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A Look in the Mirror

Self Evaluation

Self Evaluation

The recent Panda update and how it affected Suite caused me to take a look in the mirror. I’ve decided to take a look at my writing, my writing style and whether or not my articles provide useful information.

When Michael Kedda mentioned that senior Suite 101 writers were strongly affected by the Google algorithm change, as a senior Suite writer my ears (or eyes) perked up. Hmmm, could I have caused my own demise? After all, my Suite earnings have been declining for over a year. Am I guilty of fluff, keywords stuffed, irrelevant or non informational content? I don’t think so, but I’m willing to review my body of work with a different eye.

Nobody is PerfectLooking in the Mirror

I am guilty of the occasional fluff (all work and no play makes writing very boring). I might also be guilty of writing a few keyword stuffed articles.  I didn’t think they were stuffed when I wrote them, but in hindsight, a few of them could be toned down a bit.

Self Evaluation and Changes

I take the Suite changes with a grain of salt, however. Although my earnings took a hit there, they’ve grown everywhere else. This leads me to ask the question: “Do I change my writing style because of one site or do I continue on my current course of writing, learning and improving?”

During my self evaluation and looking in the mirror, a Brian Tracy newsletter quote of the day came across my desk (well actually into my inbox) and it said…get this…it said:

“Should you find yourself in a chronically leaking boat, energy devoted to changing vessels is likely to be more productive than energy devoted to patching leaks.”
— Warren Buffett, Berkshire Hathaway, CEO

It was one of those quotes that made me go, “Hmmmmmm…”

As a result of evaluating my numbers, quite a bit of soul searching and the lack of passion displayed in my most recent insurance articles, I’ve decided to step down as the Suite 101 Feature Writer.  There are many talented insurance writers on Suite that can do the Feature Writer position justice. I’ve already notified Suite and the changes should be wrapped up by the end of the week.

Just for clarification, I’m not leaving Suite 101 entirely.  I intend to write occasional articles as a Contributing Writer, but I don’t think it’s fair for me to hold onto a position just for the sake of holding onto it.  Best wishes to the next Suite 101 Insurance Feature Writer.

{ 13 comments… add one }
  • Will March 16, 2011, 4:01 pm

    Bold move, Felicia, and a great quote from Buffett (a person I highly respect… it’s hard to ignore advice from such a sharp and successful man).

    My response to the Panda update is to only write for residual-income websites to create backlinks. I’ve shifted my focus to writing almost entirely for my own websites.

    • Felicia March 16, 2011, 4:19 pm

      When Buffett speaks, I listen. 😉

      Your writing plan is a wise one and one that I’m following also. I’ve got to say that leaving the FW spot has given me a sense of freedom. Suite was the last “required” writing I had to do. Now to focus on my own sites.

  • Loretta March 16, 2011, 4:57 pm

    A woman has to do what a woman has to do. Fly Felicia! Wishing you the best of luck no matter where you land.

    • Felicia March 16, 2011, 5:09 pm

      Thanks, Loretta. You’re right. A woman has to do what a woman has to do, scary or not. 🙂

  • Deanna March 16, 2011, 11:30 pm

    Considering how the earnings have been at Suite, I think that was a smart move on your part. Although I am sure it wasn’t easy to give up a coveted Feature Writer position there. It’s better to move on to something you are more passionate about and build income elsewhere. Good luck! 🙂

  • Crystal March 17, 2011, 11:57 am

    I’m a Buffet fan, too, and appreciate this quote. In fact, it’s super-relevant to a few things going on around here today! So off in search of a new vessel I go:)

  • Alina Bradford March 17, 2011, 5:32 pm

    “I intend to write occasional articles as a Contributing Writer, but I don’t think it’s fair for me to hold onto a position just for the sake of holding onto it. Best wishes to the next Suite 101 Insurance Feature Writer.”

    I’ve been pondering the same predicament. I really want to wait and see what changes Suite has in store, but I’m hesitant to add more articles right now. It makes me feel kind of selfish, but I think waiting for just a bit before I make my decision is my best bet. I’m glad that you have the guts to take action. 🙂

    • Felicia March 17, 2011, 6:01 pm

      I know what you mean, Alina. Actually, I’ve been contemplating this move for quite some time. Google’s Panda move just helped me to finalize my decision.

  • Angela March 22, 2011, 4:12 am

    Brave move. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with stuffing a few keywords here and there as long as you deliver and your article is relevant to the topic and provides useful information. I’ve read articles just filled with keywords that were not helpful at all, now that’s a big difference. Sometimes for your articles to get noticed, you have to place a few keywords in. Don’t feel too bad about doing so:)

  • LilyRose March 23, 2011, 9:09 pm

    That’s great, Felicia. I’m glad you’re moving on …

    I’m also a FW too, but my section doesn’t really make a lot of money. And I like writing on the topic, so now that there is no monthly requirement, I figure: why not stay a FW? But again, my choice has nothing to do with finances. I make my money from Suite writing for different sections.

    Something I would like to point out about Suite & Panda. I write for Bright Hub too and it is SOARING after Panda. Why? It has strict editorial guidelines – no fluff articles are allowed and your work is double-checked by a managing editor and contributing editor. I really think this is the only reason why BH benefited from Panda. Therefore, once Suite deletes the old, fluff articles and institutes stricter editorial guidelines, I believe it will finally have addressed its major issue and residuals will start to rise again.

    • Felicia March 24, 2011, 6:52 am

      LilyRose, that’s interesting information about Bright Hub. Glad to hear that they’re doing so well.

      It seems that Suite has quite a bit to fix before things rebound. While they’re fiddling around with corrections and guidelines, I’m going to concentrate my efforts elsewhere. I’ll return when the dust settles.

    • Alexander Mark April 14, 2011, 7:37 am

      I checked out Bright hubs on quantcast and it is one of the few that shows growth from March on! Thank you LilyRose.

      Felicia, thanks for your posts on this, from your posts and comments by other readers, I am getting the feeling that things will get better again, and that the change at Google is ultimately a positive thing.

  • Kim McLendon March 24, 2011, 3:54 pm

    Wow Felicia, I’m stunned. When I first read Suite’s pay scale, I was sure the only way to make money with them was to be a feature writer. I’s a substantial percentage higher than just contributing writer, even with over 100 articles. Still… judging from my own experience 40% of nothing is still nothing.

    So far I haven’t taken a dime of residual money on anything. I haven’t made my minimum on Blogger or Suite… no traffic, but I’m brining in between $800 and $1000 a month between Quality Gal and Text Broker.

    I’ve only been on Suite since September and I have put up 22 articles… nothing. I don’t think it’s you, or that your articles are spam, or too key word loaded. My articles were not key word loaded at all. They were just stuff I had on my hard drive as personal notes to self so to speak. I’ve gotten feedback from readers saying the articles helped them a lot, which is worth something. Good Karma maybe, but they aren’t making money. Maybe it’s my topic… I’ve always had a spiritual and psychological niche. It’s funny because it was 95% of my own Google Searches till last year. I gather it’s not what other people look for on line though. I’ve had to admit that what interests me, doesn’t necessarily interest others. (My new niche is Green energy, green construction and green living.) But other than topic choice, I don’t have a clue why I’m not getting page views on suite either.

    I think Suite’s just not ranking. I notice that when I do Google searches for research, I only get maybe two Suite Articles out of 20 searches, and drilling back to the sixth page. That’s not good. About.com is always popping up, and a lot of their articles are shallow, uninformative and truly lousy. Some are good, but not the majority. Even before I started researching for money, I always taken About articles with a grain of salt. In general I find Suite Articles much more interesting.

    Anyway it’s not just you. It’s good to critique your own work from time to time, but don’t beat yourself up. It’s Suite. Suite is either being discriminated against by the spiders, or their tags aren’t working, or something. About.Com for example is obviously getting preferential treatment over Suite, even though so many of their articles are shallow, short, poorly researched and out of date. Honestly I’d go with Squido in a heartbeat, but they almost never show up in Google searches. None of the writer sites are highly represented, except About. Especially since the new Google criteria.


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