InfoBarrel is yet another site which offers writers a way to make passive income or residue income online. Its a site where you post your content and then you make money based on a percentage of the advertising revenue. Authors are free to write on almost any topic, there is no up-front payment for writers and no editorial control over content submitted to Infobarrel.
Short version – be careful! I use sites such as HubPages as a way to create content on a different IP and to provide free backlinks to my own sites. To honest I started with HubPages because I liked the community and now I stay because I liked the community, and because I can get free backlinks to my own sites – I think HubPages is OK with it – they make money from (some) of my hubs and I contribute to their community.
I still am not terribly convinced by twitter – but I still get do-follow backlinks from my twitwall – so why not? I also find it quite a good place to keep all my actual legit blogs linked to in one place – there are one or two deluded souls (usually related to me who) who ask me what I do all day playing online so I can point them in that direction.
Many people dream of making passive income online or starting their own online small business, probably home based, how to make money online they ask?
Let’s face it there are an awful lot of us who dream of firing the boss and working in their PJ’s. Few succeed though the figures often quoted is that between 95% and 99% of people who start a blog or website fail to make any money doing it.
I guess that’s why some people are looking for the “business in the box solution”. The follow this plan and all will be well. After all most of us who are trying to make money on-line are doing it after spending years as good little employees. You know do what the boss tells you what to do, when to do it by, and then praises you for getting it done correctly – or not.
Business isn’t like that. On-line busines is different from real world business – but not as much as many people believe.
Why Do Small Businesses Fail?
Apart from cash flow issues, most small businesses fail because they can’t get enough customers. There is no demand for their service or product. Think of the local lady who makes beautiful handicrafts, but no one buys. Think of the coffee shop that makes great coffee – but is 1/2 empty because its tucked away in an uninviting backstreet. Or the geek who can fix your computer just like that – but doesn’t know how to explain to potential customers what he can do.
Now consider the on-line business version of these businesses:
♦the blogger who blogs about their passion for Ancient Roman Gladiators sports – they have a beautiful blog, with lots of great information and pretty pictures: but no one wants to buy anything there because they cam looking for information which they got in spades on the site;
♦the site which provides great baby gear at the right price – but no one can find the site because the site is called “Kute Kiddies Kool”, all the links to the site are by its name – and people who search search for “cheap baby clothes online” or “cheap organic cotton baby clothes”
♦the site which is developed by a design specialist – its full of cute visual effects and great graphics – but the search engine doesn’t know that the site is offering computer setup support in the Bay Area because Google can’t read flash or images.
Luckily on-line its very easy to work out whether you will have customer for your site or not – we call them searchers.
Simple Steps to Make Your On-line Business Work
Decide whether or not you are in business. If you just want to make a few dollars from a blog – then you are not in business, you have a hobby.
Work out which business model works for you: provide services (writing, technical, whatever) to others, develop sites which bring you in passive income, or use your on-line business to support, funnel visitors to your real-world business.
Focus your website on keywords which a) get traffic and b) are buying keywords – terms people search for when they are looking to buy something not just for information.
Check that there is not too much competition for your search terms: either use free tools or something like Market Samurai
Decide on your method of monetization: either funnelling traffic to your real world business or getting paid by eBay or Amazon affiliates, other affiliates, promoting an e-book, promoting your own services or Adsense.
Build a website which focuses on your chosen keywords: whether you use WordPress, handcode html, use MyStarterBlog or Dreamweaver – doesn’t matter – just do it -its the easiest part of the process. Make sure you on-page SEO focuses on your keywords i.e. get the keyword in your title, sub-headings and content.
Get your site ranked in the search engines: get it ranked for your keywords by getting backlinks which anchor that term. Get backlinks from article marketing and supporting sites like today, hubpages and squidoo. Submit articles to ezine articles.
Rinse and repeat.
So I have a question for you guys: what bit is so hard and scary that you can’t get started? Which bit makes people search for the simple, one process fits all, turn key system. This is being in business people; its scary, there is no one-size fits all that will work for everyone – otherwise no business would be able to hire an employee.
Getting paid to blog seems to be every writer’s dream and the dream of many who just want to make, what they think is a little passive income online.
To be honest making anything more than a few cents with most programs is as likely as just losing a few kilos in your sleep or just getting fit my meditation – it ain’t gonna happen people!
So sorry if you are looking to make $100/day blogging with no experience and not much effort – that money tree doesn’t exist!
That said I do directly get paid to blog over at today.com both my blogs: Australia News and Travel Over 30s are still paid – the huge sum of $1/post (usually I’ll get to that) plus $2/1000 views. I’ve stopped directly promoting their ad on this blog though because they tightened up the criteria for payment so I figured most people wouldn’t actually get paid to blog there – let me explain.
When I joined in Nov 2008 I got paid $1 from day one and I could have 2 blogs from day one: so by the end of the first month I could earn $60 and get paid out – their minimum payout is $50.
Then they restricted the second blog to people who had a track record of 30 days with their first blog.
Then the changed the program so you didn’t get the $1/post for the first 30 days but you might be reviewed and promoted to the ppp program after 30 days, you did however get the traffic payments.
Then come early January they denied for payment my posts which were obviously self-promotional i.e. linked to my own hubpages, other sites I wrote for etc. Again I still get the traffic bonus for them but I didn’t actually get paid for backlinks anymore!
At the same time they dropped a lot of people from the $1/day program – there was lots of angst about this in the forum – but this had always been a possiblity if you read their Terms of Service.
So today.com will probably not pay the average newbie blogger anything but pennies – and they probably won’t make the $50 payout. Why do I say that – the answer is in the traffic stats and the “hot list” which tells you for each blog at today you have where you sit in relation to the top 10. This makes for some interesting reading.
My australia blog has done quite well getting traffic from those downunder worried about when/if they will get the cash the Federal government is handing out. At one point I was averaging 300 views/day – that put me at #34 out of all today blogs. Good ?
Not really the figures for the top 10 at the same time was
#10 position 602 views – ie double what position 34 was getting
#3 position 1390 views – double again
#1 position 4534 views – double again
To be honest I don’t think a blog about Australia would ever make those figures – the top 10 positions are usually dominated by entertainment, celebs and fandom type blogs.
On the other side I appear to have readers and fans for my travel blog – but I haven’t done any good getting it ranked for the search engine traffic, except for the photos – they bring me more searchers than the words 🙁 I bounce around 50-70 uniques a day and at the high end of the range sit at position 200 or so out of all today blogs. I suspect I am only just hanging onto the payment for this one!
The point is that I am in the top 200 which means thousands and thousands of blogs don’t even have 50 visitors a day – at 50 visitors you are earning 10cents/day for the traffic. Sorry but I don’t know anywhere in the world where you are likely to have reliable Internet that will make that profitable.
Which is not to say that today.com is not worth it for me – because Google love’s the site and my blogs get indexed within hours,sometimes less. I have PR all over the place too! (Trick if you want to know what sort of authority a site has: put a google alert on some unique text in the post – I normally use my name – and note how long it takes to show up as an alert!). So yes I don’t get paid for my obvious backlinks anyone more – but they are nice backlinks 🙂
DISCLAIMER: the links to today.com in this post are affiliate links and I will get paid $5 if you sign up and post 10 approved posts within 3 months. If you want to deny me my beer money – that’s cool -strip the affiliate code from the link – am I going to tell you how to this – no 🙂
Guys – this is a neat new tool to create websites really easily, from a cool guy Steve McGrath over at McGrath Info Solutions.
MyStarterBlog is an easy way to create a blog without all the overhead of WordPress – no database required!
MyStarterBlog is a cool little program which allows you to upload a complete website – including content (which you have to provide of course) in one file. There is no database involved. There are a couple of advantages to this.
It takes very little bandwidth or other resources from your host – it will run a lot faster than the equivalent site running WordPress or blogger.
Although there is a comment facility (via email) – and most visitors will think the site is a blog (check out the example MyStarterBlog site here), its not a blog in the sense of spammers looking for a place to put their viagra ads in your comments!
Runs out of the box with some themes pre-packaged but you can buy more themes or adapt whats available if you are prepared to hack some php.
You don’t have to update your blog/theme/ widgets every time you login just to make a 5 minute post!
You are less likely to get hacked because hackers target WordPress’s known security flaws – meaning that you have to keep upgrading (see 4. above!)
If you ever need to move host – you just reload the site – one file – DONE! If you have ever tried moving a WordPress blog between sites you will understand that this approximately a a zillion steps less!
You only have one small file to upload – around 300k, rather than the 4MB or so that most WordPress installs involve.
Will It Cost Me? Yes and No
There is a free version which has the following restrictions:
Only supports one blog
Links on pages are no-followed
Download it had have a play -a the end of the day – if you hate – you have spent – nothing!
If you upgrade to the registered version – currently $17 now $7 – can’t beat that price!, then you have:
Unlimited blog support
Ablity to import posts from text files
Ability to import from existing WordPress blogs (using the XML export format)
If you like product then write a post about it on your blog within 15 days of your first purchase. Email Steve with your details and he will refund $10 to your PayPal or AlertPay account. You don’t need to do the review anymore the software will cost you $7 – that’s not free – but its bloody close to!
And that includes free upgrades for life to!
Bottom Line: Do I Recommend MyStarterBlog
Yes I do if you have specialist blogs that you don’t update so often I think its ideal – because frankly for most blogs WordPress is waaaay over the top.
It would also be idea for a beginner blogger – you don’t have to learn about widgets/themes/upgrades etc etc
I recommend it to because you can try it before you buy – and I like that in software.
What You Will Need to Use MyStarterBlog
You will need hosting, a domain name, an ftp program (to upload your files). See my recommendations for these and other software here on my Software I Use page
I’m going to get my $10 for this post – but you don’t have to write a postive post to get that $10 – Steve just wants to get the buzz going on a new product, so rather than an affiliate program which bumps the price of the software up he has come up with this innovative approach. This is a limited time offer – so give it a go and if you want to get MyStarterBlog for $7 rather than $17 – do it now rather than later!
I tried to find something not to like about this product – but honestly I can’t. I am not a developer myself but I’ve worked with programmers for many years in my real world job and I know how much work goes into creating a cool little tool like this! For the price, even $17 – its a steal.
It may not work for your business so try the free version and see if you have a use before paying.
I haven’t been convinced yet of the value of Twitter for building my passive income online business. I have however just found a twitter ap which may be about to change all that.
I only started using Twitter to follow Vic @ Bloggerunleashed random live chats – he twits before a chat. A couple of months ago I started following people I knew from other forums or whose blogs I liked. I still wasn’t that impressed.
Twitter For Breaking News
Then I started doing some trends blogging with my Australia News blog. Then I found a use for twitter – I knew about the airplane that ditched in the Hudson about 3 minutes after it happened – it was a tweet. I saw a tweet about a $100k job to work on a Queensland Island job The first post I wrote on the subject got 200 visitors in one day. The job applications don’t close until the end of February so I am expecting long-tail traffic on this one for some time.
So twitter stayed -as an information source – but I still didn’t like it for promotion – I just don’t get that much traffic from tweets and I and the links to them on my Twitter Profile were NOT do-follow, and I am the only one who actually like to read the url before I click it rather than just like a junky shortened url?
TwitWall is the answer to my problem with twitter – the limit of 140 characters. I find it way too limiting – and yes I hate SMS on cellphones to, call me luddite if you want 🙂
So I get to talk more on TwitWall
I get to include anchored links which are DO-FOLLOW.
I get to add photos which can be useful for a bit of traffic too.
The downside – people – who click my tweet will go to the twitwall and will need to click again to actually come to my blog – so they may not come!
At the moment I am using a combination of twitwall and normal tweets.
OK I have been doing some Web2.0 stuff over the last few weeks and have looking for sources of backlinks which will a) work for the search engines i.e. give me a do-follow backlink and b) might even get you some focused traffic. Getting my sites to the point their earn me passive income is all about increasing my backlinks
I don’t know if you count Entrecard as 2.0 as really its just a fancy banner exchange which as been around forever (ie like 10 years – a LONG time on the Internet).
I never took much notice of Entrecard but people over at the Today forums were singing its praises so I signed up (free) and installed it on my Travel Over 30s blog. And I dropped my entrecards – almost always on relevant blogs in the travel and expat sector. You can drop a maximum of 300 cards a day – with a little distraction – ie. actually reading some of the blogs this can take several hours – most of the blogs have every widge under the sun and take FOREVER to load.
And sure enough the traffic came – maybe 50% of people I dropped on dropped back within the next day or so – to be honest this was better than I had thought. I got a bit of traffic from them.
Then I stopped dropping – and my after a day or so my Entrecard traffic went down to a handful a day. Which again was to be expected. This was not passive income – if I didn’t drop no one was going to drop back or even visit.
So Entrecard wasn’t building me an ongoing audience – it was just getting me a reciprocal “drop and run” response. So if I didn’t drop I didn’t get traffic.
Which in its self is not so bad – but it got worse, a lot worse. My Google search engine traffic disappeared. I was getting a steady flow of queries from Google to a number of different posts – I had had this traffic for around a month.
After a week or so of serious Entrecard activity -my search engine traffic had gone. Why?
Well I don’t know for sure- as you never do with search engines, but I am almost certain it is because my Entrecard traffic was low quality – it was hit and run – they came found the Entrecard widget – dropped and left.
Google rates pages for a number of reasons – but a lot of very short term visitors who click in and out – seems to get you marked down. And I think this is what has happened to my blog.
Meanwhile my other Today blog, which I never had Entrecard on has gone from strength to strength on search traffic.
So not only will your Entrecard traffic not convert to sales, Adsense clicks or even readers – it will also have a negative effect on your search engine rankings.
Entrecard is off my blog as soon as my current backlog of adveritsers are through.
For important new developments at todaydotcom check out my update : is today a scam?
The importance of backlinks we have discussed before. Many sites allow you to link to your own sites – two that I use are hubpages and today.com which are sites which pay you to blog. Today particularly require that to earn their payment per post the content must be original and not self-promotional. This appears to confuse people – and yet although many of my posts promote other sites I have none have them been flagged.
1-Feb-09 Update – today has now tightened up and will not pay the per post fee if you have a link to any site you own or to any article on hubpages , AC and similar sites. You still get the traffic payment.
What’s the secret – write an original article, related to the same topic – add a link somewhere – not an obvious one – just a link with the text that you are are trying to rank for in Google. There’s a link in this paragraph which is relevant to the broad topic of making money blogging but this post would get approved if I had a blog on the theme of making money online at today.com
Approaches to avoid :
quoting content – even if you wrote it and can do so legitamtely – and saying something like “read more here” or “for more information click here”;
disguising links by hiding them in a full-stop (period) or linking in a misleading manner i.e. using a misleading anchored text – this is against Adsense’s TOS anyway;
You must provide original and complete information for the reader without them needing to leave the site that they are on. I generally write about topics I know well on these blogs I find know well. Every post on my two today.com blogs has been approved and here are some of examples of promotional posts which are acceptable:
Christmas in Australia
Underground in Coober Pedy
Child Star in Australia
Note too that not every post does have promotional backlinks – the overall pattern matters too. Sometimes I don’t link out at all – sometimes I link to authority sites such as commercial businesses
Basically every post stands alone if you have an interest you can read it from start to finish without needing to click. The link is vaguely related to the content matter though – which makes it a valuable backlink to have in Google’s eyes – the links to my sites in this post are less valuable because this blog isn’t really about travelling or Australia!
What’s a Backlink?
Now just to take a step back – I’ve been asked more than once in forums and elsewhere “whats a backlink”. The answer is simple people, its just a link to another place – a piece of underlined text (usually) – which when you click or hover your mouse over it shows another web-page.
3 Simple Steps to Create A Backlink
An example is easiest:
type in the worlds “Baby Boomer Gear”,
highlight the words and then click the chain (link) in WordPress (or most other on and off line writing packages these days including hubpages)
it asks me for the url – if I then copy or type in http://www.cafepress.com/babyboomerbuzz
the end result will looks like Baby Boomer Gear and Maren has an anchored backlink for her Baby Boomer store!
Thanks for the question Maren – the only dumb questions are the unasked ones you know!
Well this is my New Year’s post – we had a great holiday and no I didn’t run out of things to do or find any stunningly cheap internet – so no work got done. Time to take stock: the back story is here if you care from when I started this blog in April. What have a learnt in the last year.
Biggest challenges of the year:
“getting” the marketers mindset. Understanding that I am in the business of selling things – but reconcilling that with not wanting to rip someone off. BTW I just noticed someone bought a Asus eeePC from one of netbook review hubs – that made me smile – because I love that little notebook!
focus – I keep on getting distracted and I need to balance where I want to get to and new ideas which keep on coming from left field!
Biggest Wins of the Year:
managing to make some affiliate sales and being able to sleep at night. I have decided that I will only promote on this blog what I use myself and find useful and explain why I use it and why. This does seem to convince the occasional person to buy from me – I thank you 🙂
finally being able to rank a site based on the keywords I wanted to rank for – it doesn’t sound like much – but trust me it was the “proof of concept” I really needed – sometimes you just have to do it yourself to understand that it will work for you – dumb but human I think.
So 2009: what is happening going forward. I am torn, and have been for 6 months, between being an internet marketer, a freelance writer, and more recently a blogger. Unfortunately I am instinctively more comfortable in the social role of blogging or the contractor/employee role of writer – but where I need to be is an internet marketer.
I have learnt a few things over the year and now have several sites developed and slowly starting to make me money. There is money to be made, though at the end of the day its not content which is King, but links and search engine rankings. That said I still try to make my sites to have some useful content in them, and so far I have not had any issues with them being taking down as spam so I think I am doing OK there.
Ironically I have made around 60% of my online income by writing for other people. This was an unexpected development as I never thought of myself as a writer but like any skill the more the do you the better I get, and understanding something of how search engine works is definitely an advantage in this area. At the end of the day Freelance writing is hardly passive income – as any writer will tell you. Instead I am using it as a way to buy leverage for my main business that is sites and yes content too.
I got involved with today.com, initially anyway, because I thought that I could get some easy backlinks to other sites and make some money on the referrals. I was right on both counts – but also found that I quite enjoyed the interaction and given that I was being paid for traffic directly I could play with some of the social networking stuff such as Entrecard. Both blogs I started in November are now PR3 Australia News is more a trends blog while Travel Over 30s is turning into a general travel flagship/social blog. Basically the idea with both of them is to use them to not just get backlinks but maybe attract a few would be entrepreneurs over to this site or to my hubpages cotent.
Goals for the first 1/2 2009
Get more organised and focussed on the important stuff so that I can achieve the following:
Develop at least 10 more niche sites developed and promoted and ranking in the top 10 for my keywords
Develop at least 1 e-book out a month – to be also promoted via my own website which involves learning a few technical bits and a hard thing – how to write a sales letter!
Maintain this blog, Passive Income on a regular basis – sorry can’t promise better than that – I try not to post unless I have something to say – or a question to answer – so if you want more posts ask more questions 🙂
Maintain my two today.com blogs – trying to blend social blog with trends to get a lot more search traffic to them – and do some entrecard dropping at least in the short-term.
Uses AMA more frequently to support my money sites and other blogs.
Maintain and diversify my freelance writing income – probably to replace the part-time, real-world job I have, which is looking very shaky at the moment – mineral exploration anyone?
Hell that’s rather a long list! The bottom line is though – I need to start making a decent income – which around here is at least A$1000/week and I am not close yet! But I will be!
I have been having fun over at a newish website which is offering free WordPress blogs – a bit like the free wordpress.com site really.
But not. WordPress.com you aren’t allowed to make money so you can’t link to evil, wicked money making sites, which means that when you do blogs often get shutdown. But of course some of us crazed money making types are always looking for new place to develop my own backlinks.
So when I heard that a new site was offering not only free blogs but also offering a $1/post I got interested – the rather long review is my blogging for $1/day hub but the short version is:
get approved (live in the right country the usual suspects plus Australia/NZ/Western Europe/India),
write a post 100 words minimum, original content, not illiterate,
Get second blog, repeat, get paid a total of $2/day. I
It won’t last for ever, eventually you will have to get some traffic to continue being paid but its a nice little business model – from my point of view anyway!
Now $2 is hardly a massive income: but the cool thing is this: the links are do-follow and you can of course anchor them. So far I have not had any posts rejected and have placed up to 3 “self-serving” links in them!
Slight caveat once the post is approved for payment its locked and you can neither edit it or delete it, you loose the rights to your content. If however you post an image they don’t take the rights: only on the words.
As a freelance writer I can trade 100 words for a free backlink and $1 – hell I can even trade 250 words because those tend to get indexed in the big G!
Another thing that is rather cool is that your blog is a subdomain and there are some nice name still available: one of my blogs is Australia Today (check the url).
In the interests of fair play: they do pay for referrals so if you sign up via the flashing thingy on the right or via one of my today blogs (click on the “get paid to blog” on the right) I get paid – well actually I won’t unless you actually put some effort in and do 10 posts – its not hard – that’s a total of 1000 words for goodness sake – I can do that before breakfast! And you have 3 months to do it in. And then I get paid and you get paid – and you get a blog and backlinks and you can do with it what you want. It really isn’t a bad deal.
Of course if you don’t want me to get the commission that’s cool too – I’ll get over it eventually – probably ….. 🙂