Thursday, July 30, 2009


#1 baby! Several times over. In less than a month. Yup. One of my niches is now ranked, highly, by Google and I will probably have somewhere around a $10 adsense day today. Maybe. We'll see. Because adsense is nothing if not unpredictable.

But, yeah, baby. #1!

I also had a $7 update from ehow. I'm getting there.

Happy dance.

Happy dance.

Joy. Joy. Joy.

I'm a little excited.

As for Demand Studios, I see their writer scorecard is live and I'm now completely demotivated. Even though my rating is above average, I still don't feel it reflects the quality I give them (and note the writing quality here on this blog is NOT stellar and I don't claim it is so please don't think it's representative of my professional writing--this is my brainstorm and blow off steam blog. It's not meant to be pretty.).

For me, until they make it so we can rate the CE's back or at least dialogue with them when they are unreasonable instead of having to walk away or risk outright rejection (which counts against you and can cause you to be terminated so lots of people just walk away), I'm going to be peeved.

Still, I need to put on my big girl panties and just write for them. I need the income because niche blogging isn't going to meet my income needs for a while.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009


First, Julie has a nice article about writing related posts on ehow that ehow writers will find helpful.

Things are chugging along with my niche blogging effort. I have made a little money from Infobarrel this week, which is amazing since I don't think I have even 10 articles up. But I'm working on it.

This week, I plan to start some hubs on hubpages as well.

The only thing is, I've been sort of pooped lately and feeling low on energy. I need a good kick in the pants.

I also dipped my toe into outsourcing content and was NOT impressed. Terrible writing and no research and I was paying $10 for 400-500 words, which is less than writers deserve, but more than most of them get. (I know because I've been there, done that!) It doesn't help that I outsourced content for areas where I have expertise so I can really spot the lack of research. I don't know if I'll try to outsource content again. At least not until I can pay enough to get a good writer.

Friday, July 24, 2009


1. I am so beyond ticked that I wrote such a better article on a topic and the editors of the website (that shall remain nameless, but I'm sure you can guess) picked a crappy article on the same topic for the homepage. It doesn't even conform to the site's format standards!!!! I am SO annoyed. It further confirms my suspicions that there is a serious flaw in the business model on that website and affirms my decision to control my own content as much as possible.

I can see a crappy article being on the homepage, that can happen to any site, but to highlight content in violation of the site's guidelines? After they've pissed off their contributors by deleting content with the same format violations with no warning? Nuh-uh. Something is wrong, wrong, wrong with their business model and I think it hurts their credibility. I question how long that kind of stupidity is sustainable for both site owners and users.

2. I have made some money on my Amazon affiliate links. Less than $5, but I'm amazed because I would've never predicted the traffic source for that income. People are buying (small) appliances based on something I wrote, which just makes me smile. I was trying to be helpful and it appears I was successful.

3. Adsense is rocking! I have a 5% click through rate already and the site is only a month old and has only had adsense for 1 1/2 weeks. I did monetize it right away (which is a huge no-no) but only because the topic is so time sensitive with an expiration date in just a few months. I don't rank really well yet on Google, however, I have an ad revenue article that is in the top 10 results, which has been driving traffic to the niche site. This topic is HOT and all over the news so tons of people are looking for information.

4. My ad revenue earnings are chugging along. I will definitely, overall, make $100 this month. Or more. There's still a week left.

Okay, now I've got to get cracking!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009


I am a woman obsessed. I have never been known to have OCD tendencies...until now.

Now I refresh and refresh all my earnings pages. Ehow. Infobarrel. Adsense. Statcounter. It's like a tic and I can't stop. I'm afraid google is going to ban me from Adsense for refreshing the earnings screen too much.

Other than the need for some good psychotherapy and medication, I am chugging along. I've picked topics that I have some expertise in and have been building content.  I guess it pays to be insatiably curious and to have good retention of obscure minutia. Believe it or not, I was a Fortune 500 manager and a massage therapist and a writer and a baker. All at the same time. I was made to be a nice blogger, I guess.

We have even had some ad clicks. So exciting.

And that is all. Just learning, learning, learning and writing, writing, writing.

Sunday, July 19, 2009


I am psyched to report I've made a little bit of money on my 2 niche blogs. It's less than $5 but it's still something.  I am going gangbusters on ehow as well and am holding my breath as I wait to see if I'll make it to $100 this month--and I haven't written anything since the beginning of the month.

Partly because we've been traveling, the baby has stopped sleeping (ugh!), and I think I'm catching a cold.

Here are some interesting links on niche blogging and making money with blogs:

Blogging tough way to make money - but here's how-- I actually disagree with this article. The monetary rule-of-thumb seems to be outdated. Fifty cents per 1000 hits? I don't think so--I'm doing better than that and I don't even have 1000 hits yet. Still it was an interesting, if outdated, read.

How to Make Money from your Blog -- A nice overview of what it takes to be a niche blogger.

How to Build a High Traffic Blog -- Another nice overview from someone who is an expert.

Happy niche blog reading!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009


I have my first rainmaker, one article that is raking in the dough over at ehow. I've had $10 earning jumps in one day and have around $40 in earnings so far for July. Which is a huge jump.

On the one hand, it's exciting to have a money maker finally.

On the other hand, it's depressing because I have 40 some odd articles that are earning pennies dimes. And that's on a good day!

Plus, my rainmaker has an expiration date. The topic will go belly up in the Fall because that's when the program I wrote about ends. So another bummer, this is just a temporary blip.

I need to write a lot of articles to make up the income gap, which does not sound like fun at all. Blech.

On the niche front, I wrote some articles to build backlinks to my niches and am still waiting for them to go live. The approval process is taking forever. In fact, I just got back from a 2000 mile road trip and the articles (just 500 words each) are still in the editorial queue. Hard to imagine that I can drive faster than someone can review a 500 word article!?!?!

Monday, July 6, 2009


Someone recently said to me that niche bloggers fall into 2 different camps; those who can write but don’t know much about internet marketing (that would be me!) and those who know internet marketing, but can’t write.

Because of the amount of content required to be a successful niche blogger, many niche bloggers outsource content. Or, if they are strapped for cash (or have been burned a few times by bad writing), they try to write everything themselves.

Which is hard to do, especially if you don’t have any writing experience.  So I thought I would share some thoughts on how to approach the craft of writing online content based on my background as an experienced fiction writer and writing web content for Demand Studios, private clients, and eHow.

1.    Use subtitles to break text into sections. Subtitles also are a great opportunity to use alternate keywords for SEO purposes. They also help readers skim the article and find the information they are looking for.

2.    Keep paragraphs short.  Big chunks of text turn readers off. Aim for 75 word paragraphs.

3.    Avoid word repetition as it reads flat and loses the reader’s interest.

4.    Use actionable verbs as much as possible. Notice how all my advice starts with a verb, do the same whenever it makes sense.

5.    Write as if you are explaining something to a friend. This helps keep your ‘voice’ natural and engaging.

6.    Use lists and bullet points to make important information stand out.

7.    Stay on message and don’t meander.  I always suspect meandering when I have a piece full of big, long paragraphs. Anytime you write content that involves a story or anecdote, be on the look out for meandering as well.

8.    Don’t panic if the words aren’t flowing. That’s what editing is for.  At first, just write and then edit your writing into quality content. 

9.    Be interesting. Juxtapose divergent concepts. Make a short joke (emphasis on short). Use a play on words here and there. This keeps things lively and entices a reader to keep reading.

10.    Be useful. Good content says something helpful or interesting.

11.    Cite your sources to build authority and credibility. Readers are more likely to trust you if they feel you’ve researched your topic.

12.    Check for logical flow. I think peacocks are beautiful...would be an example of poor logical flow.  Be sure each paragraph introduces an idea, supports an idea, and offers a conclusion on the idea without diverging into peacocks.  (Although I really do like peacocks, especially the feathers, but I digress!)

13. Sometimes, writers create these beautiful orphans, sentences that just don’t fit anywhere, or they have essential information that really needs its own paragraph, but doesn’t have enough data to support expansion.  These orphans must die. I usually cut them and paste them at the end of the document so that if I find a way to work them in, I can do so.

14. Write with ad clicks in mind. Meaning, the goal isn't just to be informative, it's to get the reader thinking they need to learn more, which, in my experience, makes them more likely to click an ad.

And that's it. Everything I think I know about writing web content for niche blogs. How do you do it?

Thursday, July 2, 2009


There's been an uproar over the second round of article deletions at eHow. In case you weren't around for the first wave, eHow has been deleting content that doesn't meet either their standards or terms of service. Fair enough, however, writers have been complaining that high earners are being deleted and pointing out that eHow benefits financially from removing competition for their wholly owned content (i.e. articles they paid for from the Demand Studios side of their business).

Willow Sidhe has written a thoughtful post on the topic and I responded with a lengthy comment which I'm reproducing here:

I think this is well put BUT Ehow does have a financial incentive to discriminate in favor of their wholly owned content.

Remember, they can see the comparative stats and we can't. It has to occur to them if they eliminate the competition they can increase their earnings. What they do with that information, I don't know. Ethically they should ignore it, but greed does strange things to corporations.

I agree with you that many of the articles people are sharing have problems that justify their deletion. But we haven't seen all the articles and it is a strange business model that deletes moneymakers. You would think they would at least give writers a shot at editing because that benefits everyone.

Personally, in my opinion something doesn't smell right here. Ehow needs to be more transparent because this is affecting their credibility. Right now, I'm assuming they are acting in good faith and have just royally botched the writer relations side of things.

Then again, having worked in Corporate America, that kind of massive customer relations fail is often indicative of management quality and thought process. When I go down that thought path, I am disturbed to realize they could care less about their contributors. That's not good.

If Ehow continues to do arbitrary things that piss off writers, that would be a strong signal of a deeper problem.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009


So my eHow earnings so far:

1st 2 weeks: $3.69

1st full month: $13  @ 4 times previous earnings

2nd full month $25 roughly double the previous month and @ 8 times earnings my first 2 weeks so the growth has been exponential.

1 contest win: $100

Total eHow earnings for 2.5 months: @$140 or 1.5 months worth of diapers.

The goal is to reliably pull in $100 a month from eHow and I think I'm on track to meet that goal. I'd like to get to where I don't have to work quite so frantically to get content up.

As for Demand Studios, they show I made $337.

So in all, very close to my goal of $100 a week.