My Plan for Continuing on my Online Writing Journey
When I was growing up in the New York City borough of Queens, there was a playground between every two connected buildings. In each playground, there were two swings, one slide and a seesaw. Because there was so many kids and so little equipment, we had to share and play games that included everyone. We became very creative!
Outside the playground, there was a little sand area. Not a formal sandbox, but a place where a few of us could sit together and play with our buckets and pails. Somehow, we all managed to get along most of the time, as this was the only sandbox around. There was no place else to go.
Near the end of the fifth grade, my parents moved our family to the suburbs. One of the first things I noticed was that every house on our street had their own backyard playground. I observed that when the neighborhood kids got into an argument and they could not agree on things, they picked themselves up and went to play in their own backyard.
Nice story, mommy, but what does this have to do with all of the latest changes that have occurred on revenue sharing sites like Info Barrel, Squidoo, Zujava and Hubpages?
It actually has a lot to do with it.
Google Changes and We Need to Adapt
When we, as writers, decide to try to earn passive income on revenue share sites like the aforementioned, we are not playing in our own sandbox. We have chosen to take our toys and join the others, all in the hope of earning some free money for our online efforts. They have rules and we have to abide by them.
If we do not like them, we can leave.
Most writers who earn residual income online, myself included, were thrown for a loop at all of the changes of the rules revenue sharing sites have instituted recently, especially since we have been playing by the rules.
If you are new to earning passive income, here is a brief recap:
In August, 2012, Hubpages started to deindex Hubs that were not getting traffic. By doing so, Google would only pay attention to the Hubs getting high amounts of search engine views. In theory, that makes some sense, because if they are not getting traffic they must not be all that good.
But what about Hubs that were meant to be evergreen? What kind of updating do they require?
There is also the issue of seasonal Hubs. They get deindexed, but how will anyone find them once the new season comes around? Of course they can be updated with the hope of indexing, but this is not guaranteed.
Squidoo has been hit hard by recent Panda updates and internal strife within the community due to creating changes on lenses without any Beta testing. In March 2013, changes have had lens masters scrambling to fix lenses that they fear may be locked or even deleted if not fixed in the set amount of time given.
Quality has long been lacking on Squidoo, but, up until now, they were okay with that. Sales lenses made money for Squidoo, so why not make more and more and more of them with almost no content? Lenses with content were often ignored or placed in tiers that earn no money. They were not featured on the front page. Why should a writer do her research and write a 1,000 word lens, only to have it sit at the bottom of the earnings barrel?
On March 18th, Zujava made an announcement on it’s blog that had it’s small, yet dedicated group of writers up in arms. It was no longer going to allow leaf makers to place their own Amazon affiliate ID or any third party ID on the site.
This change comes after a 28 leaf February challenge that left writers who completed it more than upset.
The reason for the new change, of course, has to do with quality and Google. Zujava has a three leaf preapproval process. Apparently, there were writers who behaved while in the “Petting Zu” and then published leaves full of their own Amazon products and very thin content upon release. Bill and Justin, the administrators at Zujava, are putting their foot down early in the game to avoid a fiasco like Squidoo is experiencing now.
Quality has always been the hallmark of IB. Unlike other sites who let anyone publish or have a very short preapproval process, you really have to earn your ability to earn passive income here.
Over the last few months, there has been a sharp increase of forum threads on the topic “My article has been denied.” The reason for more frequent denials is that there are more stringent quality controls that have been put into place. Info Barrel writers now have the privilege of earning even more residual income because of the change in how we earn money. No longer do writers need their own Adsense ID, we can use InfoBarrel’s.
And if you are going to use IB’s account, your writing had better be good!
If I am to be perfectly honest, I pay no attention to Google Panda, Penguin, Lion, Tiger or Bear updates. This is not how I write. Over the course of the last three years, I have learned how SEO and LSI works, how to do keyword research and what works for me. I may not be rolling in dough like some of the big name bloggers, but I am providing my family with an income that is much needed, as well as my presence at home, which is needed even more.
My Plan to Grow My Online Income
Something I have told my children for years when there are rules they do not like is, “Accept, adapt, and move on.” Accept the rules, adapt to the new changes and let’s move on with our lives. Arguing does no one any good.
I, too, have felt the monetary effects of these updates and have decided to change my strategy on how to continue to grow my own piece of the online world.
At one point, I had 53 Hubs, and I had planned on growing that number to 100 by the end of this year.
Since December, I have been slowly deleting Hubs. Some will stay deleted, as they were not my best writing and were writing solely to get backlinks to my other online work. Others have been rewritten and published and others still need to be rewritten. I will be deleting even more Hubs and only keeping a handful of articles there. I may dabble with a few more Halloween articles, but I am waiting on that right now.
This one is a toughie. Right now, I have over 130 lenses between my two accounts, with most being on my “mommy” account.
My original goal was to have 100 lenses on “mommy’s” and then spend the next few months writing 100 Halloween lenses for my other account.
That is not happening.
I am not writing anything new on Squidoo until the scans are over. To be honest, I am not overly worried about the vast majority of lenses on either account.
But do I have some sales lenses that were written simply for sales? Of course!
If these do not survive the scan, then I will simply delete them and fine tune my focus on what has been working.
The recent changes have irked me. Not because I do not believe in quality-I do. I am annoyed because I just wrote 28 new leaves in February and now I have to redo all of them because others spoiled it for the rest of us.
I am also upset because more changes are coming, and I do not feel like fixing things again after editing them a second time. Info Barrel has spoiled me with intensive Beta testing before new changes are administered sitewide.
Bill has given us 60 days to fix our leaves to conform to the new rules. It is a fair amount of time, but not how I want to be spending my increasingly shrinking time to write. My plan is to wait it out as long as possible and then start editing when new Amazon modules are in place.
I will continue towrite on Zujava, as my Amazon sales are increasing and I have a big niche of articles I want to place there. I like the focus on quality. While it is annoying to have to edit leaves that were written within the guidelines just three weeks ago, in the long run, I know that all the writers there will benefit.
The new scoring system has everyone here thinking twice about their work after it is published. Everyone wants a green box! The best part about this new system is that even if our articles are in the red, we can continue to rework and revise them until they get better, and there is no fear of locking, deleting or deindexing.
Of course, I will continue to play in this sandbox. I have articles to update and improve, and a few will get deleted in the process. Looking back on how far I have grown as a writer, some articles are not something I want in my account any longer.
My Websites and Kindle
By owning my own websites and writing my own Kindle books, I own the sandbox and I make the rules. I feel this is an integral part of diversifying anyone’s online income, as you have the ultimate control.
I am going to take down one of my sites as I believe it will work better as a series/niche of articles. I just do not have time to maintain it and promote it.
My Girl Scout blog is my passion, and I plan to continue it even when my daughter leaves scouting (which is not anytime soon). I intentionally did not put Adsense on there and will look for other ways to monetize it over the summer, when most leaders take a much needed break.
My Kindle book has sold well and I have another one finished that needs to be edited (I need more hours in my day!) I am also waiting for my older daughter to have a few minutes to create a cover for me, as she is very good at doing this. It would take me hours what she can create in just a few minutes!
In the end, I will abide by the new rules in the sandboxes where I have chosen to play. For others, I am taking my pail and shovel and leaving. There might even be a new sandbox or two that I will join when all of my revisions and goals have been met.
In this ever changing world of earning money online, it is best to keep up with the rules and keep quality in mind above everything else.