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The Sad Facts of My Online Writing Income

Online Income2013 was not a stellar year for my online writing income.  My writing income hadn’t been this low in several years.  As a matter of fact, I had to go back to 2008 in order to see such low residual numbers.

Here are the facts.  In 2013 my earnings were a whopping $11,458.43! To give perspective, here’s the progression of my residual numbers since I started writing online in 2006:

Year Writing Income
2006 $16.25
2007 $4,623.97
2008 $10,406.03
2009 $19,160.50
2010 $26,736.59
2011 $29,383.67*
2012 $21,490.78 (beginning of the decline)
2013 $11,458.43 (OUCH!)

*Earnings do not include lump-sum payment from eHow.

Cause for the Decline

In one word, the major cause for the decline was Google.  The unpredictable algorithm changes caused a serious dent in my online income. That coupled with the decline in content sites like Suite 101, eHow and HubPages, my earnings took another hit.  Those factors plus the slow wandering away of my writing Mojo caused me to write fewer articles.

I didn’t want to take the time to pull out my article count spreadsheet, but in past years I wrote hundreds of articles in any given year.  Some of the articles were for my own sites and many were for content sites.   There was a time when I was writing anywhere between 50 and 80 articles per month.  Compare that to last year where I wrote a total of 74 articles/posts.  About 1/3 of the 74 were written last month when my Mojo started wandering back.

The Good and the Good

The numbers are pitiful, yes, but there is a silver lining.  When you consider that I wrote 74 articles and earned $11,458.43, that’s $154.84 per article.  Not a fortune, but better than a stick in the eye.

I’m not so sure if my numbers have bottomed out as yet, but I’m not going to sit around waiting for them to hit rock bottom.  Since I started writing again I’ve witnessed a little over a 20% increase in December’s earnings. That’s pretty impressive considering I don’t write seasonal articles and my traffic throughout the holidays tanked (the figures were awesome at the beginning of the month).

Keep Moving Forward

I’ve got a pretty impressive list of things to do.  Unfortunately, before I really get started writing, I’ve got a lot of behind-the-scenes work to get out of the way.  Those things have become mental clutter and I’ve got to remove the clutter to allow the Mojo to have full reign.

All in all, I see a bright future.  I don’t expect smooth sailing, but I do expect to reach a destination point that’s a little better than where I currently sit. Once I get there I’ll re-evaluate and plot the next point.

I’ve taken a serious financial hit, but it’s just that…a hit.  It’s not the final blow.

I hope your 2013 earnings were promising.

{ 8 comments… add one }
  • Crystal January 10, 2014, 11:45 am

    I so appreciate that you share your real numbers. Although a significant decline over recent years, $11k+ is still an impressive (and inspiring) chunk of change. And beings your numbers are headed in the right direction again – well, the sky is still the limit!

  • Bristolboy January 11, 2014, 3:38 am

    Felicia. As you say, your earnings may have taken a big drop, however I would look on the positive side of it and note that you in effect made well over a hundred dollars per article/post. I have no idea how much work each post entails, but I imagine you still earned a good hourly rate.

    Another way of looking at it is to say the majority of your income was truly passive, which can only be a good thing. Finally, you mention Google traffic has fallen but what has other traffic done? On some sites I am now getting much more traffic from bing and even baidu (a Chinese search engine) than Google, and these search engines are seeing massive growth in referrals.

    • Felicia January 11, 2014, 9:08 am

      Bristolboy, for some reason your comment ended up in my spam folder. That’s why I always look through there before deleting spam comments.

      You’re right, my per article rate isn’t bad considering that most of the writing I did last year was for my own blogs and that doesn’t usually take much time. Plus whatever time it does take, it’s enjoyable.

      As far as traffic goes, all of my traffic declined. While I do get more from Bing and Yahoo, when I look at my traffic stats, I’m getting about 50% or less of the traffic I used to get. Most of that is a result of Google. The rest could be because I stopped writing or because I don’t do social networking or because of the desktop to mobile transition. I don’t really know. Since I can’t control that I’ve got to start working on plan B.

  • Joni January 13, 2014, 5:42 pm

    I will be glad to trade with you my dear. I’ll take your $11K plus and you take my 55.05…lol.

    I’d be going out for dinner tonight if I made that much last year. Of course you worked tons more than I did. What is fantastic is I think you KNOW you can bring that up with your mojo coming back because you’ve done it. I KNOW YOU can. The “correct” saying is “a SHARP stick in the eyeball”…lol…showing our age.
    God bless,

    • Felicia January 15, 2014, 11:37 am

      Youch! Sharp stick in the eyeball sounds even worse! LOL!

  • Chris January 22, 2014, 12:43 pm

    At times you need to give yourself permission to let papers pile up on the desk, dishes can be put away later, and the grass can grow a few more inches… get your writing done because it’s your gift to the world.

    Yes, that’s a big hit in income. It takes a lot of courage to share real numbers like you did, and it’s admirable.

    You definitely have good insight about why it happened which can help you avoid suffering an income hit in the future.

  • Lisa Russell January 27, 2014, 9:01 am

    It’s been a while. I’m glad I’m not the only one. I haven’t done my final count for last year because I wasn’t using my spreadsheet faithfully. It was bad, though. Worse than yours, I suspect. I’ve been writing for some non-residual-income sites, like Blogmutt lately. I find it’s worth my time if I stick to topics I can rattle off without research. If I have to research something, I make sure that I end up writing enough articles that eventually I can rattle it off quickly. I strive to write 4 and hour and I think that by the time I deal with kid interruptions and snack breaks I’m really doing 2-3. It’s still higher than minimum wage and I don’t have to leave the house. My next “big project” for residual income is publishing children’s books for the kindle. My kids have been nagging me to turn their bedtime stories into books for other kids. I have about 12 lined up right now. I’d love to hear what else you’re doing for income, with the residuals sucking dirt like this.

    • Felicia January 27, 2014, 9:35 am

      Hey Lisa, Good hearing from you. Sorry to hear your earnings are as bad as mine.

      I haven’t heard of Blogmutt, but I’ll check it out. Sounds like that’s working well for you. I think writing books is the way to go. You should do real well with children’s books, especially if your kids are hounding you to convert them. You’ve got the best critics in the world right in your own home. If they approve, then the books should do well.

      Going forward I’ve decided to work on several ebooks and develop some of my under developed websites. I like writing online because of the immediacy of it, but supplementing the online earnings with ebooks seems the way to go.

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