Monthly Income Report: September 2013

September was the first month under our new financial situation. With the Mrs going part time the pressure was on for me to start making some decent money online. My goal for the past nine months or so has been to hit £2,000 / $3,226 per month by September 2013.

This amount, along with the part-time income coming in would give us a pretty comfortable life in Thailand. We wouldn’t be able to do the travelling that we used to do, or save much for a rainy day, but day to day living would be covered.  

While this might not sound like much to have at your disposal each month, for a small family, in Thailand the cost of living is pretty cheap and if you don’t go out partying then you can live quite well on £2,000 per month.

office-design

I Love Coworking

Up until September I had been trying to work from home or in my local Starbucks. Having a Starbucks over the road is great for getting in a hour or two of work but its not ideal for anything more than that. 

Working from home is OK if you live alone but when you don’t, there are just too many distractions on offer. I must admit I’d been struggling to get the time in. There was work available for me to do but due to lack of time I was unable to do it.

When you freelance, time is money, so no time equals no money!

Thankfully in September I discovered the joys of coworking. It turns out there are quite a few places in Bangkok offering the service, with one of them being not too far from me.

For those who don’t know, coworking spaces allow you to turn up pick a desk, plug in your laptop and get online and crank out some work. As the cost of living in Thailand is pretty cheap, most of the places I’ve seen so far only charge about £5 / $8 a day. Lots of the spaces are kitted out with nice desks and chairs, sofa areas, meeting room, games rooms, kitchens with free tea and coffee.

If you are the sociable type then they are also great places to meet other freelancers or work from home people, at least compared to working in a coffee shop or slogging it out at home.

The downside is that they do make work feel a bit life having a job again! This month I’ve been trying to go three times a week and do a good 10 to 5 shift.  Anything I don’t finished up gets relegated to the evenings at home. 

Also, lots of people seem to be doing exciting stuff such as launching a SaaS, while I am just doing writing for money. It has motivated to try and start doing more interesting work alongside my regular stuff.

Do you use coworking spaces? 

New Clients

To meet my financial goals, I need to pick up some more higher paying writing clients. I reached out to a few services within my niche (WordPress/online publishing/blogging) and asked them if they needed a writer. 

Finding clients is much better than looking for jobs as most advertised jobs are for low pay and the competition is too fierce. There are only one or two places to find ok paying freelance writing gigs and as everyone knows about them the chances of getting a reply is low. 

So from my experience, and what I am starting to learn from others, its best to find business or sites you would like to write for and contact them directly. 

Doing this I got a couple of sniffs in September which turned into one new gig. It was my highest paying job so far and allows me to make a pretty good hourly rate from it. Its only a few posts a week so nothing to get too excited about but it does show there are people out there looking to pay high prices for written content. 

If you want to give freelance blogging a go, and see if you can earn $150 an hour like Tom Ewer, I wholeheartedly recommend his Successful Freelance Writing Online Guide

This Blog

This blog continues to get only a few hits a day. On one hand I am surprised that a blog with over 320 posts only gets 10 or so hits a day, and most of those are people searching about an article I wrote on an all you can eat £10 Breakfast Challenge a few years ago. Link bait does work I guess.

On the other hand I’m not that surprised as the content isn’t optimised and most of it isn’t useful or that interesting, mainly just me moaning on!

With that in mind, I did put some adds in the sidebar of the site anyway, and the stats are quite funny:

 22-10-2013 11-08-41

These are all relevant products to making money online and are ones that I use or have used and genuinely think add great value. However despite all those clicks, I’ve not made one sale!

So despite this blog only having made a couple of $$ in its lifetime, it did land me a few freelance writing clients so its all been worthwhile in my opinion. So if you are thinking of starting a blog, I say go for it, just try and make it a bit better than this one.

Income Report for September 2013

Here are the earnings for September 2013. 

Affiliate Marketing Earnings:

  • Last month: August 2013 affiliate marketing earnings: £178 / $287
  • This Month: September 2013 affiliate marketing earnings: £180 / $290

These earnings are all from my old sites which I don’t update any more so this money was 100% passive. No real change from last month.

Freelance Writing Income Report

This is definitely not passive income and it takes up most of my working time. But it’s still a good way to make money online.

  • Last month: August 2013 freelance writing earnings: £846 / $1,367
  • This Month: September 2013 freelance writing earnings: £1,294 / $2,087

If you are looking to hire a freelance blogger slash writer then head over to my portfolio.

Total Online Earnings for September 2013:

  • Last Month: August 2013: £1,024 / $1,655
  • This Month: September 2013: £1,474 / $2,377

This was my best month for a long time and its getting close to what I was making from affiliate marketing during 2011. Having a place to work has given me much more time to get stuff done. My hourly rate, on average is pretty bad but with new clients coming on board its slowly going up.

Goals for October

  • Work more hours
  • Find better paying clients
  • Start my new site

My goal for the last three months of the year are to be making £2,200 / $3550 per month from freelance writing by January 2014, while only working three days a week. This works out to £183 / $295 per day. Sounds like a lot but other freelance writers are doing it, so why not me?

That’s about it really. See you next month!

Monthly Income Report: August 2013

August was another busy month for me with lots of going on. Most of it was a disruption to my online money making activities but mostly in a positive way.

Main things I got up to in August include:

  • Visit from the in-laws
  • Holiday to Phuket
  • Short trip to Vientiane, Laos
  • Moving house (condo)

When you work freelance, having guests to stay can really disrupt your flow. I tried to get ahead of myself but still came unstuck.

When you work from home it’s hard to just say “I’m going to do some work now” and lock yourself away in the spare room, when guests are visiting. Plus you spend more time going out. It all has an effect on your bottom line.

Freelancer’s Holiday

We also had a beach holiday to Phuket in the south of Thailand. It was only for a week but was still nice to get away.

I planned to do some work while away but problems with the Wi-Fi and lack of motivation meant I didn’t get much done. But that’s what holidays are for, right?

When we got back home I had a lot of catching up to do and didn’t have much time to work on my on-going goals such as finding new freelance writing clients and getting my passive income back on track.

Digital Nomads in Vientiane, Laos

Then I remembered I needed to renew my Thai visa. This involved me taking a short trip to Vientiane in Laos. I was only gone for a couple of nights, but this time I managed to get a bit of work done while exploring this tiny capital city.

I loved Vientiane, Laos and it’s a great place to do some freelance work due to the relatively large amount of Western-style coffee shops. They serve great food and have free Wi-Fi. Lots of digital nomads stop off in Vientiane due to this.

If you are earning more than £1,000 / $1,500 per month from your online work then I strongly recommend you quit your day job and pack your bags (providing you don’t have any other commitments of course!) and head over to Southeast Asia for a few months or more, and get on the digital nomad circuit. There is so much more to life than working a 9-5 in England and your money goes a lot further out here. Giving you a chance to work on your business and grow that income.

If I had known about this years ago, I would’ve done it myself for sure.

Moving House

When I got back, it was time to move condos. Now we’ve got an extra member of the family we had outgrown our two bedroom place. We like where we live and know lots of people here so we simply opted to move into a bigger apartment in the same complex.

We decided to move our stuff ourselves as we were only going from one tower to another. This was a big mistake!

When we arrived here four years ago we just had a couple of suitcases. Now, two kids later we have tons of stuff.

We had a week overlap between places so we moved slowly. It took ages and another few days of work time where lost. When most of your income comes from non-passive freelancing, this can really hurt your bottom line.

Thailand’s wealth is its poor. This means service and manual labour jobs are very cheap. Out here you can really leverage your time and money to hire people to do things for you. When you earn $50 an hour freelancing online, why not pay someone $4 an hour to do your cleaning and laundry? How much is your time worth?

Overall it was an eventful month with lots of downtime but not much work!

Income Report for August 2013

Here are the earnings for August from my old niche sites and my freelance writing. I haven’t included any web design work I’ve done as it’s not really part of the focus of this blog.

Affiliate Marketing Earnings:

  • Last month: July 2013 affiliate marketing earnings: £162 / $253
  • This Month: August 2013 affiliate marketing earnings: £178 / $287

These earnings are all from my old sites which I don’t update any more so this money was 100% passive. Nice to see it go up slightly over last month.

Freelance Writing Income Report

This is definitely not passive income and it takes up most of my working time. But it’s still a good way to make money online.

  • Last month: July 2013 freelance writing earnings: £1,125 / $1,760
  • This Month: August 2013 freelance writing earnings: £846 / $1,367

If you want to start making money online as a freelance writer, I whole-heartedly recommend the ebook Successful Freelance Writing Online guide by Tom Ewer.

Total Online Earnings for August 2013:

  • Last Month: July 2013: £1,287 / $2,014
  • This Month: August 2013: £1,024 / $1,655

Oh dear! A drop of £263 / $425. That’s not great but I was away for a quite a bit and just couldn’t put the hours in. The work is there to do, if I had more time I could earn more, so it’s not too much of a worry.  

Goals for September

  • Work more hours
  • Find better paying clients

That’s about it really. See you next month!

Monthly Income Report: July 2013

The main focus in July was to become more efficient with my freelance writing.

I’ve got a few regular writing jobs on the go, so I know what work I need to do each month for the main part. I still pick up additional one-off work along the way, but for the most part, my freelance writing consists of a few regular on-going jobs.

No Plan is a No Go

As it is I have to write a certain number of articles/blog posts per week for my clients. In June and previously I was just doing then when I could find time during the week. This wasn’t a great plan as it meant I had no schedule or structure.

Work was getting put off and then having to cram in the last few days to get it finished.

A Timetable Puts Food on the Table

So I decided to set aside three days each week for my freelance writing work. On those days I would do a few hours in the morning and a few in the afternoon. This means I would get my writing done over those three days and have the rest of the week to do other work, such as affiliate marketing, web design and other stuff.

This worked pretty well. There were a few days when work slipped over into the other days. I also wasn’t that productive on some of the non-writing days but I will work on that!

With the scheduled days I got my freelance writing done and got paid for my efforts.

I’m still taking too long to write my articles as I waste a fair amount of time checking emails and going down a blog post black hole, reading other blogs etc. Researching articles can lead me off in unnecessary tangents so I need to work on that.

As I get paid on a per post or per word basis, reducing the time it takes me to write an article is the best way to increase my hourly rate.

Finding New Clients

I was in contact with a few potential new clients. As my plate is quite full with writing, or at least as full as I want it to be at the moment, I quoted some quite high prices to people who’d got in touch.

This was because in order to take on new work I’d have to scale back some of my other jobs. If I was going to swap clients I would only do it for a much better paying rate.

Unfortunately this plan backfired and my rates were too high! Live and learn… I’m not too disappointed as I don’t want to take on work that is too low paid for the sake of it but it would’ve been nice to turn the interest into deals.

I’m still on the lookout for new work and am taking on one off jobs as well as regular jobs for a top up.

To find new clients I’m following the training on the Freelance Writer’s Den website which has course and forums for being a freelancer.

Starting a New Blog

I write for a few WordPress news blogs. After doing this for a while I decided to start my own WordPress-related, but not exclusive, blog. I’m doing this for a few reasons:

  • Help me land more work by using it as a portfolio/networking tool
  • Earn a bit of affiliate income on the side
  • Reuse some of my research that I do for other people to write additional content on topics I’m interested

By writing for a few established blogs as a freelance writing, I feel I’ve been given good access to how a blog works and whether it can make money or not. 

Seeing as I’ve had this education I feel it’s a good idea to capitalise on it, and use my experience to try my own project. Once the blog starts making some money I will hire a writer and help it grow faster.

Income Report for July 2013

Here are the earnings for July from my old niche sites and my freelance writing. I haven’t included any web design work I’ve done as it’s not really part of the focus of this blog.

Affiliate Marketing Earnings:

  • Last month: June 2013 affiliate marketing earnings: £176 / $265
  • This Month: July 2013 affiliate marketing earnings: £162 / $253

These earnings are all from my old sites which I don’t update any more so this money was 100% passive.

Content Writing Earnings:

  • Last month: June 2013 content writing earnings: £947 / $1,430
  • This Month: July 2013 content writing earnings: £1,125 / $1,760

If you want to start making money online as a freelance writer, I whole-heartedly recommend the ebook Successful Freelance Writing Online guide by Tom Ewer.

Total Online Earnings for July 2013:

  • Last Month: June 2013: £1,123 / $1,673
  • This Month: July 2013: £1,287 / $2,014

Best month of writing so far which is good and best month overall for ages. Still a long way from my goal of £2000 / $3130 per month from writing but its heading in the right direction.

Goals for July

  • Find new writing clients
  • Follow the Finding Better Clients course on Freelance Writers Den
  • Time writing work to find my hourly rate and stay focused on the task in hand!

If you need reviews or posts for your affiliate sites feel free to get in touch.

See you in August!

Monthly Income Report: June 2013

Another month, another income report. My big goal for 2013 was to reach £2,000 / $3,200 per month in online earnings by the end of August 2013.

With just July and August to go, I’ve got a lot of work to do but it might, just, be, possible…

Lets start this income report with my goals for June from last months report:

Goals For June:

  • Break the £1000 / $1,517 barrier from freelance writing
  • Setup a new niche site with some content
  • Finish the new freelance writing site to replace http://joecanwrite.wordpress.com
  • Find a new writing job that pays well and is on a regular basis

Unfortunately I didn’t accomplish any of those goals but I came close on a couple of them..

I still haven’t setup my new niche site despite ordering the content and buying the domain. 

My new freelance writing site is yet to take off and I’m still using http://joecanwrite.wordpress.com although I did update it. 

If anyone want’s any product reviews written email me

I also failed in finding a new freelance blogging gig although I might have taken on some more regular writing of another sort.

Why Affiliate Marketing Isn’t For Me

Although I love affiliate marketing and had some great years earning from this type of online work, I’m not quite sure how to get back into it in 2013, after taking a break. While people are still earning lots of money online from affiliate marketing, I haven’t got the time or the resources to invest in getting back into at the moment. 

That is why I started doing the freelance writing: it pays now rather than later as is the case with affiliate marketing. When my earnings from freelance writing hit the £1,500 / $2,265 mark then I will be more financially comfortable and can then spend more time doing other things, such as building a new site that earns money from affiliate marketing.

My goal for affiliate marketing is to build a site that provides guides, tips and reviews in a certain niche and also promotes related products. I will initially write the content myself, and then as it starts to make money, invest that money in hiring a blogger to add content. Eventually the site would become a passive income source. I plan to start this towards the end of year once my writing is earning me more money.

So while affiliate marketing isn’t for me, it will be again soon I hope.

Starting a Non-Passive Business

My freelance writing services have become my main online income source by quite a long way. While this type of work has its downsides it is a great way to earn money online.

But my main problem at the moment is that my equivalent hourly rate isn’t really enough for me to meet my goals based on the amount of hours I have free each day. While Tom Ewer over at Leaving Work Behind earns about $150 an hour from writing, I am nowhere near that!

So that is why I am going to start offering web design services.

I’ve been in touch with many people who are doing this now and are making good money. Like writing its not passive at all but it is something that could eventually be outsourced.

The web design service will be an extension of my writing services as I will be offering content marketing along with the websites.

My pitch will be along the lines of:

I see your current website isn’t very good. Would you like me to build you a new one and take care of all your content marketing needs? I will add a blog and provide regular posts to help attract visitors to your site and build a community around your brand.

If I can get clients on a retainer basis and provide weekly blog posts for their website it could be a nice little earner. 

I know offering web design has lots of downfalls such as working with fussy clients etc but I’m going to give it a crack.

Where I’m at with Freelance Writing

I’m still enjoying the writing but like I said earlier, my hourly rate is too low. Either I learn to type faster or increase my fee per post. 

As most of my writing is about specific things its hard to do my posts much faster as I have to test stuff out and research things before writing about them. 

To free up more time for other projects, I’m going to try and do three solid days a week of writing and then have the rest of the week free for my web design stuff and my affiliate stuff. 

At the moment I’ve just been doing writing when I can fit in the time but its not really working so I hope condensing it down to a few days a week can give me more time for other stuff.

While I’m grateful for the writing work, its not the only way I want to make money online for practical reasons more than anything else.

Online Earnings for June 2013

My two main sources of online earnings are niche affiliate sites and freelance writing. The niche sites are all ones I setup before Google Penguin in around 2009/2010. While they used to make money in the past, now this isn’t really the case.

Affiliate Marketing Earnings:

  • Last month: May 2013 affiliate marketing earnings: £219 / $333
  • This Month: June 2013 affiliate marketing earnings: £176 / $265

These earnings are all from my old sites which I don’t update any more so this money was 100% passive. Once my new niche site starts earning I will include the earnings somewhere else.

Content Writing Earnings:

  • Last month: May 2013 content writing earnings: £728 / $1,107
  • This Month: June 2013 content writing earnings: £947 / $1,430

If you want to learn how to make money online as a freelance writer, I whole-heartedly recommend the Successful Freelance Writing Online guide by Tom Ewer.

My freelance writing strategy is to pick up more well paid work and drop off the lower paid jobs until I hit about £2,000 a month and then keep on doing this but taking on less work so I still earn the same amount but work less hours.

 

Total Online Earnings for June 2013:

  • Last Month: May 2013: £948 / $1,431
  • This Month: June 2013: £1,123 / $1,673

While this is an increase on last month, its still slightly less than March 2013 when I hit £1,134 / $1,712 and a long way off my best months when I was doing pure affiliate marketing.

But its my best month from freelance writing so that is something to take forward.

Goals for July:

  • Pick up one new high paying regular writing job
  • Finish my new freelance writing site
  • Finish my web design site
  • Setup my niche site

How did you get on in June?

Monthly Income Report: May 2013

This post is late so its going to be short so I can get it in before the income report for June is due. Its so late in fact it missed the deadline for the income report round up on Matt Woodward’s blog.

May seems like a long time ago now so I will keep this brief as I can’t remember much of it.

In May I continued working on researching the keywords for my new niche site. This process could be never ending as you keep finding more and more suitable keywords, but also keep looking in the hope of finding an even better one around the corner.

In the end I had to set a deadline and then choose the best one I’d found up to that point.

While Long Tail Pro isn’t the fastest thing in the world, it does make keyword research fairly straight forward and with the Platinum upgrade, anyone can do it if they have enough time.

Freelance Writing

With freelance writing being my main source of online income at the moment, I spent most of my working time doing this in May. We had guests visiting for some of the month so I was a bit slack on looking for new work and mainly just did the stuff I was already signed up to do.

My goals for May were:

  • Break the £1000 / $1,517 barrier (find out if I did this at the end of the post)
  • Find a suitable keyword for my new affiliate site in preparation for the Niche Site Duel 2.0 (carried this over into June)
  • Pick up another ongoing freelancing writing job (managed to secure this)
  • Start my freelance writing portfolio site to replace http://joecanwrite.wordpress.com/ (started but didn’t finish)

So overall I did a bit but not all.

Goals For June:

  • Break the £1000 / $1,517 barrier
  • Setup a new niche site with some content
  • Finish the new freelance writing site to replace http://joecanwrite.wordpress.com
  • Find a new writing job that pays well and is on a regular basis

Breaking the £1000 / $1,517 barrier shouldn’t be too hard if I can find the time. The work is there when it comes to freelance blogging and writing and finding the time is the hardest part, especially with two kids about the place now!

Online Earnings for May 2013

Affiliate Marketing Earnings:

  • Last month: April 2013 affiliate marketing earnings: £180 / $270
  • This Month: May 2013 affiliate marketing earnings: £219 / $333

This is a slight increase which is probably seasonal. As I didn’t do any work on any of these sites this month or for as far back as I can remember its 100% passive income so its a nice little extra.

Content Writing Earnings:

  • Last month: April 2013 content writing earnings: £329 / $500
  • This Month: May 2013 content writing earnings: £728 / $1107

If you want to learn how to make money online as a freelance writer, I whole-heartedly recommend the Successful Freelance Writing Online guide by Tom Ewer.

This is a big improvement over last month but not as good as March when I hit £898. Still, as my equivalent hourly rate goes up, as I pick up more higher paid work, I am doing less work to earn this amount which is good.

My freelance writing strategy is to pick up more well paid work and drop off the lower paid jobs until I hit about £2000 a month and then keep on doing this but taking on less work so I still earn the same amount.

Tom Ewer earns about $150 an hour from his freelance blogging and if I could hit a similar amount I’d only have to work 20 hours a week to reach my target. The rest of the time could be spend doing other work that had more of an opportunity for scaling and outsourcing such as building a website or a business. I’m miles away from this goal but its something to aim for.

Total Online Earnings for May 2013:

  • Last month: April 2013: £948 / $1,412
  • This Month: May 2013: £1,123 / $1,673

This is a nice increase and I nearly beat the £1000 barrier. However, I earned £1,134.78 / $1,730 in March so I’m not quite back to my previous levels.

If I’d made it onto Matt’s list I’d have been number 10 out of 16 which isn’t too shabby.

June income report should be posted any day now so keep your eyes peeled!

Domains Bought for the New Niche Sites

Long Tail Classroom logoAfter watching the first half of Spencer’s Long Tail Classroom video course which covers making a site from start to finish, including keyword research, I was ready to conduct my own research.

In the past I’d had mixed results from my keyword research, some sites would not come to much while others would go onto do really well, making $100s a month from just a few pages.

As I’ve not started any new niche sites for a couple of years, I thought I’d sign up for a course that lays it all out in front of you which is what Long Tail Classroom does.

Which Keyword Research Tool?

I’ve been using Long Tail Pro Platinum to do my keyword research and the $17 a month for the Platinum upgrade has been more than worth the price. With Platinum, each keyword is given an average competiveness rating out of 100. Spencer who made the tool says that keywords with a rating of 35 or less are fairly easily to rank for.

So my using this rating, it makes the whole process a lot quicker as you can easily shortlist keywords with a low rating.

You still have to go and look at the top 10, which you can do in the tool, and see which sites are ranking, but overall its been an excellent time saver.

How Long Does Keyword Research Take?

I think you could go on doing keyword research forever. The more you do, the more keywords you find, but the more you want to keep going for that perfect keyword. I think I spent a few weeks doing keyword research for my new niche site. Not solidly but just a few hours each night when I’d finished my freelance writing jobs.

It gets addictive and in the end I had to set a deadline. When that deadline came around I picked my best keyword and used that for my site. Without this I probably would still be doing niche keyword research until the end of the year.

Which Keywords Did I Pick?

In the end I went with two keywords and registered them both with namecheap.com. I never found the perfect keyword and these two were as close as I got. I’d rather of had just one but both looked good so I’m going to register them both.

For one keyword I will outsource as much as possible and for the other I will write most of the content myself.

I’m not going to reveal the keywords for fear of too much competition but maybe once the sites are up and running I will share them.

Here is some info about the keywords to give you an idea of what can be found with Long Tail Pro Platinum:

Keyword 1:

  • 5400 exact match searches per month (US)
  • average keyword competitiveness of 30
  • some retailers in the top 10 but also Wikipedia and some forums
  • product sells on amazon for over $300
  • no exact domain available so bought keywordguide.com

Keyword 2:

  • 2400 exact match searches per month (US)
  • average keyword competitiveness of 29
  • some retailers in the top 10 but also Wikipedia and some info sites
  • best-selling product on amazon for this keyword sells for $50
  • exact match .org domain available

 Neither keyword is perfect which is why I think I bought two. But two poor keywords don’t equal one good keyword so we shall see what happens.

My main concern is the other retailers in the top 10. Will Google rank my site when they are mainly ranking ecommerce sites in the top 10?

If they do rank the sites, will people click on my site instead of a well-known retailer?

I think going with an information niche such as ‘how to become a security guard’ probably has more potential in terms of adsense earnings and promoting an eBook but maybe I will try that next time.

What to Do Next

For both sites I will use WordPress, hosting them on my shared Hostgator webhosting so it won’t cost me any more money per month.

I think I will use the same theme as Spencer which is his Niche Websites Theme just because it looks quite nice and should be suitable for this kind of site. If you can afford a premium theme from somewhere like Woothemes go for it. Although the free Twenty Twelve theme and a nice logo would be fine too.

For each site I will write a 2,000 word article for the home page which covers the main information people might be asking when shopping in these niches as well as providing a run down on the top 5-10 products in the niche.

Then I will add another 10 or posts covering the best products in the niche as well as targeting some of the longer tail keywords that will be easier to rank for.

Then I will start thinking about link building.

I hope to have at least one site up and running by the end of the month!

My end-goals for these sites are to have them earning $200 a month, fairly passively, by September 2013.

How are your new niche sites coming along?

How to Pick a Winning Keyword for your Niche Site

If you are thinking about starting a new niche site which you plan to monetise with an affiliate programme such as amazon associates, then you are probably at the keyword research stage at the moment.

This is the most important stage when it comes to starting a new niche site you hope to make money from and its the stage I am currently at with my new site.

I’m using Long Tail Pro Platinum which is great as it gives you an overall competition ranking for each keyword. Essentially every keyword gets a score out of 100 and anything with a score of 30 or below will probably be easy to rank

When it comes to finding a winning keyword for your new niche site, its pretty much a numbers game when you are using the modern day keyword research tools. Enter enough seed or idea keywords and eventually you will find gold. 

For example, start by enter a keyword like ‘garden tools’ and keep drilling down, making lists of the keywords that are generated and then re-entering them into the keyword tool until eventually you get a list of keywords that meet your criteria.

My (ideal) criteria for selecting a keyword, which I stole from Spencer at Niche Pursuits is basically:

  • 5,000 local exact match searches a month 
  • Average KC rating of 30 or less
  • No brand names or trademarks in the keyword
  • Related to a product on amazon that costs over $50
  • No big retailers already in the top 10 in Google such as amazon

Obviously these can be altered a bit. For example if you found a keyword that got only 2,500 exact matches but it was for a product that sold for over $200 then it could be worth taking on. 

I know this is all basic stuff for affiliates out there but as I am going back to basics for my new sites, I hope this will be useful information for someone out there who is about to get starting making money online or preparing to follow along with Niche Site Duel 2.0.

What if you don’t have time to find a Keyword?

As this is the most important step of the whole process it makes sense to do it yourself to ensure you get it right and learn from the process. 

However, you could also say, as this is the most important process it is a good idea to hand it over to someone who knows what they are doing

I’ve recently hired someone on Odesk to use Long Tail Pro Platinum (a single license allows for use on three computers) and look for keywords for me. Hopefully they can hand me a list and then I can select any good ones.

As this process is essentially data entry, it shouldn’t be too hard to train someone up on how to do it (I hope I don’t have to eat my words)!

Alternatively, you could ‘buy’ a keyword from someone who knows what they are doing.

Tung over at Cloud Living Journey who recently ranked a new niche site and made $93 in 38 days is offering such a service over on the Warrior Forum where he will find you a low competition keyword.

The prices are cheaper than buying Long Tail Pro and allow you to get started straight away.

Why is he selling keywords he could turn into profitable niche sites? I guess he wants some start up money for his new sites. Sell 10 keywords and he could have enough to outsource the creation of a new site. If he can find these keywords quickly then why not sell some on?

I haven’t used his service yet, but am very interested, so I can’t say whether they are any good or not. Perhaps he might give me a review copy ;-)  

The thread is here if you want to see exactly what he is offering. I don’t know if there are other sellers out there offering the same service?

Anyway, that’s enough from me, I’m off to do some keyword research and watch some more of Long Tail Classroom. Have a good day!

Monthly Income Report: April 2013

I thought I better get this affiliate marketing income report in before the month is over and now that May is almost done I’ll keep this report for April brief.

April was a busy month as our second baby was born and had family visiting for three weeks out of the four. This meant I got very little work done! When you work from home and are your own boss its hard to slip off for a few hours a day when you’ve got people visiting from overseas.

Not that I’m complaining as it was nice to take some time off. Although when you work for yourself, especially doing freelance writing, if you don’t work you don’t get paid which is reflected in this month’s income report. 

My goals for April were to pick up another ongoing freelance blogging job which I was able to do. I  was hired by a WordPress blog to write two post a week on an ongoing basis which was great.

I now write for two WordPress blogs on an ongoing basis so it looks like I might be able to establish myself as a WordPress blogger, and move up the food chain like fellow Brit freelance blogger Tom Ewer. I didn’t set out to copy him but I know quite a bit about WordPress and manage to find these jobs so now I guess I can call myself a WordPress Blogger!

I was supposed to start my freelance writing portfolio site/blog which I would use to find work but it didn’t happen in April.

Neither did a I pick a keyword for my new niche site although I have upgraded to Long Tail Pro Platinum which makes keyword research about a million times easier!

Make keyword research easy with Long Tail Pro Platinum

I’ll roll these two goals over to May and also aim to pick up another ongoing writing job.

Online Earnings for April 2013

Affiliate Marketing Earnings:

  • Last month: March 2013 affiliate marketing earnings: £236 / $360
  • This Month: April 2013 affiliate marketing earnings: £180 / $270

This is down about $100 and my big niche site didn’t make any money as opposed to last month when it earned $99. While this isn’t much money its 100% passive so I can’t complain!

Content Writing Earnings:

  • Last month: March 2013 content writing earnings: £898 / $1369
  • This Month: April 2013 content writing earnings: £329 / $500

I didn’t have the time to search out new work and earn much from writing so mainly stuck with my existing ongoing gigs. This is a massive drop from last month but I’m not worried as I just didn’t have the time to work as much.

Learn how to become a freelance writer with the Successful Freelance Writing Online guide by Tom Ewer

Total Online Earnings for April 2013:

  • Last month: March 2013: £1,134.78 / $1,730
  • This Month: April 2013: £509 / $772


 

Well that is a big drop, well over 50% (you do the maths) but time was short and in the end so where my earnings. Things should pick up in May if I can adjust to the new schedule at home.

Goals for May

  • Break the £1000 / $1,517 barrier
  • Find a suitable keyword for my new affiliate site in preparation for the Niche Site Duel 2.0
  • Pick up another ongoing freelancing writing job
  • Start my freelance writing portfolio site to replace http://joecanwrite.wordpress.com/

See you next month and don’t forget to sign up to my mailing list for a notification of when the May Income Report is out!

Get Ready for Niche Site Duel 2.0

Now seems to be like the perfect time to start a new site. Spencer just launched his first online niche site building course and Pat Flynn over at Smart Passive Income is gearing up to start round two of his famous Niche Site Duel

Last time, Pat and some of his readers entered into a little competition to motivate each other to create a new niche site from scratch. Pat’s effort went on to earn up to $3,000 per month which it continues to do to this day.

If you’ve been holding off starting any new sites since the recent Google updates, as I have, then now seems like the perfect time to get back in the game. By following these more experienced marketers you can see what works and what doesn’t and increase your chances of success.

Here are some useful links to help you get started:

Do you have any plans to start a new site? If so, what will your approach be? 

So I Signed up For Long Tail Classroom

It’s been a while since I started a new affiliate site and it’s something that’s been on my ‘to do’ list for a while now.

As quite a bit has changed since I last started a new ‘make money online’ type site, what with the Google Penguin and Panda updates, along with whatever else they’ve been up to, I’ve been a bit unsure about the best way to go about it and whether it was worth it at all.

I was following the new niche site Spencer started on his NichePursuits.com blog and saw that he got it ranking fairly quickly in Google and making money within a few months of its inception. This gave me some encouragement to give it a go too. I know Spencer is a keyword research expert but it can’t that hard right? And I have Long Tail Pro already.

Long Tail Classroom Video Course

Then today I got an email from his list, announcing he had launched his first training course that covers the whole process from start to finish, including selecting a niche, doing keyword research and then building the site and taking care of the link building.

The course also features a live case study of another site he started at the beginning of 2013 and is now ranking and making money, showing that the information in his course still works today.

While most of this info can be found for free on his site I expect, I purchased the course for the convenience of having it all in one place, and perhaps for the extra details he’s not published elsewhere.

I’ve watched the first few videos and they seem pretty good. I think Spencer is a straight up guy, from what I can tell from following his blog for a while, anyways.

My Plans for the Course

So I’m going to watch the videos, and aim to get a new website up and running by the end of the month. I’m going to follow his ‘teachings’ and report how it goes on my blog here in case anyone is interested in the quality of the course.

If you don’t want to wait, you can get the course yourself here for about $50.

Don’t forget to subscribe if you want to be kept up to date with my progress following the Long Tail Classroom course.