Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Working Around Obstacles

So, today I managed 3 articles (1 Examiner, 2 old drafts of Suite101 articles I wanted to finish).  I also managed kids, a tree nearly falling on our house, a call to the tree guy, a mess at the mall (too complicated to explain), a small river in our garage, a few leaks in the basement, a sudden declutter project in the basement because of the leaks - and I wonder how I got 3 articles done!

It's days like this when I really value the residual income writing and am thankful for the flexibility it brings.  It didn't hurt to earn $12.77 from Suite for yesterday's work, either!  :)

Monday, March 29, 2010

Using Google Trends to Pick Topics

Over the weekend I tried a new little strategy: looking at Google Trends to find rising topics.

I wound up writing two articles, one on NYS Unemployment Insurance and the other on Honey Baked Ham.  Both were fairly straightforward and easy to write, and the Honey Baked Ham article is now at nearly 50 page views.  The NYS UI article is in the 20s.  Nothing glamorous but an interesting result.

I don't want to chase trendy trends, but these two seem to be evergreen.  The Honeybaked Ham article is good for Christmas and Easter ongoing, so it will die out and revive again in late November.  NYS unemployment? It's ongoing, sadly, and should be a plugger article, getting 7-10 per day.

Using eHow to Test Keywords

Anyone ever use eHow to test out a keyword?

Basically play off eHow vs. Suite101?  What if you put up a lot (say, 100) eHow articles that were quick and simple, using various keywords you researched.  Let them simmer for 3 months or so.

Then, examine which eHow articles made you money.  Turn around and write Suite101 articles (much more fleshed out).

eHow tells you which articles make you money.  S101 tells you which keyword phrases people use to get to your topics.  Wouldn't using both like this make for good strategy?

Suite101, then Examiner, then eHow: Creating Link Webs for Efficiency and Money

So here's my new plan:

1. Write an article on Suite101 on a gluten free topic.  3 out of 5 of us in my family are gluten free, and it's a decent keyword (in the $.80-$1 CPC range) on a topic I can write about in my sleep.  Celiac info, GF menus at various restaurants, product reviews, adapting regular food to GF recipes - you name it.

2. Write a short article on Examiner and link to my S101 article.  The topic would be relevant.  I'll also make it local (i.e. where to buy X product locally) and get the $1 local incentive bonus Examiner gives.

3. Write an eHow How to on the same topic, and link to my S101 and Examiner articles in the eHow article.

Now, there are plenty of other ways to do this, and various article webs you can make.  I could add in an article for Blissfully Domestic, for Associated Content, do blurbs on RedGage and Xomba, etc.

We have to begin somewhere, and we also have to stop somewhere, for the loop could go on and on and we can find ourselves not producing new content.

For now, this will help my writing, I hope.  I plan to give this a month or so (20 or so articles for S101 on GF issues) and if revenue continues to rise at the current rate of increase or better, then I'll keep it up.

I'm now at $527.45 on Suite since October 26, and I'm still getting that $2.50/article/month for March.  My month probably won't double (I have 3 more days of revenue and need to reach $237 for that to happen - I'm at $207 and change).  But nearly doubling is still awesome, and I hope taking link webs seriously will make a difference.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

How to file a Copyright Complaint with Google When Your Articles Are Stolen

I have become more conscious of article scrapers and outright copyright thieves lately.

I'll write more on this later, but in the past 24 hours I've contacted one site and they removed my post (a post from this blog, no less!) and had a very popular Associated Content article, Get Rid of Student Loan Debt, copied in full nearly a year ago!  I tried to go to WhoIs to get the email for the site.  No luck.  Googled to find an email address for the owner.  No luck.

So I had to resort to filing a DCMA complaint with Google directly via this link: DCMA Complaint Form

I hate to do it that way.  As much as I dislike having my copyrighted work stolen, I do prefer to email the site owner directly and give them 24 hours to remove it.  A successful DCMA complaint could lead to the site owner losing his/her entire Google AdSense account.

Which means the site owner is STUPID, STUPID for intentionally not leaving a "Contact Us" form or email on his/her site, because if their Google AdSense account is shut down they shot themselves in the foot.  But that's their problem.  Not mine.

Don't steal my writing. I don't like it, and I'll defend my business by following the law.

Crossed the $500 threshold in under 5 months on Suite 101!

So I did it yesterday, one day shy of my 5 month anniversary at Suite101.

YAY!  I'm taking a break for another few days from writing for Suite to focus on optimizing what I already have, and checking out some different bookmarking options (RedGage, Squidoo, and Xomba come to mind -  mostly curious and investigating if they're worth it).

My next goal is to crack $1000 over the next 6 weeks.  Let's see if I can do it!  Hold me accountable - that's May 9, 2010.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Image File Names Need to be SEOd

I learn something new every day.  And thank goodness, because if I didn't I'd be dead, right?  I learn, therefore I am (yes, I know that's not what Descartes said, but whatever...).

So image file names need to be keyword phrases!  It makes a difference in Google SERPs!  Who knew (I didn't).

I name my files based on the article I use them in, or what they are.  Pictures of money are Money 1.jpg, Money 2.jpg, and so on.

But now I see that if I am writing an article on Mass Save Great Appliance Exchange - Rebates and two of my keywords are appliance rebate, cash for clunkers, the money pictures should be appliance rebate.jpg and cash for clunkers.jpg

Oh.my.god.  That's so simple and so obvious.  But now I have 101 articles and at least 350 images total to rename and reload.  AUUUUGGGGHHHH.  I guess I know what the next week looks like.  Hmmm, maybe I can find an 11 year old boy around here somewhere who will do this for me for Wii points or something...

Become a Featured Contributor for Associated Content for $10 upfronts

Associated Content has a Featured Contributor program now, where people who are "experts" in certain topics can be named Featured Contributors. (Expert is used loosely - just go ahead and apply if you have 5 or more articles in a topic). The benefit of the program is that you receive 3 assignments per month with an upfront of $8-$10 (plus page view bonus). 

Associated Content Featured Contributor Program

This is my first month as a Featured Education Writer.  The application was simple and the 3 assignments appeared on my account page.  You have to claim them, just like any other assignment on your account Assignment Desk.  Mine were due at the end of the month - I already submitted them and am waiting for approval.

The articles must be Exclusive license, and need to be in an area of your expertise.  You have to make sure they're on a topic or an angle that hasn't been done before on AC.

$10 Upfront at Associated Content

AC writers are allowed to be a Featured Contributor in up to 3 topics, which means you could get 9 assignments per month with a $10 upfront.  AC articles are very easy for me to write (15 minutes) so this would be worth 2.5 hours or so per month to make a quick $90 and help me get toward Clout 10.

I plan only to write these articles, and no others now.  I'm 84% to Clout 10 and once I reach it I'll just write these quick $10 articles.  I get about 15,000 - 20,000 PV per month on AC, and at $2/1000 (Clout 10) that's going to be $30-$40 per month.

By contrast, I currently make $12/1000 at Suite101.  Let's think about that one - that computes out to $180-$240 per month for the same page views.  Ouch.

Apply here: Associated Content Featured Writer Application

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Find Page Rank for Any Site

I love this page rank finder.  Now, when I'm debating how to place a backlink to an article I can easily figure out if it's worth it.  Backlinks help drive up SERPs for articles, and while I don't chase backlinks like some people do, it's helpful to know for some sites.

(Geeking out about little things like this makes life fun!)

So I am kicking myself and out $250

Well, not really.  It's more like I could have had $250 that I now don't have.

Last October our dishwasher died.  We handwashed dishes for 2 + months (including handwashing and boiling baby bottles!) because I kept hearing the "cash for clunkers" program for appliances was coming soon, and there would be a few hundred in rebates for a dishwasher.

We waited and waited - it was supposed to start Dec. 1.  We finally gave in right after the start of the new year and bought a lovely, expensive! new dishwasher.

And now?  NOW? Look what I just wrote about: Mass Save Great Appliance Exchange.

$250 is, like 25 years of AdSense income!  AUGH!

Anyhow - hope my handful of readers can benefit from these programs.  Off to sulk and write...

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

My 100th Suite101 Article!

Hooray! Free Diapers - Freebies, Samples and Coupons.  Is it an inspired topic? No.  Is it original? No.  Does it boost me over the final bonus (10%) for revenue on Suite? Yes.  Does it help readers and draw in good Google ads? Yes.

And so it shall be.  I have reached 100 by writing 5 (five!) articles today, and I am off to relax (well, off to see how damaged and filthy my house is after ignoring it to write 5 articles today [6 if you count my Examiner article]).

Writing for Blissfully Domestic

So I just started a new, very low-intensity (1+ articles per month) gig at Blissfully Domestic.  My first article on deducting private school tuition went live last week.

Writing for Blissfully Domestic

Blissfully Domestic has a new Editor in Chief, Angela England, who is also the Feature Writer for Plants and Bulbs at Suite101 and like many writermoms wears many, many other hats (among them the founder of The Untrained Housewife).  It's through a post by her on the Suite101 forums that I came to write for Blissfully Domestic.

Blissfully Domestic doesn't pay upfront, but instead allows the writer to get 99% of the ad revenue for one block of Google ads.  I had to create a special code in Google AdSense (I already had an account) and email it to BD, where it's inserted into my articles.

Writers Paid Via Google AdSense

Unlike the Suite101 model, where the site is so large they have a separate contract with Google and parse out the revenue for each writer through some magic that involves sacrificing a goat and burning belladonna in an enclosed tipi while typing for Twitter, I manage my own revenue via my separate AdSense account.

I can see all the stats - page views, the CTR (click through rate), and so forth.  Once I reach $100 I get a payout from AdSense.  I've been stuck around $20-24 for over a year now, making pennies/month from this blog, so it would be nice to hit the $100 mark in, oh, 2014 or something.

Why Write on Business and Finance?

I went for that topic, frankly, because the ads tend to pay off more than other topics.  My focus on Suite 101 is History books, on Associated Content it's education - so why not diversify?

Click to learn about writing for Blissfully Domestic.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Better than a Nobel or Pulitzer. Well, almost.

So my Douche With Lysol article at Suite101, detailing the Lysol advertising campaigns of the 1920s-1960s that encouraged women to douche with cleaning solution, has been linked by someone at Fat Bob's Biker Bar's forum.

I love the Internet. 

And in other news - I'm making mad loot!  Mad loot I say! at Suite101 in March thus far.$44.52 for the first 7 days of March - which puts me on track to double my Suite earnings this month.  I'm adding 1-2 articles per day and have some new SEOtweak stuff going on, which so far is working nicely.

Now it's all about volume, quality, and CRO (conversion rate optimization).  More on that later.