Friday, October 30, 2009

Latest articles

As you can see, I've added Suite101 and eHow widgets to my page--so you can see the latest articles I write for them. Please click and read!

There are so many articles I'm going to compile them into one post here and be done with it. Halloween is tomorrow and I have an Ironman, baby Yoda, and Optimus Prime to attend to :)

Suite101:

Argentine Government Restructuring Debt

Michelle Bachelet

FARC--Violence in Colombia

For Associated Content:

Top Grants for Women

Cheap Used Laptops


eHow:

How to Find oDesk Jobs

Productive day, yesterday was! I have another AC article that was approved but hasn't been published yet, and I wrote some flat-rate articles and did private client work. I'm not discussing my flat-rate work because that's not the focus of this blog. The focus is on making residual income.

Many writers balance both, and gradually decrease the amount of flat-rate work over time, as residuals increase. That's my plan, too!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

eHow, Associated Content, and Suite101: A Strategy

So now I'm taking articles and spinning them in different ways for different sites.

Here's my latest eHow article: How to Rent Homeschool Tests , which is a different spin on my Suite 101 article on Homeschool Testing.

I also sold an article for $5.68 upfront, plus $1.75 per 1000 page views, to Associated Content on Cheap Used Laptops . You may recall that I wrote an article for eHow last week called How to Buy Refurbished Laptops Online. That article has earned $1.28 with 40 page views. That is a $32 per 1000 rate!

Each article is unique, but has different spin or different keywords for a similar topic, reducing the amount of research I need do to and also giving me an opportunity to evaluate the quality of each publishing platform.

AC's upfront money is nice--how long will it take to earn $5.68 in residuals at Suite101 or eHow? I don't know. On the other hand, I'll only get $1.75 per 1000 page views at AC, while I've made $1.28 for only FORTY on my refurbished laptop article at eHow.

I have picked up some substantial set-fee freelance work for the next 2 months and intend to continue with my 10K challenge. Check back to see how I balance a 3 month old, 10 year old, 7 year old, husband, college teaching, and freelancing.

AUUUUUUUUUUUUUGGHHHHHHHHHHHH.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Suite 101

I just started writing with Suite 101, although I've had an account there for a while.

My first two articles have been published: Homeschool Testing and What is a Grant Writer.

Earnings vary, but I've read about some writers, such as Lisa Russell, who claim to make $5-$8 per article per month. I'm following the Suite SEO guidelines so far, to the best of my ability--they are VERY helpful, and I realize now what a complete amateur I've been with SEO. Egads! there's so much more to it, and Suite 101 will help me on my 10K quest even if I never make a penny writing there!

Of course that's not the point, though! I intend to make a lot of money there. I need to publish 10 articles to be considered for Feature Writer positions. Feature writers earn 20% more revenue. There aren't many Feature Writer positions left on Suite 101, but I have my eye on one. These two articles don't reflect the topic I'm considering, but I am adding draft articles to my queue and plan to publish many at once on the topic.

Then I'll apply for a Feature Writer position.

Once you're a Feature Writer and have 100 articles posted you earn an additional 10% of revenue. If I do 1 article/day I could have 100 articles in 3.5 months. That's doable.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Factoidz Earnings

So already I have an earnings report from Factoidz! My Factoidz earnings are doing well after less than 24 hours.

I just got my first Factoidz earnings report, and my article that is "high+" is earning more than $3 per 1000. The "high" article is earning about $2.30 per 1000. The "medium" rated article is earning around $1.70 per 1000 right now.

For yesterday my 3 articles had a total of 71 page views. I earned $.18. That means my average Factoidz earnings is $2.54 per 1000 page views.

However, I plan to up that rate by writing articles that earn a "high +". My article on reducing heat costs was written in reply to a request for articles on heating more cost efficiently. That article earned $.12 for 41 views-- a Factoidz earnings rate of $3 on the 1000.

The articles and reviewed and approved within *hours*. I'm very impressed. Page views are updated frequently throughout the day, and your earnings are updated one day late--so I know my page views for yesterday and my earnings for yesterday, but today I can see my page views but not my Factoidz earnings for today. That I'll know tomorrow.

So far, so good. I have been trying to be more strategic with revenue share sites, and I figure getting in on the "ground floor" with a newer site that may take off is important.

My newest article: Flu and Vitamin D

To sign up for Factoidz: Click here

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Factoidz

So I've found a relatively new, and very promising, revenue share site.

Join Factoidz now

Factoidz isn't really any different than eHow, Suite101, etc., but it's new, has an easy interface, and according to Alexa.com the site traffic is up 66% over the past 3 months. If you use the above link, you're automatically enrolled as a Level 2 writer and can start earning revenue immediately--otherwise you have to post 3 articles before you can begin earning.

eHow started somewhere, right? Same with all the other rev share content sites. So I'm thinking Factoidz is one to watch.

You earn $1-$5 per 1000 page views, with the amount depending on the rating your article gets from editors. I'm trying to figure out their rating system. I just published 3 articles with them:

How to Propagate a Blueberry Bush


How to Reduce Heating Costs

and

How to Have a Gluten Free Thanksgiving

The first two articles received a rating of "high," while my gluten free Thanksgiving article is "medium". I'm not sure how that translates in terms of page view payout.

All three articles were written using the Google Adwords keyword tool, and I tweaked as carefully as possible to give them a nice SEO advantage.

If you become a moderator for a topic on Factoidz you earn $4-$8 per 1000 page views--a hefty increase. You need at least 50 articles in one channel to apply to be a moderator, though. 50 articles is a LOT of content to put into a relatively new rev share site.

I'll be tracking my articles carefully and reporting as I go along. I think I'll ditch Askables in favor of Factoidz.

So sign up using my referral link:
Join Factoidz now

Daylight savings time 2009 fall back

Next week, on Halloween, it's daylight savings time 2009 fall back.

Now why on earth, you may be wondering, am I using such an awkward phase. Daylight savings time 2009 fall back. If you go to Google Trends, you will see that the search phrase "Daylight savings time 2009 fall back" is a "hot" trend. People are just realizing that daylight savings is about to change, but they can't remember which weekend it is.

A few years ago Congress changed daylight savings time to the last weekend in March (spring forward) and the last weekend in October/first weekend in November (fall back). So Daylight savings time 2009 fall back is, understandably, a popular search term right now as people who were accustomed to an earlier "fall back" weekend are trying to figure out when to plan for the time change.

Checking Google Trends is one way to tap into quick and easy hits for articles, but generally trends are just that--they peak, then drop off quickly. If a trend is based on a popular topic that is seasonal, like daylight savings, then an article or post might be worth writing to capture traffic (like I'm aiming for here with Daylight savings time 2009 fall back).

Otherwise, unless you think you'll make thousands of hits and decent click-throughs on trendy topics, it's not worth the time.

So once more, Daylight savings time 2009 fall back is on Halloween! An extra hour to binge on candy :)

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Associated Content Earnings

I earn around $22 per month in residual Associated Content earnings. I have 145 articles there, and just wrote a new article as part of my 10K challenge. I have only posted 3 articles for page views only. None of those were rejected; I just chose to post without upfront payment. My worst offer was $1.30; my best, $11.80 (ah, those were the days in early 2007!).

Associated Content earnings ebb and flow. I have an article on fourth of July fireworks in a specific town that spikes every year the week before the holiday. It's nice 800 or 1000 page view boost. With 295,000 page views and 145 articles I'm averaging around 2,000 page views per article. But in terms of Associated Content earnings, that doesn't add up.

As I said in an earlier post, 5 articles are more than 1/3 of my monthly page views and Associated Content earnings. I posted a TON of content from February to May 2007, and most of that just sits there. I knew very little about keyword density and how to write for search engines. I just posted a bunch of articles I found interesting back in the days before page view performance payments.

So my Associated Content earnings aren't as strong as they could be. I also post for upfront pay--that $5 isn't going to make or break me, but at $1.75 per 1000 page views (I'm at Clout 9), that's 3000 page views I need to get before matching an upfront $5 pay. Might as well try for both to increase my Associated Content earnings!

So check back for more on the rash of articles I plan to post there. in the meantime, read my highest-page view article: Get Rid of Student Loan Debt. 22,000 page views and going strong. It's the #1 article on Google for the keyword phrase.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Gifted Testing

A new eHow article on gifted testing.

I'm doing everything on eHow right now, with the exception of one Askable article. I plan next week to do both eHow and Associated Content. I'm approved for Suite 101 as well, but have some private client and steady work that is taking precedence these days. The dribble of eHow articles is my earnest attempt to keep SOMETHING in the pipeline, and I'm basing these on specific keyword research.

So many writers on message boards I frequent give up on residual income after writing 20, 30, 50 articles. The ones who just.keep.going are the ones who, 15 or 18 or 27 months later, are earning solid 3 and 4 figure incomes each month.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Day 6: Article 6

While I missed a chance at writing yesterday, I've spent the vast majority of my time researching keywords and writing everything BUT residual income articles.

So my here's latest on eHow, a result of using low-level traffic keywords but a specifically-targeted keyword phrase:

How to Buy Used Cloth Diapers

Non-parents may read that and think WTF? But parents who cloth diaper understand that there's a HUGE market for used cloth diapers. Cloth diapers can cost a lot of money, and used cloth diapers sell for 50% or less the price of new. When eBay stopped allowing the sale of used cloth diapers, though, it became much, much harder to sell used cloth diapers. So here's an article that targets the keyword phrase "used cloth diapers" -- a keyword that generates around 2900 searches per month. Small number, but I'm doing a test.

Askables, redux

So now you can read my article--I was able to access Askables and here we go: How to Get Rid of Student Loans.

I'll focus on other residual income sites for now, until Askables figures out some technical glitches. I'm also not terribly confident in a site about writing that has so many spelling errors.

Other bloggers tracking their residual income

A few other sites to check out:


Earnings Experiment


The Residual Income Challenge

I'll be following them both closely. Everyone has a different approach to generating residual income from writing, so the more you read, the more you learn, and the more the earnings can grow. Fortunately, residual income isn't a zero-sum game. If someone else is doing well, there's plenty of room for everyone to do well.

eHow income

So I got sidetracked yesterday and managed to do a wide variety of work and home tasks, but didn't do anything that forwards my $10K goal. So today I need to double up and work on eHow income!

I checked my eHow account. I have 9 articles there now. I have earned $13.63--total--since I started writing on eHow in November 2008.

As you can see in the screenshot below, my eHow income is, well--my best month was November 2008, with $1.91 for 4 articles. NOT stellar, but I also think it's a pretty typical income for eHow. Many work at home writers trying to generate eHow income aim for $1 per month per article. Plenty do FAR better than that. I should be at $9 per month by that standard, but I am still learning how to write targeted keyword articles, so it's fine that my eHow income isn't as robust as it could be. We'll get there.



This screenshot shows my eHow income for 2009. As you can see, I've had some miserable months. I mean really--$.25 for a month with 6 articles? Ouch. That's $.04 per article. I don't promote my articles at all, so it's my fault--I plan, at a minimum, to post links on my Facebook account and generate some traffic for old articles over the next few months, as well as new articles and these blog posts.

One bright spot: one of my new articles, How to Buy a Refurbished Laptop Online, has generated 27 page views and $.79 already. That is an AMAZING rate--nearly $30 per 1000 page views. I'll be watching that article closely to see if I can write related articles for other sites (Associated Content, this blog, etc.) and capitalize on the high rate of pay.

But it could be a fluke, too. We'll see.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Day 4: Article 5

How to Join a Mesothelioma Class Action Lawsuit

So I just up and decided to write about mesothelioma (cancer caused by asbestos) for the fun of it!

Not really. It turns out the CPC rate for mesothelioma is in the $90 range. this means that if people visit my eHow article and click on the ads, my ad revenue share would be considerably higher than for a Google ad on a keyword with, say, a $5 CPC rate.

So--I wrote about mesothelioma today.

And a special thanks to my 11 week old baby, who sat in his bouncy seat long enough for me to write the eHow article, this blog post, and to eat a bowl of Cheerios. YAY!

Associated Content Income

I started writing for Associated Content in February 2007. I have 145 published articles with them, and about 300,000 page views.

That is a poor record.

However, about 5 articles account for more than 1/3 of my page views, and 1/3 of my residual income.

As a test, a few months ago I wrote two new articles that are offshoots of two of my highest earning topics. Surprise--those two article are doing relatively well. Those articles are:

How to Write a Perfect SAT Essay

Your Gifted Two Year Old

I'll focus ALL future articles on subtopics of my top 5 performers from now on. I only make around $22 per month in AC residuals, which is a really small amount, but as I said, 4 articles account for 1/3 of that, and another 10 articles account for 1/3--the rest of the money comes from about 130 articles getting a handful of hits here and there.

The best strategy is to find the 20% of articles that produce 80% of the money. If I had a formula for determining those topics, I'd be set :)

Monday, October 19, 2009

Day 3: Article 4

So another eHow article: How to Buy a Refurbished Laptop Online. Why this topic? Two reasons.

One, my brother-in-law is a refurbished laptop reseller, and I wanted to help boost traffic to his site so I linked to it in the article.

Two, I've decided to write eHow articles about buying something. People who are searching form information on how to buy something might be more likely to click on ads on the page. That's my guess--we'll see if it pans out.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Day 2: Article 3

A new one for eHow. How to buy Domperidone.

It's rare to find a completely unique keyword that hasn't been written about on eHow. Domperidone is one!

This is my seventh eHow article. I got started last November and wrote 5 articles in quick succession. Made very little (about $1 a month) so I abandoned eHow in favor of other projects (and while being massively sick and pregnant).

I added a sixth article this summer, and today am resuming eHow work.

eHow is great for residuals IF--and ONLY IF--you can get plenty of clickthroughs. This is KEY. I didn't realize this until this week, and so my previous articles were largely duds.

That said, the BEST performing article for me on eHow, so far, has been How to Get a Programmer Telecommuting Job, with 905 page views and $4.03 in income. That's about $4.50 per 1000 page views. On Associated Content I get $1.75 per 1,000.

I plan to write 1 eHow article per day, going forward. Let's see how the Domperidone article does. I expect it will have a low number of page views but a high clickthrough rate, as people are searching specifically to BUY the item, and will click on links advertising the product.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Day 1: Article 2

I decided to try Askables, a new content site. One of their employees is publicizing the site on the WAHM.com writers board. My experience publishing the article was horrible. The site timed out saving my article, and never gave me an indication that the article saved. I tried 5 different times and gave up. When I returned a few days later, the article appeared in my queue 5 times as a draft!

There is no way to remove/delete the 4 repeats. I published one of them, and the other 4 just sit in the queue as drafts. NOT a good start to a new site.

Initially, Askables offered upfront payments to writers who met certain criteria. Just as I published my first article with Askables, they suspended upfront payments due to some fraudulent activities from some writers, so I am very disappointed with the lack of upfront + revenue share, and I'm not sure I'll publish there again.

But--I did. So here's my article, and we'll just have to see how this goes.

OK--now this is rich. As I'm trying TO LINK TO MY ARTICLE IN THIS POST I got a "connection has timed out" error message from Firefox when trying to access Askables.

Mmmkay.

Day 1: Article 1

So I decided to start by publishing on an old, tried and true site: Associated Content.

I have 145 articles there now, including the new one I published on Thursday: Boy Trapped in Balloon.

I normally do NOT publish "breaking news" articles, but thought I'd try it. I got 169 page views and earned $.30. I did not try for upfront payment because I didn't want to delay the article's publication. Mine was the first article on AC about this topic.

My writing is TERRIBLE. ATROCIOUS. I wrote it while watching CNN, with a wiggling baby in my lap, and I think I had a momentary lapse of consciousness and reverted to 7th grade writing there. I am embarrassed, but I told you I'd be transparent!

Not doing THAT again. See--I told you I'd blog about my failures. 75 page views in one day is fine, and if the article were "evergreen"--a topic that people will search forever--then it would be worthwhile. But it's breaking news and will be dead content, so it's not something I'll do in the future.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Making $10,000 per month at home or: How not to sound like a snake oil salesman

You read the banner ads and Google Adsense ads that scream "I made $5321 last month working part time!" and you just roll your eyes a thousand times because those ads are soooooooo fake.

Most of the companies behind those ads are trying to sell you an eBook or a "system" that costs anywhere from $20 to thousands of dollars to teach you how to make money online. And yet how do THEY make money? By selling people like you and me their system.

I've been writing for the web since 1997. The opportunity for *residual* income, also called passive income, has been available since then, but only for a few writers. For instance, The Mining Company was new in 1997--it is now About.com, and their "guides" make a flat fee plus revenue share--they earn a percentage of all advertising earned via their pages. That is passive or residual income.

Passive income means that you write an article once, but continue to earn money for it in the future. You may post an article on a website, for instance, and one month 1,000 people click on your article. They view the advertisements on the same page as your writing, and some might even click on some of the ads. The total number of click throughs (clicks on ads on your page) plus page views (the number of times people viewed the page) generates a certain amount of money--Google, or advertising networks determine that amount.

You then earn that amount. It might be, say, $4. You wrote the article *once*. But you get that advertising revenue, or passive income, every month. Forever. (Or until the company who hosts your writing goes under. More on that issue in the future).

So passive income means that you can stop writing, but still earn money. It's like book royalties--writers publish one manuscript, but earn money based on how many books they sell. They could sell 500 copies every year for 50 years, and in that 50th year, they're *still* earning passive income. Even if they haven't written a single word for 50 years.

About 3-4 years ago, passive income for the average writer came about via websites such as Associated Content. Critics call these sites "content mills," for the lack of editing and the ability for anyone (and I do mean *anyone*, regardless of skill or quality) to publish their writing. Other sites, such as eHow, Bukisa, Helium, Hubpages, Squidoo, and so forth, are open to anyone wishing to publish and earn passive income, while sites such as About.com, Suite101, and others are open only to those writers to apply and are accepted after review.

I take no position on whether these sites are good or bad for the writing industry or for writers in general. I just care whether they help me make passive income. Many inexperienced writers have used sites such as Associated Content and eHow to start a writing career, and gone on to much higher-paying, higher-exposure assignments. Other writers gain personal fulfillment from publishing their personal stories and poetry and calling themselves a "published writer," while making $1.50 a year on residuals.

Still other writers use the sites to gain exposure and make residual income. That's where I come in.

My goal is to generate $10,000 per month in residual income. It may take me 10 years to do this. It may take me 2 years. I have no idea how long it will take, but I do believe it *can* be done, and that it can be done by anyone with a decent writing style, an hour or so per day, and persistence.


My goal is to be transparent. If you want to join me on my journey, you will be able to replicate what I do, and to understand how I do it. This includes successes and FAILURES. I won't blog only about the good, but will warn you about the bad, and share my experience.

This isn't a get rich quick scheme. This isn't my life's work. This is just me, at home, in front of my Dell with a baby nursing on a Boppy in my lap (see? transparency) starting a new project that aims to be fun and, in the long run, lucrative.

So here is what you can expect from this project:

1. Daily updates. I'll publish at least 1 post every day detailing articles I published, where I published them, and my strategy.

2. Monthly updates on how much I am making, and where.

3. Details on *which* topics are generating the most income.

4. Discussions on which sites are, and aren't, worth using.

5. Guest posts (in the future) from people who follow this blog and who are trying the same strategies I blog about. I think that learning from other people is crucial.

I tend, in real life, to talk and analyze things to death. So, I'll end this post and go out and start writing.

My 8 lb, 1 ounce migraine

It wasn't a migraine. I was pregnant.

And in August I gave birth to my third son. So I'm now a work at home writer with three kids. I teach college part-time (about 5 courses per year). And I have come to a crossroads.

Working from home is great. And I'll still post job leads here. But I have a new venture I'll be rolling out tomorrow.

I want to make $10,000 per month in residual income from my writing. In September 2009 I made:

$22.60

So I have a long way to go. Come join me on my journey and check back tomorrow.