Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Diversify Income Streams to Survive a Recession

As many who have recently been laid off or lost their job can attest, depending on a single source of income can be quite risky, especially if the job is in a non-essential sector or one likely to suffer during a recession. Some sectors are more recession-proof than others, for certain, and those will fare far better. But there is ultimately less security when one depends on a single company or other entity for income, rather than drawing income from a variety of means.

I am not necessarily advocating that every 9-to-5 worker open an entrepreneurial side business, but increasing one's diversification of income can certainly improve your ability to weather the tough economic times we are suddenly hearing so much about--and for many of us, actually experiencing in our own families, jobs and investments.

For the work at home mom (WAHM) or other freelancer, entrepreneur or online adventurer, this can mean a variety of things.
  • Writers may diversify by increasing the number and variety of writing clients, actively seeking new clients to replace those with less work. Never rely solely on just one or two big clients.
  • Residual income builders should add multiple income streams to their sites and content articles, such as affiliate programs, ad words, paid advertisements, information products, referral links and e-newsletters.
  • Webmasters should diversify their niche site topics. Even as advertising in some sectors plummets, it rises in others. Anticipate these changes and consider niche topics likely to be in demand despite -- or because of -- a poor economy.
  • eBay Sellers should also diversify what they sell to anticipate sluggish consumer spending. People still have some money; find out what they are spending it on and make some money doing it. Check out the knowledgeable eBay Coach for advice.
Whatever your area of expertise, and no matter what you do for income as a work at home mom (or dad, or anyone else) increase your sources of income during the coming year. Anticipate, rather than react, to what's going on in the economy and how that will affect what you do. Did you know there were many who made money during the Great Depression?

How do you plan to increase your income, despite a poor economic outlook for 2009?

Monday, December 15, 2008

Site Build It 2-for-1 Holiday Sale

My niche sites are a small but growing part of my residual income streams. My fist site, one on health and nutrition, I built with Site Build It! last Decmeber and January. The step-by-step guide was a crash course in web content writing and SEO, providing me the skills to build my pages as well as write profitable content articles for eHow and other sites.

My experience with Site Build It! is a large part of the reason I have been able to build residual income online--the knowledge I gained was well worth the subscription cost, and then some.

If you are interested in building a niche website, and don't know where to start ... you need Site Build It!

If you are already a webmaster, but you've seen lackluster results with your sites ... you need Site Build It!

Now is the best time to buy SBI!, as there is a Buy One, Get One Free sale in progress that ends December 25 -- take advantage of this special if you have any plans to create profitable niche websites in the coming year. There is a 30-day money-back guarantee, so if you aren't satisfied, your price will be refunded ... but chances are, you will love the incredible wealth of resources provided by SBI! and become one of their many success stories.

In addition to eHow, Bukisa, my eHow ebook and my blog, I will be increasing my residual income in 2009 by building up my Site Build It! website and creating another 2-4 niche websites.

I think diversification is key to maximizing your profits online -- so if you are currently working for clients or writing for content sites but don't have your own, consider brainstorming a niche topic and starting your own site as a way to write for yourself as you build your online income.

Best of luck in all your endeavors, and have a very happy holiday season!

Monday, December 8, 2008

Bukisa Earnings: Report from Month One

My Bukisa earnings are impressive to me considering the number of articles I have on the site, Bukisa's young age and the amount of traffic on the site (it's not terribly high yet). I joined Bukisa on November 8, 2008, and wrote five pieces of content, which have simply been sitting there for the past few weeks.

I also promoted my sign-up link in order to build my network, which is now 50-members strong, although only about half have contributed content and earned money. I think that building a strong network is key to Bukisa success, as it is a secondary income stream that could easily rival or beat the earnings from your own content.

Following is a screen shot of my Bukisa after one month:

For five pieces of content on a new site, $17.20 is excellent. That is a better outcome than my HubPages and Associated Content experiments. The network potential is one of Bukisa's main attractions to me. That, coupled with the ability to create in-text links in my articles, is why I've diverted some of my online writing time to this new start-up site.

The only negative aspect of Bukisa, as I see it, is the "Index" that can change and which determines pays per view. Since some writers socially promote the heck out of their articles, bringing the less-quality traffic that rarely clicks ads or follows through, the overall profitability of the traffic goes down and the Index -- which went from 4.2 down to 3. 95 over the last month -- changes to reflect that. Personally, I did not use social promotion on any of my Bukisa articles -- social promotion has its place, but not for your average content articles. Save the Stumbles and Diggs for your stellar pieces.

Are you on Bukisa? What do you like -- or dislike -- about the site?

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Top Earning eHow Articles

Inspired by a post on the eHow Community Chatter forum, I've decided to share a screen shot of my highest earning article amounts.

I remember when I first posted about my eHow article earnings on a writer's forum. My initial article had earned less than a dime, but I wanted to share the info with other writers. Months later, in another post about writing for residual income, another poster scoffed about "WriterGig's six-cent eHow articles."

Now, just over a year later, I am please to say that that article has earned me over $100. I guess I had the last laugh after all. But I hope other writers, especially other moms and dads struggling to make ends meet during tough economic times, will take note and be inspired about the potential from online writing, on eHow and elsewhere.

Following is a screenshot of my highest-earning eHow articles. You can click the image to enlarge it.
(image copyright 2008 WriterGig)

I don't share the titles because some were quite original and I'd rather people find their own niches rather than try to duplicate mine. There is plenty of room on eHow and plenty of titles not yet written, so I encourage everyone to find their own groove, so to speak.

Learn how to Increase Residual Income on to build your own passive income online. After one year of writing eHow articles with the site's Writers Compensation Program (WCP), I am consistently earning over $1,000 a month in residuals ... and I am planning to double and triple that in the coming year. You can too ... buy my eHow ebook and learn how, today!

What's the most you ever made from a single online article, on eHow or elswhere? Do you prefer to write for up front payment or long-term residual income?

Saturday, December 6, 2008

My First Commission Junction Payment

At the end of November, I received my first Commission Junction payment of $111.81. While I had earned few small commissions earlier in the year, has a minimum payout of $50. Thus it was not until my sales really took off in October that I earned enough for payout.

(Click to enlarge:)

Commission Junction has an application process, and you need to have a website or blog to apply. I am not sure how strict they are when processing applications; I used one of my niche sites that had 30 content pages at the time and very little advertising (just some Amazon links).

Once you are approved and become a CJ publisher, you can create multiple channels using your content article profile link and links to your other blogs or sites. You just need a good site to help you get your foot in the door, so to speak.

While commission vary, most of my sales this past month were for 10% commission. I also had two $7.50 commissions for providing leads to a tutoring site, who pays based on people who sign up through an affiliate's link.

There are CJ advertisers who offer high commissions, in the 20% and higher range, but some of those are quite seasonal or for items harder to sell. The products with the best conversion rates typically have lower percentage commissions.

As a CJ publisher, you have to apply for each company whose products you want to sell. Some approve you automatically, and others have a more extensive review process.

I was quite please to receive my first Commission Junction payment, and look forward to the next one -- happily, I have reached the minimum for payout again.

If you are a CJ affiliate, what products do you sell? If you haven't tried CJ, what's holding you back?

Friday, December 5, 2008

Niche Affiliate Marketing

I've increased my online residual income with niche affiliate marketing. Affiliate sales can be a great way to diversify income streams online, and while they are not my largest money maker, they do add up.

Affiliate success takes time, but it is well worth the effort to add affiliate links to articles, resource sections and forum signatures. The most important thing is to target your affiliate links to your specific audience. It almost goes without saying, but since it is important for success, I always reiterate the necessity to have well-targeted products that will appeal to your audience in any particular article, forum or blog.

It's very important to promote good affiliate products, and to know what you're promoting. For example, I would never promote a web hosting service I haven't tried and could answer readers questions about if they arise. That's why I only promote Site Build It and HostGator -- I have websites with both and can truly stand behind my recommendations. Other web hosting companies have great affiliate progrmas, but I haven't tried them and don't know first hand if they are reccomendable.

Make your text links interesting, without being too much like an advertisement. FOr example, when creating a link to an Amazon health product I included the basic description but left out "Buy 6 get one FREE." It looked to ad-y to me.

While it is not always the most lucrative, Amazon's affiliate program is one of the easiest affiliate programs to join and generate decent conversions.

This is a screen shot of my November Amazon affiliate income, which you can actually see if you click on it:

With a down economy to contend with (experts say the worst since the Great Depression) and lower sales accross the board, I was happy with November. It's all residuals, though I did add a few new links to articles I wrote in November.

December is on track to beat November's Amazon affiliate income, as I have already sold 47 items during the first week. Some were inexpensive books, but one was a pricey water filter that netted me $10. I put the link to the water filter in one of my articles some time ago, and it took less than a minute to copy and paste the code. This is residual income at its best: being paid $10 for a minute's work done months ago.

Previously, December has always been my best month and I am expecting great things in the days to come.

Take away:
  • Target the products you recommend to the audience who is likely to read your articles, online profile or other material.
  • Only promote affiliate products you truly believe in. You'll lose your audience if you promote non-quality items just to make a buck.
  • Create interesting text links for your affiliate products to pique readers' interest and increase their likelihood of clicking you link.
Do you include affiliate advertisements on your blogs, websites or articles? Are you pleased with the results?