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Stefan's First Half-Year Progress Report

By 9 8

I signed up for Infobarrel on May 7 this year, exactly six months ago, so I think it's time for a progress report. Why a progress report and not an earnings report? Well, I'm not here solely to make money. The challenge of producing well-received articles which educate me while I write them is the main thing; I've reached the age where regular mental exercise is as important as eating right and the occasional physical work-out. But I do hope to earn a bit of money, because I haven't been in full-time employment since early 2013.

US dollars
I can't remember where I first read about this website, but I didn't wait long before looking into the nitty-gritty and then getting started. My first article was published within 24 hours of joining (thanks reviewers - you've never kept me waiting for very long), but over the next few weeks I had several rejected for various reasons. My tenth article appeared on May 28, precisely three weeks after joining, and number 20 hit the World Wide Web on June 20. 

As of today, I have 54 live articles (including this one), with another half dozen in my draft folder. A while back, I had a notion I'd get 100 published by the end of this year, but I soon realized that wasn't realistic, especially as my articles now tend to be longer. Just two of the first 16 exceeded 1,000 words, while two more recent efforts have posted over 2,100 words. None of my articles has been featured, perhaps because it took me about three months to realize I need to submit them for consideration. And seldom do the feature topics match what I've been writing about, I've discovered.

Inspiration

Finding subjects to write about hasn't been a problem. I've been on this Earth for over half a century, and seen a few things. I've been fortunate in that I've met lots of interesting people, traveled a fair bit, and always had enough money and free time to indulge my passion for reading, especially history. Moreover, every job I've held since the age of 27 has required continuous learning. Since 1996, when I left Canada for Japan (I've since worked in South Korea and Hong Kong), I've notched up a more than a dozen years teaching in colleges or working on educational projects of one kind or another. That period of my life has provided the backbone of half a dozen articles, one of which is currently my third most-popular in terms of views (but not earnings). 

Promotion

Facebook is responsible for 90% or more of my views. I've joined various geographical, interest and professional groups, and posted my articles in them. Often times I've put a short teaser ahead of the image preview and title. For instance, to go with this article, I've tried: "Mummified monks, the breast shrine and a gay rabbit god!" Sensationalism seems to work - that piece is now my no. 4 IB publication in terms of views. When people have commented on my article within Facebook, I respond. If they make constructive criticisms, I do a bit more research and often amend the article. Then I post a comment thanking them and saying I've made some changes. I don't do this merely to be polite - it helps my article bubble up and stay near the front of the group, which obviously increases the chance people will read it.

I've also tried a handful of specialized forums, with very limited success. Reddit hasn't done anything for me, and I haven't tried Google+.

Earnings

As of November 2, I'd earned US$22.54 from my articles, which all told have got about 8,500 views. So while I'm not rolling in cash, the US$50-payout threshold looks very attainable. My best month's total was US$7.04. The worst was the first month, just 11 cents!

What's been interesting is how the number of views needed to generate a given amount of money varies so much from article to article. I'm going to share this because it may be useful for other writers choosing topics; I plan to continue to write about what interests me, and that's all. My most profitable article so far, about South Korea, needed 327 views per dollar (and has earned just under US$10 to date). My no. 2 publication, about Taiwan, has notched up 585 views per dollar. What I think of as my "beautiful women" series has done noticeably better, averaging 197 views per dollar.

Like some other IB writers, I haven't earned a cent from Amazon Affiliate sales.

I welcome questions and comments!

 

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Comments

Nov 4, 2014 5:16am
WinterWolf
Stefan,
As far as I think, you have done quite good - in terms of views, money and number of articles. They say it takes at least a year for articles to mature and then get consistent traffic and views. So you never know when you hit the spot. Also, many users have said and experienced that just 5% of your articles will get you 95% of your views and earnings. Your top articles may be doing you the same. I have had the same experience in my Squidoo articles.

Also, just like yours, Facebook is also my main referrer followed by Pinterest.

Your perseverance is an inspiration to all of us newer members. Some people hit for 500 articles per year and they eventually give up. But you kept going, because you set realistic expectations. I am reading your Korea article right now and it's really interesting!

I have had some success with Amazon on Squidoo (now HubPages), so I will go ahead and share this. Putting your Amazon modules in between or right next to some text is much more effective than placing it haphazardly at the bottom (lots of users are guilty of this). If you write a travel article, place a helpful guide in between your texts, and don't throw it at the bottom. Better yet, put it right after the text where you have mentioned the product you are showcasing. Putting it at the bottom decreases the value of the advertisements placed below the body of your article and its effectiveness in generating the lead.

Thank you for sharing your experiences here. It will be really helpful for your fellow IB'ers!

~WinterWolf
Nov 4, 2014 3:51pm
StefanCollins
WinterWolf - thanks for the thoughtful and encouraging response. I've looked at quite a few other writers' profiles, and see that several who've been on IB longer than me, and/or have more articles, are still somewhere between 1,000 and 5,000 page views, does make me think I'm doing fairly well. My two best-performing articles went semi-viral thanks to Facebook. The Taiwan one jumped from less than 50 views to over 800 overnight. The Korea one jumped to around 500, then stalled, then thanks to another FB group rose to around 1,400 in less than 24 hours. Those experiences were really encouraging!
Nov 4, 2014 5:46pm
vicdillinger
Your philosophy of writing about only things that interest you is a good one and is the same method I use in my work. You're racking up some good view numbers and $ for having been here such a short time. And don't worry so much about features: they do come and go, and they are great for exposure (and for the ego boost) but if you look at the Top 100 you'll see many that weren't featured. My most viewed article (and one that has made some pretty good money) was never featured! Keep pounding away at it and do it because you love it. The bucks will be there sooner or later. I'm thumbing this, too.
Nov 5, 2014 1:32am
egdcltd
I find my highest earning articles fall into two main categories. Some earn from getting a (comparatively) lot of views, whilst others only get a fraction of the views but earn more per click.
Nov 5, 2014 12:43pm
adragast
Really enjoy those reports. You are doing great and I think your approach is a good one (quality, update based on feedback, etc...). Good luck forward!
Nov 9, 2014 7:55pm
LyraKua
Thanks for sharing your progress report. You seem to be doing really well here and it's very inspiring to other members.
Dec 3, 2014 8:12am
SuMoksha
Inspirational story for a beginner like me. But the earning seems bit low. Are you satisfied?
Mar 10, 2015 5:05am
millyscott
Really useful article - thanks!
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