March 13, 2011

Have You Ever Purchased “Money Articles”?

I always intended this blog to revolve [mostly] around my blogging and IM business. Internet publications, content writing, and money sites were always my interest from the get-go after all. Back in August 2009, my focus was eHow and my Longevity Blog but the core intent of this site has always been the same – I just didn’t think about it as Internet Marketing (IM) at the start as I didn’t realize that’s what it really was.

I also have a deep interest in finance, economics, and the investment world. My favorite econ blog is Calculated Risk, my favorite stock picker is Jim Jubak's Stocks Blog, and my favorite money blogger is probably Jonathan from My Money Blog. My wife and I have recently gotten really involved in couponing and Money Saving Mom's Coupon Blog has also been invaluable.  We seriously just had a trip to Vons where we saved over a hundred dollars using coupons - total savings was around 70 percent off the bill!  Awesome!

I've toyed with starting a blog in this broad field for a while but lately I've been finding that owning money articles, niche sites, and revenue generating blogs really is an investment just like buying share of stocks, bonds and real estate or anything else is. We basically invest our time to create a revenue generating asset – a web page or website.  There is risk involved but that risk can be effectively managed with various types of due diligence and market analysis.

So if investing our time in building these assets is so normal is it really that far-fetched to think of buying money articles from freelance writers is a similar activity to buying other revenue generating assets from people and institutions? I can buy an interest bearing savings bond. I can buy a dividend paying stock. I can invest in a rental property or own shares in a REIT. All of these investments are simple ways of quickly owning an asset that generates income. Why not online too.

My Experience “Investing” in “Money Articles”
Back in December 2010 I identified 18 keywords which I felt would be good revenue producing articles if they were written with good on-page SEO in mind. I can easily write 18 articles myself but it’s much faster for me to identify 18 keywords and pay someone else to write them for me. I average a 400 word article in 10 minutes so 18 articles would “cost” me 180 minutes – or 3 hours of my time.

In this experiment I paid freelance writers $108 ($6 each) to write these 18 400-word articles for me. My time was limited to about 10 min to place the order and about 30 minutes to publish the articles after they were delivered. This valued my time at: $108 investment to save 140 minutes worth of my time or $46.28 per hour. I think that’s fair - it certainly values my time as a professional but doesn’t make me look ridiculously more important that I really am.

Anyway, I figured these articles would make some money if I write them I just wanted to see if they would make money if someone else wrote them. Well, they were published all on the same site at roughly the same time and I didn’t even start tracking them as a group until the 1st of February. It’s also worth noting that I didn't send a single backlink to any of the 18 articles – not one.

In February the group of 18 articles made $6.90 meaning they were projected to have a full 100 percent return on investment in 15.7 months giving me a rough annual yield on investment of 77 percent. That sure seems better than any other investment I’ve ever purchased.

I don’t know what these 18 articles made in December or January because I wasn't tracking them but I know they are earning even more in March ($6.84 so far) and it’s only the 13th of the month so my actual results will probably be a bit better than a 77 percent yield.

Your Experiences
Have you ever purchased “money articles”? I have and I will be doing more of it. The trick is to know what keywords to target, have a good place to publish them, and make sure they are well written.  From a long term perspective it's probably best to invest in better writers and better material too.

I’ve been fine spending my time producing money generating assets over the past two years, I’m suggesting however that investing my money instead may be better for the long term as time is a valuable resource that I don’t want to waste if I don’t have to.

I’d be curious to hear your thoughts on the topic. Fire away.

Share This!


  1. Hey Brian,

    I've been thinking about outsourcing for my own niche sites (since I simply don't have enough time each day to get everything that I want to do done, and writing is a MAJOR time eater). I probably will eventually hire other writers to write content for some of my niche sites (NOT my main blog) in addition to my own content on a regular basis until I'm satisfied with the turn my niche sites are taking.

    I don't think there's any shame in hiring a writer to simply help you out when you have a lack of time on your hands, and I believe outsourcing is something every entrepreneur should consider to speed up growth and make progress. However, I worry that your rates are a bit low.

    I mean, freelance writers at Demand Studios (a major content farm in the industry) get paid more than that (an average of about $15 per 500 word article or so), and writers even there complain that the pay is way too low (most professionals get paid well above $50). And, being a freelance writer myself (and getting paid for my own work), writing for $6 an article is something either a desperate or inexperienced writer would do.

    I guess it's alright if you don't have many requirements and accept most articles written without asking for changes here and there, but, even then, I think it's still on the low side.

    Those are only my thoughts - I understand you might have a different mindset. And in no way am I asking you to reduce your charges (that is for you, and only you, to determine - many others in your position are also charging as much), nor will my opinion of you change if you decide to disregard this comment completely (you're still awesome - don't let anyone tell you differently!). I'm just simply expressing my friendly opinion. :)

    Anyway, when I do outsource, I'm probably going to charge on a monthly basis - and it will most likely be for part-time work (so as not to become completely broke before I even get started). I still have to work things out (planning and so on), but I'm guessing I'm going to start outsourcing pretty soon and save a portion of my monthly income especially for reinvesting in my business.


  2. Thanks for your thoughts Christina, deep down I really do fall closer to your opinion than some others who want to buy articles for less and less - but when you are buying them you have to weigh your costs.

    The higher quality the site the better quality material I want to buy however the more I pay for material the more confident I have to be in the ROI of the purchase - it's a balancing act.

    I know some people will write what they consider to be the best stuff they can and they try their best to get the on-page SEO right but they still cant get much revenue for their efforts, these people would probably fare even worse at outsourcing because their ROI would fall so low.

    In the end it's about knowing what topics to target and how to monetize them best. In the long run I wouldn't mind paying $20 for an awesome article, I think this kind of great material is best for long run investments but until cash flow is high enough to do this you (I) have to balance the investment based on relatively short term returns.

    I do plan on doing more of this in the future but probably not en mass for a while yet.

  3. I love your slant on this... I meant to comment on it a few days ago, but the comments weren't working...

    (On a side note, thanks for fixing this, I saw your post about it, I'm sure I'll browse over there in a few minutes)

    But back to your post:

    I really like your approach here. As a freelancer myself, it's often hard to justify spending money on something I can do myself. Yet when I sit back and really think about it, $5-$10 for a decent article with in-text SEO is probably an amazing investment in both time and money. How many stocks pay dividends that literally pay for themselves within a year or two? Not many (if any at all). How many real estate investors make enough net profit on rent to zero out their initial investment in that time?...

    So from an investment standpoint, it's a really solid ideal.

    And from the time standpoint... let's just say I'm still struggling with the concept that my time is worth more than it cost to have an article written. However, a few years ago I saw the value in having a mechanic change my oil, even though I always did it myself - I realized that spending 15 minutes under my car, getting my fingernails crammed with grease and letting dirty oil roll down my sleeves wasn't worth the $10 difference between the shop costs and my own.

    Anyway, I'm getting closer to taking the jump myself. And your post really helped me "see the light."

  4. @Lee - it is interesting how we all see the value in paying someone to do the dirty work for when we can do it ourselves when it comes to offline stuff but many people struggle with paying someone to do the "dirty work" online. What I see as the problem for many people is that they can't forecast the ROI of an investment in the online world therefor they don't know how to invest online efficiently.

    One great way to do it efficiently is to look in your analytics and identify keywords that already drive traffic to some of your sites or articles and then pay a freelancer to write another article on those keywords. You already know that they drive traffic and that that traffic converts so you should be able to estimate that buying articles on that those keywords should be a good investment.

    I'm still only doing a little of this myself but there is no doubt in my mind that it is worth it. Glad to hear that this resonates with you.


Powered By Blogger · Designed By Seo Blogger Templates
Content Owned By Brian Chezfat of | Privacy Policy | © 2009-2014