Everybody seems to love our InfoBarrel success story series, why wouldn't you? Reading about successful people does nothing but motivate you to push yourself harder and try to walk in their foot steps. This month, instead of focusing completely on financial success, we want to show off people who are having success on InfoBarrel as a whole. People who are pushing the envelope on creating engaging content and who are continuously showing up on the front page of InfoBarrel as featured content.
You know this month's writer as the witty and entertaining Private Investigator Vic Dillinger!
Hi, kids – it’s me, your friendly neighborhood anarchist. The wizened sages of InfoBarrel have asked Yours Truly to be a feature in their “success” stories series. I pointed out I’m not a success (since I’m not making the $73,264.29 US per month that jcmayer777 is earning using his magic LSI skills, reading of animal entrails, and consultation with the Oracle at Delphi). But the gentlemen at IB kindly retorted that perhaps there are differing levels of success.
Wow, I said to myself, how could they possibly know of my stellar, phenomenal success in bagging babes?
Then, I realized they were talking about writing. Ahh…so in that spirit, here’s my take on writing, InfoBarrel, features, and the female “organism”.
Tell us a little bit about yourself
Although you wouldn’t know it from my third-grade maturity level, I am 49 years old. I was born and spent my formative years in The Second City (that’s Chicago). I am a college graduate, with a degree in mathematics and physics.
I worked in a funeral home for the last year-and-half of high school, was a land surveying technician after college, and then got involved in the world of private investigations for about nine years. [No, I did not do the lowlife “domestic” investigations – if your husband or wife was cheating on you, too bad. You could not have paid me enough to lower myself to the level of that horrendous TV show, “Cheaters”.] In more recent years I was the Manager of Distribution for Tempur-Pedic (about 7 years), and was a purchaser for an industry in central Missouri.
Since I’ve raised the subject before, I’ve been married and divorced twice (currently single: 5’11”, 175 pounds, brown hair, brown eyes – call me). I have a 7-year-old daughter named Jillian (named after great TV babe, Gillian Anderson, a/k/a/ Special Agent Dana Scully of The X Files) who lives in another state with my second ex-wife.
Baklava is the food of the gods, in case you didn’t know. I am primarily a vegetarian (although I’m sorry, veggies, I occasionally love good Italian salami, and you’d have to pry calamari from my cold dead hands.). It’s the vegetarian that makes me lean toward a preference for Middle Eastern, Thai, and Indian food as favorites.
Everything on my profile page is true – I love bunnies and Latinas (especially Mexican women), but I’m not so selective that I don’t recognize the other flavors from time to time. I also care about the forgotten, and I try to bring them back to life, at least for a little while.
What kind of hobbies do you have, and what are you interested in?
I play guitar (badly), I write (natch), I read a lot, I love long walks on the beach with a sling-shot to plug gulls… ummm…what else? Oh, yeah, I paint in watercolors and draw with pastels. I like tinkering with nuclear waste.
How did you originally get involved with InfoBarrel?
Web material was a frustration for me – people couldn’t write, had no clue how to construct a sentence, or even how to engage a reader. It never occurred to me, though, that I could be writing on the Web as well. A discussion with IB writer sound_foundation changed that. I’d never heard of IB, or had any clue what ad share was about. All I knew was it was a chance to write, get some material out, and make a few bucks in the process. So, I signed up under his referral i.d., and here I am.
What has kept you around? What are the benefits you get from IB?
The quality of the work allowed on this site is what has kept me around. In the wake of an early article I’d written about Brooke Shields, a representative of Xomba tracked me down via Facebook. She had read the piece and invited me to write on their site. I’d never heard of Xomba, but I took a look anyway. Simply put, I decided to stay where I was.
The biggest benefit from IB is intangible: it does not appeal to the lowest common denominator. It has not become eHow or a scraper site. People who are not in it for the long-haul drop away quickly enough – the chaff separates itself from the wheat. I have seen some very esoteric topics and articles written on the site, the sort of thing not presented elsewhere. I’ve seen some very good mid-level material as well. It’s very rare that I see anything spectacularly bad (although it does happen). Ultimately, I would like to see this site carry the same authority as, say, Wikipedia in terms of the veracity and quality of the information posted.
You've been featured on the home page many times, what do you attribute this to?
I’m as serious as cancer about writing, even when I’m fooling around (as with the “Mad Love” or “Epic Fail” series). “Featured” material should always be “A-game” writing – submissions for consideration should be the absolute best you can do on that topic, not a mere swipe.
The “features” section is probably the biggest motivator for me on IB. As a vindication and validation of what I spend hours slaving over, it is priceless. The articles I write truly are a labor of love – although I am finally making money daily on my body of work, the maturation process took over nine months. In the intervening year since I started, “The Front Page” has made a huge difference for me in views, clicks, exposure, and credibility.
I’m a random reader; I think the average Web surfer/browser is, too. Front page is immediate attention. Introspective has the dubious distinction of receiving my very first comment on an IB article for her featured piece about the political backdrop of The Wizard of Oz. It was brilliant – it had a different spin, and was just plain good. It was that piece probably more than any other that let me know I could write here. It also made me want that feature spot, as well.
I only write about things I’d want to read myself, or that I think others should re-examine or think about in a different way. I’ll never write a product review or a “how to” – in addition to being informed on a subject, I also want to be entertained, and those (for me) fail miserably in the latter requirement.
I don’t promote my work, and I do almost no keyword research (it is very rare—occasionally when I’m trying to maximize exposure in an article’s title I’ll do it, but not often). I do backlink my material to other relevant things I’ve done; the importance of that cannot be overstated, Ernie.
I don’t write to the contest topics. I write what I was going to write anyway, and if there is a category it fits, the piece will be submitted for that day’s featured topic. The material I wrote in December 2011, for example, had very few qualifiers for January’s contests (though I did hit it a few times in January).
What I will do is mentally carry a list in my head of pieces I’m either working on or developing as ideas. There are many subjects upon which I will never write because they are out of my milieu, except in a general sense (for example, I would never even think about competing with brlamc or Wesman_Todd_Shaw on a review of a specific guitar, although I have written about Les Paul and his first electric, “The Log”). If I see something in the contest that I can write about without prostituting myself, or sacrificing my integrity, or straining my milk to do it, I’ll write it, if and only if it was an idea I already had in development or is so engaging a topic that I will drop everything else to write about it (as in my discovery of French singer, France Gall).
I treat everything I write as if it is going into Smithsonian, Time, or any other outlet with well-researched, quality material. I have to believe it’s that level of due diligence that’s getting the front page.
What advice do you have for new members?
The first thing to do is read. Familiarize yourself with the quality of work presented here. Think about how you’re going to achieve that. Writing good enough for “Picture Pages” or “Blogs ’r’ Us” may not be good enough for IB.
Don’t bother blowing up the forums when you first sign up. We don’t know you, we don’t know your style, and we don’t care that you like puppies, unicorns, Smurfs, and rainbows. Also, IB is not MySpace or Facebook; we don’t have time for “lolz cats” or worrying about what Justin Bieber will do now that he’s going to be a daddy. The writers here are pretty serious about writing.
Do read the forums, especially on topics near and dear to you. Digest what you have read; publish a few articles so we all have a body of work against which to make reference. Then introduce yourself. It is of no value to blast out onto the forums telling us what a great writer you are when we have seen nothing yet. Don’t talk about how great you’re gonna be – prove it! Shut your pie hole and write.
When you do use the forums for help, there are thousands of people here who will come to your aid. This community is perhaps the least abrasive and the most helpful of any Web site I’ve seen.
But, you must be clear about what your problem is – proper communication is essential. Don’t be vague or coy. If you have an article rejected, and want to understand why, we need information. Rejected articles cannot be seen by any of us – tell us what it’s about, tell us where you think the problem lies.
If someone, upon invitation on a forum, critiques your work less favorably than you’d like, you don’t get to be a crybaby about it. Accept their input like a big boy or big girl, take an objective look, and then ask yourself if the article in question was truly your best effort. Make corrections as needed – the ability to “edit” things already published is one of this site’s best features.
Don’t come to IB and make your first article a “how to” about making a million dollars on IB, or how you’ll change the world on IB, or how you can write X number of articles on IB. Sucking up to admin gets you nowhere – they’re bull-puckey detectors are just as good as mine, and we’ll all know you’re a joke. Everything that could have been written constructively about the site has been done – and better – than you, a newbie, could possibly do by veterans of the site (x3xsolxdierx3x, jcmayer777, JadeDragon, et al).
You may write something controversial, either intentionally or otherwise, but agitation for its own sake is pointless. Don’t waste your time writing prurient or overtly “sensational” material, either. For example, writing an article called “How to Give a Woman an Organism” (that’s my way to get around the censors – you know what I mean) makes you an idiot. It may get you a lot of reads from 30-year-old virgin males who still live in their parents’ basements, but you’re still an idiot. For starters, no one “gives” any woman an organism. She does that herself, you’re just a facilitator. And if you’re bad at “facilitating”, you will break your back and every other bone in your body trying, and it still will not happen if her head is not in it. Don’t waste your reader’s time or intelligence. Appealing to what you think is cute or “sexy” won’t work here. I’ll know you’re a short-bus rider, and so will admin.
Finally, do not despair. Discouragement will kill any drive you have. This is not a site for overnight sensations or overnight millions. Keep writing, hone your skills, and build. The money comes in time.
Your content gets a lot of comments and has really great interaction, what do you recommend other writers do to get more interaction in their content?
The first thing to do is acknowledge that someone left a comment on one of your articles. Someone has invested his/her time in reading your material (and the way I write, anybody reading my stuff better pack a lunch). That person also spent additional effort, however small, in letting you know he/she was there. This acknowledgement may be nothing more than going back under the “reply” button, and saying “thank you”. Without readers you are nothing; do your best to catch comments and respond appropriately.
Secondly, pay attention to the type of comments. Sometimes people offer additional information, or they ask questions. Follow up, if necessary. Comments left on others’ articles are also a great source of inspiration. Terrific story ideas can come from there. I “stole” accused child killer Martha Rendell from JudyE (with her permission and knowledge) from an excellent two-parter she did about the Fremantle Cemetery in Western Australia. Another windfall came from the comment dialogue on an article ddraig (Emma, my favorite Welsh witch after Rhiannon) wrote about a Welsh village swallowed up in a reservoir. The comments and additional input on her piece from other readers led me to write an article called “Vanished Villages”.
Finally, if you do find inspiration in another writer’s material, acknowledge that. If you see an article of someone else’s you think might be good for further reading on what you’re writing, include a backlink from your article to that other author’s work (I always ask first, because my style may not be for everybody. Muslim IBer’s, for example, may not want me to include a backlink to something of theirs if my article is extolling the virtues of a ham sandwich).
What would you do if you won the lottery?
You know those people who say, “I’ll still keep my job”? What a crock! I’d keep my job all right – I’d show up around two o’clock in the afternoon, drunk. I’d ask, “OK, so whatta ya gonna do, ‘boss’? Fire me?”
If I won the lottery, dependent upon how much cash I had after Unky Sam got hold of his “fair” share (probably about half in that bracket), I’d likely just continue writing (seriously, the money would be irrelevant, but I like what I’m doing). I’d probably move closer to my daughter so I could see her more often. Oh, yeah, I’d ask Sofia Vergara to marry me (I’d ask Salma Hayek, but her current hubby is a billionaire, and my paltry $20 million in lottery winnings couldn’t compete with that).
Almost two years ago, in February 2010, we ran a story on JCMayer777 and all the success he was having with InfoBarrel. InfoBarrel has changed since then, we've launched InfoBarrel 2.0 and we've survived through a number of Google Algorithm changes. What matters is that we've come out on top and we're happy with what we've accomplished.
Not only has InfoBarrel grown since February 2010, but so has JCMayer777 and his success with InfoBarrel. Back in early 2010, Jason was striving to hit $1000 per month. Two years later and he has made that look like child's play. In this interview not only will Jason tell you how far he has come since we last spoke, he will also share some of his valuable knowledge which I can only hope will help take other InfoBarrel writers to the next level.
It has been a little bit since our last interview, how have things been since?
Everything has been going pretty well. I have my health, as do my kids. Probably cannot ask for much more than that. I do have a few planned changes that I’m checking out right now.
I’m looking at buying a new house this winter or early spring. Right now, that’s one of my main focuses. I’m pretty picky about what I want, so it’s tough to say how long it will take to find the right one. I have a general location where I want to be within my hometown, so it’s just a matter of the right one popping up on the market.
I still work a fulltime job as a jail guard, primarily because of health insurance, but I actually make more online now than I do offline, even when I work overtime. Plus, I’ve kind of become accustomed to the level of income I’m making now between both sources, so I’ll probably hold off on quitting my “regular” job even when the income goes up enough to support my lifestyle and pay for health insurance. I only write on the side now and although I love it, I don’t know if I’d want to commit to doing it fulltime.
We know you've been having a lot of success here on IB, what is the most you've made?
My best month so far was right around $2,800, which happened in November, 2011. The vast majority of my earnings come from AdSense, but Chitika and Amazon earnings are starting to pick up.
As odd as it may sound, I actually left a lot of money on the table. It wasn’t until the beginning of that month that I actually got around to creating some Amazon links for affiliate income. Granted, many of my articles aren’t really conducive to Amazon, but there’s no doubt that I could have made more. I have to suspect I could have made over $3,000 on InfoBarrel if I had taken the time.
Even just now, as I’m thinking about it, I just cannot believe it. Just a few years back I would have loved to make $2,800 per month and now I’m making that on InfoBarrel in my spare time. There was a time, early on in my InfoBarrel career, that I wrote a lot and spent tons of time on it, but now, it’s blossoming on its own, without me doing much to help. I guess that’s what passive income is really about.
When you break that total down, it works out to about $6 per article, per month. In a year, that’s $72 and after 4 years it’s $288 from each article. The old cliché applies – it’s a marathon, not a sprint.
Have you changed any of your strategies since the last interview? If so, what are you doing differently?
I haven’t made giant changes, but I have made some. I’ve stated in the past, both on my earning reports and on the InfoBarrel forums, that I feel a writer needs to focus on SEO. Not the SEO of today, but what’s coming down the road. If you can stay one step ahead of the game, I don’t think you have to work nearly as hard to get the results you desire.
One of the main changes I’ve made is the way I optimize my articles on the page. In the past, on-page SEO was mostly about density and repetition in the proper quantity. I wrote the bulk of my articles with this philosophy. I actually used a smaller density percentage than recommended by most gurus and used synonyms and LSI words liberally throughout the article. I’ve altered that a little. I think this helped me survive and flourish after the Panda updates that killed the earnings of so many authors.
These days, I don’t worry about the density nearly as much as I do about synonyms and LSI. It seems to be paying off, so I cannot complain too much. My earnings reports of the last few months have had some tips in them that state what I’ve been doing to earn money on InfoBarrel.
How do you decide what to write?
I love keywords. I really feel choosing the right keyword for an article is one of the easiest ways to succeed with online writing. While there are probably fewer untapped niches today than there were three years ago when I started making money online, there are still plenty, if you can find them. I’m not going to give away all my secrets, but I’ll give you a little background insight into how I select the right keywords.
When I started out about 3 years back, I wanted to find a way to determine what keywords were the best to use. I used a free keyword tool at that time and started to record and track scores for them, whenever I found one that appealed to me. It became pretty apparent to me that I could take a somewhat scientific approach to the selection.
I designed a sliding scale ratio over time. I would record the score from each set of keywords onto paper and then check Google search results for the same keywords. I kept the keywords separated by length and gave preference to longer strings of keywords. In other words, I had a list of keywords that were 3 words long, 4 words long, 5 words long, etc. I would take the keyword tool score and the Google search results and turn them into a ratio. If the Google search results were 300,000 and the keyword tool score was 300 for that string of keywords, I’d divide them out and it would be 1,000 to 1. I’d write on the lower ratios and skip the higher ones, after applying some additional filters. Eventually, I came up with ratio guidelines that had the best potential.
Now, I mentioned that I gave preference to longer strings of keywords. I would add about 50% to the acceptable ratio for the addition of each keyword in the string. So, if a 3 keyword string needed a ratio of 1,000 to 1 to have proper potential, a 4 word string could be 1,500 to 1, and a 5 word string could be 2,250 to 1, etc. I played around with other keyword tools and found that as long as I compared ratios always using the same keyword tool and only those from Google results, I could quickly come up with what would be acceptable ratios. The ratios of course changed, since different keyword tools gave different scores to keywords, but the point was that the lower the ratio, the better potential. The key is to always use the same tool and always use the same search engine results. After that, it’s easy to develop the ratios.
I also mentioned that I had a few filters. I’d check Google results and see if the first page had any plain-jane blogs listed or other revenue sharing sites. If there were eHow, HubPages, or other revenue sharing sites there, I tried to beat them. I’d also use the allintitle: command on Google. If there were a ton of results that showed up, but very few on the front page, I’d generally skip it. Sometimes I’d get a little full of myself and decide I could beat out everyone, but...
While I use paid keywords tools now, I know for a fact this method still works. I’m putting all this out there in hopes that some people will give it a try and see some results. I’d like to also suggest that people explore keyword tools that don’t generate their results from Google’s keyword tool, which everyone else uses. I think you’ll be surprised by the results. My best earning article made well over $350 just in November, but it shows a zero for search results in their keyword tool. This is far from the only one that earns well for that shows nothing or almost nothing on their tool.
A couple other little tips I’d give to people about keywords: You are only measuring potential. A keyword can look like the greatest thing ever, but still never produce. The 80/20 rule still applies. You also have to use strong SEO to ensure you rank well. Take the time to study up on SEO.
You talk a lot about LSI on the forums, do you have any pointers you'd like to share?
As you know, I wrote and ebook course with x3xsolxdierx3x (Howie) called InfoBarrel Success. One of the courses deals specifically with Latent Semantic Indexing and Analysis (LSI, LSA). In my opinion, this is the future of the online writing world. Before too long, things like keyword density will mean absolutely nothing.
I wrote about this as a tip to authors one my InfoBarrel earning reports. It’s actually much more involved than what I wrote, but it gives out the basics. I’ll just copy and paste that here, since it’s pretty straightforward and I really don’t want to write it all over again.
How to LSI’ify
LSI isn’t really an internet term. It’s been around for decades and predates the internet. It all boils down to mathematics called singular value decomposition (SVD). In written text, you are more likely to see certain words that correlate with each other. This is especially important since some words are spelled the same, but have different meanings. Is an apple a fruit or a brand of computer? If you use LSI words in your articles, the search engines will know the difference (and the ads will match more appropriately).
If you were to give all the information you knew about a topic you were knowledgeable in, there would be certain things you would be likely to type out for the reader. In this example, we are going to assume you are writing an article about some type of charity.
LSI words are words that are somewhat related to the main topic. They are not synonyms. Think about “charity” carefully. If you were well-versed on charity and were to sit down and tell someone everything you know about them, what types of words would likely be uttered? Let’s make a list for illustration purposes.
- Charitable organization
- Nonprofit organization
- Tax deductible
- Worthy cause
- Financial help
- Less fortunate
This is quite literally what just entered my mind as I typed. All of these words are related to the basic theme of “charity.”
LSI’ified (yes, I'm just making that word up) articles will generally have most of these words in them, because they all relate to the basic theme of charity. If you include several of these in your articles and make it pretty natural for the reader, there’s a good chance you’ll rank much better.
Now, you are not likely just to title an article “charity” and you should think about what you’re writing. Some other possible words, depending on what type of charity article you were writing would include: hunger, starving, Africa, third world, etc. Take the title and the basic theme of the article and come up with your lists accordingly.
Personally, I would suggest you type out a quick list, just as I did above for the first several articles you write like this. It will help you find ways to include them in your articles. Once you do it a few times, you should be able to think of most of them on the fly.
What other tips do you have for other writers on the site?
The most important step in writing online for money is studying. I have to suspect it’s the most commonly skipped step. Study search engine optimization, latent semantic indexing, and keyword selection. It might make you feel like you’re not being productive, but from experience, I can assure you, it’s the most productive time you will spend during your entire InfoBarrel writing endeavors. I’ve gotten to the point, through studying and analyzing, where applying SEO/LSI to my articles are second nature and take no more time, yet yield much better results. I have a choice now; I can write 5 articles without regard to SEO and LSI, or I can write 1 and get the same results. That’s productivity.
There are awesome threads on the InfoBarrel forum. The consolidated one tip thread, the free keyword tools thread, and a bunch of others are all great to read. Read through them and you’re bound to learn a great deal. Also, don’t be afraid to ask for help on the forums. The InfoBarrel community is somewhat smaller than other sites, but it’s the most friendly, helpful forum I’ve ever seen. Ask questions and you’ll find a lot of us willing and able to help.
I’d also suggest people work to accomplish their goals on InfoBarrel. If the idea is to make money, go for it. If the money isn’t a primary concern and you just want to share your knowledge, this is a great place to do it. If you are looking for nothing more than a place to write a little and meet some new efriends, you’ll find them here. Whatever the goals are, it’s up to you to make them.
I’m getting awfully long-winded here, so I’ll finish up by suggesting writers emulate some of the others on the site.
For Productivity: Sookie and Ernie are the first two that come to mind. I don’t know how those two find the time to write so much. Although I haven’t heard much from either lately, I have to suspect they are both taking a well-deserved break.
Quality Writing: The first two that come to mind are Classicalgeek and a newer member, Vicdillinger. Classicalgeek’s work is always error-free and full of accurate, relevant information. Vicdillinger’s articles are among the most entertaining and unique you’ll ever read. Both of them are absolutely outstanding.
For Giving Back: X3xsolxdierx3X is the most generous and committed of all the writers here, in my opinion. He’s incredibly active on the forum boards and is more than willing to help out anyone. He’s currently in Afghanistan, but finds a little time to hit the boards. Another few are mommymommymommy (I don’t know how she finds the time), Deborah-Diane, DPeach, and JadeDragon, who gives out great advice on the threads. A newcomer that always seems willing to help is Skeffling.
What is your long term goal for IB and how long do you think it will take to achieve?
It’s winter, I live in Wisconsin and I hate the cold, so I pretty much hunker down and turn into a hermit for about 5 months. This is when I’ll work to achieve my long term goals.
Goal #1 is simply to crack the $3,000 barrier for a single month. I don’t know if it’s going to happen in December or not and things slow down a little the following months, so I’m not sure exactly how long it will take. If I can stay committed to writing during the cold winter months, I’ll have a shot to make it. As you can see through my profile, I pretty much took the summer months off. This truly is a spare time thing for me, despite the fulltime income, and I intend to keep it that way during the summer. There’s only so much time to spend out on the four wheelers with the kids, so IB has to take a backseat. Then again, that’s the beauty of this type of site; it can take a backseat and I can continue to earn.
Goal #2 is to eventually hit $5,000 per month on InfoBarrel. Three years ago, I would have thought it an unrealistic dream. Of course, now I know it’s perfectly attainable. Since it’s a spare time deal for me, I think it’s about two years away.
Those are my financial goals. Beyond that, I’d simply like to make some new friends and enjoy myself.
Looking for a little motivation to get your butt in gear and start sharing all the amazing information you have stored inside your head? Read the following interview with one of our long term InfoBarrel writers. The following writer is not only an amazing person, but she radiates the qualities writers should strive for. She is an amazing success story, because she proves that if you just do a little each day you will amount to big things over the long run. Sookie proves that consistency is king (or possibly queen in this case) and to achieve success you just need to follow in her foot steps.
Hey Sookie, Tell us a little bit about yourself?
Well, my real name is Diane, and I live in the rural countryside north of Toronto, Ontario. I have been married to my high school sweetheart for 32 years now and we have 2 great kids, a son 29 and a daughter 27 that we are very proud of. We also have 2 large dogs, and 2 cats that keep me busy.
I love arts and crafts, and I also love to write. As the kids were growing up, I ran a small daycare, and then later, I would sell crafts and paintings so that I could stay home with them, first at craft shows, then later on Ebay. That is how I got started on the internet to make money.
How did you choose the name Sookie? Did it have anything to do with Sookie Stackhouse from HBO's True Blood?
No, actually my husband picked the name Sookie for our Dog from a Peter Gabriel Song “Games without Frontiers” We have two dogs, called Sookie and Sasha. (Sookie is the dog seated on the floor, Sasha on the couch in the picture) Both names are in the song. But I just love the name Sookie. I know you see a picture of my cat in my avatar, that is Muffin, she sits with me every time I write articles!
How did you get started with InfoBarrel?
For a good couple of years I did well selling my arts and crafts on Ebay. It really was my introduction to the internet. It was also very frustrating at the time as all we could get was Dial up internet!
I had also sold some of my paintings at craft shows, but it was a lot of work. I realized, that if I created smaller items that could be mailed easily, I would do well. I also found a source for older craft patterns that I sold too.
But after awhile the fees started to eat away at my profits, and I found myself reading ebooks on article writing and realized that I could make money talking about crafts instead of trying to sell them. I was hooked!
The idea of passive income worked for me!
I realized just how much I enjoyed writing and ventured onto other subjects. I also figured out how to create a website, and although it seems a bit jumbled! (my very first website!) it makes me money every month as well as IB.
I decided to do more writing and direct traffic to my new website. I then stumbled across Infobarrel while writing on Xomba. I absolutely love Infobarrel and decided to write and put all my efforts into this site.
What do you feel has been the major factor contributing to your success on IB?
I feel my success here on Infobarrel is due to the fact that I try very hard to do something each day. I treat it as a real business, and try to write at least an article a day if not more. If I am not writing then I will spend the time on keyword research or researching new subjects.
I really do believe you have to carve out some time to work on the business of article writing, even if it is just 30 minutes. Once you get into the habit, your article library will grow before you know it.
You also have to firmly believe in it, as I didn’t see money right away, but I kept on writing. That is why it is also important to check in at the forums and connect with others. I learned so much in the beginning from the FAQs and the forums.
What is your favourite article you've written? What is your favourite article written by another member?
My favourite article I have written has to Side Dishes for Lobster it has had over 11,000 views and still is going strong.
When I was first starting out and saw the traffic he got to that article I was really excited. It felt like a “ahaaaa moment” and it got me inspired to learn keyword research and branch out to other subjects.
In the beginning I was writing away and not really paying as close attention to keyword research as I should have been, but that is the best part about this process, is you keep writing and learn from others and you get better at it.
What was your best month on IB?
December 2010 I made over $600.00 in adsense. Once I got over the $500.00 dollar mark it got me excited enough to keep heading to my goal of $1000.00 per month. I have also done well with Amazon on IB as I make $100 dollars per month with them, and I make other affiliate sales as well.
I remember when I first made payout for adsense ($100.00) how excited I was, and it was not that long ago. Now I am always over the 500 dollar mark each month. Plus with Amazon and other affiliate income I am usually in the $800.00 range, which is really exciting for me!.
I don’t do any backlinking. It is just one of the parts of this business that I don’t like and find tedious. Maybe I would be making more money if I did, but I think it depends on the article. Many of my earlier articles were not high paying subjects, but it all adds up. I tried to spend time on backlinking, only to have the backlinking sites fail or disappear! So, I decided to experiment. In later articles I found that if I use longer tailed keywords with less searches, I do well without backlinking, some articles I see money right away. This works for me.
What advice do you have for InfoBarrel writers just starting out?
Schedule in some time each day for your writing business. Even if it is just some keyword research or idea research. Once you get into the habit of working on your IB business every day, the articles will grow.
If you only did one article a day that would grow to 365 articles a year, and if you write about subjects you are passionate about, it should come easy to you and you can end up with more articles. I don’t believe in working for hour after hour trying to write. I think you get exhausted and the quality is not there, work on it a bit each day.
Have a notepad with you or write in your iphone when a subject comes to mind, then you can research it later. This way you have some subject ideas. One great way to come up with subjects is to ask your friends and family what was the last thing they “googled” on the internet. Maybe it is something worth writing an article about.
Just keep at it, the money will come.
You have to believe the money will come and not give up. Some people see money right away, others, like me took a few months to see it. It will happen!
What do you like to do in your free time?
I love to get together with family. My husband and I are both one of four kids, so there are plenty of relatives to see. I especially like it when our kids and their partners visit and we have meals together and catch up.
I still love to paint, and am in the process of updating my website 'Make Crafts for Cash' to be a bit more user friendly, and of course I love writing for IB!
It has been awhile since we've done an InfoBarrel success story. Lots of adjustments have been taking place here over the last few months that have kind of taken precedence. Moving forward we will continue to showcase members who heavily contribute to InfoBarrel and have experienced some success.
This month, I'd like to congratulate Ernie, one of our long time members for being the InfoBarrel Success Story or July 2011!
Ernie, tell us a little bit about yourself
I am 34 years old and live in Idaho. My real name is Daniel, but I go by the nickname of Ernie. I graduated from Highland High school in Pocatello and currently live in Twin falls, Idaho. I love riding bicycles. I have been writing full time for about a year now. Q- How did you get started on InfoBarrel, and how did you hear about it?
I have always been interested in writing. I had begun to write for a website that paid for pageviews. I was having a lot of success with this site but I did not fully trust them. The revenue paid to the writers kept dropping and I looked for additional places to write for. I attempted to write for another writing site that was extremely popular at the time, but I continued to get errors when I wanted to publish an article. Their publishing tool was horrendous as it kept failing. I only put 4 articles up with them and gave up. It was good I gave up this popular site as they ended up changing their terms and ending the royalty program.
I kept writing for the original website I was writing for but I wanted to find a company that was fair and not out to rip off the writers. I checked back on the website where I had only published 4 articles after a couple of months and was surprised to find I had earned over $30.00 even though I had done nothing with the website for a long while. I was instantly hooked on building up my passive income through writing.
I dabbled with a handful of other websites and experienced some minor earnings but none of these websites felt right to me. I discovered InfoBarrel from reading a forum. I believe it was the EHow forum, but am not sure. I came to InfoBarrel and was initially not impressed with the look of the website. This was before InfoBarrel 2.0 was introduced.
I did more research on content sharing websites and I kept coming back to InfoBarrel. I spent some time on InfoBarrel and realized it was exactly what I was looking for.
What is your writing strategy, how do you decide what to write about?
I don’t like to backlink and I rarely use keyword research, even though it would drastically add to my earnings. I like to write about a wide variety of topics. If a certain niche earns consistently then I will write more articles within that niche. I have a lot of articles dealing with Las Vegas. I like to write about Las Vegas because that topic has proven to be a valuable topic to earn money with.
Not all of my Las Vegas articles earn money consistently each month, but the ones that do earn are “Cherry” and earn a few dollars each month.
My overall goal with InfoBarrel is to get 4,000 articles published. I like to write and hate to backlink so I will focus most of my attention on simply writing articles.
My monthly earnings per article average is much lower than the average here on IB. A lot of this has to do with the lack of backlinking and keyword research on my part. I know if I was to focus more on backlinking I would earn more, but I instead choose to simply write more articles.
I write a lot of articles for clients each month and I must write to their specifications. InfoBarrel is my release where I can write freely and not have to follow a client’s direction. The more I earn with InfoBarrel then the less I have to write for up-front payment for clients.
What do you like to do in your free time?
I love to ride bikes, go camping, swimming at in lakes, photography, playing cards, reading and of course writing. Q- Of all the articles on InfoBarrel, what article are you most proud of?
What advice can you give new writers just starting out on InfoBarrel?
Stick with your writing. At times it can seem like your efforts are not paying off, but they will. Keep writing and adding new articles to InfoBarrel on a regular basis. If you want to learn about keyword research and how to maximize your earnings per article then take a look at an InfoBarrel member such as JCMayer777. He maximizes his earnings per article by using great keyword usage as well as backlinking.
In the beginning I would simply recommend to begin writing and adding articles on a regular basis. Once you have a larger portfolio of articles you can see which article topics tend to earn the most for you and then focus on writing more articles within those topics.
Don’t get bogged down trying to follow the exact methods that any established authors use on here. Each writer will develop their own system and methods of doing things that work for them. You can however learn a great deal from many of the members here. The InfoBarrel forums are a great place to ask questions and learn new tips and techniques. I am constantly learning new things in the InfoBarrel forums.
As a new writer it is imperative that you connect your Adsense and Analytics account together. You can use Adsense channels, but you are limited to only 200 channels which will quickly run out once you get serious about writing for InfoBarrel.
Connect your Adsense and Analytics account. Create a custom channel for InfoBarrel in Analytics. Create a channel for InfoBarrel.com/media. Add your Amazon and Chitika information to InfoBarrel. Once you have done this simply write a lot of articles and see what works well for you.
I emphasize the steps above as I use Analytics as a primary motivator to continue writing for InfoBarrel. I look at the overall pageviews on my InfoBarrel articles and try to improve them. I can see when old articles are suddenly trending and find out why they are suddenly popular. I also use Analytics to find what search terms people use to find my articles, and then I write more articles around those terms.
You can never be sure as to what articles will consistently earn money. I have written well researched articles using keyword research and backlinked the article and earned a few cents while on the other hand I have written a short article using no keyword research and threw it together in less than 20 minutes and it earns consistently each month.
When you publish an article on InfoBarrel then interlink it with related articles that you already have written on InfoBarrel. Internal linking of your InfoBarrel articles can increase your pageviews.
I also suggest you use images with as many articles as you can. An image helps to break up the monotony of static text and also gives you gives you the potential for additional revenue.
What was your best month on InfoBarrel?
It was December 2010. I earned $142.64 with InfoBarrel. For 9 of the last 10 months I have earned over $100.00 each month with InfoBarrel.
If I was to quit writing for InfoBarrel I would still earn around $100 each month. I have built up over $1,200 a year in passive income using InfoBarrel. I will continue to receive my InfoBarrel earnings check from Google and Chitika each month regardless of if I continue to write or not. I could quit writing for InfoBarrel today and over the next 5 years continue to earn around $6,000. The power of passive income is truly awesome! Q- What are your plans/goals with InfoBarrel in the future?
My long term goal with InfoBarrel is to eventually get 4,000 articles published. I really enjoy the flexibility in being able to choose to write what I want to write about.
As promised we are going to try and push out at least one InfoBarrel success story each month. This month, we'd like to recognize a member who has been with us since January of this year.
She is a frequent poster on the forums and has racked up nearly 650 forum posts while stringing together 233 articles over the year.
Everybody congratulate MommyMommyMommy!
First of all, we'd love to hear a little bit about you, give us an overview of who MommyMommyMommy is and what she is all about.
Before I begin, I want to thank you for asking me to be an Info Barrel success story! I honestly did not think of myself as one until you asked me. It is truly an honor.
As for me, I am a minivan driving suburban mom who has been married to my college sweetheart for twenty-three years. We have three great kids-a fifteen year old daughter and eight year old boy/girl twins.
I am proud to say that I am a teacher. Ever since I was a little girl, I wanted to be one. I have been teaching in some capacity for my entire life. For twelve years I taught second and third grade, then I taught parent/child classes and preschool at my synagogue, and I have been teaching Hebrew School to first and second graders on Sundays for the past eight years.
I am also a published author. Although I sold my first magazine article to Instructor Magazine in 1988, it would be another sixteen years before I tried writing again. A story request in Twins Magazine about miracle twins led me to write about my children. Stories about my son and daughter have been published in three books- It’s Twins!, Twice the Love, and Chicken Soup for the Soul, Twins and More, all edited by Susan Heim.
How did you originally wind up writing on InfoBarrel?
I needed to find a way to make money at home so I am available to my kids and my mom. I saw a story on my local television news about ways for moms to make money at home, and writing online content was one way these women earned an income.
I found out about Info Barrel on another online writing forum. I liked what I saw and decided to give it a try. I am so glad that I did! One of my favorite quotes is “Bloom where you are planted.” It took a year, and my patience has paid off! I hope that other writers can read my story and give it time…plant yourself at IB and see what happens!
When you aren't writing for InfoBarrel what do you do with yourself?
Taking care of my family is my number one priority. I love to be with my kids and we do crafts, play games, go bike riding, and love to snuggle and watch movies together. We eat dinner as a family every night of the week. It can get noisy, but it is important that we all touch base every day.
I am an exercise fanatic and work out five days a week. I get up at 5:30 in the morning just to make sure I get it in. In fact, I do my best writing when I am exercising! Ideas just pop into my head.
I love to read all kinds of books when I get the chance.
When my twins started elementary school, I was able to ramp up my volunteer efforts. I became my younger daughter’s Girl Scout leader and love to be with my troop. Our school’s PTA is always needing volunteers, so I joined some committees and have made new friends by doing so. I have also recently joined a committee at my synagogue.
Was InfoBarrel your first attempt at building a passive income stream?
Info Barrel was my first serious attempt at building a passive income stream. For 2011, I plan on learning how to do more online to earn passive income and diversify my writing portfolio. I wrote about my goals in this article.
I also have a Girl Scout blog that is a pet project of mine. Many moms who volunteer to be leaders have a hard time starting out. Creating a successful troop meeting is much like creating a successful lesson plan for the classroom. I am using my teaching skills on many levels with my blog.
What do you like about InfoBarrel?
I love the freedom to write about any topic in a variety of styles. In particular, I like the other writers and how helpful they have been to me. If they weren’t, I would not be writing this now! I knew absolutely nothing about earning money online by writing before coming here.
The great revenue share and the ability to earn more money with contests and is a major plus for all the writers here on Info Barrel.
I also like how the administrators respond quickly to the questions and concerns of the writers. It means you listen, which is a rare thing in business.
What features would you like to see in InfoBarrel 2.0?
I would love to see a private messaging system, as well as a way to search for my own articles and the forums in a much easier manner. I would also like a way to save my favorite articles.
At what point did you realize that you could make a serious income on InfoBarrel?
Thanks to carrying my twins around all the time, I injured my left rotator cuff. After being in pain for six-and-a-half years, I was finally able to have much-needed surgery. I wrote very few articles while recovering this summer, but over July and August, I earned more than enough to make payout! This proved to me that Info Barrel was a very real way for me to earn an income at home.
How much are you currently making and what are your goals for the future?
Since August, I have made payout every month. I went from earning $4.78 cents in February to earning $176.93 in November. I am even earning about twelve dollars at Chitika each month. To date, I have made no Amazon sales!
My goal for the future is to optimize everything I have written so I am earning at least $1,000 a month or even better by the end of 2011. I learn so much from the IB community, I want to do it all and make enough money to pay our mortgage and my daughter’s college tuition, which is only two years away
I am planning a year-long series of articles about my goals and sharing what happens. It is my intention to make the most of all of the online opportunities available to me.
What is your favorite article that you've published and your favorite article from another IB writer?
It’s hard to pick a favorite article of mine. My article on Overcoming Adoption Fears speaks from my heart. I am a mother through biology and adoption, and I love all of my kids more than anything in this world. I know many people who have only children who never considered adoption to grow their family. I wrote my article to address the adoption fears that people have, and hopefully provide them with some answers.
My favorite IB article has to be jcmayer777’s entitled Sears Online Employment Application - Get Hired Today! The reason for that is I remember reading it and finally figuring out what SEO was! It was my light bulb moment!
What would you do if you won the lottery :D?
Hmmm… that is a tough one, because there is so much I would love to do! Besides permitting my husband to quit his job and securing fully funded college educations for our three children, I would love to help some special people in my life who could use it.
I would gut my house and redo my kitchen, put in an awesome underground pool with all of the extras, and put in a media room. I would also love to travel first class anywhere and hire a cleaning company so I would never have to clean my house again!
There are organizations that I would love to donate to on a large scale, like my synagogue, my children’s schools, and the adoption agency from where we grew our family. I would also want to start my own non-profit organization. I would make sure that children have lots of books to read, because reading is a pathway to dreams, as well as and plenty of food to eat and clothing to wear.
I want to thank you for giving me an opportunity for sharing my Info Barrel experience.