Friday, January 21, 2011

Affiliate Sales at for Freelance Writers

I've been an affiliate for over a year. In my blogs, Squidoo lenses, or other online articles, I occasionally post a link to an Amazon product that I think readers would like. I have had a few sales in the past, but nothing spectacular. In November my earnings picked up, I sold several items and finally made the minimum payout. Woohoo!

In December, the trend continued and I made the payout... and then some... in one month. I expected it to end after the Christmas season was over. I was wrong. This January, I've already made commissions on 31 sales. I guess the economy hasn't discouraged shoppers this year.

I'm not going to hold my breath that the lucky streak will continue all year, but for any writers considering affiliate links, the holiday season is when you will see your sales. Also, it seems to work a bit like residual income on articles. My first year I didn't view it as worthwhile, I did it as a courtesy to readers. If you are reviewing a book, or a product, why not make it easy for them to find online? However, after a year, I'm being to see that it has potential and indeed helped my Christmas budget.

Happy Writing,

Friday, January 14, 2011

Can You Earn Money Blogging?

Some writers do well at blogging and insist it is profitable. It's my opinion that most writing could do better on an well-known established site than on a personal blog. Developing and posting to a blog is a lot of work and it's an on-going task. I am big on calculations, so I will tell you some of my personal experience with this blog. At Heather'sTelecommute, I earn .002 cents per view. This number is sometimes expressed as RPM, or $2.00 in revenue per each 1000 views. RPM stands for Revenue per Page Impression. That is pretty average. That is what I earn on most writing websites. Now the question becomes views. How many views do I get here? I've been contributing to this blog for one year and in that time I've gotten almost 7,000 views and written 75 posts. Some more calculating tells me that this blog has earned me $14.00 in a year.

Getting views isn't easy on a new blog. It's a lot of hard work. Why would someone do this when they could write for a well-established website? I do it in the hope of gaining PageRank for my blog. If I build up credibility here, by establishing viewers, I have my own site with good Google ranking and I'm no longer dependent on a website. If for example, every site that I write for tanked today, I could depend on my well-established blog. Well ok, it's not that well-established yet, but I'm working on it. The other perk is that it gives me a place to backlink my relevant work. Many sites want writers that have established an established audience following their writing.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Niche Market Examples: How to Find a Niche Market

When I began writing, I heard a lot of talk about finding a "niche market." This is easy to say, but not so easy to do. How does one go about finding a niche market?

One method would be to simply write about what interests you. Throw a few articles out there on a given topic and see which topics, or niches, perform well for you.

Another method would be Google searches. Trying searching Google for some keywords that you are familiar with. You can find "underserved markets," another favorite writer term, by doing searches and seeing which keyword phrases don't yield a lot of good results. Doing research often yields niche markets on accident. If you don't find a keyword phrase yields good results, why not write some of your own?

Here are some personal examples of niche markets that I have found that do well for me:
  • Loom Knitting
  • Freelance Writing
  • Crochet
  • Canning and Preserving food
  • Raw food recipes
  • Parenting Children with Special Needs
  • Herbal Remedies
Part of the reason these niches have performed well for me is that I was already doing these things. I have a bit of an online social network established to share my writing. I also have forums to post links to my work. Backlinking is critical in the world of freelance writing.

A word of caution on the first method. Don't be fooled into thinking that just because a niche doesn't perform well on one writing website, that it won't perform well on another. A good example would be the websites Suite101 and Squidoo. These require two very different styles of writing. Suite101 has authoritative articles that are edited and require sources to be cited. I consider the writing there the be scholarly work. Squidoo on the other hand has no editor and sources are never cited. I have some loom knitting articles on Suite101, but they don't look their best there because pictures aren't allowed throughout the article. They show up at the bottom. There also aren't a lot of sources to cite when writing knitting patterns. Writing knitting articles at Suite101 doesn't work very well. At Squidoo, it works wonderfully. The pictures can be placed anywhere I want them to better show the steps to the reader. My herbal remedy articles I save for Suite101. Nobody wants to trust a natural remedy article that hasn't been edited and has no sources cited. You get the picture.

Hope that's helped you brainstorm a little for some ideas on your own niches. Get out there and Google some keyword phrases. Once you found a few, write about them. See which articles perform well and which ones don't at that site. Once you've found a niche that works for you, keep at it! You can read more about niche marketing here.

Happy Writing!

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