Saturday, December 31, 2011

Monthly Total Earnings for December 2011

Well this is the last monthly earnings total for 2011 and it brings with it some interesting developments. I had hoped to have set up a number of Amazon review sites in time for Christmas. Whilst I did achieve this I had not developed them as much as I would have liked nor did I think I had done enough to get decent traffic. Nevertheless a couple of the sites did attract quite a bit of traffic in the run up to Christmas and made a number of sales. In total I made 64 sales on Amazon.com and 60 sales on Amazon.co.uk this month. This made me a combined total of $229.00. This smashes my previous record by a significant margin. I do have to be realistic though and recognize that sales will plummet in the months following the Christmas rush. However, it is very encouraging that I have been able to achieve this and if I can develop the other review sites further then I should be able to expect some sustained growth in commissions.

Unfortunately Amazon takes a couple of months to verify its commissions so I won't get to see this money until February. Traditionally in these monthly earnings posts I only count what I have actually received so the total is not nearly as impressive. Here is what I have received this month:

Clickbank: $20.58
Surveys: $6.21
Squidoo: $1.23

Total = $28.02

Not a very impressive total in the end, but I am looking forward to receiving my Amazon commissions in February.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Why Has Squidoo Locked My Lens?

I have been building Squidoo lenses for quite a while now, although recently I have been spending less time on them preferring instead to build my own sites. It seems that recently Squidoo has been getting stricter on lensmasters who do not keep to the terms of use and any dubious lenses are locked. The reasons for getting a lens locked usually relate to things like containing duplicate content, being overly promotional or just plain spammy.

I have had a couple of lenses locked previously and to be honest I don't think I had much to complain about as there was some duplicate content lifted from Amazon and the lenses existed purely to sell a product with my Amazon affiliate links. I figured there was no real way back for these so I just deleted them.

However, I have more recently had another lens blocked that contains entirely original content and is not promotional - it does contain three Amazon affiliate links to books related to the subject, but this is entirely within the rules. It also contains Squidoo's Ebay module. It contain a dead link which is what I am guessing tripped off Squidoo systems. This was to a Clickbank product which no longer exists - this was one single link at the end of the lens. I have now removed this link.

I have e-mailed the folks at Squidoo a while ago now and have had no response. This is very frustrating as if there is no response within 60 days then the lens will just be deleted from Squidoo. This is all rather ironic as this is probably the most original of my lenses and I really put it together to be useful to other people rather than to make any money. It is the lens that has had the most comments and positive feedback and one of my most visited lenses. Ultimately if I get no response then I will have to export my content elsewhere.

This has dented my faith in Squidoo somewhat, but has reinforced for me the need to focus on my own websites rather than relying on making money from posting content on someone else's.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Total Earnings for November 2011

Another month gone and I have been extremely bad at posting not only here but on my other blog. I had hoped to devote my time to getting some sites ready to maximize my earnings from Christmas, but as ever time has run away from me. I do have some sites which have been making some money from Christmas shoppers, but they are not as well developed and as visible in the search engines as I would like. I am intending to continue to develop these over the coming months and hopefully they will continue to earn me some money.

I have continued to make sales on Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk and I am expecting to receive a payout from both of these shortly. My total this month was particularly helped by a big sale on Ebay.

Here are the totals:

Ebay: $383.38
Clickbank: $11.20
Surveys: $25.04
Swagbucks: $5.00
Squidoo: $2.64

Total = $427.26

A pretty decent total all in all, but this is not something I can really repeat as it was only brought about by selling an item on Ebay that I don't need any more and I don't have many more of those!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Monthly Earnings for October 2011

Another month past and another month of some positives, but also some considerable frustrations. The big news of this month is that I have had my first payout as an Amazon.com affiliate. This has taken quite a while, but I have really only been concentrating on Amazon in the last few months.

This month I have made a total of 26 Amazon sales across the .com and .co.uk sites earning $51 in all. Not bad, but certainly not life changing. I am hoping that in the run up to Christmas I will make more sales.

In relation to Clickbank sales, I have made 2 this month after a couple of months not making any. I can't really complain about this though as I have been concentrating on my Amazon review sites.

Here are the totals (this is what I have actually received, not necessarily what I have earned this month):

$129.74 - Amazon.com
$6.37 - Surveys (Pinecone)
$2.23 - Squidoo

Total = $138.34


Still a long way from earning enough to really make a difference. I am focusing Amazon review sites at the moment, but only in the run up to Christmas and then I want to move onto something else.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Monthly Total for September 2011

Time to review my monthly earnings again. I am still struggling to turn that corner to make real money online. I have had some successes this month, but not enough to make a real difference. I have not made any Clickbank sales at all this month (the Clickbank income showing this month is from August), but I have made 18 Amazon sales (11 on co.uk and 7 on .com) which has brought in $26 in income overall.

I have made a tentative start this month on an authority blog which I am intending will be my main project. However, I am not expecting this to make any money for a little while yet.

So here are my totals for September (bearing in mind this is the money I have actually received):

Clickbank: $14.86
Private advertising: $30
Surveys: $90.38 (YouGov: $77.91, Pinecone: $12.47)
Swagbucks: $5
Squidoo: $2.60
Zlio: $1.67

Total = $144.51

Still rather short of where I want it to be, but not too bad I guess.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Choosing a Niche for an Authority Blog

I am well aware that in my making money online efforts I have been guilty of flitting from one thing to another in my frustration at the lack of money that I am making. I decided some time ago that I needed a single main project to focus on. That single project, I decided, should be an authority blog. I did originally think that rather than a blog I would write a series of linked Squidoo on a single niche, but I abandonded that idea as I did not think this would do I what I wanted. I have decided to chart my progress on this new project here.

So the first task then is to choose a niche. The main criteria for a niche for an authority blog is that it has to be a subject that you are interested in and know something about. After all, you are going to have to write regularly about the subject and be willing to research any areas that you don't know much about. If you try and focus a blog on something that you think might be lucrative but have little interest in then you will quickly lose interest. In my case I have decided on a niche that is quite broad based on the idea that it needs to be in order to ensure that I can keep coming up with new things to say.

If you are not sure what to choose then think about what you enjoy talking about with friends and what you regularly seek information about. Is there anything that if you were put in front of a group of people what you could talk about and sound reasonably knowledgeable. Tempting though it might be, you should avoid making your authority blog about making money online - there are already far too many out there!

Next take a look at other blogs in your niche and look at how many subscribers there are, how many comments are left, etc. to give you an idea of traffic and popularity. Also take a look at their posting schedule, what sort of things they write about and how they are monetized.

I have already chosen my niche and confident that I have enough to say so I am ready to start.


Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Total Earnings for August 2011

Another month passed and time to report my earnings. It feels that it has been pretty slow going recently, but at least this month I have received my second Adsense cheque. However, I have made no Clickbank sales at all (Clickbank income showing this month is from last month's sales). I have made 10 Amazon sales, although these were all pretty small.

Here are the totals:

Adsense: $101.22
Clickbank: $35.72
Swagbucks: $5.00
Squidoo: $1.49
Surveys: $6.50 (Pinecone)
Hits4Pay: $25.18
Private advertising: $40.00

Total = $215.11

Thanks to the Adsense payout this month's payment wasn't actually too bad after all.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Zlio Bites the Dust

Zlio was a service where you could easily build your own shop in a matter of minutes. You did not sell your own products, you received a commission for every item sold by the various retailers that you could worked with Zlio. It's a straightforward concept and one that proved very popular. However, Zlio have been losing money over the last few years and it seems that they have finally accepted that they are not going to be able to turn this around. So now Zlio will be closing down on 11th September 2011 and all shops will cease to be from that point.

It seems that the fatal blow was Zlio losing a court case against a SEO company who said that they would be able to improve the standing of Zlio shops in Google searches. Also they have had to pay damages to the SEO company for making the dispute public on Twitter.

I have three Zlio shops, none of which make me hardly any money. Having said that I have put very little energy into promoting them and getting traffic to them. In truth I have no problem with letting them go as I really gave up on trying to make any money on them quite some time ago. So really it means that I have 3 less sites to worry about and means I can stop fretting about the fact they are not getting any traffic. I had various plans in my head to improve traffic to these shops which would have involved lots of work. I am quite glad now that I never got around to doing anything about it!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Monthly Earnings for July 2011

This post is a little late as I have been away for a few days. The first thing to acknowledge is the fact that I have not posted at all to this blog over the last month, which is not good at all - I will try and do better over the coming weeks.

During July, I concentrated on building a couple of Amazon review sites and driving traffic to them. I have really just been experimenting with these to try and find out what works best. One of the sites was previously just a site with minimal content and lots of Adsense ads. As this site ranks quite well I decided to add some more content and add in some Amazon links. I don't use Adsense on my other Amazon sites, so this is a bit of an experiment to see how it does. This all seems to be paying off though as I made six Amazon sales in July which made me a total of $32 which is a record for a single month. However, as a UK based Amazon.com affiliate I have to earn $100 before I see my money. I have actually passed this threshold now, but it will be a few weeks before the sales are verified and I receive my cheque.


I have also reached the threshold for receiving my second Adsense payment and I should receive my cheque for this any day now.


So here are the totals for last month:


Clickbank: $12.18
Surveys: $12.91 (Pinecone)
Squidoo: $4.33
EBay: $9.66

Total = $39.08

This is pretty poor really. However, I do feel encouraged by my recent relative success with my Amazon sites, so I am hopeful things will pick up soon.


Friday, July 1, 2011

Monthly Earnings for June2011

June has been a better month than the previous two, although it has not been without its frustrations. A couple of private advertising sales have bumped up my total. A downside is that I have had couple of refunds on my Clickbank sales; I have only ever had one previous refund so to have two in one month is disappointing.

I have been concentrating recently on building Amazon review sites recently. I have two up and running and traffic from these is slowly building. However, they have only given me one sale so far. I have made four Amazon sales overall this month which has brought me frustratingly close to that $100 payout.

Here are the totals:

Private advertising: $120.37
Blogsvertise: $20
Squidoo: $2.86
MyLikes: $1.65
Swagbucks: $5
Surveys: $6.43 (Pinecone)
EBay: $20.86


Total = $177.17

A definite improvement, but still less than I want it to be.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Making Your Articles Work Harder #2: Turning Articles into YouTube Videos

Once you have written some articles to submit to article directories, why stop there? You might as well make your hard work stretch as far as you can. One way of doing this is to turn your articles into YouTube videos. There are a number of ways of doing this, but I think this is the quickest and easiest way you will find and does not require any specialist knowledge of video editing software, and what's more there is no cost involved in buying software either.

The first thing you need to do is to turn your article into a format that is suitable for a video. The easiest way of doing this is to turn it into a slideshow presentation. You could use Powerpoint for this, but in this instance I recommend you download Open Office for free. The reason for this is that Open Office has a presentation application known as Impress which has a useful feature that is not available on Powerpoint.

Once you have downloaded Open Office then click on the "Presentation" icon to start. This will then guide you through the process of starting a presentation allowing you to select a template and a background. I suggest that you use a blank template, but use a colored background (but don't forget to change the color of the text to make it more visible).

Once you are past this you will see it looks pretty much like Powerpoint where, on a basic level, you can just type into the slide. Now, open up your article in Word, Notepad or whatever else you used to write it. Your task now is to translate your article into a presentation. Obviously, start with your title slide, but make sure that you put the url of your website under the title so that is the first thing that the viewer sees. What you need to do from here is to avoid making your slides too wordy otherwise people will not have chance to read them and lose interest. So, what you can do is cut and paste short sentences from your article or, summarize your content into bullet points. I think that bullet points are much more effective as they get your point across quickly and effectively. Make sure that your final slide also includes the url of your website again.

Once you have completed your presentation, making sure that you saved it of course, now comes the fancy bit! On the top left of the screen, click "File" then on the drop down choose "Wizards", then on the next drop down choose "Web Page".


Just follow the wizard through clicking "Next" when asked. What this will do is create a folder of files that you could use to upload your presentation to the internet. However, we are not going to do that. If you go into the folder you will see that it contains a number of HTML files and some image files. It is actually just the image files you want as these images contain your individual slides.

Now, head on over to YouTube. If you haven't done so already then create an account there. Once you have done this you can start creating your video. If you already have software for creating videos then you could use that, but we are going for the easy and free method that does not you to buy any software. Here is what you do:

  • Click on "Upload"
  • On the right hand side of the screen you will see a box which says "Create your own animation - try now"
  • Click that link


Once you done this you see a number of options for services for creating your video. My personal preference is for "One True Media", but by all means experiment and see which you prefer.

Once you have clicked on the One True Media "Create Video" button you will be asked what files you want to upload. Simply select your image files that you created earlier and click upload. Once they have finished uploading then click the "Done" button.

You will then see this menu open up:


This gives a range of options for editing your video - but my recommendation is to keep it simple. You can see a "Choose Music" option here which allows you to choose from a number of pre-loaded options (overcomes any copyright issues) or you can upload your own if you prefer.

Once you are happy with your creation then simply click the "Publish to YouTube" button. Remember to add a description when prompted including a link to your site. You cannot use HTML so you have to just type in the url of your site (including the http://) and it will automatically convert to a clickable link.

Once your video is live then remember to bookmark it, Tweet about it, tell your Facebook friends, blog about it, etc. Don't forget that you can embed your video into blog posts, Squidoo lenses, HubPages Hubs, etc.

There you have it - the easiest cost-free method of converting articles into YouTube videos known to man (or woman!). The only downside to this method is there is no option of uploading your video to other video sharing sites, for that you really need to download some software to do this which usually involves spending some money.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Monthly Earnings for May 2011

Well, another month past and time to post my earnings. Things have been rather slow going recently and I still feel that things have not really got off the ground as I hoped they might do. I have made three Clickbank sales and one Amazon sale this month, and Adsense earnings have picked up a little. Nevertheless, I seem to be struggling to turn a corner and make significant money. Here are the totals anyway:

Clickbank: $30.45
Surveys: $13.06 (Pinecone)
Swagbucks: $5
Squidoo: $1.22
Ebay: $9.75

Total = $59.48

Quite disappointing really, so I am hoping that I will improve over the coming months.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Why You Need to Protect Yourself Against Identity Theft

Whilst this digital age has added greater convenience to many aspects of our lives, it is also enabled thieves more ways to get hold of our money. We are all used to receiving those less than convincing scam e-mails telling us that a long lost relative wants to leave us large amounts of money, but amongst these are more convincing e-mails supposedly from banks telling us that we need to confirm our information for security purposes. Then there are fake websites set up entirely to convince us to enter specific details about ourselves.

The effect of this can be to simply take money from your account or alternatively to set up accounts or receive services in your name. Even if you realize that elements of your identity have been stolen it can be a difficult, lengthy and often stressful process to rectify this.

As a result of this growing problem many people are turning to identity theft protection in order to monitor your situation and help to ensure that your information is not being compromised. There are a number of services available which will monitor how information is being used and will alert you should a suspicious event occur.

One such service is Identity Hawk which will provides an assessment of the risk of your personal data and how vulnerable it is to abuse. Also is constantly monitors records over the internet to detect potential threats. Whenever a suspicious event occurs you are sent an e-mail or text so you know immediately and can take steps to address this.

In addition to any protection you take out you should always check your bank accounts very regularly in order to check for any unusual activity. If you do see any unexpected transactions you should contact your bank immediately.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Monthly Earnings for April 2011

Following last month's high, my earnings have dropped off somewhat this month. However, on a more positive note I have made my first Clickbank sales of the year, two in fact. Also I have made another two Amazon sales (albeit rather small ones).

Here are the totals:

Clickbank: $19.52
Surveys: (Pinecone) $6.68
Squidoo: $4.81
Swagbucks: $5

Total = $36.01

A pretty disappointing total all in all. Let's hope that May is better!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Making Your Articles Work Harder #1 - Using Document Sharing Sites

Submitting articles to article directories is a great way to gain back links to your website, blog, Squidoo lens, etc., but once you have put time and effort into writing your article shouldn't you get as much value out of them as you can? You can submit your article to multiple directories of course, but what I want to discuss here is using document sharing sites. The best known of these are Scribd and Docstoc which are the two I use most. Docstoc also has a revenue sharing element using Adsense which is nice bonus. There are also a number of others out there that are worth trying but I only have limited experience of those.

First of all, what is a document sharing site? Well it is simply a site where you can upload a document. Usually they can take a number of formats, but PDF is the most common - you can use Word if you prefer, but your document will not look as professional and you run the risk of someone downloading your document and editing it for their own purposes.

You can convert your articles to PDF format by using Open Office which can be downloaded for free. Open Office is similar to Microsoft Office and includes a word processor very similar to Word, with the important distinction that it allows you to convert your documents into PDF at the click of a button. During this process, make sure that you include links to your site - unlike article directories you can put your links wherever you like, so you could put one in the body of the article and another in the footer. Also, you can put in affiliate links. If you want to you can spruce up your article with some pictures as well, but this is not essential.

All you have to do now is upload your document to Scribd and/or Docstoc. Simply register with the sites, click the upload button and follow the instructions.

Unlike submissions to article directories this will not help your site get found in the search engines. So why do it? Well it is simply another way of helping people find you - what you are aiming for is for people to download your document, perhaps share with others and then click on the links to visit your site. It is very quick and easy to do, so well worth the effort.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Making Money From Your Social Networks with My Likes

In a bid to try and find more ways of making some money from Twitter I stumbled across MyLikes. This works by giving you short ads that you can tweet - this is done directly from the MyLikes website rather from Twitter itself. You then receive a small payment every time the ad is clicked on. To boost the chances of receiving clicks you can also connect your profiles from various other social networks including Blogger, Posterous, Facebook, YouTube, FriendFeed and Tumblr. By connecting these your ad will automatically post to each of these networks (although you can decide which ones you wish to post to).

However, you should be aware that you are not paid for ads that are clicked on via Facebook. So, why connect your Facebook profile? Well, some advertisers insist that you do for opportunities to be open to you.

There will be some people who will be uneasy about having advertising links in their Twitter stream and on social networks. However, the ads are clearly marked as such so you are being completely transparent. You should not expect to make loads of money from it, but for a few minutes at a time I think it is worth giving a try.

Join MyLikes here

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Monthly Earnings for March 2011

This past month a rather strange pattern has emerged: I have put a lot of time and effort into making Clickbank and Amazon affiliate sales and made just two Amazon sales, but I have put almost no effort into selling advertising on my other blog and yet this has been my main source of revenue. The lack of Clickbank sales is starting to irritate me - I have made none at all so far this year and this is longest period I have ever gone since I started this in earnest without a single sale.

The direct advertising sales is an interesting trend though - this is not something that I have gone out to get, various people have approached me. So it has been a matter of taking these opportunities as they arise. I have sold several advertising slots for the coming year now, so I need to make a spreadsheet or something so I can keep track these, making sure that I follow these up when they expire.

Here are the totals:

Direct advertising sales: $223.33
Surveys: $6.67 (Pinecone)
Squidoo: $2.83

Total = $232.83

Pretty decent total, but I don't feel that I can rely on direct advertising sales as a main revenue stream, so I need my affiliate sales to pick up.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Latest Google Update Spreads a Quiet Panic Amongst Some Internet Marketers

With the amount of content on the internet growing by the second it is inevitable that the search engines will need to make constant adjustments as to how they find the most relevant results. As the biggest player in search engine land, the changes at Google tend to be the most closely watched. The most recent update, being trialled first in the U.S. before being rolled out the rest of the world has caused more consternation than most as it is specifically aimed at rooting out poor quality sites so as to give the user a better experience and give better quality and more relevant results.

Some site that are considered as "content farms" have been hit particularly hard, so inevitably this has caused a certain amount of debate by these sites as to how to ensure that they retain their hard earned traffic. Ezine Articles is considering putting limitations on certain topics, e.g. "get your ex back", "reverse phone lookup", etc. Whilst over at Squidoo they are clamping down on duplicate content, so whereas previously you get away with copying and pasting entire articles or even Amazon customer reviews, it seems that if you do so you are likely to have your lens locked.

This raises the whole issue of whether duplicate content is bad or not. When I first started looking into these issues a couple of years ago it seemed that the general consensus was that duplicate content was a bad thing. And then Google quashed that by announcing that actually it is fine provided that you do not produce duplicate content on your own site. Now it seems that a degree of duplicate content is seen as a bad thing, although to be honest I am still not completely clear.

Of course the search engines have to change with the times and constantly evolve. So if this means that some of the poorer (particularly automated) content falls to the bottom then this can only be a  good thing. However, it will only make attempts at making money at internet marketing more difficult.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Monthly Earnings for February 2011

Whilst this month's total earnings are fairly average, I have been particularly frustrated with a lack of progress. Specifically, I have been frustrated that I have not made any Clickbank sales (again) and only made two Amazon sales with a very small commission.

Here are this month's totals (i.e. what I have actually received):

Surveys: $63 (Global Test Market - $50, Pinecone - $13)
Private Advertising: $10
Swagbucks: $5
Quickpenny: $40.66
EBay: $3.25
Squidoo: $2.78

Total = $124.69

I have been aware over the past few weeks that I feel I have lost direction and not working to any particular plan. So I have decided to try to focus on some specific projects for a while. These are:

  • A blog based around a forthcoming technology product. I have bought a relevant domain name, written a couple of posts and I am getting traffic already (it's only been up a week). I am using Google Alerts to find useful information which I will re-write as posts trying to do 2 posts a week at first. I am not anticipating that this will be a long term project.
  • I am building a site (with Wordpress) focussing on reviewing a particular type of product. These will have affiliate links to Amazon.
  • I am intending to start a new blog around a particular subject that I am interested in. This will be a long-term project where I intend to sell myself as an expert in my field. In order to avoid a situation where I am struggling to keep up with posting, I am writing lots of posts in advance of actually starting the blog. This way I will have a library of posts to draw on when I am stuck for something to write.
Also I will be gradually going through my various existing projects and reviewing content, building more links, bookmarking etc. I have put together a spreadsheet to help me keep track of where I have got to with this.

I had started a process of putting together a free ebook to give away to start building a list and I was going to focus on Squidoo as a means of promoting this. I have put this on hold as I am intending to incorporate this project into my new blog.

I have several other ideas I really want to try, but if I have learned anything at all it's that you can't do everything at once.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

New Rules at Xomba Lead to My Account Being Suspended!!

At Xomba you can write articles and submit bookmarks and you have the opportunity to earn money from Adsense (60% of the ad impressions are yours). For the bookmarks you have to write more than most sites - 120 words. Recently what I have been doing is for every Squidoo lens I have been building and every article I have written I have submitted a Xomba bookmark. Rather than writing new content I have just copied and pasted a paragraph from my article. This has allowed me to quickly and easily created more backlinks and earn a little money from them at the same time.

However, in the last couple of weeks Xomba have changed their rules in order to make it more of a writing community and improve its standing with the search engines. Specifically, you cannot submit duplicate content, even if it is your own. Also you are now not allowed to link to your own articles and blog posts, or as they say "bookmarks were never meant to be a marketing tool or anything like that; they should be used to share interesting links". Actually the quote is from an e-mail I received telling me that my account was suspended for a breach of these rules. I have had to reply telling them that I agree not to breach these rules in the future and I am waiting for my account to be reinstated. In the meantime, my bookmarks remain live and have still been earning me money.

In the future it would appear that the only I can use Xomba for backlinks and for increasing traffic is to write articles and to include links in the signature. Just when I thought I had found something quick and easy to boost traffic and make a little money, it is taken away.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Save Money on Turbo Tax at The Coupon Album

I don’t know about you but I always like a special offer. The Coupon Album offers plenty of special deals and has loads of vouchers and codes where you can get a discount. As an example, they are offering Turbo Tax coupons where you can get a discount on this popular tax preparation software. When you are working for yourself, such as making money online, it is easy to get into a mess with your tax. Even the most organised of us can start to lose track with income and outgoings, as well as understanding what expenses can be offset against earnings. Keeping track of it all can be a challenge, but failing to do so could land you in serious trouble.

This is where Turbo Tax comes in useful and it means that you spend less time keeping on top of your tax returns and more on your business. There are several different versions of this software which is designed to help you get through your tax returns (only suitable for US residents) step by step and is suitable for both federal and state returns. It also provides tips on tax as well as highlighting anything which may be picked up on audits.

Apart from this there are a huge number of other offers available on The Coupon Album including everything from pet supplies to travel. Some of these deals can offer you a considerable saving on the listed price for many items. The Coupon Album is definitely worth checking out and you can save yourself lots of money.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Monthly Earnings for January 2011

Here is the first earnings report of the new year. All in all it has been a pretty frustrating month having made no Clickbank or Amazon sales at all. Even Adsense has been slow going. I don't know if it's a post Christmas thing or what, but it has pretty depressing really. Here are the figures anyway:

Clickbank: $34.86 (from December's sales)
Squidoo: $1.08
Surveys: $53.22 ($40.32 - Opinium, $12.90 - Pinecone)
Swagbucks: $5

Total: $94.16

I hope things pick up soon. I haven't really decided what to concentrate at the moment and keep flitting from one project to another as not much seems to be working. I clearly need a plan!

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Squidoo vs HubPages: Which is Best?

Squidoo and HubPages are popular user generated content platforms which work in a similar way. Both allow you to create your own web page about pretty much anything and earn money from it. Although they both work in a similar way, there are some fundamental differences and there is a certain amount of debate by users as to which is the best. So, let's take a look at how they work and their relative strengths and weaknesses.

Squidoo

Squidoo allows you create your own page on something that you are interested in or simply build a page with the sole intention of making money from it. The pages (known as lenses) are build from modules which a allow a range of functions. The range of modules available is huge and growing. It is tempting to put in more and more modules that have various gadgets in them, but it is important to keep it relevant and not off too much from your chosen topic. The basic module is the Text Module, but other useful ones include RSS, polls, You Tube, Link List, and many many more.

As well as these there are a number of money making modules including Amazon, Ebay and Cafepress. With these modules you receive a commission every time someone makes a purchase via a link on your lens. If you prefer, you can you your own affiliate links from Amazon, Clickbank or other affiliate network. However, if you are an affiliate with Ebay Partner Network you can no longer place your own links on Squidoo as EPN's rules stipulate that you can only place your links on your own website (with one notable exception - more of that later).

In addition, you can also earn from a share of Squidoo's Adsense earnings. This is worked out through a complicated formula involving how many visits your lens receives in a given month and what its Squidoo rank is. Also you can earn from clicks on in-text advertising. It is important to note that you do not have to sign up with any affiliate networks - all of your earnings are paid directly from Squidoo. As stated previously you can put in your own affiliate links in if you want, but this is entirely your choice.

Up until relatively recently there were very few restrictions on what you could write about and what you put in your lenses. However, amid concerns that Squidoo was becoming something a bit of spamfest, they introduced some rules and have introduced a spam filter. As a result, if your try and write a lens about some subjects such as weight loss, gambling, etc you are likely to have your lens locked. You can find a complete list of offending subjects here.  Having said that I have some lenses around one of those banned subjects which remains unlocked and attracting traffic. Go figure!

If you are looking to use Squidoo lenses to create backlinks to other projects then it is important to note lenses generally rank well in the search engines and that all links are dofollow.

Want to find out more about how to use Squidoo? Why not download this free guide.

HubPages

HubPages works in a very similar way to Squidoo. Again, you can build a page (or a hub as they are known) about pretty much anything. Like Squidoo, HubPages work with modules of which there are good range (although not nearly as many as Squidoo). Again, the basic module is the Text Module - if you are writing in HTML this also has a feature to clean up your code.

Where the main differences lie is in relation to the money making model. Like Squidoo, HubPages has modules where you can sell goods through Amazon and Ebay. However, unlike Squidoo, you need to sign up with Amazon's affiliate network and Ebay Partner Network in order to earn money, and your earnings are paid out through these affiliate networks and not from HubPages themselves. You should be aware that only half of the ad impressions are yours. You can also earn from Adsense and Kontera, but again you will have to sign up with both of these ad networks to make money. If you want to, you can place your own affiliate links from Clickbank or other networks on your hubs.

Whilst you can write about most things on HubPages, if you write duplicate content or spammy hubs then you will find that your hub score will suffer and you will receive fewer visits.

Hubs do rank well, but links are initially nofollow, but will become dofollow as your score of your increases.


The Verdict

So, which is the best? Well I suppose that depends on what you want to do with them. If you are building lenses specifically with the intention of selling a particular Clickbank product then Squidoo is probably your better bet as the structure of lenses is better suited to this and it is easier to provide a strong call to action (via the Big Arrow Link module). Also, one of the issues with HubPages is that as you have to sign up with a number of affiliate networks so in order to actually get your hands on your money you will need to reach the various payment threshold to do so. Whereas with Squidoo you do not have to sign up with anyone else and you can set the payout threshold to just $1.

However, if you have other projects on the go and you are looking for other ways to boost your Adsense total or your Amazon earnings then HubPages could be for you. If you are looking to use these sites for link building then Squidoo is probably your best bet as your links will be instantly dofollow, but then why not just use both to give the search engines a variety of inbound links to look at.

So, which do I think is better? Well, I use both, but I tend to prefer Squidoo, purely because it has more options and for lenses that I am looking to sell stuff it easier to provide a call to action that grabs the reader's attention.

Do you want to find out how you could be making real money from Squidoo? Why not try the One Week Marketing Plan. You can download the first 18 pages for FREE to get a flavor of what is involved.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

The Benefits of Listing Your Business at a Business Web Directory

If you have a business, of whatever size, your first challenge is to make sure that your potential customers not only know that you exist, but that they are able to find you. Just putting a website is not enough to achieve this, you must be visible to anyone who is likely to be looking for the services that you provide. You could spend large amounts of money on an advertising campaign, but the reality is the benefits of this will probably only last as long as your campaign.

Most people who are searching the internet will find the service that they want through search engines, which is where search engine optimization comes in. A part of this process could be to list your business with a business web directory. The benefit of this is that it starts to make your business more visible on the internet and provides an effective backlink to your site, thereby improving your site’s rank in search engine results.

One such directory is Jasmine.com. This site is 100% SEO friendly and will be of great help in increasing your business’ visibility. Within your listing you can give a full description of your business. Your listing you can include up to five deep URLs to anywhere in your site, so you not limited to just your home page. With each listing you also get an automatic thumbnail picture of your site which is great for giving potential visitors a flavor of what you offer. The site is W3 CSS and HTML valid which should avoid any problems with usage of the site.

Listing your business in a business directory such as Jasmine.com is one positive step towards raising the profile of your business, not only increasing the ways in which potential customers can find you, but increasing the ranking of your site within search engine results. And certainly more cost effective than spending your money on an advertising campaign.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Snipsly - Another Place to Write and Earn Online

Just when I thought I had found pretty much all the sites where you can write and earn online, I have just found another one. At Snipsly you simply write an article and post it and you will earn 80% of the Adsense revenue from your article. There are no modules or anything fancy, just straightforward articles. The site is powered by Wordpress, so WP users will be used to the user interface. The minimum length for an article is just three sentences!! However, you are likely to get more visits for something a bit longer.

The links on Snipsly are "dofollow" so it is great way of promoting your other content. And it is open to users all over the world. At the time of writing the site is PR3 and seems to get a fair amount of traffic.

The only downside I can find is that all articles have to be unique, so you are not able to copy and paste your articles that you have already written for Ezine and other article directories. Also there is no referral programme available.

Overall, I think that Snipsly is well worth a try for promoting your other content and topping up your Adsense earnings.

Signup with Snipsly here

Monday, January 10, 2011

End of Year Report 2010

Well, there goes another year and time to reflect on how I have been doing at this making money online thing. Over the year that has passed I have been gradually switching my focus from surveys, cashback shopping, pay to click sites, etc towards internet marketing. With surveys I have focused my attentions on those panels that are nearest payout and then once I have received the money I have moved onto the next. Eventually I will probably phase this source of income out altogether, or I may keep a couple on maybe. They take up way too much time and the returns are not high enough.

In relation to cashback shopping, two of the sites I was using, R Points and Rewards Central, have ceased to be, and unfortunately the money that I had made with them has gone with them. The only one I continue to use is Mutual Points

In terms of my internet marketing efforts, I am pleased in one way that my returns from Clickbank have increased significantly from last year, but it is still way short of where I want it to be. This is the first year that I have made any serious efforts at making any money as an Amazon affiliate and it has been very slow going. As a non-US resident I have to earn $100 before I can get my hands on the money and I am frustratingly to getting my first payout.

One great thing this year is that I have received my first Adsense payout which has taken me nearly two years! Within recent months my income from Adsense has increased significantly, and as a measure of this I am already half way to my next payout.

So, here are my totals for the year:

Squidoo = $54.32 - this is quite low, but I don't use the Amazon modules, preferring instead to use my own affiliate links.

Ebay = $232.44 - These days I mostly just list what I find around the house that we don't need any more, so not bad, but I could do with listing more consistently.

Blogsvertise = $25 - This is rather low. I haven't had many paid post opportunities recently.

Surveys = $358.09 - This is rather higher than I had expected, but I am anticipating this source of income to drop off as I phase them out.

Swagbucks = $45 - This has been a great find this year. Will not make me rich, but has brought in a steady $5 every month.

Clickbank = $364.08 
Other Affiliate Income = $45.23
Adsense = $101.42
Total internet marketing = $510.73 - This is about 4 times as much as I earned through internet marketing in 2009.

Private advertising = $60 - Not something that I have gone out of my way to attract, so this has been a welcome bonus.

Mutual Points = $31.12 - A slow and steady source of income

Cash for Cartridges = $39.61 - Not strictly online earnings, but I am going to count it anyway.

Amazon Marketplace = $10.99 - I don't list much on Amazon, so this isn't too bad.

Grand Total for 2010 = $1367.30

Not a bad total overall, but actually my short-term target remains at $500 per month. I have only actually broken through $200 once in 2010, so clearly a way to go.

What for the Coming Year?

One thing I think I have learned in recent months is that it is better to concentrate on one thing at a time rather than try and juggle several projects at once. Having said that there are a number of ideas I want to try out.

  • More One Week Marketing Campaigns, but this time really work at them, writing lots of articles, and exploring as many ways to get traffic as I can think of. I am working on one currently and I really want to try and figure out what really works.
  • I want to try my hand at list building, possibly linking into a OWM campaign. I also want to use a Squidoo account as a springboard for building a list. This is a process I have started, but this has ground to a bit of halt while I focus on something else.
  • Create and sell my own product. Well actually my wife is going to create a product based on an interest of hers and I am going to try and market it.
  • Create more niche sites. I started this last year, but I did not build any more as I was concerned about the rising cost of my domain names. However, I do intend to do more of this over the coming year as I have shown that I can make this work, even if they make a few pennies daily through Adsense, they are still worth doing.
  • More Squidoo lenses/Hub Pages with more tightly focused keywords and building more backlinks for traffic.
  • Learn more HTML, CSS, PHP and Javascript. Over the last few months I have learned some HTML and CSS. I intend to focus my skills in this respect more and learn PHP and Javascript. This is with a view to being able to market my skills once I have perfected them.

This is enough to keep me going for the time being I think. In terms of earnings, as I said previously, my initial target remains at $500 per month. If I achieve this then I will aim higher. Let's see what 2011 brings shall we?

What do you think of my goals and do you have any for the coming year?

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Total Earnings for December 2010

The last month of the year and how has it gone? Well, quite a mixed picture really. My overall earnings have been pretty poor in terms of what I have actually received, but there have been some definite positives. Firstly, this has been a record month for Amazon sales - 13 sales in all bringing in $30.47. Not huge, but it is good to see that some of the strategies that I have been trying through Squidoo have been paying off. Not far from that $100 payout threshold now. On other fronts, I have made three Clickbank sales, which seems to be about my average over the year (although not reflected in this month's earning as I haven't received payment for these yet). Also my Adsense earnings have been ticking over nicely.

So, here are the figures (based on what I have actually received):

Surveys: $35.84 ($12.47 Pinecone, $23.37 Toluna)
Squidoo: $5.73
Ebay: $15.07
Blogsvertise: $20
Swagbucks: $5

Total = $81.64

Not great really, but not truly terrible either. Let's see what 2011 brings shall we?