To make money online, many content creators weigh the benefits of just article writing for revenue sharing platforms (which is free) or creating their own niche sites (which means spending money). I’ve decided to do both -- as long as I spend only what I've made online. So when I reconfigured my online blogging into article writing for revenue sharing sites like InfoBarrel and others, I thought that the way to make this work was solid keyword research, well-edited and interesting content, and to eventually amass a huge quantity of articles. I was instantly  impressed by the community of writers here at InfoBarrel and their extensive collections of articles, but I noticed a big disparity among the IB earnings. Since passive earning and income has been a goal for this writing, I needed to understand the differences.

Lessons from InfoBarrel Writers (all names withheld!)

While there are some really amazing writers here who have figured out how to make thousands of dollars in Google Adsense earnings each month, there seem to be others who have many, many articles who have suggested in the forums and elsewhere that their earnings are not that stellar. There are even some writers who have been at this for years, with a huge body of work, with very little to show for it. Even the top earners on this site have reminded us that some of their articles don’t earn at all. But at my seven-month mark this week, I am glad to be diversified. I may have crossed my 100 article online mark weeks ago (86 articles at IB, and 27 combined at HubPages, Seekyt, and Wizzley), but I am happy to also have several (many) niche sites that I have created - some in partnership with other internet marketers. 

I recognize that the main difference between well-earning writers and those with far greater amounts of content could really just be a combination of keyword research, backlinking, latent semantic indexing, evergreen content, presentation of material, topics with strong advertiser interest, solid language skills (spelling, grammar, coherence, organization), longevity, and a dash of luck. But the more I read online, and the more podcasts and webinars I 'devour' by and about successful online business people, marketers, and content creators -- the more I realize that each person really must make their own model. 

I need to have content "islands" or niche sites where I can really explore a topic, keep a reader there, and with proper placement, design, and calls to action - monetize that traffic with ads or affiliate links. I want to be able to control exact details that impact the user experience. Don't get me wrong - the design and implementation of this site is first rate! I just need more control... What do I mean? For example, on my own domains, links to relevant articles or other content titles are mine, and not a third party with a separate set of ads.

My Costs Associated with Niche Sites 

Sure I have the annual cost of my hosting account at BlueHost (aff link), and the costs and renewals of domains for the sites I’ve started, but I have earned enough online since last summer to cover all of these costs. If I had written all of my content for this platform, I’d probably be at double my article count - but some of my sites are starting to show up nicely in the search engine results pages, and their earnings are following a bit.

The obvious benefit of getting 100 percent of the clicks on your own site, as opposed to the very generous 75-90 percent available here at InfoBarrel, might seem like a small thing to some writers, but have you ever wondered how many clicks go to other programs, like the double-underline InfoLinks on this page. That is a fair and necessary program that covers IB’s administrative costs, but I have to imagine that it takes some clicks away from Adsense, Chitika, and Amazon. I have actually added the InfoLinks program to some of my sites, but I am experimenting with it by turning it off on some sites. 

The real benefit of Infobarrel, and others, is the underlying page authority of the site. Just having an article published here can send it higher through the results than any niche site... unless you learn SEO, LSI, and KW research as you go. (Thanks to all those writers here who have openly shared so much with this community!

I know my annual costs to run these sites and renew their domains, so that is my niche site minimum income target -- otherwise why not just post online for free? And like many other hosting accounts, Bluehost allows all of these niche sites to run (invisibly) under a single master account, but with their separate domain names. Seems like a reasonable expense to have for so many online properties...

Niche vs. Authority Sites

My plan now is to continue to develop some of these ‘niche’ sites and decide if any can be built up into authority sites over time. This would require additional content, greater planning and site integration, and a real commitment - which I’m willing to make. I won’t necessarily make that commitment to any site unless it proves to me that it might warrant it based on traffic and CPC, but I know which ones COULD develop in that direction. 

Short-Term Track Record of My Niche Sites

This isn’t meant to be a niche site income report, but I can tell you that one site did well enough in the last couple months to pay for next year’s hosting account, domains, and more -- all at a time when my articles at IB, HP, WZ, and SK seemed too quiet (just a few clicks). I can honestly say that except for a single book sold, the niche sites are almost one hundred percent responsible for the Amazon and Commission Junction affiliate income I have earned to date, and these seem like interesting, and targeted income streams going forward. 

With each site I’ve launched (all under five months old), all my interconnected article content, and my big ‘web’ of writing and interlinking - I’m just doing what everyone else here is doing... spreading the work around. As many of you have probably done, I’ve given serious thought to the passive income model and what the underlying math looks like. Therefore I need each niche and each revenue sharing site to only contribute a small portion of my daily and monthly income number for my goals at this level to be met. Good luck with YOUR strategy online!