Thursday, August 27, 2009

The eHow Sweep and Moving Beyond eHow

It's always a good idea to diversify the sources of your online income. That's especially true when writing for a site that you don't control.

This week eHow has completed a second 'sweep' of articles, deleting articles for a number of reasons, including not in how-to format, spam, or common sense. The spam reason is of particular interest to me as it seems what eHow considers spam is not how it is generally understood online. Essentially, any article that mentions a particular product, store, or website is a candidate for being removed as spam. That's a good thing to know going forward.

I lost a number of articles in this sweep. Many were written very early on in my eHow 'career'. I understood the reasons for their removal, although I didn't always agree. That's neither here nor's eHow's sandbox so they make the rules.

This experience does reinforce, however, the need to diversify the sites on which I write. There are many sites that pay writers to share content with them like eHow does. So the question becomes, which sites besides eHow are the best to write on? I'll be focusing my efforts on two sites in particular: HubPages and Info Barrel.

I've done a little dabbling at both Hubpages and Info Barrel and I've also done my research. I like these two sites for the following reason:

  • Both seem to be in favor with Google (at least for the moment) so that articles and hubs are indexed quickly. Sometimes in a matter of hours.
  • With each site you can write in a variety of formats, not just in 'how-to' form. Although how-to articles can also be placed there.
  • In the case of HubPages, building hubs is just plain fun. They are like mini websites that are fast and easy to build.
  • Affiliate marketing is easier with both of these sites.
  • Both sites offer 'do follow' links, meaning you can link to other articles, blogs, and sites that you want to promote and the links will help with search engine rankings. In fact, some people write at these sites only for the value of these links.
My experience with HubPages has been nothing but positive. The community there is great and the site seems really well run. I have less experience with Info Barrel but my experience there has been positive as well.

So how do you make money at HubPages and Info Barrel?

For both sites you will need your own Google Adsense account and you will be paid directly from Google. HubPages shares Adsense revenue in a 60% author/40% Hubpages split. Info Barrel shares in a 75% (author)/25% Info Barrel split. Both sites offer explanations on how to sign up for an Adsense account on their sites.

At HubPages, you can also earn money from Kontera, Amazon, and eBay. Amazon and eBay are great, easy ways to get your feet wet with affiliate marketing if you're not familiar with that method of monetizing your writing.

Finally, at both sites you can earn money by referring other writers. All of the HubPages and Info Barrel links in this post have my referral code in them so if you're so inclined, I would love to have you join me on those sites by clicking through one of my links.

Each of these sites has their own Terms of Service so make sure you understand their rules before you start writing. The good news is that the TOS are a little more spelled out at HubPages and Info Barrel than they are at eHow. At least in my opinion. I like to play by the rules so I really want to know what those rules are.

Finally, each site has its own culture and community. Spend some time there and get a feel for how things work.

I think it's important to invest yourself in a site for which you're writing. You tend to get out of it what you put in it. So while I feel it's important to be diversified, I think it's counterproductive to be hopping all over the internet placing things here and there. So even before the eHow sweep I was trying to determine which sites would be best for me to branch out to and I made the decision to add HubPages and Info Barrel to the mix.

And for the record, I'm not leaving eHow. I still think the site has great income potential and it provides a nice stream of residual income for me. And eliminating poor quality articles from the site is a good thing overall. I just hope they continue to refine and communicate their terms of service so that writers don't become demoralized.

And just two more quick tips:

1. Remember to save your work no matter where you write. That way you can make the best of things if a site you've chosen to write on makes changes as they inevitably will.
2. If you're inclined, plan to create some sites that you 'own'. The learning curve is a little steeper but the rewards are that much greater.


Kasey said...

I've always enjoyed eHow in the past but you're right it is time to look into other avenues. The pay has been good with eHow but the lack of professionalism that they have shown during the sweeps is a drawback for me.

Todd said...

You are so right Kasey lack of professionalism is an understatement.

There are a multitude of problems on eHow. It has taught me a valuable lesson and that is to not put all your eggs in one basket.

Luvzbooks said...

I'm new to writing for eHow but I am already investigating Hubpages because I see the potential of affiliate marketing and Adsense. I'm glad to see that you are giving positive feedback about Hubpages. Thanks for being candid about your experiences.

WriterM said...

Very wise words.

Ehow's business model is bad and if they don't clean their own house, they may find they'll lose much more than spam.


Ryan Hupfer said...

Hey Julie -- thanks for mentioning HubPages as another great option to write and earn online. I hope that you're having a great experience so far and if you ever need anything or have any questions about HubPages, just let me know, ok?

Keep up the great Hubbing and I'm sure that I'll hear from you soon.

Ryan Hupfer
HubPages Communicator of Awesomeness!

Amberdawn said...

Thank you for the information. You've helped me in the past too, when I was choosing which books to choose to make more on eHow.

One question I have about Infobarrel and Hubpages is do you retain your copy write? I'm hesitant to start for DS since we lose ownership of our writing there.


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