March 23, 2015

A Week in Contention

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Ebay helps you write online Bill NihillAs many of you know, I spent most of this week working to get all or part of my account at Squidoo unlocked. I am not going to go into that on Writing Online, but you can read about it more here. During the entire frustrating week, the thing that I had lurking in the back of my mind was how necessary it was to move my income from Squidoo to elsewhere.

Granted, I have always been of the mind that I should diversify my income, but Squidoo was fairly easy to rank and earn from. Now I am going to give Squidoo a hiatus, just maintain my lenses there, and continue to move in the direction of freelance writing and maintaining my own sites.

To start off the new diversification plan, I thought that I would introduce you to a site that I am currently working on. It is nowhere near done, but I am having fun with it. I started it because my daughter is in college studying environmental science.  The site is called Environmental Science Jobs, and it is basically an exploration of everything that is available on environmental science education and jobs. This is obviously not a selling site per say, and a new dimension for me. It will be interesting to see how it develops.

Last week, I also found out that I got accepted to write for Demand Studios and Writer Access. I have not even begun to check those sites out to see how they work, so once I do, I will report back to tell you how I am progressing. However, I have been making some good money on CloudCrowd, which is helpful since I moved my gallery and lots of my income streams have been interrupted the last few weeks. I can easily make $100 a day if I sit down and work at it steadily. It is good practice if you are going to do work for other people, because you have to follow the directions for each project.

So onward and upward, as they say, to better and more lucrative things.

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A Review Of The Writing Site Webnuggetz

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This week I would like to do a review of a relatively new website for authors to write articles on, Webnuggetz. I say relatively new because the site is less than a year old as I write this post. To be as young as it is, the site is already placing nicely in ranking in Google with a PR of 2.

The owner, ThomasC, and his team are working long hours to make sure that the site has quality authors writing original content for the site. As a new writer on Webnuggetz, I have been impressed with the personal communication from Thomas in particular. He took the time to welcome me but it didn’t stop there. He actually read my articles and pointed out that I had some broken links. Maybe that doesn’t seem like a big deal, but I believe that it is. First of all, he cares enough about his site to read each article to make sure that it hasn’t come from a spammer. Secondly, he sincerely wants his authors to have success with their articles and that is why he took the time to let me know that my links weren’t going anywhere. My mistake would not have taken any monies out of his pockets because of the way the site is set up for payment. He mentioned it anyway. That is over and above what we usually see from the owner of a site.

So, let’s talk about the revenue at Webnuggetz. Thomas does not take any cut out of the money you earn on your articles. Yes, you read that correctly. The money you make is all yours. He does place a couple of his own ads on each page but they are unobtrusive and do not interfere with your content. You can, and are encouraged, to us Adsense on each of your articles. You can also link to any affiliate companies that you work with, too. As an example of what you can make your page look like on Webnuggetz, take a look at one of my articles about Scarlet Fiesta Dinnerware.

I believe that Webnuggetz is a real up and comer and will continue to gain in popularity as time goes on. I also believe that none of us should put all of our eggs in one basket and should spread our writing online over a few good sites. One of the reasons that I believe Webnuggetz will be a good fit for many writers is that ThomasC is an experienced author on a few other popular sites and understands the needs of the authors along with the necessary maintenance of a multi-user site. If you are looking for a good, quality site to write on, give ThomasC and his site Webnuggetz a try. I don’t think you will be disappointed.

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Determining How to Spend My Time

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Determining how to spend my timeAt the beginning of every year, I take a look at how I am currently spending my time, and how I can be more efficient, and make more use of the limited time that I have.

This year, I have made the decision to spend much more time and effort on my main website, Lake Erie Artists Gallery.  This website and the brick and mortar store I own, are still my best source of income, because I am selling products that I buy wholesale, or that I make myself, so that I can make a much higher percentage on each product.

In the last two years, I have successfully learned how to use my knowledge of SEO and online writing to help promote my site.  And this year, I am going to expand that by creating an affiliate program for Lake Erie Artists Gallery, vastly increasing the amount of items that I sell there, and expanding the niches that have been doing well.

This means that the time that I have to spend on increasing my online writing on other sites will be restricted.  That income is also significant to me, but secondary.  I am also at a crossroads, businesswise, because I have reached a place that I really need to hire someone to do some of the tasks, so that I can continue to grow the business, but I am just not quite making enough to hire that person yet.  So my time will be extremely limited until I can.

The result is that I will have to give up some of what I am doing now.  I will not be able to write on as many sites, as often, nor create new sites until I finish the bulk of the site expansion that I have planned.

Making these choices can be difficult, but here and now, it is clear where my priorities must lie.  And hopefully, by mid-year, I will be able to hire the help I need to further increase the growth of my business.

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Understanding WordPress Structure: Pages and Posts

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For new bloggers, the structure of a WordPress blog can be especially confusing.  When I first started using WordPress, my biggest confusion was the difference between a page and a post.  The confusion is understandable because there are a lot of similarities, and pages and posts can sometimes be used interchangeably.  When blogs were first introduced, there were no pages.  Blog authors could only use posts to offer information, and they could link back to another post, but the post was still in the sequential order of posts.


Page–a WordPress page is a static page.  That means that the page literally stays in one place.  You can make the page part of your tabbed menu or linked menu or not.  But the page is always there in the same place.  Pages are listed in a hierarchy of the author’s determination.

Post–a WordPress post is the originally mainstay of any blog.  This is a sequential post, that will move in sequence with other posts as you continue to add posts.  However, you can link to it in a tabbed menu, or linked menu like a page. Posts are listed in a sequential hierarchy. Traditionally, a tabbed menu is made up of pages, and a linked menu is made up of categories that posts are written under, but that is not always the case.


Does this sound confusing?  Well, it is, especially when you consider that with all the advancements that WordPress has added to their blogs, it is hard to tell the difference unless you are a WordPress expert.

On this Writing Online Network blog, the static pages are listed on the black bar at the top of the page, and sequential post categories are listed in the light gray bar underneath the black bar.

Once you understand the difference between a post and page, the question is how will you use them in your blog?  While many bloggers use the posts and pages in a traditional manner, similar to how we are using them on this site, you do not have to do that.  You can create a WordPress site that is only made up of pages or only made up of posts.   You can also use posts as articles, and pages as selling pages.  The best thing is to experiment with different ways to use the structure until you find one that is comfortable to you, and the topic of that particular site.

I like to try different configurations and uses depending on the site and the purpose of the site.  One of my most complex WordPress sites is Antique Vintage Gallery.  On this site, the intention was to create pages similar to what you see on Squidoo, Hubpages, and Wizzley using modules that includes links to Ebay and Amazon.   To create this effect on the posts, I added two plugins called phpBay Pro and phpZon Pro.  As you can see this adds the module look to the posts that people can use to buy straight from Ebay, as well as a slightly different look for links to Amazon.  In another experiment on Antique Vintage Gallery, I added shopping pages to related items.  For these, I used a tool called Popshops which creates grid pages of items from affiliate companies.

Plugins add functionality to pages, posts, and can also add functionality to the WordPress structure.  More about plugins in future posts.

As you build a site of your own, you can decide how to configure the structure of your site to its best advantage.  However, the flexibility of the WordPress structure while confusing at first, is a big positive in making a blog or website work just exactly the way you want it to.


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Choosing a Name for Your Website

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One of the most difficult things to do when you set up a new website is to choose the proper name for it.  And this should be something that you consider carefully when you set up your own website.

There are two main considerations when setting up a new website and choosing the name:

  • You can choose a website name based on branding.
  • You can choose a website name based on keyword research.


Branding is a marketing strategy of making a brand name popular, so that people will get to know a company by the brand name.  Everyone is familiar with some of the big brand names like Kleenex, Google, Coke, and Pampers.  In many parts of the world, people don’t even use the generic word for these products, they just use the brand name, even when they don’t necessarily want that brand.  This is the ultimate in branding.

For a small company, chances are that you will never become a household name like Coke, but you may become known in your niche or local area, depending on your business.  This does take time, and marketing, and promotion.  To give you an example of branding in a website name, you can look at my gallery website Lake Erie Artists Gallery.  This site is named after a brand, due to the fact that we had a company before we had a website.

Keyword Research

If your main purpose is to sell a product or service online, and you want to be found through search engines, then you should choose a name by doing some keyword research.  In this example, you would research the terms that are used for your topic, then choose a name that people would find through search.  One example that I can give for that is a website that I have called Best Halloween Store.  This name was chosen because I decided that “halloween store” was a good search term for this website project.  When I set up this project, I knew that I would not have a lot of time to promote it before Halloween this year.  I chose some static pages, and wrote a few posts, and have not had the time to develop it the way it should be done.  However, the traffic that I am getting is pretty good, and that is because of the keyword research that I did.  Most likely when I spend some dedicated time on this site over the next year, it will improve a lot more for next Halloween.

Once you have chosen your name, then you can still use keyword research for page names, post names, sub headings and categories, so branding doesn’t mean that you cannot reap the rewards of good keyword research.  You have to decide how important it is that people remember the name of your site, or just what you carry.

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