Good morning! Today we continue with our series about making money online. You can check the previous posts about Starting your own website, Choosing a name, domain and hosting, My July blog income and stats, How many hours are you willing to put in?, Blogging mistake #1: blogging in the dark , How I got my Alexa below 100K in 8 weeks, Monetize your site with affiliate and Adsense, August blog income and stats recap, Going self hosted right away: How to link Godaddy, Hostgator and WordPress, Go self hosted or migrate your blog to a new server for $5 or less.
I hired a VA the week before MMYW was launched. I found her on staff.com and have been really happy with her work so far. She is doing 20 hours per week and relieving me of a lot of backstage work. Here is a quick list of what tasks you can outsource and why.
Depending on the brand you are creating, it can be a good or a bad idea. If your brand strongly revolves around you, and people come to read you, having a new staff writer can unbalance things and deter some loyal readers. If your site is less personal, then getting a few writers on board can bring diversity and please your readership.
On Reach Financial Independence, I accept a guest post every Wednesday from other bloggers, but do not have a regular staff writer. This is my personal site and at the moment, I want to keep things personal.
On MMYW, I have outsourced the posts about investing. I think Troy does a great job because I am not an expert on the stock market, and even less on 401k, Roth IRA and other tax sheltered accounts so he really brings value to the blog. I deal with the real estate investing posts and all the rest at the moment but may consider bringing more expert writing once we leave the basics and move to more advanced stuff.
There are tons of small tasks you can hire out on Fiverr. I had this logo and RFI’s done by two talented designers on Fiverr. A full website design will cost you at least $500, usually around $1,000 and more if you want special features like secure online payment, and with Fiverr you can go with a free or premium theme and upgrade the little details you don’t like.
My theme is Prose on the Genesis framework from Studiopress and I love it, for being simple and clean. It cost under $100 with lifetime support and a ton of online tutorials. I know a bit about coding, in that I understand how it works and what needs to be changed in order to make the thing work as I want. I am able to follow a tutorial but it is not something that comes intuitively.
So I prefer to outsource tasks that would take me more than 15 minutes to perform. A quick research tells me how long it would be. Align the widgets 50px from the right in the sidebar? 10 minutes max. Set up a Google Search box? I have tried to do it myself and only managed to break the search page, will outsource.
Those little tweaks should be at most $5 a piece on Fiverr. If you require more work and want a personalized service, you can try Elance or Taskrabbit. On both sites you publish the details of the work you need done, you get quotes from freelancers, and once the quote is accepted you supervise the work.
Tasks can include
– Adding social buttons to the header
– Getting rid of WC3 validation errors
– Improving page speed
– Moving widgets around
and so on.
There is a lot of work involved when you want to keep current in the blogging world. Regular tasks are easier outsourced to a VA than finding someone to do them on Fiverr or Elance.
Some of the tasks my VA will undertake over time will be
– Moderating comments (not answering, see below)
– Updating tags and filling up Meta description and SEO title on SEO by Yoast
– Adding internal links to old posts
– Minor blog design adjustments, move a widget, test different ad boxes, etc
– Social media
– Submit posts to blog carnivals
– Submit blog and posts to blog directories
– Keyword research
– Research statistics for a specific post
– Find blog pictures
– Upload posts, attach picture, schedule post
– Track ad payments, follow up unpaid, update Excel folder with all payments, send reminder when a deal is about to expire.
The VA will be working 20 hours a week and doing more than I actually do backstage so that is pretty cool.
A VA can do a few tasks for you related to social media. For example, set up automatic tweets of your new posts, and auto publish on FB. You can do so with a plugin or services like Twitterfeed and DLVR. Setting it up takes time but once it is installed you don’t have to worry about it anymore.
If you are not comfortable with a social media (Google + anyone??) you can ask the VA to take full control of it. Check out Google Analytics after a month to see if the efforts have paid and that social media brought traffic.
It is good though that you keep at least one personal outlet that you manage yourself. I manage Twitter and FB but am thinking about having the VA do G+ and Pinterest if we create an account.
Again, that is a VA task, or something you could ask your staff writer to do, but I don’t recommend it. If you have no time to comment around, find another way to bond with a blogger. Auto-tweet their posts, link back to them, don’t have a VA leave awkward “Great post!” comments, chances are they won’t entice many people to click on that anyway. If you really have no time for comments, hire your staff writer or another blogger in your niche to do the commenting, so he/she is already known around and knows what to comment on, it will be a bit more expensive but look more natural. In any case, do not have them ghost comment. Create a profile for them, or they will go treat your best blogging buddies like complete strangers and you will have to go apologize and edit the comments.
In an ideal world, all I would have to do would be write posts, reply to my own comments and comment elsewhere. I hope to get there over time, it takes a while to train a VA, but it is worth the time saved in the long run.