All posts by Mitch Mitchell

I'm an independent consultant in many fields, so I have a lot to share.

How To Write Articles For Others

As some of you know, I do writing on the side from all the other stuff I do. You know about my book writing series which is listed above, and of course I’ve talked about writing articles for pay and creating article packages, of which one is now off the market.

A question I wanted to address is how one can write articles about things one knows nothing about. Most of us adults have forgotten what it was like to have to write research papers when we were in school, and truthfully, I’m not sure that skill hasn’t been lost with today’s kids. Anyone can parrot back what they can find on the internet. The real test of skill is taking researched content and putting it into your own words.

I’d like to talk about a writing project I did last Sunday for a new client, which will give an example of how it can be done. I was tasked to write 7 articles on a subject that I knew nothing about. Though I was given some keyword phrases, the purchaser told me I could pretty much write on anything I wanted to, as long as I got the topic right.

The first thing I did was copy his keyword phrases into Excel. Then I went to Google and typed in the main topic, just to see what came up. Based on the first page, and I have my main Google page set to give me 50 links at a time, I came up with 13 article topics I thought I could write on. I wasn’t sure those would be the final choices, but I was going to start there.

I went to 25 of the first pages that were listed, just to see what they were all about. When I saw information that I thought would help me, I copied it and pasted it into a different Excel spreadsheet, then formatted the columns so I could read it all. I then looked at certain words I was going to highlight, and looked to see how many different articles I felt I could get out of the original content I’d copied.

I came up with four ideas immediately, and three of them fit the topics and keywords that I’d initially been asked for. I decided to start off writing about the main topic, which I knew would lead into writing the other articles. This is always how I do things; for instance, when I wrote my first article package, which was on Twitter (that’s the one that’s now been pulled), the first article was on what Twitter was all about. That’s always the easiest article to write when you know something about the topic, but even when you don’t, it’s usually the easiest topic.

Next I went ahead and wrote the other four articles based on the information I already had. I didn’t plagiarize a single thing; every line I wrote was original, even if I used the same content. It was easy to do because I had multiple sources for each topic, and they all described the same thing either with the same exact words or different words. If the words were all the same, I’m creative enough to figure out other words; if they were different, I just altered some of them, rearranged others, and still came up with original wording.

At this point I still had three articles to write, so I decided to do some research on a couple more specific topics the client had mentioned, just to see what I could come up with. And I was able to figure out how to write two more articles on those keywords, and it really wasn’t all that difficult in the end. The thing is, if there’s enough research information on any topic, it’s fairly easy to write articles, and on these topics, there was.

Now it was time for the final article, and with the original research, I actually already had another topic in there, so I decided to go ahead and write it, and then I was done.

I shared the first article with the client to see how he liked it; he loved it! He liked it so much he went ahead and paid me before I’d even asked him to; how’s that for writing love? Two days later, he commissioned some more articles, and life isn’t so bad writing for him, even though one of the topics was somewhat difficult, as it didn’t have as much original material to pull from.

These articles ended up being between 439 and 656 words, and he only wanted each article to be more than 400 words. And, for that first set, it took me less than 2 hours to write them all. What’s he using them for? I didn’t ask, as, when you’re writing for someone else, you just write and give them away, and that’s that.

Anyway, that’s how I did it. If you have any more detailed questions, other than what the articles were on (no, I’m not giving that up), I’ll be glad to answer. For those of you who do write articles on something you have to research, how do you go about it?

April Income Statistics – Getting Better, Getting Worse

As we head into May, it’s once again time to look at the previous month’s income. Once again, only the actual numbers:

Adsense – $76.50
Paid Advertising – $37.30
Commission Junction – $26.80
Kontera – $.04
Link XL – $2.50
Chitika – $.11
Infolinks – $.72
Grand Total – $143.97

So, this was either my most successful month, or a setback on a couple of fronts. Let’s look at it.

First, My Adsense went down from its record $100+ last month, which is slightly disappointing, but it still topped $75, and that means I’ll be getting a check in July of some type, as it has to be over $100 at the beginning of the month to receive payment.

Second, my paid advertising went up, but I lost my page rank. Of course, y’all know that I have said that I think other things are more important than page rank, and one of those is money. Now, how long the paid advertisers will stick around on a site with no PR will be interesting, but we’ll see as time goes by.

The Commission Junction payment should have actually been in March, if you remember the March statistics report, but it didn’t get recorded until April. So, April could have been the monster month, but then April would have shrunk drastically and I might have been crying like a little girl, so I’ll take what I can get.

Also, it’s the first full month with Infolinks, and though it doubled what it was last month, I’m thinking this type of contextual advertising just might not be the boon it was advertised as being. Luckily, it’s not on this blog anymore, only on one of my other websites, so no biggie there.

So, I figure it’s time for some drastic measures, not necessarily to spice up sales, but because I’m coming to some conclusions.

One, I’m going to remove all the products I’ve been advertising that concern Clickbank. I’ve had CB for about 4 years now, and I think it’s a dog. Yeah, I said it, and some of you agree, so it’s gone. I mean, according to their stats, I’ve never ever had a hit, which I know is wrong, so I’m just not in a trusting or considering mood. Now, this doesn’t mean if I specifically buy something that turns out to be from them, test it, and like it, that it won’t be shared, but the box that, as I write this, is on the right side,… it will be gone by the time you read this.

Something that might not have been noticed is that I removed two of my products from the left side, those being my book and CD set on leadership and management. Obviously, it seems no one comes to this blog for that sort of thing, so I’ve removed them from the top left and moved them to the bottom of the right side. Hey, I did create them after all, and I’m proud of them, so they stay, at least somewhere.

I’m probably removing SEO Book also, not because I don’t believe in it anymore, but it’s not really a book at this point, but a program, and my theory is that almost no one who visits this blog has the time to put into a long program. A real book, maybe, but not a full program. I have to think about what I want to put there, though. Truthfully, I wish Joel Comm was still selling his Adsense Secrets book as a standalone, because I’d put it there, but he’s giving it away and encouraging people to buy this recurring report thing, and I’m just not comfortable with that.

That’s about all I have. Not sure what other changes I might make to some of the products, as most everything I have is related to computers in some fashion, other than the image, which I love, and I think I’m going to continue promoting an image every month, mainly because I like seeing it; heck, I’m thinking about moving it up to make sure I see it all the time; what do y’all think of the picture?

No Money Down Marketing: Discover How to Quickly and Easily Market Your Products Without Using a Dime of Your Own Money!








A Look At Page Views

Last time we talked about traffic and visits, and this time we’re going to take a look at page view statistics.

I tend to think of page view statistics as more important to how people feel about my content than the traffic, which is really more to help impress those who might want to advertise on my site. Page views show just what people are looking at, and how long they’re looking at it.

Doing it like last time, we’ll start with my web host statistics on page views. My hosting company, 1and1.com, only gives me two statistics on page views. One is the total number of page views I receive per day, which is a statistic that does nothing for me, and the other is the total number of visits each of my articles has received for the month. Since that’s one I can compare with Google Analytics, we’re going to start there.

One odd thing about web host statistics is that they seem to track plugin activity as a page on your site, which Analytics wouldn’t do. It’s important that I mention this up front because, per my host, my most visited page each month is my Broken Link Checker plugin, which of course no one else would see. Also in the top five are the admin panel, threaded comments, and robots.txt. So, I’m ignoring those and only going for actual articles.

A quick reminder; the words in this color, except for these two, are links to articles within my site. I remind folks of that from time to time. The navy is just for highlights.

In looking at what 1&1 believes are my most popular articles, this is what we have:

January

My Big RSS Subscriber Contest – 386
Page Rank SEO – A Short Blogging Research Project – 251
About page – 249
My Favorite Eighteen Blog Posts Of 2008 – 233

February

Why Don’t More People Comment On Blogs – 251
Top 100 Singers Of All Time – 219
My Favorite Eighteen Blog Posts Of 2008 – 203
The Ads On This Blog – 195

March

The Keys – 353
Visa Black Card – 302
About page – 294
Blogging Tips – 271

According to Google Analytics, these are my top articles for the same time periods:

January

My Big RSS Subscriber Contest – 116
Page Rank SEO – A Short Blogging Research Project – 70
How Do You Twitter – 45
December Statistics Report – Everything – 41

February

Top 100 Singers Of All Time – 85
Upgrade To WordPress 2.7.1; How – 81
Nine Best Blogs Of 2009 – My List – 54
At Least Be Professional In Your Writing – 54

March

The Keys – 140
Visa Black Card – 137
Top 100 Singers Of All Time – 110
Nine Best Blogs Of 2009 My List – 69

One thing I like is how some of my articles show up two months in a row; that always feels good, knowing you’ve touched enough people that an article has more life than some others.

Now, I’ve said page views is the most important thing to me, but the main statistic for page views has to do with length of time someone stays on the site. The longer people stay, the more you know they’re reading your article, or articles, and that means you’ve captured someone’s attention, and that they’re not only popping by, looking at a few words, leaving a comment based on a couple of lines, and moving on. At least you hope that’s not what they’re doing.

Hosting companies don’t track this, which is why it’s great having Google Analytics. For these same three months, here are top times for my articles, with at least 10 visits:

March – the average was 3 minutes and 27 seconds:

Keys To Leadership – 8:55
Is The Dream A Fraud – 7:59
Upgrade To WordPress 2.7.1; How? – 7:58

February – the average was 4 minutes and 21 seconds:

At Least Be Professional In Your Writing – 9:07
The Art Of Hype – 7:41
My Big RSS Subscriber Contest – 6:45

January – the average was 3 minutes and 2 seconds:

The Psychology Of Gambling – 9:03
SEO & Multiple Web Pages – 7:19
Page Rank SEO – A Short Blogging Research Project – 7:05

To me, for the number of visits I had each month, and the length of some of my articles, knowing that the average time people spend here means to me that people are actually reading the content, and that makes me feel pretty good, better than the traffic numbers indicate. It’s probably the people who know me and keep coming back who are the ones actually reading, but that still feels nice.

It’s also interesting to see that the articles that people stayed around the longest to read differentiate from the articles that had the most page views. Just so you know, if you’re looking at these stats, you could decide to pull together a combination of both the main article itself and the comments page, which Analytics also keeps statistics on, but I left that one alone for now.

So, that’s the two part study on traffic and page views, the two most important things for your blogs or websites. There is one last brief study, but I’m saving that one to add to my little SEO project, rain or shine. Stay tuned.
 

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A Look At Visits

We often talk about getting traffic to our blogs and websites, but I’ve wondered if everyone really know what it is we’re talking about. There are different places where we can get information from concerning our traffic, and those sources don’t ever really seem to match up with each other.

I thought I’d take some time over the next bunch of days to talk about this topic of traffic, and what’s really important to know as far as tracking your statistics is concerned, while rolling out a possible new way of writing some articles for this blog.

Unique visits are the number of times an event has searched your site looking for something. That’s a much different description than unique visitors, which is the number of times an actual person has come to visit your site.

Hosting companies generally track unique visits, because that’s what’s important to them and their statistics. That’s how they check how active your account is on their servers, or how much bandwidth might be being used. It’s the reason that there’s such a dramatic difference between the two figures when one decides to check all their statistics.

For this blog, I’ve done a comparison of a three month period, from January to March, of the two statistics, as a point of clarification. From 1&1, my host, my unique visits numbers are thus:

January – 16,307
February – 15,185
March – 21,634

From Google Analytics, which I still think is the best at telling you just how many real visitors you’ve had, I get this:

January – 1,767
February – 1,206
March – 1,918

Analytics also gives you another statistic that’s interesting in this regard. It’s called Absolute Unique Visitor, and on this one, it tells you how many people came once, as opposed to might have come again. This number is lower, but if you do the math, you can determine how many of your visitors actually come back more than once. For this same period, here are my numbers:

January – 809
February – 698
March – 1,410

What this tells us is that in January, 958 of my visitors, or 54%, were return visitors to this blog; February, 508, or 42%, were return visitors; March, 508, or 26%, were return visitors to this blog. For whatever reason, folks who frequented my blog more often have drastically gone away, and that doesn’t bode well for this blog for long, as return visitors are the ones who help keep you above water, and possibly are the ones who help you make sales along the way.

However, if you were looking to sell your blog, which I’m not, which is why I can share this information with you, the figure you’d give someone as far as telling them how many visits your blog gets, is the unique visitors statistic.

Why? Because it’s the figure that most people will ask you for, because it’s the statistic most people are set up to track easily. And it’s an honest figure in its own right, because one thing someone really wants to know is how often the search engines might be stopping by to check on the site, and in this case, Google is number one as far as visiting my site and producing unique visit statistics.

And there you go. Next time I’ll talk about page views, which I believe is infinitely more important than visitors.
 

Six Things I’ve Learned About Affiliate Marketing

I’ve written on this blog many times that I’m not the best affiliate marketer in the world. Well, I’d have to say that part is true, based on my history. However, what I can’t say is that I haven’t learned how to do any type of affiliate marketing, and if I decided to redo a few things, I believe I could actually start making some nice money at it. It would probably take some time to get to a point where I could be making enough to pay all my bills, but I actually do believe I could do it.

So, if I were going to start today with something brand new, what would I do, based on what I’ve learned thus far? Let’s look at my list:

1. I’d take time to think about a niche where not only could I write at least 100 articles about it, but that would somehow surround a product. I mentioned this in a comment on Sire’s blog once in response to a question someone else asked. I know someone who created a blog about hydroponic gardening, which means it was truly a small, defined niche. It was the only subject she wrote about on that blog, as it was new latest hobby. And, along with pictures she took herself, she had Adsense on her blog, but also had products related to hydroponic gardening. She was earning close to $1,000 a month on just that blog alone. She recreated that type of thing a few times, and was living fairly well. However, this wouldn’t only have to be a blog; a nice website might do the same thing.

2. I’d take more time to think of a domain name that people might actually know what it is they’re visiting for. With my Medical Billing Answers site, I did this very thing. It’s been making consistent Adsense money for me over the last five months, which is really nice. The problem is that there’s no consistent product that relates to it other than some books, and books aren’t quite a great seller, plus they have a low margin of return.

3. Set up internal linking from the beginning. When I started this blog, I had no real concept of internal linking. When I created my Reviews Of Everything site, I knew to create menus with categories, but I didn’t do a great job of setting it up for proper internal linking. Now I’m good at internal linking as it pertains to this blog, but I haven’t gone back to do it with my business blog, and I haven’t done it for most of my other sites. I have done it for my main business site, which has helped greatly, and I did it from the beginning with Top Finance Blog. I think if you create a niche site or blog, that will work wonders for you.

4. Join more than one affiliate program, but have an idea of what and how you want to market those items. I’ve only done this well for my Top Finance Blog, where I knew I would only market finance related items. With my medical billing site, I never thought about anything except for Adsense initially, and with my Services And Stuff site, I never thought out how to lay out my product advertising, so it’s a mish-mosh of stuff that just doesn’t work well. Even with my Reviews site, I have laid things out properly, but not matched up items well, which messes up sales greatly.

5. Research better. I’m supposedly the king of research, but when all is said and done, when I created the sites I’ve created thus far, each was more of a whim than any concerted thought of how I would market anything. Even with Top Finance Blog, I didn’t think about monetizing it until two months after I started it, and I wasn’t sure then how I was going to do it. My medical billing site was the best planned site of all of them, and it makes the most money, and, oddly enough, it was an industry I didn’t have to research because I know it pretty well. For my next site, you can bet I’ll research, then select a niche, then pick the right domain name, select products beforehand, then I’ll set it all up and go for it.

6. No matter how well you set things up, you still need traffic. The most perfect site in the world won’t generate anything without traffic. There are really only two ways to drive traffic. One, through search engines, which means you need to not only do great search engine optimization, but hope to have a niche that will drive either lots of traffic or has loyal readers who’ll buy because they like your information. Two, through efforts such as what we bloggers try to do, or email, or things like Adwords, or hooking with folks who will help to drive traffic.

I think that’s enough for now. Of course, add anything you’d like to the mix, because that’s what we do around here, we share information and ideas. And I could have added a seventh, though it’s more negative, that being that sometimes affiliates drop you because they don’t feel you’re making enough sales, as I’ve been dropped recently by Apple stores and Newegg, though Newegg dropped me because I’m in New York state; so, those two will never be mentioned around here again.


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