I'm Sharon Hurley Hall and I'm a freelance writer and professional blogger.
Thanks! Now, let’s get personal! Where do you live? Do you have a family? What do you do for work and play?
I moved from the UK to Barbados in 2006 with my husband and young daughter (she’s now 11). I spend most of my day writing (mostly about marketing, social media, SEO, analytics and business related topics) and promoting my writing business.
Outside of work, I'm an avid reader and belong to two book clubs.
I love spending time with my family and we make sure to go to the beach at least once a week. The beaches in Barbados are some of the best in the world (yes, I know I'm biased).
I know you have two blogs –what are they about? Who are your readers and how long have you been blogging?
I've been blogging since 2005 when I started the blog that eventually became Get Paid to Write Online. That blog is intended to help freelance writers build successful careers. Although I've written 80% of the posts myself, I have also been lucky to have contributions from some of the writers I have worked with.
I also have a professional blog where I showcase my work and a pet project which I run with my husband, called Barbados Caribbean Travel. That blog shares our experience of moving to a new country and helps others do the same. In fact, a couple of friends of ours have recently used the advice on our blog to engineer a successful relocation of their own. They now live five minutes away from us.
So what do you offer your readers that no one else does?
In both cases I believe my blogs offer the benefit of experience. It’s not just talk; I've lived what I write about.
Twenty plus years of writing experience covering newspapers, magazines, books and blogs gives me a lot of knowledge I can use to help others. And it’s the same with the travel/lifestyle blog – when we wanted to move there was nowhere that had all the information we needed. We’re trying to make our blog fill that gap for others looking to do the same thing.
How often do you update your blogs, Sharon?
These days, I'm so busy with my professional blogging work that I don't update the blogs that often. The writing blog is updated at least once a month and the travel blog perhaps a little less often.
Where do most of your readers come from?
For the writing blog, I get readers from a variety of sources. I have a core of people who have been reading the writing blog for years. Some of those subscribe by email and via RSS readers.
I’m active on social media and promote my content there. And I’m a member of a couple of writing forums where I can alert people when there is something I think will interest them.
From an SEO viewpoint, my blog usually shows up on the first page of results for people looking to get paid for writing online. So I guess most traffic comes from a combination of search and social media.
For the travel blog, it's a little bit different. I believe that most people find the content when they are looking for particular information about Barbados.
I’d love to hear more about your blogging successes. What kind of good things have come to you from blogging? Please tell us your blogging success story.
For me, the biggest blogging success story is that I'm able to make a living doing something that I love. When I started blogging in 2005, I was a writer and expected to get paid doing news and feature articles and other related marketing material. Blogging as an experiment and I had no idea then that people would eventually pay me to do it.
One day after I'd been blogging for a few months, I entered a competition where the winning post would get $50. I won, and that put me on the path to paid blogging.
Over the course of time, other people saw my work and more paid opportunities came my way. The great thing about blogging is that your work is visible. If you are lucky enough to score a writing gig on a site with a lot of readership – as I was – then your work speaks for itself and more opportunities come along. It’s a snowball effect and my blogging work has definitely gained momentum in the last three to four years.
Do you have any special blogging tip for new bloggers?
These days, there’s so much content out there, that it can be a little bit harder to make an impact as a new blogger. But write something great and you will always find readers.
You have to be in it for the long haul if you want to make an impact, so pick topics that you know about and can write about with passion.
Blog, not just for yourself, but on others’ blogs. And use social media to widen the reach of your posts. All that, plus a sprinkling of luck, will help you be successful.