Sunday, 16 January 2011

What I've Learned This Week

Today more or less marks the end of my first week of aggressively attempting to blog for profit. Here's what I've learned.

You'll be surprised where your traffic comes from.
The internet is global - obviously. But I figured that an English-language blog about football betting tips would mostly attract traffic from the UK. Wrong. The majority of the site's traffic has come from Singapore, closely followed by the United States. I've actually gotten more German traffic than British!

Forums are a great way to draw interest to your blog.
I posted a link to this post on Constant Content article pricing strategy over at the Constant Content forums. It's helped that article be easily the most-read on this site, and it's also earned me a backlink from Celeste Stewart's blog.

Triond can be useful for more than just the money you make directly from Triond.
A couple of times this week I've spent a 'power hour' speedily churning out articles for Triond. My earnings for this month so far? A grand total of $0.07. However, I realized a couple of the articles I wrote were on topics that had some value, so I rewrote them in a much more professional style - being careful not to repeat myself or self-plagiarize, so that I could legitimately offer full rights on these articles - and have since managed to sell them on Constant Content. I've also used a number of articles I wrote about football to drive traffic to The Accumulator. I've attempted to generate sales of some products that offer affiliate commission, so far without success.

Your blog posts have value beyond your blog.
The Accumulator is plastered in ads for betting sites but still hasn't generated any direct income. That's okay, the blog's only a week old. I have realized, however, that a few of the blog posts have potential beyond the site itself. For example, I've submitted this post to E-Zine Articles, with a link to the blog included. It hasn't been accepted yet, but I'll let you know if it generates any income. I've also offered usage rights on this article at Constant Content, an idea which has the potential to help your better posts generate you some money from other web sites.

Post as often as possible.
This blog isn't even being updated daily, but that's because it's not my primary focus right now. I've updated The Accumulator about three times a day, which I'm sure has already helped generate extra traffic and may well have encouraged people to return to the site on a regular basis. Don't worry about your better posts being lost in the avalanche of updates - just add a popular posts widget on the right if you're using Blogger and occasionally link back to those posts in your updates.

Being an iTunes affiliate is hard work.
I've had real trouble getting the links to iTunes to work from my music blogs (cut|cross and ...Are Fucking Dead), hence why only update them once. I do plan on creating some kind of music blog that'll be updated fairly regularly, but I haven't quite hit on the right idea yet.

Micro Niche Finder sounds like a hell of a tool.
I can't afford it at the moment, but some of the strategies on their site sound like a great way to blog for profit. Of course, they offer affiliate income for anyone you refer who buys the product. So if you follow this link you can help yourself and myself on the road to massive amounts of internet monies! Click Here!

Friday, 14 January 2011

Make Money from Online Sports Betting Affiliates and Referral Schemes

My first serious attempt at making money online through blogging is going to be creating a blog dedicated to providing football betting tips. This type of blog should tie itself in with monetization incredibly easily, as every time you provide a betting tip, you can provide a link to a betting site, who'll give you commission on any bets that are then placed.

I spent a bit of time searching for affiliate and referral schemes from online gaming, gambling and betting web sites and didn't come across the information anywhere near as quickly as I expected to. This hopefully means that there's a real gap in the internet for this blog post, which will drive more traffic here and to my newly set-up football betting tips blog, and wind up making these schemes extra-profitable!

What I've discovered is that most betting web sites have an affiliates link hidden away in the small print at the bottom of their web sites. These are some of the sites that I've applied to work with, along with some information about the incentives that they offer.

PLEASE NOTE: This information was correct when it was written but is liable to change at ANY time. PLEASE CHECK ALL FIGURES FOR YOURSELF at the appropriate web site as I have absolutely no power over what level of commission any of these companies will offer you.

bet365 offer one of the best commission structures of any gaming site - you get a flat 30% cut of everything someone you've recommended spends on the site, forever. Whilst I've been looking at what other football betting blogs are about, I discovered that Gooner's Guide review a number of big name betting sites. Surprise surprise, they rank bet365 at number one. I'm pretty sure I'll be linking especially heavy to this site over at The Accumulator as well.

As well as offering better commission than any other affiliate scheme, they also approved my application on the same day that I applied. They should be one of the easiest to drive traffic towards as well, as they offer to match first bets up to a value of £200, which is a lot higher than the typical £20-odd free bet most online bookmakers offer.

Bet Fair
Bet Fair give you two options on how you would like your commission to be measured. The first is Revenue Share, which provides you with a percentage of everything that the people you've referred bet at the site. This is for the lifetime of their account with bets in the Poker, Casino and Games categories, but only for the first 12 months when they're betting on Sports. The amount you receive rises from 25% to 35%, depending on the amount of money your referrals are generating for them.

The second option is CPA, which they describe as offering you a 'one off bounty payment'. You'll receive between £30 and £60 per player you get to sign up, with the amount rising with more referrals, and the Casino category paying out a higher amount than all the others.

As my blog will be entirely dedicated to sports betting and these seems like the worst served by the Revenue Share scheme, I've decided to opt for the CPA option. I'll update this blog with information on how that's worked out once I start making some money through it!

This affiliate scheme approved my application much more quickly than any of the others. Whilst most require you to wait for a couple of days before giving you the thumbs up, Bet Fair got back to me within a couple of hours!

Similarly to Bet Fair, Ladbrokes offers you the choice of a revenue share or bounty payment scheme. However, it states that the bounty scheme is 'subject to approval' and it seems here that the revenue share scheme is the easier option.

Ladbrokes will offer you between 25% and 35% of all net revenue generated from customers you refer, with you needing to generate £20,001 to hit the top rate of commission. They are careful to specify that you will only get a cut of your customer's losses. I haven't noticed this as specifically mentioned on any of the other affiliate schemes, but it may well be the case with all of them. A bit of problem when my blog's supposed to advise people on how to bet successfully! (Though I haven't got off to the best of starts with that!)

At the time of writing, Ladbrokes also offer an incentive whereby you get a whopping 50% cut of net revenue from customers that you refer to the site during your first month as an affiliate. Best to hit the ground running with this one!

Online Betting Guide
This was one of the first sites I came across while Googling terms like 'sports betting affiliates' and 'make money gambling referral schemes'. The site compares odds across a range of betting web sites and also offer cash prizes for fantasy football competitions. You get paid for referring new members to join their site, earning yourself commission that ranges between £1 and £2, depending on how many you've managed to refer. To earn the top rate of £2 per new member, you need to refer 200 or more new members to the site. This is not a monthly target, however, and from day one you'll be building towards the 200 member target.

Paddy Power
Something that completely threw me while I was signing up with Paddy Power's affiliate scheme was that they request an IBAN and SWIFT/BIC code. After some digging around on Google, I eventually discovered that these are list at the top of your bank statement, usually alongside your address. These codes basically allow money to be more easily transferred between European bank accounts. Paddy Power is, of course, based in Ireland, so they require these codes to more smoothly transfer cash to UK bank accounts.

For the Sports category - again, the only one really relevant to my blog - Paddy Power offer a flat rate of 25% commission on your referrals, and they also allow you to entice customers to their site with a free £10 bet offer.

William Hill
William Hill offer both Revenue Share and CPA (cost per acquisition) incentives. Revenue Share will give you a whopping 45% share of revenue if you hit the top level of 301 referrals, but the base rate of 12.5% is a bit lower than some of the others.

William Hill also offer you commission for referring other affiliates! I'm not sure if any of the others actually offer it, but I haven't noticed that information on any of their sites.

Wednesday, 12 January 2011

Constant-Content: How Much Should You Charge For Your Articles?

I've been a member of Constant Content since the beginning of last summer. I think that my experiences with the site have given me quite a bit of insight into how to use it to successfully make money and I aim to post regular articles on this blog letting you know anything I've picked up that I think will be of use to others.

This first Constant Content-related blog entry deals with how much you should charge for your articles. Constant Content allows you to set whatever price you want for your article and it also allows you to offer separate prices for Usage Rights, Unique Rights and Full License Rights. I'll explain the difference between these as we go along.

Commission and Exchange Rates
The first thing to remember when setting your prices is that Constant Content take a 30% cut of whatever price you sell at. Secondly, all prices are listed in U.S. dollars. Of course, this doesn't matter if you're an American, but as a Brit, I need to calculate what 70% of an article's value is in British Pounds when deciding on what price I'd be happy selling it.

Though the exchange rate fluctuates daily and Pay Pal typically give you a slightly worse rate than you'll see on, I've found that a good formula for getting a rough idea of what price you'll get for your article is to times the price by 0.4.

Let's say that I'm listing an article on the site for $20. 20 x 0.4 = 8. Therefore, any time I sell an article for $20, I'll make roughly £8. That's factoring in both Constant Content's 30% commission and the exchange rate from U.S. dollars to British Pounds. This is liable to change at any moment, but currently x0.4 is working out fine for me.

Quick Sell vs. Patience
As I've written a number of articles that relate to London is some way, typically tourist guides and the like, I've kept an eye on what other articles have been written about London on the site.

The first article I ever wrote was about 900 words long and was in response for a request for tourist guides to Europe's top 20 cities. The request offered between $30 and $40 per article. I guess London was a popular choice and my article wasn't bought.

I then had this article up for sale and had absolutely zero experience of selling anything on Constant Content. You might also want to look at what happened the last few teams the two teams met each other, whether it was earlier in the season, or in previous seasons. Many teams have a 'boogie team' that, for whatever reason, they find it difficult to beat. For example, Barcelona are hot favourites whoever they face in the Champion's League, and when they collided with Rubin Kazan in the 2010 group stages, they would've seemed an obvious choice to back. I dropped the price a couple of times and eventually got $15 for it.

I'd noticed an article on the site around this time that seemed well-written and was about quite a specific topic that related to traveling to London (sorry, the exact topic escapes me now). The article was listed for $69 for full rights. Pah, I thought, you'll never get that much.

The article only recently sold, quite possibly six months after being uploaded to the site. So that's definitely something that you need to consider in your pricing strategy - how long are you prepared to wait? You can generally make a much quicker sale at a lower price.

I've written at least two articles that probably could have sold for a lot more if I'd been a bit more patient with them. The first was on Google Instant and the impact it might have for search engine optimization (always a hot topic at Constant Content). I originally listed the article at $40 and got lots of views but no sales. Within a week I dropped the price to $30 and sold it soon after. Had I been prepared to wait, I probably would've got $40 for it. If I'd listed it for a higher amount, I might have sold it for even more.

Likewise, I wrote a list of the top 10 video games of 2010 and sold it within a day at $30. How quickly somehow pounced on the article suggests that I could well have set the price considerably higher.

Constant Content themselves advise that the articles that are most attractive to their buyers fall in the $10-$30 range. I price most of mine at somewhere between $20 and $30. If they sell at this price, it earns me the equivalent of a very good hourly rate.

What to Write About
What you write about makes a huge difference to the article's value. Constant Content allows you to view the most popular search terms at the site, which is generally a good guide to what articles are likely to sell.

Articles on search engine optimization are also popular. I've also managed to make pretty quick sales on any articles I've written about video games.

It's an art though, not a science. After managing to sell a number of single reviews at $15 a pop for relatively obscure rock bands like Glassjaw and Foals, a review of Kanye West's new single still hasn't been bought, even though I've dropped the price to $10. I've sold a number of rock music-related articles to the same user, so I assume that he runs a web site or blog that only needs that type of material. The Foals review was for a song called 'Spanish Sahara' and I sold that to what I think was a travel web site, so you never really know who's buying and what they're buying for.

Writing about what you enjoy is a good idea but it's generally an even better idea when you enjoy something that's particularly popular or profitable. I've seen my sales figures tumble in the last two months and I think it's most likely because I haven't pursued the top dollar topics with the same vigor as in previous months.

Size Matters
Obviously 1000 words should be worth more than a 100. I've read elsewhere that the ideal length for articles at Constant Content should be between 700 and 900 words, but I'm sure this is all depends on who's buying it.

Another piece of advice that I've read elsewhere (sorry, forgotten the link) is that you should cut articles in half once they've hit 1000 words. This makes sense, because then you've got double the chance to sell and you're likely to get a lot more money for what you've written.

I wrote an article on 'Why America is the Richest Nation on Earth' as a response to a request. They were offering about $200 for 3000 words, which is megabucks by normal Constant Content standards. They didn't buy it so I tore the article apart into about half a dozen smaller articles, with one big rump article left titled 'Why America is the Richest Nation on Earth', now weighing in at a considerably reduced 1250 words. Incidentally, I don't yet know how well the strategies worked as I haven't actually sold any of those articles yet!

The Bottom Line
Deciding on the right price for your article is all about a combination of the factors I've listed here, and it's also all about trial and error. If you're new to the site, you'll no doubt find yourself constantly snipping the cost to try and make that elusive first sale. With experience, you'll probably know an article's worth instinctively. Whether you're a total n00b or a grizzled veteran, I'd recommend checking out what prices everyone else is offering for similar articles and deciding on your price from there.

The Perils of Multi-Blogging

Here's a cautionary tale for you.

I was just happily typing away at the next update for this blog, forgetting that I still had a redundant text editor open in another window for a post at The Accumulator. Somehow I wound up typing what was meant for this blog all over that one then clicked 'save'.

The version of the blog entry that was open in the text editor wasn't the most up to date one anyway. Basically sent a bunch of stuff I'd written into internet oblivion and had to do it all over again.

Be careful out there.

UPDATE: More mistakes and madness - I accidentally linked to blogpot, which appears to be some sort of Biblical site.

Monday, 10 January 2011

Triond: How to Become an Internet Millionaire, One Penny at a Time

Triond was one of the first web sites I looked at as a possible route to internet monies. Having earned a grand sum of $0.36 to date from several articles, none of which I banged out particularly quickly, I'd pretty much given up on it as ever being a remotely reliable source of internet income. I logged on today to basically bang together an explanation for why it is nearly impossible to generate any sort of money on the site. Then I looked at the stats and thought about giving it another go.

What's caused this reconsideration is that I see I've had one click come through today on a throwaway movie review I wrote for Sly Stallone's superstar action-a-thon The Expendables. The source of this traffic was a Google search for 'stone cold vs randy couture'. I performed the same Google search and was surprised to discover what I'd written was high up on the first page of results. What this suggests to me is that if you produce an absolute ton of content geared towards random search terms such as, especially if that content is provocatively titled, you may well have a way to generate some monies.

That being said, this article has generated for me a great total of 7 page views, a number of which were probably by me. Thus far, it's earned me $0.01. Bear in mind that I live in Britain - the article has so far earned me less than a penny.

The most any individual article has so far made for me is a YouTube-powered trawl through Eminem's career: 38 views for a grand total of $0.12.

There are some Triond success stories. Chief amongst them is Mnofdichotomy. He has himself posted a number of articles detailing his own approach to generating money from Triond. Consider he's probably literally made a million times what I have off Triond, if you happen to be considering attempting to make your monies at Triond, you'd do well to check out what he's written on the subject.

Mnofdichotomy's most popular articles seem to be celebrity death hoaxes. He also seems to have attracted a lot of traffic to articles that hit on popular search terms, including a particularly funny article which purports to be a strategy guide for Facebook game FarmVille, which mid-way through turns into a rant at the reader to stop playing that stupid game and get a life.

Mnofdichotomy is, funnily enough, a dichotomy of Triond's greatest strength and weakness: it's a social networking site designed to connect people, like me, desperately trying to make a fast buck on the internet. The very nature of the site demands quantity over quality, a strategy that I'm now going to attempt to pursue with zeal. It is blogging at its most pathetic, its most mercenary, its most desperate. It might well transpire than Triond is equally a place for blogging at its most profitable.

My Blogging Monetization Strategy

My aim is that this blog becomes a chronicle of my journey towards a post I hope to write in a couple of months time, 'Why Getting a Job is for Idiots'. Until that time, what I produce within this blog will slowly take form as either as a sure-fire step-by-step plan towards online fortune or a chronicle of the pitfalls on the way to chronicle failure. Either way, its contents will hopefully be somewhat illuminating.

A week or so's research has led me to believe that my strategies for each of the blogs that I'm starting out should be the right ones. On this blog I'm going to comment on how the others are fairing. This is sort of a behind the scenes metablog.

The Esplinade Chronicle
This is the oldest blog still viewable on my Blogger profile. There are older and earlier attempts at creating one of these things, but they've all been consigned to the Blogger graveyard of 'hidden' status.

It's the least monitization-conscious thing you'll find on my Blogger profile. It's a wild episodic sci-fi thing, heavily influenced by Stieg Larsson (as eagle-eyed idiots will notice from the characters names), James Joyce (in as far as its pretentiously trying to do something original - I studied English, remember) and William Burroughs (he threw the pages of Naked Lunch up in the air when he'd finished the book - I've written the blog in a completely unchronological order, basically so that if you stumble across it at any point, it won't matter what order you read it in).

I've added to this very infrequently and have done anything with it for a while. If any of the other blogs attract much traffic, presumable some will be deflected over there, which may lead to me carry on with it.

I have learned one thing from that blog that will be of some use as I try and S.E.O. the others to death. I added a link on the Wikipedia entry for Esplanade to the blog, under the 'Esplanades in Fiction' section. That seems to have pushed it to the very top of the Google ranks for 'Esplinade Chronicle'. The link was swiftly removed by a Wikibot, but the S.E.O. damage has been done.

The Etymology Blog
Another pre-monetization drive effort that's been infrequently updated for a couple of months now, the basic idea behind this one is that it contains comically incorrect histories of words and phrases. Same with the Esplinade Chronicle - hoping that this scheme of mine is going to somehow help this one do something or other. I'll probably try and update this once or twice a week. Probably.

The Accumulator
Now this is all about the monies. This is a blog about football betting that I'm going to absolutely plaster in affiliate links to gambling web sites. I aim to update this twice or thrice daily. I'm going to add a blog entry here soon about what I've so far learned about the various affiliate schemes available for monetizing this type of blog, once I've heard back from the majority of schemes which I've applied for. Incidentally, these boys got back to me first.

I was surprised to find that no other blog in the apparent free-for-all of gambling blogs had snapped up ''. A Google search suggests there's not to much else showing up that's relevant when you search for 'the accumulator', so we'll see if I can take on the rankings.

I wanted to do a music blog because music is something I really enjoy writing about. It doesn't hurt that there are affiliate schemes available with iTunes and Amazon that allow you to naturally tie ungodly levels of advertising in with your content.

I listen to a lot of different music and if I allowed the blog to become as diffuse as I pleased, it'd be veering about between genres with the schizophrenic abandon of a James Joyce novel. I've been writing and hawking content over at Constant Content for a couple of months, and notice a little while ago that there was a request for content for a blog dedicated to cover versions of Disney songs. It may sound an insanely esoteric niche, but if you decide to Google it, I promise it'll take you no time at all to discover that blog. So I've decided upon a concept for the blog that'll allow to flit from hardcore punk to hip-hop to minimal techno to whatever else without the blog becoming something completely unfocused. Basically, it's going to exclusively be about music that reinterprets other music - remixes, cover versions, etc.

I'll let you know how I get on.

How to Make Money Online and Blog Trying
The circle is complete. Right here and let you know all that I know, and expose all that I don't, about my desperate quest to make a fast buck on the internet.

Making Money From Home

Hello all! I've decided that, with a new year having just gotten underway, I'm going to start making a real concerted effort to make some money online. I've decided to create this blog detailing my attempts and strategies, plus any tips I pick up, because telling other people how to make money themselves is probably the most profitable form of blogging there is.

I graduated from a very good university about a year and a half ago with a 2.1 in English and Film Studies. Since then, I've struggled to find anything that could possibly be considered a 'good job'. Whilst working in a number of monotonous, mind-melting call centre and sales positions, I've began making steps towards making money online. As you can probably guess from my degree choice, I harbor dreams of working as a professional writer/filmmaker. I'm not too shabby at throwing a sentence together and using the internet to make money from this seems all the more attractive after experiencing the low-paid and slightly soul-destroying world of the call centre.

I've been writing articles at Constant Content for a number of months. I've had some good months and some bad. The money I was making from Constant Content was great as an extra top-up when I was working full time, but I've come to realize that it is extremely difficult to make anything close to a decent wage through selling articles on that site alone. I've thought about the people who've been buying my articles there and it's obvious that they must be making enough money from their own web sites to justify spending money on content that I've created. If they can do it, then surely I can manage it as well?

That's what I hope to discover right here on this blog.