Wednesday, August 25, 2010

How to Write Your First Article for Suite

My last post made me think it might be helpful to talk about how to write your first article for Suite101.

Like I mentioned in the last post, the first time I tried to work with Suite, I couldn't get past the editor. I had picked a technical topic that I have a ton of first hand expertise in and even though I added citations, my citations were not good enough.

Since when was the US Government with an in text linked citation, not an acceptable source?

I couldn't figure out how to make it work for the editor and I thought, if this is how the editors are, I don't want to work with Suite.

So I left.

When I came back, I was more strategic in selecting the topic for my first article.

I avoided anything technical or legal or with lots of facts and details.

I avoided sections like Health, Science, Law, and Business that typically require a lot of citations and enforce higher journalistic standards.

I actually wrote about a product category and made a shopping guide based on customer reviews on the internet. Not much for an editor to get hung up on there, fact-wise. My sources were from Amazon and unless they were going to read 300 reviews like I did, there was no real way to make life difficult.

If I had to do it over, I would probably write a craft or recipe article. Those topics probably represent the lowest barrier to entry for a first article on Suite101 because they are personal and not really authoritative. (Although note that those sections have some formatting requirements.)

I would also be sure to visit the forums and get a feel for each of the section editors. Most editors post their own section guidelines in the forum and it is well worth your time to become familiar with their requirements above and beyond those of Suite101.

It's also good to pick a simple topic since you will spend a lot of time learning Suite101's format and article structure in your first post. Don't complicate things with a complicated topic.

Oh and for the love of God, avoid the en dash--don't use two hyphens, like I just did here. You will be burned in effigy if you do that. If you don't know how to make an en dash or have no idea what I'm talking about, just avoid using dashes. Parentheses work really well.

Lastly, be sure to run your first few articles through Copyscape as Suite does check for plagiarism and scrutinizes new writers particularly closely.

A Suite101 Rant: Editor Badassery

Okay, even though I made like $4-$5 yesterday on Suite I am still fuming a bit.

There are editors and there are editors. Most editors are fine. Others have delusions of working for the New York Times or fantasize about being a Grammar Stealth Ninja. In other words, they have a terminal case of editor badassery.

I wish there was medication for that.

This is actually my second time working with Suite. The first time, I couldn't get past the weirdo editor to publish my first article and I walked away. Who needed Suite when the eHow gravy train was still going full steam ahead? (Ha! Famous last words.)

So the second time around, I picked an 'easier' topic, one less likely to bog an editor down in details, facts or figures. Or their own opinions.

Because some editors confuse their own uninformed opinions with editing.

Anyway, the other day, I was lurking in the forums and ran across some posts by a particular editor who was in full blooming glory of editor badassery. Hmmm, I thought. I am not going to write in this editor's section. They are way too hardcore.

Well, guess what?

Editors at Suite don't stay in their little sections. If other areas have a lot of work, then topic editors who aren't buried, pitch in and help.

Next thing I know, the grammatical equivalent of Attila the Hun is slicing and dicing my articles. Not only flagging them, but completely disabling them, which is quite unusual for Suite.

Notice I said articles plural. It's almost like they are gunning for me. I mean, what are the odds of the same editor hitting my articles across multiple topic sections? Some of them weeks old even?

Now, in some cases, I agree with the (minor) edits, but, the thing is, there are also inappropriate edits mixed in there. Edits based on what they think about the topic, not based on what I'm actually writing. (Maybe they should go write their own article, you know?)

For example, say I write an article about 'How to Choose Between Cats and Dogs for a Pet' and the editor comes in with a 'what about ferrets?' comment. This is the kind of stuff I am dealing with. It's just not appropriate. Or helpful. Or productive.

So I am not happy. I am an experienced enough writer to know when an editor is just yanking me around because of their own agenda vs. me actually sucking enough to need an editor smackdown.

Flags I could maybe handle, but being disabled? Is not nice. And then to go after my other articles? Really not cool.

I hope this blitz fizzles out. In fact, I'm not going to add new content to Suite for a while just so this editor, hopefully, has time to forget I exist.

Stay tuned for some tips on writing your first Suite Article. Maybe I can spare you some pain.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

5 Back Links You Can Build Today

I freely admit I am not the best at back linking, but there are people who know even less than I do, so this post is for them.

Here are 5 back links you can take advantage of today.

1.Propeller. Last year when I used them, the site was too glitchy to use, but that seems to have improved.

2. Blogger. Start a topic blog. Make the topic broad enough to cover future articles. For example, 'Product Reviews' has a lot more flexibility than 'How to Buy a Kitchen Sink' which limits your ability to use the blog for anything else.

3.Tipsbase. is all about links. Post a blurb and a back link.

4.She Told Me is a social bookmarking site. I like it because links can be added quickly. Note, however, that the site will pull your account for inactivity so you're going to need to post something every couple of months.

5. Forums. Google forums for your topic by combining your keyword with forum (i.e. Kitchen Sink forums). Ideally, you want to find forums that cover broad areas in your topic so you can establish a long term presence for back links.

So in our example, search for 'kitchen forums' or 'remodeling forums.' Once you find a forum, add a link to your article in your signature and look for threads on your topic to participate in. In some forums, you may have to pay a small fee to be able to list links in your signature.

Note, none of these links are affiliate links.

P.S. I think I feel a Suite101 rant coming on...

Friday, August 20, 2010

$1 a Day

I am making $1 a day so far on Suite101 with just 20 articles. So yes, there is money to be made at Suite101.

It will be interesting to see what happens to earnings as my articles age, search engines find them, and my back linking takes effect.

If there are people making more than that with a similar body of work, they aren't posting on the forums. I am seeing a lot of posts from people who feel they aren't making enough money...with less than 5 articles.

Listen, folks, you have to do the work. Once the work is done, the money rolls in for years to come with little additional input. But if you are going to write 1 article and give up because you didn't instantly make $50, you are deluded about how this works.

Write until you hit 50 articles.

Take a deep breath and review earnings.

If earnings suck, your SEO probably sucks too. So fix it.

Then write 50 more.

Then move on to another site and do the same thing to diversify your income.

And keep adding articles to Suite.

That's it. The secret money making formula.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Killing Trolls and Backlink Score

Hey ya Mommas and Poppas. Grooviness, flowers and peace signs to you.

Yes, I am channeling hippies today. No, I don't now why either.

So there was some trolling last night on the wahm forums. Some guy who was doing so well writing for higher tier markets that he had the time to swoop down and lecture us lowly 'wimmin-folk' on how we could be doing so much better if we weren't lazy.

Yep, the troll called us lazy.

Well, here's a nice little tidbit that sums up why web content writing and passive revenue sites are good gigs.

I have a mere 100 articles on eHow. The last one I wrote was in February of this year. As of June, my earnings had already doubled over last year.

I am talking 4 figures here. As in thousands. of. dollars.

This is the beauty of passive revenue.

Unfortunately, the passive revenue market seems to be in flux now and I don't know if the business model will hold, which would be a huge bummer. For now, however, there's money to be made while I'm doing something else.

Dance while the band is still playing and all that.

This rocks. If I'm in the hospital, which I was earlier this year, I can still make money without worrying about deadlines or pleasing editors. If the baby is sick, I can give her my full attention. I can go on vacation and write it into a tax deduction. I can write about whatever topic I want. I can research and format as I wish.

I have no desire to garner a byline in more elite markets. Zero. I've done the 'writing is my passion' thing already. Have a few novels under my belt and have dealt with New York as well as agents (although I didn't end up selling a book, the editor flaked and quit their job which killed my book). I have published short fiction and hob-nobbed with big names in the writing world (who critiqued and mentored my work). I even started a very successful writing group that has yielded several published authors with multi-book deals.

And you know what? I'm over it! I. Don't. Care. At this stage in my life, I'm not about the glory, I'm about the money and there are a lot of pennies on the internet. If you get good at scooping them up, you can make bank.

Hey, more power to you if your dream is to write for the Big Boys and Girls. I'm not going to knock anyone for doing what makes them happy. But, it's not for me. Most magazines bore me to tears and the thought of writing the 50th annual Skin Cancer Warning Signs for Summer article (as if they haven't run a similar title every year since God was born) makes me contemplate suicide.

Not to mention book publishing is dying and is going to change so profoundly a lot of us won't recognize it anymore. So what's the point of chasing a book deal? May as well publish it myself (which I am hoping to do).

I don't want clients. I don't want hard editorial oversight (although some is okay). I just want to do my thing and make money. So far so good.

So there are my thoughts on all the 'elitists' running around so 'concerned' about those of us who don't aspire to be as 'successful' as them.

Here's a tip, go enjoy your success and stop trying to undermine ours. We don't care what you think and we don't need your approval either.

In other words, Suck It Troll.

In other news, squeeeeeeee, I got a good backlink on a niche site. Yay! Yay! Yay!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Am I the Only One Who Hates Social Media Back Links?


Backlinking today and it is sloooooow going.

Can't register with Mister Wong for some reason.

Propeller is super slow.

Xomba is giving me carpal tunnel with the clicky clicky.

Why did Google have to start counting social media??????? It's just more stuff to do with my limited time.

Okay rant over. Gotta get to work.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

What It Takes to Make Passive Income Now that Everything Has Changed

1. Write, write, write. In my opinion and experience, you need at least 100 articles per website. Try to increase length too, 600 words is the new 400 (but don't kill yourself to get one stinking article that's giving you a hard time up to 600 words. Leave it at 400 and move on.)

2.More of everything; content, more SEO, more back links, more words. 2009 was the last 'easy' year for passive revenue, in my opinion. 2010 is the year that the bad economy hit the internet and companies like eHow shut down their programs. You'll have to hit it harder to do well in today's net economy.

3.Work with several passive revenue websites. Don't put all your eggs in one basket.

4.Figure out what you are doing wrong. If you aren't making any money and if your passive income isn't growing, you are doing something wrong. Take a class, read a book, lurk on message boards, ask for help--whatever, but you need to put the effort into tweaking your strategy so that passive revenue works for you.

For me, I often compare myself to complainers in forums. If established people or newbies aren't making money,but I am, I consider myself to be doing okay--in conjunction with my income going up too.

5.Don't count on anything. The net lifecycle is short. Websites come and go. I no longer believe that you can earn on articles or one website forever--even if you run your own site. Sooner or later Google will make a change that will bury you. It happens. I see lots of 'old timers' giving up as their revenue plummets instead of realizing the business landscape has shifted under their feet and that they need to revamp, renew and rework.

You can't count on writing an article once and making money forever. Not anymore.

6.Rework old articles to extend their net life. Improve the SEO. Give them more back links. Make your older stuff work for you somehow. Be creative about it.

7.Don't expect much. Passive revenue is all about hitting critical mass which takes time. Gone are the eHow days of instant earnings, we are in the new era of 'slow and steady wins the race.' Content may take months and months to mature. My Hubpages that earn income have taken a year to show a profit (although I don't promote them so maybe I could've shortened that timeline a bit).

8.Don't buy a bunch of gimmicks and expensive gear. I see a lot of people trying to sell various 'make money online' products when I know they themselves are not successful. They're selling a product of dubious quality, not their personal experience and expertise.

9.Start blogging to create back links. This is a good way to immediately give your content a boost. There are many free platforms. Start several blogs in your topic areas, update as you wish and use them for backlinks. So long as you post unique content every once in a while, the blog will eventually rank as a good do follow back link. Much easier than writing a bunch of ezine articles. Plus, if one of the blogs gets good traffic, you can monetize it.

10. Get into social media. Google now gives weight to social media back links. So get people talking about your work. Start with Twitter and Facebook and branch out from there. However, be careful not to let social media become a time suck.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Earnings for July 2010 & Making eHow Work For Me (For Once!)

Before I forget...

-eHow: $300 and change. Up about $100 from the last month. Nice.

-Amazon: Still less than $50

-Adsense: More than $20 but not by much. Most of this is Infobarrel, particularly one article that seems to be doing well.

-Suite: Roughly $20 for the month, but actual income was more like $40 since they paid me for accrued earnings from previous months as well.

-Online used book sales: This is a new thing I've been experimenting with. Not sure I'll stick with it, but I did make $200 in used book sales.

My laptop is dying--it was a lemon from day one, the power jack has had constant problems. Replaced it once, it's dying again. New laptop comes in next week! Thank goodness!

So, quickly because my battery is dying and I can't get the power cord to work at the moment...

I am pruning my backlinks today. I even went into my eHow stuff and added links to new articles. So long as I hit the save button, the article doesn't run back through the plagiarism filter. eHow is not an 'official' back link, but it does drive traffic and a lot of my eHow articles get great traffic.

Just thought I would mention that in case any one is trying to get some traffic to new articles since the eHow WCP closed.