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Friday, August 27, 2010

Hoping for a Strong End of August (Plus Free Golf)

August 2010 has been one of the most consistent months for AdSense earnings that I have seen in a long time.  It is very encouraging, and I hope that it is a sign of good things to come for the rest of the year.  Even if things don't quite go as expected, I need to keep things in perspective and realize that I am building on the future.  Everything that I do now will benefit me a year and two years from now.

Also keeping things in perspective is the fact that last August my AdSense earnings were $20.85, and I have already doubled that total with a few days yet to go.  I am also closing in on my all-time best AdSense month of $45.95.  If I start seeing this type of consistency in the last four months of the year, then it might be possible to receive a check from Google every other month.

As mentioned in the previous post, I want to start working a little on Amazon earnings since I am very close to a $10 payout.  I want to have 30 product Hubs (up from a current 3) by the end of September so I will have quite a bit of work to do next month and have to find the time to do it.  That is the biggest problem for me currently.  Finding the time to compose Hubs during soccer season is incredibly difficult.  I will go to work in the morning, go to my daughter's soccer game from work, and then go to pick up the others from gymnastics practice.  The end result is that I am gone from 6 am until 10 pm three or four days each week.

Oh well, I can only do what I can get done and not let it get me down.  I have to maintain my physical condition and mental sanity which is why I have been taking a decade long approach.  I am in a marathon and not a sprint and will have to make year to year comparisons rather than focus on month to month as much.

Anyway, I hope that everyone is doing well.  The weather here in Indiana has been fantastic for August with mild evenings and low 80's highs.  There is plenty of sunshine as well.  I have the day off from work to go to a charity golf outing that was unexpected.  A colleague had a group fall through and asked me to go instead since the fee had been paid.  I can't think of anything better than free golf.  Don't worry, I won't feel too bad if I don't get any Hubs written today as long as I am putting well!  LOL!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Goals for Rest of 2010

I took a look at my online income goals for 2010 recently and realized that they had to be modified quite a bit.  So, I thought I would take the opportunity to review those goals and make some changes based upon new circumstances and directions that I plan on taking for the last four months of the year.

I will list the old goals first, followed by the modification of that goal in bold text.  This will save you having to flip back and forth between posts.

  • 250 total articles on Life123.  Life123 had suspended their writers' compensation program early in the year.  They did pay out for all work previously done which was nice and professional.  However, this goal is no longer applicable.
  • 150 Xombytes (articles) on Xomba.  I currently have 45 articles.  I am not entirely convinced that Xomba is the greatest source for residual income.  Thus I should focus my goals on sites that will actually make me money until something happens with those sites.  I do think Xomba is a great site for posting links and will continue to do this.  I hope to have every single article at HubPages linked at Xomba by the end of the year.  If you want to join Xomba for linking purposes with the probability of making some extra cash, that would be reasonable.
  • 150 articles on HubPages.  I already have 145 Hubs.  HubPages has become my main money making site.  Last month, it was responsible for the majority of my earnings.  This month, it is not quite 60%.  I think I want to go for 180-200 by the end of 2010.  I also want to have a second account and put up 30 sales Hubs by the end of September to get some Amazon sales heading into the Christmas season.  I would also like to have over 300 followers from the current 285.
  • 50 articles on eHow.  eHow has changed the format to Demand Studios.  I still have 38 articles.  I looked at some of the titles offered and did not like them.  For me, eHow is no longer applicable.  I simply hope to finish making additional links and make the $10 payout each month.
  • As for writing for this blog, I have kept up but at a pace closer to 2 per week instead of 3.  I don't plan on making any changes.  I still think I have a shot of getting in the top 500,000 Alexa rank and will continue to strive for traffic and followers.
  • I am putting my own site on the back burner for now.  I bought Michelle Adams' ebook on virtual real estate.  It is good, but it looks like a lot of work.  I would rather write.  I think I might look into having one built for me when I get a little more cushion in the paypal account to pay for a site and some hosting.
As far as earnings are concerned, between Life123, Xomba, HubPages, and eHow, I thought that it might be possible to make $195 monthly by the end of 2010.  Most of that ($100) was going to come from Life123 which no longer exists for me.  If I subtract that out, I still think hitting a $95 month with the other 3 sites is possible but will take some additional effort.  I will need to see Xomba pick up some which could happen if I am busy using the site for links.  I think I might be close to $60 this month so $95 in a month by the end of the year is not outside the realm of possibility.

So, what are your goals for the rest of the year?  Have you even bothered to look at your original plans for 2010 to see your progress?  Feel free to shout out and comment.

Photo Credit: Elliot and GoAvs

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Another Day, Another Dollar

"Another day, another dollar."  How often have you heard that expression when referring to a menial, dead-end job?  People always seem to say it with a feeling of despair and hopelessness.

But, I am here to tell you that I am excited for that dollar!  Why should I be excited about a dollar which doesn't go near as far as it did 10 years ago (although if it is a silver dollar, it would retain its purchasing power)?  Because that is my AdSense income for today.  I am excited about the fact that my daily income so far for the month of August has been fairly consistent.  In fact, this is the 11th day out of the 18 so far that I have earned at least $1.  That compares to a total of only 8 days for the entire month of July.

I am incredibly pleased with the amount of consistency since I haven't seen this type of steady traffic and revenue for quite some time.  After a very non-productive month of July, it is very encouraging to see these results.  I am motivated to keep working hard for the rest of the year.  Now I should probably sit down and work out some productivity goals for the remainder of the year.  I think I will do that and post them in a few days.  Well, it is getting late so I am going to get some rest.

How has the month of August been treating you so far?  Are you productive?  Are your earnings up?

Sunday, August 15, 2010

My SEO Theories About Traffic and Backlinks

If you read my last post about the SEO experiment, you know that I have been thinking about search engine optimization, traffic and backlinks a lot recently and have come up with a few theories regarding these topics.  I am not sure if they are correct, but my thoughts make sense to me and seek to logically explain some of my own experiences and observations.

First of all, if I am running a search engine, my goal is to deliver relevant pages so that people will find what they are looking for and click away from my page.  At the same time, I want them to find my search results valuable so they continue to use my search engine when they next need to find something.  Having repeat users allows me to create a business model based upon advertising.

So, how do I decide what pages are relevant to an individual search?  I can use computers to look at the content of each page and try to evaluate the context of that page based upon the words and composition of language.  I can also use the results of past users' searches to determine if they found a particular page helpful based upon their actions when they initiated that search.

Essentially, what I am saying is that Google will place some recently indexed material fairly high in the search results and see what sticks.  If the site is enticing to users, then the site will see a reasonable amount of traffic.  The site will continue to appear high in the SERPs and as long as users keep responding positively, then a positive feedback loop is established until something more enticing or relevant comes along.

This traffic theory helps explain why I will see PR0 sites along with PR5 on the first page search results.  It helps me understand why, despite my ineptitude at backlinking, some of my articles will still rank fairly high and others will be nowhere to be found.  This also explains the development of authority sites that consistently rank high based upon readership and traffic levels giving them an inherent advantage in the SERPs.

By thinking of it in this way, I need to determine what will drive a self-sustaining level of traffic to each individual article.  Maybe the article needs a better title that will capture attention or a better summary that will encourage readers to click on the result.  Maybe I do need to create more backlinks in order to advertise the article to more potential readers so as to obtain the traffic that will start a virtuous circle.  For those articles on page 1 already, maybe very little will help enhance traffic, and I should focus my efforts on some of my other sites.

Unfortunately, this means that I might have to put a little bit of thought into what each article needs in order to maximize its potential.  Blindly posting backlinks may not be all it takes or it may be exactly what is required.  But it at least gives me an idea about the effectiveness of what I am doing if I can compare the traffic results of certain changes or efforts.  I know that I had one Hub that was getting no traffic at all.  I made a simple change to the title and now that same article has seen 10 times the level of traffic as before.

I know that many SEO experts will castigate this post but I think that my theories allow me to understand that which is mysterious to many people.  You can't tell me that Google result #2 is any more relevant to a search than result #32.  But the decision regarding the order has to be made somehow, and I suspect that traffic and the silent votes of actual users plays a big role. 

What are your thoughts on this topic?  Am I way off base?  I appreciate any and all comments especially since I am willing to learn.

Photo credit: LosHawlos

Thursday, August 12, 2010

My SEO Experiment Revisited

Just the other night, I decided to look back and see whatever happened to the SEO Experiment that I conducted in October of last year. So I typed in Google search "SEO Experment" and found my blog post on page 70. That was quite a shock considering I had been on Google page 1! In fact, there was quite a bit of buzz and interest at the time.

This is the original post on the SEO Experiment in case you missed it or weren't reading the blog in October 2009.

Needless to say, this got me to thinking a little about SEO, SERPs, relevance, links, and traffic. I had created several different articles and posts related to SEO with backlinks to the original post. Obviously, this enabled the post to reach page 1 in a relatively short period of time. But, what caused the dramatic decline over these past 10 months? Is the post that much less relevant to the keyword search phrase? Do I need to build additional links each and every month? Will this post generate additional buzz and help in the SERPs?

I have a few thoughts about SEO that I will share in the next post but in the meantime, I would like to hear what you think about SEO, SERPs, relevance, links, and traffic. I look forward to your comments.

Also, here are several of the articles from last October that were related to the SEO Experiment:

SEO Experiment The original post
Why Am I Doing an SEO Experiment? This has consistently ranked as well
Making Money Online: Climbing the SEO Ladder Start with less competition and work your way up
How to Build a Link Wheel for SEO
Understanding SEO: The Link Wheel
SEO: Black Hat vs White Hat
Google First Page in 16 Days Celebration Time
5 Things I Learned From My SEO Experiment
Update on the SEO Experiment This is a blog post from December of 2009

Monday, August 9, 2010

August Off to a Great Start!

Well I must say that so far, so good for the month of August. I would dare say that I am off to one of my most consistent starts ever in terms of traffic, earnings, and doing work. I haven't produced a lot of content, but I have been making links and trying to do a little bit on most days. Things are certainly better than they were in July.

Traffic at HubPages is up over 10% over the last month. I would expect that if things continue at this pace, my traffic will set an all-time high before the end of the year. I am also impressed with the fact that my earnings are fairly consistent. So far, I have had more good days than bad days, which I define as earning over $1. I should easily be able to earn at least what I did last month provided things continue as they are.

The start to August is offering me more encouragement to keep working when I get the chance and not waste so much time on the computer. I have been playing lots of games rather than working since I have been burned out. The games are just a mindless activity that I can do, especially when tired. But I think that I am getting more and more motivated with each passing day.

I think I may even write an article or two in the next week. I know that I have another blog post for my Real Asset blog which I will write after I get done with this one. Plus, I think that I should be able to write another Hub or two. Well, I am feeling that motivation so I suppose I should get writing. Thanks to everyone for reading.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Putting Long Term Thinking Into Perspective

I just read a great post by Felicia over at about big dreams and long term thinking. Of course, this got me to thinking about my longer term goals for making passive income online.

In case you hadn't read previously, my goal is to make $3000 monthly by the time my youngest is on her way to college. That means I have about 8 years and 10 months left to achieve this level of passive income. Considering that I made just over $58 last month, it would seem that getting anywhere near my goal in less than a decade would be impossible.

But, what happens if I start by making just $30 per month and increase earnings by 5% each month for the next 106 months? Certainly a 5% increase doesn't sound that unrealistic, does it? That would simply mean going from $30 to $31.50. At the end of 6 months, that would be $40.20. I am sure that I can be making over $40.20 monthly by the end of this year.

However, if I carry this out for the full 106 months, then I would be making over $5200 per month! That is well above my goal of $3000 monthly. So, the question becomes: What does it take to increase earnings by 5% each month?

Well for August 2010, it probably won't take a whole lot since I will likely be above the $31.50 without doing much. But what I do this month will make a difference 2 or 3 years down the line when the 5% increase is a much bigger number.

But just like compound interest can work to the advantage of the saver, the work I do now will compound and work to my advantage. Each backlink will metastasize into several backlinks. Each article will be read multiple times and will continue to earn month after month long after my effort has ceased.

Thinking about this is mighty encouraging. Even though growth seems fairly slow now, I realize that it doesn't take a lot of growth to add up into some seriously big numbers over time. It makes up for the burned out feeling that I was having last month and will inspire me to keep going and shooting for 5% growth each and every month. It will also provide me with a target each month to track my longer term growth. This means that in December 2011, I should have made $69 to stay on target. I think I can do it!

Photo credit: TakingITGlobal
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