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Monday, December 26, 2011

Gearing Up for Grand Per Month

The launch of my newest blog, Grand Per Month, is coming up very soon so I have been working very hard to get all the content together for the first month.  I have all four posts from the hired authors and have three of them scheduled in WordPress.  I have written one post of my own, but still have four of my own to write.  The first one isn't due to be posted until January 9th, but I am wanting to stay one month ahead and have all articles ready to go by the first of each month.

This means that I also have to put together the list of February's potential topics, send them to the authors, let them choose from the list and put together a coherent schedule in the next few days.  I am hoping to get it done today so that may actually take precedence over writing, but I should at least get one of the posts written today.

I have my to-do list filled out for these 3 days (yesterday, today, and tomorrow) and am a few tasks behind already.  The list may end up spilling over into the weekend as there are certain things that must be done by a specific time.  ARRGH!  I am so busy right now.  But, I can't wait until mid-January when I go on the golfing trip to South Carolina.  It will be good to be ahead so all I have to do is answer e-mails and comments.  I would also like to write an article or two while there, but I would like it to be optional.

Grand Per Month has now been announced at my blog, HubPages, this blog, and the two authors' blogs.  It seems to be getting a great response and I have had more visits in these 2 weeks than I did from the first month of Cash Flow Mantra.  I suspect that we might be able to get over 1000 visits in January which I would consider awesome.  I am just over 2000 per month with CFM six months later so I am hoping that a major growth trajectory can occur.

I am doing my best at writing good content.  All the posts will be a minimum of 500 words.  Mine are closer to 1000.  I think the pre-launch marketing is going well, plus I plan on having a give away to celebrate the 100th post of CFM and will tie in Grand Per Month as well to get more exposure.  This will end up being in early to mid-January as post number 93 was published today.

Well, since I am so busy I suppose I better get a few more things done today.  I hope everyone has a good day and a Happy New Year!  I doubt I will post here again until 2012.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Announcing the New Blog

I have been dying all weekend to put out this post because I am so excited about the new blog that I will be starting in January.  I managed to work hard on the site and actually had it pretty much ready to go last Thursday.  It turned out to be a good thing because the cat was out of the bag on Friday since one of the writers who will be working with me let his readers know.  Actually, it was a good thing since I could let the information trickle out and see who might be interested from different sets of readers.

However, since I try to be true to my word and said Monday would be the announcement, I waited til Monday.  But before I reveal the URL, I would like to offer a little background.  I wrote a post at Cash Flow Mantra wondering aloud if there were part-time bloggers who could make $1000 per month.  I figured that it was quite possible for a full-time blogger to do this.  After all, writing for 40-50 hours per week should be able to generate about $2 per hour.  A free-lancing article or two per day plus work on other sites should add up.

But how possible was it for someone who was working 50 hours per week with 6 kids and getting up at 4:30 every morning to write and comment for 1.5 hours before work to actually make the activity worthwhile financially?  I had been following other blogs and commenting in order to develop a following.  This was actually quite motivating, knowing that people were reading what I had to say.  I started noticing that several of these bloggers had jobs and were actually reporting very good earnings.

I saw a pattern begin to emerge and so was able to learn and adapt techniques.  And so I began to make a little bit of money.  Finally, in November of 2011, I was able to make just over $1000 through all of my online activities.  I was shocked and figured that if I could do it, I could help others do the same.  How would that level of added income change the lives of others?  It could provide a decent place to stay and even transportation for a young married couple.  It could be used to pay off debt.  It could be used for college or retirement savings.

Thus was the inspiration for Grand Per Month, my new blog.  It is about figuring out what it takes to make an extra $1000 per month which could help change someone's life.  Each Monday will be a new idea for making an extra $1000 in a month's time on a part-time basis.  Not all of the ideas will involve online activities.  Some of them will be offline.  The purpose is to help people get their creative juices flowing and think about how they might make some side income in these tough economic times.  Thursday's posts will be inspirational and practical in nature.  As the blog grows, we might be able to add other days for links around the web or reader stories.

I am excited to begin working on this project so be sure to stop by the site and check it out.  We will begin on January 2nd with a post on making $1000 per month as a blogger.  It is written by one of those from whom I was able to glean the necessary clues which enabled me to make a Grand Per Month.  Won't you join us on this journey in 2012?

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Work Coming Along On New Blog

I couldn't really work on the new blog at all last week.  I was sick in bed all day on the one day I had off to go Christmas shopping so I don't even have that started yet.  This week has been a lot more productive.

Sunday night I was able to get WordPress loaded onto the new domain with only a little help from the online live chat at HostGator.  It simply gets a little bit easier each time.  I then found a theme that I will be starting with and spent the last few days working with it.  I now have a Welcome post and the Policies page complete.

I have also placed my own picture across the top.  I am not exactly computer savvy when it comes to CSS and HTML coding, but I managed to piece together enough information to figure out what I needed to do.  It only took me about 1.5 hours last night to do that.

I have also created a list of all the articles that I want to post for the month of January.  The plan is to post every Monday and Thursday with some Saturdays available for odds and ends.  I had previously sent my list of potential topics to the two writers that will be working with me.  It is simply impossible for me to write that much content with my busy schedule so I am planning on partnering with these individuals for 2 articles each initially.

The cost will be $20 per article meaning $80 in expenses for the month.  I will be on the hook for 5 articles myself which will be doable.  I have already received back from the authors which topics about which they want to write so I can start writing my articles when I get a chance.  I want to try to plan and stay about a month ahead for when times tend to get busy or illness occurs.  I have enough money in the Paypal account for six months worth of articles.  I am hoping that by that time, the site will at least be covering its costs.

One of the authors has already returned his articles and I will be submitting payment to him in January.  So, it looks like the blog is beginning to take shape.  I added Google AdSense and Analytics code this morning.  I should be ready to announce the domain name by Monday and will likely do that.

The two authors are also bloggers so I am hoping to generate a little more buzz and have a ready made audience from my own blog.  This would be a lot better than when I had to start from zero at Cash Flow Mantra.  I plan on announcing the domain on Monday there as well.  Hopefully, I can get everything finalized this weekend.  Wish me luck.  I hope to be back here on Monday morning!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Starting Another New Blog

Over the next few weeks, I will be starting another new blog.  The plan is to launch at the beginning of January.  I don't quite plan on revealing the topic yet, but I think that it will be a great topic and incredibly useful to lots of individuals.

The best part is that I am now making enough with my blog, Cash Flow Mantra, that I can afford to partner with a few fellow bloggers and pay for 4 articles per month with some of the money that I have been making.  Right now, I have enough money in my PayPal account to pay for about 4 months worth of articles.

My plan all along has been to spend my time to develop an online income stream rather than any money.  I have successfully done that and haven't spent one dime of my own money.  Rather by starting with HubPages and eHow, I was able to earn on a platform with no upfront costs.

Then, once I got affected by the first Panda Update, I finally got the guts to start my own WordPress blog.  Of course, I have to repeatedly ask myself why I didn't do so sooner.  I would be much farther down the road had I done this 18 months ago.  I might be making double or triple what I am making now.

If this new blog is anything like CFM, it should take about 6 months for me to be making enough to pay for the costs of paying for content and begin making a profit.  Then, I could start another blog with the additional proceeds and pay for more content.  The goal would be to keep my writing load the same while increasing my internet exposure and earning possibilities.  It would be a lot like reinvesting dividends and compound interest.

Of course, having cross-marketing opportunities across the different blogs will help.  I suspect that this new blog will grow much faster than CFM because I have some experience getting traffic but also some writing partners who will help in that realm and benefit themselves from the traffic.

It is going to be a busy December getting ready, but I am looking forward to it.  Wish me luck.  I will be sure to let everyone here know the name and topic in a week or two.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Amazon Streak Likely to Come to an End

Well for the last 10 months, I have managed to have at least one sale through Amazon.  It looks like that streak is about to end since today is the 29th of November and I don't have any sales yet.  I am actually a little surprised given that this is the shopping season.  Maybe all the people that link through my Amazon links are procrastinating like me.

Despite that, I am not too worried.  Both AdSense income and HubPages Ad Program income are up compared to last month and traffic continues to improve so for that I am thankful.

I am also earning some money through my blog as well so that is good.  I think that having a diverse income stream can be very useful should one of them have a bad month.

Plus, I am excited by the fact that my online income for this year has exceeded my income for 2010.  I honestly didn't think that would happen given the changes that have occurred this year, but it did happen.  I am really looking forward to 2012 for another opportunity to learn, grow, and earn more income.

PS:  My kids have some Cockapoo puppies for sale.  Here is an ad for one of them.  You can see his picture at the left of this post.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Hoping for a Little Help From My Friends

I just happened to be on the Yakezie forums on Sunday morning and joined a team that is looking to help each other with generating traffic and commenting on one another's blogs.  There are 15 members so it will definitely be noticeable in my statistics since my traffic isn't all that great to begin with.  We just started this yesterday and should the numbers remain consistent through the end of the year, I think this will help me succeed in the Yakezie Challenge of getting the Alexa Rank for Cash Flow Mantra below the 200,000 by the New Year.

I would hate to think that publishing 3 times per week and spending lots of time working on commenting would not produce some results over the next month and a half.  I know the process can be slow at times, but I would like to see some steady growth.  This is why I am optimistic.  I think that I will be able to see progress and am looking forward to it.

I must say that it is encouraging to have a group that is looking out for one another and offering to assist each other.  It certainly is a big motivator to know that someone has your back.  Blogging can be quite the lonely venture with many hours sitting in front of a blank screen.  I was wanting to write a post for CFM tonight but just couldn't come up with any decent ideas.  Wouldn't you know that when I have a little extra time, I have nothing percolating in my head.  I will have some time over the next few days so I will probably be lacking for any good material.  Arrgh!  Isn't that just my luck.

Maybe after a good night's sleep an idea will pop into my head.  I did get one post written today to schedule for this Friday so I am good for the rest of the week.  I am hoping to stay one week ahead so would need to get 3 posts together by the weekend.  Wait, I just had an idea.  I need to wrap this up so I can go write it down.  Will catch you all later.  Wish me luck.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Getting Ahead of the Curve

Well, it has been a fairly productive weekend and I managed to get 2 posts written for my blog at CFM for the upcoming week.  That means the next post will be for Friday so I am 4 days ahead on my posting schedule.  It has been quite some time since I have been in this position.  My goal was to get 3 done, but I will take what I can get.

I also wrote a link post this morning and got it published so I guess you could say that I really did get 3 posts written.

It seems that having a regular posting schedule is an asset for a blog so that readers can know what to expect.  I also think that more publishing leads to more traffic since the regular readers need to read more and there is more material for the search engines to search and find some longer tail keywords.

My plan is to keep a Monday, Wednesday, Friday schedule for the rest of the year at least in order to keep up the intensity and make it through the Yakezie Challenge.  I also have someone submitting to Carnivals for me which I am also hoping will help drive some traffic as well.  These are my two major strategies for increasing traffic over the next 2 months.
  1. Regular posting schedule
  2. Carnival submissions
I am hoping to almost double my traffic over that time to 2,000 visits per month from 1,200.  I think it is possible.  The most positive aspect has been search engine traffic increases over the past few months.  I would think that I might be able to get up to 600 search visitors per month by the end of December.

For now, though, I will be taking the rest of the evening off and try to write some more tomorrow.  I hope everyone has a good week.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Why I Am Sticking With HubPages

As you can see from the title of this post, I am sticking with HubPages.  Now there is a lot of potential meaning in those words, and they could be taken in many different ways so I will be explaining myself.  It could mean that I believe HubPages is a viable method of making money on the internet.  I suppose it might work for some people, but it really doesn't mean that for me.  I have found a much more profitable method of generating income.

Essentially for me those words mean that I won't be deleting all of my Hubs like many others may have done.  In other words, I will retain HubPages as a source of passive income.  I haven't written anything for the site since June 4 of this year and that was really to complete a grand total of 200 Hubs.  Before that, I hadn't published since March.  I only end up going to the site every few days and checking to see if I have any comments to address.
Despite that lack of activity, I managed to earn $14 through their Ad Program and a couple bucks in Amazon purchases and AdSense ads.  Clearly, it is not the most lucrative venture but it is entirely passive at this point and pays for my hosting costs at Hostgator.  That is clearly OK in my book.

HubPages got hit big with the Panda update in March of this year.  I saw my traffic nearly disappear and decline through the summer.  But recently, I have seen an uptick.  However, my traffic is still less than half what I received in January 2011.  It would be great to see a return to that level, but I won't necessarily be doing anything to encourage traffic since I feel that my efforts are more useful with other projects.

Nonetheless, I won't be complaining too loudly about income that will pay for my expenses without any effort on my part.  I am pleased that I can continue to earn passive income for work that I have already done.

Friday, October 14, 2011

I Think My New Posting Schedule Will Work

I have been inspired to post 3 times per week at my blog, Cash Flow Mantra.  Every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday a new post will appear.  I may even occasionally be able to post a review with links on the weekend.

I started my new schedule this past week and am pleased to see that my traffic was up about 40% as far as I can tell.  It only makes sense.  Before, I was only posting about 2 times per week on average.  Since most of my readers currently are regulars with not a ton of search traffic, that meant a reader would see the article and then only come back later when something new appeared.

Now since there is new material more days each week, then I am likely to get more traffic from my regulars with more opportunity that one of my posts ends up in a weekly round-up somewhere.  I also have that many more phrases for some long tail searches to find my blog.  I figure that will only enhance any search engine traffic.

Search engine traffic is actually growing fairly nicely as well along a slow upward trend.  Currently about 27% of my traffic is from Google.  I expect that this number should continue to increase and might even be about 40% by the end of the year.

According to Google Analytics, for the past 30 days, I have had just over 1300 visitors.  I think this is a respectable number for a blog that only started at the end of May.  I would like to have about 2000 per month by the end of the year.  I think with my new schedule, I could come very close.  I did have a big month in September when one of my articles got linked from a larger blog.  I then got over 100 visitors per day for about 5 days.  That was cool!  But now, I am back to my regular level of traffic.

Earnings are OK, but certainly nothing to write home about.  I have been a little disappointed but I have come to realize that there will be a constant ebb and flow in that regard.  Eventually it all evens out in the end.  My goal is to just make about the same as I did last year and to improve upon that each year after this.

Well, I still have to get about 5 posts written for CFM over the next 6 days before I head for Honduras.  I did get a guest post for one day over the next 2 weeks leaving me 5 to go.  I have ideas for 2 of them but will need to spend some time thinking about the other 3.  Anyway, thanks for reading my blog here.  I really appreciate it and thank you for your continued support.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Trying to Write Ahead

Well, I plan on heading to Honduras for a mission trip in the within the next few weeks and will be gone for 10 days.  I will have limited time and internet access while there so I will be working diligently to write some extra posts over the next week or so for my main personal finance blog.  I would like to get those posts scheduled to come out over the time while I am away so that I don't have 10 days without any activity.

I think this is one of the coolest features about Wordpress that I had never really embraced until I started writing for my own site.  I am pretty sure that I could schedule posts here as well, but I never really felt the need.  I was writing whenever I could for the content farms, and it didn't really matter to me to maintain a certain level of consistency.

But now since I am trying to build a strong blog and following, I think it is vital to interact and stay active.  I have been posting 2-3 times per week, and I believe that it would be detrimental not to publish any new material over a 10 day stretch.  So, I will writing furiously tomorrow and this weekend to get several posts ahead.

Well, I better get busy so this post will be somewhat short.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Amazon Comes Through Again

Well, I am now 9 for 9 this year with Amazon orders and shipments.  Each and every month so far this year, I have had an order from Amazon and some positive earnings.  I thought the streak might come to an end this month.  I did have a couple orders, but I had a return from last month so I was actually at a negative earnings number.  But yesterday, someone ordered 4 books and a flashlight so my negative $1.33 will be positive.  Plus I will be at 6% commission.  Yay!

I can't wait to see what happens as we get closer to the holiday season.  Despite somewhat crappy traffic over at HubPages, I am still making the occasional sale with Amazon, getting a few dollars per month with the HubPages Ad Program, and making a little off AdSense as well.  It turns out those 200 articles are worth a little something.  And now, it is strictly passive.  I only wish that the traffic would grow more.  I would bet by the end of the year, my traffic at Cash Flow Mantra will exceed that of HubPages, and that the earnings might as well.

Speaking of earnings, I should be getting paid from Amazon shortly.  I haven't really figured out their payment schedule so I don't know if it will be toward the end of this month or early next.  I will also be getting a check from Google in the next week or so.  This will be my third for this year and eighth total.  I can't wait until I start getting monthly checks.  I figure that I need to see my traffic increase about 4 times before that happens.  It would be nice to think that I could get that accomplished in 2012.

I am not sure the best way to increase traffic.  I really don't plan on doing anything different than what I am currently doing.  I am considering a contest or something, but I don't know how sustainable that traffic would be so haven't taken the plunge to do that yet.  I will see where things end up by the end of 2011.  I understand that the summer is typically slow.  Now that fall and winter are approaching, I will see what happens.  Many of my records have been set in October so I am curious to see what next month brings.

Congratulate Me on 200 Posts!

I only realized it when I went to write this, but this is my 200th post for this blog.  It hardly seems possible to have written that much, but it has been a little over 2 years.  I am encouraged to think that I have been able to stick with it for so long.  Many of the blogs that I followed on Blogger haven't posted in a year or more which just goes to show that persistence plays a huge role in being able to be successful.  Not that I consider myself successful, but I am closer than if I had quit.

My next goal for this blog is to get to 100 followers.  You can see in the sidebar that I am at 84.  I don't know why I like round numbers so much, but I do.  Although if you are a regular reader and don't follow, I would prefer that to following and not reading.  I want to thank everyone who reads regularly and who has supported me through your encouraging words.  I don't think I could have kept at it at times without knowing that someone was out there reading.  Thanks so much and good luck with all your goals for the rest of the year.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Completing the Yakezie Challenge

I am excited to report that I completed the Yakezie Challenge with my blog, Cash Flow Mantra this week.  What that means is that I was able to get my Alexa ranking under 200,000 within six months of starting the challenge.  I actually started on July 1st, 2011 so I had until the end of the year to complete the task.  As of this moment, my actual Alexa ranking is 198,607.

That being said, I certainly don't plan on quitting.  I will discuss a little bit more about that in a moment, but first I would like to explain how I was able to decrease my ranking so quickly.

No Secret, Just Writing and Interaction

There really isn't any big secret that I used to decrease my Alexa ranking so quickly.  I simply posted some content about 2-3 times per week and began interacting with the Yakezie community of personal financial bloggers.  Actually, that was probably the most important aspect of getting traffic and growing the site.

Through commenting on other individual blogs, I was able to find some readers who took an interest in what I had to write.  Occasionally, these bloggers would enjoy a post and link back to my content.  This was probably the biggest factor in any success that I have enjoyed thus far.

Now, I am starting to generate a little bit of search engine traffic as well.  Hopefully, both social traffic and search engine traffic will slowly increase over time such that I am able to grow the blog little by little.  Up til now, the traffic growth has been fairly quick.  Of course that is because I am growing off a small base.  But I suspect that it will become more and more difficult over time.

Future Plans

I certainly don't plan to stop working hard at this point.  I would like to see my blog grow as much as possible by the end of the year maybe to the point of getting 100 visitors per day.  That seems like a stretch at this point, but I do believe that it is possible.  I will probably continue doing what I have been doing and reassess my progress and plans at the beginning of 2012.

I want to thank each and every one of you readers here who have been reading my other blogs and following my progress.  It is really exciting to see something develop from scratch.  The other part that really excites me is that I was able to develop this using Wordpress and get something done that one year ago was really frightening to me in concept.  The bottom line is that you just have to step out and get it done.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Record Traffic Day at Cash Flow Mantra

Just when I didn't think it was possible to increase traffic significantly at my blog, Cash Flow Mantra, I discovered that my suspicions were unjustified.  It turns out that a simple link at a relatively well read blog lead to a bunch of traffic to one of my articles.  Of course I have gotten links before, but the amount of additional traffic to the site didn't spike nearly as much as it did yesterday.

My previous daily high for traffic happened almost one month ago and was 62 visits according to Google Analytics.  Yesterday though I received 151 visits which is more than double!  I simply can't believe it.  I am so excited.  The article that was linked was one of the most recent ones, My Investing Strategy for the Next Decade.  Apparently many people were curious enough to read and click on the link.

I am hoping that I might pick up a few regular readers this way and that my level of traffic will achieve a new plateau.  I am also hoping that the traffic may somehow help in my rankings and authority with search engines so that I can get more and more search traffic since search is more correlated to earnings than regular visitors.  Of course, if I could get a few advertisers that might help but I am sure it will all come in due time.

Life and My Finances is Giving Away an iPad2

One of the personal finance blogs that I read is giving away an iPad2 to celebrate his one year anniversary.  Wow!  I can't imagine making enough at this point to be able to do that, but who knows.  Maybe someday.  Anyway, be sure to get over there and enter.  You have nothing to lose and could win an iPad2.  And if you don't win, you can buy one through my Amazon link above.

Thanks so much for reading.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Revenue is Bouncing Back Following Panda

I could tell that revenue (and especially AdSense revenue) was bouncing back following the Panda update, but I really didn't realize that it had taken such a hit until I actually looked at the numbers.  To give you an idea of what happened, allow me to list my AdSense numbers for this year:

  • January 2011-- $53.39
  • February 2011-- $42.84
  • March 2011-- $44.09
  • April 2011-- $14.73
  • May 2011-- $20.49
  • June 2011-- $23.05
  • July 2011-- $35.65
  • August 2011-- $44.00
As you can see, once the Panda update hit at the end of March, AdSense revenue fell by about 70% but has now returned to the level that I was seeing before the change.

The main reason for this has to due with developing my own blog.  I have earned just over $20 this month by developing and working hard to get traffic and grow readership.

The effort has been a lot more than $20 worth, that is sure.  But it is fun to make a little something while sharing with my readers which I am enjoying immensely.  I enjoy the interaction and creating a worthwhile venture based upon my own hard work and diligence.

I am hoping that by the end of the year, I can exceed my previous AdSense revenue record of $62.53.  I think I have a decent shot at it.  I would also like to think that I could achieve monthly revenues of $100 by July 1st of 2012 which would still put me on track with my ultimate goal of earning $1000 monthly by July of 2016.

Needless to say, I will keep busy working on my blog and developing others along the way.  If you haven't taken the plunge and developed your own site, I would encourage you to do so.  I know that the idea of developing a blog can be very intimidating.  I knew nothing about WordPress but got thrown into it by a big, bad Panda.  I learned and am continuing to do so, but I can't help but wonder why I didn't do it sooner.  There really is nothing to fear.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

The Puppy Website is Online

Hey, I just wanted to let all of you readers here that the puppy website is online.  I spent Monday buying the domain and getting WordPress installed at Hostgator.  The domain cost me $15 for the year.  I know I could have gotten it cheaper, but I went through the Hostgator site so I didn't have to try to figure out or wait for a transfer.  I was able to see it online within about 20 minutes of purchase and installation of WordPress.  It really is getting easier each and every time.

My eldest daughter and I then found a free theme for the site and began working on the various pages.  She wrote a post while I wrote the welcome page.  She spent yesterday while I was at working figuring out how to make a slideshow and put some pictures of the puppies on the site.  She has really figured out how to work with WordPress with no instruction and has only been at it for 24 hours.  It is really easy to set up your own website and get going.  My other site, is actually paying for itself now.  You should really go to the HostGator site and get started if you haven't already.

Anyway, I knew that several had asked about seeing the puppies so if you go to you can see our puppies.  They are so cute and are a little over 2 weeks old now.  Their eyes are open, and they have started army crawling around and hobbling about.  By next week, they should be walking.  They will also get their teeth this week.

I would appreciate any comments you have on the site.  We have gotten some great feedback from friends already and have made some changes based upon that feedback.  Our goal is to sell the puppies when we have a litter, but also to provide a resource for those who might try some breeding as a hobby or those who just got a new puppy and would like to learn about development and training.  I would like the website to become an authoritative site with valuable information and an Amazon store as well.

I think it will be a fun family project.  Everyone has played some role in carrying for the dogs and helping with the puppies.  My daughter and wife have been working on the website and with Facebook.  All in all, it will be a great learning experience for everyone.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Carrying Its Own Weight

I am excited (or maybe even ecstatic) that the blog,, is now carrying its own weight.  Just this past week, AdSense earnings for the site surpassed $10 in the month of August.  Since the hosting cost I am paying at HostGator is only $9.95, CFM has paid for itself.

It was only about 3 months ago that I started the site so I am pleased that it is now "profitable".  Of course, it still is taking a lot of my time which is uncompensated, but I am having fun writing content, commenting on other blogs and interacting with the financial blogger community, and growing the site.  I know that it is going to take a lot more effort, but I am encouraged by the early results so far.


I am a little disappointed that I haven't had as much time to write on this blog and track my efforts better.  I also haven't been able to spend as much time developing another site as well.  I would really like to be able to have more time for writing and building stuff on the internet.  But until myself and my family can learn to live without food, clothing, or shelter, I will have to continue to work and only write in my spare time.


I am, however, looking forward to being able to use my skills to help develop another website for my family.  This will be a fun project.  We have 4 cockapoo puppies that were born two weeks ago.  Their eyes opened just yesterday. 

We plan on spending the weekend putting together a website to showcase the puppies for sale.  We don't plan on having a lot of puppies to sell but maybe one litter a year or so.  In the meantime, I am thinking that we can create a resource for others looking to learn about puppies or breeding or training dogs, etc.  Maybe I can even convince some of the kids to write a bit of content.

I will of course be sharing with everyone on this blog our progress.  The first order of business is to get the domain purchased and get a workable site together over the next 3 days or so.  I had hoped to get started on it today, but circumstances beyond my control may prevent that from happening.  Oh well, it will happen so I will let you know how it is going.

That is all I wanted to share for now.  There are still several days left during the month of August for CFM to make a little more and actually show a profit for the month.  Everything past today is simply icing on the cake.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Plans and Happenings at CFM

I am sure you know by now that I have started my own personal finance blog at Cash Flow Mantra.  It has been live for just over 2 months so I wanted to update you on several exciting happenings that have been occurring.

Guest Posts

I have published 2 guest posts myself at other personal finance blogs.  This was a great experience although I didn't really experience much, if any, additional traffic as a result.  I may try additional guest posts in the future but am discounting the true value at this point.  I also published a guest post at Christian Personal Finance as part of an interview process for a staff writing position.  It is a competition for 2 spots and 10 authors are in the running.  I am OK with whatever happens, but I did have several visitors from the site as a result of my post.  The number was in the mid-teens, but it did help me set a daily traffic record at 62!

Finally, as far as guest posts go, I actually had someone contact me to post on CFM.  That post went live yesterday so I am officially a guest post host.  It is nice having some content without having to write it.  I could get into this and might consider one a week at the most.  I did have an idea for a contest but was planning on saving that for after the first of the year or at some time when I am busy or feeling burnt out.  I would like to have the majority of content on the site self-authored.

Page Rank Update

I heard that there was a Google PR update that occurred recently, and I am pleased to announce that CFM is now PR3.  Yippee!  I don't know if the increased traffic that I am seeing is a result of this or more exposure to my above mentioned guest post, but the last 3 days have been the most traffic ever with a record 62 visits on Wednesday.  I wouldn't be surprised if I could be getting 100 visits per day by the end of the year.

Attracting Traffic

Speaking of traffic, I will be focusing on two things for my blog.  Writing content and posting 3 times per week if at all possible and commenting on other blogs.  I have found that this social interaction is great for generating interest in my blog.  It is one of the ways that I discover new blogs.  Someone who leaves an interesting comment and has a link that I don't recognize is likely to have me visit.  If I like what I see, then I am likely to subscribe and interact.  That blogger may then visit my blog and become a regular reader.

I am still convinced that traffic has to figure into the Google algorithm somehow as an incredibly popular site must mean it is more sought after.  The result would seem to be a virtuous cycle of increasing traffic, improving PR, and better search engine placement leading to increasing traffic and on down the line.  I don't really know how the algorithm works, but it would seem logical.  Not to mention the fact that it seems to be working for me so why argue?

Yakezie Challenge and Alexa Rank

On July 1st, I joined the Yakezie Challenge with CFM.  The goal is to be a supportive community member and by working together help others market their blogs.  I have been working on this and other financial bloggers have been reading my blog as well.  This also goes back to blog commenting.  We are all pulling together to improve our visibility on the web.  My particular goal is to drop my Alexa Rank below 200,000 in the first 6 months.

Well, it seems to be working since my Alexa Rank is 340,083 but the  1 month ranking is below 200,000 so I am thinking that if I keep at it, I should be able to achieve my goal.  Now is not the time to slack off but continue to post 3 times per week and keep interacting like I have been.

Oh and by the way, I will occasionally make a little AdSense income as well.

So as you can see, there are lots of good things happening in just a few short months.  I expect many other good things to happen as well.  You could do it too.  It is simply a matter of getting out there and getting it done.  Host Gator has been a big help also.  I you are thinking of making your own site, I would recommend them.  They helped me out with their live chat every step of the way.  CFM works and will soon be paying for itself.  Feel free to click on my affiliate link banner for Host Gator above.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

A Different Kind of Guest Post

I had a guest post published today on  You see, Christian Personal Finance was looking to add another couple staff writers to their blog so I figured I would send an email and ask about it.  It turns out that there were many, many responses to this post offering these 2 positions.  In fact, there were about 100 responses. 

So the owner of the site decided to hold a little guest posting contest.  The editors narrowed down the field to 10 bloggers based upon previously submitted writing samples.  I simply provided the link to my blogs and HubPages articles thinking I didn't have much of a chance against 100 others.

I was pleasantly surprised to find out that I had been included in the top 10.  The next portion of the "interview" was to write a guest post for publication and let the blogosphere help make the decision.  Of course, the deadline for sending in the post happened to be midnight on the evening that we were driving back from Dallas where I had crappy internet access and little time for writing.  At least the deadline was midnight Central time.  Since I was in the Eastern time zone, I had until 1 am to get it done.  When I sat down at 11 pm after driving for 16 hours, I got an extra hour to get it in.

Let me tell you that writing a post late at night after driving home 900 miles from Dallas is not that much fun.  I certainly wondered if I should even bother, but I have always been one to do my best no matter the circumstances.  Besides, the worst that could happen is I get a guest post published along with a link so that I might get a new reader or two to my personal finance blog.

On the other hand, I could end up picking up a staff writing position and making a few dollars per month for blogging while reaching a much wider audience than I can currently.  Either way, I was honored to be considered as one of the top 10% of writers who had expressed interest.  I still consider myself an amateur writer and blogger so to be considered is a great accomplishment for me.

Anyway, if you want to read my article on lessons we can learn from Solomon, please feel free.  I would be honored if you consider it worthy enough to comment upon, tweet or retweet or digg or stumble or share on facebook, etc.  If not, then that is OK also.  I am just pleased to be making progress one day and one post at a time.

Thanks for reading this blog as well as my other writings.  I really appreciate it.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Back From Vacation Trying to Catch Up

Well, I have been back from vacation for a little over 36 hours now and trying to get caught up after not doing any of my daily activities for the past week.  I did manage to get through the large stack of mail this morning and have started to slowly unpack.  Since we stayed in a house, we were able to do laundry and so came home with mostly clean clothes.

I still haven't been able to get much written yet.  I did write a post for Christian Personal Finance last night as part of a paid writing position.  I figure that it could pay for hosting fees for my other online projects and provide a potentially larger audience for my blog.  If I pass the "audition", then great.  If not, then nothing is lost.  I will let you know when it is posted so that you can go and vote for me to become one of their two new writers.

I am also working on the list of articles in my Google Reader and commenting here and there.  I had over 300 to go through.  I have knocked that total in half currently.  I hope to get it done by later tonight so that I can keep up again.  I would also like to get posts written for Cash Flow Mantra, Options Dude, and Options Dude A to Z.  I am wondering if I am trying to get too much done in the next 12 hours.

The good news is that I have a very good idea of the topics that I will be discussing.  The bad news is that it will probably take some time (about 2 hours or more) to get it all done.  And I have a softball game plus some other work at the desk to do for my rental properties plus I would like to sleep some time tonight.  Oh well, if nothing else, I should be back on track by tomorrow evening at the latest.

The biggest problem with vacation is that you have to get 2 weeks worth of work done in one week in order to enjoy some time off.  The work doesn't necessarily stop, but simply gets compressed into a shorter time frame.  Anyway, it will be a bit busier for a few days.  I would also like to get ahead on some posts for Cash Flow Mantra since I really liked being able to schedule my posts during vacation when internet access was spotty and very slow at best.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Heading to Dallas--Gotta Love WordPress

So my family and I are heading for Dallas today.  Gotta pack since we leave in 2 hours or so, but had to do a quick post to let you know that I may not be all that active for the next week.  I don't know the internet access situation in the house that we will be renting.  If I have to live without, that is OK and might be better for me.

However, I have managed to schedule 4 posts that will happen at over the next 9 days while I am traveling.  I think that is absolutely awesome so be sure to check them out.  I put a lot of effort into getting four posts ahead the past week so that I could continue posting and not have people lose interest in that site.  I see a lot of momentum building and want to maintain that progress.

I just love the scheduling feature on WordPress.  I think it is so cool.  There might be one here on blogger, but now that I am getting into the WordPress action, I am loving it.  So, why didn't I do this sooner?  Fear of the unknown,  plain and simple.  Anyway, this is a quick post since I have to get packing.  Enjoy my new posts on my main personal finance blog.  You can go directly or catch them here in the right side bar.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Six Month Goals for Cash Flow Mantra

I have started a new blog that is a little over a month old now called Cash Flow Mantra.  It is a personal finance blog with the primary focus being cash flow.  You can link to my latest posts in the sidebar at the right.  In fact, many of you have been doing so because this blog is responsible for 7.5% of my traffic over the last 30 days according to Google Analytics.  I want to say that I sincerely appreciate your support in helping me build traffic over there.

I have mentioned in previous posts that I would share with you my goals for the remainder of the year with this new blog.  I honestly haven't had much of a chance to sit down and consider them in detail.  I also haven't had the opportunity to put them down on paper so I will actually be developing them on the fly as I write this post.

First, I would like to be able to publish some quality and thought provoking articles.  I am realistic and know that I won't be able to do that for every post.  I simply don't have that many good ideas but at least a couple absolutely knock-out articles each month is possible along with lots of other good articles on personal financial topics.  As part of the Yakezie Challenge, I will need to publish at least twice per week.  I certainly want to be able to maintain that pace at a minimum.  I would like to have a total of 100 posts by the end of the year.  I am currently at 17 and feel that 12 per month is reasonable.

Next, I would like to be able to get my Alexa rank down to 200,000 by the end of the year.  That is one of the primary goals of the Yakezie Challenge.  I think that this is possible but I will need to grow traffic and probably need to increase it 4 or 5-fold.  As the number of posts increases, the amount of search traffic would be expected to increase as well and could actually surpass my current levels of traffic.  I would also retain and hopefully grow my social readers at the same time.

I don't expect to earn a lot in the first six months, but I would like to see the total slowly grow.  I think this might happen as the search engine traffic grows.  I will not be targeting keywords necessarily but plan on writing what I view as quality content letting the chips fall where they may.  I would expect that by after one year, I should at least be able to cover my hosting expenses of $10 per month.  I currently have enough money in my PayPal account to cover one full year's worth of hosting expenses.  Plus I am getting close to payout with the HubPages Ad Program which would provide another $50 or five months of hosting fees.

I would like to also get some advertising on the site which could help.  As the traffic builds and Alexa rank declines, I might be able to get someone to advertise on the site.  Right now I have a special going, so hop on over and check it out.  Now would be a good time to get in on the ground floor as I build up the site.

These are the main goals that I would have for the site for the remainder of 2011.  I think they are reasonable and achievable but will require that I put forth some effort.  I can't simply ignore the site after a few posts.  I am continuing to interact with other financial bloggers by commenting which has helped me enjoy the best initial traffic success that I have ever had.  I will have to keep working hard in order to meet my goals, but plan on having some fun in the process.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Making Record Money in My Sleep

I woke up yesterday morning and couldn't believe my eyes.  While I was sleeping (which was only for 5 hours), I had managed to make over $19 on AdSense.  I thought I had accidentally picked a month's worth of stats since I haven't been making all that much in AdSense since the Panda attack.  But there it was in black and white.  A month's worth of earnings in only a few hours.  So this is what it feels like to be Felicia from  I think I like it.

Needless to say, today is back to normal, and I am sitting on 13 cents.  But that's is OK with me.  I am excited about the prospects of continuing to build up various blogs and sites in the months and years to come.  I have a long term horizon as I outlined in my article on compounding my online income.  As you can see from the table, I only need to be making $53.87 this month.  Plus I have a year before I need to make $100 per month to stay on track. 

I honestly think that I will be able to do this now that I have my own WordPress blog.  I may not quite make it this month with just AdSense, but adding in Amazon and the HubPages Ad Program may help although HubPages traffic keeps declining.  But traffic at is taking off.  I am entering the Yakezie Challenge with that site and will be pushing it hard to gain traffic which can only help.  I am enjoying using WordPress and look forward to being able to make a few more sites this year also.

Sorry to make this a short post, but I have to get out and fire up the grill for dinner.  In the next few posts, I will be posting my quarterly earnings and some goals for the rest of the year.

Monday, June 27, 2011

I Got My Work Cut Out For Me

Recently, Felicia at No Job For Mom was celebrating a $100 day with AdSense.  Clearly she is deserving as she has spent quite a bit of time building up her residual income and is the consummate online professional in my book.  But she offers a brief glimpse at her humble beginnings in a follow up post where she explains that she earned all of $16.25 for a whole year.  Needless to say, that is quite a journey and one that I would like to achieve if only one-tenth as much.

It got me to thinking.  What does it take to get a $100 day on AdSense?  Felicia has talked about having multiple blogs, but what does it actually mean?  So I asked and found out that she has 16 active blogs of which 4 bring in the majority of her income.  She is batting about 0.250 for all you baseball fans.  Not enough to make it to the Hall of Fame, but certainly respectable to have a decent career in the Show.  I figure if I can just make it to triple A ball, I will be blessed.

Now what will it take to make it to triple A?  A lot of work, that's what.  I figure that I could probably achieve decent success with maybe 10-15% of my blogs.  Decent would be defined as earning $5 per day.  If I could simply put up 3 blogs in each of the next 12 years, I could probably hit my goal of making $10 per day with AdSense or even so sort of affiliate program.  I have a couple ideas that can get me through the rest of this year already.

The best part of Felicia's strategy is that she doesn't do any backlinking to speak of.  That is great news since I really don't like that type of busy work.  I am doing some blog commenting but that is more social and getting to know fellow bloggers.  She does writes great content and let's nature take its course.  My content will probably only be decent, hence the 10% success rate.  But even getting 3 blogs moderately successful at $5 per day would lead to almost $500 per month which is nothing to sneeze at.

That being said, I really have my work cut out for me to get 36 blogs online with a fair amount of decent content for each one.  But breaking it down over the course of a decade really shouldn't be all that difficult.  So my goal is to actually act on the two ideas that I have for the remainder of the year and get something up and running.  I don't think that part will be all that difficult.  The hard part will be maintaining my patience while waiting for traffic to develop and not giving up entirely.  There are times that I wonder why I am putting in so much effort.  But, you know what, it is simply a lot of fun!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

I Just Need Twelve Years and Ten Dollars

I had the opportunity to play golf yesterday afternoon for the first time this month.  Take a busy June and mix in plenty of rain and there is little time for golf.  But the schedule was light at work, and I was able to get out at 2:30 to meet a friend at the golf course and play 18 holes starting about 3:30.  We got the twilight rate for $20 which included green fees and a cart.  We managed to only get sprinkled on for one hole and finished before the rain came in full force.

I had such a good time that it got me to thinking of retirement.  If I could get all my debts paid off including mortgages over the next 12 years, then I could use the income from the rental properties to pay for living expenses.  Then if I could just get $10 per day from my blogs and other online sources, I could golf 3 afternoons per week at the twilight rate.  The youngest child would be 23 years old and out of the house so I would have plenty of time on my hands and could even have lots of time to do other things like travel. 

Now, I just have to come up with a workable plan on the debt since I figure I can get to $10 per day in the next decade fairly easily.

My Newest Site

You can now check out my newest site, Cash Flow Mantra, by clicking on the feed on the right.  I figured that I might as well share it for several reasons.  First, the majority of my referral traffic for OptionsDude comes from this blog so I would gain a likely source of traffic for the new one.  Second, it isn't some super lucrative niche that is easy to monetize so I am not all that worried about anyone stealing my ideas.  My ideas aren't all that brilliant anyway.  If someone thinks that my stuff which will be lucky to get $1 per month is worth stealing, go for it.  Third, I am sure that someone here might have some good comments or suggestions on the new blog so feel free to visit and comment.

Currently, you can get to most of my online ventures through this blog.  It is like the central hub for everything and allows you to see feeds from HubPages, OptionsDude, and Cash Flow Mantra.  I do have a few other content sites that have a little bit of material on them, but they earn nothing.  These three will be the main sources of income for this year.  I would like to develop another blog possibly geared toward sales and Amazon affiliate income.  I have an idea but I wouldn't even start that until after a few more months if I do it.

I am pleased with the progress that I am making with Cash Flow Mantra.  I have been working my fingers off commenting on personal finance blogs and gathering an audience.  It does seem to be working.  I bet by the end of the month, I will have as much traffic as at OptionsDude.  If I get any boost of traffic from this site, then I know I will have more.  It is probably because the site has a more broad topic than simply options.  Options are a fairly specific investment topic with a limited audience.

Feel free to stop by my newest site, read a few posts, comment on them, or come back here and let me know what you think.  As always, thanks for reading.  I appreciate it immensely.

Friday, June 17, 2011

A Great Day for My New Sites

Yesterday was a great day for my new sites.  Both of them had some AdSense earnings!  This was actually the first time I had earned anything at all on my newest site.  It is about 3 weeks old so I am hoping that this is a good indication of things to come.  Now these results are relative because there are many days since the Panda Update that I don't earn anything on AdSense.  I will be lucky to get to $20 total this month.

But I am encouraged that I am starting to get some traffic at both of these sites.  I am hoping that I can continue to build the sites and post so that eventually I could have a couple hundred posts each at these sites.  I plan on spending about 2 years to develop and work on content.  I have already spent two years on HubPages and have 200 Hubs so I figure that the precedent is there.  I think that I will actually be more motivated since these sites will be all mine.  I don't have to worry about them being removed from the internet unless I take them down.

This is a short post, but I just wanted to share my excitement.  I have a few posts that I want to write for those sites this weekend and lots of other stuff to do so it will be challenging to be sure.  But I have the ideas in my head so it seems like it just may be a matter of writing it all down.  Sorry this is so short.  Have a good weekend.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

A Nice Surprise From List My Five

I had pretty much given up on List My Five.  It is one of those content farms that got slapped by the Panda Update.  My earnings there hadn't done much.  I didn't even earn a single penny during the month of April so I figured it was totally dead.  So, imagine my surprise when I logged on a couple weeks ago just for kicks and noticed that I had made over $3.00 in the month of May.  In fact, I had made $3.83 which was enough to get me over the $10 Paypal payout threshold.

So as a result, a few days ago, $11.23 was deposited into my Paypal account.  Yippee!  What a nice little payment considering I hadn't even really thought much about List My Five.  That will pay for one month's worth of hosting giving me a little more breathing room to get my own sites up and running.  At least now, I don't have any balance and can restart accumulating some earnings if that is even going to happen all that often.  So far for the month of June, I have earned nothing.  I would be thrilled if I could get one payout (and hence one month of hosting) each year.

It shouldn't be that much longer and I will reach the payout threshold of $50 for the HubPages Ad Program which would be paid through Paypal as well.  That would mean that a full six months would be covered.  If you have been keeping up with this blog, you know that it has been my desire to not spend any of my own money and only utilize my time for this hobby/part-time venture.  So far, I have been able to do that thanks to the content farms.  I would like to continue to find some sites that will pay via Paypal and use that for all of my expenses with any Amazon or AdSense payments representing 100% profit.

Anyway, I just thought I would share and let everyone know that even though I haven't done anything at all on List My Five, I was still able to make a little bit of money.  It isn't a lot, but I am not one to turn down $11.23 if I have earned it.  Has anyone else had a nice surprise lately, whether on the internet or not?  Feel free to comment below.  As always, thanks for reading and enjoy your summer.  The weather has been very nice here almost like spring.  I need to get out and golf a little more.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Perfect So Far as an Amazon Affiliate

The changes to the Google Algorithm have really hurt my online earnings.  Considering HubPages traffic is still declining (although I think it might be flattening out), eHow will no longer provide me with any residual income, and my new sites are just getting off the ground, there is really little positive news on the earnings report with the exception of Amazon.

Mind you it doesn't take much to make me excited but I have had some orders for each of the first six months of 2011.  Some of the orders have even been somewhat large.  I have gotten one payment from Amazon so far this year of $22.33 and should be getting another one in the near future.  It took me 18 months to receive my first payment of $11.47 in November of last year.  Then just 5 months later, I got another.  Now I have been selling something every month and will be getting another payment.  I could even get a third before the end of the year.  Who knows?  I might even be getting monthly payments in the next year or two.

This silver lining offers a little bit of encouragement for my new sites.  I know that I am starting over, and it will take about 2 years for me to really get some decent traffic and establish these sites.  There are days that the effort seems fruitless.  I remember those dog days of summer two years ago just hoping that someone would read one of my Hubs.  I remember logging on to the AdSense account just hoping but seeing day after day of nothing.  It is the same now but I am encouraged.  Amazon gives me hope.  Just by working daily and publishing a few times each week will mean over 100 new blog posts each year.  Little by little the traffic will build, and I will begin to see the results.

I think for the next post, I want to post my writing, traffic, and earning goals for the remainder of the year.  I realize that I am having to go back and recalibrate in the light of all the online changes, but I believe I am on the right path and will be in for a big surprise come 2 years from now.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Excited About Blogging Again

Well, I started my own WordPress blog on HostGator, and I must say that I am excited again.  It is fun and challenging to try and start from scratch and try to build traffic and an audience of consistent readers.  Right now, I am spending a lot of time commenting on other blogs to try and get my name out there and develop social traffic at the same time that I develop links.  This seemed to be a good strategy for my other new site,  As such, I think it will be a good thing for my new blog as well.  Since the topic is a little more broadly based, I am hoping that I can generate a little more interest.  I will know more over the next few months.

I am starting to make plans and goals for the new site as well.  I am not quite ready to post yet but in the next few days will be solidifying my plans for the remainder of the year.  I am hoping to be able to make up for the lost time that I suffered at the hands of the Panda Update.  It sure put my income back by almost a year as far as I can tell so I do have some catching up to do.  However, now that I am getting the hang of working on my own site, I think that things are more promising than before.

My new site is getting indexed in about 48 hours as best I can tell.  I have about 5 blog posts that are indexed and 2 more that have been recently written which should be in Google by the end of the week.  Having the site as part of Google Analytics and Webmaster Tools seems to help.  Plus the fact that I am commenting on other blogs after each post to take advantage of ComLuv also seem to help.  This is another reason that I think the blog will grow relatively quickly compared to my other work so far.  It is certainly nothing compared to what the professionals are able to do, but I am OK with that.  I am just a part-time blogger anyway.

Anyway, I am having a blast building something from the ground up and am curious to see what the possibilities will be.  I have been writing online for 2 years now.  The majority of that time was spent with the content farms and sites like Xomba, eHow, and HubPages.  I can't help but think where I might be if I had spent the time developing my own site or several.  I might have 200 posts on an authority blog rather than 200 disparate Hubs.  If you are even considering getting your own blog, I would suggest it.  HostGator has been easy to use and the installation of WordPress was pretty easy.  I can't believe I waited so long.  Just click on the HostGator banner above to start building your own blog now.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Earnings During the First Three Months of OptionsDude

I thought I would take some time and make a brief report about my progress and earnings at since it has been a full three months since I started the site.  I am also wanting to document this information so that I can compare the progress with my newest financial blogging site to see where the two will compare.  My goal is to have the site pay for itself during the first year of life.  After that, I would like to see it grow earnings ever so slightly so that it could be profitable after that.

The cost to set up the site with Weebly was $40 which included the domain and hosting.  Weebly takes a 50-50 split on AdSense impressions so that the cost of hosting is actually supplemented by my future earnings.  It turns out to be an easy way to start a site which doesn't involve much technical knowledge at all as well as an inexpensive way to get started.  It does come with a cost and that is 50% of your earnings.  There also seems to be less flexibility from a design standpoint.

I can see where a Weebly website would have a place.  I appreciate the opportunity to work on my site and have found that I am mainly blogging about my options trades and adding in a few other blog posts.  I have some articles at the site and will add some more content over time.  Initially I thought a more static site would be the way to go, but I have found that I prefer the blogging format to a much greater degree.

That being said, I think I still have a decent future with OptionsDude.  I have developed a following among several financial bloggers.  I think many are interested in the information that I am publishing and the practical experience that I bring.  I am also getting search engine traffic which is slowly increasing.  I am excited to see what the remainder of the year has in store.  I think that I could double my traffic and maybe even see triple the search traffic that I am seeing now.

Increasing the search engine traffic is vital to being able to increase the earnings since social traffic will not click on any of the AdSense ads.  That is OK though.  I have always believed that overall traffic has some impact upon search engine results and authority.

As for the earnings, I have earned a total of $3.47.  That may not sound like a lot, but I anticipate that it will be gradually increasing so that by the end of the year, I would expect to be earning a solid $5 or more per month.  I believe that I am truly on pace to earn the $40 I would need by the end of the first 12 months.  Added content is indexed fairly quickly.  Plus, I plan on adding a couple blog posts per week which should help add to the visibility of the site.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

I Finally Started a WordPress Blog

Well, I had the day off work Thursday and spent the whole day (or at least 6 hours of it) setting up my own WordPress blog.  The great Panda update gave me the motivation to get my butt in gear and actually do it.  I don't really care whether or not it makes a ton of money.  I simply know that it will probably at least pay for the cost of hosting.

More importantly is the fact that I was able to actually get the thing accomplished and looking half-way decent.  That means the next time around, I can improve that much more.  I learned so much on Thursday.  Let me recap what I did.

The first thing I did was set up a hosting account at Host Gator and purchased the domain name at the same time.  The cost to my PayPal account was $22.96 after it was all said and done.  I got the middle level account where I can get unlimited domains, disk space, and bandwidth.  I am assuming that I can have more than one blog for the same low cost of under $10 per month.  It is called the "baby plan".  If I am wrong and mistaken about my assumptions, let me know.  I don't plan on worrying about it for a few months since I doubt I will start another blog before then.

Then I managed to find the WordPress one click download to the server through the cPanel whatever it is.  Okay, I admit that I had to spend time with the Live Chat on Host Gator cause I never would have found it myself.  But once this was online, I was able to find and download a free theme for my blog.  It isn't the greatest visually appealing theme, but I think it is pretty good for my first time.  Plus it was free.  I then spent some time playing around with the different widget locations in order to get AdSense onto my site.

Next, I wrote an introductory post to get a little content on the site.  This actually worked out pretty well.  I am getting a lot better at using the WordPress blogging interface and am liking it a lot.  I also got my site set up to be tracked by Google Analytics.  I had some trouble getting it registered with Google Webmaster Tools and had to go to Live Chat a second time.  I like the convenience of the Live Chat option.

I am pleased so far with Host Gator, have heard good things, and so signed up for their affiliate program.  If you want to sign up to make money on the internet with your own blog, consider using my affiliate link.

I now have 2 posts on the site and plan on adding another 2 in the next week.  It is a blog that focuses more on general financial topics as opposed to the limited topic of options investing.  I am hoping that this more broad scope will lead to more potential traffic.  So now I am slowing commenting on other blogs to solicit a little bit of social traffic to the site.  I know that it will take about a month to start generating any search traffic at all, but hope by the end of the year to have made some money off the site.

I have just over $60 in my PayPal account which is all money that has come from eHow payments.  Those will be coming to an end but I should have plenty of funds available in that account to pay for hosting for the rest of the year.  Add the eHow one time purchase and the HubPages payment program, and I can safely say that hosting will be covered for at least 2 years.  I would hope to see some growth over that time. 

Then if I build another blog by the end of the year, I can have 2 sites and begin my own little online empire.  LOL!  It has been quite a lot of fun.  I am excited that I was able to create something on my own.  It may not be the prettiest, but it is all mine.  The bottom line is just do it.  If I can, anyone can.

Photo credit: lanare Sevi

Thursday, May 26, 2011

What I Have Learned in Two Years Online

This month marks my 2 year anniversary of writing online and trying to earn a little bit of income.  In fact, it was 2 years ago on May 26th that I wrote my first Hub at HubPages.  Actually, I didn't even really think of the income aspect as much as I wanted to spend my time online doing something productive rather than spending too much time playing games or wasting time on Facebook.

More Than a Hobby

Although I initially thought of blogging as more of a hobby, it has become a little bit more for me now.  I view it as a passion and a challenge.  The passion comes from writing and sharing my thoughts.  The challenge comes in trying to actually make a little bit of money on the side and create an income stream that can be used to pay off some debt.  I have not been very successful at that aspect yet but I have learned a lot.

Meeting New Friends

There are a lot of people that I have met online and lest I forget anyone will not name them one by one.  Suffice it to say that I have a blog roll full of those whom I follow closely.  These bloggers offer much advice and encouragement.  They will post their results whether good or bad.  If you are just starting out, find several bloggers that you can follow and with which you can grow.  I have learned that bloggers are a rather friendly lot who will help you out.

Build Your Own Site

Yesterday, my traffic was higher than HubPages or any of the other content sites where I have articles.  I have been blogging there and then commenting on other blogs.  I am not earning a lot but the fact is that in 3 months, I have been able to get more traffic there than anything at HubPages or even this blog speaks volumes.  First, I am doing a much better job of marketing the site through blog comments.  I even have a guest post out there.  Second, I am so much more motivated to make it a success because I don't feel as if I am working for someone else.

Diversify for Income

This is a biggie if you want to make money.  The Panda update really demonstrates the need for diversification.  I was very dependent upon HubPages and its authority to get traffic and earnings from AdSense.  That isn't happening any more so it is vital to develop my own site.  I think I like the blog format and WordPress better than the static type site so I will be starting my own WordPress style blog using HostGator over the long holiday weekend and seeing what I can do over the next 2 years.  I would bet that I will be much farther along.

These are just a few of the things that I have learned about making money online over the last 2 years.  Of course, I have gained a lot of technical type knowledge about SEO, backlinking, etc but that wasn't the main point for me.  The point is that I am enjoying what I am doing, am meeting new people who enjoy what they do, and have this wonderful opportunity before me to make some extra cash that is only limited by my own effort.  Time to get started. 


Saturday, May 14, 2011

My First Guest Post

As you know, I have been working on a new site since the Panda update.  It is through Weebly and I had to pay for the domain name and hosting for a year.  It cost me all of $40 but half of the AdSense views go to them and half to me.  It is a format with which I was familiar having written for the "content farms" which share revenue.  Since that model is broken, I decided to start my own site.  My only goal is for the site to break even by next February and then I can decide what to do from there.

I have been working hard to develop traffic by doing blog commenting and regularly interacting on other personal finance blogs to develop my name and personality.  I decided to contact one of these blog owners about writing a guest post.  He was receptive to the idea so I sent him a post, he liked it, and posted it on his site.  I am so thrilled!  It has a link to my site.  I can use Google Analytics to report on the impact later.  I am sure you are curious so here is the post:

Options Trading: Intrinsic Value and Time Value

Mark at has a great site.  He is a professional investor and writes great posts.  If you have any interest at all in stock investing, be sure to check out his site.  He is also a great blogger.  I appreciate his willingness to let someone untested guest post for his site.  I do need to get busy later today and write the follow up piece.  I will let you all know when it is up and let you know about the results as well.

Anybody here ever write a guest post?  What did it do for your traffic?  Did you keep any regular readers?  Hope everyone has a good weekend.

Photo credit: The McClouds

Monday, May 9, 2011

eHow, HubPages, and Future Plans

Rest in Peace

Needless to say, there have been a lot of changes in the online income game over the past few months.  The rules of the game have changed.  It is survival of the fittest.  It is time to adapt or die.  I refuse to be a buggy whip manufacturer but will stay as nimble as possible and continue to do what I can to continue this hobby of mine and maybe even make enough on the side to pay for my other hobby, golf.

eHow Cancels WCP

Several of you may have heard that eHow will be shutting down its Writer's Compensation Program.  The choices are to accept a buyout offer for the rights to my articles or watch them get deleted.  Now I could claim them for myself and publish on another site, but I really don't have any place to put them.  So, I plan to accept the buyout offer.  It works out to about 6 months of revenue so I can't complain too much.  I have earned my fair share for the amount of effort that I put into those articles.

HubPages and the Ad Program

My HubPages traffic continues to dwindle.  It seems yet to find a base.  I signed up for the HubPages Ad Program figuring that I might be able to some revenue from the limited number of views that I get daily.  I am not sure how well this is working.  It is really hard to say since my AdSense revenue is now nonexistentNo revenue at all for the month of May is unsettling to say the least.  It is reminding me of the first few weeks of writing on the internet although at this pace, I will have earned more then.

Is the HubPages Ad Program having a negative effect on my AdSense?  It is hard to tell what I might make with the massive traffic decline.  The Ad Program does replace several of the AdSense blocks.  I will say that the eCPM for the Ad Program is similar to what I was able to get with AdSense so maybe the impact is negligible.

Future Plans

Since my 2 main sources of online revenue have been destroyed, it is time to start over again.  I have learned quite a bit these past 2 years and plan on using that newly acquired knowledge to make a real go at earning online income.  I plan on taking this hobby thing to the next level and officially making it a part time venture with the goal of creating online assets that will supplement my golfing fund in retirement. 

I can think of no better way of spending my time than getting up early and heading to the golf course while letting my wife sleep late.  Then I can come home, blog and work on sites for a few hours after lunch, then have the evening free.  Sounds like a great life to me.  Unfortunately, it is probably about 15 years down the road.  But that gives me plenty of time to develop a few sites, right!

I plan on using the eHow buyout to fund a hosting account and domain.  I figure that would give me about a year to get the site supporting its own hosting costs.  If I can't get it making $7 per month in a year, then I will have to re-evaluate my abilities.  I might have to retire as a starter at a golf course instead.

I should also be able to reach the $50 HubPages payout in another couple months.  I am about halfway there now.  Once I get to that point, I will try a little experiment and discontinue the program to see what the AdSense impact truly is.  That $50 can also pay for some of my hosting expenses and maybe even another domain or two should I come up with a couple good ideas.

Well, that is the approach that I plan to take for the rest of this year.

Readers, what are your thoughts about my plan?  How have you altered your online strategies with all of the recent changes?  Are you defeated or adapting?  I would love to hear from you.

Friday, May 6, 2011

A Brilliant Idea from Kristi

I just had to share with you something absolutely brilliant that I read about at  You can see that I have had Kristi's blog in my blog roll for quite some time and for good reason.  She had a wonderful post about using Google Reader for blog commenting.  I found the title interesting and decided to check it out since I have been trying to do the same thing to help with getting OptionsDude off the ground.

It turns out that her idea was absolutely wonderful.  First of all, I never really understood what Google Reader was or how it worked so I learned something there.  Secondly, I actually started subscribing to various blogs and doing what she suggested.  Since I already was in the habit of checking my gmail account a few times each day, I just click on the Google Reader link and check it out as well.

Google Reader will bring up all the new posts for every blog to which I am subscribed.  I can then quickly decide whether to read the article or comment.  This has helped me immensely.  In fact, yesterday's traffic to OptionsDude was the highest it has been.  I plan on subscribing to as many blogs as possible and networking in this fashion.  This will help with linking as well as provide ideas for content.  I can also even locate blogs for writing guest posts.

I have to thank Kristi for this great idea.  I think that it can help you grow your site which is something that we all need to be doing.  You should really go and check out her post. 
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