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Writing for Suite 101 after Panda

Suite 101

I’ve been both a contributing writer and a feature writer for Suite 101. I recently re-claimed my Insurance Feature Writer spot only to realize that I’m totally burnt out on the subject of insurance so I decided to vacate the position again. I’ve been browsing their available FW positions to see if there are any that I would enjoy.

Feature Writer vs. Contributing Writer Earnings

All Suite writers took a large hit as a result of Google’s Panda algorithm update. I’m down to a fraction of my former earnings. At my current earning rate it really doesn’t make much of a difference if I’m a contributing or feature writer. As an FW I earned a 30% bonus, but 30% of not Penniesmuch doesn’t give you much.

When I compare my month to date earnings from June (no FW bonus) to the same period of time in May (including FW bonus) my June earnings are lower by $3.48. Not enough of a difference to really matter.

Change in Strategy

Previously, I wrote for Suite primarily for the residual earning potential. I wrote articles in hopes of earning  steady residual income. However, with the recent decrease I’ve changed my strategy and adjusted my writing frequency accordingly. In 2010 my Suite per article rate was $84.30 (income divided by number of articles). Currently, in 2011 it’s hovering around the $100 mark ($104.03).

Because I want my per article rate to increase each year, I’ve slowed down my writing production to maintain the higher rate. In other words, instead of writing a ton of articles in hopes of earning a lot of money, my philosophy is (as Rod Tidwell instructs in Jerry Maguire), “Show me the money!” When the income justifies writing another article and my rate doesn’t dip below $90, then I’ll write. Oddly enough, writing one article a month seems to be the magic number at the moment.

Keep Building My OwnBuilding Sites

I learned a lot about writing online through Suite 101. They were my first online gig after writing off-line for years. Their editors introduced me to keywords, key phrases and how to get traffic to my articles. If it weren’t for Suite it would have taken me a lot longer to understand the dynamics of on line writing.

That knowledge gained at Suite has helped me to build my own sites. If I continue to write one article a month for Suite, I have a lot of spare time to concentrate on my own stuff.

I have no ill feelings towards Suite 101. Don’t get me wrong; when earnings first began to decline, I was a bit miffed. No, I was more than miffed; I was down right upset that my earnings were declining without much word from the folks at the top. Now that I know what’s going on, I can make informed decisions and I’ve decided to continue writing for Suite 101.

{ 17 comments… add one }
  • Jen June 15, 2011, 12:55 pm

    Felicia, what did you find out from Suite as to why the earnings have declined as they have?

    • Felicia June 15, 2011, 1:04 pm

      Jen, I found out what everyone else found out. Panda happened.

  • L. Shepherd June 15, 2011, 1:10 pm

    It’s been an eye-opener for sure. Losing that income sucks, but mostly I think it’s a lesson in how fragile the online economy really is. Google has the power here, and if they decide they don’t like something, they can crush it in a day. But more than that, I think it’s a lesson to content companies. If your content isn’t the best possible, you’re going to get burned.

  • Deanna June 15, 2011, 4:21 pm

    I have stopped writing for Suite for the time being until I see what they intend to do with it. Since they are going to build a new site from the ground up – and since so many of the top people and editors there are leaving, I’m afraid that Suite will end up going by the wayside as well as the earnings. I’m earning about $7 a month now – no where near what I was earning months ago. I guess we just have to wait and see what happens.

    • Felicia June 15, 2011, 4:58 pm

      Deanna, I understand your reasons for not writing for Suite and I don’t blame anyone for jumping ship. My earnings are about 25% of what they were at their best so my writing efforts have also dropped to producing 25% of what I previously wrote.

      I can’t speculate on what will happen in the future, but as long as my per article rate remains in an acceptable range, I’ll keep posting when the mood strikes. Most of my time, however, will be spent writing books and populating my own sites.

      I don’t know, I’ve got a silly sense of loyalty to Suite. If it were not for them, NJFM and some of my other sites probably wouldn’t exist. I gained a bit of online confidence writing for them that has helped me in so many other areas. I guess if it weren’t for the sense of loyalty, I probably would have left a long time ago when the earnings first started to decline.

  • Grandma June 15, 2011, 8:22 pm

    Oh I just put up a little article over there on Forgiveness, first one since May 9. Had an idea and nobody to buy it….may as well stick it over there.

  • Sara B. June 27, 2011, 7:12 pm

    Hi Felicia, thanks for this post. I’m a newbie freelance web writer – I’ve only done print-base work until now – and I’ve been debating whether or not to apply to Suite 101. It seems like the earnings are not stellar, but as you suggested, there is a lot be learned writing for them.

    Also, from what I’ve gathered, most people earn about $.50 to $1 per article per month. When you say your rate is $100, do you mean per article per month, or over the long term? Also, I realize the earnings are entirely dependent on the type of content, etc. but do you have a rough estimate of how many articles someone would need to write to earn a few hundred bucks per month? Any kind of a ballpark range would be helpful. I would be writing about parenting, cooking, relationships, etc. not new technology or anything, so I suspect the earning potential is significantly lower. Thanks.

    • Felicia June 28, 2011, 7:09 am

      Sara, it’s impossible to say how many articles it takes to make $100 a month with Suite 101. Currently, because of my base of articles and the years I’ve been there, it’s taking me about 1 article to earn that month per month (but I haven’t written for them in a few months).

      With topics like parenting, cooking and relationships it will take more than it would if you wrote on business or technology. After panda it will take much more effort than it did prior to panda.

  • LilyRose July 6, 2011, 11:26 pm

    I’m still a FW. I only write 1 article per month to fill the FW requirement. Like you, Felicia, Suite has taught me so much and I’ve stayed loyal to them. But they have lost some major writers who just got fed up. Understandably so. After Panda, some of these big writers lost thousands.

    I’m only earning around 12% of what I earned pre-Panda. Yet I’ve decided to think of Suite like the stock market. It’s at an all time low right now and I can get in on the ground floor. If and when it rises, I could be sitting pretty. Who knows what will happen? But I feel Suite is up front and amiable towards their writers. I’m curious to see how it all turns out …

    • Felicia July 7, 2011, 6:41 am

      Agreed. Suite is doing a heck of a job trying to keep the writers informed.

  • Tashana July 7, 2011, 10:57 am

    Oh and motivation keeps on flowing…I’m definitely going to resubmit my app for Suite. After being denied twice, I lost some of my nerve, but I’m building it back up again.

    I’ve been writing for Textbroker, which is helping me develop some of those online writing behaviors that I know I’ll need to be an effective writer on Suite. I got my first EXCELLENT rating today from a client. He remarked, and I quote, “This is excellent. Just what I was looking for.” I couldn’t believe it. I even told my husband, who himself is an expert on the subject I wrote about, that I didn’t think the article was good enough, but the client loved it. Now I’m really motivated.

    Funny, whenever I have these small successes, Felicia you are the first person I think of. Then I pop right on over to NJFM to fill you in on it. I guess that makes me some sort of groupie – hey, a freelance writing groupie :-). I’ll take that title, especially if it keeps me on the path I’m on.

    Thanks again Felicia.

    • Felicia July 9, 2011, 7:29 am

      Great news Tashana! Keep the good new coming! It’s great to watch you grow in confidence as a writer. A few years from now you’ll be able to look back and say, “I remember when…”

      The reason I keep writing on NJFM is because, “I remember when…” My confidence has grown a lot in my 4 years of writing online and I suspect yours will too.

  • Britt Francois July 10, 2011, 5:29 pm

    I just started writing for Suite 101. I actually started writing at Suite 101 because I came across your article about the woes of AC. I like that Suite 101 has more quality articles than AC. It’s unfortunate that the new algorithm has affected so many content mills. All content mills aren’t filled with bad articles.

  • Crystal September 8, 2011, 4:54 pm

    Hey Felicia – Are you aware of the new writer subdomains over at Suite 101? The site says “The homogeneous http://www.suite101.com/content/name-of-article “giant bucket” structure will be replaced by a writer-centric one: name-of-writer.suite101.com/title-of-article.”

    We’ve all got until 9/15 to choose our own or one will be assigned. Not sure it matters much – either way it will be based on each writer’s real name. Looks like the default is firstname-lastname.suite101.com but you can choose a variation on your real name if you’d like.

    Here’s the link: http://www.suite101.com/learn/writer-subdomains

    • Felicia September 9, 2011, 7:00 am

      Yep. I selected my domain name and have noticed an uptick in page views. In the past two days I’ve also noticed an uptick in revenue. I’m not at pre-Panda levels, but I do notice a two-day improvement.

  • Chrissy D. July 10, 2012, 11:56 pm

    Are you still writing for Suite101? I’m looking for a place to start writing online…just wondering if you still feel positive about Suite101.

    • Felicia July 12, 2012, 7:50 am

      Hi Chrissy,

      I haven’t written a new article for Suite 101 in several months. I’m feeling more positive now about Suite than I have in quite some time. My income is turning around. It’s nowhere near where it was back in the “good old days,” but it is no longer dropping.

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