Last Updated: Saturday, April 30, 2016

How Non-Native Speakers Can Improve Their English Writing Skills (Here's How I Improved Mine)


Being a Filipino freelance writer, English is not obviously my first language. However, I did not consider it as an obstacle to pursue a freelance writing career. Though I may not be the best writer, I'm confident with my English writing skills.

From prep school to college, the English subject will never be gone in Philippines' educational curriculum. Plus, I grew up to a family that emphasizes the importance of the English language. And my mom was the one who told me to do my best in English subjects because several career opportunities await those who can write and speak this universal language. And I found this to be true!

So how does a non-native English speaker like me improve her writing skills? Here's what I usually do:

1. I read English books.


Even if e-books are the rave today, I still prefer paperbacks because I like to feel the texture of the pages as I flipped them with my hand.

I like reading fiction books. I don't have any particular favorites. As long as they can be bought cheap and I have something to read, I'm already happy. Here in Philippines, we have a popular book retail outlet called Booksale, wherein you can buy secondhand books. I can buy five English novels that are only worth $2.5.

Every time I do nothing, I always read English books. I read and read even if I don't understand some of the author's deep words. But of course, I use a handy-dandy dictionary to uncover the words' meanings.

2. I list interesting words and expressions.


I'm not doing this much lately, but when I have time on my plate, I list some interesting words and expressions that I read from newspapers, books, and of course, the online web.

I've got this habit of listing down English words and phrases ever since I was in grade school. You know, my mom really pushed me hard to do well in school, and I was always a part of the school publication, so listing down words and expressions has become a sort of a writer's training.

This has really become quite useful in helping increase my English vocabulary. Think of it as my personal English dictionary and thesaurus.

3. I watch English movies.


I really like watching English or other foreign movies because their movie effects appear more real and their movie plot is more interesting. However, I have one confession to make. I sometimes don't understand what the actors and actresses are saying because of their different accent. Nevertheless, this made me a better listener.

Whenever I watch English movies, I am in full concentration to better understand the words they speak. I have learned expressions that are more casual to write or speak than those that are taught in English textbooks.


I know that there are so many ways on how non-native speakers can improve their English writing skills such as chatting with native speakers, reading a dictionary from cover to cover, enrolling in English courses, or even listening to audio books. But the strategies I listed above are the things that worked for me (and I really enjoyed doing).


How about you? In what way do you improve your English writing skills as a non-native speaker?

Last Updated: Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Unbelievable Blogging Statistics 2016 that Would Convince You to Start Blogging on Your Business Website


Have you read my previous post about the benefits of business blogging? If those are not enough to convince you to use blogging as a business and marketing development tool, then perhaps the following stats will help you change your mind.

I have only included the most important blogging statistics listed in different websites that would mean more to your business.

From Impactbnd.com:


1. Websites with a blog tend to have 434% more indexed pages.
2. B2B marketers that use blogs get 67% more leads than those that do not.
3. Marketers who prioritize blogging are 13x more likely to achieve a positive ROI on their efforts.
4. Companies who blog receive 97% more links to their website.
5. 70-80% of users ignore paid ads and only focus on organic results.
6. Blogs have been rated as the 5th most trusted source for accurate online information.

From Writtent.com:


7. 81% of US online consumers trust information and advice from blogs.
8. 92% of companies who blog multiple times per day have acquired a customer from their blog.
9. 61% of U.S. online consumers have made a purchase based on recommendations from a blog.
10. 37% of marketers say blogs are the most valuable type of content marketing.
11. Once you write 21-54 blog posts, blog traffic generation increases by up to 30%.
12. Businesses that blog  ≥ 20 times/month get  5x more traffic than those who blog ≤ 4 times/month.
13. Small businesses that blog get 126% more lead growth than small businesses that do not blog.
14. Article posting (79%) and social media excluding blogs (74%) are the most popular tactics for B2B content marketers.
15. 90% of consumers find custom content useful,  78% believe that companies behind content are interested in building good relationships.

From Webbiquity.com:


16. Two out of three people read blogs at least several times a week. 45% have reached out to a blogger to inquire about a product when considering a purchase, and 84% buy products based on the content they find on blogs.
17. More than three-quarters of companies that have a blog report a positive ROI for inbound marketing, and 79% of best-in-class marketers rank blogs as the most effective marketing tactic.
18. Blog posts continue to drive traffic and generate impressions up to 700 days after they go live.


Now, are you still having second thoughts whether you should try blogging or not for your business website?

Last Updated: Sunday, April 24, 2016

5 Blog Post Title Idea Generators and How to Use Them

As a freelance writer, I find generating catchy headlines the most difficult. Back then, it could take me 30 minutes to think of a title for my articles and blog posts. I wonder if anyone here is also encountering the same problem?

But that was before. Until I find blog post title generators online. Blog post title generators are online tools that help you give an idea of what headline should you create and write.

For example, your blog post topic is "advantages of having a pet cat." Of course, if you only make "Advantages of Having a Pet Cat" as your title too, it is rather plain, and almost everyone has this title for that kind of article.

So to give you more options of generating a unique and catchy title for your blog post, you can use these blog post title generators:

1. Inbound Now's Blog Title Idea Generator


So let's try Inbound Now's Blog Title Idea Generator for our topic, "advantages of having a pet cat." Click the "Click to Generate Title Idea" button to show you some title ideas. Continue clicking it until you find the most appropriate and relevant title for your blog post's topic. And here's what I found:


If you would be replacing the [Number] and [Industry Best Practice] fields, you can come up with this title, "10 Reasons Why You Should Keep a Pet Cat at Home."

2. Blog About's Blog Title Generator



Compared to Inbound Now's Blog Title Generator, this one requires you to input the topic of what you want to write about. Click the "Next" button to generate title ideas.

Below, I have found the most appropriate title template for our topic, "advantages of having a pet cat."


I can tweak this into "Why Having a Pet Cat Is Good for Your Family." I didn't directly follow the title template, but the idea is there.

3. SEOPressor's Blog Title Generator




SEOPressor's Blog Title Generator is a bit unique, since it does not only allow you to input your keyword or blog topic. It also lets you describe your keyword either as a generic term, a brand/product, an event, an industry, a location, a person's name, or a skill, in order to give you more refined title idea results.


I keyed in our blog topic and the above screenshot is the result. I decided to pick "Five Things You Probably Didn't Know About Advantages Of Having A Pet Cat" and change it to "10 Things You Probably Didn't Know About the Advantages of Keeping a Pet Cat."

SEOPressor will only give you a list of 5 blog title ideas, but if you are not satisfied with the results, you can click the refresh button to yield different results. On the other hand, you can also enter your email address to grab all the possible titles.

4. Tweak your Biz' Title Generator



To use this blog title generator tool, key in your keyword, select if it's a noun or a verb, and choose what kind of case your results would appear.

The title idea results of Tweak Your Biz is overwhelming compared to the above-mentioned tools. It presents a very long list of blog title ideas categorized into Lists, Best, How To, Questions, Love, Sex, Celebrities, Secrets, Snark, Business, Motivation, Problem, and The Kitchen Sink.

It also allows you to copy the full list of their suggested titles and print them.






Since the results are too many, only look at the most appropriate category for you to examine the titles. For example, we can find the best title ideas for our blog post topic "advantages of having a pet cat" in the Lists category, so that's the only category where you need to look.

So while looking over the Lists category, I find the following titles most appropriate for our topic:



I can tweak "Knowing These 10 Secrets Will Make Your Advantages Of Having A Pet Cat Look Amazing" to "Knowing These 10 Advantages Will Make You Want To Have A Pet Cat Today."

I can also tweak "The 10 Best Things About Advantages Of Having A Pet Cat" to "The 10 Best Things That Will Occur To You If You Keep A Pet Cat."

5. Portent's Content Idea Generator



To begin your search for blog title ideas, just enter your subject in the field, like what I did above. And press that nice, white arrow to give you results.






Keep on clicking the refresh button until you find the result you like. As for our blog topic, I've already found one.

The suggested title of Portent's Content Idea Generator is "How Advantages of Having a Pet Cats are Making the World a Better Place" and it can be polished to "How Keeping a Pet Cat Makes the World a Better Place."


So to sum up, here are the different titles we have come up for our blog topic, "advantages of having a pet cat" using different blog post title generators:


  • 10 Reasons Why You Should Keep a Pet Cat at Home
  •  Why Having a Pet Cat Is Good for Your Family
  •  10 Things You Probably Didn't Know About the Advantages of Keeping a Pet Cat
  •  Knowing These 10 Advantages Will Make You Want To Have A Pet Cat Today
  •  The 10 Best Things That Will Occur To You If You Keep A Pet Cat
  •  How Keeping a Pet Cat Makes the World a Better Place
See? They are all about the advantages of keeping a pet cat, but using a blog post title generator tool helps you craft punchier titles.


Do you use blog post title idea generators when you're in a title slump?

Last Updated: Tuesday, April 12, 2016

3 Ways to Increase Your Blog Post Traffic Even If You Are Not (Yet) a Famous Blogger

tips to increase blog readership for non famous bloggers

Over the past years when I still didn't have a freelance writer website, I didn't have any problems on how should I attract readers, well simply because I didn't have a blog.

But now that I have one, I realized that writing great content doesn't always equate to having a high blog readership, and that people won't accidentally discover that I have published a new blog post.

Despite sharing my blog post on my personal Google+ account, I only manage to get 5-7 views. Of course, that's to be expected for someone like me who only has a very minimal following.

So do I still have the chance to increase my blog post views? Fortunately, yes. So here are some of the best strategies that we all non-famous bloggers can do in order to boost blog traffic:

1. Share your blog post in all of your social media channels more than once.


So I got this amazing tip from the Verve Blog. This strategy encourages everyone to share their blog post more than once (in different times of the day) on their social media accounts so that people won't miss it on their feed.

At first glance, this is a shitty tactic since you'll be like spamming your social media profile. But for it not to appear like spam, change the description that comes along with the sharing of your link. You can write the description as a question, an excerpt lifted from the post, or citing a fact.

2. Reference an influencer in your blog post and email them that you have quoted them.


I have known this strategy from Brian Dean of Backlinko after receiving one of his email newsletters. (Yep, I'm one of Backlinko's subscribers.)

So the logic behind this strategy is that since you have referenced or quoted an influencer, it is likely possible that they will share your blog post among their thousands or millions of followers. So it's like they already did the marketing for you.

3. Share your blog post in relevant social media groups.

This is a strategy I have thought of myself. (But I don't know if there is any influencer who has advised the same strategy.)

I have various social media accounts but as I mentioned earlier, I have very minimal following. So even if I share my blog posts on my social media accounts, it's likely of no use.

But since I'm a member of several social media groups, I thought of sharing my blog posts there.

First, I'll have to post my blog link on my social media page, then click its share button and share it on a particular group.

This way, the members of the group will also know the original source of my shared post. Doing this, I received lots of likes, comments and at times, reshares. I even gain new followers on my social media page! But the best of all, I have increase my blog post's traffic.


Are there any tips you would like to share among non-famous bloggers like me in order to boost blog traffic? Feel free to tell them in the comment box (and I'll be taking note of them).