Thursday, February 18, 2010

Are there Legitimate No Cost Ways to Work at Home?

Can you really work at home and make legitimate money with no cost? Absolutely.

I've worked for my state government over 10 years in the my two college majors accounting and computing. In Kansas, which is a low cost living area, a good job will earn you $700 per week, or $2800 per month. After taxes and health insurance, I was left with about $2100 a month. From that $2100, I paid daycare expenses of $350 per month, $50 per month for a parking permit, $200 a month in gas and car maintenance to commute, and $100 a month for the dress clothes I needed to work. Leaving me with $1400 a month to pay my share of the household bills, make student loan payments, and hopefully have money left to buy a soda now and then. I was making a decent salary for my area, but I didn't get to keep much of it.

Working Full-Time
$2100 Net Earnings
-350 Daycare
-50 Parking Permit
-200 Gas and Car Maintenance
-100 Clothes

In 2007, my family circumstances caused me to work only part-time. I now work only 2 days a week at my regular job. At the time, I didn't feel like I had a choice, or I probably wouldn't have reduced my hours. But, it worked out BETTER for me and my family. Here is why:

Working Part-Time

$1100 Net Earnings(Working part-time dropped us into a lower tax bracket.)
- 0 Daycare (Only working 2 days a week, family and friends do this for free.)
- 0 Parking (I work outside the normal 8-5 hours so I don't need a permit.)
- 75 Gas and Car Maintenance (Same distance but now 2 days instead of 5.)
- 25 Clothes (I work from home in my regular clothes most of the week.)

What I need to earn working from home to make up for the income I lost by working only part time is $400 a month. ($1400-1000) I now earn that from my writing. This year, I expensed all of it for the use of my home office and supplies. Any additional money over $400 that I earn writing means I am financially better off than I was before. It has taken me almost 2 years of writing when I had free time to build my monthly residuals up to $400. But, the keywords here are "writing when I had free time."

  • I work when I want.
  • I have time for my family.
  • I have just as much money as I did before.
  • In the next few years, as my residuals grow, I expect to exceed what I was making working full-time away from home.
eHow, Squidoo, Suite101, and many other writing websites allow you to earn for your writing and work at home. They are legitimate and there is no cost to get started. Just sit down and write something. :)

A Writer Tool for Tracking URLs

Sometime ago, I came across a handy online writer tool for tracking URLs of published work. The name of the website is You add your URLs to the site to track them and organize them all in one place. But, that is not PageRankAlert's only feature. The website also looks up your Google PageRank for you, and sorts your articles URLs by PageRank. They send you a nice email to let you know if the PageRank of your article changes.

The PageRank sorting comes in handy when you are backlinking. For example, if you haven't already added links within your articles, and you have 10 articles with a page rank of 4 and 10 articles with a PageRank of 0, you would obviously start with the 10 articles that have a PageRank of 4. An article with a PageRank of 4 hands down some of it's great rank to each of the articles it links to. An article with a PageRank of 0 has nothing to hand down, so a link from it to other articles doesn't benefit a writer.

To put it in a simpler way, if you have a current article with great Google PageRank of 4, linking it to one of your newer articles will help the newer article flourish in PageRank also. Linking to your newer articles from an article with a PageRank of 0 doesn't do your newer articles any good at all.

Not only is a great writer tool for tracking URLs and tracking Google PageRank, some search engines actually recognize the link posted in as a valid backlink to your article. So adding your URL there will help get your article recognized.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

eHow tips and Tricks - Publishing (cont.)

Do you fear losing your work when publishing at eHow? the recent backlog of unpublished articles has everyone a little concerned. Everyone knows you should back up your article in Word before publishing with the eHow tool, but sometimes it is difficult to do if you enjoy writing directly in the tool.

Here is a tip for those who like to publish directly from the eHow pub tool. First, prepare your article. Always select your related articles before saving or publishing, or it will be too late. When you have your article written and have selected your related articles, click save and preview. Give your article a once over for unseen grammar errors. In addition to proof reading it, the preview screen gives you a chance to get the URL from the browser before publishing.

This comes in useful for me because I backlink immediately after submitting an article, while it is still fresh on my mind. If I wait until the article is published a day later, I may forget to backlink. So, I copy the url from the top of the browser when it is in preview. Then I copy and paste the article into a Word document before saving. Paste the URL in your word document, as well, and there you go.... Your eHow article is backed up, proofread, and you have the URL to backlink it, all before it is live on the eHow website.

eHow - Trending Your Article Earnings and Organizing Your Writing

Something I tried with my articles at eHow that helped me a lot is to set up each niche in a different eHow user account. There is nothing fraudulent or sneaky about this. eHow allows you to set up an account with any email address. After you have it set up, you will need to sign up with the WCP under that account and your real name and paypal email address. Be sure to use the email address for your paypal account for the WCP. It doesn't have to be the same one you signed up with for that eHow account.

For example, I have a Knifty Knitter account for my crochet and knitting articles, a Canning Preserves account for my canning articles, a TaxGuru account for my tax articles, etc. Each of them have the same Paypal account listed, but they have different email addresses as the main email contact for the account.

By setting up my niches separately I can see the earning trends for each. I can also see the average earnings per article in that niche easier.

This might be a little over the top, but I recently graphed each niche to better see the trends. Up the left side of my graph is $.00 to $2.00. Across the bottom of my graph are the months. I figured the average earnings per article each month and graphed them. Having the niche articles in separate eHow accounts made calculating the earnings per article easy. The result was a graph that clearly shows when that niche earns big money and when it does not.

I keep a folder of keyword ideas for each niche. I taped the graph to the front of each niche folder. Now if I need to pump up earnings for February, for example, I can easily look at my folders and say, "Oh this is my best paying niche for February," then open the folder and use the keywords inside to choose article titles. It is magical... I am telling you!

Good luck with your writing,

eHow Tips and Tricks - Publishing

If you have already published an article, you do not have to republish it to edit or make changes to the article. I add pictures and make corrections all the time and don't want to go through the hassle of having to wait a day to have the article updated through the eHow publish system.

Once it has been published, to make changes, just hit "save and preview." Then select "go back to my profile," from that screen. It will save the changes and update the article without republishing.

I know it is scary to try it if you have made a lot of updates, go ahead try it with a small word change or by adding a picture. You will soon see that it always takes.

Good luck with your eHow writing!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

The Dangers of Writing Career Goals

Dangerous Writing Career Goal #1- Writing for SEO and Keywords

Most writers have written an article or two purely because the keywords promised to pay well and return a lot of traffic to their article. I've done it. I can tell you some of my worst writing has been to fulfill SEO goals. Do not begin with the keywords. Begin with your own inspiration. After you have an idea for an article, go ahead and use an online tool to brain storm for the words that will best optimize your article. But, never, ever write an article you know nothing about just because you think it will pay. It is a plan for poor writing. Write about what you love and know... then do the keyword research.

Dangerous Writing Career Goal #2 - Writing a Set Number of Articles
If you are the type of person that loves to plan, it's nice to set a goal. But, writing is an art. It is best done with inspiration. If you are cranking out low quality articles just to meet a number goal for the day, your readers will notice.

Writing Reviews for Shvoong

Shvoong is a place where you can get paid to write reviews. The reviews can be of a book, article, paper, website or movie. The first thing I noticed about the website was that it has a Google page rank of 6. This isn't a bad rank. I browsed the forums and saw that the pay is posted after the first of the month for the previous months views.

I also noticed that their are a lot of posts in the forums from users who do not speak English as their native language. I had difficulty getting back to the main website from the forums as there isn't a link readily available to switch back. I had to type into the browser to get out of the forums. Hmm. I wasn't impressed with that.

I browsed some reviews on the Shvoong website and saw many poorly written reviews, because of bad grammar. It is ok for a US website to accept non-US writers, but when the English is so poor that the writing is difficult to understand, it degrades the quality of the website. This is a huge red flag for me. I won't write there because I don't want my writing showcased among such poorly written reviews.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Earn Money Writing for

I applied to on 2/1/10. At seed, you simply sign up as a writer by entering your name and email address. Seed immediately sends you a confirmation code. After you confirm that you received the email, you can log into the website to see what titles are available.

You "claim" the title and submit the article for approval. If it is accepted, the payment is phenomenal, averaging $10 for 100 words (10 cents per word!) Holy guacamole! That is almost too good to talk about.
Ok, the catch is that they let more than one writer submit the same title. The editors review the submission and offer to purchase the article at the quoted price, or decline it. If they decline it they may still offer to publish the work on a residual earnings basis, which I've heard isn't the best.

My plan is to submit some content at and see if it sells. If they offer me residuals, I might publish a few that way, just to check out the payment structure for myself. But, if it turns out that residuals at seed don't pay well (like I've heard other writers say), a writer can always decline the residuals offer and publish the writing somewhere else.

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