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A Second Look at Associated Content

Associated Content

Associated Content

I’m looking at content sites through a different pair of sunglasses this go ‘round.

When I first started writing online I looked at contents sites strictly as a source of income. It gave me a chance to hone my writing skills and make money at the same time.

With the recent changes, my view of content sites has changed quite a bit. I now look at them merely as a method for backlinking. Any money I earn is an added plus.

Re-Evaluating Associated Content

My new use for content site makes me reevaluate my opinion of Associated Content. Quite some time ago I did a comparison between Associated Content and Suite 101. The reason why Associated Content ended up on the short end of the comparison was because of the payment model and rate of pay.

Suite 101 pays based on ad revenue and Associated Content based on page views. If you look at my earlier comparison, you’ll see why I came to the conclusion that I did.

In my opinion, Suite 101 still has a better payment model but it doesn’t work if the site doesn’t get any traffic. No one is reading the articles to click on the ads.

Real Life Eye Opener

As I mentioned in an earlier post, I wrote articles and place them on Associated Content, HubPages and Squidoo. I was shocked and surprised at how the Associated Content article took off. Between the publication date of May 11 and yesterday’s update of May 16, my Associated Content article earned 555 page views (for the record, I did not promote the article, no Twittering, Facebooking or any other type of social networking).

In that article I had 2 to 3 external links. The external links were to sites that would further improve the reader’s experience by providing additional detailed information on the subject matter. One of those external links linked to my new site.AC Numbers

Even if only a fraction of the readers clicked through to my site, I consider the article a success on more than one level. First, it’s doing exactly what I wanted it to do in driving traffic to my site but as a side benefit I’m also earning money from the article.

Limited Experiment

I could not do the same experiment using Suite 101 because they do not allow self promotion. Therefore, the benefits in writing for Suite 101 are limited to  income and article exposure where Associated Content provides income, article exposure and backlinks.

Serving a Purpose

Pre-Panda I looked at content sites as a viable means for building income. Now I look at them as a means of back linking with the serendipitous benefit of earning a few dollars in the process. While I’ll still write the occasional article for Suite 101 and HubPages, it seems that I’ll get the most bang for my backlinking buck if I place articles on Associated Content.

{ 24 comments… add one }
  • steve May 18, 2011, 7:50 am

    I’ll be curious to see if you still feel that way in a month. My AC articles performed great the first couple weeks but then dropped off dramatically. Of course I only wrote a handful of articles so I could just be the aberration.

    • Felicia May 18, 2011, 8:06 am

      Steve, you have a point there. Only time will tell.

  • Ken May 18, 2011, 3:19 pm

    Look at it as “backlinking with benefits.” Associated is good for some exposure, especially with the subjects you have been known to write Felicia. A few bucks up-front and a few each month while getting links back to your own sites…sounds like a win-win-win. 🙂

  • William Tha Great May 18, 2011, 8:39 pm

    Hey Felicia,

    This is an interesting second look at AC. I joined AC and published about 4 article if i recall correctly. With all 4 of those articles combined I still haven’t hit 700 page views, and I joined some time ago.

    My articles never seem to get very many page views. I would have to write like a bazillion articles to make any real money.

    God bless,
    William Veasley

    • Felicia May 19, 2011, 7:00 am

      Don’t get discouraged William. I’ve been doing this online writing thing for a few years now. Even with all of the recent changes there are some basics that remain the same. Traffic depends on article subject matter, content quality and of course basic SEO formatting.

      I’ve been to your blog so I know you write quality content. Why not experiment a bit with subject matter and SEO formatting when writing for Associated Content? You’ve got nothing to lose.

  • Maria (WriterGig) May 18, 2011, 8:40 pm

    Felicia, quality backlinks and/ or traffic were my primary goals when writing my most recent articles for Squidoo, Bukisa, eHow via Demand and InfoBarrel. Earnings are minimal at most of those sites, but getting the traffic boosts my overall earnings.

    Have you tried submitting ezine articles for backlinks?

    • Felicia May 19, 2011, 7:22 am

      Maria, like you my primary purpose for writing for DMS, Squidoo and a few of the other sites is to gain backlinks when I could. Over time I had a chance to look at the return on my efforts. My experiment with Squidoo is too new to come up with a final decision but in this short experiment Associated Content and HubPages are the two winners. Squidoo has yielded zero results and so I’m taking them off of my list.

      I’ve used Bukisa, Ezine and Infobarrel in the past and was not impressed with the return on investment. My goal is to write a few highly effective articles and place them where I get the most return on my investment.

      As far as Ezine articles go, many years ago I used them just for such purposes. My articles are still there on the site. Since I write tend to write evergreen content, most of the stuff that I have there is still relevant.

      I get monthly click through reports from them, and the numbers confirm that I get a higher return on my investment placing my articles elsewhere. Plus, I happen to like the added benefit of earning money for back linking. The only time I enjoy giving anything away for free is when I’m blogging on my own sites. If I post anything anywhere else it either as a favor to a friend or I expect to get paid for my work.

      This may be a little contrary to what most of the successful gurus say but I’ve tried the free article directories and feel about them as I do about social networking. That’s why they’re not an active part of my back linking or marketing strategy.

      I just want to make this clear; I’m not telling people not to use them. Some people have been very successful using that strategy. As a matter of fact, when I first got into online writing, my first private client was one who paid me to ghost write articles. When I later searched the Internet to find out where those articles went, all of them were placed on Ezine articles under someone else’s name.

      That tells me that the power of Ezine Articles was such that someone was willing to pay me to write articles to place on a free article directory (that’s why I tried Ezine Articles oh so many years ago).

      While Ezine Articles is one way to gain backlinks, the good thing about the Internet is that it’s all about choices. I choose not to use them or other free directories. As I frequently tell my kids when they just can’t understand why I do some of the things I do when I do it, “That’s just how I roll.” 8)

  • kidgas May 19, 2011, 12:28 am

    To make a little over $4 for the privilege of creating a backlink seems like a great deal to me. I will have to look at AC as an option for sure and see what I can do.

    • Felicia May 19, 2011, 7:25 am

      Kidgas, what the photo doesn’t show very clearly, is that I’ve already earned residuals from the article. My last night’s earnings total $5.01 and they’re growing. The good thing is that with every penny I earn that means a possible reader clicked on my blog’s link.

  • Ignatius May 19, 2011, 12:42 am

    As always, I appreciate your openness in sharing your stats. I had been planning to do some work at Associated Content/Yahoo Contributors Network prior to the Panda changes. After that, AC started looking pretty unattractive, but some writers I know who are regulars there say that the changeover to YCN has opened some doors for them.

    The combination of at least a little money upfront plus residuals has some appeal. I think I may go ahead with a little AC/YCN experiment of my own.

    If I get any stats worth talking about, I’ll try to share them when you do updates.

    • Felicia May 19, 2011, 7:30 am

      Hey, Ignatius, good to hear from you.

      I’m finding that we all have to do some post-panda experiments to see what works. I think you might enjoy AC.

  • Prerna May 19, 2011, 3:23 am

    Hi Felicia,
    I’ve never written for AC, but I do create Hubpages and have found that while they make hardly anything on Google Adsense, I get quite a bit of earnings from Amazon. Also, I like that I can link to a couple of related articles on my site as well. So, yeah, these days content sites for me, too, are a good way of backlinking and getting some exposure.

    • Felicia May 19, 2011, 7:35 am

      Prerna, I think you’ll like AC. I’ve also found that the HubPages Ad Program has been a nice plus to my HubPages income. Wait, let me rephrase that. The HubPages Ad Program is my HubPages income with a few dollars here or there from Google AdSense.

      Even with the low earnings, I find that I get more click throughs to my blog from HubPage backlinks than from other sources. I’m on the prowl to see if I can find one or two other places that gives me a nice return on my efforts so I can round out my backlinking strategy.

      When I find the right sites, I’ll share it here.

  • Reena May 19, 2011, 10:56 am

    AC has worked great for me. With over 300 articles, it has certainly paid off to be with the site. With Yahoo coming in to the scene, things have gotten better for AC writers. The upfronts for Yahoo sites are good and you hitting Yahoo! News is big in terms of money and PVs. Writers have beats (weekly assignments allotted)… it’s been excellent! Touch wood! The views on AC after Panda have been dismal though – but most writers make up for it writing for Yahoo Sites. Everyone is enjoying the exposure they are getting!:)

  • Gip @ So Much More Life May 19, 2011, 8:51 am

    Thanks for documenting your progress as you work through the changing world of content writing.

    I’ve had an Associated Content account for months and never put anything up. Now’s the time, I think.


  • Mandy Robinson May 19, 2011, 6:03 pm

    I love AC. I am still doing well there. My views went down since the panda thing, but they are still decent. I also like that I can make upfront money there.

  • Bill Swan May 19, 2011, 9:18 pm

    I didn’t know AC/Yahoo allowed backlinks since Panda. I stopped writing for them back in 2010, and with no promotion of those 114 articles, I still earn $5 per month and get near 100 views per day. Another option to consider now that I’m gearing up a couple of sites for myself.

  • Crystal May 20, 2011, 8:20 am

    Catching up with my favorite blog this morning and so happy I did as you’ve got a few more great posts since I’ve been away from home the past week plus. AC sounds like something I need to try when I get back to writing. Right now we’re redoing the inside of one rental and painting the outside of all five. How’s that for diversification?

    I am again encouraged to see that you are successful without using social networking or article directories. I just can’t get into either and it’s nice to know they are not necessary. I realize that some folks do well with both but I just can’t bring myself to allocate any of my scarce time to either. If I wanted to be miserable working, I could go back to the cubicle, right?

    • Felicia May 20, 2011, 10:28 am

      Oh Crystal, painting 5 rentals, I’m exhausted at the thought. I tried the landlord route some years ago and hated it (good tenants are hard to find). I also tried flipping fixer uppers. Liked the fixer uppers better but got tired of that too.

      You’re absolutely right about the backlinking aspect of writing. It reminds me of those old 9-5 days when I had a full-blown case of job-aversion-itis. The good thing about writing online is that there are so many ways to reach the goal. It’s just a matter of finding what works for you.

      BTW: Since you’re in the painting mode, my hubby wants the outside of our house painted. Coming to the New York area any time soon? 🙂

  • Yuwanda Black May 23, 2011, 7:21 pm

    Great insight Felicia.

    As a long-time freelance writer (since 1993), I submit to a lot of “content farm-like sites”, eg, AC, HubPages, eHow, etc.

    I stopped submitting for pay a long time ago to these sites. AC (AssociatedContent.com) is my main outlet. But, I don’t submit for pay; I use the site as a conduit to drive traffic to my sites.

    A lot of writers are now learning that it pays to invest in their own websites and blogs, instead of selling unique content for pennies on the dollar.

    I contributed 20 articles to eHow in 2008, and I was shocked at the payout they offered me; I earned residuals on these articles every month, and most of them didn’t take me more than 20 minutes to write, b/c they are all on stuff I knew about.

    So, while I’ll miss the monthly income from a sentimental standpoint (ie, still getting “residuals” on stuff I wrote eons ago), since I made the transition to writing my own ebooks and producing my own e-seminars about 3 years ago, it doesn’t put a dent in my income.

    Nice post, and glad I found your blog.

    I love everything about your site — the design, layout, content. Everything. It’s beautifully done.

    Continued success!

    • Felicia May 24, 2011, 9:06 am

      Welcome to NJFM, Yuwanda. For some reason your comment ended up in my spam folder. Glad I check it from time to time.

      I’ve stopped by your site a few times as well. You were one of the sites I checked out when I first started writing online back in 2007. A compliment from you means a lot to me.

  • Geoff June 13, 2011, 4:10 am

    How do writers make money on Associated Content articles? Google Adsense?

    • Felicia June 13, 2011, 7:17 am

      Writers earn money based on a rate per thousand page views.

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