A number of questions come up over and over again on the forums of web sites that allow users to write articles and post them in exchange for a share of advertising revenue, and this article attempts to address the most common questions that get asked by writers new to Infobarrel and new to article writing on revenue sharing web sites. So if you have a question that concerns resources that article writers on revenue sharing web sites typically use, I hope that this article will help address them -- if not, please leave a comment, and I will add to the article as I discover more resources!
Photos and other images -- one of the most common questions is where to get photos, or can you use photos found on the Internet, via Flickr, or somewhere else. If you are writing articles with the intent of making money, you must be very careful of Creative Commons licenses: some do not allow commercial re-use of the photos protected by these licenses. Your best bet for photos and other images is to use only those in the public domain, or those you take yourself. Wikipedia maintains a large list of resources for images (both photos and graphics) that are in the public domain, and usually a suitable image can be found for your article from public domain sources, which have no restrictions of any kind on the use of those images. Please do not endanger your online income by using a photo or other image where you have not determined the rights (and, if necessary, secured permission from the owner of the image)!
Backlinking -- If you write articles hoping for income, you certainly will not earn any money if nobody can find your articles, and one of the easiest ways to secure traffic is to add backlinks to your articles on sites that will allow you to post links to your articles. Backlink sites for your InfoBarrel articles should be nofollow links, to avoid some search engine penalties. As for me, I prefer to use backlink sites that pay you to post links (so you get paid for your hard work multiple times), whether through revenue sharing or another method, but any site where you can post a link, such as Yahoo! answers, or anywhere else, will help bring people to your articles. For many of these sites, you will need to write a summary. In order to avoid the penalty that search engines impose on duplicate content, it is best to write a completely new summary for each backlink that you do. In addition, writing a new summary for each backlink may bring you a new long tail keyword, which could possibly add up to many extra views (and a lot of extra money) over time.
Keyword research -- I do not really do this, as I figure no-one can predict what might become popular next week or next year, or how the English language may change. However, many people who want more income right now use keyword tools such as provided by Google Adwords. Enter text into "Descriptive Words and Phrases," and use "Exact" matches. You can also try the Wordtracker keyword tool. In any case, remember that the language people use for searches will change, so if you see a drop in earnings, you may need to redo the keyword research on older articles.
Tracking article income -- for articles that pay with Google Adsense: from the Overview page (the default page when you log into Google Adsense), show your report by channel and day (you'll have to scroll down the page to click the link). Then at the top of that report will be "Manage Channels." Click that link, and the page will go to the channels page. The channels page defaults to "Custom Channels," but you want the link next to it, "URL channels." After you click on that, click on "Add URL channels," then click on "Add new URL channels," and a box will appear. You can enter either the general site name, such as infobarrel.com, or you can enter the entire link to specific articles if you wish to track them individually (I track individual articles through Analytics, on the sites that have that feature enabled).
(Note: this is no longer relevant to InfoBarrel, but the information is still useful for other sites.)
Verifying your Google Adsense Publisher ID -- First, you have to know what percentage of the time your Adsense ID will be displayed. Once you know that, you can open your browser to one of your articles, click "View source" and verify the HTML. If your Adsense ID is supposed to show 75 per cent of the time, then on three out of every four refreshes, on average (it's random, so it won't be like clockwork), your Google Adsense ID should show up. If not, contact the site administrators to help you figure out what the problem seems to be.
(No longer relevant for InfoBarrel, but still useful for other sites.)
Checking for duplicate content -- The search engines will penalize you for duplicate content, which means if someone copies your article on to another web site, you get hit twice: once from the traffic they are taking away from your article to their copy, and another time because your search engine ranking will be lower as you are penalized. The best way to protect yourself from someone plagiarizing your content is to use any one of a number of free services such as Copygator. The best of these services will notify you if someone republishes your content, with or without your permission.
With all these resources at your fingertips, you should be able to concentrate on writing articles (whether that is here on Infobarrel or another site), increasing your online income, and being more productive. Don't forget to proofread your articles: not only for grammar, spelling and word choice, but also for overall sense and judicious use of links to help the reader accomplish what she or he wants to do. I wish you the best of luck in your quest to increase your online income!