Monday, December 21, 2009

Blog Carnival Started for eHow Writers

One lovely eHow writer has started an eHow blog carnival, something that I wish I had thought to do a year ago. I plan on hosting it as well at some point. I missed the Sunday deadline for the next one (oops!), but there are supposed to be plenty more after the next one.

Getting involved in blog carnivals is a good way to build a few links, and it may even bring in a few readers. I have been participating in a writing blog carnival for some time, and my writing blog has pretty good search engine placement, though I don't know that it has brought in many readers through the links alone. If you are already bookmarking to get links, consider finding a blog carnival to get more free links as well as to talk to other eHow writers.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Surprise! Your Article Sucks

Well, I got notification a few hours ago that eHow cut another one of my articles. I was actually relieved that they cut only one this time. eHow is notorious for cutting huge numbers of articles every time they do a cleansing of the site. I have heard of people losing 20 and 30 articles in one day because of these episodes. The most I have ever lost at once is six, and that was really pretty inexplicable. This time, it's more splicable.

Long ago, eHow would tell you that an article was cut and then tell you why. I lost one because it talked about a site that competes with eHow. Fine. I put it up elsewhere and won an award for it. It does very well there. Thanks, eHow! Then, they stopped telling eHow writers which articles were cut. I had two cut once and I never found out which ones they were. After almost two hours of trying to figure it out, I had to let it go. Two articles are unpublished and that work is down the drain.

Understandably, eHow writers revolted against this and left the site in droves. Freelance writers can't expect to get every article they write to find a home, but any writer deserves better than this. The site decided to go back to telling writers which article they were cutting, but not why. There was another revolt and a landslide of questions sent to the site. They do now tell writers why the articles were cut and what the articles were.

That's a what freelance writers deserve, but it didn't take the sting out of getting an article cut today. The reason it was cut? "Poorly written." After a double take and a "no they di'int," I looked at the article. It kind of sucked. It was actually very in depth and informative, but it was so keyword heavy that it was awkward to read. I don't like seeing that, so it actually was a good lesson. I went from not enough keywords to bring in the money to the right amount to too many. It's time to backtrack and look at the articles from the reader's perspective.

I may have said this before, but I'll say it again- always, always keep a backup of every article in a Word or Open Office file. If you have an article cut, you can always place it elsewhere. I've placed almost all of mine in other places, giving me more streams of passive income. So, in the end, it's not so bad. The work won't go to waste if you can submit the article elsewhere, and it does give you the diversification of income that is important to freelance writers.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Which Category Makes the Most Money on eHow?

I have heard a lot about the categories that people do the best with on eHow, and most of it centers on legal and medical topics. I have heard many times that legal and medical topics pay better through Google AdSense and through eHow and similar sites because of the money to be made form the ads and the competition that exists for them. I have no medical articles on eHow and a very few that could be considered legal articles, so I can't say how accurate that is from personal experience.

But, there is something that has become very clear from looking at the amount that I have made for each article. The articles that are about hobbies, personal issues, etc., make small to moderate amounts. The articles that solve very specific problems are the ones that earn the most. My top earner has now made $120 and my second highest has made almost $70. These two and all of my articles that have made more than $30 are ones that solve a problem that brought people to the Web to search for the answer.

I have written several articles about astrology and how to deal with certain signs, etc. I've written eHow articles about how to make different types of crafts and about interpersonal relationships. All of these articles are ones that I think people just happen to look at rather than actually searching it out and scanning the page for all of the information they can get. Some of them have earned decent figures, but none of them have reached the amounts that the problem-solving articles have made.

To make articles about solving problems, think about topics that people will run to the computer to figure out how to solve. Instead of "How to Choose a Car," write "How to Negotiate With Car Salesmen." The first one is too vague- it's an article that people may run across, but they aren't running to the computer to find out the information. The second one is a specific-problem-solving topic. Instead of writing about how to keep mice out of the house, write about how to kill them. The first one may interest people when they are online and think about the topic or see a link to it. The second one is what will bring in readers who are craving the information, and those are the ones who will be interested in the ads on the page.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

eHow Starting Up in the U.K.

I've had a good week at eHow, though last month wasn't as good as I would have liked. I think that part of the problem may have been that I wasn't adding articles regularly. CPC rates vary throughout the year and with demand for specific keywords, and I don't know that mine are diverse enough to keep my earnings numbers steady. I didn't add much of anything for about two months, but I've started up again with the intention of writing at least four articles a week for them. That represents only about an hour and 20 minutes of work each week, and it will add at least 16 articles to my account each month.

I noticed today that eHow has started up a U.K. version. It looks like U.K. residents will now be able to sign up for the Writer's Compensation Program and get paid just as U.S. residents have been doing on the U.S. site. I'm so glad to see this! There are a lot of people outside the U.S. who have been searching for residual sites and paying content sites and have been unable to write for the many sites that only pay U.S. residents. This is a welcome change for a lot of freelancers, and I hope that a lot of other sites will follow suit. Perhaps Demand Studios will start hiring British writers to write for the U.K. eHow site now?

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

New Time Limit for Draft Articles

Today I saw that my draft articles are marked in the article list with an expiration date. It appears that the site is now giving draft articles about one month to be completed before they are deleted. That's kind of sad news, since I have an enormous number of draft articles, some of which are a year old. Of course, it can also be a strong motivator to write those articles before they are snatched away. I doubt that I will get all of my current draft articles completed in time, but any new drafts that I create will likely be finished a lot faster than they were before.

Why have draft articles at all? There are several reasons. The biggest draft article creation time for me was when I spent several hours doing keyword research for this site and another site. Rather than do each article at a time, I created a couple of dozen draft articles that were based on popular keywords searches. That made it easy to write an article anytime I had the time for eHow. I could simply scan through the drafts and choose one.

Another reason to keep draft articles is to write them a few minutes at a time. If you are very busy or just hate writing eHow articles, you can write one step at a time whenever the mood strikes you, and eventually you will have a completed article. You may not be able to stretch that tactic over several months now, but even with the new expiration dates you still have time to stretch your article writing time over an entire month.

Monday, October 26, 2009

New eHow Submission Process

I've had a few ideas for eHow articles over the past week and put together a few quick articles recently. Today, however, the process for getting them published had changed. While eHow articles have always been published right away, that has apaprently changed as of today. The one that I put through today was met by a message saying that the article would be held for 10 minutes while somoene reviewed it to make sure it adheres to the eHow guidelines and until it passed through it would show as "pending."

So, is this a good thing or just an annoyance? Anything that keeps the quality level high, it's probably a good thing. On the other hand, how could it, really? How is it that the articles can be "reviewed" within 10 minutes? My article was published at right around the 10 minute mark, making me think that this is probably an automated system and not an editor actually reviewing them as the site suggests. It's likely a program that takes the length and keyword density into account to give it a preliminary screening.

Friday, October 9, 2009

$100 an Article for Web Articles?

$100 or more for an article is pretty expected in the print world. Magazines and newspapers often pay that much for an article. Of course, it may take you several hours to complete the article. It may take several days, in fact. But, it's more money than you can expect from writing Web articles. Or is it?

In the Web writing world, you can get a flat, up-front fee for an article, you can write it for a site that pays residuals or you can write for a site that does a hybrid of both. Ehow sits firmly in the residual category, though there are occassional bonuses or other payments that turns some articles into hybrids. In general, you can expect a slow trickle of money for each article that you write for eHow. And because the money keeps coming in year after year, there is no limit on how much you can make from one article. making $100 from an article is certainly possible with residual sites- even with eHow.

Two weeks ago my highest-paying eHow article hit the $100 mark, and it's already up to almost $110. That is one article, representing about 20 minutes of my time. Not all articles will perform that well. In fact, the next-highest article that I have is a little under $70, and most sit in the $20-$30 range. That may not be $100, but it's still higher than one can expect for an up-front payment most of the time.

With a decent bank of eHow articles, you can expect a few standouts, a few duds and many that fall somewhere in the middle. In the past three months, only one of mine has failed to make anything at all. The one that hasn't performed is a disappointment, but one written around the same time took a little under 10 minuted to write has made more than $30. that's what eHow is- a numbers game. Some will take off, some will tank, but your average over time is well worth the time it takes to write the articles as long as they don't take you too long.

While you need to do your keyword research, writing an eHow article shouldn't take you more than 20 to 30 minutes. Any more time than that means you may not come out ahead in the earnings vs. time game. There are too many content companies out there who pay well to spend an hour on an article that may not perform. If you can keep your time to about 20 minutes, you produce three articles an hour. OUtut of those three, one will likely do quite well if you have keyword researched them all. And, there's no reason why the other two won't earn a respectable amount for you as well.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Another Way to Make Money With eHow Articles

Besides making money by writing articles for eHow, there is also another way to make some extra money on the site. Affiliate links are allowed on eHow as long as the article doesn't appear to be written just to sell whatever is in the link. Of course, the article may certainly be written for that reason, but it shouldn't appear so. In other words- focus on more than just the item that is being sold or have an affiliate link that is generically linked to the article topic.

If you aren't familiar with affiliate links, here's an article that describes how affiliate marketing works. An easy way to start in affiliate marketing is to sign up with Amazon and choose books that pertain to the article topic and to put an affiliate link in the Resources section of the eHow article. For affiliates who want to earn a larger commission percentage, there are ebooks and other digital products that usually pay more on each sale. However, with Amazon links, customers click on the link to see the product, but anything they buy on Amazon will earn you a commission.

I have links to books on several of my eHow articles, links to CDs on articles elsewhere and a product "carousel" on another one of my blogs that has links to books. Last month, someone went through one of my links somewhere and ended up shopping in other sections of the site. This has happened many times before, and I've earned commissions for people's snack foods, toys, household items, etc. But last month, someone bought a $1,000 TV and a Blu-Ray disc player, earning me commission on all of it. That's the power of Amazon affiliate links.

Unless you really push affiliate links, the income you can make from them is usually far from steady. For me, it's been hit or miss each month. I try to link only to things that I think are genuinely helpful to those who are interested in the topic. At the top right of this blog is a link to an ebook that I think is very helpful for making more money on eHow, and it has a great reputation from eHow writers.

Some months a few bucks in affiliate sales commissions come in. Some months, it's $25-50. So, for me, it isn't much, but it's also not much trouble to put the links there. Like eHow articles, once they're in place, they will keep earning for you for as long as they're there, and you don't have to do anything else to keep earning from them.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Will Your eHow Articles Be Deleted?

If you've spent any time working with eHow articles or reading about writing for the site, you might have heard about the mass deletions that occur from time to time. Every once in a while, and it's not announced beforehand, eHow will check articles for quality and for adherence to the rules. Then, thousands of articles are deleted for various reasons. It used to be that the site didn't tell eHow writers why the articles were deleted- they didn't even tell you which articles were deleted. I have two that were deleted during that time, and to this day I don't know which ones they were.

Because of the mass protest by eHow writers for this practice, that has now changed. If an article is deleted, you will be told the title or titles that are being removed and a fairly generic reason is now given for each deletion. From my experience, I believe that most eHow writers have had some articles deleted. In some cases, I don't know what the reason was. I believe that at least one of them was deleted because it detailed how to write for a competing site. A few others that have been deleted since then may not have precisely fit into the "actionable steps" idea behind eHow articles, though I think that's subjective.

To stand the best chance of getting though the purges unscathed, it's important to follow the writer's guidelines as closely as possible. In some cases, that still won't protect an article from being purged, but it gives you a better chance of avoiding deletion.

In addition, ALWAYS keep a backup of every article in a Word or OpenOffice file. I have one long eHow Word file that I copy and paste all of my eHow articles into. When you write directly for eHow, you keep the rights to your work. That means that you are free to publish your articles elsewhere if you choose. If an article is still on eHow, it's not a good idea from an SEO standpoint to publish it elsewhere at the smae time. But, if eHow removes the article, you can publish it elsewhere so that you still profit from the article. Here are the best places to republish your deleted eHow articles:

Bukisa: This site offers between $3 and $4 per 1,000 page views, and they accept eHow articles even if they are still on eHow. Some people publish their articles on both sites at the same time.

HubPages: This site allows you to create as many "hubs" as you like, and each can be a different article. The site brings you revenue through a share of the Google AdSense revenue as well as with Amazon affiliate links and other ad revenue.

Xomba: This site can be used either as a social bookmarking site or as a content site. To submit an article, choose the Xombyte option and copy and paste your purged article into the space. I provide more details about writing for Xomba here. The site offers a share of the AdSense revenue.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Seasonal Variations in eHow Earnings

It looks like the very final numbers for the last day of Augut aren't quite in yet, but my earnings from eHow are down from July's numbers. I estimate that I probably made about $15 less in August than in July. Did I do something wrong? Not at all. I wrote three articles for the site in August, I bookmarked all of them with Xomba and Digg and I search engine optimized each with the AdWords tool. August is just a notoriously slow month online.

After running online businesses of one type or another for eight years, I can say that it is the very slowest month of the year for any type of online earnings. It's hot, everyone wants to soak up the last of the summer sun before schools starts again and many people are away on vacation. Even if you aren't impressed with your August numbers, you can expect your eHow income, as well as any other online residual income, to go up in September. That's true even if you don't add anything to eHow in September.

With Web traffic, you can generally expect the coldest months to be the best. People are inside all day and they would rather go online to shop and get information than to brave the cold weather. Like clockwork, every year I find that traffic is best from December through February.

So, if you looked at August's numbers and wonder what in the world you've gotten yourself into with eHow, don't worry. September is here, kids are back in school and people are starting to settle indoors once again.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Choosing Your eHow Keywords

There is an art to choosing keywords, but it's a science as well. When you are relying on ad revenue, you want your content to match closely with ads that people will be interested in. To do that, you need keywords that are relevant to ads that people will want to pursue. But, if those keywords aren't popular enough, your intended audience won't get to the article in enough numbers to make the article lucrative. The answer then is to choose keywords that interest people in learning more about the topic and that bring lots of people to the Internet to search.

The Google AdWords Keyword Tool is a great resource for finding popular keywords. It tells you not only how popular each keyword is with Google searchers but also how popular it is with advertisers. There's a lot of other data there, including how much the ads are sold for, and that's an important factor in choosing the most lucrative topics and keywords. But, when you want to write a quick article, using Wordtracker is a quick way to find popular keyword phrases. Some of my most popular eHow articles have come from Wordtracker searches.

Sometimes when I'm in searching mode I'll plug in a topic that I'm interested in and take a look at the most popular phrases that come up. Then, I start several eHow articles as drafts, each with one of the popular phrases in the title. The drafts will stay there as long as you like, so you can come back and write the actual articles when it's convenient. If you have plenty of drafts built up, you will have plenty of article titles right there in your account to choose from. Anytime you want to write, just open a draft and begin.

eHow articles allow up to five keywords, so use them wisely. You don't have to optimize your articles to use all five keywords, but a good article can easily utilize the three to five that the template asks for without making the keywords sound forced. Using your phrases two or three times in your article is enough to bring in people who are searching for it.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

How to Market eHow Articles

One of the best things about writing eHow articles is that they don't require much marketing to make them successful and lucrative. There are some people that spend a lot of time marketing their articles, but that often serves to lower their hourly wage without helping their articles long term. IF an article earns a modest amount but takes only 15 minutes to write, that's a good use of time. Spending three hours to market that 15 minutes of work is not.

eHow has a page rank of 7, so it gets plenty of traffic from search engines as well as from eHow writers that like to look at other people's articles. If you choose never to market your articles, you will still get steady traffic to your articles. If you do want to engage in online marketing to get more Web traffic, here are a few ways to do it:

Bookmark your articles with a few different social bookmarking sites. I use Digg and Xomba primarily. The great thing about using Xomba as that not only does it give you a link to raise page rank and drive some traffic to your article, but you also get a portion of the Google AdSense income form each of your bookmark pages. Xomba has been my largest AdSense earner this month, and I do see a decent amount of traffic from it.

Other bookmarking sites are available right on each eHow article page. I recommend choosing one or two of them and then using that quick link to bookmark each article once it has been written.

Link to your eHow articles on your online portfolio or writing sample site for an additional link and a little traffic.

Use a signature link when you participate in forums. Choose your profile page, or choose one or two articles that pertain to the forum topic and put link to those articles in your signature. That sends targeted traffic to your articles without spending a lot of time on marketing.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

What to Write About on eHow

The question that I get the most about eHow, other than how much money you can make there, is what eHow writers should write about. The answer is really that there is no one answer. There is no one topic that's any better than any other to write about. Even if you do have a writing niche, it's a good idea to cover several different categories in order to keep your income steady and diversified. Interest may flag in one category during parts of the year, and if you have several categories covered, you may not notice that difference in terms of revenue.

Here's where I come up with ideas: searches, life experience and Niche A Day.

Searches for eHow topics are done through keyword tools. To use them, just come up with something you want to write about any type it into the search box. Unless it's a very obscure topic, you will likely be presented with dozens of phrases related to the topic along with how many people search for each phrase each month. This will give you a lot of ideas about angles to cover in different articles. Instead of doing one overview, the ideas you generate with a keyword tool may give you the ideas for 10 articles that covered different aspects of the topic.

Life experience is just that- what you do in your everyday life. If you're stuck for a topic, just ask yourself what you know how to do. I have a lot of candle making articles on eHow because I know how to do that and can write those articles quickly. You may know how to crochet a blanket, fix kitchen plumbing, grow vegetables, surf, run a retail store, etc. All of these make great how-to articles.

Niche A Day is a free subscriber service that sends you an email every day with a different niche topic and the high PPC bid price. That's the price that advertisers pay for those ads. While the PPC price is useful, what I have found more useful is simply an infusion of new niche ideas every day. While Niche A Day does send some spam along with the daily emails, I have still found it worth it. Quite a few of my eHow articles started from an idea from their daily email. Each day, I look at the email they send and decide whether I could write an article on that topic. If so, I save it to an email file that's just for those emails. Then, anytime I'm stuck for an idea I just look through the file and choose one.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Where Does eHow Revenue Share Come From, and How Much Is It?

People who write for eHow under the Writer's Compensation Program are sharing in the revenue that is made from the ads that are on the article page. So, you write an article, and that article is given its own page on eHow. That page has several ads on it, most of which are tied to the topic of the article.

There are some people who believe that the volume of articles determines the amount you make, or that rating articles or receiving a lot of comments will make them money. None of that makes any difference. It's purely a matter of the income made from the ads on the page.

How Much Money Can You Make With eHow?

There is no upfront payment from eHow through the WCP, so there is no one set amount that is made for each article. If you want to make upfront payments for articles written for eHow, you can write for Demand Media. I write for both Demand Media and directly through eHow. Demand Studios offers an upfront payment with no residual payment for most of its articles, while writing directly for eHow offers only the residual payments.

Sometimes that's a great thing- I have an article on eHow that has made more than $90 through the WCP, while Demand Media pays only $15 per article. Sometimes, it's not so great. I have a few articles that have made nothing at all. I've heard of people who make anywhere from .50 to $5 per article per month. In my case, it was about .70 per article last month. It sounds pretty paltry, and there are some that will balk at a small amount per month and assume that it's not worth it. However, let's take a look at the math:

.70 per month x 12 months = 8.40 per year, on average; 16.80 for two years; 25.20 for three years

After two years, the amount is higher than the upfront payment would have been with Demand Media. But, that's just the beginning. Not only are the articles going to keep earning for as long as they are on the site, as many years as that may be, but you get to choose the article topics and the depth of the information.

That usually makes an article written for eHow take about half the time that an article written for Demand Media would take. An article written for eHow usually takes about 15 minutes. That makes the hourly wage for eHow articles about 33.60 for one year of revenue, and double that after two years. I usually make a steady $30 per hour writing directly for Demand. So, not only does the money end up being higher when writing for eHow, it's also far less stress.

Monday, August 10, 2009

What Is eHow and How Does It Work?

If you haven't been to eHow before, you might want to take a look through to get an idea about how the overall content of the sites. There are several different types of articles that are freelance written, but only one type can be written by any U.S. resident who wants to write about whatever they want and earn money doing it.

The Writer's COmpensation Program is the program that allows U.S. residents to earn from how-to articles of just about ever type. They don't allow most "adult" topics, and they don't allow promotional articles. They have some standards of skill and content that should be met in order to keep the articles on the site. Ones that aren't written well enough to meet those standards are generally removed, though it can take time for that to happen

Earning Money From eHow

Once you sign up for the site, make sure you sign up for the Writer's Compensation Program. You don't start earning until you do so. The money you earn by writing through the site is entirely earned with a share of the revenue for each article. The income for each one you have written can be tracked in your account each day. I have a few that have earned nothing at all, many that have earned upwards of $20 so far, and one that is closing in on $100. The keywords and topic you choose have a lot to do with how well each article earns.

I plan for this blog to go into depth about how income can be maximized when writing eHow articles, easy ways to promote the articles and other ways to make money from the site besides the revenue share. No one makes a living writing for eHow, but it can be a great place to make some easy money writing about whatever the heck you like.