This Post was written by Guest Writer Thomas Greenbank. https://thomasgreenbank.com
Do you write for the web? If you do, you’ll probably have tried, or at least thought of trying, one of the many grammar checkers out there. For a long time, the few grammar editing tools available were pretty basic. Recently though, we’ve been blessed with a plethora of grammar checkers; some of which are extremely easy to use, some that are very accurate, a couple that are both; and some that, sadly, fail to deliver the goods.
So which grammar editing software ticks all the boxes—and which are the ones you should avoid?
In this detailed review, I’ll be looking at six individual tools, including the top four grammar checkers, that promise to solve our self-editing issues and give us all the best chance of turning out our best work, every time.
Just one thing I need to emphasise though: Using a grammar checker will not mean you never need to use an editor again. On the contrary, a human editor is as essential as ever, if we hope to produce well-written copy consistently.
Is it Worth Paying for Grammarly Premium, or Should We Just Use The Free Version?
(This post was written by Guest Writer Thomas Greenbank. https://thomasgreenbank.com)
In this Grammarly Review, I’ll be addressing these issues and more, as well as covering just how an efficient grammar checker can help with your writing.
Most of us have heard about Grammarly; many of you may be wondering whether it’s worth buying Premium, or whether we should just stick with the free version.
One thing I can tell you is that if we want to be taken seriously as content creators, we need to write well-structured articles. Spelling and grammatical errors do not belong in our work.
This applies not only to online copywriters and bloggers but actually to anyone who writes for the public. (Especially authors, but that’s another issue altogether)
I’ve been using Grammarly Free for quite some time now, and I can tell you I’ve been delighted with just how efficiently it not only picks up my typos and grammar faux-pas but actually shows me what’s wrong and explains why. When I decided to seriously consider upgrading to Grammarly Premium, I figured I might as well turn my research into a blog post.
After using it for around four years, I can attest that Grammarly is the best free grammar checker for proofreading on the fly. If you’ve been following this website you’ll know that in addition to my online work I’m also an author. Two tools that I couldn’t be without as an author are Scrivener and Grammarly. (Scrivener I’ll cover in another post.)
Maybe you’ve had some writing experience, maybe you’ve already earned some money from your writing, or maybe you’re just an ambitious amateur.
Whatever group you fall into, I’m sure you’ll find some useful information in this post.
Working as a freelance writer can be a great way to earn a little extra money. With the right information and resources, it can generate a full-time income for the right person. If you enjoy writing, you can often find ways to turn your passion into a means of earning cold hard cash.
The biggest challenge when first getting started as a freelance writer is sourcing legitimate and well-paying places to find work. There are lots of Content Mills online that are happy to hook you up with potential employers, but many pay you peanuts for your efforts.
Some websites will offer you writing work that pays on a revenue-sharing model. You might be paid a few cents every time someone reads your piece or clicks on a link within the article. There are others that pay per word, or some that pay a set fee for a certain type and size of article.
The bad news is; until you’re an established writer you’ll probably have to use these types of lower-paying websites to get established.
The good news, however, is that if you choose well, these lower-paying sites can become the springboard to a lucrative writing career.
10 Freelance Writing Jobs for Beginners. (Plus one, as a bonus)
I’ve put together this list of writing websites that pay reasonably well, are well regarded, and may be perfect for you.
iWriter will pay you a fixed rate for any article you supply to them, depending on the length and your experience.
Starting rates will be less than 1 cent per word, but this increases as your rating improves. Your published articles will be graded, and once you reach a 4-star rating your rates will double. When you reach 4.5 stars they will triple. (From the starting rate) At the Elite level, you can earn up to $80.00 for a five hundred word article.
Once you register with the website, you’ll be asked to submit two samples of your writing and research skills. If accepted, you’ll then be able to apply for specific tasks.
Clients on iWriter will be asked to approve your article. If they reject it, you don’t get paid. Generally though, if they aren’t happy you’ll simply be asked to do a rewrite.
Textbroker works in a similar way to iWriter. One drawback for many of you will be the fact that they only employ writers from within the US.
Their rates start at .7 of a cent per word and range up to 5 cents per word.
Application and qualifying procedures are also similar, as is their star-rating system.
Depending on your typing speed and skills you can expect to earn between $5 and $15 per hour working with Textbroker.
When you start writing for Textbroker, you will be on probation and your work will be vetted by their team of professionals. This is a good thing, as when just starting out as a content writer any professional help you can get will be most valuable.
There are other, similar sites to these, offering similar conditions and pay rates.
Working for content mills such as these is a good way to get started as a content writer, but don’t expect to be able to earn a good income from them; at least not at first. If you can live with the lower rates and accept that it’s just a temporary situation, while focusing on your long-term goals, content mills like these may give you the experience and confidence you need to kick-start your writing career.
Puckitz works in a slightly different way. Your content actually remains your intellectual property and is ‘rented’ by Puckitz. You’re free to remove the posts you’ve written from their website and publish them on your own site, so long as you notify them and give them time to remove them from their lists.
Generally, they are a little more demanding regarding work quality, so are more suitable for experienced writers. You’ll probably be asked to contribute posts within a particular niche.
Pay rates are in the vicinity of 50 cents per month for an article of 500 words or more.
If you happen to be an expert at coding, web design, web development or creating apps, games or logos Tuts+ may be right for you. They do pay fairly well: from $50 for quick tips to $250 for full-length tutorials. Some of their projects fall into the category of UX Writing.
You can apply through their official ‘Write for Us’ page. Tuts+ is a relatively high-profile site, so you will be expected to have some experience in your niche to be considered!
Listverse focuses on all types of top-10 lists. Things such as Top 10 Sinister Conspiracy Theories About Hillary Clinton, or Top 10 Insane Elvis-Is-Alive Theories. Submit an interesting list that’s at least 1500 words long, and you could earn $100 via PayPal.
Are you something of a wiz with computers and technology? Do you know the best Microsoft Office tips and Windows 8 tricks?
You can share practical tips for technology on Worldstart and earn from $25 to $50 per article. They publish articles on the blog and in daily and monthly newsletters.
Writing Op-Ed Pieces:
What’s that? Well may you ask. Op-Ed means Opinion/Editorial comments. Sort of like Letters to the Editor, but on a higher level and for a fee. You’ll need to be prepared to compete with professional journalists or writers in this field, but if you can come up with a unique and topical article you could be on a winner. Many respected publications will accept Op-Ed articles. Try sending your article or synopsis to any newspaper or magazine that you feel your article might be a good fit for. Contact them first though, and don’t be fooled into sending it to a generic email like ‘editor@XXX.com’ or similar. These are usually what’s known in the industry as ‘Black Holes’. Submissions sent there will rarely be read by anyone who counts.
There’s one big difference between FlexJobs and the other income sources I’ve mentioned so far: FlexJobs is a paid service.
For a monthly membership of $14.95, Flexjobs can match you with high-paying professional income sources worldwide. You can complete up to 50 in-house skills tests to establish your particular strengths. If your score in any of these skills tests is over 70, their clients can see them to help choose potential employees. This can definitely help you get the job.
If you’re a beginner, though, I wouldn’t recommend FlexJobs, as their expectations and standards are pretty high. If you think you have the skills, though, it just might be right for you.
Another paid source is:
Freelancer does offer a free trial membership, with restrictions, so you can get the feel of their platform before you invest any money.
Generally, their rates are better than the cheaper content mills mentioned above. On the downside, though, there will be more competition from other writers.
You have the option to list your work experience, and also take certification exams on their platform before you throw your hat into the ring and start bidding for jobs.
The main difference with Freelancer.com is that you search for jobs you might be interested in and bid on them. Potential employers will take your bid into account, as well as your experience and qualifications. As a new writer, you may find it difficult to get accepted until you start to gather some reviews of your work. Of course, the bidding system does tend to force the price down.
The free membership only gives you the ability to bid on a handful of jobs, but you can sign up for one month’s full membership for free. Just be sure that, if you don’t find it suitable, you cancel well before the renewal date.
With full membership, which costs $10.95 pm, you can bid on 100 jobs per month. There are upsells as well.
With Fiverr.com, you basically set up your own freelance writer’s shop.
You specify what types of work you are interested in doing, as well as the sort of rates you’ll be willing to work for. You can set up your storefront in around 15 or 20 minutes.
Fiverr is free to join, but they will take 20% commission from every job negotiated through their website. When starting out, this may be a better proposition than a flat membership fee that you pay regardless of whether you get work or not. The extra 20% is just something you need to factor into your pricing.
As with all online freelance writing platforms, Fiverr can be very competitive, especially before you build your review ratings. You’ll probably have to work for around one or two cents per word to start, in order to get work. (and hopefully, good reviews)
When you first get started on Fiverr, you’re limited to only offering one service. As time goes on you can offer upsells, different service levels and service bundles. You can set your own prices and conditions.
You’ll need to be comfortable with self-promotion, as Fiverr doesn’t offer this. Pinterest, Instagram, even FaceBook can all be used here. You may have to spend a few dollars on promoting your posts/pins also until you get established.
Generally, the long-term proposition with Fiverr is a little better, provided you work at building your brand successfully.
Your Own Website:
If you’re serious about working as a freelance writer and building your own online business, then starting your own Freelance Writing Website should definitely be on your to-do list. Having your own web presence is essential if you want to be seen as a serious writer. A website of your own offers many extra options in addition to simply writing content for other businesses.
Whether you find work through Fiverr, Freelancer.com, FlexJobs, or any of the above services, you’ll be seen as being so much more professional if you have your own professionally created website. That’s not to say you’ll have to employ someone to do this for you. Website design and creation is something that most people can learn these days quite easily.
(More on this below)
Once your site is established, and you begin to gain a following, you can then become a true freelance writer. You promote your own business, you set your own fees, and best of all you keep all the money you earn for yourself. As an independent freelancer, working with your own private clients, you can earn much more than you ever will with a content mill or similar operation.
If this sounds intimidating, be assured it’s really much easier than you might think.
In addition, when you’re running your own website and offering your writing services, you’ll never have to worry about the possibility of the company you’re writing for going out of business or shutting down your account. Sadly, even well-established freelance writers sometimes find themselves facing suspension from various platforms for one reason or another. When you run your own online business, you can rest assured knowing that your income is safe so long as you continue providing good customer service.
Once you create your own Freelance Writing Business, you’re in effect employing yourself. Isn’t that so much better than relying on someone else’s business to supply you with work or contacts? (Contacts that you may be prevented from having any direct association with and whom you could be locked out of contact with at any time)
Many freelance writers create their own online businesses and go on to earn well into the six-figure range per year; Not just by selling their writing services to clients online, but by actually writing articles that create sales and bring in good returns direct to their own business.
So there’s my list of 10 Freelance Writing Jobs for Beginners.
It’s now up to you to take the plunge and get started. The very first thing you need to do is learn how to create a website; a website that can effectively sell your services and showcase examples of your work, while also producing income on its own merits.
So, How Can You Get Started with Your Own Freelance Writing Business?
The best and easiest way to build your own website is with WordPress. If you go to https://wordpress.org you can download WordPress for free.
Don’t confuse it with wordpress.com. The .com site is a hosting company run by Automattic, a commercial company that was created by one of the founders of WordPress for the purpose of hosting WordPress-driven sites. Users don’t need to download or install the WordPress software—it’s part of the hosting services that WordPress.com provides.
The differences between WordPress.com and WordPress.org arise from the differences between hosted and self-hosted websites, so choosing between them largely depends on the level of control a user wants over the design and management of their site.
Personally, I recommend setting up your own site. You will have to shop around a bit for hosting, but there are long-term benefits to this.
I host my sites with SiteGround. I was with another host, a part of the Wealthy Affiliate group, but we have parted ways. Who knows, I might even return to the fold one day.
I don’t have time or space to go into how to install and set up your WordPress site in this article. There will be another post covering all that in detail. Stay tuned. In any case, there are a plethora of sites online that can cover that for you if you need more detailed help.
Thanks for reading. Please join the discussion via the comments box below.
Total AV Antivirus: Legit Software, or a Ransomware Scam?
No doubt you’ve heard of Total AV antivirus. In fact, I’m assuming you found this post after searching for information on Total AV in one form or another.
I recently downloaded and installed the program myself, after reading another post.
I use a MacBook computer, and although Apple computers are considered by many to be immune from computer viruses, I thought I should consider installing an antivirus program. After my experience, I decided I just had to write this Total AV antivirus review post.
So should you install AV Antivirus?
(Short Answer: Don’t bother. Read on if you want the details)
I found Total AV by visiting this review site, (Please note: I have removed the link that was associated with this text) and, as they SEEMED to be giving unbiased opinions, I took the reviewer’s word for it and decided to give it a try. Let me tell you how it went…
Total AV Antivirus Free Download
Once I had installed Total AV things seemed well. The trial version offered everything that an antivirus program should, or it seemed to. Unfortunately, I quickly realised that once my trial expired I’d have to make the decision about whether or not to purchase a full version. Most antivirus software offers real-time protection and advanced features, even with their free versions. They rely on extra features and a personal-use-only clause to attract sales for their paid version. Not so with Total AV.
Once the trial expired I started detailed research on just how well it actually performed.
Given that the asking price was just $19, thanks to a “special offer” (I’m always suspicious of such deals) I have to say I didn’t really expect it to blow away the competition.
Now I’m in no way claiming to be anyone’s expert on assessing the efficiency of antivirus programs or any other software for that matter. When I want to know technical details I’ll go to a true professional. In this case, I consulted the PC Mag website.
You can read the report there for yourself, but in a nutshell, Total AV fell far short of providing what you’d consider “good” protection. I decided not to go ahead and buy. And that’s when the problems started.
While I was doing all this checking around (you can’t rush these things) I still had Total AV’s free version operational on my system. It would do a scan a couple of times a day, and keep reminding me that I didn’t have real-time protection any more. I also noticed that my Mac was starting to freeze up, especially in real-time situations like chats etc. Total AV was also asking frequently for access to download “helper” programs. That’s when I decided to remove it. It turned out that it’s not easy to uninstall Total AV from your system.
In case you’re interested, there’s a video below that gives a well-informed review and appraisal of the Total AV software package.
Removing Total AV Antivirus
I found that I couldn’t even shut it down! I tried to dump it into Trash, but was informed that action couldn’t be performed because Total AV was still active. This is completely contrary to what the Total AV help page says.
After searching online, where I heard many horror stories of other suckers having to pay to have it removed, (doesn’t that make it ransomware?) and one forum contributor recommending a complete system reset, I decided to revisit an old friend. Back in my pre-Mac days, I had Malwarebytes installed on my old Windows 7 system. I thought I’d see if it could help me get rid of this squatter once and for all.
A quick scan, where Malwarebytes identified and quarantined several dodgy files, and my system was back to performing just like a Mac should. I’ve since deleted completely all remnants of this PUP from my system.
Finally, Total AV Uninstalled Completely
One thing that I did notice, as I visited site after site where Total AV was touted as the duck’s nuts as far as antivirus software is concerned, was just how much these “review” sites resemble each other. Some even have almost the exact same layout and similarly-worded writeups. It’s my guess that many sites out there have been set up by Total AV themselves purely to divert info seekers and push us into the Total AV squeeze pages.
As an affiliate marketer myself, I’m familiar with this tactic. It’s not how I choose to run my business, though.
Does this mean Total AV is a scam?
I’d stop short of calling it a scam. It does what it says, although not as efficiently as the blurb will suggest. But then, that’s advertising everywhere. It all comes back to the old adage: Caveat Emptor, or Buyer Beware.
So, long story short, my advice is to give this product a wide berth. There are lots of better applications out there. I’m not recommending anything in particular, but I might be adding a round-up of antivirus software applications to this site in the future. Stay tuned.
Have you tried Total AV, or any similar product?
Do you have anything you’d like to add to the conversation?
Fictionary Story Teller: Write the Best Version of Your Story!
This post was written by Guest Writer Thomas Greenbank. https://thomasgreenbank.com
Here’s a brilliant tool that’s been around for a couple of years or more, but that I discovered only recently.
I’ve been taking a break from my affiliate marketing business lately, to concentrate on a novel that’s been fermenting in me for ages. I had started work on The Kincaid Saga over two years ago but hadn’t made much progress.
I’d finished the first draft and was halfway through a combined Story Edit (where I get my ducks in a row and start fine-tuning scenes and characters) and Line Edit, (grammar, POV, word repeats, etc etc) when I discovered Fictionary.
Just to be clear: I mean the story-editing software, not the word game.
I had been using Grammarly as a grammar checker for my posts and other copywriting gigs, though I’d recently swapped over to Pro Writing Aid. They’re both great tools. I just found PWA to be a bit more comprehensive, not to mention quite a bit cheaper.
This link will take you to a post where I compare Grammarly and Pro Writing Aid, along with other similar tools. (The link will open in a new tab so you can easily come back here afterwards. Otherwise, keep on reading)
BTW: The creators of Pro Writing Aid and Fictionary Story Teller are currently offering a discounted package deal on the two apps. I’ll give you all the details further on in this post.
Please note: At the time of writing, Fictionary doesn’t have an affiliate program, so there’s no financial benefit to me if you choose to subscribe. However, I have managed to negotiate a discount for you, just for visiting and (hopefully) subscribing to My-Buzz.com.
I really, really wish I’d found Fictionary at least six months sooner. The time it would have saved me and the ease with which I could have fixed some especially tricky issues would be well worth the subscription cost. Let me show you something about how it works.
How Will WordPress Gutenberg Affect the Way we Write?
There’s been a fair bit of hype lately about the WordPress Gutenberg update. Is this really going to be a great leap forward as promised – or just another level of confusion?
One thing’s for certain, we won’t be able to avoid it, so we’d better learn how to use it – and quickly!
I’ve been experimenting with Elementor Builder for a bit. (you can read my review here) I’d hopefully be excused then, for thinking I’d have a bit of a head start at understanding Gutenberg. There are some similarities, and I’ve already found a couple of pros and cons. As I did with the Elementor review, I’m using Gutenberg plugin to write this post and learning as I go. Read more
Do You Want to Learn How to Make Honest Money Online?
This post was written in Dec 2016, and updated in 2017, and 2020.
Wealthy Affiliate is a program that was created way back in 2005 to facilitate, encourage, and assist people just like you and me to become online Affiliate Marketers. In this Wealthy Affiliate Review, I’ll explain what WA is, how it works, and just …
Why Wealthy Affiliate might not be right for you.
Yes, you read that correctly. Affiliate marketing is not for everyone. (I’ll cover this further on, or you can jump straight to the relevant section by clicking here.) I’ll also explain just why WA is my choice of training and support platform for online business success. But first …
I work my affiliate marketing business part-time. (I’m also a writer, and I design and manage websites for local businesses?and besides, I’m supposedly “retired”) Despite that, I make a very decent income from Wealthy Affiliate’s training. Others on the platform are making over $2K per week, so the training works, people!!
What is Affiliate Marketing?
?For the uninitiated, affiliate marketing is a term used to describe the common practice of posting ads or links into a website in return for payment. This payment could be on a pay-per-click (PPC) or a commission basis or some other arrangement.
The job of the affiliate marketer is to create and publish content that people will want to read. When I say “content”, I could be referring to a travel blog, a writers’ website, a fishing site, whatever. You could publish articles that either answer a question or supply information that someone has searched the web for. It could be as simple as “What’s the best blender for home use” or “How to do crocheting” or “What’s the best fishing lure for Coral Trout”. Read more