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Online Writing: My Sophomore Year

Online Writing

Sophomore Year

It was the beginning of my second year of online writing when I created the No Job for Mom blog.  I actually started it for two reasons:

  1. I learned so much in my first year, I wanted to put all of the things I learned in one place so that I could find it later.
  2. I realized that there was at least one other person out there with the same goals as I had so why not share it with her/him.

So, on March 8, 2008, NJFM was created.  As some of you may know, it was originally a static website. I couldn’t get my mind around the blogging craze so all of my sites were just that, static websites.  Eventually, I learned more about blogging and realized it would be so much easier to add blog posts than it was to add web pages so I converted NJFM into a blog (websites are more lucrative, but blogs are easier).

Money vs. Passion

Early on I had a huge internal struggle; money versus passion.  When I wrote what I was passionate about, I didn’t earn very much.  When I wrote about what brought in money, I would soon feel the symptoms of job-aversion-itis.  I was having a difficult time balancing the two.

I knew what to do to earn money and I also knew what to do to maintain my sanity, unfortunately I just couldn’t find one venue or one subject area where they could both reside simultaneously (I still struggle with this).  So, I would write articles to make money and then reward myself by writing about my passion.Google

Google Bomb

During my second year of writing online, I learned a few valuable lessons on what not to do when creating a website.  I felt first-hand what happens when your site looses Google favor.  In the long run, I’d do it all again to learn the valuable lessons.  The mistakes I made were honest ones.  I’m glad I learned what not to do early on (I read somewhere that successful people have to make mistakes quickly, learn from them and move on).

One of Many Causes for Losing Google Favor

Early on I had problems with several hosting companies.  As a result I switched hosting companies often. If you’ve ever moved a website from one host to another, you know the hassle.  Back then, rather than have my site down for the few days it took to coordinate everything, I would register a similar domain on the new host, re-create the website on the new host and then redirect the traffic from the old URL to the new site.   Once everything was up and running, I would cancel the old hosting service and remove the old site.

After doing this several times (at least three times), Google thought I was trying to pull a fast one.  So, as a result, my site got spanked.  I’m so glad I finally found HostGator.  They put an end to my host switching.Focus

In spite of not having Google favor, the site is lucrative.  It has a page rank of 0 or (NA), but it exceeds Google AdSense payout each and every month so I’m not too upset about losing favor.

Online Writing Opportunities and Focus

There were so many opportunities online that I almost got lost.  I found I spent ½ of my time working my current opportunities and the other half of the time looking for new and better opportunities.  What I quickly realized was that I was wasting my time on both fronts.  I needed to put 100% of my efforts into what I had.  If my best wasn’t good enough for those venues, then it was time to drop them and find something new.

Putting a half-hearted effort into too many venues isn’t good.  So, I decided to stop looking and concentrate on what I had.

In my second year of online writing my freelance writing arsenal consisted of my few blogs/websites, I a couple of private clients, Bukisa, Kontera, Zazzle, Chitika, Today.com (which later fizzled), Suite 101, Text Link Ads, Amazon, Associated Content, Writers Research, eHow, Drop in IncomeDemand Studios and a few affiliates products.  The new venues were slowly added over the course of the year.  While I added some, I dropped the non performing venues.

Not all Roses

Although I knew I had to put 100% effort into my current arsenal, it wasn’t all roses.  As you know there are ups and downs when it comes to online writing especially if you want to concentrate on residual earnings.  I’ve had my share of ups and more than my share of downs.

As part of the “research” for writing this four-part series on my online writing career, I’ve spent a bit of time reading through my journal.  Back in on September 24, 2008 I wrote:

My online ventures are running up against brick walls.  Yesterday was a miserable revenue day…Things are looking pretty bleak, but I cannot and will not give up.  I’m pressing on.

I’m glad I did press on.  I continued to press on and by the end of 2008 my earnings as a freelance writer were $10,406.03 (69% of those earnings were from residual writing sources).  Not enough for anyone to quit a full-time job, but more than enough to replace my part-time minimum wage job.  It was also more than double what I made in 2007.

Piece of Advice

This has nothing to do with online writing, but if you don’t already have a journal, consider starting one.



{ 10 comments… add one }
  • Crystal February 14, 2011, 11:08 am

    Just got home from celebrating my baby’s 27th and am catching up. I’m really enjoying this series, Felicia – your account of the first two years of your freelance writing journey is inspirational. Going from under $1,500 in residuals during year one to over $7,000 in year two is great! I’m experiencing a little bit of a residual earnings rush myself – earned $1.50 on a my first DMS revenue share article while I was away over the weekend. I know that’s a really small amount but beings the article is very new, I’m encouraged:)

    • Felicia February 14, 2011, 11:28 am

      Crystal, I don’t know what you’re doing or eating, but I want some of it. Your baby is 27? You don’t look like you can have a 27 year old baby.

      • Crystal February 14, 2011, 12:27 pm

        Well, my picture is about three years old but I don’t think I’ve aged too much in that time. I did grow out my bangs though, as the woman that’s been cutting my hair since I was 10 finally retired:( Although the baby just turned 27, the oldest of my four kidlets hit 35 in Dec. My biggest secret? Start young:)

        • Felicia February 14, 2011, 12:37 pm

          Oh well, too late for me to start young. 😉

  • Angela February 15, 2011, 8:21 am

    off topic, but I need your input. I want to start my own website, today actually. I have no clue about what I need to do to get going, but I want to give it a try. I know you use Hostgator,what about Godaddy? any experience with them? not sure which one to choose. HELP!

    Also, do you have any advice for a beginner with no knowledge/experience… about starting a website?

    Thanks in advance for your help 🙂

    • Felicia February 15, 2011, 8:59 am

      Angela, that’s a loaded question and the subject for an entirely new blog.

      I’ll do the best I can to give you a little help.

      I use GoDaddy to register my domain names and HostGator to host my sites. As far as tips for how to create a website/blog, I’m going to refer you to The Griz. He has a blog entitled How to Make Money Online for Beginners. I’m linking to his post How to Make Money Online – Lesson 1. That’s a good place to start.

      Spend some time on his site. Digest much of the information that he provides. After reading much of his information, you should be well equipped to get started.

  • Angela February 17, 2011, 3:19 am

    Wow! Thank you so much. The site is great, lots of good information. I actually followed his recommendations and advice and already started a blog instead of a website…hooked up with AdSense. This route saved me a lot of money.

    Thanks Felicia!

    ps. by the way my best friend for over 20 plus years, her name is Felicia also. She is from Panama 🙂

  • Crystal March 5, 2011, 1:25 pm

    Hey Felicia – I have a HostGator question for the NJFM community and couldn’t find a better place on NJFM to ask it. Has anyone gotten errors when publishing with FrontPage extensions on HostGator? We timed out a bunch of times and are trying to determine whether it’s on our end or theirs. Thanks!

    • Felicia March 5, 2011, 2:12 pm

      Crystal, I hope someone here has an answer. I never really used FrontPage so I can’t be of help.

      HostGator is really helpful. If you don’t get an answer here, submit a ticket with your question. I’ve had the HostGator folks help me out in such situations.

      • Crystal March 5, 2011, 3:49 pm

        Thanks Felicia – Don’t know why we didn’t think to call HG:) I think my BIL wants real life experience from real people beings he plans to get an account and switch over the three business sites if all goes well with my account – sure is a better deal than what he currently has. Anyway, sometimes our satellite connection is slow so the problem could very well have been on our end, but maybe someone with FrontPage extensions experience will chime in so we know for sure.

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