Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Goodbye 2008.........Hello 2009!

Although the end of one year and the beginning of the next is an entirely arbitrary point in time, it is customary at this time to look back on the year that has past and to look forward to the coming year. And, indeed, why should I be any different! So I thought I would look at my last year of trying to make extra money and to think about what I hope to achieve in 2009.

Goodbye 2008........

Well, at the beginning of 2008 the only knowledge and experience of making money online was selling on Ebay. Over the course of the year I gradually gained knowledge and experience of a number of ways of making money online, as well as generally establishing an online presence. I began with online surveys and have signed up with pretty much every survey panel I could find. This was followed by cashback shopping and paid to click sites.

I did attempt to expand my Ebay activities to include buying stuff wholesale, then selling it on, but I was barely covering my costs. Poor choices of items may well have been the cause of this. Nevertheless, I came to the conclusion that I do not have the money available to risk losing it, so I abandoned this plan and decided to concentrate on selling stuff I find in the house.

I then decided that I would put together a website with the hope that this might make me a little extra money. I used Google Page Creator and created Extra Cash Review which gives information on making money online. Over the year my site has grown as my knowledge has grown. Since then Google have announced that they are winding up Page Creator so that they can concentrate on Google Sites - existing sites created and hosted through Page Creator will be migrated to Sites. So I have put my plans for updates to the site on hold for now.

I then went on to establish 2 blogs - this one was originally intended to be just a means to promote the website, but has taken on a life of its own.

Since then, amid a global financial crisis, I have been experimenting with various means of making money on the net including Squidoo, Hub Pages, Helium, Zlio shops and affiliate marketing.

Over the course of the year I have made approximately £700 - most of this has been from Ebay and surveys.


.........Hello 2009!!

So what will the coming year bring? Well in terms of making money online, here are some of my aims:

  • To be more focused and to organize my time more effectively - I will actively seek out methods to achieve this. Regular readers of this blog will know that finding that finding enough time to do everything that I want to do is a constant challenge for me!
  • To increase my online earnings to an average of £300 per month by July 2009.
  • To promote my blogs with a view to increase the Google Page Rank to PR2 at least by the end of 2009 and the Alexa Rank to above (or below, depending on your point of view) 100,000.
  • Once Google finally get around to migrating my site to Google Sites, then I will update it, expand some sections, reduce the size of others (that are of limited interest outside the UK) and radically change the advertising banners/links so that they fit better with the site. I will then embark on a campaign of shameless self-promotion to increase traffic.
  • I am now up to 3 Zlio shops, although 2 are still very much work in progress. I have not made any money from these as yet, so intend to promote these to increase traffic substantially and hopefully get some sales. I am hopeful that these will provide some sort of on-going income.
  • Put more time into writing articles on Helium, including writing for the marketplace and competitions to see if I can actually make some money out of it.
  • I intend to start a third blog, this time on a paid blog network - more about this on a future post.
  • Although I have very little money as an affiliate as yet, I intend to pursue this further - I will put more effort into researching products to sell before I do any more.
Well, let's see how many of these I have achieved by December 2009. Whatever your ambitions are for 2009, I hope that it is a prosperous and successful year for you.

Total for December

Here is my final monthly total of 2008. December has been a little better month for making extra money.

Ebay - £27.46
Surveys - £39 (£25 - Pure Profile, £10 - Lightspeed, £4 - another survey panel that I can't mention here!)
Cashback from car purchase - £50
Squidoo - £0.71

Total = £117.71


Much improved from November, but still quite a bit less than what I would like it to be.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Resurrecting my Zlio Shop


I put together my first Zlio shop, The Earth Store some time ago, but then have done nothing with it. I went to have a look at it a couple of weeks ago and found that more than half my selected items were now out of stock! I have now updated the shop so all items are now in stock. Because I have not put a great deal of effort into promoting the shop, I have not had a great deal of traffic and no sales. My plan then is to concentrate my efforts over the next couple of weeks on promoting the shop and making sure I have plenty of good backlinks to it. A bit late for Christmas this year, but this is more of long term strategy. My first task in this respect has been to write a HubPage on constructing and promoting a Zlio shop.

In the meantime, I have made a tentative start on 2 more shops and I have ideas for another 4!! Just where will I find the time to get these together??

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Squidoo Alternatives #1 - HubPages


This is the first of a series of reviews of what I have described as "Squidoo Alternatives", basically because I can't think of another description. In order to qualify for these reviews the sites must allow for people to post their own content, there must be some opportunity for making money, and there should be some opportunity to link back to own site or blog (if you want to). Once I have completed these reviews I will post a comprehensive list.

HubPages is the main competitor to Squidoo, so this seems a good place to start. As with Squidoo, HubPages provides a place for you to post your content about pretty much anything - here they are known as Hubs. You are provided with a number of modules including text, photos, video, links, news, rss feeds, comments and poll.

Unlike Squidoo, in order for you to make money from your Hubs you will need to sign up with Adsense and sign up as an affiliate with Amazon, Ebay and/or Kontera. HubPages rank well on search engines so putting links to your website or blog (if you have one) will certainly help it get found. Nevertheless, you still need to put in a certain amount of work to get your Hubs found. HubPages has a lively community element including a forum and fan club.

HubPages does have certain rules which if you breach you will find your Hubs banned. The main issues are that your Hubs should not contain adult material, and your Hubs should be spam. What constitutes spam is, I guess, somewhat subjective, but basically your Hub should contain some sort of useful content. Also, if your Hub contains more than 2 links to the same destination then your Hub is likely to be flagged as spam. Also, if your Hub contains content that is duplicated elsewhere on the internet then your Hub will be flagged as duplicate content and will affect its scoring, meaning that it is less likely to be found.

In some corners of the internet, debates rage about which is better, Squidoo or Hubpages. For me, there are pros and cons to each, and which you use can depend on what you want to do. Squidoo contains more modules and gives you more options in terms of layout. But the interface for HubPages (I think) is easier to use. There are no restrictions on what you post on Squidoo (provided it's legal!), but the restrictions in HubPages means there are fewer Hubs and it is more likely that your Hub will be found. I tend to find that the community element on Squidoo is stronger and the forums on HubPages have a reputation for being a little unfriendly.

I haven't decided yet whether HubPages or Squidoo has the best revenue model - with your earnings being lumped together with Squidoo, you get to see your money much sooner. But having another opportunity to add to my Adsense total means that maybe I might actually see a payout some day.

So, in my view, Squidoo and HubPages are as good as each other, but the two formats lend themselves to a different style of content, so it depends on what you want to do.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Review of Panelbase Surveys

panelbase.net research community

Panelbase is a UK based survey panel, although they are looking to expand their activities to the U.S., Canada and beyond. Just for signing up you will receive £3. Surveys are not that frequent - expect 1 to 2 per month, although they are reasonably well paid (usually between £1 to £2, sometimes more). You are also able to opt-in to receiving surveys by phone and SMS, and also receive invitations to focus groups. I personally have only received one phone survey, and no SMS surveys or focus groups yet. You can cash out when your account reaches £10.00 and it is paid directly into your bank account. I have cashed out twice and both times I received my payment within 7 days. The surveys are the usual consumer stuff; most of the ones I have had recently have been giving my views about radio adverts. The screen out is low and you are entered into a prize draw if you are screened out.

Overall, I would say that Panelbase are worth signing up with - although not as frequent as many others, they pay well and are reliable.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Total Earnings for November

This has been a particularly poor month for earning extra money, despite diversifying my activities. Here are the totals anyway:

Surveys - £11.70 (Clear Voice - £5.50, Ciao £5.20)
Ebay - £17.97

Total = £29.17!!!

So that makes November the worst month so far! No affiliate income yet. Frustration is starting to set in.....

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Things I Have Learned About Making Money As An Affiliate

I am only two weeks in to my attempts to expand my affiliate empire and during this time I have learned a few things that I thought I would share with you:

  1. Making money as an affiliate takes time and patience.
  2. I have little time and no patience!
  3. It helps if you are selling something that you have some knowledge of and interest in. That way it makes it much easier to write articles and contribute meaningfully to forums.
  4. I have little knowledge about jewellery!
  5. It is more difficult to market something when your main keyword has two different spellings depending on where you live in the world.
  6. "Jewellery" can also be spelled "jewelry"!
No money made yet. Early days I guess!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Inflate Your Earnings With Helium


At Helium you can utilize your writing skills to earn money. There are a variety of way you can earn:

  • Pick a title (there are hundreds to choose from) and write an article according to the guidelines given. You earn a share of the advertising according to how many times your article is viewed.
  • You can choose a title from the Helium Marketplace and write an article according to the guidelines given. This is your opportunity to become a freelance writer and have your article published as the titles provided are from a range of publications looking for specific articles. Payments for these are generally between $20 to $100. You will only be paid for these if you article is selected.
  • You can compete in writing competitions. You will only be paid for these if you gain first, second or third place. There are generally several competitions taking place at any one time with a number of titles to choose from.

What you can't do is put links in your articles to your website or blog (such as with Ezine and other article directories). However, you can put links in your profile.

So far I haven't really put my mind to making money from Helium; I've only written one article and made a grand total of $0.02. I haven't attempted the Marketplace or competitions yet. So this is all on my "to do" list and I need to put some time aside to write some articles.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Extra Earnings for October

Another mixed month and still not as much as I would have liked:

Surveys - £82 (£64 Opinion Bar, £10 Ipsos, £8 Lightspeed)
Ebay - £20.90
Sale of free range eggs - £5.40
Road Tax refund - £35

Total = £143.40

I am looking to get my affiliate earnings off the ground over the next couple of months, so maybe things will start to improve from there!

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Expanding My Affiliate Empire (Part 3) - A Plan of Action

After having spent a few days away, I have had some time to reflect on how I can progress plans for expanding my affiliate activities and to actually make some decent money online. I have decided (out of necessity) that this needs to be a nil cost project. As a result, progress may take a little longer to get off the ground. So my plan is as follows:

1. Select a range of products to promote. I have decided I will choose a wide variety of products and will not limit myself to any one category. Most will be Clickbank digital products, but some will be physical products from Pepperjam. I have decided on 10 products, although I will focus on just 3 initially and gradually increase.

2. Use Squidoo as a landing page for my products.

3. Write articles for each product and submit to Ezine and other article directories, making changes between each submission so that they do not look like duplicates.

4. Write more articles and submit. Repeat!

5. Promote articles and Squidoo pages through social bookmarking (Digg, etc.), related forums, blogs, traffic exchanges, free ads, and any other free method I can find.

6. Write Hub Pages and Knols related to my products.

7. Put any available banners/links on blogs and my website.

8. Once I start making sales then a percentage (I haven't settled on a figure yet) can be reinvested on pay per click campaigns, solo ads, domain names for my affiliate links (if necessary) and any other affordable and effective method that I may come across.

This all very new to me and is very much a learning process, but from the extensive reading that I have been doing (mostly from other people's blogs) this is the process I have settled on. Progress will be limited by my "nil cost" principle and also by limits on my time as I work full-time and have other demands on my time (see my other blog for more on this). So actually my first task is write myself a schedule for the coming weeks to make sure I get everything I need to do done. So what do you all think? Please let me know via your comments if there is anything else and particularly if I have got anything hopelessly wrong!

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Expanding my Affiliate Empire (Part 2 ) - Choosing the Right Products to Promote

I have been trawling the Clickbank Marketplace looking for products to promote and trying to get to grips with the various figures they give. From researching on other sites and forums the important things to look at are popularity and gravity. Until a couple of days ago, gravity to me was what helped an apple fall to the ground while Isaac Newton was reputedly sitting under a tree. In the Clickbank world however, it is a measure of how many recent sales there have been. But if this figure is high (i.e. 150+) and is highly ranked in terms of popularity, then it is likely this is a seriously saturated market. If a product is popular but has a low gravity score this suggests that a very few affiliates are cornering sales. A less popular product with a low gravity score could mean that there is little competition out there, or it might mean that it is a product that just doesn't sell. So it's all quite confusing to a newbie like me.

My original idea was to target a particular less popular niche as there would be less competition, but now I'm not so sure. I'm a little concerned that this would mean fewer potential sales. So I think what I will do initially is choose a few products across a range of categories with a range of gravity scores. This might give me an idea where to concentrate my efforts.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Expanding My Affiliate Empire (Part 1) - Is It Possible to be Ethical and be a Successful Affiliate?

Making money on paid surveys, paid to click, Squidoo, etc, is all very well, but I have come to the conclusion that in order to make any real money then I need to look at extending my affiliate activities. So far my affiliate "empire" is pretty small scale consisting of banners primarily placed on my website and blogs and income from these has been modest to say the least. It is time I think to step up a gear and look seriously at making money from Clickbank or PayDotCom. As a result I have researching how best to do this. As a relative newbie at making money online this is quite daunting.

What I am considering is choosing a number of Clickbank products and finding a variety of methods of promoting them. One of the aims has to be dominating related keywords relating to the selected products through writing articles. The tricky part is overcoming the fact that article directories such Ezine do not allow affiliate links in articles. I have found a couple of ways of overcoming this. Being as I am still trying to get my head around this, I won't try and describe these here as I run the risk of giving incorrect information. Instead, if you want to read more I suggest you visit the following:

http://www.carlocab.com/bum-marketing-experiment/

http://www.earnersblog.com/400-a-month-with-clickbank-article-marketing/

My first task then is to select some suitable Clickbank products. I have decided to avoid any of the making money online type products as this is a seriously overcrowded area. Beside the fact that many of them appear to be highly dubious! So I have decided to look for something a bit more niche, although there is danger of choosing products for which the potential number of customers is very small. My current thoughts are to choose products that link in somehow with my other projects.

Another criteria I have set myself is that the products I choose should be those that I would consider buying myself (or would if I had any spare cash!). I personally struggle with the idea of promoting products that I don't believe in, which is probably why I am not yet a hugely wealthy affiliate. So my first challenge is to choose products that actually interest me and are actually likely to attract sales. That way I am more likely to write convincing articles. Once I have managed that then I can start my campaign of promotion.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Help Me Achieve a Top 100 Squidoo Lens



Having recently completed a couple more Squidoo lenses, one of them I have since improved after receiving some feedback on the SquidU forum. This lens, about the movie director Ed Wood, has been attracting a reasonable amount of traffic. So I have now decided to make it my mission to see if I can achieve a top 100 place with this lens.

And you (yes...you!), my loyal readers, can help me achieve that goal! All you have to do is pay a visit to my lens. If you are a Squidoo member you might want to rate it and leave a comment. That's all you need to do!

At the time of writing my lens is rated #495 in the Movies category and #9063 overall. So not too far to go to achieve the top 100 in the Movie category, but quite a way to go to achieve a top 100 spot overall.

So, please pay a visit to www.squidoo.com/worstevermoviedirector. It's a painless thing to do, and you may even enjoy reading my lens.

If there is anything (legal) you would me to do in return, then please leave me a comment and will do my best to oblige.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Get Paid to Search The Internet

Earn money with Scour!
The easiest ways to make money online are those where you get paid for doing what you do already. Well with Scour you can do exactly that. Scour is a search engine that allows you to get paid for every search that you do. You can also boost your earnings by commenting and voting on website. OK, so you won't earn loads, but you if you can get paid for something that you do most days, probably several times a day, then you might as well.

You can boost your points total further by making referrals and you receive 25% of the points made by the people you refer. So, according to the website, if you do 3 daily searches and you refer 100 people who do the same, you will make $455 per year! OK, so unless you have a PR6 blog and your readers hang on your every word, most of us won't achieve that level of referrals, but you get the idea.

You can join Scour here.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Google Page Creator Sites to be Migrated to Google Sites

My website was created using Google Page Creator. I did this primarily because it is free and easy to use, and includes free web hosting. However, as I became more competent and ambitious I did become frustrated with GPC's limitations.

However, I have just read that Page Creator is going to be migrated over to Google Sites. I'm not sure as yet how my site will be affected. Looking at Google Sites it looks much more flexible and has many more features so the migration may be a good thing. Hopefully this may alleviate some of the frustrations I have had with Page Creator. Google Sites also includes free web hosting which is always a plus - although web hosting is like anything else; you get what you pay for!

I had intended to add more sections to my site and tweak the format, but now I think I will leave any major work until the migration takes place as Google Sites might give me some opportunities to make some positive changes. So I will put all the various changes I had planned on hold for now. There are a few updates I need to put in and one of the pages has a glitch that needs sorting, so I will see to those over the next few days.

You can read more about Google Sites here.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Progress report on Squidoo

I have come the end of my week concentrating on Squidoo and I have made substantial changes to most of my existing lenses and completed two more. I have started a third, but inspiration seems to have deserted me for the moment, so I will come back to it in a few days. One of my new lenses is about the movie director Ed Wood, who is considered to be the worst director of all time. His life and work was immortalized in Tim Burton's movie, "Ed Wood". You can see my lens about Ed Wood at http://www.squidoo.com/worstevermoviedirector.

My other lens is called "Astrology is Rubbish" - my attempt at being controversial! You can find it at http://www.squidoo.com/astrologyisrubbish.

You can find all my lenses at http://www.squidoo.com/lensmasters/Rumpleteazer.

I will come back to Squidoo to add more lenses in a week or so.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Change of Template

I have just downloaded a new template for my blog. I decided on a download rather than to try and make one of my own, but there are a number of things I haven't figured out with this yet, so please bear with me.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Total Earnings for September

I have been reading other people's blogs and looking enviously at what they have managed to earn online. It feels like currently it isn't really happening for me. I guess it's a matter of persevering as I am still quite new at this. In adding up my total I have applied my usual rules of only including what I have actually physically received. So my total additional earnings are as follows:

Ebay - £58
Surveys - £57.33 (Global Test Market - £27.33, Lightspeed - £10.00, Toluna
- £10 Amazon voucher, Ipsos - £10 Argos voucher)
Sale of free range eggs - £6.30

Total = £121.83

Still a long way to go to achieve my target of £300 per month. I perhaps need to investigate some other options as well as optimizing those that I am already using.

Monday, September 29, 2008

This Week's Project: Squidoo



For those who have not yet encountered Squidoo, it is a site that allows you to create your own web page (known as a "lens") about any topic that you are passionate about. Squidoo allows you to include a combination of pictures, text, voting modules and various other modules to make your lens stand out from the crowd. Most importantly, Squidoo is FREE.

For those of us trying to make some extra money, Squidoo offers some oportunities. Firstly, within each Squidoo lens there are Google Adsense ads. But the model of revenue here is slightly different than for your own website - you don't earn per click within your own lens, you receive a proportion of Squidoo's overall Adsense income depending on traffic to your lens. Another way of making money from your lenses is through direct affiliate income, primarily through the specific Ebay, Amazon and CafePress modules that are available. There is also nothing to stop you putting your own affiliate links into your lenses.

Finally, what your lenses can also provide are valuable backlinks to your own website or blog. Squidoo lenses even allow to add an RSS feed to them, so you could, if you so wish, add a feed from your blog to one (or more) of your lenses.

So far, I have really only dabbled and put together a total of just 6 lenses and made a grand total of just $0.44! I have put down my lack of earnings to a number of factors:

1. Not enough lenses
2. Not enough traffic
3. Not enough thought given to how I have incorporated the affiliate modules.

This week then, I have decided to make a start on rectifying this. Firstly, by updating and improving my existing lenses, both in respect of content and in respect of the placement and incorporation of the affiliate modules. After that I need to construct more lenses. I aim to put together at least 3 more lenses this week - this doesn't sound much, but I want them to be good and so will require a bit of research.

Also, if I am to improve on my so far mediocre traffic I need to participate in the community aspect of Squidoo, including rating other lenses and participating in the forum. One other thing I want to try is to promote one of my lenses through Link Referral to see if that improves traffic.
If you want to check out my progress then click here.
Or perhaps try making your own lenses by clicking here. This is a referral link - if you join via this then when your balance reaches $10 then you get an extra $5 into your account..........and so do I!

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Being More Focused: Part 2

This weekend brings to an end two weeks of focusing on Ebay. The benefit of this is that I have managed to bring in a reasonable sum of money, although I did not manage to list as many things as I would have liked to have done. I still have a number of auctions due to finish over the next few days. I think that I will list just a few more things this weekend to keep things ticking over.

The downside of this approach is that traffic to my website and blogs has nosedived as I have not been able to put in the time to traffic exchanges (Entrecards and Link Referral) and forums.

I have decided that I will spend the coming week updating my website, Extra Cash Review. The main things I have decided to work on are try and improve on navigation of the site and to check all the referral/affiliate links. Also some of the information on the site is out of date, so I need to update this.

My income from Ad Sense has been pretty poor so far and it has been suggested to me that I need to look at the placement of these, so I will see what I can do with these as well.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Time to be More Focused: Ebay Week

I have come to the conclusion that one reason why my online earnings have been so poor recently is that I have been applying a somewhat "scattergun" approach to organizing my time. I tend to sit at my PC and just think "what can I do today to make some money?" instead of actually being more organized and focused. The net result is that I don't actually achieve very much. So I have decided that I should try and focus on one thing at a time on a week by week basis and that way I might actually achieve something.

I have started by going back to basics and concentrated this week on Ebay. So I have been scouring the house for stuff that we no longer use and is in good condition. I have decided that extend this to next week as well as I quite a lot of stuff to go. Also I have quite a few things that I bought in a little while ago that I need to try and sell. I will try and get as many listings as I can into Turbo Lister then if need be I can upload to Ebay over the coming weeks so that I am not having try and dispatch an unmanageable number of items all at once.

So that's next week taken care of - more listing and scouring the house for more stuff!!

Earnings for August

August could be best be described a mixed month. Whilst I did manage to make quite a bit of extra money this month, most of it was from overtime at work (which is only very rarely available). My online earnings were very poor - that is if I apply my own rules of only counting the money that hits my bank account or Paypal account.

So my earnings were:

£431 - overtime
£5 - surveys (Juicy Brains)
£28 - sale of free range eggs
£14.39 - Ebay

Total = £478.39

I am getting a little frustrated with my online earnings as this side of things seems to be taking a little while to get going. On the positive side my affiliate earnings are at least getting of the ground with my earnings so far standing at £25.38 - although I have a number of minimum payouts to reach so it will be a while before I see any of this.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

My Long Lost Relative

I returned from my holiday this weekend hoping that while I was away my various online ventures had brought in much needed cash - unfortunately not!! My e-mail in-box was overflowing with survey invites - most of which had expired. But there were still some that were still running which made me a little cash anyway.

Amongst the survey invites, reward e-mails and spam there was an e-mail from a solicitor in Thailand by the name of Jim. Now, Jim tells me that he had a client who died recently. Apparently the poor man died of a heart attack following the sad death of his family members in the Tsunami. Anyway, this man had $10 million to leave to distant family members, and guess what - this man shares the same surname as me. All I have to do is respond and I might receive a share of this money.......

For a couple of microseconds I actually considered responding. I read and re-read the e-mail for some evidence that it might actually be true, but strangely my new found friend Jim did not mention either my name or that of my long lost distant relative in the e-mail. Strange that!! Time to hit the delete button!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

New Section Launched on Extra Cash Review - Build Your Own Online Store

I have recently completed a new section on my website, Extra Cash Review, which focuses on building your own online store. The online stores in this instance are ones where you don't actually handle the goods yourself, but you are selling either as an affiliate or by some other means selling on behalf of someone. It's a difficult concept to explain, so why not visit the website and find out more!

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Blogger Templates

Now that I have been doing this blogging thing for a couple of months I have realised that my template is a bit boring! I thought it looked quite cool when I chose it, but now I have spent lots of time looking at other people's blogs I have realised that actually it isn't at all. Especially now I have seen several others with exactly the same template. Also, another problem with it is lack of space. I am hoping to make some money with this blog at some point in the future - although I realise now it may take a while. So I need a template that allows me more advertising space as well as other widgets etc.

So my current template just has to go. The question is......what do I replace it with??? My first dilemma is - do I download a template, or do I create my own. At this precise moment in time I have no idea how create my own template, although I could find out. So I have started trawling the web for downloadable Blogger templates that would work with my blog. I haven't seen any that I particularly like so far, but I'm not in any great hurry - it's more important that I get the right one. And if I can't find the right one, then I will just have to learn how to create my own!! I get the feeling this may take a while.........

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Global Test Market


I have just reached the payout threshold of $50 for Global Test Market survey panel for the fist time. They are one of my favourite survey panels as they have plenty of surveys, they pay quite well and you do get a small payment of $0.25 if you are screened out of a particular survey. You can expect to generally receive between $1.50 to $6.00 for completed surveys, although occasionally you may receive more. Global Test Market are U.S. based, but they have surveys for residents worldwide. Certainly for me as a U.K. resident I have had plenty. They pay by cheque and for non U.S. residents they say that it takes around 6 weeks to arrive.

Unfortunately, Global Test Market do not provide a referral link and their affiliate programme is notoriously difficult to get into - they rejected me anyway!

To find out more and read more reviews click here.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

My Favourite PTC sites

Here are a few of my favourite paid to click sites:



Lots of ads to click on, good referral programme (5 levels). Get paid between $0.01 to $5.00 for viewing ads.


Get $10 just for signing up, plenty of ads to click on, receive $0.02 per ad clicked on. 3 level referral programme.



DonkeyMails.com: No Minimum Payout

Simply loads and loads of ads to click on! 5 level referral programme. No minimum payout.


archerfish.co.uk

Open to UK and Ireland residents only. Earn between 0.25p to 1p per ad. Referral programme has 6 referral levels!! Pays out at £3.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Set up Your Own Zlio Shop for FREE!!

I came across another way to make money on the Internet last week which involves setting your own online shop. You can do this for FREE via Zlio. With these shops, however, you don't need to actually handle the goods themselves or the payments. Effectively what you are doing is advertising the goods on your store, then people are re-directed to the merchant who actually sells the product and you take a commission! Setting up the shop is the easy part. You can choose from a range of templates, or create your own. You then add products that fit your shop - apparently there are 3 million to choose from! You can also add Google Adsense if you want to increase your income further. It takes literally minutes to get your shop up and running.

The tricky bits are first of all deciding on a niche and a name for your shop. Once your shop is ready your next challenge is trying to get customers to your shop, which is much like promoting any other website - except that some options (such as reciprocal links) are not an option. However, there are other tools available such as link exchanges with other shops and a widget that you can post in your blog (you can see mine in the sidebar) or website.

With your FREE registration with Zlio you have the opportunity to open up to 50 (yes, that's right 50!) shops. If you have 50 ideas for shops that is. I've just created one so far - another 49 to go! I have decided that it probably best to concentrate on a specific niche, so my first shop is focussed on all things organic, recycled and fairtrade. I have called it The Earth Store. So why not try it yourself. It's easy!

By the way did I mention it's FREE!

CLICK HERE TO CREATE YOUR OWN ZLIO SHOP

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Never Enough Time


Before I discovered that there was money to be made on the internet I must have had lots of time on my hands. I began my foray into making money with paid surveys, clicking on freebies on cashback shopping sites and on paid to click ads. I got into a routine and gradually started building up some extra money. Then I hit upon the idea of putting together a website and blog, and launching into the world of affiliate marketing.

Now I find myself torn between adding more content to my website, looking for the best affiliates and adding posts to this blog. Then of course there are all the tasks you need to do increase traffic, such as web/blog directories, RSS feeds, articles, forums, entrecard, link referral, etc, etc......... In the meantime I continue to complete surveys, click on freebies and paid to click sites.

And then I keep coming across more and more ideas for making money on the internet which I want to try out. Not to mention the fact that I keep getting ideas for more websites and blogs....... Of course on top this, I have a wife and two children to spend time with, oh and a full-time job by the way. We have a house that needs some redecorating throughout following some work that we had done, and a large garden that needs a complete makeover as it currently covered in nettles and other such weeds (I think there is an idea for a blog in there somewhere.....). It currently resembles more of nature reserve than a garden.

There are just not enough hours in the day to do everything that I want/need to do. The only solution is to give up sleeping! Or perhaps to start a movement for an eight day week - i.e. you work 5 days and have three days off! We (i.e. the global community) would have to collectively think up (and agree on) a name for the eighth day. Or perhaps we should just call it "Day 8" so as not to offend anybody?! Except of course it would upset the Creationists who insist that the world was created in 7 days. Damn!!!

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Paid to Review - Ciao and Dooyoo

I am intending to add a new section to Extra Cash Review covering paid to review sites, i.e. sites where you can write a review of a product and can be paid to for doing so. Generally you are paid according to how other people rate your review. This isn't something that I have done before myself, so I feel the need to try this out before I start adding them to the website. The main websites seem to be Ciao and Dooyoo.

I have been a member of Ciao for a while as they also do surveys. The company has now split in half so that there are separate websites for surveys and reviews. So far though I have only done the surveys. However, these have proved increasingly frustrating as I seem to be screened out of nearly all the better paid surveys. The only ones I am not are ones for which you are paid 10p for a 30 minute (or more!) survey. I have decided to opt out of these. So this is another motivation for trying the reviews, to see if I am any more successful in boosting my balance this way instead.

There is also Dooyoo which I joined a couple of months ago with the good intentions of writing some reviews, but I never got around to it. Dooyoo seem on first glance to operate on a similar basis to Ciao in terms of reviews, in that the money you receive depends on how helpful other people consider your reviews to be. Dooyoo don't offer surveys though.

Once I have had a go at these then I will be better equipped to add these to Extra Cash Review. The only problem I forsee is that in order to write product reviews I would have thought you would need to buy the things you are reviewing. Currently I am trying to avoid spending money on new things, so I may be limited. I have not searched the sites properly yet so I guess I will soon find out!

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Totals for June

I thought it was about time to have a bit of a recap on what extra money we have managed to bring in over June. I have only counted what has actually hit our bank account or Paypal account, or in the case of shopping vouchers, actually arrived through my letterbox. So here goes:

Surveys: £31 (£14 cash and £17 shopping vouchers)
Writers Share: £1
Cashback Shopping: £10 (shopping voucher)
Eggs: £32
Mystery Shopping: £35
Ebay: £21.19
Squidoo/HubPages: £0
Affiliate programmes: £0
Ad Sense: £0

Total: £120.19

No too bad I guess, but somewhat short of my target of £300! I have been spending quite a lot of time on expanding the website so I haven't devoted as much time as I usually do to Ebay. I have some surveys that are due to pay out shortly so that should boost the July total.

I haven't really had much time to devote to Squidoo and HubPages and you do really need to put the time and effort in to get any sort of traffic to your lenses/hubs and to have any prospect of making some money from them.

I haven't had the affiliate programmes running long enough to make money from them yet. My Ad Sense total remains stubbornly at zero which is very frustrating!! I think I need to look again at the placement of ads on Extra Cash Review as they are a bit random at the moment.

Eggs!!!


Another little source of income for us is the sale of free-range eggs. We have a small flock of 15 hens who, at this time of year, can produce a dozen or so eggs per day. We have a sign on our gate to sell to passers by and neighbours, but being as we live pretty much in the middle of nowhere we don't have many of those. So most of the eggs we sell are to friends and work colleagues. Generally they bring us in between £5 to £10 per week, sometimes more.

There are the overheads - they do need feeding of course! In the summer we get through much less chicken feed as there is more in the way of bugs and vegetation for them to eat. In the winter they produce fewer eggs and cost more to feed!!

Friday, July 4, 2008

Another New Section Launched on Extra Cash Review - Single Page Sites

I have just added another section on Extra Cash Review. This is a review of revenue sharing sites where you can make your own single page website and take a share of the advertising revenue. This is only a short section and focuses on Squidoo and HubPages.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

New Section Launched on Extra Cash Review - Reviews of Sites Where You Can Sell Online

The new section of Extra Cash Review has now been launched!! This section is a review of sites where you can sell your stuff online. This covers not just Ebay, but other sites where you can sell online.

Visit my Sell Your Stuff reviews.

Monday, June 30, 2008

Genuine Money Making Opportunity...........or Not???

OK, so I finally succumbed to one of those dodgy looking adverts promising to make me thousands of dollars on the internet. This particular site offered me a free affiliate website which could earn me loads of money. The deal was that I would share revenue with the company. So I signed up. Of course once I signed up there were strong recommendations that I should upgrade for a price of $77 for which I would apparently receive tools and training. I decided at this point to decline this option. You also have to sign up with Clickbank, which is fine as I will probably make use of them in the future. Once I accessed my new site, I found that it is a site advertising a free website, with the option to upgrade, just like the one I had just signed up for. So the thing feels a bit like a pyramid selling scheme. There are also some other stuff being advertised on the site - some techniques which apparently make you loads of money. The problem is of course is that you don't get to see them until you have paid your money, so I have resisted the temptation to sign up with these myself.

I really don't know what to think about it. I tend to work on the assumption that "If it looks too good to be true, then it probably is!" I ought to be promoting this thing like mad to make loads of money on it, but I can't say I feel that inclined to do so. Well the link to the site is below should you interested, and should you make loads of money then let me know!! I realise that this is probably the worst sales pitch in history, but never mind. Here's the link anyway:

TOP MONEY-MAKING SECRETS REVEALED!!

Another Prize Draw Win!!

My second prize draw within the space of a couple of weeks! After never won anything before I have won again through GfK Consumer Surveys. Still not that big win that we all hope for - £5 Argos voucher time. Heading in the right direction anyway.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Ebay - Time for a Change to Ebid?


As I have previously said here, I have 2 identities on Ebay - one for selling stuff that we find around the house that we no longer need or want, the other for stuff that I have bought with a view to sell. My first identity (markd1950 in case you're interested) continues to do well and most things that I list sell for a reasonable price. However, my other identity is not doing so well having made just 2 sales and feedback remains stubbornly at 1! I have relisted the items several times now and rapidly getting frustrated with the money that I am losing in the process. It would seem that I have bought the wrong items - I was convinced with my long experience of using Ebay that what I bought would sell, but clearly not. I will buy more stock shortly of different items to see if they sell any better - I need to give some thought to this and research better this time.

In the meantime, I have a load of stock that I have paid for sitting at home. Time for a change of tack I think. In researching a new section for Extra Cash Review, I came across Ebid, another auction site. They do not charge anything at all to list with them. They do charge a small fee of 3% of the value if your item sells. Alternatively you can pay a fixed fee up front (£1.99 for 7 days, £6.99 for 30 days, £16.99 for 90 days or £49.99 for lifetime) to upgrade to Seller+ which means that you do not pay any further fees and you can have a gallery picture with your listing. I am thinking that I will try listing my current stock on Ebid as it will not cost me any money and also as there are fewer listings than on Ebay to compete with maybe my items stand a better chance of selling (perhaps?). The main down side is that there are far fewer potential buyers visiting Ebid than visiting Ebay. Worth a go though I think as it will not cost me any money - a key consideration at this point. If this batch sells then I will consider listing the next batch on Ebid as well. I will keep you all informed of progress!!

Join the Auction Revolution at eBid, Zero Fee Auctions for the US, UK Canada and Australia.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

New Developments on Extra Cash Review

I have started work on developing the next section of Extra Cash Review. You can catch a sneak preview here. I am hoping to have it fully completed in the next few days.

Ditching Blogrush Widget


Due to the fact that the Blogrush widget that I placed on my sidebar has not been working and that I have had no response whatsoever to the e-mails that I have sent, I have decided to remove it from the Blog. I had hoped that it would bring some additional traffic, but if they can't be bothered to reply to e-mails then it will just have to go as it using up valuable space!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

More Cashback Shopping Reviews on Extra Cash Review

There are now 2 more Cashback Shopping reviews on Extra Cash Review. They are for Ipoints and for Mutual Points. Check out all my reviews for Cashback Shopping sites to get the best deals on the web.

I have started work on a brand new section and I hope to have at least one page live within the next few days. Keep visiting here to keep up to date with developments.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Vouchers arrived

Today was a good day for shopping vouchers from surveys. I received £10 worth for Marks and Spencers for Valued Opinions surveys and £2 Argos vouchers from my huge (not!) prize draw with GfK Consumer Panel. These will both go towards the Christmas fund I think.

Valued Opinions offer a good range of surveys and they are fairly frequent (although I tend to get screened out of quite a few). They are fairly well rewarded (typically £1.00/£1.50, sometimes more, sometimes less) and they payout at £10.00. Lots of options for vouchers - many of the main high street stores included. No option to receive your rewards in cash unfortunately.

Join Valued Opinions.

GfK seem to run various consumer panels, but the one that I tend to do most surveys for is GfK What I Buy as these tend to be a bit more interesting. They are purely for prize draws though and there are much bigger prizes available than the £2 voucher that I won!

Join GfK What I Buy.

Ebay - bizarre coincidence

Tonight I will be packaging up some stuff I have sold on Ebay. While printing off the packing slips I thought that 2 things were bought by the same person, so I was preparing to try and work out a discount for postage and packaging. However, on looking more closely I realised that the 2 items were actually bought by 2 different people, in different parts of the UK, with exactly the same name! What are the odds on that?!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Most Searched Keywords

Now that I am thinking more about traffic to Extra Cash Review, I was thinking that perhaps I would have been better coming up with a site focussed on the most searched keywords on Google. Today's top 5 are:
  1. Kendal Sheppard
  2. Michelle Obama the view
  3. Subaru brat
  4. Boeing tanker
  5. Gao tanker

All I need to do now is combine these elements into one website and the traffic will come! Could be a challenge. There are some intreguing ones further down the list such as at No. 53 "How to kill with a knife" and No. 54 "Why is this night different from all other nights"! And then there is No. 59 "Left tibia"! What does it all mean?!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Extra Cash Review - Redeveloped Site Launched!!


The first phase of the redevelopment of Extra Cash Review is complete and is now "live". This first phase brings a new look to the site and some changes in layout. The layout changes allow for new sections to be added in the near future. Over the next few days there will be a few minor refinements to the layout and the individual reviews. You will see that as a result of the changes to the layout there are a couple of pages without much on. The next phase will be to add further reviews within the existing sections.

Once this is complete then over the coming weeks there will be several more sections added. Keep visiting here for the latest news on the redevelopment of the site.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Hits4Pay


Hits4Pay is a paid to click site - U.S. based like most of them are. I have been signed up with them for about 3 months now and been getting ads to click on, on a fairly regular basis, although there have been a few quite periods. There is a generous $10.00 sign up bonus and you recieve $0.02 per ad you click on - not a lot, but more than many other paid to click sites. I am up to $11.84 (including the sign up bonus) so far and they pay out at $20.00, so a little way to go yet. I don't know how reliable they are at paying out - this can be an issue with some paid to click sites, although at the current rate it will be next year before I reach that point! Oh well, it is money for nothing.

You can join Hits4Pay here.

Paid Surveys with Panelbase

I have been doing Panelbase surveys for about three months now and I have just reached the £10 payout threshold. They pay a generous £3 sign up bonus and their surveys generally pay quite well, although not that frequent. The surveys are the usual mix of consumer stuff. They also do surveys by SMS and phone, which they say they pay more for, although I've not had any of these yet. Panelbase also do focus groups - again I've not yet been invited to any of these. The rewards are in cash - payable by BACS or cheque. I have ordered my £10 by BACS today and they say it takes 7 days.

You can sign up to Panelbase here

Friday, June 13, 2008

Credit Card Stoozing


Here's another idea for making extra money - credit card "stoozing". There are various versions of this, so I will describe the version that I am familiar with. To start off you need 2 credit cards, one of which should have an introductory 0% rate balance transfer offer (card 1) and another which allows you to pay into a bank account (card 2). From card 2 pay up to 90% of the credit limit of card 1 into a high interest bank account, or some other account which pays a high rate of interest. Then immediately transfer the same amount from card 1 to card 2. You can then cancel card 2. You will then be earning interest on the amount you transferred for the duration of the introductory period. Before the introductory period ends, you can either repay the balance from the high interest account, or if you are confident that your credit rating will allow it, apply for a further 0% balance transfer card to pay off the original card before you start paying interest. You can obviously continue this as long as you like.


However, there are some golden rules that you MUST keep to for this to work:


  • Do not use this method if you already have debt - whatever you pay in interest will be more than anything you gain in a high interest account, so you would actually gain more by paying off your debts first.

  • Make sure you pay off your 0% card before the introductory period ends otherwise you will start paying interest, which defeats the object.

  • Be aware that every application for a credit card leaves a trace on your credit history, so do not attempt this unless you are confident that you have a good credit rating. If you are rejected for your first application for a 0% card then do not immediately apply for another one. This will only damage your credit rating. It is best to leave it for several months (or longer) before trying again. If you are rejected again, then it is best to leave it altogether.

For more information and the latest on the best 0% credit cards visit the excellent Stoozing.com.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Prize Draw Win!

Yesterday I had my first ever prize draw win from a survey! OK, so it was only a £2.00 voucher for Argos, and not the big prize that I was hoping for, but it's better than nothing. This one was from GfK Consumer Panel. I have been neglecting the purely prize draw surveys recently due to lack of time. Maybe I ought to try these again for a chance of that big win!

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Extra Cash Review - Site Re-development


Over the coming weeks you will see some changes to Extra Cash Review. I hope to complete the first phase of this by 20th June 2008. This first phase will see a general new look to the site and some changes to the layout, particularly to the Home Page - this is to allow for future expansion of the site to cover further topics. Phase 2 will be some additions to the existing topics. Following this there will be a gradual introduction of further subject areas.

Is there anything you think I should be covering? Add your comments to this blog for consideration.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Extra Cash Review - Review of Pigsback


Extra Cash Review has now been updated to include a review of Pigsback cashback shopping site. I have actually just got enough points with Pigsback to cash them in for a £10.00 gift voucher (no cash option available unfortunately). I have somehow managed to do this by spending hardly any money at all - mostly by signing up to freebies, etc.

Join Pigsback here.

Lightspeed Survey Panel


I have had a couple of paid surveys from Lightspeed over yesterday and today. The first was about health and today's was about parenting. Lightspeed generally pay the equivalent of around £0.85 to £1.30, occasionally more. You have the option of redeeming points in exchange for gifts or cash paid via Paypal. The great thing about Lightspeed is that the minimum payout for cash is just £1.00 and your payment generally lands in your Paypal account within a week. Also you have the opportunity to be entered into prize draws by completing Mini Polls and "Quick Match" surveys. I am still waiting for that big win though!!!

You can join Lightspeed here.

Check out full reviews of free to join survey panels at Extra Cash Review.

Website Problems


DISASTER!!! I happened to notice today checking on my website that most of the links from the Home Page were not functioning! I think this must have happened somehow during my most recent update of the site about a week ago. So no-one has been able to get past the Home Page for the last week. I have repaired all these links and now I need to go through the laborious process of checking every other link on the site just to make sure that no other page is affected. I will hopefully do this later today. Again, another learning point - must remember to check these thoroughly after I make changes to the site. Please feel free to let me know of any problems you have with the site or any comments in general.

The website is Extra Cash Review which gives a thorough review of paid surveys, cashback shopping and paid to click sites.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Make Money With Affiliate Programs


I have signed up to some affiliate programs for my website, Extra Cash Review. This will mean that if someone clicks on an ad and then makes a purchase then I receive a payment. I have also signed up with Google Ad Sense which create ads relevant to my site. Traffic is still quite low so I have decided not to sign up to any more and just concentrate on building up more traffic. So far I have submitted my site to numerous web directories, all the main search engines and to social bookmarking sites. I have also been looking at trying to get links to my site at every available place on the web. This has been a steep learning curve for me as I have no previous experience of building a web site, let alone exploring Search Engine Optimization (SEO)!
Why not visit Extra Cash Review for the best reviews of paid survey sites, cashback shopping and paid to click sites. It is being regularly updated, so visit often to view updates.

You can also visit my Squidoo lens which tells you about my experience of putting together my first website.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Making Money With Squidoo




For the uninitiated, Squidoo is a site where you have the opportunity to make a mini website, which Squidoo refer to as a "lens". You can make as many lenses as you like. Money can be made on these in one of two ways; firstly if a visitor clicks on a Google Ad, or if you add an Ebay or an Amazon "module" and a visitor makes a purchase via your lens. I joined just over a week ago and have made 4 lenses so far, but have made absolutely no money whatsoever. I think I will persevere though as it may help to generate traffic for my website, or for this blog!

You can find me on Squidoo here. My latest lens is on adoption and I am quite pleased with it - I was considering putting it forward for "Lens of the Day".

You can sign up with Squidoo here.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Writer's Share


I received my first payment from Writer's Share (of £1) this week. For those of you who don't know, Writer's Share is a site where you are invited to write around 150 words on suggested topics and for the ones they like you will be paid £1. Apparently they are accepting around 80% of submissions. Some of the topics are quite obscure though. My submission was several weeks ago so I had all but given up on the chance receiving anything. Just after I submitted my piece, they closed all topics due to a backlog. At the time of writing all topics are still closed, but the site says that the backlog is clear so new topics should be available soon.

You can sign up to Writer's Share here.

[Edit - Please note, Writer's Share no longer appears to be operating.]

You Gov Surveys


I have just completed another You Gov survey. This one was for a prize draw - I have never won anything ever in a prize draw, but you never know....... Most You Gov surveys are for a cash reward, usually between £0.50 to £1.00. You have to collect £50 before you can collect your money - I am only up to £6, so it may take a while. The surveys are usually a bit more interesting than some of the other survey panels though, so worth persevering. If you want to join You Gov you can do so by clicking here.

You read all my reviews of paid surveys panels by visiting my website, Extra Cash Review.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Mystery Shopping


This week I had my first experience of mystery shopping. I'm not actually signed up with any mystery shopping companies, but I just received an e-mail from a company offering me £35 to phone 6 car insurance companies for a quote and then fill in online surveys about each. I don't know where they got my details from - perhaps best not to ask!! Anyway, I did the required task, although I had to split it over 2 days as it was quite time consuming. I managed NOT to buy any insurance despite each company insisting they had the best deal on the planet. I usually look for quotes on the internet so that I have time to look at all the details, so I had to force myself to listen to all the details as I have habit of switching off and not listening to sales people on the phone - something to do with a natural distrust of sales people!

Anyway, I manged to finish the task in time (there was a time limit) - just need to wait for the cheque to arrive now! Next task is to look into some more mystery shopping sites I think.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Selling on EBay

I have decided to create 2 identities on EBay - one for selling stuff we find around the house, the other for stuff we have bought wholesale. It was a bit scary spending money to make money, but feels necessary. Unfortunately, not much of what we bought it is selling! You can visit us on EBay here and here.