Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Residual Income & New Baby

How do residual income and a new baby fit in the same post?

First, the baby news: my son, "Nicholas," was born December 6 and is a happy, healthy, sweet-tempered little man. He is adored by his older siblings and doted on by mom and dad: we're all in love.Secondly, about the residual income: my November earnings, all from now-passive sources such as eHow, my eHow ebook, niche sites and affiliate marketing, were just shy of $3,000, even though I wrote little new content and spent much of my time resting and "nesting" before the baby's arrival. December will hopefully be in the same ballpark, even though I'm taking the month off.

As I sit in front of the fire snuggling my newborn, I am grateful for the residual income business model that's allowing me to take a month off from from writing (I had to sneak in this post, though) and just enjoy my family and the holidays.

It's been exactly two years since the December I realized the potential of residual income, through eHow and Site Build It!, and made goals that, when reached, would allow me to quit writing for hire and simply write and market as much or as little as I liked, for myself.

At the end of this year, as we prepare to embark on a new year, 2010, I challenge you to make goals for the coming 12 months that reflect where you are now and where you want to be at the end of the coming year. Contemplate spiritual and personal goals first, as they are most important, but don't neglect your plans for work and income. Building residual and passive income sources is a worthy endeavor, and I encourage you to include them in your plan.

Happy holidays and a blessed New Year to you and yours!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

eHow Articles New Approval Process

Articles submitted on by member-writers now go through a process in which they are evaluated and subsequently approved and published, or rejected, by the system. It's unclear whether the process is currently moderated by actual content editors, however.

I have published four new eHow articles since the new system was activated on my account, and it works very smoothly at this point. After clicking the "publish" button, you'll see a "thank you" screen indicating that your article has been accepted into the system and will be evaluate shortly, usually within ten minutes. In the meantime, the article status under "My Articles" will appear as Pending.

All of my articles were live on the site within 10-20 minutes of clicking publish. This is excellent, because as content writers know, some niches are hot for a limited time and getting your content online quickly is important. If the approval lag time was days or even hours, it would potentially discourage writers used to instant publication.
New to eHow? Learn how to get eHow earnings from your content!
My opinion of the new process is that, if it eliminates post-publishing article deletion, it is a huge improvement and will make a positive difference on eHow both by preventing inferior content and spammy articles as well as ensuring that articles published on the site stay published and are not deleted months or even years after they were submitted.

So who or what decides whether an article passes muster? At this point, it's not clear and there's been no official or unofficial word from eHow. If live humans are behind it, the article moderators are not necessarily eHow employees sitting in their offices in CA; most likely, they are freelancers who have been chosen for the job much like those who determined which articles would be deleted in the eHow Article Sweeps.

Perhaps there is a computer algorithm that checks the content for plagiarism, advertising/spam, and flags potential violators for a real review.

To increase your odds of success, be sure your submitted work meets eHow submission guidelines and is quality, relevant, well-written information in true how-to format. Provide original material that will help the reader. Don't just produce fluff content with keywords chosen to earn money -- eHow is not going to accept it.

UPDATE: This is from Julie, one of the eHow community managers:


The New Article Review does not exempt an article for review during future Article Sweeps. Currently when your article is submitted for publication and "pending" the following is evaluated:

1. Is the article a duplicate title? Does the title already exist in the system?
2. Plagiarism check

In the future we hope to do a more robust review of the article but currently we only do a basic processing of the article when it is first submitted. Therefore, the article will then be checked for compliance with Publishing Guidelines and other site rules by our editors during the Article Sweeps.

Hope this clears up any questions or confusion.



Have you noticed the new approval system for your eHow articles? What's you opinion?

(Photo from's thank you page.)

Saturday, October 24, 2009

eHow Anniversary: 2 Years, 2.3 Million Views

Today marks the second anniversary of the date I first created an eHow profile, WriterGig, and clicked publish on my first eHow article. What an adventure it's been! What started out as a casual experiment introduced me to the very real concept of residual income and led to a complete shift in my business model and life as a work at home mom.

My post Work from Home Writing eHow Articles was the first time I blogged about writing for eHow, about a month and a half after I started on the site. I had already seen the earnings potential and encouraged my fellow writers and work at home moms to give eHow a try. Needless to say, I'm glad I gave it a go.

Eight of the articles I wrote in late 2007 have earned over $100 each; several of those have more than $500 apiece accumulated thus far ... and continue to earn. Compare that to most of the writing freelancers do on a daily basis for one-time pay that's not always very good -- this is why I do virtually no conventional freelancing at this point: I've transitioned to writing primarily for "myself" and retaining rights, and the resulting revenue, to my work.

I have tried several revenue-sharing content sites and while each has its own merits, eHow remains my top site for residual earnings on a per-article basis. Its age, page rank, site layout and article/ ad format create a combination that is favorable to writers and allows me to spend more time writing and less time on promotion. The fact that I have received 2,369,954 page views to date is a testimony to eHow's ranking as a site (and of course, keyword research and basic search engine optimization on my part).

Last year, I attended weHow, the 2008 eHow User Event held in Santa Monica, CA and had a wonderful time, as well as received the Top Earner community award -- it was a thrill! This year, I won a place on the trip through the Passionate Project People contest for my "I Did This Project" on making window cornice boards. I was really excited about the trip this year, which was held in San Francisco this past week, but was unfortunately unable to attend due to the timing.

As part of my eHow adventure, in 2008 I wrote my eHow eBook, How to Earn Passive Income on, in response to the many inquires I received from other writers and work at home moms who wanted to know how to succeed on eHow. It remains a strong seller to this day, further increasing my eHow-related income while giving others valuable information.

How has your experience been with eHow so far? If you're not on the site, why not? Would love to hear your thoughts!

Friday, October 16, 2009

Bukisa Article Earnings Update

I decided to experiment with Bukisa almost a year ago (see eHow vs. Bukisa), when the site was still fairly new and unknown in the writing/ online marketing world. I tried writing several articles from the get-go to see how they would do, and was impressed by the site's structure and potential.

My strategy with Bukisa, after trying the site and doing my homework on its reputation, was to spread the word among my work at home mom friends and various online networks (such as Facebook and Twitter) to build my network. Since Bukisa compensates writers for referring others to the site, it pays to build your network from the start. Network earnings are pure passive income -- you don't have to write or promote anything to see income from your referred members.

My Bukisa Stats

Articles published: 13
Content earnings: $45
Network earnings: $364

My Bukisa earnings to date: $409
Of my own content, the top earner to date is "Free Budget Worksheets." While per-article earnings are lower than my eHow average, I have so few articles on Bukisa it's hard to make an accurate comparison. It's certainly true that eHow has site traffic and page rank that beat Bukisa hands down, but with time I think Bukisa will move up in the ranks and earnings will also increase, perhaps impressively.

Also, Bukisa is a good alternative place to post deleted eHow articles, as long as they are quality content and worth republishing.

Have you published content on Bukisa? What's your experience been so far?

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

The eHow Article Sweeps

The eHow article sweeps, thus named by eHow staff, refer to eHow's periodic "cleansing" of its article library -- at least, the section of its library written by eHow member-writers. Articles composed by Demand Studios freelance writers or previously bought from Writers Research Group are not included in these "sweeps."

As part of its article moderation program, article reviewers view members' articles at random, choosing "Accept" or "Reject" for each one. If the reviewer rejects an article, he selects a reason for rejection from a list of possibilities, which include "Advertising/Spam," "Clone," "Common Sense," "Blog/Opinion" and similar other reasons.

Articles that have been rejected by two separate article reviewers are slated for culling, or removal, from the site. If an article is approved by one and denied by another, it goes to another reviewer for a tiebreaker.

Once an article is removed, its original URL, or web address, is redirected by eHow to a related article or topic page.

Objectively, article moderation seems like an excellent idea. A website filled with spam, cloned articles, useless fluff or mediocre content will do nobody any good, and will ultimately fail. I am a big supporter of improving eHow's content, in all sections of its library (ie including articles from Demand Studios and Writers Research group and its older material).

The main problem I have is the way in which these sweeps have occurred, where decent articles are removed based on two people's subjective, often hasty, opinions and writers are not given a chance to improve or edit their work before it is deleted.

One of my friends, both on eHow and in real life, had an article removed in the last sweep that had already earned her over $1,400 in under a year. Her article URL (#1 in Google search results for her keywords) was redirected to a similar article by a Demand Studios writer. The demoralizing effect of losing this article has turned her off completely from writing for eHow.

In my mind, eHow remains an excellent place to publish content and earn money for your efforts. As the community grows, all kinds of content is added daily, and there has to be some way to ensure that quality standards are upheld. If eHow will listen to its writers and improve the system, everyone will be better off.

For writers who have experienced article loss on eHow, especially those who feel they lost quality articles and don't understand why, you have my my sympathy. Definitely take the time to review eHow's new Writers Guidelines and try to discern why your articles were removed.

I also suggest that writers take their rejected articles elsewhere, but first clean them up, correct mistakes, and make sure the content is truly worthwhile.

There are several very good revenue-sharing content-based sites that I use and recommend, namely:
While eHow is still my top moneymaker, I believe that, in time, these sites may rival eHow for earnings on a per-article basis as their Google pagerank improves and submitted articles appear higher in search engine results.

I have a handful of articles on each site and will add more each month. I am working on my own niche sites as well, and InfoBarrel, HubPages and Bukisa are great for building backlinks to your blogs and other content in a way that eHow is not. On all three sites, you can include links within the text of an article.

With online writing and marketing, diversity is key to success. Write for several sites, not just one. Think of the eHow article sweeps -- if your content was affected -- as a reminder that it's good business sense to earn money from as many sources as possible.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

New Niche Site in Progress

I'm working on getting a new niche website online, inspired in part by the progress of a pets-themed niche site I started last December. You can read my niche site profit report about that site; in short, I have about a dozen content pages online and it earns around $65 a month. I've added a couple more pages to it recently and monthly earning should increase as those pages are indexed and start to show up in searches.

But anyway, the site I am working on today is on a personal finance topic with a narrow focus. The keyword phrase I use for the URL gets about 176 searches a day and there isn't much competition. I bought the domain and host the site through Hostgator. My strategy has been to go for small niches and win with those. I expect I could get the #1 Google placement for that specific search, as well as several others closely related, within a few months (or maybe less).

The site is built on an HTML static site template, which I broke down and bought for $62 from this template site -- one of the best I've found. The template came with an index page and five versions of secondary pages, and works great in my free html editor (Kompozer). I've bought some very frustrating, hard-to-customize templates in the past from a "bargain" site and I really wasted my money. I also don't like using free templates anymore (my pets site is built on one) because the quality has not been as good and they have links to the template creators which can not be removed.

In addition to Google Adsense, I will include niche affiliate marketing of products on the site. Inspired by the One-Week Marketing course I bought (and blogged about here), I'm including a Clickbank product as part of that monetization model.

Since this personal-finance-related topic gets more searches and ads pay better than the ones for my pets site, I think it will soon earn more per month than the pets site. One of my goals is to get 10 mini niche content sites earning $100 each a month, to add another $1,000 a month to my long-term residual income.

And I should reach that goal by this time next year, while also keeping up with eHow and my blogs ... not to mention the kids ... here's hoping!

Have you had success with a niche content site? I'd love to hear about it!

Saturday, July 25, 2009

WAHM from eHow in the News

My friend Candace, who I met at the weHow 2008 event in Santa Monica, CA, is a fellow stay at home mom who uses eHow and her blog to earn extra money from home.

Recently, she was featured on the news in her hometown of Dallas. Here she is:

Isn't Candace poised? I am impressed with her calm confidence, not to mention very put-together look. Go Candace!

You can find her on eHow as CCrock and on Blogger at Smokin' Momma (as in smoking hot).

And here's a picture of us at weHow 2008:
Don't mind the guy in the middle, that's just Richard Rosenblatt, Co-Founder, Chairman & CEO of Demand Media, which owns eHow!

Friday, July 3, 2009

Lazy Summer Days

Just a quick post as I get ready to celebrate the Fourth of July with my family and friends. I hope all my work at home mom friends and fellow residual income entrepreneurs are having a great summer so far.

I've been taking the kids to the pool and to the park a few times a week, and my work schedule is on summer hours ... to tell the truth, I am looking forward to ramping things back up in September when the kids will be in school/ preschool three mornings a week and I'll be hanging out in the coffee shop with my laptop and an organized list of what I plan to accomplish this fall and winter.

Here's an overview of where I am these days:

  • Google adsense earnings have increased for me almost each month and I have made payout two months in a row for the first time (May and June). This has encouraged me to increase my work on my various niche sites and blogs.
  • Still writing eHow articles as time allows and I think of niche titles/ topics not already done to death on the site. Earnings are holding steady but not increasing dramatically.
  • Experimenting with Squidoo, as I mentioned in my last update. I'm having a much harder time getting my Squidoo Lenses indexed by Google than I expected -- eHow has spoiled me.
My goal for the summer is to add a few niche site webpages each week, in addition to several content articles and some backlink building. I also need to monetize my nutrition website and add affiliate products to my niche sites.

What are your summer goals?

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Starting with Squidoo

While I actually signed up with Squidoo over six months ago, I just went back to the site recently and started creating a few Lenses (that's what Squidoo articles, or pages, are called). Like eHow, Bukisa, and HubPages, Squidoo is a revenue-sharing content site written primarily by freelance writers and internet marketers.

Using the money-making modules built in to the Lens creation tool, such as those for Amazon and eBay products, allows users to profit from their Lenses. From what I can tell, average earnings on Squidoo are not incredibly impressive. But there are users, or Lensmasters, making hundreds and $1,000+ a month from their collections of Lenses.

More impressively, by adding affiliate links and properly marketing their Lenses, some Lensmasters, such as PotPieGirl, have earned six figures -- yeah, over $100,000 a year -- through Squidoo.

I've read PotPieGirl's ebook, which I will review for you soon, and plan to follow her method to build another residual income stream -- hopefully a sizable one. I already have a few Lenses up, but instead of tweaking them for her method, I plan to start new ones and put her one week marketing plan into action starting Monday (when my new computer cord arrives. I'm typing on borrowed time on my husband's laptop before he needs to start work for the day).

Are you on Squidoo? What's your experience there so far?

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Paid off My College Loan with eHow Earnings!

We're one step closer to being debt free -- I paid off the last of my my college loan in one payment using a portion of my eHow earnings last month. My final statement showed that I paid the debt off about 18 months early, saving me a good bit in interest (it was a private loan at 10% APR).

I had a grace period at the beginning of the loan for working in a non-profit sector after graduation, but otherwise have been making those monthly payments for years. Being free of that payment is a great feeling and makes a difference financially as well -- I've taken the amount I used to pay to the loan each month and am using it toward my next debt.

Thanks to my residual income through revenue sharing sites, my eHow ebook, my niche websites, affiliate marketing and miscellaneous sources, my family is becoming debt free much more quickly than we thought possible. In fact, we will probably pay off our debt about 2-3 years earlier than originally projected. Next month, I plan to put nearly all of my eHow earnings toward my next debt, a credit card balance at 5% interest that needs to be eliminated.

While we've had setbacks due to job loss, real estate (a house that didn't sell), and life's ups and downs, we've managed to stay the course and not take on new debt since we took Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace University course almost two years ago. We've cut our debt down by a third, and are now on track to pay off the remaining 2/3 in less than a year, if all goes as planned.

Having a steady source of residual income thanks to my online writing has been a key element in our progress and our success to date. As my husband builds his new career, my income is back in a supportive role and working harder than ever to help us become debt free. I can't wait!

Are you using online earnings to become debt free or in a better posisiton financially? What role does residual income play in your personal finances?

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Avoiding Burnout as a WAHM

Burnout is something I've rarely experienced -- over the past few years as a work at home mom, I've always had more motivation, inspiration and creativity than I had time to write. The only trouble for me was finding the time to get everything done that I hoped to accomplish in a given day.

Motivation was always easy to come by -- most of the time, we really needed my income to help make ends meet. So even when I found writing eHow articles tedious, seeing my daily earnings increase every week was enough reason for me to keep at it. This success inspired me to write my ebook guide, which has also been more successful than I had imagined, and I was rewarded by my readers' feedback.

Over the past couple months' I've experienced something different -- only slightly less time for writing, but much less motivation for writing, especially content articles, even on topics I previously enjoyed.

More enjoyable writing projects, such as my niche sites and blogs, haven't been immune to my little "burnout" interlude. It's been a month since I posted on this blog -- and for that I apologize! I am blessed to have so many faithful readers, and I really appreciate your comments on my previous post about the death of my aunt -- thank you.

I think my burnout was triggered by my decision to enter a contest for Demand Studios writers, in which the top writer wins a MacBook computer. On top of my other projects, I started writing several DS revenue share articles each day, on their titles, including topics that needed excessive research. I wasn't enjoying the writing process, and since I honestly don't need a new computer right now, the motivation didn't keep me going long.

After taking a break for a couple weeks (and boy do I love residual income, the money keeps coming in even when I'm not working!) I am back on top of my game, catching up with blogs, creating a new niche site, and outlining my next ebook. I'm thankful that I'm my own boss -- I might have been fired otherwise. I'm only half joking.

My plan for avoiding burnout in the future:
  • Have a variety of projects going at the same time. If one is causing stress, put it on the back burner (groan) for a few days, but keep going with the rest.
  • Write several blog posts in advance for each blog so in times of creative-less stupor, keeping the blog current is a cinch.
  • Stay inspired by making new goals when you've reached current ones. I met my original income goal some time ago, and knowing that I'm not at my ideal income yet is a good reminder for what I'm working to accomplish.
  • Get out and have fun. Sometimes as work at home moms, we're so busy with work, house, kids and spouses to have a date night or solo afternoon on the town. Do it at least a couple times a month -- it's so important.

Have you experienced burnout? How did you get over it?

Burnout photo by Henry S.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Death ... and Life

I've been away from my blog longer than usual, as I was out of town for funeral services after my aunt died suddenly earlier this month. She was only 50, and she was murdered. She leaves behind a grieving husband (they were married 24 years) and nine children, ages 6 to 20. I loved my aunt and I am heartbroken for her family and deeply saddened for our extended family, who will dearly miss the love and joy she brought to our family.

It hardly seems real that she is gone. I suppose death, when unexpected, is like that: it happens so quickly with such finality that the mind has trouble catching up with what happened. It's been a couple weeks now since I got the phone call that my Aunt Renee was dead, but my shock has only just begun to lessen, even as raw sadness takes its place.

My Aunt Renee's untimely death has really impressed a few things on me, and I wanted to share two of those thoughts with you, my fellow work at home moms, freelance writers and online entrepreneurs. I hope it doesn't seem callous to talk about things of a practical nature when someone has just died. But the reality is, life keeps moving.

Make a "love drawer" for your family.

Like many moms, my Aunt Renee paid the bills and managed the finances for her family. She took care of collecting rents from their rental properties and making sure mortgages were paid. Basically, she did it all. In my family, I manage our online bill paying, debt reduction plan, and also earn an income that is primarily online. I have a system, but it's all in my head -- nothing is written down. Renee was the same way, and her sudden death leaves her devastated husband with the task of figuring out what bills are due when on top of everything else. Dave Ramsey encourages his listeners to make a "Love Drawer" for the spouse or family members you leave behind. In it should be your will, final instructions, insurance policy information, and everything your spouse needs to carry on should something happen to you. I need to do this, like, yesterday. In addition to all the bill paying, I have a couple PayPal accounts where residual earnings would keep on arriving, and affiliates who would still need to be be paid for their sales if I died .... point is, I need everything spelled out in writing, and I also want to take the time to go over it with my husband.

Be there for your children.
As work at home moms, we're always there for our children, right? I mean, we're here practically 24/7, they wake up to us being there and see us during the day or after school, and we tuck them in at night. But let me share with you ... my Aunt Renee had an amazing ability of truly being present for her children. I want to be like that, too. Her untimely death made me take notice; her lovely life gave me the inspiration. Too many times I'm staring at a computer screen while the kids ask me questions. I am making a huge effort to get my writing done in the wee hours of the morning or after they are in bed, so I can really be there for them during these young years of their lives. My aunt Renee was a work at home mom, too, first as a daycare owner in Alaska and then as a therapist and horsewoman in TN. Still, she put her kids first. I will, too.

My Aunt Renee loved life -- she brought fun wherever she went. She loved my uncle, she loved being a mom, and she loved her farm. She will be missed terribly, even as we remember her with joy in our sorrow.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Blog Ideas for Profitable Niches

Looking for blog ideas?

If you want to start a blog for fun and income, coming up with a profitable niche topic is one of the most important steps to successful blogging.

When I started my first few blogs, I really didn't know what I was doing or how much I could earn from blogging. I was basically blogging for fun and to build back-links to my other sites and content. But now, when choosing a topic for a website or blog, I look at a few factors to determine my blog's focus.

1. Interests and knowledge base. Why start a blog on something I won't enjoy or don't know much about? This would likely result in neglecting my blog and it not living up to its income potential. Also, readers can tell when you're an authority on the subject and when you're just writing SEO content articles. To make your blog stand out, think of blog ideas that truly interest you -- maybe even something you're passionate about.

2. The competition. What other blogs are there on my topic? If the niche is already crowded, with many relevant, quality blogs, it might be wise to consider other topics and different blog ideas. A simple Google search for your topic and the word "blog" will give you an idea of what else is out there. But keep in mind that if you can find a different angle or focus on the same general topic, your niche may have very little competition.

3. Keywords. To ensure you'll have plenty of material for your blog, check out related keywords and topics through keyword tools. There should be a large variety and number of keyword combinations for your topic to be viable in the long run. I use Wordtracker's free keyword tool, and plug in my main keyword to see how often people are searching for it and related terms.

After considering your interests, niche competition and the quality and number of related searches for your blog ideas, you will have an idea as to whether your topic will be profitable. Run the numbers on several different topics so you can get a feel for where different niches stack up and make a educated decision.

If you still find it intimidating or confusing to come up with blog ideas, I will again recommend an awesome resource for new and pro bloggers, which hundreds of people have used to build a blog from the ground up: The Niche Blogger.

This program, which is run by a stay at home/ work at home mom of four as a way to show other moms how to earn a passive income with blogging, began as a very successful attempt to show the method to her own mom.

Her end result is a step-by-step program that literally covers every thing you need to know about blogging ... far more than I have shared with you in my posts, since space and time, as well as my lesser knowledge on the topic, preclude me from presenting as in-depth material as she covers.

An impressive aspect of the program is how Amy shares her method for coming up with good blog ideas. It really simplifies the niche research process, making it doable for any level blogger.

Don't forget, niche blogging is more than just picking a topic, it also involves finding one that will actually make money -- the most important thing for many professional bloggers!

Do you blog to earn money? How did you choose your niche topic?

Friday, February 27, 2009

What is Blogging?

Blogging is a great way for work at home moms, professional writers, students, or those desiring a work from home job, to earn money online. This post is the first in a series devoted to blogging and making money online with a blog.

So ... what is blogging?
The word blog, a shortened term for weblog, or web log, refers to a frequently updated online site in which the author shares thoughts, ideas and information in print, audio, photographic or video form. Blogs typically contain dated posts and comment sections, and can range from personal diaries to authoritative niche sites to witty commentary on current events.

Blogs started as a way for internet users to share their thoughts on websites they visited -- hence the "web log" notation -- and link to sites they found interesting. As blogging evolved, popular blogs developed large, diverse audiences and became more interesting. Bloggers now write for an audience, not just for fun.

Blogging can actually be quite lucrative, and many top bloggers earn six-figure incomes every year. While blogging revenue was a surprise to many early bloggers who had started blogging just for fun, many bloggers now begin blogging with the intention of making money from their efforts.

Thus the answer to the newbie's question, "What is blogging?" will be as varied as those who ask it. As the internet evolves, so does the concept of blogging. But overall, most blogs contain dated posts, a place for users to leave comments, links to other blogs and sites, and regular updates with information presented in any variety of mediums, from podcasts to photographs to prose.

Many bloggers also started creating informative blogs in different niches and now pull in amazing part or full-time incomes!

Many blogs derive loyalty from consistent visitors and loyal readers. Blogs on a specific topic are a great idea because they can often attract and keep a targeted audience. Readers who find and enjoy the things you are writing, the chances are that they will subscribe or bookmark your blog and revisit again and again to read new posts.

As a blog gains more followers and you write more content, you will start to ranking higher in the search engines, which is important for traffic and, ultimately, blog earnings.

TIP --> Blogging can also be a great way to promote your other sites and articles with links and traffic. Thus even those desiring a primarily passive income, such as myself, may find that blogging is a great way to help build that up. Also, since passive income can be slow in the beginning, a more active income source, such as blogging or writing articles for pay, can help a writer transition into a full time passive income.
If you have decided that you want to become a blogger, but aren't sure where to start, or are already blogging but don't know how to take your blog earnings to the next level, I recommend learning from professional bloggers who have created a solid method for building income-producing blogs.

It can be difficult to choose something to blog about, and not everything will be profitable, so if making money is your goal you need to focus on the right topics from the start, and set up your blog in such a way that you will maximize your income.

If you are serious about eliminating the steep learning curve, check out Amy Bass' The Niche Blogger membership site.

The first thing that got me was the fact that it was created by a mother who, like me, stays at home with her kids. She found a great way to make money online and shares that with many other stay at home moms, too.

She makes it very clear that if you follow her instructions and focus, you may be able to make the same level of income she does -- and at this point that's enough to entirely support her family at a very nice level of comfort.

I am comfortable recommending this resource to you because not only is it top quality, the price is very low. It really is a no-brainer when you consider the amazing, life-changing, value that you get from having expert advice on setting up your blog, choosing a profitable niche, and making money online.

I highly recommend this site if you've decided that after reading my answer to the question, "what is blogging?," this is an online income stream you're interested in developing. You can even try a free three day trial of the site with no other obligation. Try it and let me know what you think!

Are you a niche blogger? Please share your experiences!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Twitter: Networking tips for WAHMs

Do you Twitter? Are you an avid user, or have you signed up but never really "gotten" it? I'm kind of in the middle. At first I didn't really understand the concept, but after a few months it kind of clicked. I find it's a great resource as well as a very good way to promote your work and build an audience.

On Twitter, I get ideas for my articles and blog posts, as well as participate in conversations on a variety of topics and current events. And there's also the social aspect of peeking into eachothers' lives -- I especially like to see what's going on with other work at home moms.

Like any social networking tool, it's very important to actually be part of your Twitter community, in a give-take sort of way, and not simply use it to self-promote. That won't work, anyway, as your followers will drop off like dead flies. I saw one Twitterer whose whole page of recent updates was a documentation of recent activity on certain websites. There were no responses to other Twitter friends or even chatty Tweets. Unfollow.

Here are some thoughts and resources I've gathered about Twitter, from my experience as well as from Twitter pros.

Twitter People
If you've just signed up for Twitter, your Tweets wil echo as you send them out to an empty Twittoshphere. You need an audience -- followers -- and you need to find people to follow to receive incoming Tweets.

You can start with your email contact list, but that will likely only produce a few good matches. Next step is social networking. Check out your favorite blogs -- many will have "Follow Me on Twitter" graphics or Tweet feeds. Definitely follow anyone whose blog interests you.

Write a few Tweets right away so people will follow you back -- post a intro Tweet, link to your blog, ask your followers a question. This gives readers an idea of your Twitter personality.

Find out who your new Twitter friends are following, and look for profiles that interest you. Follow them, and you'll likely be followed in return. You can usually find a bunch of writers by checking a freelancer's profile, and Mommy Twitterers by checking out other Twitter Moms' lists.

Twitter Tips
  • Don't fire off a series of Twitters one after another; this creates a whole section of Tweets from you on your follower's page and can be annoying. Unless related, space out your Tweets.
  • Respond to Twitter peeps who ask questions; this helps to build Twitter relationships.
  • Write at least two helpful, fun or chatty Tweets for every one update linking to your work.
  • Tweets should be useful, funny, informative or catchy.
  • Check out PC Mag's Twitter Tips for Newbies to get the scoop on RT (retweeting) and other Twitter functions.
  • If you're past the newbie stage, read these 35 Twitter Tips gems.

Twitter Tools
Okay, this is for those of you who are ready to take Twitter to the next level. Apparently, there are all kinds of tools you can use to be a more effective Twitterer. (And if you're not there yet, don't worry--just enjoy it and leave the gizmos for later.)

I'll refer this section over to the pros, as I don't have the experience to give you a in-depth rundown. Read

12 Twitter Stream Aggregators To Make You Smarter

to learn about Twitter tools you never knew you needed.

Twitter for WAHMs

Once you build your Twitter community, you can use Twitter to offer freelance writing services, promote new blog posts you write or websites you build, sell design services or whatever else you do as a WAHM.

You can get tips from other work-at-home moms balancing kids and computers, diapers and deadlines ... or just enjoy knowing there are many others out there just like you.

Twitter is a great way to network with a large number of people and find a smaller number with whom you will connect more closely, in professional working relationships as well as friendships.


Are you on Twitter? Follow me and I'll return the follow. And while you're here, share some twitter advice -- I'm still learning the ropes!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

New Residual Income Blog & Future of my WAHM Blog

I've decided to re-focus my WAHM blog to all things WAHM, from getting out of debt, entertaining preschoolers, and balancing work and home, to freelance tips, work at home ideas and resources to help other WAHMs and online writers.

To better focus on passive and residual income topics, I've created another blog, I am really excited about the blog, as it will better allow me to share what I know and what I learn in the future on the subject.

I hope you'll take a look -- I've got four posts up, and began the blog by sharing my journey to working for long-term residual income rather than for wages or a flat fee per content article or freelance piece. If you subscribe to the blog, you'll see new content as soon as it's posted.

Meanwhile, I'd love your input on My WAHM Blog. What do you like to see, and what would you like me to write about? What do you look for when visiting the blog?

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Free Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Starter Guide from Google

Another WAHM pointed me to this excellent resource on SEO from Google, which came out in November 2008. (And who better to learn from when it comes to SEO?!) The Google picture above is also from November; it was the Veterans' Day search illustration.

The 22-page ebook is titled Google's Search Engine Optimization Starter Guide and I uploaded it to my WriterGig eJunkie Shop where you can grab a copy for free of course.

I'm still working my way through it, but it is a very thorough manual for new webmasters as well as a great refresher for those of us who already have niche websites.

In addition to information on making each page of your site Google-friendly through appropriate use of meta tags and on-page content, there is a section with great tips on promoting your site and building traffic and links, as well as a section with Google Webmaster resources links.

I hope it's helpful -- let me know what you think.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

How to Make Money with a Website

Figuring out how to make money with a website is a learning process, one that has certainly been simplified by the plethora of informative guides, blog posts and articles available online for free. One of the best resources I've seen recently is the How to Build Passive Income with Article Sites Series by Lindsay at Writing for Your Wealth. If you're new to creating niche sites, or want to take your earnings to a higher level, pay attention to Lindsay's advice. She knows what she's talking about -- she earns over $100,000 in Adsense a year.

I have several sites online making money and several domains that I plan to bring online this year. My non-Blogger sites consist (so far) of the following:
  • A nutrition site created with SiteBuild It! in December 2007
  • A home and garden site & Wordpress blog started in June 2008
  • A pets site created in December 2008
  • A mini-site for my eHow eBook
  • Several other domains with one page or none, needing attention
For all except the nutrition site, I use HostGator hosting and can have unlimited domains under that account, paying about $15 to register each one and then $10/ month to host them all. I decided to go this route rather than purchase multiple SBI sites because, under my one membership, I have access to all the tools and can use the Brainstorming tools, keyword information, forums and networking/ link building aspects for any of my sites. Also, I am not expecting to make a large amount of money from the sites right away, so HostGator was more affordable than SBI! for multiple small sites. The education I received at SBI! was invaluable and I continue to use those resources on my SBI site as well as in my other website ventures.

My pets site, whose link I will share sometime later when the site is more complete, has 9 pages and has been indexed by Google. I have earned just over $10 in Adsense and $4 in Amazon referrals since I published the first page in mid December.

I'm doing this site partially as a case study, to see how well it will earn and whether it is a better method than writing for content sites with better page ranks. I also want to diversify my income.

Some quick stats on the site:
  • Domain name is a three-word search term.
  • The topic has low search engine traffic and low cost Adsense ads.
  • Competition for the keywords isn't bad.
I'll be interested to see how it earns as I add more pages and do a little site promotion. As always, I'll post updates.

Do you make money with your website or a blog? I'd love to hear how it's going.

Photo by Eylem Culculoglu

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Thanks to Bloggers, Affiliates for eBook Sales

The most important element to sales, I think, is getting the word out. It's pretty basic but hey, if people don't know about your product or services, they can't make a purchase. With my ebook on increasing eHow earnings, I've been blessed by some great folks who helped get the word out, some as affiliates, some as bloggers, some as both.

There are some great resources to be found by following these writers' links. I am currently addicted to several of the blogs you'll find below.

So ... thank you to Suzanne, aka eBayCoach, Pat with Smart Passive Income Blog (an awesome site!), Felcia, at No Job for Mom, Airel, aka acole on eHow, and Pam, aka BlondieWrites.

I have to thank Lindsay with Writing for Your Wealth for having me on her site (and a nod to Julie Mayfield for telling me about Lindsay's blog!), Michele Tune at Writing the Cyber Highway and Jessie, aka covewriter, for mentioning me in her eHow-related posts, and David Sarokin for including the book as a resource in his popular eHow articles.

Thanks to those who found the book helpful and spread the word just because.

And of course, a huge thank you to the good people at Demand Media for the wonderful weHow experience, and for creating a site that allows any user to participate, network and earn money online.

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Recession Survival through Income Diversification

While discussing the economy and how to survive job layoffs, a reporter asked me what advice I would give to someone anticipating financial storm clouds. I replied,
Diversify income as quickly as possible. If money is coming from only one source, you're too exposed. Have several sources of income, a side job, a product you sell, something else that brings in money other than your 9-to-5.
As a freelance writer/ online marketer, this is true for me as well. Writing just for one client, for those who ghostwrite or write for a byline, can be risky. I saw this firsthand in the past year when friends of mine on the WAHMs Who Write Forum were let go from Demand Studios, Writers Research Group and other large companies. Suddenly they had no work or very little, and their families were counting on their income.

My income comes mainly from the following, in no particular order:
Having income from a multitude of sources is my basic business model as a freelance writer and WAHM. I would be bored with just one avenue, but it's also a hedge against income loss as I could bring any one of these income sources up to a higher level if my primary sources dropped or dried up.

How do you diversify your income sources?

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Podcast Interview with eBayCoach

Suzanne, aka eBayCoach, interviewed me about eHow for her podcast series. I was delighted to be on her show and to spend time chatting about eHow and eBay, two great ways for Work at Home Moms to earn money from home.

In the podcast, Suzanne and I share our own eHow experiences as well as offer advice and tips for those new to the site or who want to take their experience there to the next level.

The podcast was a great way to cross two audiences, freelance writers on eHow and eBay sellers, and the end result was that eBay sellers interested in using eHow as another source of income and a way to promote their eBay stores are turning to me and my ebook for advice, and eHow writers and WAHMs who read my blog are turning to Suzanne for tips.

By the way, Suzanne is an expert at making money on eBay. I highly recommend that you check out her blog, where she is offering her Stay at Home Mom's Guide to eBay Selling to readers for free. Take advantage of her wisdom and grab a copy of this book, which you can use to clear out your closets for cash as well as build up an eBay business that's successful.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Bukisa Payout Reached

I've hit the $50 payout level on Bukisa and will receive payment next month, in February, according to the terms of use. I'll let you know how prompt the payment is after it's received.

As you can see, 1/5 of my earnings are from my own content and the other 4/5 is from my network's earnings. My strategy with Bukisa was to build up my network at the get-go, as soon as I heard about the site and had tried it out and considered it legitimate, since network earnings are 100% passive income.

I'm using Bukisa to publish high-hit articles, since the site pays by view and not by ad clicks. I'm also using the site to build backlinks to some of my eHow articles and blogs, to improve page rank with Google and other search engines.

As Bukisa grows and revenue sharing sites increase in popularity, I expect it to be a good earner and another key ingredient to making money online through content, both for its own earnings and for building links and traffic to my other work.

Have you used Bukisa to build backlinks to your other sites? Are you building your Bukisa network (without using spammy PMs!)?

Monday, January 19, 2009

Revenue Sharing Sites: eHow, Bukisa, and InfoBarrel

Revenue-sharing content sites are a great way for writers, stay at home moms, hobbyists, college students, retirees, eBay sellers or anyone interested, to make money online. Writing talent -- or at least the ability to string together coherent sentences and present a topic in a logical step-by-step manner -- comes in handy, as does a little web savvy and knowledge of keyword optimization. But it's not a difficult process, and is one of the most legitimate ways to make money online and build residual income streams.

I write niche content sites and maintain a few blogs through Wordpress and Blogger, but revenue from eHow is still a large portion of my monthly income. Writing for eHow has been a great experience for me ... publishing a new article there is as easy as it gets, the site's page rank ensures my articles do well with the search engines, and the amount of monthly traffic can't be beat, an the revenue sharing model seems fair to its contributors. All of these aspects together make content writing on eHow quite profitable, allowing me -- and so many eHow writers -- to create a residual income stream that keeps generating income month after month and yes, year after year.

While eHow is the best paying revenue-sharing content site I've tried thus far, there are a couple others that are quite promising in regards future earnings as the sites grow. They also have some excellent features that aren't available at eHow yet, including the ability to link to other sites and articles within the body of your piece, and a freestyle template that lets you get away from the how-to format.

With an eye toward residual income and promoting my other work, I've been contributing to Bukisa, and wrote about my Bukisa earnings last month. I am nearing the $50 payout, and will let readers know when that occurs and how timely the payment from Bukisa is made. Bukisa pays based on page views, so the best strategy for Bukisa is to concentrate on high-traffic keyword titles that receive many searches, and not worry about the cost of related ads. User questions and inquiries to the the site receive prompt reply.

InfoBarrel is a promising new content-based community. I have two articles online and ideas for many more (of course). After emailing a few times with Kevin, one of the site's founders, I am satisfied enough to write for the site and hope for long-term success. Once you have written 10 articles and been a member for at least 14 days, your articles will be published right away instead of being held for approval. They pay 75% of the Adsense revenue your articles generate.

Other revenue-sharing content sites I've tried include:

  • HubPages: Wrote my first Hubs about the same time I wrote my first eHow artcles. One is on a similar topic, but has earned far less than, one of my high-earning eHows. Have had some decent earnings here, but eHow is more profitable for me.
  • Associated Content: Have only written a couple AC articles. There pay is so little, I'd rather post my work almost anywhere else.
  • Xomba: Good way to promote my other content, short blurbs there have earned a few dollars each over time, not bad for length of pieces, but really only use as way to get links.
  • BrightHub: Was better in the beginning but now the article suggestion, permission and writing cycle is too complicated and annoying. You have to apply and be accepted to be a writer for the site.
What revenue-sharing content sites do you write for online? Have you tried any of the above-mentioned, or places like Squidoo, Suite 101, Helium? I'd love to hear your comments!

Monday, January 12, 2009

Tips on WAHM Success in the New Year

It's a new year, traditionally a time to start fresh, make goals and set out to achieve what eluded us in the previous year. My big goal, which admittedly is a several-years goal, is to build up a full-time residual income through content articles, niche websites, and eventually a print book, before I turn 30.

For 2009, I would like to double my average 2008 monthly residual income by the end of the year. It's a big project for me, especially since my life is filled with three lovely children who are not yet in school, and I have a very limited amount of time to write each day. Only by setting realistic daily agendas will I have any hope of accomplishing what I've set out to do.
Tip: Break down your yearly resolutions into monthly, weekly and daily goals. Write them down and refer to them at the start of each day.
For example, one of my goals for the new year is to add to my existing niche sites as well as create several new ones to diversify my residual income. But with such an open-ended goal, it's important to give myself actionable daily and weekly tasks to ensure I ultimately reach that goal.

Today, my task for this goal was to add a new page, based on one related keyword phrase, to my pets-themed website. I did it first thing this morning, before turning to the editing work I do for one of my few remaining clients (I let almost all of my clients go after reaching my residual income goals. But this one is a friend's father, and I still do occasional editing or proofreading jobs for him).

Another one of my goals is to add a new eHow article each day. I have many drafts, so finding ideas isn't my struggle, but I am behind on writing and mean to catch up this week. It's just that since earnings have been down on eHow since the site changes, writing my own niche sites has kind of become more my focus in the past couple months.

For efficiency, I use the Motivated Moms Full Size Planner, which really helps me stay on track with my weak spot: home organization and cleaning. On the same planner, I note daily writing tasks and miscellaneous appointments. By referring to this at the start of each day, I can stay on task and plan the day effectively.

The most important ingredient to my success in the writing and income sector of my life (as well as my sanity!) is to schedule in at least two hours a day in which I can write uninterrupted while the children sleep. For me, this is 5:30 to 7:30 a.m. And it means I have to get to bed early to function well.

Tip: Find the best hours to work while your children are sleeping or at school and take full advantage of this time.
If you are a night owl, you may do best in the evening after the kids are in bed. Personally, I can't write late at night. I am completely ineffective after about 9 pm. But if this is your best time -- do it then. Turn off the TV, ignore distractions, and accomplish your goals.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Get Organized, Moms!

If lack of time is keeping you from reaching your income goals or starting projects you know will prove to be lucrative, it's time to get organized. We all have the same number of hours -- you just need to stop wasting time and make sure you accomplish the important things.

How many times have you wasted an hour or two online and then realized you didn't get even one new article written? I know it's happened to me. Yeah, you have to reply to blog comments and check out your friends' articles ... but first things first. Break down your goals into daily to-do lists and add them to your planner. If you're a WAHM, your planner should be chock full of things -- daily chores, menu plans, appointments, kids activities, writing deadlines and the like.

I used the Motivated Moms system for the last few months of 2008 and just purchased the 2009 version to keep me on track for the new year. It rocks!

Here's a sample page of my Motivated Moms 2009 Full Size Planner: (click image to enlarge):

It's basically the Fly Lady house cleaning system broken down into daily checklists, with my self-added writing goals and daily appointments all in one place. If you have trouble balancing it all, resort to this simple checklist system. It rotates your chores for you, incorporating daily, weekly, monthly and seasonal tasks all in one simple planner system.

I'll be relying on my Motivated Moms planner to make sure I keep up with my writing goals for the year and stay on top of the house. I love writing, but I don't love housework. Knowing what I have to do each day simplifies things.

What's your favorite organizational tool or tip?

Top eHow article hits $1,000 in Revenue

Thank goodness I stepped out on a limb just over a year ago and decided to experiment by writing directly for eHow. At the time, I was suggesting how-to titles for a content company contracted by Demand Media to provide articles for the site. For each topic they approved and I wrote, I was paid a flat fee: $11.

Of course, for a stay at home mom who could crank out 2-3 an hour at times, the hours rate wasn't bad -- and it was better than what I was earning grading high school English papers at night. So I certainly wasn't complaining. But ... what if I could retain the rights to my work and possibly earn more submitting directly to eHow? I decided to give it a shot after eHow's Rich stopped by the WAHM writer's forum trying to recruit eHow members.

My first article has earned hundreds of dollars. One of the articles I wrote a month in to my experiment has now crossed the $1,000 mark. Wow. (Click image to enlarge. Some details removed.)

Is that not awesome? Here's hoping a few of the others cross that mark in 2009. And if you still needed convincing, residual income is the best business model for writers, in my opinion. In 2009, I'll be doing all of my writing for residual income streams. It took me a full year to transition from writing for pay, per article, to writing only "for myself" in residual income models.

I'm not just turning my back on $11 articles, or the $30 articles I was writing for another site. I charged $150 each for blog post articles in 2008 for a software company, and could have continued to write for them ... but my heart wasn't there. I only have so many hours to write, and I want to spend them building up long-term income sources that will continue to earn money for my family months and even years down the road.

Of course, since my income is a secondary income for our family, and I had to replace a part-time income and not a full-time one, it took less time, perhaps, than it would have otherwise. However, if you have more hours to devote to building up residuals, perhaps you can get there even more quickly.

In the coming year, it's my goal to build up a full-time residual income ... working very part-time, of course, and using the foundation I already have in place.

What are your writing income goals for 2009?

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Maximize eHow Earnings with Affiliate Links

Do you earn income from affiliate products you recommend in your eHow articles? If not ... it's time to start. I encourage you, if you have a library of eHow articles, to take some time to add affiliate links or links to your other sites and blogs, under the Resources section of your articles. Don't waste time on social promotion, Digging and Stumbling articles that really aren't going to appeal to those social communities. Instead -- maximize your earnings potential by adding another residual income revenue stream to your content.

For this post, I'm going to assume you've joined the affiliate programs and can navigate them enough to generate the code for the products. Here's how to add affiliate links to your eHow articles for several of the affiliate programs I use.

To build affiliate links to Amazon products, choose the "text only" option, to simplify the HTML code you'll see. While the program generates HTML code, you are just after the link -- you can NOT copy and paste the entire HTML code into your eHow article or Resources section.

Here's what it looks like when you're getting the affiliate code for Amazon products (click to enlarge):
Select the URL that begins http:// and is located between the quote marks. Do not inlcue the quotes, but make sure you have highlighted every character in between. Copy this web address to your clipboard by keying CTRL + C or by right-clicking your highlight link and then selecting "Copy" or "Copy to clipboard" in the menu that appears.

You now have the affiliate code for the product you wanted to recommend -- and if someone buys it form your link, you'll get credit -- and money. Scroll down to "Putting it All Together," below, to see how to add this link to your eHow articles.

Commission Junction is a great affiliate network, and I'm averaging around $100 a month from affiliate sales through CJ, even with a very low number of links online. I'll be adding more CJ links to my articles and sites in the coming months.

After choosing the product or site you wish to promote, choose "Get HTML" for the link you want. You'll see the following dialog box:

Select the affiliate link between the quotes. You'll use this in your eHow article ... scroll down to "Putting it All Together" to see how.


My ebook is hosted with eJunkie, and there are scores of information products on the site that offer affiliate programs. (If you're not an eHow ebook affiliate, you should be! You can earn $12.50 per sale by promoting my ebook in eHow-related articles, money-themed how-to's and even your blog. )And then you'll have the code:

Select only the link between the quotes, which in this case I have underlined in blue.

Putting it All Together: Adding the affiliate links to eHow articles

After generating your HTML code, selecting the appropriate link, and copying it to your clipboard, you're ready to add the link to your eHow article. Open the article for editing, and scroll down to the last few sections of the Write Article tool.

Screen shot of the eHow Write Article tool, to illustrate (click to enlarge):

Paste the affiliate link in the "link" section and then write or copy and paste a descriptive phrase about the product or site. Keep it short and simple. Hit publish. Now view your article, and click the link to make sure you added it correctly.

From the outside, your affiliate link simply looks like a helpful resource (which it is):

There you have it. Easy-peasy, right?

Don't expect huge overnight earnings ... the Resources section is so far down that most readers never see it. But some, intrigued by the information in your articles and wanting to know more, keep scrolling and see your resources. Some click, some don't. Some buy the products you recommend. Most don't.

But just like the adsense clicks, day in and day out, it adds up over time. A few minutes to build a link can translate into many dollars over time. My best-performing link has earned me hundreds of dollars over the past few months. This is passive income at its best -- enjoy it.