How Blogging Can Help You To Get A Job

This post was originally published on Cardiff Blogs (@cdfblogs/cdfblogs.com) in 2013. Cardiff Blogs’ website went offline a couple of months ago, so they kindly allowed me to republish it here on SEOno. It was written in conjunction with Computer Recruiter, as a sort of guest blog post on behalf of them, too.

Job search imageWhenever I chat to someone who’s struggling on the job front, I think back to my own experience. I graduated in 2007 – around the time that the job market started to go kaput – and for the 18 months that followed, I spent 9 of them unemployed. Looking back, I wish I’d done things differently. I know that I have the benefit of hindsight now, but one of the things I wish I’d done – as daft as it may sound at first – was to start a blog. Therefore, when I chat to someone who’s going through what I’ve previously gone through, depending on what type of career that they want to get into, I usually tell them that they should consider starting a blog.

On the surface, that sounds like daft advice, I admit. Why start a blog when the most important thing that you should be doing is hitting up the job boards and recruitment agencies and working on your CV? Well of course I’m not suggesting that you should be blogging instead of finding a job – but there’s no reason why you can’t do blogging on the side to support your efforts.

…”Support your efforts,” you might be wondering? Here’s what I mean:

It can help you to gain skills and experience in the meantime

The whole catch-22 scenario around experience (whereby employers want you to have experience, but you need experience to get a job) is enough to make your head spin and peeve you off simultaneously. It may not be career experience, but say if you’re looking to get into copywriting or journalism, you can start building up your experience in your own time, on your own blog.

Likewise, if you’re looking to get into web design or graphic design, not only can you use a blog to showcase your work, but the blog itself will also act as a showcase of your work.

It can be a good (but productive) distraction from the job hunt

Constant job hunting with no end in sight is bad for the soul. Trust me, I’ve been there. Somewhat wastefully, I used to break up the monotony of job hunting by watching TV and playing video games. Looking back, I wish I’d used that time more productively, which blogging would have done.

Now admittedly everyone’s different, and we all need to take time to relax and take our mind off things at some point or another, but sometimes (for me anyway!) I find that blogging doesn’t feel like working. It may not be as fun as firing up the PS3, but it’s certainly not in the same field as doing work or job hunting – however, it’s much, much more productive.

LEGO desk image

It can help with networking (which can help with finding a job)

This next point may feel like a slight subtle ad for Cardiff Blogs (it’s not!), but either way, it’s true. While I only joined Cardiff Blogs’ admin team in early 2013, I first started visiting the events back in 2011. I only intended to go along to learn a few new things – as I was fairly new to blogging at the time – and to meet some like-minded folks, yet over the years I’ve made a few great contacts and connections through it.

So once you start your blog, you may find yourself wanting to go to Cardiff Blogs or other local blogging events (whether it’s WordPress Users Wales – which is also in Cardiff – or a local blogger meetup in your town/city) and meet other bloggers. And you never know… You may strike up a conversation with someone who knows about a job that’s available that’d be perfect for you!

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Q&A with Emma Barnes about Selling her Blog

I’ve run a few interviews on SEOno before (you can see all the previous ones here) but I’m really excited to run this publish this one, for a number of reasons:

First and foremost, despite not yet meeting her IRL, Emma (@ejbarnes89) and I have known each other via Twitter for years and we get on famously. She’s my ‘sister from another mister,’ to re-work the classic saying… She’s guest blogged for me and I’ve guest blogged for her. So being able to interview her as well is just awesome.

Additionally, it’s a topic that really interests me. A lot of bloggers that I know are interested in monetising their blogs, but this is possibly the first instance I’ve heard of of someone selling their entire website, content and all (not just the domain name). After chatting to Emma about it, I asked her if she’d be interested in doing a proper Q&A/interview about it, and I’m delighted to say that she happily obliged…


Steve Morgan: Hi Emma! Tell us about Gaming Memoirs. How long did it run for before you sold it?

Emma Barnes photoEmma Barnes: Gaming Memoirs was my personal blog where I posted reviews about games that I’d played. I ran it for four years before deciding to sell it.

Steve: What types of posts did you publish?

Emma: Mostly game reviews, but occasionally fanart (which I now post on my Tumblr) and the odd “how to…” post.

Steve: What were your reasons for selling the blog?

Emma: I got to a stage where I realised that I wasn’t enjoying writing blog posts about video games any more, and rather than let it die I thought I might see if I could sell it to make a bit of money back on hosting costs, etc.

Steve: To me, the idea of selling a blog sounds very intimidating. I wouldn’t have a clue where to start! Were you in a similar situation when you made the decision to sell it, or did you know exactly what you were doing right from the off?

Emma: I have actually sold one blog before – however it was to someone I knew personally and it was more like just giving them WordPress access to the website.

This time it was totally different. Instead of approaching people I knew (although some were interested) I thought I’d try my hand at an auction, because I didn’t really know what the site was worth, and thought I’d leave it with a buyer to decide.

I was a bit nervous because I was worried I might screw up the transfer to the new host, or that I would somehow magically delete my site before selling it…

Steve: How did you sell it? Did you put it onto a ‘blog marketplace’ type website? How does the whole process work from start to finish? And how long did it all take?

I knew sites existed for buying/selling websites, so I did a bit of Googling and decided on Flippa for a few reasons:

  • It was specifically for buying/selling websites, domain names and apps rather than a more “general” web auction site,
  • I browsed it as if I was a buyer and thought it was easy enough to find what I wanted,
  • It looked fairly trustworthy and had decent reviews.

The process itself was quite easy once you got the hang of it. I’ll probably vary from site to site, so I’ll talk about what I did with Flippa.

Step 1 – Create account and tell Flippa what site I’m selling and prove that I own it

This involves uploading a file to the site – I had to do this directly form the host, rather than through WordPress, which was a little tricky for me because I don’t log in to my hosting very often, so wasn’t very sure what I was doing. But for someone who is familiar with the more technical sides of websites, it’d be really easy for them.

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Tactics for a Successful Public Vote Strategy – How I Became a UK Blog Awards Finalist

VOTE imageI’m excited to be a finalist in the UK Blog Awards for the second year running, this time in the Digital & Technology category. The first phase was a public vote, and although I put a fair bit of effort into it, I’m certainly no expert – proof of that is the fact that I only made it to the finals in one of the two categories that I entered, suggesting that the competition this year is a lot more fierce than previous years…

I wanted to share my tactics on how I put the word out asking people to vote for me. This is by no means an exhaustive list, and some of them may be really obvious, but who knows… you might try different things next year and it might make all the difference.

Blog-related

Blog about it

UKBA16 badge exampleFirst things first… Blog about it! I wrote a post about it (“Vote for SEOno in the UK Blog Awards 2016!”) containing the ‘vote now’ image, which linked to my dedicated entry page.

Add a site-wide ‘vote now’ button

You can take this further by added a site-wide ‘vote now’ button. I put mine in my blog’s site-wide left-hand column. This is handy in case someone doesn’t see the dedicated blog post on the subject and instead visits another section (such as the homepage, the About page, the Contact page or a random post).

Social media-related

Twitter

Twitter is a no-brainer, and I reckon the biggest ‘pull’ of votes in my case.

I wouldn’t hesitate to tweet multiple times. I tweeted every 2-3 days during the voting period, varying the times and days. Use something like TweetDeck or Buffer to schedule your tweets (so you can get them all ready in bulk, instead of having to worry about remembering to manually do them yourself), and something like Followerwonk to find out the best time(s) of day to tweet based on your followers’ activity.

Followerwonk example screenshot
UKBA16 tweets imageAnother way to vary your tweets on the subject: RT other people’s tweets about it. So if someone else tweets saying that you’ve entered (@mentioning you in the process) then you could consider retweeting that instead of doing a standalone tweet from your own account.

I also tended to vary whether or not it contained an image (either no image, or the screenshot from the entry page, or the one provided by UKBA themselves), and also varied the landing page (mostly the entry page itself, but sometimes I drove people to the blog post instead).

Oh and lastly… Consider pinning one of the tweets on your profile – ideally one with an image (such as the ‘vote now’ image that UKBA provided, in my case). For people who randomly stumble across your Twitter profile, they’ll see it – and even if they don’t end up voting, it still looks good to show off.

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The 1-Star Sucker-punch – Dropping the Ball on Online Reviews

Seeing stars imageAs SEOs we often have our focuses and our biases: our remit is to help improve clients’ visibility in search engines, after all.

However when working with SMEs in particular, you might be their go-to guy/girl for all their online marketing questions – not just SEO. I always try to offer help and advice on other areas if I can – such as social media and UX – but ultimately some things slip through the cracks. This post is an example where giving the client too much a focus can actually be a bad thing… They may perform one task really well, but then struggle to adjust strategy when it matters…

One of my clients has a big focus is on Local SEO: boosting the Map listing. If you Google “[keyword] [location]” keywords then oftentimes a Google Map shows up. And a big factor of that is getting positive Google reviews against the listing. We do pretty well all things considered, especially given that they’re not based in Cardiff city centre and instead operate on the edge of the city.

I did all the right stuff: I told them who was best to contact (happy clients) as well as the optimum time to contact them (just after a project had finished). I gave them an adaptable email template to use, containing info for the clients on how to leave a review and the appropriate links to the listing, etc. Over time, they hit the (ideal) minimum of five reviews and just kept going and going, eventually hitting more than ten 5-star reviews.

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It’s Taking 34 Weeks (& Counting) To Edit A Yahoo! Local Listing

Yahoo! thumbs-down imageIf you want to edit your Google My Business listing, you login (or claim access), make a change, submit it, and then it could take up to 3 days for the change to happen – but usually it’s almost instantaneous, if not within an hour or so.

If you want to edit your Yahoo! Local listing, …haha. Haha. Hahaha. HaHaHaHa. HAHAHAHA. HAHAHAHAHAHAHA! HA HA HA HA HA HA HA. Yeah, good luck with that.

In the UK it has to be done via Infoserve, and the official response is that it takes 8 weeks for a change to go through (which you find out after you’ve applied to edit a listing). That in itself is an embarrassment, so it’s pretty humiliating that – despite multiple attempts and 8-week waits – I’m still waiting for a change to go through for Computer Recruiter, my parents’ business.

14th May 2015 – I put in a request for an amendment of the listing as the postcode was incorrect, it was showing the company’s old web address, and the phone number was showing up as the fax number. An Infoserve employee (who shall remain nameless) dutifully replied informing me that it’d take 8 weeks and that it’d therefore be ready by 9th July 2015. I asked why it took so long (“8 weeks?!”) and got some nonsense reply about it being their standard process or whatnot.

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