March 23, 2010

Residual Income Online With Xomba Bookmarks

My One Month Review Of Xomba Bookmarks (Formerly Known As Xomblurbs)

Last month I highlighted my upcoming Xomba Bookmarks Experiment in which I intended on testing out Xomba as both a form of residual income and as a means to funnel traffic from Xomba to my other web properties which currently don’t get much traffic.

As I started the experiment I actually decided not to pick and choose which article I would Bookmark with Xomba and decided to send bookmarks back to every single one of my blog posts at How To Live A Longer Life and to every single one of my articles on eHow. Originally, I intended to send Xomba Bookmarks back to every one of my InfoBarrel articles as well but having bookmarked over 250 articles in the last month I’m starting to question if this is worth it or not.

Funny that I should say this too as only a couple weeks ago on my wrap up of the eHow earnings algorithm analysis for Home And Garden articles I was raving about Xomba and how they surprised the heck out of me with their earnings potential; well now I’m starting to second guess my enthusiasm for the residual income potential for these bookmarks. Mind you I am not writing them off - I’m just curbing my enthusiasm.

To Summarize The Xomba Experiment

In 31 days posting to Xomba I’ve bookmarked roughly 260 articles of which I’ve bookmarked every one of my published eHow articles and the majority of my blog articles which have commercial value. That was a fair amount of work though to be fair I did most of this bookmarking in the first half of the month. The last two weeks I’ve been out on vacation a bit and been working on personal projects for both work and fun. Needless to say I’ve been busy with things other than earning residual income online. The funny thing is March is shaping up to be the best month for residual income that I’ve ever had… by a long shot.

Anyway, back on subject, a couple weeks back I was only 14 days into this experiment and I had 165 Xomba Bookmarks published and at the time my earnings there were doing much better than I expected. To be frank, I didn’t expect these things to rank well in the SERPs because they were so short even though I am SEOing them as best I can. In fact most of my 50 word blurbs were closer to 80-100 words because it just seemed like 50 was too short. Anyway, what I’m finding here after 31 days is that these Xomblurbs or Xomba Bookmarks don’t seem to have staying power in the SERPs as they all get a decent burst of ranking right off the bat but seem to lose it fast.

Looking at my stats I see that most bookmarks get their traffic within a week or so of publication and then they drop off the map. Now Google does work like this normally; they give a fresh content bonus and then later recalibrate rankings. During the recalibration phase articles will seemingly disappear from search totally before reappearing in a more long term SERP ranking area. It will be interesting to see if this seems to be happening as the weeks march forward and turn into months. For now however; I’m only getting traffic on the Xomba Bookmarks that are less than a couple weeks old.

Now, I started this experiment as a means not to generate residual income but as a way to funnel traffic through the Bookmark link to my articles on my blog primarily and looking at my Analytics I see that over the past month Xomba has indeed become the number one referrer of traffic to my main blog but it hasn’t really translated into income; I’m not sure why exactly but so far that is the case. I’m even getting a good ad click rate from my traffic that has come from Xomba Bookmarks, the problem is that the ad clicks I’m getting are low value. I wonder if it’s just happenstance; only time will tell. I’ll have to track this month after month and see if the trend improves.

For now I’ll leave you with this; in the last 31 days I’ve had 4,419 unique visits to my main blog; of those 77 came from Xomba Bookmarks. This is up from zero in months past. Of those 77 visitors I’ve had a handful of ad clicks on my main blog totaling $0.86. That is hardly anything and this is the main reason I started this Xomba Bookmarks experiment. Maybe this will get higher in the future and maybe this has to do with my old blog posts that don’t get much traffic not being optimized for Adsense, which is a real possibility, but I was really looking for more from this end of the experiment.

As for direct monetization of the blurbs; in 31 days I have yet to crack $8.00, though I am close. Two weeks ago I would have said I expected to hit $15 in the first month but things have slowed considerably for two reasons. The Bookmarks don’t seem to have staying power in the SERPs and I have only posted lightly there for the last 10 days or so. Looking at others results I figured having 1000 Xomba Bookmarks would be worth around $50-$150 per month, but so far I’m looking at an estimate of $25-$50 per month for 1000 Xomba Bookmarks. Again, only time will tell what actually happens.

The strange thing is that I really like Xomba after having spent so much time there this month. I’ve spent so much time there that I’ve hardly done anything else. I’ve completely neglected making many blog posts or doing any article marketing but due to the pleasure of good timing work from January and February is really making a difference in my overall residual income in March and my income is up a ton. I’ll post on this in more detail in early April but I find the irony of timing to be a joy sometimes.

In the future I expect to continue using Xomba Bookmarks but I do not intend on pumping out 250-300 per month; I just don’t see the benefit in committing so thoroughly at least until my Bookmarks age a bit and I see otherwise. As April rolls around the bend I will plan on slowing adding Bookmarks to my InfoBarrel articles from Xomba. I’ve got about 125 of them; I’m pretty sure I can get through all of them by the end of April without feeling like I’m devoting all of my time to Xomba. Of course I will once again give an update on the progress at the end of month two or so.

Before I go let me add a gratuitous plug for a couple of my more recent eHow articles.  These have nothing to do with this post but I want the links.  If you are interested in seeing how I write and SEO an eHow article you can look at my most recent posts on ceiling fan blades (link removed) and on perennial garden design (link removed). Enjoy. :)  As an added aside I'm paying it forward here with a link to an eHow backlinking idea:  you can read all about it here at free backlinks to your eHow articles posted by Tammy.


One last caveat; I don’t want to make Xomba sound like a waste of time. Most of the Bookmarks I’ve put up are going to articles which may not have the best earning potential. I didn’t follow the 80/20 rule, had I done so I may be looking at much better results. As a rule of thumb spending your time working on the 20 percent of your work that shows promise is a better use of time; maybe I just taught myself a lesson; follow the 80/20 rule and don’t work on backlinking duds. Good luck to you all in your online residual income pursuits.
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March 11, 2010

Residual Income Report – February 2010

It’s that time again for another online residual income report. Most people who do these kinds of reports tend to do them right after the first of the month however if you’ve been following this blog for any amount of time you surely have noticed that I don’t usually fully report my residual income until at lest a good week or more into the next month.

Along these lines February came and went and It’s almost a full week and a half behind us. In the month I didn’t write too much here on the blog other than a marathon post: The Ultimate Guide To Making The Most Money Writing Online. Yeah, I know the title stinks. I couldn’t water it down. It’s like my posts, way too long. Other than that I previewed my upcoming Xomba Xomblurb experiment in which I intended on backlinking every single one of my blog posts from How To Live Long as well as some articles online. Well I can safely say that 17 days later I have hit 200 blurbs in total and if you can believe it or not my blurbs are already making more money than my InfoBarrel articles which have been aging for 2-3 months by now. Crazy! I’m really liking Xomba so far.

In addition to these articles I also previewed my research case study on the Home & Garden category at eHow specifically focusing in on long time writers there who have noticed a large drop in earnings. That experiment culminated in early March with my post Re-Examining The eHow Earnings Algorithm. Check it out if you missed it.

Needless to say my February was pretty booked because in addition to all of this I made a kamikaze run on a niche site that I started from scratch. I made a hunch on a topic getting really big by the end of February and I peaked at about 75 search visitors a day but the niche slowly fizzled and died. My site now gets about 5-10 a day and the topic is slowly fading from the news. I had my fingers crossed on that one and spent some good time setting myself to cash in on it. Too bad. For all my efforts on this one niche site I made $0.00 total. Of course the site does still exist and I do have PR on it after only 5 weeks of being live so it should be a good blog to send backlinks from later on as needed.

So how about earnings you may ask. Let me give a few details about earnings. As always I will stay slightly coy with my actual totals because I don’t feel that is information that should be public. Nobody talks about their paychecks at work; why should things be any different online.

InfoBarrel Earnings Report – February 2010

In the month of February I slowed down considerably on InfoBarrel. Mostly because I was using the site initially to send backlinks to my eHow articles. For the most part I did that plenty. By month end I had over 120 articles posted on InfoBarrel with most every one of them sending backlinks at my eHow articles and some at my blog posts.

Not only that but I continued to go back to my early IB articles and tweaked then to be more SEO friendly. To this date I haven’t yet finished tweaking them all but am satisfied with what is there. This may be a continual project of mine for when I don’t feel up to writing new content.

Anyway, as my work slowed on InfoBarrel my traffic increased as did my earnings. My stats lay below for your pleasure.

Dec 2009 - 90 posts - Earnings Per 1000 Search Visitors $14.61
Jan 2010 - 110 posts - Earnings Per 1000 Search Visitors $15.33
Feb 2010 - 121 posts - Earnings Per 1000 Search Visitors $15.84

As you can see my earnings per search visitor stat is rising every month. Also of note, though I don’t publish my amount of page views I see no problem with saying my page views have increased each month over the previous. February was in fact 6 percent higher than January despite the three days advantage January had. Not bad.

For a long time now I’ve been preaching to everyone to use InfoBarrel to backlink your eHow articles; well I still think this is the best part of IB. Because despite the nice high numbers page views there just aren’t what they are anywhere else. The domain is just not strong enough to generate lots of organic traffic without backlinks. Maybe in the future but for now the links are why the site is great.

In the future I will be placing a huge effort on sending backlinks from IB back to all my quality blog posts; this will take some time but it should bump up my post count there considerably when I get around to this task.

eHow Residual Income Report

eHow continues to be one of the hottest topics in the content site arena these days. Everyone seems to have strong opinions over eHow, their business practices, their long-term outlook for writers, their earnings algorithm. I have even gotten deeply entrenched in trying to analyze their algorithm by watching earnings trends very closely and writing about them very thoroughly here on this blog. However I don’t believe I have ever stated passionately one way or another what I believe about eHow and the merits of writing for them.

I haven’t said what I think because frankly I don’t know what I think. I know eHow is the easiest site to make money with quickly but will they be around in 5-10 years? I don’t know. Will their earnings algorithm change for the worse? I don’t know. The thing is however the same questions and answers can be said for any site you don’t own. The same can be said for Blogspot blogs by Google Blogger which I host virtually all of my blogs on.

I don’t know the answer to these questions so I continue to use them until I see evidence otherwise. The only caveat being I try to diversify. This is why I now write for eHow, InfoBarrel, Xomba, and a few Blogger Blogs. In the future I will likely experiment with Hubpages, Weebly, and Wordpress. Nobody knows what will happen to a site if you don’t own and control everything yourself. So I march on.

Getting back to my residual income from eHow in February I want to say that most of it was residual. For the most part during the month of February I was involved in projects circling around InfoBarrel, Article Marketing, Niche Blogs, and Xomba though I did add three articles to my eHow library and a fairly solid collection of backlinks to older articles there early in the month.

The earnings dip that I experienced in January by the way disappeared completed and I saw the best month ever for earnings at eHow for me in terms of raw dollars and in terms of earnings per 1000 page views. Due to the short month my page view total was fairly flat but the efficiency of those articles was very good.

My eHow earnings stats for February 2010 are below:
  • 77 published articles earned at a combined rate of $11.78 per 1,000 PV – up from $8.30 in January. Last month I stated that the $8.30/1000 PV to be a temporary dip due to the eHow UK fix. This month my thoughts were confirmed as my earnings pace rebounded to an all time high. Thank you eHow for the redirects – there I said it.
  • 80 percent of my earnings came from 22 percent of my articles – up from 19 percent in January. – Always pleased to have this number higher.
  • 20 percent of my earnings came from 36 percent of my articles – up from 38 percent in January.
  • 42 percent of my articles had no earnings at all – down from 43 percent in January. – Would be nice to see this number drop down into the 30s sometime soon.
  • Overall, 9% of my published articles have never earned a penny (7 articles). This is a slight improvement from last month. In the future I may start lifting these from the site to publish elsewhere for backlinks however this is likely going to more work than I feel is worth it.

My eHow Earnings Trends
August 2009 - $8.84 / 1000 Page Views
September 2009 - $9.76 / 1000 Page Views
October 2009 - $10.19 / 1000 Page Views
November 2009 - $10.25 / 1000 Page Views
December 2009 - $10.41 / 1000 Page Views
January 2010 - $8.30 / 1000 Page Views
February 2010 - $11.78 per 1000 Page Views

As you can see from the above stats the trend in earnings efficiency is basically improving month after month. This is (I think) due to the ad optimization. The longer your article sits online making money from Adsense the better Adsense gets at knowing which ads will convert into clicks. This is why the efficiency of earnings increases over time. It also could be due to editing articles after publication for better optimization but not in my case because I never go back to edit my articles.

Regarding Page view totals I don’t disclose these because you could simply calculate what I make and I have chosen to keep this information confidential however I will say that my page views were flat for the month over January.

Other Residual Income Streams

I’ve got a few other streams of residual income to report, most notably my main blog, How To Live A Longer Life which saw another excellent month. It wasn’t a record breaker in terms of dollars or earnings per 1000 PV but it was close. Also I earned small bits on Hubpages (I’ve got less than 10 articles there; this is not worth going into) and my niche blogs are not yet monetized for the most part. Again this is not worth delving into yet. In future months I will have to start addressing these as they will only become significant in time.

Xomba Xomblurbs
I plan on doing an entire lengthy post devoted to Xomba in the near future. Can’t say when because I’ve got some travels coming up and may not have much time online available to me for at least a week but to summarize I’ll say this.

Roughly 19 days ago I started a Xomba Xomblurb Experiment. In the past 19 days I’ve posted over 200 Xomblurbs for the sole purpose of funneling traffic through the nofollow links Xomba offers to try and get a trickle of targeted search traffic to my archived blog posts that don’t get any traffic at all. As of today, less than 3 weeks into this project Xomba is my number one source of referral traffic to my longevity blog, my number one source of referral traffic converting to earnings on my blog, and I already am making more money on the Blurbs themselves in Adsense that I make on the 120 Infobarrel articles I have up. My earning efficiency at Xomba is amazing.

Even though they only split Adsense views with you at a 50 percent clip all of the views convert better. My Xomblubs so far have the highest CTR in Adsense of any of my web properties. I fully expect this to be a good long term relationship.

Because Adsense won’t allow you to publish detailed stats I can’t say what my earnings per 1000 PV is at Xomba but let’s just say it’s more than twice as good as eHow or InfoBarrel. I definitely recommend Xomba Xomblurbs to anyone and everyone! You can sign up on your own or be kind and sign up under my referral link. If you sign up or are already a member there stay tuned for my upcoming in depth post on Xomba and How to effectively work the system.

Of Note – Upcoming Focus of this Blog
I said this in my last online residual earnings report; I don’t expect this blog to ever only be about writing blogs and content articles for money. I want to round out the concept of residual income. In the future expect a slow introduction to a wider variety of topics all relating to residual income. I plan on touching on the business side of things and what to do with the residual income we make to leverage it and turn the income into compounded residual income. This will be slow to come but it will come.

Also, these residual income reports are great and I like looking back on them as I thinks many others do as well but I am going to switch this to a quarterly report in the future. This means you can expect another one of these in a month for the 1st quarter and then one every three months thereafter. I’m sure you understand why as residual income fluctuates and a quarterly report will smooth out the results. It will also focus my efforts on making money rather than talking about what I made.

Overall Online Residual Earnings Goal

Last month I benefited from increasing revenues on my blogs to increase my residual income; this month the gains came from InfoBarrel and eHow predominantly. Due to the short month the increase in my goal was slight but it was still there. In January at was at 2.62 Percent achieved and this month I’m at 2.81 percent. – March, BTW, is on pace to blow this out of the water. I’m seeing unbelievable gains across the board. That however is another post. :)

Your comments are always welcome and appreciated.
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March 8, 2010

Re-Examining The eHow Earnings Algorithm & eHow UK

More Thoughts On eHow Earnings & Why Some People Have Experienced A Drop In eHow Earnings

I’ve touched on this project a few times over the past 10 days or so in and now it’s time to devote a bit text to what I’ve been up to. In addition to my regular regimen of adding content to my blogs (light work as of late) and my recent Xomba Xomblurb Experiment (which I also plan on writing a devoted update post on) I have also been working closely with a handful of writers on eHow who have been noticing a significant declining trend in residual income for a long time… not just over the past couple months but over the past year as a whole.

In fact my project at first involved predominantly the Home & Garden category of eHow as Demand Media recently introduced a new website to their repertoire of massive content sites which is focused squarely on the Gardening niche. It seems that in particular circles on eHow many members were becoming suspicious that eHow was somehow manipulating the category causing articles in this category to start earning less… presumably to dissuade writers from providing competition to their new site.

At first I thought this was a crazy notion but I took the project of dissecting old data and new data to formulate an objective opinion based only on what I found. Having looked at the data from multiple eHow writers in the community with experience dating back to almost two years ago and article totals nearly a couple thousand I narrowed the titles down to a manageable bunch and began crunching numbers. What I found was both surprising to me and yet still somewhat what I expected.

Based on what I was finding with many of the articles I was seeing was not that eHow was outranking Home And Garden articles with their new site, their UK site, or by any other means but that most of the articles I was looking at had at one point earned way more per month than they were now. At first I suspected this was because the article were losing ground in the SERPs which is what spawned my ultimate guide to residual income post a few days back. What I later found however was that it appeared many of the articles I was analyzing did not appear to have fallen in the SERPs due to competition from others. Surely some of them did but for the most part search ranking and organic search traffic seemed to be stable despite most of these articles not receiving a lot of backlink help.

What was surprising however was that even though search traffic didn’t seem to drop but rather remain extremely stable over the past year for the average of the articles I looked at earnings per 1000 page views did drop considerably. And considerably is taking it lightly; they dropped a ton.

But before I get into that let’s look at a couple related questions first.

What Are The Best Earning Articles On eHow?

I was recently asked about the best earning articles that writers have on eHow (this relates to any other site too) and how the article that earns the most is not necessarily the best earning article based on an earnings per 1000 page view basis. I like to separate the thought process into two concepts. The articles that earn the most per month and the articles with the highest earnings per 1000 page views. The latter essentially refers to the potential best earners while the former refers to the actual best earners.

In my spreadsheets I have a list of the top 20 percent of my articles in terms of how much money they bring in every month. I also keep a list however of the articles that show the greatest potential even if they aren’t in my top 20 percent of high earning articles. I constantly tell people to send backlinks to their best earners so that they can be even better earnings and have greater longevity and security in the search engines but I also pay close attention to my best potential articles because these articles can earn more than any of the others if I can just send enough backlinks at them.

Because these articles earn a lot per 1000 page views but don’t earn a lot every month is because they are up against tougher competition in the SERPs. By constantly sending backlinks at these over the weeks and months eventually they will climb the SERPs to start making a lot of money.

Conversely both groups of articles can fall in the SERPs if ranking is lost and when this happens you will make less money per article. In the case where you are in a weak niche and few or no backlinks still mean your article earns then that means the slightest change to the SERPs could drop you back and bring you search traffic to a grinding halt. This is important to remember because it ties into my conclusions regarding this experiment and analysis.

My Conclusions (so far) On the eHow Earnings Drop

I have some very interesting results from the analysis of the traffic and residual income from many of these articles. I touched on it above with the concept of potential earners versus actual earners. Actual earners (articles which made a lot of money month in and month out) for the entire bunch of articles analyzed (on average) earned almost half of what they did almost a year ago based on potential earnings and real earnings. This startled me because I really anticipated seeing a page view decline as the cause of the earnings slip.

As I told one of the eHow writers I’ve been working closely with this week “It's blatantly obvious that your eHow residual earnings decline has not solely been due to you falling in rankings in the SERPs. It shouldn't matter where you are in the SERPs, page views should equate into earnings at the same rate for the same article assuming all things remain equal.” Something obviously is not equal.

So here are the possibilities that I can see that might have caused a large drop in earnings:

  • eHow page views may be have been inflated throughout the summer and Fall and even recently due to eHow UK. If you ranked for eHow UK articles in the Fall you might have seen the page views tally up in your eHow account but not the earnings because the UK views didn't earn anything for you. If eHow is to believed then the redirects should restore this balance and the views should remain unchanged in the weeks coming forward but the earnings should jump back up (which I'm starting to see a lot of evidence for). Your views now should have the potential to earn even when the UK article is clicked on in the SERPs whereas they didn't in the Fall. If this is the case then that might explain why my articles have seen a remarkable increase in earnings per 1000 PV over the past 4-5 weeks; since the redirects started happening. We're talking almost a 100 percent increase for me over the last 4-5 weeks. 
  • Also possible but probably unlikely:  eHow at some point over the last year changed their template and ad placement which resulted in a new mix of ad placement. I'm sure the template has changed over the last year but it's doubtful eHow would have done this only to realize a decline in revenue per 1000 PV so great. This in my mind is very unlikely.
  • eHow changed the earnings algorithm at some point over the last 12 months to share less revenue with writers. This is very possible and likely this happens frequently to a small degree. Because they reserve the right to manage their algorithm in secret they could very well tweak it every month for all we know based on their underlying needs.  I see no problem with this as this is their business decision and we all know about it.  Having said that however making drastic changes to the algorithm is probably not a smart move and I doubt any writer would be able to notice it changing month after month.
  • Last possibility I see which also seems very unlikely is that ad revenue simply declined over the period. I highly doubt this is the case though because every site across the board would have noticed a remarkable dip in ad revenue and this just isn't the case.

Here's What I Guess Actually Happened

I believe many people were making good money on eHow up until summer last year. Around that time eHow UK was launched and some of your page views went to that site but were still tallied on your US site counter in your eHow profile. This made slight traffic declines seem much greater as a percentage of what did come to your articles actually went to a place where you couldn’t' earn for it, eHow UK. People that didn't have many (if any) quality backlinks to their US version articles at that time were hit particularly hard by the UK site. Those people who weren't hit hard probably had more backlinks built up.

In January eHow began redirecting traffic from UK articles back to US articles. For some unknown reason everyone goes through a period of next to no earnings during this phase. For me it was about 2 1/2 weeks in January. Others saw that occur in February. Most of us however are starting to see a rebound (for me that rebound is remarkable - I'll talk about this more in my next post on my February residual earnings) and I believe it's because the redirects are making our page view totals correct again, meaning the page view count we see is actually the views on articles we earn on rather than simple articles we wrote.

The Damage From eHow UK
I believe that eHow UK hurt everybody’s earnings a ton and especially those that did very little or no backlinking before the UK launch. For me; eHow UK and the earnings due to it were all I ever knew. I started at eHow in August 2009, but I backlinked from the very beginning and I saw earnings growth for the most part all the way to January 2010.  But conversely people who had seasonal articles that were not good for Fall or Winter who also had little or no quality backlinks took a huge hit by the Fall.  Some people lost hundreds of dollars every month.

My guess is that most were not adequately compensated for losses from the UK site launch with the January bonus distributions we all received (mine was about $4) but in the future most articles will soon be making what they were making before and possibly more if any backlink work has been done over the past few months. If you were to start backlinking your articles I believe most would be back to new highs very easily by May and June.  Personally my new highs are here already.  March is on pace to double my previously best month.

Good luck to you all and I hope everyone starts earning better money again.  If you want to start learning how to backlink your articles properly let me once again suggest the residual income guide I wrote about a week ago or for shorter reading I suggest you simply start an account at InfoBarrel and start baclinking your eHow articles from there.

Lastly I'd love to hear your thoughts and questions.  Add them below in the comments and we'll work our way through them.
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