors you didn’t know were even there. And if you use a platform like WordPress, adding a contact form is free and takes a few minutes of your day to set up.

7. …And then Practice Writing Some More

Lastly, keep practice writing on your blog even if you land some great clients. Like any skill, you become stronger the more often you practice.

If the workflow on Textbroker was low, I would write on my blogs. I would spend my time doing anything that improves my capacity as a freelance writer. So when the time came that I did work for a client, I gave them the best work I could provide.

Blogging Doesn’t Always Have to Be About Making Money

A lot of experts out there attest to how you can make a lot of money through blogging. However, it doesn’t always have to be about what you make right now.

Blogging can help you secure clients in the future to make more money. A lot of people would rather hire experienced authors to create content. And the more you have to share online, the better.

Using a blog to practice writing does all of this in spades.

Michael Brockbank
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