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The Ups and Downs of Online Earnings

Roller CoasterMarch was a great earning month for me. I was a member of the Double O Club. Unfortunately, I was booted out of the club in April. Oh well, easy come, easy go.

The Google Factor

Google’s Penguin algorithm change affected my most lucrative sites. I believe I had additional problems caused by the many AdSense error messages. As a result my income dropped before Penguin was released.

Enough of the intro, here’s the scoop. In March I earned $3,237. In April my income dropped to $1,936. That’s a drop of $1,301. We’re not talking small potatoes here.

Rainy Day FundRainy Day Fund

Because of the fickle nature of earning money online, over a year ago I created a rainy day fund. At the end of each month, I place the equivalent of 10% of my online earnings. Some months the fund is well fed and other months, like this one, it gets a smaller contribution.

The fund was created to hold me over in the event my income takes a royal plummet like it did last year when eHow closed the Writers Compensation Program. Last year between March and April my income plummeted from $2,799 to $1,338 (de ja vu all over again).

Onward and Upward

My passion for earning money as an online writer has waned significantly over the past few months. I still place content online, but I’m nowhere Onward and Upwardnear as prolific as I once was. My new interests are of the hands on tactile nature with online writing as a secondary or tertiary add on.

I’ve come to the conclusion that life is way too short to force myself into a mold that no longer fits. Who knows, maybe over time my passion will return and the once comfortable mold will become comfortable again, but it the meanwhile, it’s time for me to explore other things.

What I absolutely love about online writing, however, is that even though my interests have changed, the money (although in a lesser amount) is still coming in. How was your April?  I hope it was better than mine.

{ 31 comments… add one }
  • Michael May 6, 2012, 3:11 pm

    Making money online is definitely an up and down thing, even for seasoned pros such as yourself, it seems. It seems like you always eventually get everything back in the good graces of Google, and hopefully that will happen for you again.

    I hope you continue to post here, as I find this site really helpful and inspiring in my own journey to create great sites and hopefully earn a bit off them as well.

    Anyway, good luck in May. I hope the earnings start to creep back up again.

    • Felicia May 7, 2012, 10:50 am

      Thanks Michael. I’ll continue to post here, but the posts will be hit and miss (probably more miss than hit). 😉

  • Crystal May 7, 2012, 9:43 am

    Isn’t it nice that you can afford waning passion beings you’ve already built a significant income that continues whether or not you write? You’re absolutely right – life is short, so do what makes you happy. Your drop in income may be no small potatoes, but the amount you earned is still very impressive. And how wise you are to establish a rainy day fund to see you through the inevitable fluctuations – there’s nothing like a cash cushion to create financial serenity.

    • Felicia May 7, 2012, 10:53 am

      Crystal, when it comes to financial serenity, I’m aiming to be like you…debt free. I’ve got quite a way to go, but I’ll keep at it.

      I think online writing was one of the best things I’ve ever done. Not only did I earn money from it, but it taught me so much about myself and the power of sticking with things. I intend to take what I’ve learned as a writer and apply it elsewhere.

  • Grandma May 7, 2012, 12:20 pm

    April was a short pay month, for sure. May started out with a big bang, however, almost as much in the first two days as the whole last month!

    The other thing to constantly conquer is distractions. Time to put on the soft music, stop watching the news, playing Solitaire, surfing the net websites and all that other stuff and crank out money-making articles. This is where having a home office or other designated place to work would be helpful.

    • Felicia May 9, 2012, 5:37 am

      Glad hear your May is starting out great. Mine seems to be a continuation of April.

  • cashflowmantra May 9, 2012, 4:54 pm

    Well, my April was certainly not better. In fact, my blogging expenses were more than my revenue. But I am hoping that the efforts will be lucrative someday.

    Nevertheless, I am being enticed by the warmer weather and thinking that I may end up pulling back my efforts during the summer so I can enjoy more outdoor activities. I think I am becoming more accepting of the ups and downs of earnings as well as motivation.

    • Felicia May 10, 2012, 9:50 am

      Bummer, sorry to hear about your April earnings, but I can relate.

      Summer is detrimental has always been detrimental to my online writing efforts. Once the weather gets warm and the plants start to green up, I find it difficult spending time inside on a computer.

      You always had a realistic view of this online venture. Ups and downs are a major part of it.

      Best of luck to you.

  • Claire May 11, 2012, 7:10 am

    It seems like you always eventually get everything back in the good graces of Google, and hopefully that will happen for you again.

    • Felicia May 11, 2012, 8:47 am

      Thanks Claire, but I’m not holding my breath. 🙂

  • Barry May 12, 2012, 9:00 am

    I hope you continue to post here, as I find this site really helpful and inspiring in my own journey to create great sites and hopefully earn a bit off them as well.

  • Nancy May 23, 2012, 10:07 am

    I stumbled upon your site as I was searching to see if Adsense would pay us before Memorial Day (probably not). I think this is the smartest bunch of blogs I’ve seen in a long time. Your information is excellent, sites are clean, simple and full of information and I applaud you for making this work. It’s hard work, not get rich quick like so many have tried to sell us. I look forward to reading in the nooks and crannies of all your sites and continued good luck to you in your pursuit of no 9 to 5. We all appreciate your candor and posting your successes and bumps in the road.

  • Edward G Gordon May 27, 2012, 7:15 am

    Whatever happens Felicia, don’t ever stop trying. I’ve changed direction more times these last two years than I can count.

    You’re more disciplined than I am. So keep going. As for income $0.00 last month from online sources. Thankfully I’m not dependant on online sources.

    BTW. Have you seen my new website yet. I’m promoting self published authors rather than myself for a change. I’d love to get your opinion.


    Edward G Gordon

    • Felicia June 1, 2012, 11:21 am

      We all change direction at times. It seems that my current direction is away from online writing, although I still write posts here or there.

      An interesting idea, promoting other writers. Do let us know how it goes.

  • Trent Adams May 29, 2012, 12:01 am

    Sorry to hear about the drastic loss of income. I’m glad you can see the big picture, that what you’ve built is continuing to bring in income.

    You’ve been a major inspiration.

    I just received a payout from a rev share site and I’m watching my Google earnings grow. It’s early stages, yet it’s folding money, well past the trickle of coins beginnings. Thanks to what I’ve learned here, I’m take more care with diversification. I have another ad program besides Google, an affiliate and a product line.

    I hope when you check in here from time to time that you see all the good you’ve done, the value of what you’ve given. For me, the best thing that’s come out of all the shakeups is I returned to working on my novel. I wish you an amazing year of moving closer to what you really want in your life.

    Best always,

    • Felicia June 1, 2012, 11:27 am

      Yep, the income did drop and is continuing to do so. The good thing about it, however, is that I’m still earning money even though I’m barely writing online.

      It’s the end of the month, so I guess I ought to put together a monthly earnings post. I don’t have much insight into the current online writing conditions, but I can share how my past work is still paying (even at a reduced level).

  • Debra Terrell May 29, 2012, 9:31 am

    I think post Penguin & Panda, the internet has become a better place to be..

    I have seen such a reduction in spams that i cant explain, I used to devote one hour daily to remove the comment spam from my blogs (those who skipped Akismet) Now the no has gone to tens from thousands.. I am sure many blog owners will be pretty relieved!

    • Felicia June 1, 2012, 11:28 am

      I haven’t noticed much of a spam change. I guess my WordPress plugins have been doing a good job of keeping the majority of it at bay.

  • Ignatius June 13, 2012, 5:34 pm

    Hi Felicia,
    I started noticing a major drop in revenue at the very end of April. I wasn’t overly concerned since it tends to go up and down in cycles. However, when things didn’t recover I started experimenting a little. The thing that seems to have had a very positive impact was adjusting the defaults on my site map plug-in and doing a manual update of the site map.

    The site map updates and pings the search engines whenever the site changes, but I wasn’t writing new posts. I also found that the default settings that suggest to the bots how often they should check each portion of the site were set for intervals as long as one month apart.

    After I changed the defaults and did the manual update on the site map (both real easy tasks on the plug-in I use) my revenue recovered. I can’t be absolutely sure that was what worked, but I thought I would pass it along in case it is something you haven’t tried yet.

    • Felicia June 14, 2012, 6:29 am

      Thanks for the great info, Ignatius.

      I’ll give it a shot and monitor things. I’ll let you know whether or not it improves my ever sagging income.

    • Maria (Work at Home Mom) June 15, 2012, 6:13 am

      Can I ask what sitemap plugin you use/ recommend? Thank you!

      • Felicia June 15, 2012, 6:17 am

        I’m not sure which one Ignatius uses, but I use XML Sitemap which allows you to do just as Ignatius recommends.

        I modified things yesterday so I’ll give it time to see if I notice a change.

        • Maria (Work at Home Mom) June 15, 2012, 6:20 am

          Thanks, Felicia!

        • Ignatius June 15, 2012, 11:17 am

          I use the XML Sitemap plug-in for WordPress. I think it’s probably the same one. There may be others that work just fine, too. This is the only one I have tried.

          I still have a pretty short-term trial on the changes, but they do seem to be working. Revenue is much better. Traffic hasn’t moved up as much, but I tend to see a slump in the summer. It may be that the Google Adsense bot was missing some pages and giving me less relevant ads.

          I’ll keep you posted.

  • Maria (Work at Home Mom) June 15, 2012, 6:16 am

    Well, April was better for me than May, but overall earnings are just looooww… I’m not blogging at my work at home blog as much because I need to work more on my income-producing sites so I have some thing to blog about — some successes, or at least lessons learned.

    • Felicia June 15, 2012, 6:19 am

      Oh those wonderful lessons.

      If nothing else, we do learn quite a bit working online. 🙂

  • Terr June 15, 2012, 1:52 pm

    Hi Felicia,

    I’m just reading this post. I’m wondering if you could either amend your article for rev share recommendations, or if you could respond to me by posting your current recommendations for rev share.

    I’ve got a bizillion articles that I need to do something with, ya know?


    • Felicia June 16, 2012, 7:12 am

      Sorry Terr. I’m not the one to ask about revenue share programs. Currently I only have articles on Suite and HubPages. They’ve been there for ages and I haven’t looked around for new revenue share sites. I tend to write for my own sites only.

      • Terr June 16, 2012, 5:56 pm

        Thanks for the response. Those two resources are great places for me to start. Not expecting to get rich AT ALL, but it seems a shame to let all of my content mill articles collect dust.

        Even a few dollars a month would be great “candy money”, or money towards an “minor personal/household/need to buy food for a couple of days” fund.

  • Crystal June 26, 2012, 4:24 pm

    Great article. PetGeekery.com is a new project for me and building a business from home has been a lifelong inspiration. Without inspiration from trailblazers like you, it would be so tough to blaze a trail into the future!

  • Nikki July 7, 2012, 2:23 pm

    April wasn’t so good for me if I compare with March, then later on the penguin update hit my sites. My sites have been struggling in the past few months but I am doing all it takes to get them back on track. I am sorry to hear about your drastic loss.

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