Monday, October 26, 2009

eHow Update: My Top 6 Articles

Hi all,
As usual, I was checking my eHow earnings for the day and evaluating which articles were doing the best and I decided I should share this information with you.  Because I do have an accounting background and I love numbers, I keep a spreadsheet on my daily views and earnings on eHow to evaluate just how much I make for each click per day.  Yes, I know that makes me a bit, uh, what's the word? I'll use "uptight" instead of the "a" word. But my logic is that I like to see the ups and downs of each day to get a handle on if my earnings are raising or lowering and by how much.  I also like to evaluate which articles are doing well so I get an idea on which subject matter gets the most reads.  Now, I understand the we aren't paid per click and it all has to do with ad revenue and such, but the more popular the keyword, the more we get paid, so it's nice to know which articles are doing well.  For instance, I've found that articles with the word "kitchen" in them seem to make good money per click.  So, of course, I wrote two more articles with the word "kitchen" in the title and they did well also.  My being a---, uh, I mean uptight, has paid off a bit.

Yes, I do know that Google has a Keyword Estimator and I do use that on occassion.  When I wrote three articles on acid reflux it was because I used the Google Keyword Estimator and found out that keyword did well in both clicks and money.  I can tell you, after writing three different acid reflux articles for eHow and then another one for Suite101, I was not only knowledgeable on the subject but also sick and tired of it as well.  But it was worth the income in the end.  But I'm rambling, so I will get back on subject.

My Top 6 Earning eHow Articles so Far

Now, keep in mind that I only started writing for eHow on June 11, 2009.  I currently have 62 articles on eHow and while all are earning something, these are the ones that are earning the most so far. I'll put the date they were posted so you know how long it took for them to earn this amount.

6/11/09 - How to Stop Belly Bloat - $15.02

7/22/09 - How to Improve Your Health with the Benefits of Lecithin - $6.72

8/13/09 - How to Lower Bad Cholesterol with Simple Diet Changes - $10.84

8/25/09 - How to Prevent Acid Reflux through Diet and Lifestyle Changes - $5.59

8/29/09 - How to Make Your Small Kitchen Stylish and Efficient - $9.53

9/2/09 - How to Find the Most Fabulous Fall Foliage - $4.90

Who knew belly bloat would be so popular?  That was my first article posted and it has so far made the most money.  Keep in mind that many of these articles are earning around .01 to .02 cents per click, which I don't find bad at all.  I also have many other articles in the $4-5 dollar range too, just wanted to give you an example of ones that are earning well.  Of course, I also have articles that have only made a few cents, but over time I believe they will eventually make money.  I've had articles on other sites such as Associated Content that just sit with very few views and then one day, months later, begin collecting views like crazy. Interest in subjects change often so you should never give up on an article, even after a year or two.  As another example of that, I recently had an article on Suite101 that was only getting a few views each day and then one day it had 320 views.  As I said, you never know.

eHow's New Review System

As I  mentioned before, eHow is now reviewing all articles before they go live.  It must be a computerized review system because no matter what the time of day or night they review them in about 10 minutes.  I submitted one at midnight the other night and it went through in 10 minutes.  I am assuming they are scanning it through a plagiarism checker and possibly some sort of subject checker as well to scan for inappropriate words.  Since I am no computer guru, I have no idea what type of programs are out there for this, but I highly doubt they have live editors sitting there all night just waiting to read a submission.  I have no complaints so far about their review system, but all of mine have gone through so far so that is why.

What do all of you think?

Happy writing,
DeAnna

Friday, October 23, 2009

eHow Now Reviews Articles before Publishing

Hi all,


For all of you eHow writers out there I just wanted to let you know that eHow is now reviewing ALL articles before they go live on the site.  Maybe other people knew this already, but it just happened to me today as I posted an article.  They claim it will only take 10 minutes for the article to be reviewed, so we shall see. 

I know that many eHow writers have been having trouble posting articles and pictures over the past week.  I have too.  Apparently the site was gearing up for their "review" phase to start working.  If you read the community forum on eHow, you can see how unhappy many eHow writers are with the site.  Most of it is just complaining because they don't read the rules or writer's guidelines, but some of the complaints are legit.  I think eHow could inform their writers better by posting what is going on or sending out e-mails.  But that is just my opinion.

As to my opinion of this new Review process - I'm kind of on the fence about it right now.  While I think it will be good for the site so junk articles are not placed live on the site, I'm also afraid that they will start to get too picky and take away from the fun of writing for eHow.  And, if the editors are anything like the ones at Demand Studios - ugg - watch out.  Let's hope the editors are English Speaking Editors, unlike some of the editors at Demand Studios. 

Good luck to all you eHowers out there and I hope the review process doesn't cramp your style but instead helps us all to become the best writers we can be.

Happy Writing,
DeAnna

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Writing Site Life123.com Review

Hi all,


Welcome to all the new members here at Write Moms. I hope you are finding helpful information and are enjoying rummaging through the site. I’ve been busy writing articles for eHow and Suite101 this month, so I haven’t been posting as much here at Write Moms. I do try to find new sites to bring to you, though, and that is what I have today.

I really didn’t find Life123.com, they found me. I received an e-mail from them inviting me to join. I assume they had a list of writers from other sites and sent out e-mails to a lot of people, but I did go and check them out. This is what I found.

What is Life123.com? (Life123 is no longer taking submissions as of 2/1/10 - Sorry)
Life123 is a writing site that is looking for experienced writers who will contribute interesting and well-researched articles on one of the many topics that their site covers. From what I can tell, Life123 is a fairly new site and is actively searching for new writers to fill their pages. However, the owner of Life123 is the company that also owns Ask.com, iWon, Match.com, Citysearch as well as many other well-known internet companies. They are also associated with partners such as Parenthood.com and Southern Living. So, this company is no stranger to the Internet and is on the fast track to creating a popular information site out of Life123.

The topics that Life123 covers vary greatly, so there is sure to be a topic for any interested writer. Arts, Beauty, Career, Crafts, Food, Health, Holidays, Home and Garden, Parenting, Relationships and Technology are just a few of their many topics available.

Joining Life123

To join Life123 all you need are the basics, e-mail address, password, pen name or real name and a Pay Pal account e-mail for payment. I did join Life123 and did not find a section where you have to give them you Social Security Number or any other financial information. Life123 does not accept writers from outside the U.S. Once you have been accepted, you can then update your profile and submit your first article. The first article must be original and has to be accepted by the editors before publication. After the first article is accepted, it sounds like you can then go live with your articles when you submit them, however, at some point an editor will review your article and ask you to make changes, if necessary.

Writing for Life123

Life123 accepts only original material that has never been published before and they claim exclusive rights to this material forever. So, if you submit articles to Life123, they will own your articles forever, even if you no longer write for the site. This is one point to keep in mind when deciding if it is worth the pay you may make for the site to exclusively own your work.

Articles must be a minimum of 300 words up to a maximum of 1,000 words. Articles must be written in the third person, just like they are at Suite101. Life123 has their own specific Article Style Guide which you can view after you join. They expect articles to be written in a certain way, much like Suite101, and do not allow certain sites as reference sites. You are limited to writing 10 articles a month, which may be increased as you work your way up in their system.

Writers have the opportunity to move up the ladder at Life123. When you first join, you are called a Member. Once you submit an article and have been accepted as a writer, you are considered a Contributor. Contributors can submit only 10 articles per month. Once you have written 10 articles and have attracted at least 500 unique visitors to your articles you can move up to Writer and are allowed to submit 40 articles per month. Once you have submitted 25 articles and have attracted at least 2,500 unique visitors to your articles you can become an Expert and then you are allowed to submit 150 articles a month.

Payment at Life123

Payment of up to $20 per article is possible through the Life123 system. Here is how it works.

- $5 for the first 50 Unique Visitors

- $5 for the next 500 Unique Visitors

- $10 for the next 500 Unique Visitors

Payment is made monthly via your Pay Pal account if your account has reached a minimum of $10 for the month. Otherwise the money is withheld to continue to accumulate until you reach the minimum.

What I Think of Life123

Life123 sounds like a good site to write for but there are a couple of things that bother me. You give Life123 full rights to the article the minute you submit it and you can only earn a maximum of $20 on an article no matter how well it is doing on the site. Granted, some articles will make up to the $20 and others won’t. But if the article is popular and continues earning money for Life123, you will stop earning at the $20 maximum payment. That is something to seriously consider before submitting articles. Also, I read in some of their fine print that they can delete an article after a certain amount of time (can’t remember how long) if it is no longer earning any money. So, you lose the article on the site, you cannot submit it anywhere else and you can no longer earn money with it. My advice is to read all the Terms of Use, Agreements and Guidelines before submitting any work to Life123.

We all have our opinions on which writing sites are good and which are not. Life123 may be a great writing site for some people, may not be for others. I do find it an interesting site and well worth looking into, and possibly writing for.

Happy Writing,

DeAnna

(Photo by Deanna Sletten - Our fall has really turned into winter here, but I took this of the road into our state park the day before it snowed. Yes, snow in October - MN is full of surprises.)

12/13/09
Update on Life123

Hi,
In my review I stated that Life123 paid out as soon as you reach the $10 minimum amount of earnings, however that is apparently not the case.  In their FAQ's, Life123 states that they pay out at a minimum of $5, yet a writer for the site has been told that they pay out at a minimum of $25 in earnings.  I just wanted you to be aware of this in case you are considering writing for this site.

Cheers,
DeAnna

12/14/09
Update on Life123 Payout Minimum

Hi,
I wrote to Life123 to have them verify their payout minimum and this is the answer I received:

Deanna:



Sorry for your frustration! We know we have a few mismatching statements.


Short answer: Writers get paid once a month (next time will be Tuesday), and the minimum payout is $5, not $10 or $25 or anything else you read on our site or anywhere else.


We are working to fix these mismatching numbers and we arrived at the $5 payout because we wanted writers to be paid as soon as they earned! Being part of a big company like IAC means there are lots of checks and balances on all systems, hence once a month payment.


Sorry for the confusion, we are still relatively new at this. But as you mentioned, we are IAC and we're good for the money, so don't worry about that.


It is our mission and goal to make writers feel comfortable at our site and happy with our payment. We are always looking for feedback, so feel free to write me back or contact me at the number below.


Thanks.
Robert
Robert Deutsch
VP Content Development & Operations
Life123.com


Considering I wrote to them on a Sunday and received the answer on the Sunday,  I'd say their communication is top-notch.  So this answers the minimum payment question - it is $5.00. 

Cheers,
DeAnna







Tuesday, October 13, 2009

LoveToKnow.com Update

Hi all,


Just wanted to update you on LoveToKnow.com.  Ann MacDonald from LoveToKnow left this comment under my review of the site and I didn't want anyone who may be interested to miss it. 


Hi DeAnna,


Thanks for taking a look at LoveToKnow and writing about us. Just wanted to give you a little more info:


* We are actively hiring writers right now. We are looking for writers with expertise in the following areas: Cheerleading, Cycling, Cocktails and Mixology, Origami and Paper Crafts, Home Improvement and Appliances.


* We pay once a month via PayPal.


* There is a bit of an initial learning curve in writing for us, so we are a best fit for people who can write 15-20 articles for us each month.


* We really do look at all the applications we get, but we can't respond to all of them due to the volume of applicants.


Thanks!!!


Ann from LoveToKnow.com

So, if any of you are still looking for a great place to write and earn money, this may be the place for you.

Happy writing,
DeAnna

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Taking a Second Look at Associated Content

Hi all,



Recently I have been taking a second look at Associated Content (AC) as a site for serious residual income. (See my past review of AC) I have been a member of AC since May 2007 and have published 83 articles there to date. I have never really given AC much thought as a serious money-maker, but after the last few days I’m beginning to. Here is some history and my reasoning why I’m taking a closer look.

Just Another Residual Site

I found AC around the time I discovered Constant-Content (CC), so at the time, in comparison to the money I was making at CC, AC was just another one of “those residual income sites” to me. (I am no longer a snob about residual income - I love it now!) AC purchased my first submitted article for $8.12 and I would earn $1.50 per 1,000 views after that. My first article that sold at CC was for $65.00 of which I kept $42.25 of after they extracted their percentage. So, you can see why I very happily forgot about AC and worked to place articles on Constant. After that, I only placed articles that had sat on CC for a long time and didn’t sell onto AC for either an up-front payment and views or just for the payment of views. When things were slow at CC, I did submit a few articles to AC for payment plus views but by then they were paying an average of only $4.50 for up-front payments. After two years I accumulated several articles there, some of which were highlighted as editor choice articles in different sections, and worked my clout level up to a 7 and my earnings per 1,000 to $1.55. Still, I didn’t look at AC as a good residual earning site.

Why a Second Look at Associated Content?

Recently I received an e-mail from an editor at AC informing me that one of my articles was going to be highlighted as a main article in the Health & Wellness section for one week. Since the article was 2 years old, I was surprised but happy. That same week I placed a short news item on AC because I just felt like writing the piece and really didn’t think it would fit in at my other writing sites eHow and Suite101. I made $4.00 that week, and my content views have continued to rise just from adding that one article and having the other one highlighted. Now, I realize that $4.00 for one article for one week isn’t big money, but since my AC monthly earnings had steadily stayed around the $5.00 a month level for 2 years, it caught my attention. Maybe, just maybe, if I used AC to its full potential I could include it among my serious residual income writing sites. After all, there are people out there making serious money on AC, or so they say. I highly doubt I will become rich from AC, but it may add more money than I first thought to my income.

What I Like about Associated Content

AC has really grown and matured in the two years since I’ve been there. They have a huge audience and more writers than you can shake a stick at. Because of this, they can appeal to both large sections of the population as well as small sections. You can write about what is happening in Los Angeles, or in your small town of 5,000 people and the article will have a following.

I like that you can publish just about anything you feel like writing. News, articles on most any topic, opinion pieces, fiction and poetry. I took a look at some of AC’s top producing writers and found that many reported stories from their home towns as well as pieces that would interest a wider population. I also noticed that many of them are using AC to publish previously published articles from other sites. They are using AC much as I had, as a place to make extra money on already written material, but they are using it more efficiently than I had. That is another reason why I like AC – you can republish articles there and get more mileage out of your hard work.

What I like most is you know exactly what you will earn at AC. There is no magical number to figure, no Google Revenue figure to wonder about. You simply earn a set dollar amount for every view of your articles. It may be low, but it is consistent.

Final Thoughts

I think AC is a good site to re-publish already written material and earn extra money at.  That being said, I must also say I am not all for re-publishing everything you’ve ever written on every site that lets you. Choose the sites that will give you the best earning potential and only re-publish articles on one or two sites. Always place your articles on the highest earning site first, give it some time to generate money, and if it begins to lose income then re-publish it on the next highest earning site. Surprisingly enough, sometimes an article that doesn’t do well on one site may earn a great deal of money on another.

As for me, I think that while I am building original material at Suite101 and eHow, I will also be adding to AC on a regular basis too. I am close to moving up to the next level which will put my income to $1.60 per 1,000, so I might as well work towards that goal. Most of what I will place at AC will be re-prints, but I also enjoy writing the occasional opinion piece or news article.

What about you? Do you write for AC and make a good income there or do you only make a few dollars a month? I’d love to hear your opinions on the site.

Happy writing,

DeAnna

(Photo Copyright DeAnna Sletten - This is Chessie on our favorite walking trail - then it snowed the next two days! Snow in October, ridiculous!)

Monday, October 5, 2009

Orato.com - Writing Site Review

Hi all,

I came upon the writing site Orato.com while reading another writer's blog and thought I would check it out.  Since then, I also came upon a review and several comments about Orato on Felicia's blog, No Job for Mom which you can read here.  I figured if I was going to review Orato for you, you should also read other people's opinions before you decide if Orato is the right site for you.  The more information you have, the better choices you can make.

About Orato.com

Orato is not a new site but the owners have recently decided to completely change its direction.  When Orato first started, it was geared toward personal experiences and accounts.  Now, Orato has changed into a site that wants to inform its readers with well-researched articles and news stories.  In short, it is much like an online news magazine that educates readers with the latest topics along with evergreen information about health, family, child-rearing, business, travel, entertainment, world topics and much more. The new Orato looks very professional and is fairly easy to navigate.  If you want to see Alexa Stats on Orato as a company, click here.

Joining Orato

Joining the Orato writing team is very easy.  There are no applications to fill out, no submissions that need to be approved, you simple fill in your name and e-mail address to get started.  They do ask that you use your own name, no pen name or username.  Once you publish your first article on Orato you will have access to creating a profile, giving your background, experience, etc.,  if you so choose.  Orato does not ask for any tax information, only your Pay Pal e-mail address so they can pay you.  You will be responsible for any taxes due on income you earn at Orato.

Writing for Orato

Once you join Orato, I advise you to read their Content Guidelines as well as their Correspondent Handbook and their FAQ's so you understand completely what is expected of you as a writer.  You have no minimum articles due and can submit as many or as few articles as you choose.  Articles must be a minimum of 250 words with a maximum of 600 words.  You may also publish photos, slideshows or videos along with your articles. 

Orato prefers articles written in the 3rd person; no I's, me's or you's in the articles please.  I have read several articles on the site and have seen many that are not in the third person, but since the content guidelines ask for 3rd person then I suggest you do as they ask.  While your articles do go live the minute you hit the publish button, within 48 hours an editor reads and makes changes to your article if he/she feels it needs any.  That editor can also bump your article up to an "Editor's Choice" article if it follows the guidelines properly and is well-written, so that is why I suggest doing as they ask.  This way your article will be showcased, and hopefully receive more hits. 

Generally, the editor makes the changes and re-publishes it for you so you don't have to make the changes yourself. There is a section in your Article Dashboard where you will see a "check mark" that shows the editor has read your article and you can see side-by-side comparisons of your original article and the article after the changes.  If you are a person who doesn't like anyone touching your articles, then you won't want to write for this site.  But if you don't mind the editor making a few changes, mostly tweaking the subtitles and fixing grammar errors, then you won't mind writing for this site.  If an article needs 50% + tweaking, then the editor will contact you to fix the article.  Personally, if an editor wants to make my article more user friendly and SEO friendly, I'm all for it.

Article Rights on Orato

You do retain All Rights to your articles published on Orato.com - but, and this is a big but, you cannot delete articles from the site and the site can use your articles in any form for eternity if it so chooses.  You do still earn money on the articles for as long as they earn money.  You can re-publish articles you've placed on Orato anywhere that accepts already published material.  You can also publish articles you have published elsewhere on Orato.  For example, if you have a stack of articles you have published on Associated Content and you own all rights to those articles, you can tweak them to fit the format on Orato and publish the articles there as long as they fit under one of their categories and follow their guidelines.  So, you can think of Orato as either a site to place new content or a site to get more mileage out of articles you have already written.

Earning Money at Orato

I know this is the section you scanned down to first because this is always the most important question - how much will I earn?  Orato pays you 20% of the Google Adsense Revenue that the site earns from placing Google ads on your article.  That means that if the ads on your article are clicked on by a reader, you will earn 20% of that ad revenue.  Once you have published 25 articles on Orato and have earned a minimum of 5 Editor's Choice awards, they will bump you up to 30% of ad revenue.  At first you might think that 20% of ad revenue doesn't sound like much, but when you really think of it, how many writing sites actually tell you what your ad revenue percentage is??  Orato pays you monthly via Pay Pal if you have reached the $10 minimum for the month.

My Thoughts on Orato

Before writing this review I decided to try Orato out for myself.  I've published four articles there as of this writing and have been fairly happy with the site so far.  What I like:
  • You can publish reprints on the site.
  • You own full rights to re-publish your work on other sites.
  • The professionalism of the site.
  • The fact that editors actually read the content.
  • That the site has specific guidelines.
  • That they are an up-and-coming site that offers great potential.
The only problem I had with the site was that it was difficult to upload text from a Word Document into their textbox. It would delete some or all of the article or re-format it.  Instead, I now change my Word Document to a Plain Text file before uploading an article and that seems to work fine.  I then have to make simple changes like adding Bold Text, Links, and changing bullets if there are any, but that is okay. 

I think Orato is going to grow into a high-ranking site, much like Suite101 and I look forward to being a part of it as it grows.  I think it is a good site for both new writers and seasoned writers to have one more place where they can place their writing and build residual income.

Update 3/15/2011 - Wow, was I ever wrong when I predicted Orato might become much like Suite101!  Maybe if you have 100 articles there you can earn some money, but I would have trouble believing that.  I have been a member there since September 2009 and have 6 articles - 2 have the Editor's Choice stamp and all have been highlighted as top articles at one time or another.  In all this time, I've only earned $2.82 for my articles.  If anyone is making money at Orato, I'd sure like to hear about it.  I'm just glad I didn't spend much time there.

If you already write for Orato.com, let me know how you like it and how it is going.

Happy Writing,
DeAnna

(Photo by Keira Bishop @ Stock.Xchng)
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