Saturday, November 28, 2009

Best Topics to Write About in December

Hi all,

Hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving and are now ready to get into the full swing of the Holiday Season.  Did any of you hit the stores early Friday morning and get any great deals? We generally stay away from Black Friday (I used to work in retail so I know to stay away!), but my husband decided to brave Wal-Mart at 5:00 AM and picked up a great deal on a big flat-screen TV that we've talked about buying for years now but never did.  Even in our little town, Wal-Mart, Target and the tiny mall we have were packed to the brim with shoppers.  It's amazing what people will do to get a good deal.

I didn't do any writing over the past two days yet I still earned money.  My residuals did fairly well over Thanksgiving and I sold an article on Constant-Content.  It is nice to be away for a day or two and still earn money - the benefits of residual income.  I probably won't get back into the swing of writing until Monday when everyone at my house is back to work and school.  Today is a great day for putting up the Christmas tree and maybe taking a long nap!  Tonight I plan to watch one of my favorite movies on the new TV!

Article Topics for December

If you are wondering what to write about this December, then here are a few ideas.  Of course, December is a good month to continue with holiday articles, tips to save money over the holidays, party tips, gift giving tips and decorating tips.  Holiday crafts for children is also a good topic - especially if they are crafts that teachers can use in the classroom too.  And don't forget about recipes.  People love finding new holiday recipes.

This time of year is also a good time to write about family finance, budgeting, and year-end financial planning.  Once the first of the year hits and everyone is in debt, they start looking for ideas on how to get out of debt and how to budget their money better for the new year.  People also start looking for tips on how to save money on insurances, household bills and credit card interest.  Debt consolidaiton is also a hot topic.  And don't forget about taxes.  Come January, people are already counting on their income tax refund to get them out of debt.  Articles on new tax deductions, where to get your taxes done and new tax software are always hot topics.  IRA's, 401k's and HSA's are also topics people are looking into at the first of the year.

December through March are good months to start in with articles on diet, exercise, weight loss and healthy eating.  During the holidays some people are looking for ways to not gain weight and after January 1st everyone is looking for the best way to lose the holiday weight.  I have found that "belly fat", "cholesterol" and "diabetes" are good money-making key words if you write for eHow or Triond.

Hope these tips help to make your holiday writing season a successful one.

Happy writing,

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

eHow Update and Happy Thanksgiving!

Hi all,

First of all I'd like to wish all of you and your families a very Happy Thanksgiving. No matter how your year has gone, we can all find something to be thankful for.  It is also a good time to look ahead and make dreams into reality.  Enjoy the next few days with family and friends and try not to overeat and overspend on Black Friday!

I've been having an especially good month at eHow and wanted to share some of my top selling articles with you.  When I first started writing for residual income sites I really didn't know what to expect.  Even though I had read that people make a good income this way, you just never know until you try it yourself.  I didn't quickly write hundreds of articles to toss onto eHow - I've been at a slower pace and have only 66 articles there right now.  This month my income is up 43% from last month, even though I have only placed 7 new articles there this month. Most of my income is building up from older articles, although one article I placed there this month is earning income fast.  Here are my five top earning eHow articles. The amount earned is the total each article has earned to date since being placed on the site. I will put the date published so you can see how long it has taken to earn this amount.

6/11/09 - How to Stop Belly Bloat    $19.98
7/22/09 - How to Improve your Health with the Benefits of Lecithin   $12.13
8/13/09 - How to Lower Bad Cholesterol with Simple Diet Changes  $16.10
8/29/09 - How to Make a Kitchen Stylish and Efficient  $11.94
11/1/09 - How to Lose Dangerous Belly Fat  $8.10

My other eHow articles are anywhere between the $2 to $7 dollar range and one or two are earning no money at all.  The good thing is that the income continues to grow and you never know when a topic will suddenly become popular.  The article on lecithin had a slow start and then suddenly took off, it continues to earn money every day.  Maybe some of my non-earners will suddenly begin earning too.

eHow isn't Perfect

Of course, as in any job, eHow isn't perfect.  But of all the sites I write for, it is the best earning site so far.  I did lose 4 articles this month from an eHow sweep for silly reasons, but I could place them elsewhere so it didn't really matter.  I also have had a problem with their new "review" system when I edit an older article. Both times I edited an article, it had to go through review again and then it came up as a plagiarized article and it took eHow several days to figure out that yeah, the article came up plagiarized because it had already been published on eHow!  Very frustrating but it does get resolved. 

How are all of you doing on eHow this month?

Happy writing,

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Triond has New Features to Earn Money

Hi all,

Recently Triond has added two new ways to earn more money through their site.  (You can read my orginial review of Triond here.)  First, Triond has added Google Adsense earnings to your articles.  Not only do you earn the ad revenue as before, but in addition you can now earn Google ad revenue that is paid directly into your Google account.  Triond also keeps track of your Google ad earnings in your dashboard on their site.  While I don't have many articles at Triond, I do earn a few dollars a month there.  So far, with the Google Adsense addition, I am now earning twice as much as before.  Adding Google ads was a plus for writers at Triond.

Another way Triond is helping their writers earn more income is through a writer referral program.  You earn 10% of any writer's income that you refer.  Triond also keeps track of how much you earn from your referrals on your dashboard.  You do have to be an active member of Triond who is still earning residual income each month in order to earn referral income. You also have to send an e-mail to Triond to apply to have a referral account.  Check their latest messages to writers to learn where to e-mail the request.

If you are thinking of writing for Triond, now would be a good time to join.  If you are already a member, but don't write for Triond too often, you might want to start thinking of Triond as a good residual income site.

Happy writing,

Monday, November 16, 2009 – Writing Site Review

Hi all,

As I mentioned before, I started writing for Examiner at the end of October. I am officially their Minnesota Heart Health Examiner. I had applied for the National Heart Health Examiner because I don’t live near any large cities, but instead they offered me the Minnesota job (even though it never really existed) and I am basically under the Minneapolis division. I really love my topic and it is one that will be easy to find endless subtopics on to write about for some time to come. I had been thinking about applying for some time and finally took the plunge to see what kind of money could be made there. As with most sites, some people love it and make a good income, others hate it and say it barely makes any income. All I can do is tell you about, share my experience so far with it and let you make up your own mind as to whether or not you want to add it to your residual income writing sites.

What is

First off, Examiner makes it very clear that they are not affiliated in any way to any newspaper with the name of Examiner. They are their own independent website. is owned by The Anschutz Company which is a large media investment company. was launched in April, 2008 and covers over 110 major US cities in states all over the country as well as Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia and the Philippines. Examiner is a growing website and expects to have over 18 million unique visitors to it’s website by the end of 2009.

Examiner is a huge website broken down into areas for each city. When you go to their main site, they will ask you to choose your state, then city. This makes Examiner similar to a city newspaper because the people writing for that area are from around that area. It gives it a hometown feeling with a nationwide reach.

Applying for Examiner

You must apply and be accepted before becoming a writer for You choose your state, then the city closest to you. The application requires a writing sample of about 300 words in your area of expertise, a biography, reason why you think you can write about your chosen topic and your writing experience. Don’t let the application scare you away. You don’t have to be a professional in the topic of your choice, just a good writer who is willing to research your topic fully.

Acceptance or denial can come in as little as 24 hours or as long as 2 weeks, depending upon how busy the editor for your topic is. I was accepted within 24 hours and received all the information I needed to begin writing at that time. Once you are accepted, you have up to 3 days to publish your first article. Although your first article goes live immediately, they ask that you do not publish another article until the editor has looked at your first one and given you the okay. After that, you are free to publish as many articles as you wish in your topic. Also, you will be asked to fill out and return an IRS W-9 form in order to be paid. This you can download at the IRS website, print and mail in.

Writing for Examiner

Examiner asks that you write 3-4 articles a week to keep your page fresh. This is a good way to build up a following, build up your article library and, of course, build up your income. Articles must be a minimum of 200 words and a maximum of 400 words. You can go higher but they prefer short, quick articles. Articles should also be written in the third person. I have explored quite extensively and I see many writers that treat the site like their own personal blog with a lot of “I” and “Me” on their pages. Examiner frowns on this; however they do not edit everything that goes through so these writers continue breaking the rules. I suggest you do as they request in the event that someday they become like eHow and begin cleaning up and sweeping away any articles that do not conform.

Examiner gives you plenty of learning videos and information on what they expect of you as an Examiner, and I suggest you watch these and read whatever guidelines they give. Then get started and write your first article.

Article Rights at Examiner

At Examiner you own all rights to your articles and you can publish them elsewhere if you so choose. Once published on their site, you have the right to delete them also. You can also publish articles on their site that you have published elsewhere, as long as they are in your topic of expertise. So, you will not be wasting your time at If you find you are not making as much money as you’d like there, you can either add to the income by publishing the articles on another site as well or delete them from Examiner and publish them elsewhere.  (This has changed - you can still publish your articles elsewhere but you can no longer delete or publish old articles on Examiner).

Payment at Examiner

Like other residual income websites, Examiner says their pay rate is a combination of page views, unique visitors, session length and advertising performance. Most people who write for Examiner find that they are paid about .01 cent per unique visit. If you get 200 visits, you basically get $2.00. Of course, if the same person revisits the article more than once per day, that won’t count so you will see at times that you may have 200 visits for the day but only $1.95 in earnings. I have found that I basically get the one cent per click. How much you earn will depend upon how popular your topic is and how many people you can drive to your articles through social networking sites and such. Remember, some topics are hot and earn a lot at first but then die down, while others earn slowly but steadily. So don’t expect to get rich quickly.

Payment is made via Pay Pal once you have reached the $25 minimum. (Examiner now has a $10 minimum payment) In order to be paid, you must have published an article in the past 30 days. Another good reason to keep your page current.

Examiner also has a Referral Program that will pay you if a writer you refer is accepted and has had their first article accepted.  The amount you earn is $50 per person.  Not too shabby.

My Thoughts on Examiner

I like writing for Examiner because I enjoy my topic and I don’t find it too difficult writing 3-4 short articles each week. I am not making a fortune as of yet, but I only have 7 articles there so far. I like that Examiner sends you e-mails updating you on special topics or guides they will be having for the month ( like their Thanksgiving Guide) so you can write articles and link them to these special features. I also like the idea that I own all rights to my articles and can walk away with them if I decide to stop writing for this site. Take a look at Examiner and decide for yourself.

Update 4/5/11 - Examiner announced in an e-mail today that they were changing the way they pay.  Instead of pay per page view, they will be setting an amount of pay per 1,000 views, much like AC does.  Your CPM will be determined by how many articles you post, if you post articles on a current basis, the quality of your articles and how much you "Share" your links to such sites as Digg, Stumbleupon, etc.  The more points you receive, the higher your CPM.  Apparently they think this is the best way to reward their loyal writers.  If you write only once in a while, you will have a lower CPM.  And, if you don't post an article at least once every 60 days you will not receive payment.  I will do a post about this later this week (4/5/11) if you want to learn more.  Read post on Examiner pay changes here.

Happy writing,


Associated Press Guide to News Writing: The Resource for Professional Journalists

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Suite101 Update

Hi all,

I recently had a comment from one of my readers expressing interest in hearing more about my experience with Suite101.  So, I thought I'd do an update.  I currently have 27 articles on Suite101 (will be 28 as soon as I get to adding my latest article) and so far I haven't seen big money there.  Now, that is not to say that you can't earn really good money there - many people do - I just haven't hit that magic number yet.  Reading around the blogs, I get the impression that once you have 50+ articles at Suite you start seeing a good monthly income.  That sounds about right.  It wasn't until I had over 36 articles at eHow that I saw the money begin to really grow.  Also, the subjects that you write on have a lot to do with how much you earn.  Most of my articles at Suite are on health or children's health issues, and while they do receive many views they don't necessarily earn a high income.  My most popular article gets 50-100 hits a day and seems to be my biggest money maker.  The others tend to get 20 hits and under each day. 

Even though I haven't made big money at Suite101 yet, I do plan to continue writing there until my first year is up and see where I am.  Interest in topics change, and while one day I may get 10 clicks on an article, suddenly another day I get 400 on the same article.  My opinion on Suite101 is that you have to be in it for the long haul.  And you have to be committed to writing at least 50-100 articles to start seeing the earnings you desire.  The only reason I haven't published more articles there yet is because I have been busy with so many other writing commitments.  Also, my eHow earnings have been growing faster than Suite101, so I have been writing more there.  Of course I have twice as many articles at eHow than Suite, so that is probably why.

The pros of writing at Suite101:
  • Your articles will rank high on Google and therefore get more clicks than anywhere else (that is my experience).
  • You get feedback from the editors there and learn to write quality articles that earn views.
  • Writing there pushes you to write quality articles instead of sluffing off like can sometimes happen at other sites.
  • You can make a good income over time if you are patient.
If you are thinking seriously of writing for Suite101, I would suggest applying and giving it a try for one year.  As a contributing writer, you only have to write a minimum of 10 articles every 3 months.  If, after a year you are not satisfied, you can stop writing there but still receive residual income for as long as you keep the articles posted on the site.

More Information on Suite101

Visit Felicia's blog "No Job For Mom" and Willow's blog "The Freelance Home Writer" to read their take on Suite101.  Prerna Malik of "The Mom Writes" is also an avid Suite writer and was just promoted to Feature Writer, so visit her blog too for her opinion of Suite101. 

Would love to hear comments from other Suite101 writers who want to share their opinion and experiences with Suite101.

Happy writing

(Back to fall again. We had the first beautiful day in weeks, but  I'm sure winter is on the way.)

Friday, November 6, 2009

Informative Post on Earning Income Writing

Hi all,

I was just visiting Kidgas at his blog My Online Income and he has a wonderful article there about building spare income with your writing, especially helpful for writing moms (and dads) who are looking for ways to earn money while they stay home with their children.  The article is: Strategy for Work at Home Moms.  Finding time to write and earn money can be difficult, especially if you are a stay-home parent, but you don't need hours each day to accomplish building a viable income.  Hope you'll hop on over there and visit his article and blog.

Speaking of part-time income, my husband and son run a DJ/Karoke business on the side and play for holidays, weddings and other occassions.  Here they are on Halloween.  Can you guess who they are dressed up as?

Happy writing,

Sunday, November 1, 2009

November Goals &

Hi all,

Well, it's November which, way up here in the far north, means we now expect snow to come and stay (unlike the October snow we were already getting) and also expect extremely cold temps and spending plenty of time indoors (unless you are one of those hardy folks who loves to freeze - and there are many of you who do).  To me, November is the start of my time to really buckle down and get some serious writing done.  Not only the writing I've been doing, but also the writing I love best - fiction writing.

Setting Writing Goals

I always think it is good to set goals no matter what you do in life, but as a freelancer who is in charge of my own time with no boss standing over me, goals are even more important.  Without goals, I would probably never finish an article, let alone 60 articles.  For me, setting goals comes naturally because I am one of those annoying sort who loves to organize and plan.  For others it isn't as easy, but I recommend you try just to give yourself a push. 

When I started my residual income writing, it was to build up an income that would give me a few extra dollars a month while I work on my next fiction novel this winter.  Before that, I was writing for up-front pay, which is wonderful but when you stop submitting work, you stop earning money.  So I thought I'd give the residual income earning a try, and I have not been disappointed.  Between eHow and Suite101, as well as the many other sites I write for, I do have a nice little residual income.  I am nowhere near the amount I want to be yet, but I will get there.  Because I found I enjoy writing for the residual income sites so much, my plan of stopping to submit for several months has changed.  I now want to both build up the residual income sites and work on my novel.  So, for the month of November I plan to spend 1-2 days a week submitting articles to my residual sites and 4-5 days a week working on my novel.  Yes, that means that I will probably work 6-7 days a week all winter, but I don't mind it.  When you love what you do, you love doing it.  It just isn't work.  And besides, a workday for me isn't traditional.  I can work mornings, afternoons or evenings, depending upon what is going on in my life each day.  Since I no longer have young children needing my attention 100% of the time, I have that luxuary.

Adding to My Residual Sites

On top of writing for eHow and Suite101, I have also recently applied for, and was accepted as, the Minnesota Heart Health Examiner.  I had actually applied for the National Heart Health position since I didn't know they had state openings, so I was pleased to be asked to be their state heart health Examiner.  I have one article there so far and will be submitting 3-4 each week.  I really like my topic as it is one I can embellish on and come up with ideas for articles easily.  I write a lot of health articles, and heart health ones, already so it won't be too difficult for me to write 200-400 word articles for Examiner. 

Why Examiner? 

I have read a lot of reviews about Examiner, both good and bad.  I came to the conclusion that I wanted to try it for myself and see how well a person can do there.  I read good and bad reviews about eHow, Associated Content, Suite101 and Constant-Content, yet I enjoy writing for these sites and have done well with them. I will give Examiner a try for a few months and see how well I do.  I'll let you all know how it goes and do a more extensive review about the site later on.  (If you are thinking about signing up as a writer for, I would be pleased if you would use my referral number when you sign up.  It is 28293.  Thanks.)

So, my plan for November is to write my 3-4 Examiner articles a week and try to add 5-6 articles to eHow and 2 articles to Suite101 for the month.  My book will take up the rest of my time.  I plan to finish this book whether or not I am able to find an agent or publisher, because I love novel writing that much.  I can always self-publish if I have to.  I've done that before, and with good results.  But I am hoping that "third time's a charm" is true and I will finally find a publisher in the traditional sense.  If not, I will have my residual income to fall back on, which I also enjoy very much.

What are your goals for November?  For the winter?

Happy writing,
(Winter is coming! Photo by Hanna Zabielska @ Stock.Xchng)
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