Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Five Reasons Why You Should Write for Residuals

 There's a good deal of how-to information when it comes to building a passive residual income online and in the real world, but not much about the benefits, about the why of residual income efforts. Until you've achieved your passive income goals, the efforts to get there can seem enormous compared to the returns: you might write 50 website articles in a month and only see a few dollars in revenue during those few weeks.

That's when a reminder as to what you're aiming for, and why, is important.

Having built up to a full-time residual writing income in the past, and earning one this year as well, I've experienced firsthand the peace and freedom that comes from passive income. A residual income allows you to:

Diversify your income sources: In an unstable employment market, adding to and diversifying the places from which you receive income is especially important. The more income sources you have, the better better you can weather most financial storms in any economy.

Increase earnings potential: By building a residual income stream that doesn't need constant attention, you can can earn more money over time. The more residuals you build through websites and digital media, the higher your overall earnings will be, even if your boss never gives you a raise at your 9-to-5 (assuming you have and keep a regular job). As a work at home mom, I am able to earn far more through residual sources than if I only wrote as a freelancer for hire.

Retire early or on time: Build income source for retirement through your own niche sites, blogs, revenue-share articles, ebooks, apps and the like. While many Americans are facing the threat of less less money in retirement, delaying retirement or even no retirement at all due to lack of savings and investments, savvy online writers can build an income stream to last throughout their retirement years with basic upkeep and maintenance.

Work less hours: If you want to quit your day job and work only as much as you like, building a full-time passive income is the way to go to achieve this without living on peanuts or handouts. Since passive income allows you to reap the benefit of years' worth of efforts, you can work much fewer hours -- even take off for weeks at a time -- if you aren't trying to build up to a higher level.
Enjoy life more: Whether it's a long commute, stressful deadlines, or plain old burnout in your current job, many people find their work stressful and their family and personal time too limited. With a strong passive residual income from writing, you can plan your days, have more time with children, a spouse, friends and the adventures and activities you enjoy.

What your motivation for working for a long-term passive income?

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Building a New Website

I'm building a new website in a home cleaning niche. There, that's my confession. I know that building new sites wasn't in my stated plans for recovering residual income post-eHow, but the other day I received an alert that a few domain names I own were up for renewal.

To my chagrin, one of those domains had nothing on it -- not even a basic html frame, no blog, nothing, and I'd owned it for 11 months. I decided to renew, even though it's just a .info domain, but only after committing to myself that I would actually use it for a website before it hit the 12 month mark. And to that end, I've spent the past week making this new site. Here's what it looks like in terms of structure, content and money-making model.

Website Format: Static Site
The cleaning niche I picked isn't particularly conducive to a blogging format, and I find that websites that won't be frequently updated or commented on do best in a static  format, so I picked a simple html template and customized it with niche-specific cleaning photos.

Website Content: Outsourcing
I wrote one page and outsourced seven articles from Textbroker. While I've used Textbroker several times in the past month, this was my best set of articles from them thus far. I chose level 4 and was very specific in my request instructions. The writers did well -- I had to make only minor edits to the articles before adding the content to my site pages. All told, I spent $60.77 on the content.

Website Monetization: Adsense & Amazon
The income model for this site is simple: Google Adsense units along the two side columns and in-article text links to Amazon products. I've also used Amazon product photos to illustrate the content and these link to their Amazon product pages as well. As far as earning potential, I don't expect this to be a huge money-maker, as it is a narrow niche and the products are inexpensive ($5-$100, with most under $30).

However, there isn't much competition there either. I'll set $100/month as my goal for monthly earnings for this little site, and hope to hit that within a year.

I'll definitely post updates on the website as it begins to earn money (here's hoping!) and I add more content. For the record, I put the first page up on May 17. No backlinks yet, but the first page was crawled and indexed by Google a few days ago, which means at least the search engine giant knows it exists.

Are you working on a website, new or old? How is it doing?

Friday, May 13, 2011

Niche Site Profits April 2011

 With the eHow WCP closed for good and taking with it the backbone of what was a full-time passive residual income from writing, I've been working harder than ever on my own properties to rebuild my monthly residuals. I recently shared my residual income without eHow. In April, I focused efforts on two of my own sites to begin rebuilding monthly cash flow. I'll share their income reports below.

Facebook Fan Page
In April, I added some backlinks and set up a Facebook page for my pets site.  The Facebook page has 15 fans and I've posted links to articles on my site there, receiving a few comments and a sprinkling of visitors. With the Google changes, social media is increasingly important for traffic and rankings.

Outsourcing Content
While the pets site was previously written entirely by me, and is on a topic with which I am very familiar and work with in real life on a daily basis, I decided to hire a freelance writer to help me add more articles to it in May. The writer has personal experience in this niche as well, and I'm confident I'll see quality work from him. I'll update on that front next month.

Pets Website Earnings
Income for this niche hit its peak in March, as was the case in 2010 and 2009, and will wind slowly down from here, with the fall months typically the lowest-earning.

Adsense      $557.74
Clickbank   $220.18
Amazon        $16.44

April total   $794.36

(-$10.33 compared to March 2011)

Family Niche Blog Income
Just the other day, I lamented to my husband that my newer niche blog on a family-related topic was only earning about $10 a month from Adsense, whereas the pets site at the same age was making $80-$100 a month from ad clicks and affiliate commissions. It wasn't until I listed and tallied all its income sources that I realized it's actually doing very well.

Started last August, it's less than nine months old and has just 15 blog posts and four pages. I discovered this niche from one of my eHow articles that did exceptionally well (it earned over $3,000 in revenue share and more than $1,500 in affiliate commissions in 3.5 years).

Family niche blog income sources in April 2011:       $29.75
RA sales    $21.82
Clickbank  $21.24 
Amazon     $17.06
Adsense      $9.82

Total         $99.69

Thus my total earnings from these two sites in April was $894.05 -- to me, a very encouraging number. I have over a dozen domain names, most sitting unloved with just a few pages or posts apiece (or in some cases, nothing), but by focusing my efforts on one or two sites at a time, I hope to bring them all up to at least the $100/month mark by next year and keep growing from there.
  •  Check out my Tools & Training resource page for links to the products and services I use and recommend. If you haven't made your own profitable website yet, everything you need to get started is right there.

Do you have a niche site or blog? How is it doing? If not, what's stopping you from moving forward?

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

WriterGig's Residual Income (sans eHow)

My Residual Writing Income
With the official closure of eHow's Writers Compensation Program (WCP) on May 5, 2011, my monthly residual income took a dramatic shift downward. As much as I have been working to diversify my online income sources over the past year, I was still very dependent on eHow for the bulk of my monthly earnings (I made over $3,000 from my articles there in March 2011).

I have worked on my websites almost every week, sometimes daily, but having met my original income goals, and busy with little children, I didn't have quite the drive and intensity that I did when I first began my residual income adventure.

One of the silver linings to the end of the WCP is that it has re-inspired me to build my residual income platform through my online properties, with quality content monetized by ads and affiliate links.

The Numbers
April 2011 Online Residual Income Report
  • Google Adsense:                                                   $647.96
  • Clickbank affiliate commissions:                             $241.42
  • Amazon Associates affiliate commissions:               $239.42
  • Other (NB $59.88 ; RA $21.82; WA $66.50)      $148.20         
  • Demand Studios residuals                                      $117.22
  • Commission Junction affiliate commissions:                  $40.27
Total                                                                             $1,434.49

Future Writing Income Goals
Obviously, my writing residuals are much less today than they have been in years, especially compared to this past March and November and December of last year (those were my three $5,000+ passive income months). But even with no eHow and very low numbers (my best selling product was out of stock from the vendor all month) I still broke $1,000 and came close to $1,500. If this is my basis going forward, I think I am in good shape -- not starting from zero, at least. I'm going to work to build back up to a $5,000 month by the end of the year.

Will I make it? I hope so. I have a plan, which involves quadrupling the amount of quality content I have online currently in order to see the same percentage increase in my earnings by late 2011 or early 2012. Stay tuned in here to see if I make it.

What about your goals? How will you build your residual income, or freelance writing income, or work-at-home-mom business, going forward?

Note: Due to a Blogger glitch, most of the comments on this post disappeared. I've re-posted them below. 

Friday, May 6, 2011

End of an Era: Goodbye to the eHow WCP

"Rich people focus on opportunities,
Poor people focus on obstacles." 
-T. Harv Eker, Secrets of the Millionaire Mind

 For many writers, the official end of eHow's Writers Compensation program (WCP) comes as a big disappointment, if not a total shock. Since the program closed to new articles a year ago, in April 2010, many predicted the eventual cessation of payments. 

Why End the WCP?
Demand Media, which went public in January, has been working to streamline their property, minimize duplicate content, and since last spring has put all new articles through a competent editorial process. There are still many articles on the site, including content that pre-dates Demand's acquisition of eHow and some inferior WCP articles, that detract from rather than boost eHow's reputation. By stopping WCP payments and allowing users to remove their content, eHow is both cleaning up its site and perhaps making a business decision as to the profitability of various content.

Buyout Offers
As of May 5, 2011, the WCP is over and done with and no further earnings will accrue. However, Demand Media has made personalized offers to buy writer's content in order to keep it on

Writers still own their intellectual property -- the articles written and published on eHow -- but can no longer receive residual payments via the eHow platform. Thus, many will choose to accept Demand Media's buyout offer for their articles and leave them on the site, transferring ownership to Demand.

Some will decline the offer and instead delete their articles from eHow and move them to other content sites, personal blogs and self-run niche sites. Others have decided to leave their articles on eHow, hoping to profit at least for a little while longer from the secondary streams of income generated by their content: links to their related niche sites and the affiliate links allowed by the original WCP.

My mom accepted her offer of about $220 for three articles, sister #1 took $330+ for her dozen articles, and sister #2 declined $34 for 10 articles. I think they all made good decisions. In the end, much of their articles' value was that they were published on 

Regardless of whether they keep their articles on the site or not, writers who counted on the money they earned from eHow each month will need to find ways to replace that income as quickly as possible. Several writer/work at home mom (WAHM) friends have asked me what I'm going to do.

 My Plans
First, I am going to look at this not as an obstacle, but as an opportunity. The quote I shared at the beginning of this post is from a book my husband's sales team was required to read and discuss over the past few months. There are many excellent "wealth files" in it, and I thought this one was particularly fitting for those who write online to build residual income.

A positive outlook is important in order to move forward and to create success in other endeavors. I think of all that I learned from  my articles, including valuable insight about profitable niches, and know that I can take this experience, knowledge gained through the surprising success of my "eHow experiment," and use it to build an even higher monthly residual income.

Practically speaking, I'll be concentrating my efforts on the following areas:
To build my residual income on these properties, I'll be
  • Writing quality, original, helpful articles
  • Locating and affiliate-linking to excellent products and resources
  • Backlinking and using social media to increase traffic and SERP ranking of my content
(2/2/2016: For those looking back and wondering... yes, I took eHow's buyout offer. It was fair. It was significant. It was a win-win. And looking back, five years later, I know for certain what a great decision that was.)

That's my plan in a nutshell. What's yours?