A Year in Review
It's been 1 year since I started writing for IB: 875 articles, 1600+ forum posts, and a modest amount of money later I'd like to say that this website and it's community is absolutely amazing and I love being here. IB has provided me with a nice income stream I couldn't have created in the offline world. It's been a wonderful learning experience, largely thanks to the forums here, and I never would have envisioned my first online, money making endeavor would be as successful as it has been.
Last year I created about 850 articles between September 6th and Feb 2nd (bookends of 2 vacations, the latter paid for with IB earnings) and made many great friends here. Despite my persistent arm injury, I'm pleased to announce I'm coming out of retirement to crash the servers with new content submissions for the 2011-12 season.
IB is well positioned in the post-panda (Google) world to become the leading article publishing website. I'm a huge fan of the guidelines and requirements that protect everybody's hard work. While I'm not basing any projections on income rates going up, it's nice knowing the investments I have made are as protected as possible.
A Year of Learning (This is the tips section, so if you skip everything else, don't miss this!)
Keyword research is the most important aspect of having success writing online. I consider examining the strength of your competition to be the single most important factor, as any article that doesn't get ranked highly isn't getting traffic and isn't earning even if your CTR is 100%.
People know far more than I do. Ask a ton of questions. Be borderline annoying in doing so. I'm constantly amazed how good the people here are at what they do and I strive for their level of excellence.
Always share what you've learned with others. IB is successful largely because of the strong, helpful community. It's also immensely rewarding to see someone else "get it" and achieve success.
Be brutally honest with yourself about strengths and weaknesses, and create a strategy that utilizes the strengths. I'm a wizard with keywords, and hopeless at all things promotion. I have a great understanding of on-page SEO (though I'm lazy with it most of the time), and hopeless at all things promotion. I'm excellent at outsourcing and getting great work done for bargain prices while building strong relationships with my contractors. And I'm absolutely, completely hopeless at all things promotion. My resulting strategy is therefore: a massive amount of articles that receive no promotion...
Some well-planned, well-researched niches won't pan out. It's not a big deal, move to the next one.
Keep doing more of what works. I usually write articles in groups of 10 within any given niche. But in some niches I have more than 50 articles. There might be a reason for this...
Using work-rest cycles is critical. I can't, for instance, publish 30 articles every day. But I can publish 100 article a couple times a week. Batching is also important: I save all my articles to draft. Then write titles and publish.
Team AJWalton 2011-2012 Season Goals
You may also know I love overdoing things (the "R" in RSI...). Keeping in line with this, my goals are predictably not-the-least-bit-modest.
IB Articles: 2035 new, 3000 total (I currently have 90 articles unpublished from January, making my current total 965 and 30 charity)
HP Articles: 2989 new, 3000 total. Using an incredible amount of Google Analytics data from my IB articles, I should have little problem choosing highly profitable niches in which to create content over at HP. While I prefer things here, my assets are not diversified at all, a situation I'm going to rectify.
Niche Sites: 100 total. In January I'm going to grab some VPS hosting and pound these out. I like my odds of success given the amount of analytics data I have.
1 Authority Site: Currently in the works. This is something special and the plan is in place, but I need either more resources in the form of monthly income, or to be in better physical shape to carry it out, so things will progress slowly for now.
Roughly 5000 articles is only 13-14 per day which is easy enough to outsource, and I hope to do it much more quickly. For interest's sake, I tend to make whatever money I've invested back in about 100 days - or a 365% yearly ROI. This figure improve slightly over time as it takes articles a while to rank. So if you're looking to increase the number of articles you have I would definitely consider reinvesting your profits and see if it works for you!
This means I'm going to have to do more keyword research, as my list of 2700 won't cover all the new topics I need. I'm actually looking forward to this immensely, because I love Market Samurai, numbers, and data (shameless affiliate link - I've saved 100s of hours with it and you should too).
My Earnings Shot-in-the-Dark
Last year I wrote an article about how to earn a 6-figure income solely through articles (http://www.infobarrel.com/Earning_a_Six-Digit_Income_Writing_for_InfoBarrel_-_A_365_Day_Plan_of_Action). By next September, this is the amount I intend and expect to be making barring a Google catastrophy. My income projections have been fairly accurate to date, except in December where I overestimated.
This requires a combination of quantity and quality: many articles each earning at a high rate. But to earn the requisite $8333.33/month, I would only need to average $1.39 per article per month. Many of the writers who write-for-money here do much better than that including chezfat, jcmayer777, and Travis and $1 per article per month seems like a standard benchmark that people meet.
I have no idea what I'll earn from the niche sites, and assuming $0.
The only real question is whether my body can meet the demand. I have they keyword data, article templates, outsourcing skills, and revenue to invest in order to be successful. And really, even if I'm off by 50%, I won't be disappointed.
My ultimate goal with this project (beyond the articles to the niche sites etc.) is to build 1 school or library per month through Room to Read and travel to the locations in which it's happening. Financial freedom too, but I see financial freedom as a means to greater ends. I have a selfish goal as well though: Go to athletic and medical specialists the world over until I find a way to fix my arm issues so I can play guitar again.
Thanks for all the support thus far!
Here's to another great year.