Friday, August 28, 2009

eHow Article Sweep: Conclusions?

If you write for eHow, chances are that you've recently had one or more of your articles deleted in what is known as an 'Article Sweep'. Getting that message in my inbox was disheartening to say the least. Two of my articles (one a growing earner) were deleted. Here are their titles and the "reasons" for deletions:
  • How to file for a FAFSA pin number (SPAM)
  • How to Plan Summer Brunch Parties (Poorly Written)
I can see why they marked the first article as SPAM- it mentioned a website. But, in the internet age, how can you NOT mention a website? If a person is looking for a how-to article on the internet, chances are that he or she will benefit from the website in question. Other writers have reported articles with places and products have also been deleted as SPAM.

I re-posted the second article on another site. You can view it here. Tell me if this is a horribly written article or not. I could not find any major grammatical or spelling errors. I even followed proper how-to format. This article was becoming a steady earner for me the past couple months, and I am irritated at eHow for claiming it was poorly written without providing advice on how to correct it to meet their standards.

After reading several other blogs and the forum, there seems to be a common theme with this article sweep: Many people had articles deleted for no good reason. One writer had an article deleted that had earned over $1000. Some have had more than 50 articles wiped out, and a few had their accounts closed.

Although my original plan for the month was to reach the 50 article mark on eHow, I am not sure how I feel about it. I am worried that my articles will all eventually be deleted, thus ruling out the "earn forever" highlight of passive income. Would I be better off writing for flat fee sites or other passive income sites that have a solid reputation, such as Suite 101? I guess this is why writers need to diversify their work.

What was your experience of the eHow article sweep? Do you think some of the deletions were unjustified? How does this affect your writing goals/plans for eHow and other sites?

Monday, August 24, 2009

The Newspaper as a Writer's Inspiration

With the economy still in a slump, many people have opted out of their daily newspaper delivery service. I, however, am among the few who have chosen to subscribe to my city's newspaper for the first time.

Although I rarely bought the daily newspaper, I did try and get one every Sunday for the coupons. Recently I began getting angry at myself for forgetting to even that. Having it delivered each Sunday sounded delightful. However, the cost for delivery 7 days of the week was only a couple bucks more, so I thought, why not?

I am glad that I did end up getting the 7 day subscription, because I've noticed the articles and issues contained within it has triggered ideas for online articles that I might write. I simply scan the headlines and already am it with plenty of ideas of expand on. For example, a tennis tournament has taken place in Cincinnati for the past two weeks or so. The newspaper has chronicled the ups and downs and highlights of the event. I could have written several articles concerning this event and/or tennis. The articles in the newspaper brought up some of the most important events and profiles that already were ranked high in popularity. I would be wise to grab a-hold of that popularity as an online writer.

And I have.

Results? More page views and more revenue from popular subjects. Although these things may or may not result in long-term residual income, it is certain that the newspaper has helped me in generating ideas that could possibly become so.

So , if you're a writer, consider supporting your fellow local writers and subscribe to the newspaper. You're sure to be hit with a slew of ideas that make the subscription price plenty worth it. Check this out for reduced newspaper subscription rates.

Do you subscribe to the newspaper as a writer? Why or why not?

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

eHow 50 Article Challenge plus earning udates

Well I have decided to embark on a writing challenge for one of my content sites- eHow. As of now I have 35 articles written for eHow and am challenging myself to complete 15 more by the end of the month. That's a little less than 2 weeks away, so I it's definitely going to be tough but doable.

I really hope that once I get a higher number of articles published there I will start to earn more. As of now, my earnings for August are the worst yet, less than even my first month on eHow. I seem to have quite a bit of "zero" days followed by extremely low earnings the next day. Several other users have reported lower earnings while some have seen a large jump. I am holding out for these last two weeks, however, in hopes that I will reach payout. We'll see.

As for Suite 101, I have completed 4 articles and finally reached over the $1.00 mark. This is much faster than my eHow articles when I first started, so there is a lot of hope there for a nice residual income if I continue to put out articles.

I am also crossing my fingers for payout with Examiner right now as well. If I continue to earn around .50 cents a day, I will reach the $25 payout finally. However, this will require me to write something almost everyday if I can, even though I have seen an increase in page views on days I do not write.

My adsense revenue has already exceeded what it earned last month (still under 10$ and far away from a payout), so that is somewhat encouraging. I also made my first eBook sale (though this was from my sister, so I don't know if I should count that!).
How about you? What are your earnings like for August this far?

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Researching for eHow Article Topics and Keywords

The past two days I have been researching ideas for future eHow articles. I now have a goal to have over 50 articles published by the end of August on eHow. But since I have 11 articles that are no earning yet (some of which are brand new), I have been experimenting with different methods of research for topics and keywords.

One of my new best friends is the Google search bar. I type in 'how to' followed by a particular letter, such as 'a' and the suggestion tool comes up with the most searched phrases that begin with 'how to a' such as 'how to annotate'. With this list, I have been researching whether those articles have already been written on eHow (some haven't!) and what the competition is. My next phase will include using the Google Adwords keywoods tool, and I'll search for those phrases that have the highest PPC. It has made writing eHow articles much easier since I no longer have to come up with a topic- google does that for me!

I also recently found out that Suite 101 gives a bonus to its writers who reach the 50 article mark. I am still 46 articles away! But this gives me a lot of motivation to get there. Since Suite 101 articles take longer to write than others, I am not going to try and rush myself on those 46 articles just yet.

Here are some links to some helpful eHow articles regarding topic and niche research:
What's next on my resource list? Purchasing a copy of Writergig's eHow book. I've come across it many times and read great reviews from it. I need to write some extra DS articles, however, before I can buy it!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Freelance Writing: A Career From Anywhere

One of the aspects of freelance web writing that I love is my ability to work anywhere. Although access to the internet is key in web writing, wireless hot spots can be found almost anywhere nowadays. Below is an article highlighting the wonder of mobility in freelance writing. Enjoy!

Freelance Writing: A Career From Anywhere

by Gary McLaren

An island in the Mediterranean. A beach in Africa. The east coast of New Zealand. What do all these locations have in common? A recent call for assistance from freelance writers elicited replies from every one of these locations. In each of these and in many other remote places, I know of writers who are freelancing with a fair degree of success.

Indeed it is possible for freelance writers to work from anywhere. Consider my own recent experience. As the editor of the Worldwide Freelance Writer web site, I publish a newsletter that goes out to thousands of freelance writers around the world. I can recall one particular issue in the middle of 2002. I started planning the newsletter in the heat and humidity of Hong Kong. When the first draft came together I was in Indianapolis, in the United States. And by the time I completed the final copy and pushed the send button I was at a lakeside cottage in Ontario, Canada, with snow lightly falling outside.

Maybe you are interested in a freelance writing career but you worry about whether you live in a suitable location. Well, think again.

Freelance writing is a job you can do from anywhere. It is true that if your home is near New York's editorial offices you may be able to use your proximity to some advantage. But many, many freelance writers are working successfully from more distant locations, and in many cases enjoying a better lifestyle in the places where they live.

Take Ron Irwin, for example. An American, Ron freelances from a small house on the beach in Cape Town, South Africa. The majority of his work is still for North American markets. Consider Vella Corinne, a native of Malta in the center of the Mediterranean Sea. From this island steeped in history - the Order of St John was based here and the temples are thought to be older than the pyramids - she writes travel and lifestyle features.

Writers in locations such as these, far from being at a serious disadvantage, can actually enjoy a number of benefits. For a start, these writers are in an excellent position to write about their own locations, the people and the culture. Also, the living costs are often less expensive than for writers in major cities. And if that is not enough, how about fresh, clean air?

Writers working from remote locations usually live in a cleaner, more peaceful environment, and may live closer to outdoor and recreational activities. Vella reveals how she enjoys the warmer days: "Once I pack up my computer, I just head to the beach. Distances are short and, the island being small, I'm always close to the center of whatever's happening here. I can control my own time in a way that I could not if I lived in a busy city."

Twenty years ago writers in remote locations were often frustrated by the slowness of communicating with editors on the other side of the world. It would always take months to receive a reply from an editor. Waiting for a response to a query was about as exciting as watching grass grow!

In recent years the availability of the Internet has made it easier than ever before for freelancers to communicate almost instantly with anyone, anywhere in the world. In my own example above I traveled through a few countries over a three-week period and managed to conduct my freelance work at the same time. Many of my clients didn't even know I was 'on the move'. Little did they know that between receiving and replying to their messages, I was fishing in the lake and hiking through the woods. I could easily keep in touch with important contacts, as well as write and send out my newsletter.

But do you know what was even more exciting? While I was traveling my web site was hard at work, the entire time, 'day and night'. Even while I was flying at thirty thousand feet, taking a nap, I was effectively selling a bunch of writing-related books and products. Now if that isn't a freelancer's dream becoming reality, I don't know what is! Such accomplishments were definitely not so attainable before the advent of email and the World Wide Web.

Kathy Crockett freelances from Gisborne, New Zealand, on the east coast of the North Island. She commented to me on the difference technology makes when working from such a location. "It's a city of 35,000", she explains, "the closest to the international dateline, and the first city in the world to see the sun each day. Its closest city-size neighbors are three hours drive on windy roads...the internet, mobile lets me be wherever I want to be... and fool others into thinking I'm where they'd like me to be!"

Of course working remotely is not always easy and there are a number of challenges that writers typically face. Isolation is a common issue. Vella explained to me she has a way of dealing with it. "At times it feels like I have a totally atomized existence. I balance that by scheduling some 'face time' each day", she explains. I agree with her. Sometimes you must make a conscious effort to spend time with family, friends, or other writers.

Another challenge may be difficulties with technology. Finding a PC repair shop may be next to impossible. Internet access may be unavailable or unreliable. There are many, many places in the world that don't even have telephone lines yet, not to mention email access. You can still work as a freelance writer from these locations, but it will not be as convenient. If you have any choice where you live, always try to choose a town that has telephone lines with reliable Internet access.

And that goes for working while you are on holiday too. Check the available technology in advance. In the example of my trip above, I received a surprise. There was no telephone line or email access in the cottage. My initial panic subsided when I discovered a telephone not too far away. In freezing temperatures, I trudged up the road. When I pushed the button to send out my newsletter my notebook computer was plugged into a payphone.

Are writers in remote locations at a serious disadvantage? No way! I am sold on the concept that you can work as a freelance writer from anywhere. And while you will face some challenges, none of them will be insurmountable.

So if you're looking for a career you can do from anywhere, look no further. The writers I referred to and many others are working successfully right where they are. And so can you. Open up your notebook. Start writing. You can begin to build a rewarding career as a freelance writer today.

About the Author

Gary McLaren is the editor of Worldwide Freelance Writer. For more information on freelance writing and a database of more than 2,200 writing markets, visit

Monday, August 10, 2009

First Suite 101 earnings and Writing Challenges

Today I went to 'my Suite 101' page and was delighted to discover my articles have started earning! Although the earnings are not yet over 50 cents, something is better than nothing. What was surprising about this is that I only have 3 articles on Suite 101. So that means those articles are earning! I'm looking forward to publishing more articles with Suite 101 in hopes that my pennies soon churn themselves into dollars.

Monday is always a difficult day to get rolling with writing. However, I stayed on track last week for writing goals and hope that I can do the same this week as well! The great thing about being a freelance writer is that I can choose my own hours and work days. So even if I do not meet this week's goal, I can make it up some other time in the month.

Many writers regularly employ 'challenges' for residual income sites, and this has inspired me to consider one myself. I would wait until Sept. to begin any type of challenge, but I wanted to know what site I should focus on.

Have you ever completed a writing challenge? For whom? What was the outcome?

Saturday, August 8, 2009

First Check from Magazine Article and Editor Rewrites

Yesterday I received a little surprise in the mailbox. My first check for a magazine article! I was so excited to pull out that envelope and see my name in print, along with a $35 check stapled next to it. I wrote the article back in June and was waiting for it to come in, hoping the editor had not forgotten me.

It definitely has given me another push to get out more magazine article queries. After purchasing and reading Make a Real Living as a Freelance Writer: How to Win Top Writing Assignments, I have been eager to try out some of the things I've learned. Now I think I have the confidence to do more since I have a couple of published clips not internet related. (BTW, if you haven't read this book, DO IT. I think it is literally the best book out there on freelance writing!).

In other news, I have been writing quite a bit for Demand Studios. This week I managed to write 10 articles, which is my goal for each week. I was ahead by an article or two, but then received two complete rewrite requests for the first time. I was frustrated since I had spent quite a bit of time on those articles! But I decided to go ahead and rewrite each article entirely. They were both approved, so that's good. I then took the original versions and posted them on eHow. It's nice to have a back-up place to publish.

I also wrote my 2nd and 3rd articles for Suite 101. I tried to vary the categories to get a feel for what might earn more. I don't want to write on the same topic too much if it's not a high earner. Well, each article also received revision requests! I do appreciate the time each editor at Suite 101 puts into looking at the articles, but it seems a bit much for such a low pay. I have yet to earn one cent from any of my articles! But I am holding out hope since I have heard of many people who make their highest residual income there. Next week I plan on writing more, and hopefully by then I will have somewhat mastered the format for Suite 101, which tends to be my main barrier in revision requests.

On a side note, eHow earnings have been extremely low the past week. Although I earned almost 9 dollars last month, I have only earned 0.71 for August. This is very disheartening and I really hope things start to pick up soon. I have published 3 or 4 new articles this week on new topics, so hoping that will help things.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

How Google AdWords Can Help Your Articles Make Money

I write for both Suite 101 and eHow, both of which are residual income earning sites. That means that I receive a portion of the ad click income incurred from each article. Therefore, most articles are dependent on the type of ads that appear beside them. Some ads are higher paying than others, while a few pay nearly nothing. In order to get the most money possible from an individual article, doing some research with Google Adwords can really help to improve earnings.

How do I do this? Whenever I think of a new idea, I simply go here, and insert the name of the title or phrase it revolves around. By clicking 'get keyword ideas' I am presented with a number of associated keywords with my phrase. On the right, under 'Choose Columns Display' I then click on 'Show Estimated Avg. CPC'. CPC stands for cost per click, which is the amount an advertiser is charged when someone clicks on that particular ad. By choosing to use the highest earning keywords in my article (I look for over $3.00 as a starting point), I increase my income whenever related ads show up next to my articles and someone clicks on them.

bedroom organization1 - 3$1.33


bedroom furniture sets1 - 3$1.18


metal bedroom furniture1 - 3$1.73


fitted bedroom furniture1 - 3$3.38


rustic bedroom furniture1 - 3$1.75


cheap bedroom furniture1 - 3$1.46


country bedroom furniture1 - 3$0.96



On the articles I have done this with, I have experienced a higher income per article as well as more views. Some topics tend to be higher earners while others have CPC rating as low as $0.05! The key is understanding and learning what topics are bigger earners than others. Implement this system and you are sure to make more money by writing not only for eHow and Suite 101, but any other place on the web where adsense earnings is key.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

The Holidays are Approaching as a Money Making Season

As an online content writer, I have discovered I get the most traffic to my articles, and thus the most money, when I write on seasonal topics. With the advent of school starting back up, many holiday related articles will be popping up all over the web. I plan on being part of the bunch who see an opportunity and jump on it.

Although in the print writing world holiday related articles are actually drawing to a close, now is a great time to stock up on these topic gems online. By building a base of Halloween related articles well before it even hits, I give the search engines time to build rank with my article as well as provide a plethora of articles to those who want an early start in planning for it.

eHow, and Suite 101 are where I will be focusing my holiday related articles. By starting now, I think this will pay off later, allowing me to reap the benefits at a time when I want to enjoy myself too!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

The Low-down on Writing for eHow

I started writing for eHow about 3 months ago with high expectations to start a passive income revenue stream. So far, with just over 25 articles, I have earned $14.76. Up until now, I thought that was a fantastic amount. I mean, we're just getting started, aren't we? In a couple months, I should be earning double that! Right?

After browsing through many users who document their eHow journeys, I am not sure if this passive income is worth it or not. So far, I have earned only $0.59 per article over the course of three months. Since most of these articles took me twenty minutes or less to write, that comes out to about $1.77 per hour. People, that is less than minimum wage- WAY less. And reading several other bloggers who have been at this for a while now (a year), I don't think they are earning much either.

But the point is that it will continue to earn a nice passive income without any additional work, right? Well, the way I see it, sites like eHow simply make their writers write now and get paid later. If I took my paycheck and gave myself the money through installments over the next year, it would be the same thing.

So what are the pros of using this site?
  • No editors and no waiting period. You can write what you want right away and be published in a matter of minutes. The lack of hassle is what attracts many writers to eHow.
  • Anyone can write. Although many have stated this as a con, I view it as a pro for those just beginning to write. Beginners can build up skills as well as clips.
  • Potential to earn is seemingly unlimited. If eHow stays up forever, then your articles will earn forever.
For now, I will not be focusing my efforts on eHow, despite these pros. It was a wonderful introduction to online writing, but I feel my writing has more value than $0.59 per article. Instead, I will direct my efforts to other sites that pay well such as Demand Studios. I will continue to write articles when the pulse strikes, though I will not be setting any goals.


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