OK so not a day after I write about diversifying to other Web 2.0 article sites and review InfoBarrel the great Hubpage challenge blows up all over the Internet. If you have been asleep under a rock and not paying attention it went like the: Court decided to have a new money making experiment: 100 hubs in 30 days. Well Hubpage’s marketing guy Ryan Hupfer noticed this (btw if you are wondering how this sort of thing happens – I have 2 words for you “google alerts” a great way to know what people are saying about you!). Long story short we now have The Great Hub Challenge:
Infobarrel for Online Income?
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.
Get Paid to Blog: Is it a Scam?
UPDATE Please read this more recent post: Is Today Blog a Scam
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 🙂
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!
Is it just me or are there are freelancing writing jobs all over the place at the moment? I just picked up another on-going writing gig. In fact its my first as a “normal” ghost writer ie. I am given that article’s title and write a piece based on the title.
Its a lot easier than coming up with new blog posts all the time and making sure I am not repeating myself or neglecting part of the topic area of the blog!
Again this was a job I got not from advertising or via my under-developed portfolio site. It was someone looking for writers at HubPages. The initial job wasn’t that exciting pay wise but I have since got better paying work from the same person.
Getting paid to produce a service be it writing or something else on the internet is the same as in the real world. If you can prove your ability (in my case I have nearly 100 hubs at HubPages) but possibly even more important prove that you can communicate and deliver then you will get work and you do NOT have to work for 1c/word on the crappy freelance bidding sites.
How do you prove you can deliver:
- respond promptly and clearly to emails;
- either accept the job as given or negotiate the price;
- communicate clearly as to the turn around times and meet them;
- if there is a problem – let the agency or buyer know – don’t go into your hole and not communicate.
Its not rocket science but I suspect that its done often very badly on the internet. It seems that a lot of writers really have poorly developed business and social skills. You don’t have to be a fantastic Writer to make money freelancing – I am proof of that. You do need to know how to write for your audience and behave professionally and it seems to be paying off for me!
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 paid.
- 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 ….. 🙂
Sometimes I struggle as to where I should publish. I guess I am not a pure internet marketer because sometimes I just have to write about a topic! This weekend its been around the subject of making money on-line. Yes I know its idiotic to try and rank for that term. Yes I know I run the risk of just repeating the same old. I still had to try. So I did and you know I think it came out all right. There is nothing original per se. I am following the big three as usual as detailed in my original Internet Marketing and Hubpages article.
In the end I ended up publishing not one but two hubs, over 3600 words for goodness sake! On a revenue site that I only get 60% of the Adsense, Amazon, eBay, Kontera impressions – why did I do that. Well two simple reasons really:
- I’m starting to see more and more new people arriving at HubPages, publishing a couple of hubs and then going to the forums and asking what’s wrong I only made 5c in Adsense! I can see this trend continuing. HubPages seems to be winning the race with Squidoo and is attracting more and more people who not only want to write they want to make money online . I know the feeling its what attracted me too. But with the worsening economic crises in the US (and hubpages are predominantly American) I expect more and more people will be looking for ways to make money in a recession I would like them to find the right sources of advice before they get scammed or give up. Although I may not be able to rank for the terms in google search I certainly can in hubpages: I can get my hubs to the first page of “hot hubs” or for a specific search really quite easily by writing good content.
Originally uploaded by John Charlton
- Again a couple of times recently I have seen people do “so long and thanks for the fish” posts as they depart hubpages for bigger things. Sometimes full-time paid work work so fair enough. But also sometimes because they need to concentrate on developing their own websites you know. I’ve thought about it myself but there is one thing that keeps me publishing useful stuff on HubPages: my fans! Why abandon that list? Sure its not the most focussed list on the internet but on the other I am sometimes surprised at the quality of the people who leave me comments finding my hubs useful, often soon after the hub was published: meaning that they were notified by the email.
Yeah I know celebrity is fickle! No its not that, honest 🙂 . When you become someone’s fan at hubpages you get an email every time that person publishes a new hub (you can turn it off but that’s the default). So every time I publish on hubpages 599 people (as at the time of writing) get told – is that a list or what? Now some of them are beginners: but some are not. I got a number of sign-ups to Article Marketing Automation from my hubpage review.
So if you are not already a member of hubpages get signed up and become my 600th fan: if that spot is taken its OK I will be accepting 601, 602 etc as well! Of course if you do sign up via my any of the links in this post I will get 10% of your earnings: but from the hubpages.com share. To be honest it amounts to bugger all but that’s because most people sign up and either publish nothing or just one hub! Drop me a comment here if you do sign-up and I will become your fan too!
Well its a curious thing when sometimes something you aren’t looking for suddenly starts working! After months of getting increasingly frustrated with the whole online marketing game an opportunity appeared from left field!
Origami dollar t-shirt
Originally uploaded by Vaguely Artistic
I am on record for saying that content isn’t king
but oddly enough I now have people wanting to pay me for it! Its all Mark Knowles’s fault, he employed me to post regularly on a couple of blogs about luxury destinations and Australasian Property Investment
On the back of finally getting a positive balance in my paypal account I looked again at freelance writing opportunities. I’d initially thought about making money as a writer online but figured out that in Australia I could make more money cleaning than I could by writing for 1c/word which seemed to be the going rate on the well-known freelance writing sites.
I kept looking though and found some other options. I’ve now sold a couple of articles at Constant Content and today had an article accepted at a travel site: so if anyone wants to hire me as a writer please drop me a line!
How did I start Blogging
Sharon over at Get Paid to Write Online asked how I started blogging: here’s how.
I started blogging on blogger – then I moved everything over to my own site continuing adventures and now I am back writing on blogger -why you may well ask?
Well Continuing Adventures was started when I was trying to figure out how to escape my corporate IT career and planning a camping trip around Australia. I started blogging in August 2006 and from March to September 2007 we were on the road around Australia. I already had my own static site: Midlife Travel but of course found that blogging was so much easier to keep updated. These sites were of course supposed to make me money and keep us travelling – well it didn’t quite work out that way – first off we got tired of camping before we could afford the $200,000 motorhome to make it comfortable. Oh and of course my sites never made me any money either – not even enough to keep us travelling in Asia never mind Australia.
Continuing Adventures was basically a journal with photos – don’t bother looking the photos are MIA since I moved hosts – it was unfocused, random and basically un-monetizable. I did some paid t-links and that was the end of its page rank too.
In the meantime I started to make pocket change from HubPages and started to understand what I could get paid for and the length of time required.
Along the way I have somewhat accidentally become a freelance writer though I am still developing my own niche sites too.
This blog I started along the line’s of Grizz’s Make Money Online original blogger blog – and to develop a more technical blog which I could write about in more detail than friends and family reading Continuing Adventures really wanted to hear about. In a similar way that no one ever wants to know what happened on your 6-month backpacking trip through Africa, no one really wants to know that you have made $20/month with Adsense either!
The reason this is a blogger blog check here and yes I still am not very keyword focussed!
Today Google launched their new service Knol. Speculation has been that Knol is an attempt of Google to take on Wikipedia at first glance I think Knol is actually closer to Squidoo or Hubpages.
Knol appears to be ambivalent on the commercial appeal of the site. Wikipedia has been robustly and adamantly non-commercial- deleting any page which is “commercial” in even the broadest terms. Knol of the other hand specifically allows knols that are about a commercial subject.
Knol even has Adsense and allows authors to keep 100% of Adsense revenues: but the placement of the single Adsense block is far right and below the fold, about as bad as you can get.
Knol seems to have a bit a flawed launch too. Some features appear to be glaringly missing: you can tell exactly how many versions of your knol that you have saved but there is no statistics and no way to link to Google’s Analytics.
Although they claim to want international authors: the only way to become a verified author is to have a US address associated with your credit card or phone number. I have a verified Adsense account – why is that not good enough for Knol? It’s not like they are ever going to add my New Zealand credit card to a database anytime soon!
Its also totally unclear as to what the advantage of being a verified author: though only verified author’s appear on the surprisingly static front page of featured knols.
Read my full review of Knol and Hubpages here
I’ve been focusing very much on learning a whole lot more about SEO and winning the Google game to get myself ranked. One of the “light-bulb” moments I had as that content isn’t king and writing good content is not, in its self, enough to make you money from your own sites.
Another of those “oh God its obvious now” is that content is important: but not so much own your own site or your target money maker. Instead your best content should actually be in guest blogs, or articles or hubs or lenses that you write elsewhere. Why? Because these backlinks sites serve too purposes:
- to get backlinks;
- to drive targeted traffic to your site.
Now sites such as Quassia basically provide just a backlink, no traffic. However sites such as ezinearticles or hubpages can provide qualified traffic looking for whatever you are selling.