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End of the Year Numbers and Stuff

Tracking IncomeYou guys are in big trouble now.  I’ve shared the income/article tracking spreadsheet, now I get to show you how it is helping me make decisions going forward.  I do have to admit, however, that the income/article tracking spreadsheet isn’t my only income tracking source.  I have another spreadsheet that I use that calculates my per article rate per website/blog at any given time of the year.

If I can manage to convert it into a more user-friendly format, I’ll share it.  But right now, it’s too convoluted to share.  In the meanwhile, I’ll share some of my discoveries.

Work Smart, Not Hard

Part of the reason I keep such meticulous records is that I’m always looking to work smarter, not harder.

Check out these numbers and tell me what you think.  I’m listing my first year’s earnings and article count for 4 sites that are currently in my freelance writing arsenal. At first glance, of these 4 sites, which gives the best return on my writing time?

Site # Articles Earnings Earnings/Article
#1 201 $     279.45 $            1.39
#2 62 $     429.81 $            6.93
#3 26 $     326.69 $           12.57
#4 12 $      42.20 $            3.71

If you look at it on a per/article earnings basis, you would probably go with site number 3, right?

Letting the Cat out of the Bag

These numbers represent my first year earnings for eHow, Suite and two of my own sites.  I started writing for Suite in 2007, eHow in 2008, site #3 in 2009 and site #4 in 2010.  Although I started writing for each site at different times, the first year’s numbers are pretty revealing.

My second year’s earnings prove to be even more interesting. I can only compare 3 of the sites because site # 4 hasn’t been around long enough, but here’s the slice:

Site # Articles Earnings Earnings/Article
#1 89 $3,674.61 $           41.29
#2 61 $1,917.77 $           31.44
#3 37 $2,037.98 $           55.08

As I look at it again, site #3 is the clear winner to me. If everything were equal, I would earn more working on site #3 than 1 or 2.

Just for grins, I averaged the 1st and 2nd year for the sites and came up with the following:

Site # Articles Earnings Earnings/Article
#1 290 $3,954.06 $           13.63
#2 123 $2,347.58 $           19.09
#3 63 $2,364.67 $           37.53

Working Smarter

I will continue to write for Suite 101 and add a few more revenue share articles for DMS, but my numbers tell me to spend more time developing site # 3 and site # 4.  When you look at the above numbers, keep in mind that sites #3 and #4 get a fraction of the traffic that my Suite and eHow articles do.

Site # 4 received 1,300 hits last year and site # 3 received 46,000 hits.  Back in its heyday, I used to get more hits than that in one month with my Suite 101 articles.  Now I’m averaging in the low 40,000s per month (and dropping) with my Suite articles.  I don’t check eHow’s page views, but I believe I get more hits on eHow than I do on Suite.

Going for the Gold

Can you imagine the kind of financial return I would reap if I worked on creating more content and building traffic for sites #3 and #4?

Time & MoneyHow did I select the blog topics for sites #3 and 4?  By looking though my eHow and Suite articles to see which ones received the most traffic and highest earnings. They’re subjects that I enjoy writing about so it’s easy for me to come up with content.

There are all kinds of formulas out there for creating lucrative blogs.  I’ve found trial and error works best for me.  I write about topics that I like; sometimes they’re financial winners and sometimes they’re not.  Those topics that don’t do well as a stand alone blog/site get incorporated into my Tidbits and Stuff site.  Tidbits & Stuff is my online recycle bin. With online writing nothing ever goes to waste.

Lesson Learned

Every once in a while you’ve got to slice and dice your statistics to allow them to help you determine which way to go.

{ 16 comments… add one }
  • kidgas December 29, 2010, 10:27 am

    This is the kind of useful information that can be used to make smart decisions as you suggest. Right now, I have been unable to increase eHow earnings much so that is why I have decided to look more toward enhancing the sources of income that are currently working for me. Once that is established to my satisfaction, then it is time to branch out.

  • Christina Crowe December 29, 2010, 10:40 am

    Hey Felicia,

    Amazing findings. I can’t wait until you have the other spreadsheet ready for sharing! By the way, how did you figure out which code to put in the cells? Is there a website that lists all the codes Microsoft Excel uses?

    I loved how you compared everything. Seems like eHow is a lot more profitable for you than Suite101. But, of course, you already knew that from past articles you’ve written here. 😉

    I’m curious, though – how do you monetize your other 2 sites? Is it just through advertising or do you also use affiliate marketing and other monetization methods?


    • Felicia December 29, 2010, 11:30 am

      Christina, I’ve been playing around with spreadsheet software for a number of years. Prior to Excel I used Lotus 123 (I’m showing my age again).

      I’m sure you can go to the Microsoft website to find out the commands and formulas to place in cells. There are probably quite a few websites that will help you also.

      As far as how I monetize my sites, right now I’m using AdSense, Infolinks and Amazon. In 2011 I’m going to look into affiliates to see if I can make a go of that.

  • Master Dayton December 29, 2010, 6:06 pm

    It is funny how you can believe your best sites and payback are with one site, but find out you’re completely wrong when you look at per time or per article payback as opposed to just flat total income. Glad to hear the numbers keep stacking up, though, and wishing you the best in your efforts for 2011.

    • Felicia December 30, 2010, 5:14 am

      Master Dayton, welcome back from vacation. Good to hear from you. I guess you’re all relaxed and ready for a very productive New Year.

      • Master Dayton December 30, 2010, 1:03 pm

        Thanks! The vacation was all I hoped for and a lot more, and I’m both very relaxed and very excited for the upcoming year. Right now I’m in the same mode you are: looking at my strongest earners versus weakest earners based on per article or per time spent and planning to shift my efforts accordingly. I’m thinking 2011 is going to be the huge break through year, and I’m definitely looking forward to it. Thanks again for the kind words!

  • Santhi December 30, 2010, 3:37 am

    How do I thank you enough???

    I discovered your blog thru TheMomWrites’ link to your ebook on freelance writing. I was astounded at the free giveaway w/o expecting any subscription- talk about debunking the landing page trend. I promptly signed up and the ebook could not have come at a better time. I am just starting out freelance writing for online sites- most ghostwriting. I was kinda assured that the v v modest earning are not an anomaly and there are smarter ways to earn with my skills. I had been wanting to apply to one of residual sites and your ebook gave me the kick i needed!

    Back to the above post- for once my eyes did not glaze seeing all those numbers which made sense for the very first time. I also take heart that you took sometime to get this right, to suit your needs. I just hope i will have the stamina and patience to make it work for me!

    Thank you for all the great work and your incredible generosity!

    • Felicia December 30, 2010, 5:21 am

      Santhi, glad I was able to help. As far as patience and stamina to make it work…take it one day at a time. Each year it gets better.

  • Ira December 30, 2010, 1:17 pm

    Great, Felicia! 🙂

    I’ve been playing around with the potentials for my own blogs and have been working the numbers… It seems that once I get them rolling, I might just b able to make a go at this lol 🙂

    I’ve still been doing some up-front gthings to keep money rolling in, but as my sites get more traffic, I’ll switch that over to the residual way of thinking 😉

    I think I am actually about on the same pathway as you’ve taken through the years, but way more compacted rofl

    • Felicia December 30, 2010, 1:33 pm

      Ira, hopefully you’ll do better than I did. You’ve got my mistakes to learn from. 😉

      • Ira December 31, 2010, 6:40 am

        hehe… well, I am focusing a lot on niche blogging, which I believe is something you’ve become pretty adept at 😉 So you betchabuns I am watching!

        And, happy new year, Felicia, and anyone else that happens to wander by the party here 😀

  • Tashana December 30, 2010, 9:59 am

    Felicia you are definitely top notch in my book when it comes to online freelance writing. I know you’ve already completed your free online ebook but have you ever thought about doing a book with a publisher? I work in publishing and no I am not an agent, editor or anything like that. I’m a human resource manager. And from what I have learned about this business you would have no problem convincing a publisher that your book would sell; especially since you are so meticulous about the tracking and the process.

    Just a thought. Thanks for sharing and I’m still trying to find a topic on DMS that I can write about.


    • Felicia December 30, 2010, 1:32 pm

      Thanks, Tashana. You give me food for thought.

  • Grandma January 1, 2011, 10:21 am

    This is my favorite time of year, the day when everything has potential and can be positive. Planning, charting, thinking and doing begin today. We all have the same goal, to increase our online writing income one way or another. Diversity seems to be a good thing, and also residual pay articles.

    How much better a goal than just “lose weight”…LOL…”make money” is more attractive in the long run, and if we are busy making money, the weight will also come off. (Saw that on Suze Orman) When one deals with financial issues, the weight problem takes care of itself….a miracle in progress!

    Hate to give up a day writing for cash, but on the other hand, it is slim pickings today out there. Just finished a long 180 article project, and it is so time for a day of rest/planning. We do get holidays, don’t we? Oops…without pay, except if you have residual articles working for you. I like to think of each article as a little employee working for me…

    This should be a most interesting year. Oh, yeah, and my horoscope on Yahoo yesterday told me that some evil power had been stepping on my “romance” category for the past 14 years (OMG I did not know about that!) and is now gone! Hallelujah….maybe there still is hope for me, but it will be in new places, not old ones.

    • Felicia January 1, 2011, 10:45 am

      Another great phrase: “…each article as a little employee working for me…”

      Adding that one to my favorite phrase list. Thanks Grandma!

      • Ira January 1, 2011, 5:30 pm

        I am so going to take that phrase, Grandma! 🙂

        My wife saw that my horoscope was telling me that my business would flourish this year, and I am determined to see that happen lol 😀

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