You probably remember this from your own time at school.
When you enjoyed the subject, and liked the teacher, you learned faster and did well. And the most enjoyable classes where those in which you were actually doing something rather than just studying a text book, line by line.
Long story short, you always learn more when you’re having fun. And what you learn sticks when you learn by “doing” instead of just reading text books.
The same is true when learning online writing and copywriting.
You can study all you want, but you’ll learn most when you “do it”, and when you’re having a good time.
Which brings me to my own favorite learning tool.
If you have read a few of my posts in the past, you probably already know I have a hobby website about coffee. It’s called CoffeeDetective.com.
I have been writing that site for 9 years now. And I do it because I enjoy it. I’m a bit of a coffee nut, and I like writing about making coffee.
As an added bonus, my coffee site also provides me with a nice passive income…several thousand dollars a month.
But the greatest value it delivers is as a teaching tool.
Over the last 15 years I have learned a great deal about online writing, copywriting and marketing. Some things I have learned from reading the work of other experts, and some I have learned through working with terrific clients.
But I have learned the most by writing my site about coffee.
How come? A couple of reasons.
First, because when I’m working on my site I’m learning by “doing”, and I’m enjoying myself. So what I learn sticks with me.
Second, everything I learn contributes to my broader understanding of online marketing.
Let me explain what I mean by that.
Imagine I write a product sales page for a client. It’s a great gig. And the new sales page I write does well. That’s terrific. But I haven’t learned much, because my involvement has been very narrow and fleeting.
Now let’s say I write a sales page on my coffee site, selling an ebook about making coffee.
First, I write the page. (Working on my sales page copywriting skills.)
Then I make sure it’s optimized for the search engines. (Learning more about SEO.)
If I can find or create an interesting image for the page, I’ll add it and then pin it to Pinterest. Maybe I’ll share that image on Instagram too. Or I could create a short video and upload it to my channel on YouTube, as well as embedding it on the page on my site. Then I’ll promote the page on Twitter, Facebook and Google+. (Learning about social media.)
Next, I’ll link to that new sales page from other pages on my site. (Internal link building.)
I could write several new content pages for my site that drive people forward to that sales page. (Content marketing.)
I’ll then follow the performance of every aspect of what I’m doing with my site’s analytics program. (Learning what works, and what doesn’t.)
Do you see the difference?
When I learn through book-learning or working with a client, my experience is focused, narrow and fleeting.
When I learn by working on my own website, the learning experience is broad, inclusive of many online marketing skills, and enduring.
All this to say that I have learned more about online writing, copywriting and marketing with my coffee website than I have from any other source. And it never feels like work or a chore, because when I work on the site I’m enjoying myself.
It’s a hobby with benefits.
You can do the same, on a topic that really interests you.
I know people who have written sites about topics as varied as rooftop gardening, watercolor painting, housesitting, aromatherapy, mountain biking and many, many others.
And a few thousand people have accelerated the process of getting their website online, attracting traffic and making money by taking my program, How to Write Your Own Money-Making Websites.
A lot of people who sign up for the program are attracted by the prospect of making a passive income by writing about a topic that already interests them.
I get that. I love the passive income part of this.
But I also highly recommend this for anyone who is trying to learn more about writing, copywriting and marketing online.
Writing your own website is the ultimate professional sandbox for writers. It’s where you can practice your skills, broaden and deepen your expertise, and learn for yourself what works and what doesn’t.
In addition, if your website topic is related to your niche as a professional writer or copywriter, your money-making website will become your ultimate “proof of competence” when looking for new clients.
For example, if your professional writing niche is in the field of natural health, you should probably choose a related topic for your own website.
That way, when a prospective client ask you for some evidence that you know and understand the natural health market, you can point to your website and say, “I’m writing to your market every day. I know your customers and what they want.”
OK…this is getting longer than I had planned.
But we now have three major benefits to writing a hobby website of your own.
1. Writing and creating your own website is the best and fastest way to learn about writing, copywriting and marketing online.
2. Your website will earn you a steady stream of passive income.
3. You can use your website as the ultimate brochure and “proof of competence” when talking with prospective clients.
If this sounds like a smart plan, and you want to get up and running as soon as possible, be sure to check out my program, How to Write Your Own Money-Making Websites.
About the author: Nick Usborne is an online writer, copywriter, author and coach. Read more…
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