How I Earn Money Online
As I mentioned in my Profile, I've always wanted to earn a living as a writer, but have managed to put this off for years. Well, I think I had some sort of mid life crisis last year and decided that the only way to earn money as a writer was to actually WRITE SOMETHING! Then having written something, to get it out there so other people could read it.
I know this sounds daft, but I can't tell you how many people say to me 'Oh I wish I could do that.' Well, the good knews is that they could. All you have to do is START.
I decided, that, as much as I love writing, I would have to treat my project as a business, because like the rest of the world, I have bills to pay, a mortgage and kids to raise (expensive little buggers aren't they?). Having already set up, run and sold one business for profit I wasn't daunted by this.
The first thing I needed to do was to find extra time in my schedule in which to write, so I switched my full time job as a nurse, to two part time jobs, thus clawing back a full day a week.
When you're beginning a business from scratch, there are no two ways about it, you have to invest a lot of time, so I then looked at my diary and planned space where I could work on my craft.
I spent quite a bit of this new extra time looking at places I could sell my work, because my aim was to make money. I had already published two children's books, which gave me the confidence to think that I might actually have something to say that others would find interesting.
I read alot of information about how I could put my computer to work and earn money for me, and came up with a couple of criteria:
Avoid scams which seem to be out there.
Free start-up, or nominal fee only, as money was tight.
Hubpages fitted this bill admirably.
- Marketing your business
In my other Hub Starting Your Own Business - The Story of the Chocolate Bar I gave lots of information about how to get your business up and running. Well, lets assume that you've done your best, given it...
- How to Publish Your Book
Just how do you make money from your writing? I've published two children's books, so far, the first, The Tales of Zebedy Do Dah, with a small press Only Women Press and the second, Archie Parchie Piddley...
The premise of Hubpages seemed simple. You join for free, write interesting articles, called Hubs, which are surrounded by Ads from the Google AdSense scheme, then, when people click on any of these ads, you earn a little money.
You have no start up costs and all the techy stuff is done for you, so its a really easy entry into the world of earning online, plus you have the benefit of a hard-working community of Hubbers who share their knowledge with you and help you along the way.
How does Hubpages earn the money to offer this service? They keep 60% of the advertising revenue, and you keep 40%.
The important thing here, seems to me to get people to read your Hubs. It's OK to get friends and family to have a look at them, but you need more traffic. The aim is to have your article rated number one by Google, so you need to promote your hubs, and their are various ways of doing this, such as keyword searching, back linking and the like.
Google Adwords Keyword Tool
Promoting your Hubs, blog or website is vital. You need to be ranked on the first page of Google searches to capture as many visitors as possible. More visitors = more sales of your product. For Hub writers, it's important to do some keyword research before you begin your article. This is how it's done:
Search for Google Keywords Adword Tool. When you have the site enter your keyword into the box and fill in the 'captcha' phrase as asked. Hit enter, then a whole load of information regarding your chosen Keyword will come up. Go to the Show/hide box and click on the show Estimated Avg CPC, then go to the match type box and click exact.
The three columns to note, are the advertiser competition box - you want this to be 50% or less (no point in competing with the big boys). The CPC, shows how much someone is prepared to pay for your keyword and finally the global search volume box- you want this to be as high as possible.
In short you want HIGH Cost Per click. LOW competition. HIGH global search volumes.
Backlinks are absolutely vital if you want to get your website spotted by Google and have a chance of being up there on page one of the Google searches. The more backlinks you have, the more Google loves your site. Linking to business peers' websites is one way of obtaining backlinks, but unless you know a vast number of people with websites, you're never going to generate enough traffic that way. I'm not saying don't do it, rather that it won't put you at the top.
As I mentioned before, sharing your website information with social networking sites helps a little, but if Google spots backlinks coming from one or two locations over again, it makes adjustments for this and alters your ranking accordingly.
What is needed is a way of generating backlinks from several different sites at ad hoc times, to look like a natural search process.
I have found one company to be incredibly useful at this, they're called 1 WAY LINKS. Once you sign up, you create a Wordpress Blog, which costs around £3 per month, then create a blog post and add it to 1 Way Links' site. This post can contain up to three backlinks to your own site. The post is then circulated via all other members' sites in a random pattern, so Google thinks it's a naturally produced link. I currently have around 1,000 blog posts per month, that's 3,000 backlinks to my site, compared to the one or two mates from Facebook, who click to my site.
The service costs $7 for the first month, then $47 per month thereafter. It's really easy to use and set up, and repays itself over and again with increased sales.
Now, you're not going to earn money immediately with Hubpages; like any other business you have to build it and promote it, so sometimes you just need a little bread and butter stuff, which is where the copywriting comes in.
There are several copywriting agencies out there which allow you to join their site. The aim is that you register as a copywriter and state what sort of work you're interested in, and they hook you up with lists of people needing writers. you then bid to win their projects.
Beware though, some of this work is infinitely low-paid, so you need to read what's on offer carefully, before bidding. There are several companies who out there; I use Get a Freelancer and EU Freelance (same organisation), but Helium and elance are two other well-respected companies.
Thouroughly read the work on offer. If the ad is poorly written I tend to avoid it, because I think that if someone can't be bothered to do that bit well, will they be bothered to pay you?
Look at the length of the articles, the number required and the money paid. Work out how much you'll be getting per article. $2 per article is fine if its 100 words, but not if it's a 1000.
Look at how many articles they want in a day; ten small articles is great (300 words or less), but five 1000 word articles - not so great. Only take on that much if you can devote masses of time to writing. I find than ten short articles will take me around two and a half to three hours with all the research, formatting etc (and I'm a pretty quick typist).
never agree to giving away a free sample - you will never get the work and they make money from many people giving them an article each. Likewise never send samples to a gmail address.
Once you've won the bid, which you will if you're reasonably literate, because that's what buyers want, keep in touch with the buyer frequently, by e.mail, at least daily, and ask questions, so that you're really clear about what they want.
I usually ask for the maximum amount on offer for each piece of work, because 'I'm worth it', then add a little sentence along the lines that everything I write is grammatically correct, original and to deadline. I usually state that examples of my work can be viewed at Hubpages, or on my blog.
If you are worried about not receiving payments, most sites will allow you to be paid escrow, whereby the writer and the buyer both have to be satisfied with the work before the copywriting site will release any moneys.
if you've joined Hubpages, you will have signed up for Google Adsense. you can also set up a blog, or several blogs on things which interest you, and use your AdSense URL to monetise the blog for you (place relevent ads around your text), so that your blog is out there earning while you're breaking your neck meeting copywriting deadlines.
Again, you need to promote your blog and build it like any other business.
I very much see my online work as another strand to earning a living from writing, so I also send out articles, short stories and poems to competitionsand magazines using the management technique of lighting many fires and seeing which ones take.
My aim is to earn enough money from writing to stop one of my part-time jobs early next year. Watch this space, and go on, give it a go yourself. if I can do it, so can you.