Welcome to InfoBarrel!
Don't get us wrong. We love newbies. But those of us who have been on InfoBarrel for many years have seen the same questions posted over and over in the forums. Some old-timers may start to get a little prickly after answering the same question four or five times in one day, because newcomers don't think to search the forums or other articles. So here is what I hope will be your all-in-one guide to writing for InfoBarrel, Welcome, and we wish you a lot of success!
Advertising and Amazon
If you haven't signed up yet, you should!
You have Tier 1 and Tier 2 ads automatically enabled. Tier 1 is usually Adsense; Tier 2 is other advertisers.
You can use InfoBarrel even if you do not have an Adsense account.
Amazon: put your tracking code in the appropriate line under "Advertising profile." This is all you need to do.
Some General Tips on Articles
Your article must be original. This means a) you (or someone you hired) wrote it themselves and did not copy it; and b) it is not published anywhere else—not on your blog, not on another site. If you publish it elsewhere after it is accepted, it will probably be deleted from InfoBarrel.
If you are transferring an article from somewhere else, your original article and any copies must be deleted from the internet before you publish on InfoBarrel. If your original article is still published, you can file Notices of Infringement and get unauthorized copies removed. If your original article has already been deleted, it may still be possible to find an archived copy with the original date, which will prove your authorship.
You must have rights to use images. Finding an image on Google isn't enough. Using a Creative Commons image isn't enough. Not even linking back to the images is enough. If you don't understand how licensing works, it's best to use images in the public domain.
InfoBarrel writers have been extraordinarily generous in sharing their ideas and resources for writing articles. Be sure to do a search and read both articles and the forum for ideas or the answers to your questions, so the users of InfoBarrel can spend their time being genuinely helpful in other ways. In addition, be sure to read the InfoBarrel Editorial Guidelines. Understanding the guidelines will save you a lot of time and worry and prevent many article denials.
Non-fiction only, please. General motivational articles of the "you can do it!" type will not do well; neither will articles that are simply musings on some topic, or your unsupported opinion. Those articles are better suited to blogs; InfoBarrel is geared for informational articles only. Don't worry, you can learn how to write great informational articles!
Understand and follow the Terms of Service for both InfoBarrel and Adsense.
There is an InfoBarrel FAQ. While it is somewhat outdated, and InfoBarrel has changed a lot (always for the better) since its debut in 2008, there is still a lot of good information, both in the FAQ and in the comments.
Article denials and more
Your article is read and approved or denied by a real human, not automatically run through software. Therefore, it does no good to criticize the software for rejections, as there is no software. That makes you look uninformed. The human editors have a selection of reasons why a submission would be denied, and most likely, if your article is denied, you will get a canned denial response. It's still a person who reads your submission and makes the determination. Insulting the approvers in the forums is unlikely to help your case.
Common Article Denial problems
Non-contextual links: A call to action, such as "Click here to read . . ." or "Search the web for . . ." is not acceptable on InfoBarrel, even if the link leads to another article on InfoBarrel. It's also not a good idea, for several reasons: first, the search engines won't have a clue how that link is relevant to your article; second, readers may be reluctant to click on a link if they don't know what it will take them to; and third, you will never rank for the phrase "Click here." The hands-down winner for that anchor text goes to downloading the Adobe Acrobat reader!
The other possible denial reason for a non-contextual link is a link in the form of http://www.somewebsite.com. InfoBarrel rules require comprehensible anchor text. So weave your link into the text of your article. If you read this article you will see numerous examples.
Non-contextual links, but I don't even have any links: InfoBarrel rules prohibit a text reference in which an entire website address is given. So "This item is available on Amazon" is acceptable. "This item is available on Amazon.com" is not. Just get rid of the .com and your article should be approved.
Link in the first paragraph: Even if you don't have a hyperlink in the first paragraph, your article can be denied if you reference a web address, such as amazon.com, in the first paragraph. If you have short paragraphs, allow at least ten sentences before your first external link.
Not enough words, but I wrote over 400 words: You pasted your article into the summary box.
Overly promotional: You are not presenting an impartial review of a web site, product, or service, but instead promoting one like a sales document. If you write a review, make sure it is impartial. If you write about a single restaurant that gives out free food on Tuesdays, that is an advertisement. If you write about ten places to get free food in your town, that is an article that will meet InfoBarrel's quality standards.
Awkward use of English: Without going into a full explanation, you have more than two grammatical or spelling errors in your article. If you keep getting denied with this reason, and you really can't see your mistakes, it might be time to hire an editor.
Additional formatting: here are some of the most common reasons for denials in this category:
Random capitalization Of words
Failure to capitalize proper nouns
failure to start sentences with a capital letter
Paragraphs are not logical breaks
- Paragraphs that are too long
Improper (or no) use of hyphens
Improper use of apostrophes (for example, using an apostrophe when you meant a plural)
- No space or multiple spaces after periods
Title errors: Use title case for your titles. Make sure all the words in your title are spelled correctly and your grammar is perfect.
Amazon Price: $37.50 $9.57 Buy Now
(price as of Jan 11, 2016)
Self-serving links: any link that is not to a clearly neutral source, such as a government or educational site, is considered self-serving. Companies hire content writers all the time to promote their brands, and the staff at InfoBarrel have no way of determining whether you have a financial relationship with a company. So links to neutral sites will not count against you, but links to blogs, other articles, and websites for companies will.
Duplicate: Only original content that is unpublished elsewhere is allowed on InfoBarrel. Thus, an article can be original in that you wrote it, but it must not be published elsewhere on the web, either before or after you submit it here. If it is published elsewhere, it will be denied as a duplicate. Spinning an article to get it past the plagiarism checkers won't work, because a human reads your article and can detect spinning, whereas software might not.
Excess whitespace: Go through your article and look for extra spaces or returns. Extra returns often show up in text elements, as when you go through and modify your text, the returns tend not to get deleted and show up at the end.
Other Article Approval Information
How long will it take for my article to be approved: Usually a day or two, longer on weekends or holidays, or if there are hundreds of articles submitted at once.
I am preapproved, but my article went into the approval queue: There are two possible reasons. One is that you have a proscribed word in your article. In this case, it is up to the article approver whether your article will be published. The other is that you have a keyword density error, which will also send your article to be manually approved.
When do I get preapproval status: When the human editors feel you are trustworthy, you will be preapproved. Don't expect this to be before you have had a minimum of ten articles approved without any denials.
Note: Your preapproval status may be revoked, if your articles are flagged enough times for grammatical errors or violations of linking policy, InfoBarrel's Terms of Service, or other valid reasons.
Other Article Questions
Can I edit my article after I publish it? Yes, as many times as you like. It is recommended that you update your old articles from time to time. Most writers try to maintain a schedule of at least yearly updates.
What happens to my published article after I edit it? If you are preapproved, the new version will be live immediately. If you are not yet preapproved, your edited version will go into the approval queue, and your previously approved version will remain live. If your edited version is denied, your previously approved version will still remain live. Regardless, your statistics, earnings, and all the rest will remain unchanged.
I see a published article that is worse than my article that got rejected: Flag the article, and someone on InfoBarrel's staff will review it. If it does not meet InfoBarrel standards, it will be unpublished, with a note sent to the author.
How to get images in the middle of your article:
There are two methods. The first is to use an image module. Your image will be resized to take up the entire column width.
The second method is to click on the "Images" tab to the right of your editing pane, and then select the image you want, and click "insert."
How to resize an image: If you have used the "Insert" method, then click on the image once. You should see "handles" appear and you can drag the handles to resize your image.
Where to find images: If you are new to online publishing, you should probably stick to public domain images until you are sure you understand Creative Commons licensing and copyright. Add "public domain" (in quotes) to your image search. Be sure to visit the page, because the search may bring up pages that state, "This picture is not in the public domain." It is up to you to verify the status of each and every image; a friend of mine got fined $5,000 for one unauthorized use of one image.
Uploading an Image to InfoBarrel
Aligning Images in InfoBarrel
For those of you who have existing Amazon affiliate accounts, everything to do with Amazon on InfoBarrel is relatively easy. If you do not yet have an Amazon affiliate account, be aware that Amazon is deleting new accounts that do not sell anything within 90 days, so hold off on applying until you have a sizable number of articles.
You can have one Amazon element or link for each 200 words of your article. However, you can have a maximum of only two self-serving outgoing links, so the two (links and elements) are not interchangeable. In summary, if you have a product, use the Amazon Product element. If you are linking to a search page, Listmania! list, or other page, use a link.
Entering your Amazon code: Put your tracking code into the "Advertising Profile" where it asks for Amazon.
Place Amazon modules in between blocks of text: split your text into separate elements, by adding more text elements and then cutting/pasting your text into the new elements. Then add your Amazon element and move your modules around with the up and down arrows.
You can have two outgoing links to trusted sites in your article body, and another two in your signature box. Links that are to sites not of sufficient quality may be nofollowed or deleted. This policy was only recently introduced and is still being refined. If you see your links disappear, it is because the site being linked to did not meet high enough quality standards.
You can have unlimited links to other articles on InfoBarrel, including your own. This will improve the experience of your readers, as long as those links are relevant, and will earn everyone more money. Why? Just think of the last time you were on Wikipedia, and looked up from the article you were reading, and realized it's now 3 o'clock in the morning! And on every article (except those published under the InfoBarrel University category), there are more earning opportunities. So link away!
Tags: These are also known as keywords. Article tags tell search engines how to understand your content.
Article summary: the "teaser" to draw readers into your article from a search engine. Don't paste your entire article in the article summary box! Try to leave it at 150 characters or fewer.
SEO: Search Engine Optimization. Basically it means to make your article search-engine friendly.
Code Element: this is for including samples of computer code within your article. Normally your code would be executed by the browsers and not be visible. Putting your code within the code element means that it will not be executed and will appear as you intended.
The number next to your article in red, yellow, or green: This is your article score, generated by an algorithm based on a number of factors. A score of 40 or below will be displayed in a red box, and this means your article will not be visible to the search engines. A score of 41-55 will be displayed in a yellow box, and a score of 55+ will be displayed in a green box. To improve your score, consider adding images, Amazon elements (being mindful of the limit), videos, maps, references, links to other relevant InfoBarrel articles (your own or someone else's), or other relevant material. Don't worry, only you and InfoBarrel staff members can see your score.
Views/Reads: Views are the number of times someone has opened your article. Reads are longer times spent on your article page.
Backlinks: web pages linking to your article. The more, the better, as long as they are from high-quality web sites. Be sure to follow the backlinks in your Account menu: sometimes someone has copied your entire article. In that case, you need to report the page to Google if it contains Adsense, and also file a DMCA takedown request.
References: Just like all those papers in school, references show where you got your information.
The green links in my article: Yes, we know you didn't put those there. That is advertising, to help pay the bills. That income goes to InfoBarrel, and in exchange InfoBarrel writers get one of the highest ad share percentages of any content platform around.
The Feature button next to my images in the Images tab: This allows you to select which image will be used as your article thumbnail.
How Do I?
Paste an article from Word: use the little folder marked with a "W" to paste your content. Your formatting will be preserved.
Copy and paste from a word processor or Web page: Use the keyboard shortcuts rather than the mouse. Ctrl-A selects all text; Ctrl-C copies selected text; Ctrl-X cuts selected text, and Ctrl-V pastes the text. (Incidentally, Ctrl-P prints, and Ctrl-S saves.)
Get an article on the front page (feature): Featured articles are selected according to the monthly editorial calendar, although certain time-sensitive articles may go to feature immediately. Look for the "Get Featured" link in your author toolbar.
Get an Amazon module, image, or video in the middle of my article: Remember how you had to create a text element to get started? You do that some more times, then split your text into the different text element modules you just added, and cut and paste your text paragraphs into them. Add your desired image, video, map, or Amazon elements, then use the up/down arrows on the top-right-hand corner to move your new modules to your preferred order.
Pick an image to be used as the primary article image: Go to the images tab, and next to each image for your article you will see a button that says "Feature." As soon as you click the button and press Save at the bottom, your article thumbnail will be changed (if you are not preapproved, you don't have to go back through the editorial queue if that is your only change).
Use an affiliate link: make sure that your link is contextual, then simply highlight the text you want as the link, and click the "chain" icon (because there are links in a chain) and insert your link. Remember, you get only two outgoing links per article, and they must both relate to your article and be contextual.
Scroll down to the bottom of the page: If you are in edit mode, and it seems like you are stuck and can't get past a certain point, you have an edit box open in one of your modules. Find the "x" in the upper-right-hand corner, close the box, and you will be able to scroll to the bottom of the page.
Check keyword density problems without going through the approval queue: Use the "Save and Preview" function and keep editing until your Stats tab stops showing red and the box is blank except for the word count.
Publish my article: Click on "Publish" at the bottom of the editing page.
You'll see a new dropdown toolbar, then click "Save and Publish."
Your article will be either published if you have preapproval status, or be sent to the approval queue.
Cite my sources: Use the References tab (to the right of the Elements tab).
Prevent my article from being copied: Unfortunately, there is no way to prevent someone from stealing your article. However, you can be notified immediately when an article is copied, and there are ways you can partially automate filing DMCA Notices of Infringement.
Adding References to Your InfoBarrel Article
Delete a comment so the user's name shows but the comment doesn't: You will find a "Delete" option on the right-hand side of each comment.
Delete a comment thread: This will delete a single comment and all replies to it. Use the "Delete Thread" option on the right-hand side of each comment.
Change the title of my article: You can change it when you edit the article.
Change the URL of my article: Send a private message to Admin.
Transfer an article from elsewhere: First, make sure you have saved a copy of the article. Then delete it from the previous site (make sure you have traced down any unauthorized copies and they have been removed via a DMCA takedown request). Wait a few days for it to be deindexed and cleared from the search engines' cache, and then publish it on InfoBarrel. You may have to modify your article to suit the rules, which tend to be much stricter on InfoBarrel than on other sites.
Delete an article: Send a private message to Admin (the first person in your friends list) giving them the URL of the article you wish to delete.
Delete your account: Send a private message to Admin.
When you get paid: 45 days after the end of the month in which your balance reaches $50.00. Amounts less than the $50.00 threshhold are carried over to the next month.
How you get paid: Paypal.
When my article will show up in Earnings: when it earns something. Articles that show up as o.oo have earned a fraction of a cent. Don't worry, it all works out and it all carries over.
When are Earnings updated: This is a manual process, and in part depends on reporting from third-party sources. If you are a new writer, concentrate on writing articles. The earnings will catch up, we promise.
Earnings views don't match article views: Several factors play into this. First of all, InfoBarrel rotates its views with yours. Therefore, not all of the article views are your views. Second, earnings views are counted only when an article earns something. If you have a pay-per-view ad that will count towards earnings views, but if you have only pay-per-click ads, the earnings views will show up only when someone clicks on that ad. (It's against everyone's Terms of Service to request that people click on ads.) And finally, remember, updates are a manual, not an automatic process. It will catch up. Writers who joined in 2009 are still active, and they would not be still publishing at InfoBarrel if they were not being paid.
InfoBarrel Dos and Don'ts
From experience, don't use Internet Explorer. For technical reasons which are beyond the scope of this article, Internet Explorer doesn't play nicely with InfoBarrel. Use Chrome, Firefox, Safari, Opera, or another browser, instead.
Do not post a denied article in its entirety in the forum and ask for help. The search engines will see that the text was posted in the forum first, and if your article is published, the article will be seen by the search engines as duplicate content, and your article will be penalized.
Do not insult the admins, article approvers, or other users in the forums. You might need their help some day, and you will be less likely to have people eager to help you if you are unpleasant to them.
Do not hit the "post" button in the forums more than once, no matter how long it takes. InfoBarrel sometimes has surges of traffic, and the response can be slow. Like the elevator, it heard you the first time. If you repeatedly hit the "post" button, your post will show up as many times as you pressed it.
Don't obsess about the way InfoBarrel works. Don't get tied up in the approval process, or earnings, or views, or likes, or comments, or scores, or any of the multitude of distractions that come with article writing. All of those worries keep you from your main task, which is writing articles. So instead of worrying about all those things, which won't make you any money, just write more articles. Everything on InfoBarrel will make sense with time and experience.
Do search the forums and articles for the answer to your question before you post it. In all likelihood, your question has been answered dozens, if not hundreds of times.
Do have patience. Passive income is a long-term investment, not a get-rich-quick method. Rather than worrying about earnings, concentrate on publishing articles, articles, and more articles. The earnings will come. The fact that so many writers have been on InfoBarrel for many years, and are still active, shows that it works. Really, it's not a scam.
Do be specific when you post in the forums: Too many threads go on for ages in the forums because the original poster is not specific enough about the problem. Give the other users as much information as possible, because they will be able to explain your problem (and what to do about it) in hours rather than days or weeks trying to guess the solution.
Do maintain a positive attitude. Everyone (including you) will be happier for it!
Now That You Know This
You should have few, if any, problems with InfoBarrel. All of us old-timers hope that you will have a lot of success here.