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.
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 OptionsDude.com 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.
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:
Mark at buylikebuffett.com 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.
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 nonexistent. No 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.
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.
I just had to share with you something absolutely brilliant that I read about at Kikolani.com. 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.
I am just a neophyte learning to make money online. I am excited about the opportunities and hope to share what I am learning.
I am also interested in real assets such as gold and real estate. I have a blog on these topics as well. Be sure to stop by and check out both my blogs.