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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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. After 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 for a new site 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.
UPDATE, November 30, 2017
I was able to log into BlogBourne, but it’s obvious that it’s on its way out. It might as well be gone. I also checked into my account at Literacy Base. I think it’s on its last legs, as well. If you aren’t already a member of these sites, I recommend you not join them. If you are, it’s time to back up any work you have left on them and save it.
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
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.
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).
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
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.
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?
Updated March 1, 2019
Two of the sites have now disappeared. Only BlogJob remains, and they are not accepting new members. I believe the site will soon be gone. Joining anything new is always an experiment at first. I didn’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 backed up my work, closed my account and I am moving some posts to my own sites. I talked to a friend today who still has an active account and she is surprised the site is still there. She has gradually been moving her work to other places. BlogBourne and Literacy Base are no longer accessible.
I’ve left this post here because reading it can teach you some of the danger signs when you are evaluating whether or not to join a new site.
My Advice: Updated March 1, 2019
I’ve been around the social blogging block a few times and gotten burned, just like many of you. My common sense tells me I should really invest the most time into my own blogs. If you do not yet have your own blog, now is the time to start one. Here’s how.
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.
Free Blog Hosting Can Be Yanked Away Without Notice
Here’s how I learned the dangers of free blog hosting. A few years ago I almost had a WordPress.com blog deleted. At that time I did not know affiliate links were forbidden. I had never used them during my first two years of posts, but I almost lost all my work by using that one link. Fortunately for me, they warned me and when I appealed and removed the link they gave me another chance. Recently someone with more to lose than I had his free blog hosting yanked. His blog is gone. And that’s what inspired this post.
Blogger’s Free Blog Hosting Has Risks
In my last post I warned readers about the need to host their own sites. Now I’ve just read that artist Dennis Cooper’s 14-year-old Blogger blog was pulled by Google with no warning. I will admit I am not familiar with Cooper’s work and I have no idea what about his blog violated Google’s terms of service. I do know, though, from my own WordPress.com experience, that we may sometimes miss some part of the TOS or misunderstand it. That failure might cause the destruction of all our posts.
It’s one thing for Google to penalize content it doesn’t like in search results. It’s quite another to remove your blog.
When you own your own site, you have a lot more control. It’s true that paid hosting sites also have their terms of service, but they generally only disallow illegal content or behavior that threatens the server or other sites that share it. I use SiteGround for hosting my newest sites, and their terms are pretty typical. They don’t host MLM sites, though.
Whichever host you choose, be sure to read the terms of service before you sign up. Make sure the type of site you have in mind is compatible. Also read the details of your hosting plan to be familiar with its space and bandwidth limitations. You could be in trouble if you use too many resources. That happened to me on Hostgator once.
I once hosted my most important site, Books to Remember, there, but I no longer felt good about it after some problems with tech support. One person I talked to made it sound like there would be no charge for a certain support task, and I should just call back when I was ready and any support person could help. I did that. After the task was complete they charged me $75 I had not counted on.
That’s one reason why SiteGround, now hosts that site. Click link above or one of the sidebar banners to check it out. I heard from many others how reliable SiteGround hosting is and how helpful the tech support is. I have also found that to be true since I moved my site there . I’ve always been happy with the results. My tech support call waiting time is also very short compared to that I spent when I was with Hostgator.
Even if you lose your hosting suddenly, you will have your content. It’s easy to export your blogs on a regular basis as XML files. In Blogger, click settings on your dashboard and select other. It will have an option to back up your blog. Click it and you will have your backup XML file. Save it wherever you want it to be.
If you have a WordPress.comsite, you choose settings again and at the top you choose export. Save to wherever you want to keep it. On a self-hosted WordPress site, choose tools on your dashboard. Then click export. I just exported one third-party hosted Wordpress.org blog to a new site by just importing that file.
My exported arrived blog with everything, even the photos, comments, and theme, intact. I decided to change the dates on all the posts and upload them one at at time to start the new site. That gave me a chance to edit the posts and improve them with what I learned from The Pajama Affiliates Blogging courses.
Set Up Your New Self-Hosted WordPress Blog the Right Way from the Beginning
I had already set up several self-hosted WordPress blogs before I discovered the Pajama Affiliates Courses. When I signed up for my new blog on SiteGround, I wanted to get off to a good start. I decided to do it while watching the 20 Pajama Affiliate videos in the WordPress in a Day Course.
I went step by step, with my blog open in one tab and a video open in another. I couldn’t believe how much I hadn’t known when I set up my other sites. I still need to make changes in those first sites I built, but at least I now have one that was set up properly at the beginning. This one isn’t it.
Check Content and Prices on All Pajama Affiliates Courses. They are often on Sale.
I highly recommend the WordPress in a Day Course if you are just starting a new self-hosted WordPress blog. I now own most of these courses.
It’s Time to Leave Free Hosting Sites Behind
Back up your sites and move them to sites you own. The Pajama Affiliates can help you. If you have bought a course you will have access to the Facebook support group where you can ask questions and find answers to your blogging problems.
You simply should not risk all the work you’ve put into your blog by keeping it on a site you don’t control. Buying hosting and a domain name is a small price to pay to maintain your independence. Check out SiteGround. They often give you your domain name free for the first year if you sign up for a new site. They did that for me.
Please share this post with someone it might help.
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.
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 (now deleted) 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.
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.)
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.
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.
If you found this post helpful, please share it. The image below was designed for pinning on Pinterest.
Get Your Pajama Affiliate Marketing Blogging Course Now!
Many of us struggle for years on blogs that don’t make any money from affiliate marketing. We put in our links, but they don’t convert to sales. We wonder why. That was me. I was working hard, but not smart.
Then I heard about the Pajama Affiliate blogging classes. I had read lots of blogs on blogging and affiliate marketing, but they didn’t help. My friends started raving about the Pajama Affiliates, so I first bought the Amazon Masterclass they were so excited about.
These video courses are very practical. You learn about finding the right niche, the right keywords, and the best way to make your blog friendly to search engines. You also learn how to use your affiliate links in ways that will convert to sales. You can find the details of what’s covered in each course here.
The Affiliate Marketing and Amazon Masterclass is often on sale for a limited time. These courses are often updated and then become more expensive to buy afterward. Those who already have the course get the updates grandfathered in. All sales prices are limited time offers. Meanwhile, if you click the links above, the current prices will be accurate for the time you are there. There usually is a sale on one or more classes going on.
Here’s What’s in the Business Bundle
This course tells you all you need to know in order to start your own self-hosted WordPress blogging business.
I bought all these courses separately unless they were included in one of the first two courses. These courses have completely turned my blogging life around. I’ve never been sorry I bought the courses because I believe they gave me the value they promised.
These courses are about much more than blogging. They teach you how to find your blogging niche, how to organize your blogs, how to write blogs that reach and motivate people who are ready to buy your products. You learn how to offer your readers what they are looking for, and if you do that correctly, your posts will start getting sales. If you don’t take any other course, take “How to Write a Blog Post that Converts Sales.” It has completely transformed my approach to blogging.
Success Depends Upon Applying What You Learn
Of course, all the courses in the world won’t improve your sales unless you watch the videos, read the notes, and apply what you learn. But after six years of blogging without this course, I never got a payment from Amazon. I bought the course at the end of December and got my first check from the Amazon affiliate program at the end of the next January. I’m about ready for another one. My Zazzle sales are also improving since I also promote my Zazzle products in my blogs.
I’m not yet making the kind of money Robin and Lesley are making. It takes time to start making hundreds or thousands of dollars a year. I need to redo most of my already published blogs and also write new ones applying what Robin and Lesley have taught me. I expect, though, that by the end of this year I will have earned back all I’ve paid for the course, pro versions of apps that help me, and website expenses for new blogs and renewals of old ones and still have more to buy services I need for my home.
It does take money to make money sometimes. One just needs to spend it wisely. If you buy a Pajama Affiliates blogging course, you will be spending it wisely. Just hurry so you don’t miss current sale prices Tomorrow may be too late. My income increases more every day as I apply what I’ve learned and am still learning.
It 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
Make copies of your work
Delete links to your work
Edit your social media automated feeds
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.
From 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?
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.
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 Spirittabs 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.
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.
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.
I currently belong to two direct affiliate programs — Amazon 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.
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.
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.
knowing where to put them
putting content and images together for the best selling results
adding products and affiliate links to my pages effectively
using the different social media most effectively to bring in traffic
much, much more
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
BlogJob is a social networking community. One can make friends, socialize, and discuss important topics with no minimum number of characters required. These discussions can take place in groups and in forums, as well as on one’s wall.
Pro and Cons of BlogJob
BlogJob is more user-friendly than Facebook and tsu, though loyal fans of either of those sites will probably stay put even if they also join BlogJob. Facebook still offers groups I would not want to leave because they are important in my writing promotion. And, of course, family members and old friends aren’t likely to leave Facebook either. BlogJob is more of a blog host and networking community for Bloggers.
When I joined Blogjob last year, I thought it was a great place for new bloggers to start. One can write multiple blogs there with a WordPress interface. Bloggers can choose between hundreds of themes and customize them. One can use affiliate links with no problem, as well. There is an interface for putting ads on your blogs to monetize them.
There are some limitations on using third-party interfaces such as Easy Product Display and Amazon Native Ads. They just don’t work because of underlying coding problems. You don’t find out about the missing functions a WordPress user is used to until your site is built and you try to use them.
New bloggers used to be able to earn reward points that could later be redeemed for gift cards or money in one’s PayPal account for each blog post. Those points combined with those one earned for the networking and commenting one does in the site’s walls, groups, and forums. *
One knew that if one went to the trouble to make a 300-word minimum blog post, it wouldn’t be wasted effort because one could get at least a small financial reward. Not only that, because Blogjob is a community, your new blog, even now, is likely to get visitors, comments, and even some help with promotion on social media if you did a good job.
Unfortunately many decided to put a lot of their writing eggs into the Blogjob basket and cut out some productive work on other sites.
I no longer recommend joining BlogJob, even if they open membership again. The site is now in flux and reward points have been “temporarily suspended.” Any money you make will have to come from monetizing your own blogs. As I write this today, I get error messages when I try to read posts my friends have shared — blogs hosted on BlogJob. Many technical issues will have to be sorted out before the site is reliable again for blogging and promotion.
It appears many people are being patient, hoping the site will once again be what it was or better. I’m not holding my breath. Yes, I hope the site will solve its problems and recover, since it was important source of income for many who were close to a payment threshold.
The administration said it will be paying those who have earned the required number of points. Some report they received their payments. Most are convinced the administration is honest and appreciate his telling them upfront what is happening. I tend to agree that he’s doing what he can to solve the problems . The question is still whether that will be enough and whether the site will generate enough to bring advertisers back.
Update March 1, 2019: The site is still up, but I’m no longer a member. I’m in the process of moving my work to other sites. I see many of my friends are still active there, so I guess they are finding a good reason to stay. I have moved on to Medium.Please check my profile there. I expect to write a new post evaluating my experience at Medium soon.
*Update May 5, 2016: As of May 4, 2016, the rewards system has been “temporarily suspended.” Members can continue to blog and interact, but will not be earning any more points until the site owner manages to fix some problems on the site. Members should still be able to redeem points earned if they have enough to qualify for redemption. Many voices in the forums say they will leave their work there and carry on as usual. Some are taking a wait and see attitude. Some are leaving. Membership is closed again.
The administration says the site migration to a new server killed traffic and he is trying to test various plugins to see if they are having an adverse effect on traffic and resources. He is hoping to get things, fixed, restore traffic to produce income, and start giving points again some time when all this is settled.
Update May 3, 2016: There is an application process in place now, and there is no guarantee of acceptance. Be aware that some people who have been accepted have received emails within 24 hours that their memberships have been declined.
An unwritten policy seems to be that you need to fill out a complete profile, including the bio part at the bottom of the edit profile page, right away and start a site or post to forums to let the administration know you are serious about adding content. If you have written for other sites with a good reputation, be sure to include that in your profile and link to any blog you might currently have elsewhere as your website. They want to know you are a writer, not just someone who wants to earn points by collecting friends and joining groups without adding valuable content to the site.