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Tuesday, February 2, 2010

What Makes a $1,000+ eHow Article?


At some point last month, another eHow article moved into the $1,000+ slot among my top earners. Now that I have four articles that have each earned over $1k, maybe I can shed some light on what it takes to make that much from one simple how-to article.

But first of all, can I just say, how cool is that?! When I first started writing eHow articles almost two and a half years ago, I had only an inkling of the potential for good earnings and certainly didn't expect to see articles do that well. Neither did anyone else -- except maybe a few folks at Demand Media.

Now, about those articles. What goes into a thousand-dollar eHow article? And more importantly, how can we all write more of them?

Some things are fairly consistent with top earning articles. The main traits these four have in common are good SEO, uniqueness and worthwhile content. Three have all those aspects; one admittedly possesses just the first two. Three are personal finance or career-related topics, the other is a home and garden article. Here's what I've learned about their similarities:
  • SEO, Search Engine Optimization: Researching good keywords and properly placing them in your article is the best strategy for earning with online content, especially on eHow. I use free tools such as Wordtracker and Google Adwords to help with this aspect. When you link to your article from other sites, use the main keywords as anchor text.
  • Uniqueness: Are the keywords you want to use already the main topic of another eHow article? Or are they so competitive that a Google search returns pages of quality, relative results all with good SEO-titles? If either or both these are in the affirmative, you'll do better looking for another aspect of that niche and switching to different keywords. To earn well, your keywords need to be unique on eHow and in a somewhat unsaturated niche online.
  • Content: Make sure the introduction and body of your eHow article provide the information your reader is searching for. Your article should be in-depth enough to provide a good reader experience and convey the knowledge you're sharing. Fluff pieces won't make it to the top (with rare exception).
  • A little luck: One of my articles, the one that's garnered $1,900+ so far, is based on keywords that showed very few searches at the time of the writing. However, I wrote the article on a bit of a hunch and it played out. There were no other eHow articles using those keywords when I wrote it, and when the topic became popular it was one of the top results in the search engines.
Each of my top four articles is about two years old -- they were written at the end of 2007 and the beginning of 2008. While time is important to see full earnings potential, high earners will often show their value early on. One of these articles earned $400 in a single month only six months after it was published.

For more on maximizing earnings, check out my ebook: How to Earn Passive Income on eHow

Do you have some high earners on eHow? Share your tips with other readers in the comments section.

24 comments:

Caroline said...

This is a very helpful article. I have written a few articles for ehow but so far my top article has only made $100 dollars. But, I do not know that much about SEO.

Busey said...

I started writing for e-how a month ago and have written a total of 17 articles and have not made much so far... I do see the page views steadily increasing though and due find that the niche I write about, motorcycles is currently in the off-season. I think with good SEO practices you can definitely make an article pay you $$$ over time...
Follow me on Twitter

propane said...

Great point about content. Many web writers get so lost in SEO, they forget to focus on relevant content.

Laura Pagles
FatWallet.com

Donella said...

That's really amazing! I'm very motivated by your success. Keep at it!

Lisa said...

For me, it's definitely been luck. I never bothered to do SEO on my articles and it seems like the ones that seem the most ridiculous are the ones that make the most money.

Veryirie said...

Absolutely inspirational post. Thanks for sharing and congratulations!

Virginia Allain said...

You've done very well with these four articles. I have a $600 one.
After awhile you get a certain feeling when you are posting a winner. When it starts earning right away, that's a good sign.

Tammy Frost said...

Absolutely awesome work! That's all I can really say. You motivate me to be as successful as you. Please do me a favor and follow my brand new ehow blog too.
http://ehowevents.blogspot.com
Thanks for all of your wonderful information.

Tammy

ccrock said...

That is so awesome and inspiring! My top earning article has made over $300 so far, but it took me a while to learn about SEO and I'm still working at all those factors...it doesn't come as natural to me, most of my article ideas don't seem to be ones that pay off...or I just don't target them in the right way like you do. Keep up the good work and for all the great info you share!

Elaine said...

I'm probably a baby ehower with only 14 articles so far. Thanks for all your great info. Bought your ebook!
My ehow user name is elainek. I'd be delighted if you stopped by.

Dave Ward (eclecticprof) said...

Helpful and inspiring post as always. Kudos to your past and ongoing success. One interesting thing that was encouraging to me was to note that these are two year old articles. I have only been at it a year on eHow so none of mine are that large. I started reading thinking 'Why don't my articles earn this much?!" But your top articles are earning $40-$75 a month. Now that's a target I think I can hit. I have one $40 a month article (woo hoo) and I am trying to use your system to add to it. Several other $20 a month articles may be heading that way, so time to get back to some promotion. Thanks!!!!

Kidgas said...

This is a good article but it is actually not as simple as you suggest. I know all the technical aspects of the perfect golf swing but am not yet a professional golfer.

At some point, there has to be quite a bit of effort involved. I think that the hard work and practice aspect also can't be underemphasized.

Nevertheless, congratulations on your four articles.

Maria said...

Dave -- you are right on track!

Kidgas -- I have to respectfully disagree with you. It really is "that easy." The hardest part is being disciplined and keeping on keeping on when it comes to writing articles.

JPowell said...

That is amazing! I keep telling myself that I need to get started on residual sites and/or niche blogs, but I just can't push myself to do it.

This is definitely inspirational though, maybe it'll give me the motivation I need!

Laura said...

Thanks for stopping by my blog. You are such an inspiration for making residual income. I just started eHow and wrote some articles last month. I actually made payout and am encouraged to write more.

claire covington said...

I am inspired by your success and your willingness to keep at it until it happens. I think the lure of going fast kills many people's dreams. It is helpful to hear that your best sites have been up a couple of years.
Thanks.

Char K said...

Do you still write there - the whole unavailable issue is driving me crazy.

Wendy said...

I had no idea you could earn so much through ehow. Congrats! I probably should have made my cake tutorial for eHow rather than posting it on blogger... not sure. It's a free tutorial given the character being created is licensed, but wonder if it would have qualified for eHow? I'll have to look into this for the next time I throw something together. :)

amber said...

Congrats on your success. It's always exciting to watch an article cross over a threshold into the "top earner" category.

Amy Laine said...

Maria, if you told me it was that simple two years ago I would have laughed at you. But you are a excellent teacher. If it was not for your teachings I would have gave up long ago. As you have mentioned above, the higher earning articles are articles that are written from know how, not research. After that it just takes time. I have never really built back links for my articles I have always written them and let others link to me. I found a tool yesterday online that allowed me to see all my back links to each article. I thought it was cool how I did not have to do any of the work. One article showed over 60 back links. How cool is that. And yes that it was on of my $2000+ articles. At the time the article was written, (over two years ago) I had no clue what SEO even was.

Maria said...

Amy, that is so cool you've had an article hit $2k! I am right behind you and can't wait. Sometimes I feel torn between focusing on my niche sites vs. writing more eHow articles. I'm working to build up my niche sites but eHow has such great PR and traffic it's tempting to just right for them. I just don't want all my eggs in one basket, you know what I mean?

clarkkent13 said...

Wow! This is very inspiring. I just started writing on ehow 3/1/10. So far I have 6 articles published & 2 submited waiting to be published - $.45 so far on one.
I hope that some of my articles can become half as successful.

Oh and thank you for writing your e-book. I bought it before I started writing & I know that it will cut my learning curve in half!

RaySolution said...

this is awesome and something to look forward, too, but I bet it was a lot of hard work.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for confirming what I've come to understand. More SEO - and practice practice. Sometimes an article just takes off too, but the best overnight successes are very well planned.