Category Archives: Writing

Niume! Should You Dabble or Plunge In? Update

What is Niume?

Niume is a relative newcomer to the social blogging world. Co-founders Francesco  Facca and Daniel Gennaouli pitch it as a social network based on interests. They say its purpose is to bring people who share common interests together. Site owners want to provide a level playing field for people who want to share their content. They commit to sharing revenue with the users for the content they provide. Users will earn $1 for every thousand views their posts generate.

Update, May 28, 2017: Niume has announced that they will stop paying.

Niumi Has Many Spheres of Interest to Match Your Writing Interests
Click the image to join Niumi.

Niume currently has twenty spheres of interest. You need to sign up for at least three of them when you join. Each sphere has its own leaderboard to encourage people to be active in their spheres. Users also receive “hype” as readers view their posts and give them a thumbs up or favorite them. This adds to a user’s status. This status is earned separately in each sphere. Higher status leads to more visibility in a sphere. Commenting on the content of others also helps raise one’s status.

The Nitty Gritty of Niume

There is much to like about Niume. It is easy to find readers for your content. The guidelines don’t require more than five lines of text at this time. Most of the content I’ve seen so far is of higher quality than on many other similar sites. Competition within spheres for status motivate one to be active and participate.

There are also some things I think need improvement. The editor doesn’t work as it should, especially with regard to embedded links. Those getting started may find it hard to learn how to be successful on the site. Support is scattered between videos, a FAQ page, and a number of blog posts. It almost takes a treasure hunt and an email to find the answer to your particular question.

Will Niume Help You Reach Your Goals?

Will Niume Help You Reach Your Writing Goals
Click the image to join Niumi.

If your goal is to earn money, Niume can no longer help you there. They will no longer be paying.  See details in this official post at Niume. 

Niume may also help you find a wider audience for your content and help you promote your work on other sites. Affiliate links are against the guidelines, but you can link to your website or store as long as your links don’t appear to be clickbait and your post doesn’t come across as spam.

It is interesting that one of the reviews I read of Niume was in a post written in April,   2015.  I can’t find the post again to link to it, but it reviewed six other  revenue- sharing social sites in addition to Niumi. Two of them were Bubblews and Tsu, both of which are now gone.  I believe Niume has something in common with them — the ability to distract one from creating on one’s own domains.

It Takes Time to Make Niume Pay Off

I remember when we first discovered Bubblews. Many of us who were fairly successful on Squidoo and HubPages began to neglect those sites because they could not pay as much as Bubblews. We wrote and interacted on Bubblews as much as possible until it finally stopped paying us. Then we tried to pick up the pieces of our writing lives. By that time Squidoo was gone, too, and we needed to decide where to go next.

Many of us decided it was time to forget about writing new material on sites we didn’t own. Even when sites that showed promise, such as Blogbourne  wooed us, it was fairly easy to join, make a post or two, and come and go as we had time. It was easy to do the same on MyLot.

As on the Bubblews site, interaction is the key to gaining visibility. You need to raise your status to become more visible. You need to follow and find followers, write quality content, and read, give hype, and comment on the posts of others. You also need to promote your content. It takes time to gain the status you want, daily, and as time goes on.

Niume Can Tempt Bloggers to Neglect their Own Sites

Time you spend on Niume is fun. It’s competitive. It’s social. If you have your own blog, Niume may keep you from posting as often as you should. The amount of time we have is finite. Time spent on Niume will necessarily replace time spent somewhere else. Will you neglect another social media site like Facebook? Will you neglect one or more blogs? Will you give up another of the new third party content sites?

Today I was on Reddit and had to delete a post that I had moved from BlogJob to one of my own sites. I’m constantly having to delete pins and links from social media that lead to dead sites or sites I no longer use. I have to wonder if I will later have to remove links I made to newer third party sites like Niume. Time we invest into sites we own is an investment of  time that should continue to collect dividends in ad income and affiliate sales. What we post on third party sites, no matter how promising, can disappear at any time.

What Will You Do about Niume?

If you don’t want to own your own blogging sites, you might want to put your time and best effort into Niume.  It might mean less time to spend on other sites, but at least you will enjoy yourself. Just don’t count on Niume generating any income for you now.

Niume! Should You Dabble or Plunge In? Will Niume Help You Reach Your Writing Goals?

On the other hand, if you have your own blogging sites to maintain, Niume, may keep you away from them. It’s probably more important to concentrate on your self-hosted sites.  Of course, that doesn’t mean you can’t make an occasional visit to post and interact on Niume.  Everyone needs a change of pace.

3 Reasons Why I Chose SiteGround

I Know My Sites Are in Good Hands With SiteGround Web Hosting

 

I decided to use SiteGround when a Set Up WordPress Site in One Day class I was taking recommended it. I was planning to start a new WordPress blog, and I wanted to follow the directions the teacher was giving us. That new blog is A California Life. I was so delighted with the customer support from SiteGround that I decided to move my oldest and most important site away  from Hostgator to SiteGround. I still have a few sites at GoDaddy, but after the complaints I just read about them, I just may start moving those, too.

3 Reasons Why I Chose SiteGround
Click Image to See Current Pricing.

 

I’m very happy with SiteGround. I’ve never had any downtime during this few months I’ve been with them. I’m getting good value for my money. My sites are  fast and safe, and customer and technical support have been superb.

My SiteGround Sites Load Quickly

My sites have lots of images and all have sidebars.  My most important site built with WordPress has both pages and blog posts. Check out the speed at which Books to Remember loads for yourself. Since the home page is short, with few images,  I’m going to send you to a page full of images: Marvin Terban and His Books.

A California Life is a travel blog, so it also has lots of images. Solving the Problems of Aging is my most neglected blog of my SiteGround hosted Blogs, so I’ll send you to my one post there so far How Family Members Can Support Each Other. Go ahead and test them for loading speed.

I Know My WordPress Site is Safe on SiteGround

When SiteGround learns about new WordPress vulnerabilities,   it moves quickly to patch them at the server level. The SiteGround technical team quickly acted to protect customers from vulnerabilities in  ImageMagick , for example. They also quickly patched a serious vulnerability in WPTouch, a popular WordPress plugin. SiteGround was also the first host to apply isolation to sites in a shared hosting environment.

3 Reasons Why I Chose SiteGround

 

I Left HostGator Because I No Longer Trusted Their Tech Support

After my satisfying experience starting my first WordPress blog at SiteGround, I decided to move my oldest site. I had started that site in 1996 as my bookselling site. It was long before WordPress existed, and I’d built it in FrontPage, which Microsoft stopped supporting years ago. The replacement for it frustrated me, and I wanted to concentrate on my business — not the software.

I finally decided to retire to affiliate selling instead of shipping out actual product to customers. I also made up my mind it was time to switch my site to WordPress. It was a 600+ page site. I had a copy of it in the software on my computer. I had good traffic at the time and I didn’t want to lose it, so I called the host, Hostgator.

We discussed the issues, and the support person assured me he would create a test site in  WordPress for me to work on  while the original site was still up. That gave me time to get some content on the new site before making the switch. He said when I was ready, I could call any tech person to make the switch from the test site to the real site. He didn’t mention any charge for this.

When I was ready to make the switch, I was informed it would cost $75 and take much longer than the first tech had told me it would. I was not a happy camper. It didn’t help that every time I called, I waited on hold for what seemed like forever. I no longer had confidence in HostGator.

Support crafted by SiteGround from SiteGround Web Hosting on Vimeo.

SiteGround Support Amazed Me

I called SiteGround. I had seen a promotional offer which included free site migration from HostGator. The customer service rep answered the phone almost instantly and walked me through the process of setting up the new hosting plan. She then took over the job of transferring my site from HostGator — for free.

I now host four sites on SiteGround, but one is not live yet. I know if I ever have a problem, I can make a toll-free call to tech support and someone will pick up the phone fast. I won’t have to pay for a call like I have to for GoDaddy, which currently still hosts my older sites. I won’t have to listen to GoDaddy’s annoying music until they pick up, either.

Isn’t it about Time You Tried SiteGround?

Say goodbye to toll calls and long holding times for tech support. Rest knowing  your website is secure. Celebrate fast page loading speeds when  people visit your site.

Here are the plans you can choose from.

3 Reasons Why I Chose SiteGround

If you only need one web site, I suggest you choose the StartUp Plan. I chose the GrowBig plan because it lets me host many sites on one account. See plan details here.  Which plan will you choose?

3 Reasons Why I Chose SiteGroundWhy not sign up now!

Should You Blog at TinyCent?

UPDATE, JULY 15, 2017

I can no longer reach TinyCent. To the best of my knowledge, it’s gone.  My prediction about its chances proved pretty accurate. Blogbourne is also on the way out. It will be gone when its hosting expires in October. Current members can move their work to another site. Here’s how to move your work to your own sites.

Literacy Base still has 3803 “active” members, but at least some of those haven’t checked in for over two years. I don’t see a bright future for it, but

If you want an almost sure thing, stick with reliable (so far) MyLot. It does pay people, including me.

The rest of this post is historical. Reading it may give you a better idea of why it’s best to stick to writing on sites you own.  Here’s the best way to start a blog of your own. 

Don’t Set Your Hopes Too High for TinyCent

Is blogging at TinyCent worth your time and effort? My experience with TinyCent so far has not been encouraging. I tried to sign up for the purpose of reviewing the site,  but I haven’t been able to complete registration after two weeks of trying. This post will explain why I don’t have high hopes for this site.

 

The Sign-up Process Seemed Off

I have never yet joined a writing site that asked for my phone number. TinyCent requires it at sign-up. They say it’s so they can contact you about payment information and payouts. Some members confirm getting these calls and having satisfying conversations with the owner. However other sites pay me through PayPal, and they never have asked for my phone number. Why does TinyCent need it? Do they suspect possible fraudulent activity from some of their members?

I presume the reason TinyCent asks for a birth date is to verify age. I never like to give that information to sites without a long track record, but it is required to sign up.

The last step in signing up is to wait for a verification email so they know the email address you gave them is correct. I never got that email. So I have never been able to log in to write anything. Even after emailing Naveen  from that address and getting a reply and replying back, I have not been able to verify my registration.

TinyCent Support and TOS Seem Nonexistent

After not getting my verification email, I clicked the “contact us” link on the bottom of the login form.  See form below. Black label at bottom was not part of screen shot. I added my comment to it. I cropped off site logos so as not to violate copyright.

Should You Blog at TinyCent?
TinyCent Login Screen, cropped

TinyCentTerms of Service

As I write this update on August 29, 2016, those signing up to register for the site still cannot see the Terms and Conditions or Privacy Policy This is important, since you can’t sign up until you agree to them. All I can  find as an unregistered person is the page with FAQ.

If you look closely at the screen shot above, you will see what appears to be a link to the T&C (Terms and Conditions). If you click it, it goes straight to the home page and there are no terms and conditions in sight. There is no privacy policy that I can find, either. I later discovered it hidden in the T&C.) I have copied below what I found in a copy that a registered member sent me.

5. INFORMATION DISCLOSURE TinyCent reserves the right at all times to disclose any information as necessary to satisfy any applicable law, regulation, legal process or governmental request, including personally identifiable information, or to edit, refuse to allow or to remove any information or materials, in whole or in part, in TinyCent sole discretion. In the course of using the Site, you may be required to enter certain information, including without limitation personal information. You represent and warrant that you will provide TinyCent with full, true and correct Information, and to update such Information on the Site promptly as reasonably necessary and as required by the Site.

Where is TinyCent Support?

In the screen shot above you will also notice a “Contact Us” link. If you click it,  you will again land on the home page with no contact form in sight. It seems all links except the FAQ, site map, and Social Media links lead back to the home page. The site map link leads to a page of XML code. The social media pages don’t offer more than a better looking presentation of what’s on the site’s home page.

The fact remains that it is almost impossible to reach tech support if you aren’t a member. I have heard it’s just as hard if you are a member.  I was going to delay writing this review until I could register and write something on the site, but I don’t think I’ll ever be able to complete that registration. Maybe they aren’t letting anyone register anymore, but I don’t know that.

I was finally able to contact the site owner through WHO IS information. You can see that WHO IS information here. 

Naveen Srinivas, the founder of TinyCent, seemed happy to hear from me and implement my suggestions for making the Privacy Policy and T&C more visible to outsiders. That was over  38 hours ago. None of the issues with my registration have been resolved yet. I still can’t log in. I haven’t heard any more from Naveen.

In any case, I’m no longer interested in joining. I’ve seen enough  from the outside to convince me that joining would probably be a poor investment of my time and effort.

Will TinyCent Pay its Writers As Promised?

Will TinyCent Pay its Writers As Promised?
Pennies, Photo in Public Domain Courtesy of Pixabay

Remember Bubblews? For a long time most of the writers got paid, and then some didn’t, and finally no one got paid anymore.  TinyCent has paid some people I know at least once. Others are still waiting for payments they have earned. Meanwhile, we can apply some of the lessons learned from the fall of Bubblews to other sites, such  TinyCent.

I just checked WebValueCheck.com for information on TinyCent, and it should help you see how much income the site may be making from ads. They estimate ad income at $4 daily as of today, August 27, 2016.  I also  checked their evaluation of my newest site,  A California Life. WebValueCheck estimates the income of my site from ads at a dollar a day. The truth is that site’s  income is closer to a dollar a month. So they may have also overestimated TinyCent’s income by quite a bit. I also checked SiteWorth, and its report may be of interest to you, since it contains a lot of data that may affect site income. It shows TinyCent earning less than WebValueCheck shows.

If TinyCent plans to pay people from ad income, I wouldn’t hold my breath  waiting for payment. It can only pay from money that is has or borrows. Of course, it may have other income sources we can’t know about.  The site will have to start making more income, though, to continue to pay the rates stated. Of course, the T&C state that TinyCent can reduce or eliminate compensation at any time — just as Bubblews did before it died and as BlogJob did in May, 2016.

Should You Blog at TinyCent?

My Advice Concerning TinyCent

If you have not signed up yet, don’t. I may be wrong, but why risk it when other new sites may be more worth taking a chance on? So far the site does not comply with the rule  that it must have a  visible Privacy Policy in a prominent place that visitors can see easily. This is something even most beginning bloggers know they have to have. Although Naveen seems eager to make the site compliant, so far it hasn’t happened.

If you are already writing on TinyCent, I wouldn’t invest too much more time into it. You will probably be disappointed, and I doubt if you will get paid too many times. I don’t expect the site to last very long. For the sake of Naveen and the active members, I hope I’m wrong. If I see evidence that my concerns have been addressed, I will update this post.

If anyone has a different opinion and some experience to back it up, I welcome your comments below. If you aren’t a registered member, do you think you want to become one? Why or why not?

Review: Will These Social Blogging Sites Survive?

A Selective History of Social Blogging Sites

The first social blogging site I joined was Bubblews. It lasted for almost three years. It was very popular and established writers from well-known sites like HubPages devoted less time to writing for them because they were making more on Bubblews. This left HubPages weaker, and many people, including me, found it hard to just jump back in at HubPages after Bubblews stopped paying.

Social blogging was easy, fun, and struck a chord for those of us who wanted to connect as people rather than just share information. Since the fall of Bubblews, people began looking for another social blogging site. Many went back to myLot, which had changed ownership and gone back to paying members. It is a simple forum, but its new format also makes it ideal for social blogging.  This got friends connected again, but social bloggers wanted something a bit different.

Many of those looking discovered BlogJob. BlogJob seemed to combine the best features of Bubblews and myLot. I have reviewed the state of BlogJob in Transition here.  Some people are still hanging on, but few are very active anymore. Once again the search is on for a new site. This week I’ve joined two new sites very similar to BlogJob.

Review: Two New Social Blogging Sites
Photo in Public Domain Courtesy of Pixabay.com

UPDATE, July 15, 2017

Blogbourne will be closing when its hosting expires in October, 2017. Literacy Base has improved since I first posted this review.  Keep that in mind when you read the rest of this post.

Literacy Base and BlogBourne — What They Have in Common

  • They are both a lot like BlogJob. They offer free hosting for social bloggers and they provide groups and forums for member interaction outside the blogs. Unlike BlogJob, though, one cannot have an independent WordPress Blog on either site such as BlogJob members have.
  • They are owned or administrated by people whose first language is not English. This means some of the site documentation has errors in standard English.
  • They both offer some form of compensation to those active on the sites
  • Both will pay members through PayPal. Literacy Base also  pays through Payoneer.
  • Both provide members with referral links to share their articles and to recruit new members.
  • Both sites are currently experiencing growing pains and may go offline from time to time as they work out bugs. BlogBourne officially launched August 1, 2016.

How Literacy Base and BlogBourne Differ: Payment

Review: Two New Social Blogging Sites
Photo in Public Domain Courtesy of Pixabay.com
  • BlogBourne splits site earnings with members, keeping 50% for site expenses and dividing the rest to to determine the value of a coin. This system is similar to the one Persona Paper was using. Literacy Base pays specific cash amounts for specific tasks like commenting or writing posts. The value of a BlogBourne coin fluctuates and is posted every month.
  • BlogBourne will be paying seven days after a person orders payment, but the payments won’t be issued the first time until two months after the site’s launch. BlogBourne payment amounts range from $5 to $100.  Literacy Base pays on  the tenth day of the month after a person has earned $10.
  • BlogBourne currently offers the same amount of coins for any post. Literacy Base at its own discretion pays more for higher quality interactions and longer posts.
  • Literacy Base currently has placed no limits on how much a member can earn in a day.  BlogBourne has a limit of three posts per day and varying limits for other activities one can earn for.

How Literacy Base and BlogBourne Differ: Editors and Posting

  • On Literacy Base your blog post has to be approved before it will post. That can take up to 24 hours. If more people become active, that might increase the approval time. Moderators also look over what you post on BlogBourne until a member is white-listed for immediate posting. Moderators let members know if changes need to be made and offer help before a post is approved for posting.
  • On Literacy Base your post must be at least 300 words long. On BlogBourne, it has to be 400 words.
  • Evidently on Literacy Base you can’t save drafts(even though it looks like you should be able to). It’s best to write your post in a word processor and paste it in before submitting. You can save your drafts in BlogBourne. You can edit and delete posts there, too, but if you delete a post you will lose any coins associated with it. I always advise writing in a word processor first anyway. It gives you a backup copy and protects you if the site goes offline while you are typing. A screen shot of the BlogBourne editor is below.
Review: Two New Social Blogging Sites
Screen Shot BlogBourne Editor

Notice that you can edit the HTML in the BlogBourne editor (see arrow) and that there are additional fields you can’t see below where the screen shot ends. Now compare with the Literacy Base Editor (below).

Review: Two New Social Blogging Sites
Screen Shot of Literacy Base Editor

You can see that the BlogBourne editor has more options than that of Literacy Base and more closely resembles a WordPress interface. Neither editor has a drop-down menu for header text, but the BlogBourne editor allows you to change the font and text size.

Other Differences between Literacy Base and BlogBourne

  • Navigation is easier on BlogBourne. I discuss this in more detail in Five Reasons Why I Joined BlogBourne. 
  • You may use an affiliate link in a BlogBourne post, but not in a Literacy Base post. Notice I said a link.
  • Literacy Base only allows links to site sources that support the information in your post.
  • It is easier for people to find your work on BlogBourne and your profile looks nicer.
  • Literacy Base has a more cluttered design that distracts from reading the posts. Check My Uninvited Guest on Literacy Base and compare it to the link in the first point in this heading from BlogBourne
  • BlogBourne has a very motivating Leaderboard for those of us who are competitive. It lists members by number of coins they’ve earned with highest earners at the top.
  • Literacy Base has been around since some time in 2014. They opened their Facebook Page in November 2014. BlogBourne launched on August 1,  2016.
  • Literacy Base has made improvements in their site. Blogbourne will be closing in October, 2017.

Will These Sites Survive? Should I Join?

I’m afraid only time will tell that. I don’t mind pioneering a bit. I was one of the first on Bubblews and although I didn’t  expect it to last as long as it did, I made some good money there.  I’m glad I decided to risk it.

I do like social blogging, but I believe BlogJob won’t last much longer.  I haven’t left, but I am moving some posts to my own sites.  BlogBourne and Literacy Base are the most similar sites to BlogJob that I’ve joined.  I happen to prefer BlogBourne, but it doesn’t have as much history yet to evaluate how it will do.  I believe BlogBourne has a more realistic business plan since it can adjust the value of its coins to fit the income the site produces. You will need to weigh the pros and cons for yourself. You may want to join both.

BlogBourne realized many of its members write English as a second language and that even some who write it as a first language sometimes need help. Administrators write many posts to help these members develop better writing skills so that their posts may be approved faster.

Recently Blogbourne started a buddy system where less proficient writers can work with accomplished writers to improve their work. As a result, the quality of posts on the site has improved and this should help the site survive.

Does Your Free Blog Hosting Put Your Blog at Risk?
Read the Terms of Service

My Advice

If you enjoy social blogging and you have time for two more sites,  join both and try them out. Join before you look around so that if you want to comment on a post, you will earn points or coins for it. If you don’t like the site,  you don’t have to be very active. I joined Literacy Base because I had friends who posted there and I was going to comment anyway. I figured I might as well earn something for it. I joined BlogBourne for much the same reason, but when I got there, I really liked it.

I would suggest you join one or both sites, but don’t write any photo essays that would be hard to move later on. Read the terms of service for each site carefully before joining. They are called FAQ on Literacy Base.

I’ve been around the social blogging block a few times and gotten burned, just like many of you. My sixth sense tells me that I probably should invest more time into BlogBourne than Literacy Base. My common sense tells me I should really invest the most time into my own blogs.

You can sign up with BlogBourne hereYou can join Literacy Base here. These are affiliate links and I will be grateful if you decide to use them.

If you think this post will help someone else who is trying to decide, please share it. The image below is just right for Pinterest.

Review: Two New Social Blogging Sites: Literacy Base and BlogBourne

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Why It’s Important for Affiliate Marketers to Self-Host WordPress Sites

Do You Want to Blog for Money?

It’s very tempting for affiliate marketers to take advantage of “free” blogging platforms such as BlogJob or revenue sharing sites using a WordPress interface. These platforms have their advantages and many of us have used them with varying results. BlogJob is great if you want to be in a community situation and be able to earn with social activity as well as your blogs. If you are a serious affiliate marketing blogger, who wants control over the monetizing options and how your blog looks, it’s important to self-host your WordPress site. 

Affiliate Marketing Rocks! Giant Coffee Mug
Affiliate Marketing Rocks! Giant Coffee Mug
View more Affiliate marketing Mugs at zazzle.com

Advertising Options

I have six blogs on BlogJob. I wanted to try some different themes that were new to me. I chose the Arcade Basic theme for my blog Trees in My World because I wanted to feature a lot of photos and I liked the large photo header. What I could not predict when writing my posts was what would happen when BlogJob’s placed their Adsense ads on my blog. Here’s what did happen.

Why It's Important to Self-Host Your WordPress Site
BlogJob Placed Ad Covering my Text

As you can see, the ad is covering my text — not something readers will appreciate. It makes me look bad and most readers will just click away, increasing my bounce rate..

I only discovered this was happening again when I was about to promote the page. These ads are pesky because when you are writing your post, you have no idea where they will appear and what form they will take. They don’t show up until someone is actually reading the post. This only has happened when I’ve been using this theme. In all fairness, the administration fixed this for me once, but the site just had a major update and it’s broken again.

When you self-host, you place all the ads. You don’t have to put one in the middle of your post if you don’t want the flow interrupted. You don’t have to worry about ads that will compete for clicks on the products you are linking to yourself. I remember times on revenue sharing sites when I was promoting certain Zazzle products and the same products would also appear in the ads to the right, competing for clicks and commission.

When you self-host, you  don’t have to worry about nasty or questionable ads being placed by your host that you would never approve or want your readers to see. (In all fairness, BlogJob has never placed ads I was ashamed of. ) You have full control in Google’s interface over what ads you do and don’t want to see when you host a site yourself.

Third Party Display Aids

Affiliate marketers want to make their products look attractive on their pages. Some like to use Amazon’s Native Ads. I like to use Easy Product Displays. It’s a very reasonable paid service that lets you easily build attractive displays of affiliate products.

I’m still on the basic plan that lets me search Amazon and Zazzle, my two main affiliate programs. It costs a bit more to include Share-a-Sale. You can choose between several layouts to find the best fit for your page, preview it, and switch products around in the display until you get it just right. Then you copy the code and put it in the text view of your page where you want it.  Here’s an example of a display I just built. (Disclaimer: I chose these books at random because they looked interesting to me.)

 Blogging For Dummies How To Make Money Blogging: How I Replaced My Day Job With My Blog Affiliate Marketing: How to make money and create an income How To Blog For Profit: Without Selling Your Soul Content Rules: How to Create Killer Blogs, Podcasts, Videos, Ebooks, Webinars (and More) That Engage Customers and Ignite Your Business

&

There are ways I could adjust this display in the code to make the Amazon buttons line up more evenly, but that isn’t the primary focus of this post. You can display only one product or more than fifteen, if you please, in different sizes or in rows of two, three, and four products. It’s fun to play with it before you get your code.

I cannot use this display in BlogJob because of code conflicts. Amazon Native ads also have to replace one of your Adsense ads at BlogJob. I discovered today I can’t even display the normal text/image ad from Amazon there. I have no control over how the code is written. BlogJob pays the bills and they get to call the shots. They have to make money, too, but if you want control you need to self-host.

Full Control of Affiliate Products Promoted

So far, BlogJob has not limited how many products I may promote per post, only how they are displayed. Revenue sharing sites like HubPages are the most controlling when it comes to this. I hate having robots decide where affiliate links can be placed and how many. Anyone using HubPages will understand what I mean. That is one reason why affiliate marketers are leaving HubPages to self-host. Many who have done that are making much more money after moving their posts to self-hosted sites than they ever did on HubPages.

If You Are Serious about Monetizing, Self-Host

If you are starting from scratch with self-hosted WordPress, I recommend you spend the small amount of money it takes to purchase the course that will show you how to set it up correctly to make money and get traffic. It’s called Set Up a WordPress Site in One Day, and I have purchased it myself.  I thought I knew plenty already since I had been using self-hosted WordPress for years. After getting this course, I was surprised to learn how much I didn’t know yet.

I recommend you host with SiteGround. I have moved my main site there.  Here’s why.

 

If you want to blog mainly for personal satisfaction or you don’t care if you make money with your blog, go ahead and join BlogJob.  You can still make a bit of money there — probably faster than on HubPages — while enjoying the community aspects of the site and participating in forums. Just keep in mind that if you want to start seriously monetizing a blog to make a business of blogging, you will get much better results if you self-host. 

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Why It's Important for Affiliate Marketers to Self-Host WordPress Sites

 

I Thought I’d Never Write Another Word

I Didn’t Want to Use My Computer

I Thought I Could Not Write Another Word
I Thought I Could Not Write Another Word

I know you’ve heard of writer’s’ block. For the past two days I have been dealing with what seemed even worse — brain block. It’s not  just that I couldn’t write. I couldn’t even seem to think. I didn’t want to make decisions. I couldn’t seem to make myself do even simple household tasks. I thought maybe I was coming down with something, so I spent a lot of time in bed or just reading simple escape stories and watching a bit of TV.  I did not feel like I could deal with life. I thought I’d never write another word. 

I Thought I'd Never Write Another Word
B. Radisavljevic

This surprised me because for the two days preceding this period of depression, I had been very  productive. I had sorted through all the paper on my desk and other places to get ready to enter data for my taxes. I had listed and packed ten boxes of books to donate to Goodwill to help get some of my book inventory I’m no longer selling out of my house. I had taken a short photo walk to get pictures for future blog posts.

Maybe I just wore myself out on Wednesday and Thursday, and when Friday came, I seemed to have crashed physically and emotionally. I could not write a word, not even for my daily blog, on Friday or Saturday. I didn’t feel anything. I didn’t care about anything. I wondered if I’d ever  write another blog post.

By this morning I was wondering if I was on the verge of clinical depression. I could not face the thought of another day in the house or the idea of cooking.  It’s as though my sense of responsibility  had ceased to exist. I told my husband I needed to get out but did not want to have to think about  where. So he decided to take me to lunch, and then we drove to the coast.

I Thought I'd Never Write Another Word
Leffingwell Landing, Cambria, California, © B. Radisavljevic

 

What a difference a bit of sunshine and nature can make when you feel depressed. It has worked for me before, and I was hoping it would work  today. It did.  Something inside me told me I needed a break from the routine or I just might crack up. Have you ever felt that way?

I Thought I'd Never Write Another WordI was overwhelmed by learning about approaching changes that affect bloggers and website owners that I’m not sure I can  handle technically myself. Then there are changes in social media that make me feel I’m obsolete because I don’t like publishing or getting my information on mobile devices. I don’t “get” Periscope, yet I’m hearing that’s the direction marketing is going. It makes me wonder if blogging itself will become obsolete as video and audio take over and desktop computers become obsolete.

I still don’t know how I will face the changes in the online world. Sometimes I’m tempted to just leave the virtual  world. But at least I got over my brain freeze after an hour on the coast seeing God’s beautiful creation again. Somehow seeing the waves swell as they approach the shore and crash and splash against the rocks has a healing effect on my spirit. I know they’ve been coming to  shore  since the dawn of civilization and they will continue their endless journey long after I am gone. Somehow knowing that steadies me, since God looks after me as he does his creation.

I Thought I Would Never Write Another Word
Leffingwell Landing, Wave Crashing Against Rock, © B. Radisavljevic

 

Are you stuck inside and can’t get to the ocean? Maybe this DVD of ocean scenery and sounds will help.

Four Things You Need to Do After a Writing Site Closes

Writing Sites Sometimes Close With No Warning

 

Four Things You Need to Do After a Writing Site ClosesIt seems almost every few months another writing site closes.  During the past three years Squidoo, Bubblews, Zujava, Wikinut, Seekyt, and sites I never even joined have closed or stopped paying.

When Persona Paper gave notice they would close, the site administrators, who have always been upfront with us, gave us fair warning so that we would have time to save our work. As it turned out, a new owner took over Persona Paper, but it’s no longer paying.  Not very many people are still active there.  Many of us have already backed up our work — just in case.

Besides Persona Paper, I belong to other sites which may or may not be around a year from now. The owners of Blogborne and Niume seem to have lost interest in them and activity has decreased. As income on these third party sites goes down, more and more people are moving work to their own sites.

Checklist for Exiting a Writing Site

  1. Make copies of your work
  2. Delete links to your work
  3. Edit your social media automated feeds
  4. Invest more in your self-hosted sites

Make Copies of Your Work

If you’ve been through a sudden site closure with no warning before, you probably already know you should be making backups for every single post or article you write. When Bubblews closed, many were caught off-guard and lost their work.

There’s another lesson I learned at Bubblews, though. A site can also make a site-wide change that will butcher what you have written. This happened during an update where Bubblews stripped most of the content from many posts that had used multiple images. I lost many photo essays, even though I had drafts of the text.

Four Things You Need to Do After a Writing Site ClosesFrom now on, I plan to save every post with multiple images as a complete web page through my browser. In Chrome this is really easy. Just go to the dots in the top right corner. Click. Choose “More Tools” from the drop-down menu that appears. When you mouse over it, you can click “Save page as.” A window will appear to allow you to choose a file to save to. Choose and save. Wait for the download and you’re finished.  What a simple way to have a model of your page exactly as it appeared when published so you can reconstruct it later.

Delete Links to Your Work

This is the part that is not fun. If you’ve been writing very long, you have probably been crosslinking articles you’ve written on different sites. When Squidoo closed I had lots of links going to my lenses from my blogs and from my Hubs on HubPages and from articles on other sites. Fortunately, many of those links forwarded to HubPages for pages that had been transferred, but I didn’t allow all my articles to transfer.

I have 350 articles on Persona Paper, and a good portion of those are articles I tweeted recently. I have linked to them from blogs. I have pinned them on Pinterest and shared them on Google + and Facebook. I  have linked to them from content websites I own. If Persona Paper goes away for good, those will all be dead links. I will have to remove them. Maybe you also have some link cleaning to do if you have backlinks to work on closed or closing sites.

Edit Your Social Media Feeds

Many people have automated collections of tweets and Facebook posts which they set up ahead of time for a couple of hundred evergreen posts in a service like Hootsuite. They just keep being posted over time until you change them. If links to posts or sites no longer functioning are being tweeted, you will lose credibility.

Invest in More in Your Self-Hosted Sites

Sometimes I feel like I’m on a merry-go-round. Gather closes so I post an old Gather post to Bubblews. Bubblews closes so I republish that same post to Persona Paper. Persona Paper closes… Then what?

Four Things You Need to Do After a Writing Site Closes
Are You on the Content Writing Merry-Go-Round? Courtesy of Pixabay

People are still trying to find new homes for their old Squidoo lenses and hubs that aren’t doing well. Many are starting their own blogs or spending more time creating or republishing content to blogs or sites they already own. I wrote recently about how to move writing from content sites to your own site.

If you’ve been stuck on the content writing site merry-go-round, maybe it’s time to get off and invest in your own self-hosted sites. If your sites are already set up, invest more time in updating them and adding new content. Many who have moved posts from HubPages to their own sites are seeing increased earnings from them now. Check out the great hosting deals for WordPress sites at SiteGround. They are very helpful there.

If you don’t yet have your own blog, join Pajama Affiliates so you can learn to set up a self-hosted WordPress site correctly from the beginning.  It’s a small investment up front, but most get it back in earnings if they apply what they learn there.  I have found it valuable for myself.

My Pajama Affiliate Courses are Worth Every Penny I Paid for Them. The teachers are making thousands a year in affiliate income without being spammy.  They can teach you to monetize your own blogs in a reputable way. The courses go on sale often. While you’re waiting for a sale, you can clean out your dead links in cyberspace.

Hope this post helps you set goals that don’t depend on a third party site to help you earn. Be adventurous. Step out on your own. Take control of your own destiny in cyberspace. I think you will enjoy creating and looking back on your accomplishments.

Moving Writing from Content Sites to Your Own

I’m  Republishing More of my Content Here

In my article Life After Squidoo or Zujava or Bubblews, Etc., I suggested that one way to deal with the loss of these sites was to move one’s work onto self-hosted pages. I am now taking my own advice. Although this site started as a blog, I will be adding articles to it that you can access from the top tabs. As you mouse over each tab, it will show you the articles which have been revised, rewritten, or written specifically for this site. So far only  the Soul and Spirit tabs are active. Eventually the Body tab will join them.

How I Save Copies of Work to Republish

I’m sure I’m not the only one trying to find homes for previously posted work on now defunct sites. When an article was originally written for Squidoo, HubPages, Bubblews, Persona Paper, Wikinut, Zujava, Seekyt, or another content site, moving that article to a self-hosted  site can be like working a puzzle. First you need to have copies of what you have posted on those  sites.

Most people have now learned how important it is to keep the text of their articles in a separate file on a computer or in the cloud. I personally use Carbonite to back up all my computer files so that I will still have my work even if my computer crashes.

Many of the former host sites, though, encouraged writers to use special modules that WordPress and Blogger don’t have — such things as Google Maps, polls, and quizzes it is hard to reproduce. We can reinsert videos and photos, but not exactly where they were in the original article. We need to redo our affiliate links which were often encased in special modules or capsules.

I am now saving every post hosted on a site not my own as a complete webpage so that I can have a guide that makes it easier to get my photos and videos where they belong. Besides that, if you worked as hard on some those Squidoo articles as I did, it’s nice to have a copy of the original to admire. I tried to build masterpieces with the provided tools, and I think I often succeeded. Then they got transferred to HubPages and were never the same again. For now I’m leaving any featured hubs written on my original HubPages account where they are, but I will be moving as many on my transfer account as possible. Many of them will land here.

If you haven’t got your blog or website set up yet, you might go back to read Should You Start a Blog

Moving content takes time, so the articles I’m republishing here will build up gradually. If you click a tab  at the top, it will explain the sort of articles that will be found under that tab. When Body appears, it will hold articles on recipes, fitness, health, and other writing related to bodily needs. I hope to have this up soon. Meanwhile, I hope you will  check in every month or so and see what’s new, or follow me on Twitter where I   will post links to new content.

 

 

 

Make Money from Your Blog

Are You Still Waiting to Make Money from Your Blog?

Do you want to learn how to monetize your blog or website?  Adsense may be putting ads on your sites, but you may only make a penny every two weeks or so from those ads. You don’t make much from Google unless you have thousands of people visiting your site every day. I’m not there yet. Are you?

I Finally Got Serious about my Blogging Business

I  just started my serious blogging journey in December. Until last year I relied on content sites like Squidoo (now defunct), HubPages, and Bubblews (also now defunct) to make my writing pay off. I never made much from affiliate sales and I like to think it’s because I didn’t try very hard. I’d like to turn my blogs into cash cows.

Make Money from Your Blog
I’d Like to Make My Blogs Cash Cows.

 

I currently belong to two direct affiliate programsAmazon and Zazzle. So far Zazzle has done better for me. If you aren’t a member of their affiliate program, you should join. It’s free and Zazzle products are easy to promote on a blog since they have products to relate to anything you can think of to write about. Here’s how to get started with Zazzle. There are many Zazzle support groups on Facebook to help once you get started.

Spend a Bit of Money to Make a Lot of Money

I have now connected with a group of other former Squidoo writers who used to make a lot of money with affiliate marketing on Squidoo. They now are making it with affiliate sales on their own blogs.  Some make thousands of dollars a month.

Two of them have put together a course that teaches anyone how to do what they have done, as long as they can communicate well in writing and are willing to work hard.  I thought I couldn’t afford it.

Finally, I decided I would take the plunge anyway as an investment in my future, and at the end of December 2015, I bought my first course. Participating showed me how much I could learn from Leslie (who just bought her first home with her affiliate earnings) and Robin.  I signed up for even more courses.

Here’s the Scoop on Pajama Affiliate Marketing Courses

For a complete description of the courses, you can save time by going directly to the  Pajama Affiliate Home Page. The complete Pajama Affiliate Marketing course includes more than the Amazon Associates Master Class I describe below. I have known the people who put these courses together for a long time on Squidoo.  I know that taking courses is not a magic pill that will transform your blog overnight,  but if you put the work in, you will begin to make more money with your blog if you work smart. I decided it was time for me to learn to work smart.

The price for the courses fluctuates as they go on sale for limited times and then go up again. I’m excited about the all-in-one blogging bundle that was introduced on February 18, 2016. It shows you everything you need to know about blogging. It will teach you how to make money from your blog. Check it out.

All Pajama Affiliate courses are reasonably priced for what they offer, but they often go on sale. The best way to find out immediately about any sales is to take advantage of the free Fastpass described at the end of this post. It gives you access to the private Facebook group where sale announcements are first made.

Make Money from Your Blog  My first course was the Pajama Affiliates Amazon Associates Master Class.   When you click the link you will land on a page that describes all you will learn along with the current price. It’s quite likely it will be a sale price. This course is part of the all new blogging bundle described above.

The courses include videos with written summaries of what the videos cover. That makes it easy for me to recap what I’ve heard without listening again. I’ve only had time to watch a few videos since I signed up, but already I’m learning a lot I never knew about how to do the things I knew I should be doing.

  •  finding keywords
  • knowing where to put them
  • putting content and images together for the best selling results
  • adding products and affiliate links to my pages effectively
  • SEO
  • using the different social media most effectively to bring in traffic
  • much, much more

Make Money from Your Blog

Learn to Make Your Blog Profitable

 

Support in Your Blogging Journey Helps

One reason I signed up is because many of my friends from Squidoo days are also taking the course and they say it has really helped them increase their affiliate income. Keep in mind that these ladies have been doing serious affiliate selling for much longer than I, and they say they are learning way more than they ever knew before about how to make their writing time pay off.

If you purchase this course, you also have lifelong access to Leslie’s coaching. Getting the information about the course costs nothing. I had saved the little bit left in my PayPal account after Bubblews closed, and I decided I would spend what it took to learn how to make real money — not just a few dollars a month — from my websites.

The Pajama Affiliates have two Facebook groups for help and support where members can work together to make each other more successful. The groups have challenges. Members help promote each other. Those who have purchased any course have access to the groups.

Make Money from Your Blog
Support Groups Give Helpful Tips and Honest Feedback

Other Affiliate Programs You Can Join

Zazzle and Amazon aren’t the only affiliate programs you can join. There are also those that are under the umbrella of a network such as Skimlinks, ShareASale, or CJ Affiliate (formerly Commission Junction.)  I am currently enrolled in the first two, and I’m  beginning to see some earnings accumulating in my Skimlinks account. I’m not ready to give up on ShareASale yet, because I’ve not worked hard enough at it. I don’t like CJ Affiliates terms because they deactivate your account if you don’t make a sale in a ninety-day period. Mine is currently deactivated. Skimlinks and ShareASale are more reasonable and I do know people who are making money with them. I will concentrate on Zazzle and Amazon until I’m happy with my results and then I will probably tackle ShareaSale with more enthusiasm.

I don’t like CJ Affiliates’ terms because they deactivate your account if you don’t make a sale in a ninety-day period. Mine is currently deactivated. Skimlinks and ShareASale are more reasonable and I do know people who are making money with them. I will concentrate on Zazzle and Amazon until I’m happy with my results and then I will probably tackle ShareaSale with more enthusiasm.

Skimlinks is a good alternative for those who cannot become Amazon affiliates directly because of tax laws in their states. If you use Skimlinks you don’t have to be approved by the individual merchants in their programs because you are sending your referral links with their referral codes through the Skimlinks account and Skimlinks pays you directly when your commissions add up to $10. They take a cut, but they also have a much lower payment threshold than the individual sites.

Zazzle and ShareASale pay when you have $50, and Amazon requires $10 for payout unless you want a check, for which you need $100. If you use ShareASale, you need to be accepted into each of their individual merchant programs. Since merchant programs and deals can come and go, it can be hard to keep track of them.

What Results Can a New Pajama Affiliate Expect?

 

I’m convinced if my friends,  people I know are telling the truth, are making some real money with their blogs,  I can do the same thing. I will have to change my blogging habits to do more than working by instinct and writing just what’s easy for me.  I will have to work smart and put the time in to plan my blogs as money makers and then execute those plans. It will take discipline, but I’m going to make money from my blogs.

I bought my first course at the end of December 2015, and have not yet had time to complete it. I apply what I learn as I learn it in every new post I write. In all of 2015 I had earned only 52.08 in affiliate income and all of it was from Zazzle.

This year, from January 1 to May 1, I have earned 61.24 from Zazzle (more than I earned all last year) and $11.28 from Amazon, when I’d never gotten a payment from them before. I can see my earnings increasing. As I have time to complete the courses and apply more of what I am learning, I know these earnings will increase. The income from my remaining third party site, HubPages, brought in only $25.10 during this same period, as the total earnings for both my accounts there.  Amazon earnings alone beat those totals this year. And I know they will grow.

December 2016 Update

If I count what I made on my blogs from Google Adsense and affiliate sales, my income from blogging doubled in 2016 over 2015.  If I leave out Goggle, my affiliate income alone tripled over 2015.  I realize that’s no fortune. But most of the year I was still learning and practicing new techniques.  As of the end of June this year Amazon had paid me $21.65. My December Amazon sales as of today, December 22, are 29.14 since my last payment in June. I had not received any Amazon payments in 2014 or 2015.

Earning are going up, and I’m getting the hang of how to make this work. I think by this time next year I will see a geometric progression in sales. I will have to work harder this year to make money from my blogs and not spend so much time writing for content sites that distract me and don’t pay well.

What Will You Do to Improve Your Earnings?

How about you? Will you invest a bit of cash into making your blogging more profitable and then make 2016 the year you will reap your reward? Just click this link for information about the new all-in-one Affiliate Marketing Classes Business Bundle.  Start learning to make money from your blog today. 

 

If this post helped you, please pass it on. The image below was designed especially for Pinterest sharing.

Make Money from Your Blog

 

 

 

 

The Bubblews Bubble Has Finally Burst

Soap Bubbles, CCO, public domain.
Soap Bubbles, CCO, public domain.

After three years, Bubblews has shut down. A visit to the site shows  only a brief announcement that Bubblews  can no longer stay in business with  what they earn from the ads they  show.  I’m not surprised. I expected it. That’s  why I haven’t wasted any more time there since the beginning of the year.

If you  wrote on Bubblews and don’t know how to find your Bubblews friends, I suggest you go to myLot. Many people found their way to Bubblews when  the old version of myLot stopped  paying. Most of them have returned since it came  back under the original ownership and started paying again. I noticed many new people there  from Bubblews today. Connect with me at myLot and you’ll find most of the old timers among my friends. Just click on their profiles to  follow them and get acquainted fast.

MyLot pays a few pennies a day  just for interacting with  other myLotters in the discussions that interest you. You can also  start your own discussions. It’s an easy site to visit and relax with friends while  watching your pennies add up. For more information on using myLot, be sure to read the blog post by @owlwings,  one of the most knowledgeable members. You will   also want to  follow him.

How do you feel about the demise of Bubblews? I think I’m relieved that I no longer have to worry about deleting my posts one my  one. I lost almost  $20 in unpaid earnings, but many lost more than I did. Now I’m wondering which will be the next site to close.

I just revised my Hub that Reviews Bubblews to reflect on what we can learn from what happened there: What Can We Learn from the Fall of Bubblews?