Thursday, December 8, 2011

Easily Designing a Portfolio for Stock Photographer

Just about anyone and everyone requires a portfolio to showcase his works and either lure in new clients or prove his proficiency in his chosen niche. A stock photographer is no different. Actually a good portfolio is a great resource for any photographer in general and a free lance photographer in particular.

If you are an up and coming freelance photographer looking for new clients or to market your stock photos then the answer is definitely "Yes". An online portfolio not only allows you to attract international clients, but provided it gains sufficient search engine visibility, it will also make attract many potential clients who has by chance stumbled on to your site.
In addition, you can use it to sell stock photos directly from your portfolio on a royalty free basis

The mantra for a successful portfolio is to showcase your success not your failures! Spend sufficient amount of time to choose just a handful of your very best photos and those which are representative of your interests and passions. Remember, in a portfolio your intention is to wet a potential clients appetite to see more of your works and quality and quantity should always be given priority.

Designing a website which matches your style of photography is vitally important as in this age of competition the slightest of margins can make all the difference between getting and not getting the commission.
Many web masters use flash animation and ready made gallery extensions to showcase their images. Undoubtedly, Flash animation is great for attracting real visitors but many web browsers along with I Pad, I Phone etc. do not support Flash. So it is always wise to have an HTML page just for back up.
If you are a hardcore pro then get a pro designer to do the job for you. Otherwise you can also design it yourself by using ready made templates and most conveniently by using the popular WordPress platform.
If you are unsure of how to go about designing your website, remember a simple or neutral design where the focus is firmly on your photos is often the way to go.

And last but not the least you need to market your website in order to gain greater visibility in the internet. A great way to catch the attention of search engines and your audience is by integrating a regularly updated blog with your portfolio where you can publish both tips and tricks as well as personal experiences and observations. If you have a large following then using a discussion forum may also be a pretty good idea.
Regular social bookmarking and maintaining a twitter and Facebook page are other ploys you may want to try.
But above all have patience, Rome was not built in a day!

Of course, the most professional approach to creating a website yourself is by using a powerful piece of software like Adobe Dreamweaver or Microsoft FrontPage. However, these software are often intimidating and rather difficult handle for the amateur developer. A great alternative to this, that will save you considerable effort (not to mention money) and allow you more time to concentrate on important things (like taking great photos) is to use ready made WordPress themes. Many of them are free and those which aren't are almost always priced below $50. Here is a look at some of the themes you might want to try out:

Gallery is a premium WordPress theme which can be used for many purposes, including a Photoblog, Portfolio, Personal Blog, Product Reviews, and more. Some of its interesting features include:

Comes in 2 styles, 3 color styles each allowing easy makeovers to make your site look fresh every time.
Widgetized Sidebar and Footer where you can display relevant text, add cool plugins or even your Adsense code
Custom Fields for Images are optional
Featured Posts (or in your case images) on Homepage
Drop-Down Menu for Pages and Categories to give a cool professional look

Unlike the above two, Photoshot from Theme Forest is uniquely designed to serve as a photographer's portfolio theme. It includes a range of features to allow you to easily create the perfect portfolio website.
FAVORITE BOX - add photos to the favorite box and view them later in a beautiful fullscreen slideshow.
Block right click (prevent images from saving)
Unique menu - unique menu style, all elements are same width and it looks just awesome.
3 Homepage variations (Slideshow, photoblog, static page) not to mention two different color schemes (light and dark)

Infinity is a free professional WordPress-theme. The theme has 3 fixed columns, thumbnails integration, Flickr, Delicious and Twitter integration as well as an attractive visual design. The theme was designed by Zhang Yichi. It includes:
3 fixed columns design
Thumbnail covers style
Flickr, Twitter and delicious integration
However, a major drawback of the Infinity Theme is that it is NOT widget ready.

nother way of using WordPress to showcase your photos is by using a WordPress Gallery Plugins
instead of a dedicated WordPress photography portfolio theme. Some of the most popular WordPress Gallery plugins include:

1. Nextgen Gallery
2. Photosmash Gallery
3. Cincopa Wordpress Plugin

A few other less popular Wordpress gallery plugins include:

1. WP Photo album 2. Picasna 3. Superslider-show 4. Lightbox Gallery 5. Page Flip Image gallery 6. Cleaner Gallery.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Proven Methods to Get Free Easy Targeted Web Traffic

As I have already mentioned in my previous post How NOT to Get Traffic to your Blog what you are looking for as a website/blog owner is not just any kind of traffic but TARGETED traffic.

Of course the most pro way to get free targeted  web traffic will be to build plenty of high quality backlinks and do extensive keyword research. For this purpose you can always check out my post covering some great free keyword search tools. But there are much easier ways to get decent amount of targeted traffic to your website and here are 3 very easy and of course free methods which have worked for me. 

YouSayToo is one of those community blogging sites that seem to be growing in popularity every day but it also has some great potential for generating traffic for your blog. You can link your blog with YouSayToo so that people can view your post on YouSayToo as well as your own blog. You can further increase your PVs by participating in other programs. But at this time I cannot tell you more about them because YouSayToo undergoing a complete makeover and many of their services are being discontinued with the promise of being replaced by newer more improved features in the near future.

The one major drawback about YouSayToo is that the intregation with your blog is not seamless in the sense that the comments your posts receive from YouSayToo users will not show up under your original post and viceversa. Also, to participate in the YouSayToo programs you must display their banner on your site, but they are sufficiently inconspicuous and even cool so that it shouldn't be major issue for most site owners.

Update: The Beta version of the new YOUSAYTOO is now available here

Link Referral
Link Referral is essentially a cross between a traffic exchange site and a search engine. After signing up and registering your sites you can perfrom a number of activities such as visiting member sites using their search engine, rating and reviewing them or simply creating forum posts. For each activity you earn some amount of points and more the points you have more the priority the search engine will give to your sites when someone searches the relevant keywords (similar to the concept of Google PageRank). As the person is SEARCHING   to find your site it has a greater possibility of being targeted. Further, you can also free quotes and ratings from others users which you can republish on your site.

Link Referral also provides paid membership and by default they are given priority over the free members.

SocialAdr is an automated bookmarking services whereby you can easily get your articles bookmarked in some of the leading bookmarking sites like Digg, StumbleUpon, Delicious etc. After signing up you have to fill in your usernames and passwords of a number of  social bookmarking sites and there is no obligations the more you fill the better. Then you can bookmark posts by other members either individually or using the Quick Share option and earn credits for each share. Once you have 8 or more credits you can use them to get your own articles Dugg/voted up etc. by the other members. Though this really boost your traffic and have a really lasting impact, the only downside of SocialAdr is that at least for free members, the service is very slow and you must prioritize which few URLs you want to submit to their network because realistically you can't promote all your links through SocialAdr. 

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

How NOT to Get Traffic to your Blog

If you are a new blogger and have a couple of posts online then there is a pretty good chance that your pageviews are not quite you expected them to be before undertaking the trouble of writing those great posts. Desperate for some free and easy traffic for your blog you decide to take advantage of that ever faithful monster called Google and in time your screen is littered with millions and millions of services and affiliates of services all of which promise to  deliver tons of hits to your blog and the more you read the more you get convinced that they are too good to be true. Know why? Because they really are.!

Before you start misinterpreting me I must clarify that almost all the FREE services are 100% legit and will  work just like their respective pitch pages promise. But what they tacitly skip mentioning is that you will only receive tons of traffic but hardly any TARGETED TRAFFIC (you can hardly hope to interest beyond a few seconds a person looking for gardening tips with your blog on automobiles!) and further you might lose some vital brownie points with Google.

So here are some of the very common types of traffic generating schemes that every blogger should avoid:

Automatic Traffic Exchange Sites
Automatic traffic exchange sites works on the simple principle that for every site you view using their system another member of their system will visit your site a specific (usually .5 or .75) number of times. They are free (though premiere membership is also available) and require minimum effort on your part as all you need to do is keep a window open and the sites will rotate automatically, changing every 30 seconds or so. And the really big traffic exchange sites (like autosurfpro) can easily generate 400+ PVs for your site on a daily basis.
Even so, some of the reasons you don't want to use this apparent godsend of a service are:

  1. Since it is fully automatic there is no guarantee that your  page is actually getting viewed. Someone may just keep the window open and minimized and be watching a movie for all you know.
  2. Your onsite time is typically very small (10-30 seconds) and often your page won't load properly in that time.
  3. Since your page will automatically rotate it will register an incredibly high bounce rate (most likely 100%) and this will prompt Google into thinking that your site is of very poor quality and that is why all your visitor are clicking out in such a hurry.
  4. Additionally, Google positively HATES automatic traffic exchangers and while you cannot use it with Blogger, you might even run into trouble if you try to use it on pages with Adsense ad units.
Viral Traffic Sites
As the name suggests, viral traffic sites helps your traffic grow virally. Basically everytime a person in your downline refers a new person to the viral traffic site he has to view your page before being allowed to sign up. Sounds easy? Here's why you still shouldn't waste you time on viral traffic sites:
  1. It is a lot more difficult than it sounds to actually build yourself a sufficiently large downline to actually generate sufficient amount of traffic on a regular basis.If you are not getting any traffic where will you find the people to persuade to sign up under you and join your downline?
  2. The persons who are actually viewing your sites are being FORCED to do so and in their eagerness to get a part of the action are hardly likely to show much enthusiasm in your site.

Free Backlink Exchange Sites and Directories
Though not as direct  as the above two methods, backlink exchange directories list your site on their high pagerank pages and provide you with dofollow backlinks which is supposed to boost your search engine visibility and help you to get more visitors from Google. So why not to use it? Here are just some of the answers:
  1. First and foremost they DON'T work! The backlinks are hardly ever one-way (you will also be required to link back to them) and will almost never be CONTEXTUAL, and it is commonly acknowledged that if anything Google frowns upon link lists and definitely doesn't give much impotance to them.
  2. Backlink directories have a habit of cheating on you and there is a very good chance that the link to your site will disappear within a week and possibly before Google has even had time to spider it.

Now that you know how not to get traffic to your blog put your fingers to your keyboard and keep churning out some more great articles (which is the key to success in the long run) and check out my next post where I tell how yo can get easy, free and targeted traffic to your page.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Suite101 Introduces Subdomains

This is just a short post to inform my readers that Suite101 has followed Hubpages' lead and introduced author specific subdomains.

It has been well documented over the past few months how Suite101 was one of the worst hit content sites following Google's calamitous Project Panda and that their pageviews went down by around 40% withing two to three months in early 2011.

Since then has undergone a sea change and chopped and changes things around with limited success. Their latest modification in order to win back Google's lost love (though it is still PR7 domain) is to introduce individual subdomains for every contributor like where you can choose the   name from a limited list of options created by various permutations of your name.

All pages will be shifted to their respective subdomains by 15th Sept. automatically by Suite101 so you might as well hurry over and exercise your choice.

However, unlike Hubpages, almost each and every one of my Suite101 pages was PR2 or more and the change in URL means that I will at least temporarily loose it. Hopefully I'll recover them soon enough.

Another thought that struck me regarding this content sites issuing subdomains to authors is that soon all these sites will effectively become blogging platforms (like Blogger, WordPress) and every community will behave like blogger tribes (group of people commenting and linking to each other's blogs) with backlinks flying everywhere. I am sure that will be a really interesting development because then all these sites persecuted by Project Panda will become identical to Google's very own Blogger.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Earn Upfront With Your Articles from Looking For Clues

While there are quite a large number of sites which pay you through passive revenue share are, the number of sites which pay you upfront for your articles is dramatically less and those that are around have one (or both) of the following issues:
  1. They require absolutely perfect English and the bar is almost ridiculously high.
  2. They tell you which topics to write on and this might really cramp your style, especially if you are not a pro but just keen to have a good time and make a few bucks on the side. 
In fact, Looking For Clues is the only site I could find where you will face neither of the aforementioned issues. They only require you to be passionate about your topic and your English to be coherrent, which of course is the very essence of blogging (I mean no one's expecting your blog to read like PG Wodehouse!) So here is a quick review of this real life saver for struggling small timers.

Submission Guidelines of LFC
As I have already mentioned LFC publishes articles on just about any topic but generally pays more for reviews than for general info articles. The only issue with their submission guideline is that each article must be at least 800 words, which significantly longer than the average 300-500 word articles you write for other content directories. Articles must be unique and exclusive to LFC.

Submission Process
The submission process at LFC is very low key but highly personalized and efficient nonetheless. You just have to e-mail your article to their editor who will get back to you in around 2 weeks time and inform you if they are willing to buy it and how much they will pay for it. If you accept their terms then your articles will be edited (just grammatical and spelling errors) and once you approve the edits you will be paid and then your article will go on online.

Though there is no passive income scheme, LFC expects every author to promote their articles and this you ability to generate traffic for LFC may have a bearing on your future transactions with them.

LFC Author Compensation Scheme
Usually LFC will pay you something between $10-$20 for each article and it gradually increases as you publish more and more articles there. However, payment is only made to business or premiere paypal accounts which means around $1 will be deducted for transaction.

In addition LFC also allows you a 2-3 sentence long author box and 1-2 dofollow backlinks to your personal blogs etc.

Despite its seedy looks LFC is a 100% genuine site and they have paid me a total of $42 for 3 articles. You can check out my articles at my LFC profile page.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Hubpages Introduces Subdomains

This is just a short post to inform the reader that Hubpages has launched a most innovative post-panda survival strategy to help check the slide in pageviews and search engine trust--they have introduced the domain name and here is how they hope it will solve their traffic woes.

It is no secret that ALL the user generated content sharing sites have taken a major hit since Google introduced their new content quality based algorithm commonly referred to as Panda. But, while most other major players (most noticeably are trying to upgrade their editorial process and weed out spammy looking content, Hubpages are trying to shift from an online content magazine to a Blogger style push-button publishing platform by offering each user a separate domain name like

At this point each user (or rather Hubpages account) can either shift to your reserved  subdomain or continue to publish hubs as before. So should you transfer your Hubpages profile to

Advantages of Shifting to Hubpages Subdomain

  • The main advantage of shifting to subdomain is to slightly alienate yourself from the standard URL and there by establish a separate existence in the eyes of Google. The major reason why Hubpages has taken such a hit is because some people are writing low quality article which is prompting Google to devalue the entire domain. So, everyone's articles are feeling the crunch. Which means, if you are confident that you write above average hubs then this should help you get more search engine trust whereas if you are spamming only your subdomain gets blacklisted. 
  • If you are using Hubapges to gain leverage or as a portfolio for bagging freelance writing gigs then a subdomain of your own should definitely give more gravity to your bid compared to just a profile URL
  • Apart from your profile and hub addresses everything else remains exactly the same with your homepage doubling up as your profile page. So you don't have to make sacrifices on the cool Hubpages user interface.
  • You will be automatically shifted to your subdomain within the next month. So might as well take a head start.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Increase Page Time with Apture

OK,  so you have now got a blog with a decent number pageviews every month. Now, the next important thing you want to ensure is that your readers are actually reading the stuff you have spent so much time writing for them and are staying on your site for appreciable periods of time(like may be a couple of minutes!)

In other words, now that you have gained quantity, it is time to measure the actually quality of your site traffic. And are you managing to hold on to your visitors and make sure that they read through the post and click your ads and affiliate links? A person leaving your site within just a few seconds will usually mean one of four things:

  1. You are targeting the wrong keywords and your domain name is irrelevant to your site content.
  2. There is something inherently wrong with your landing page (design, content etc) that is repulsive to your visitor.
  3. Your page is so clear cut that the visitor has found what he was looking for very quickly and has left.
  4. The visitor found something interesting in the top half of your article and has gone off to Google it.
While, the only way to solve the first 2 issues is to put more thought into your site, situation 3 may be a good thing and there is a high possibility the reader will keep visiting your site in the future or even start spreading the word about how good the site is. However, situation 4 was, until recently, the most difficult to solve.

But now that a program named Apture has solved the problem you just have to marvel at the simplicity of the solution.

What is Apture ?
Apture is a service that allows visitors to read stuff relevant to your content without ever leaving your site. All your reader has to do is highlight a piece of text on your article and then Apture will search through trusted sites like Wikipedia, search engines like Bing and even your own domain to pull out relevant excerpts, photos and videos, thus providing a ready reference for your readers so that he never has to leave your site to fill in the   gaps of your content.

Apture can also sense if some words are generating more responses from your audience and then those become Hotspots, i.e.the Apture info box opens on mouse over.

Another, interesting feature on Apture is that it does not work on anchor texts so you may rest assures that your page links won't get messed up.

Additional Features of Apture
In addition to this enhanced value-added service Apture also offers the following services:

  • You can use Apture to show Amazon ads and earn commissions through your Amazon Associate account when a purchase is completed.
  • You can specify domain names (in addition to Wikipedia, Amazon etc.) from Apture draws relevant content.
  • You can enable the trendy Apture side bar.

See Apture at Work
You can see Apture at work right here on this page. Simply select a piece of text and then click the Apture logo!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Get Paid to Write Sites You Haven't Heard of 3

This is the third installment of my Get Paid to Write Sites You Haven't Heard of series (read Part I and Part 2) where I try to maintain an up to date list all the new and upcoming content sharing sites from which you can earn money (either upfront or passive revenue share) from your published content. 

The main purpose of writing this series of articles is to empower the reader to think beyond the established sites like Factoidz, AC, Suite101, Helium etc which has a tendency of developing strategies and installing rules that can create issues for your work ethics, work flow and most of all creativity.

So, without further ado lets dive straight into the list:

Wizzley is a really impressive content sharing site developed by some of the Squidoo big boys (and girls). It has adopted the standard module based writer interface similar to Hubpages and Squidoo. Though it does not have as many module types as Squidoo (which quite possibly has several thousand modules), Wizzley does feature some very innovative modules like the Wikipedia module.

However, my favorite module there is the Download module which allows the writer to upload a file to the Wizzley server which the reader can then download. An absolute godsend people looking to offer freebies to their readers.

Minimum article length is 400 words. Editorial system is fairly strict but that might prove to be a good thing in the Post-Panda Cyber world. Wizzley allows you to place one promotional link per 50 words (approx.)

You earn through your adsense publisher ID and you get 50% of the ad impressions. You can also earn through Amazon Associates, AllPosters and Ebay.

DailyWiki is another India based content sharing site that user the standard and super easy WordPress platform which means that if are familiar with this platform (ever owned a WordPress blog or written for Snipsly amongst other sites) then you can start churning out those articles in no time at all.

The minimum wordcount per article is a standard 300 words but you earn more points for writing longer articles. And 400 words articles have a better chance of getting search engine traffic. Articles must be unique. 2 Dofollow promotional links are allowed per article.

You earn points for various activities and win cash prizes of upto $100 every month in addition to adsense revenue!

RitePad is a VERY new and slightly unprofessional (nothing bad, just amateurish) looking WordPress based content sharing website which offers 80% adsense ad impressions on your articles. 

Friday, July 8, 2011

Adsense Revenue Sharing Site Seekyt : Review

Seekyt is an upcoming content sharing website where author's can make some some passive revenue through Google Adsense.

Vital Statistics of Seekyt
Home Page Google Page Rank : 3
Alexa Rank : 69,072

Overview of Seekyt

Seekyt only accepts unique content of length 2000 characters or more. Your 3 articles will be moderated before they are published to ensure that it is not spam. But, provided your article is unique and doesn't have too many spelling errors (don't forget to use the Seekyt spell checker tool) your articles should have no issues whatsoever with their editorial system.

You earn revenue through Google Adsense ads placed around your article, but you must have a verified Adsense account to earn from this site. Seekyt offers 70% Adsense ad impression to the author and is significantly higher than most of its more established competitors like Xomba (60%), Hubpages (60%), Triond(50%) and  Bukisa (60%). In addition, you can also earn through your Amazon Associates account.In additon to this, Seekyt offers a whopping 25% referral bonus!

Seekyt also allows you to place a limited number of dofollow backlinks to your articles and so may be a good place to market your blog or website or even try and sell your products.

My Thoughts on Seekyt
The first thing that struck me about Seekyt is how active their network is. Your article is sure generate some nice comments and get tweeted, f-liked and shared within just hours of going online and that is a big advantage Seekyt has over many more established content sharing sites.

Seekyt is also one of the very few content sharing sites that actually allows you to chose your page layout (placement of adblocks etc.) and this makes the site very flexible for content writers.

However, on the downside Seekyt is a pretty new and site and so it might take a while before you actually start receiving tons of targeted search engine traffic or get a high page rank. But, the decent Alexa rank (for a rather new site) does prove that Seekyt has quite a bit of potential and it might be a good idea to get in the ground level of so promising a venture. Join Seekyt now!

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Vocaboly : Vocabulary Building Software for SAT GRE GMAT TOEFL

In case you aspire to study abroad, especially in the US and Australia, and English is not your first language then it might be quite a good idea to polish up your English vocabulary before taking the tests. While there are a large number of books and online resources which contain large 'word lists' for the various different exams, the number of interactive vocabulary building software for exams like SAT, GRE, GMAT and TOEFL are a bit harder to find. However, Vocaboly is one such software which facilitates vocabulary building for all the above mentioned international entrance/scholarship exams.

Vocaboly supports multiple users and stores each user's personal settings. It also has five dedicated 'books' (which are basically word lists along with definitions, pronunciations and sample sentences), one for each of SAT, GRE, GMAT and TOEFL and one for total beginners. But, this much can be found in any online or offline support tool for these exams. So what makes Vocaboly special? Well, quite a lot of things actually, and here's an in-exhaustive list:

  1. Difficulty Levels and Filters: As you come across the different words (which are arranged alphabetically in the form of a list) you can assign a difficulty level, ranging from 0 to 5, to each word. Words of each difficulty level  will be highlighted in a particular color for easy scanning. Further, Vocaboly also offers a filter facility by which you can search for words within a particular difficulty range as assigned by you
  2. Memory Cards: Vocaboly offers 8 memory cards for each book (SAT, GRE, GMAT, TOEFL and VOA). A memory card basically allows you to create your custom word lists or rather word  arrays. For example you can create a memory card for homophones for easy revision.
  3. Pronunciation: Vocaboly has a pronunciation guide where a human American voice will read aloud any word/page you select. It also has a audio  test where a word is read aloud and the meaning is provided and you have to spell it.
  4. Interactive Learning: Personally, I believe that it is important to make learning interactive in order to make learning interesting and Vocaboly does just that with the  help of some basic but interesting games. My favorite is the classic memory game where you have to match every word to its meaning in order to complete the game. With timer, click counter and a hall-of-fame, the games definitely make learning a lot more fun.
Vocaboly is probably slightly over priced at $80 but there is no doubt that it is a quality software and delivers on all its promises. Also don't be disheartened by Vocaboly's modest and spartan website or the sample word lists (which consists mostly of very easy words), trust me when I say Vocaboly is the real deal and the perfect tool for boosting your vocabulary.

Friday, June 17, 2011

What I Think of the Hubpages Ad Program : Actual Earning Figures

As I have already mentioned in my previous post (please read it before continuing), Hubpages has recently launched the Hubpages Ad Program which enables hubbers (freelance Hubpages contributors) to earn some side income alongside there Google Adsense earnings as per the pre-existing Hubpages revenue share policy (60% Adsense ad display ratio).

I had also mentioned in that post that opinions were divided and it was too early make a call on whether it was a good thing or not for their writers seeing that it could potentially (read: most likely) negatively affect your Adsense earnings from your Hubs.

Well after seeing it in operation for close to3 months here is what is I think of the Hubpages Ad Program. I have also included my actually earnings from my Hubs for both Hubpages Ad Program and Google Adsense to give you a better idea. However, I must inform you beforehand that:

  1. I am not a very active Hubber (though I think Hubpages is easily the coolest content sharing site around). So it is very likely that you will earn a lot more from Hubpages than I have. Hence don't treat these figures out of context.Instead use them to just compare Adsense and the Hubpages Ad Program on a relative scale.
  2. Google Adsense usually serves CPC ads whereas the Hubpages Ad Program exclusively serves CPM ads which means that you will earn a few cents (or even dollars) in Adsense revenue every time  an ad on your page is actually clicked but you will earn a fraction of a few cents every time your page is viewed. However, in both cases the rates depends greatly on the subject matter as well as the target audience of your contents. You can get a better idea of this by taking a look at the Adwords Keyword tool.
  3. The CPM rates offered by the Hubpages Ad Program are indeed a lot higher than those you can hope to get as a medium level publisher (as with 5000 monthly PVs). It is usually around the $5 mark but can be a lot higher as well whereas third party servers are likely to offer CPM rates of around $2 or even less  if your main traffic source is Asia and Africa.
You can find my actual earning figures from Hubpages from both Adsense and Hubpages Ad Program by visiting this page. (I wanted to include it in the post itself but I just can't get the table to look right. Sorry.)

    Saturday, April 23, 2011

    Hubpages Launches the Hubpages Ad Program

    A couple of months back Hubpages had announced the beta launch of their very own Hubpages Ad Program which would enable contributers to earn more money from their Hubs should they decide to opt in for it. Initially it was based on an invite only basis and they had hoped to make it open to all the Hubbers by June-July.
    Well, things seems to have worked out perfectly for the Hubpages team and they have already opened up the Hubpages Ad Program to all their contributers and thereby joined a very small number of sites ( being another one) which enables its writers to earn both direct revenue as well as revenue through 3 rd party ad servers like Google Adsense.

    How the Hubpages Ad Program Works?
    To get the HAP ads to run on your Hubs you need to opt in for the program and fill out a Tax form and provide a Paypal ID. In case you are a bit apprehensive of sending your tax info online, you may also fax it to the Hubpages team. For non-US individual operators like myself the "tax form" is very basic and basically amounts to a statement confirming that my Hubpages earnings has nothing to do with anyone or anything in the States.

    After you fill in these details Hubpages will verify whether your Hubs meet their ad serving T&C and then start displaying Hubpages ads on those hubs which they judge as having appropriate content.

    Payout threshold is a rather high $50 (compared to Triond's 50 cents) and payment is made through Paypal. So effectively, if Paypal services are available in your country then you can earn from the Hubpages Ad Program.

    However, a very important thing you should know about the Hubpages Ad Program is that you must have an active Adsense account in order to run HAP ads on your hubs even though there is no direct link between the two affiliate programs.

    Will You Really Earn More With the Hubpages Ad Program?
    Well , I guess this is definitely the most important you have ask regarding the Hubpages Ad Program and it rather a tricky question to answer, specially considering that the program is very new (a week old at the most)  and I have up signed up for it just a few hours ago. But one thing is for sure: the Hubpages Ad Program definitely sounds like it can give Adsense a real run for its money as far as  making money from Hubpages is concerned.

    For one thing, Hubpages is a major online publisher with millions of PVs every month. This mean that it has access some very lucrative CPM ad programs which normal publishers like you and me won't have.

    However, it is also important to realize that once you decide to run Hubpages Ad Program ads on your site it will encroach on your Adsense ad zones and so you may expect to see a dip in your Adsense earnings from your hubs. But whether there will be an over all increase in your Hubpages earnings is time will tell and (as far as I can read the situation) it may very well vary from publisher to publisher depending on their Hub style, content and niche. But there is no reason to get overly pessimistic as beta level testing seems to have produced encouraging results. So go ahead, cross your fingers and give it a shot! 

    Friday, March 11, 2011

    Get Paid to Write Sites You Haven't Heard Of : Part 2

    This is a continuation (or second installment if you prefer) of my reasonably popular hub Get Paid to Write Sites You Haven't Heard Of where I have mentioned a number of less popular but 100% legit and quite profitable get paid to write sites which do not have the backing of Yahoo! and don't make as much noise as Associated Content, but can quietly earn you a reasonable amount of money. So lets get rolling then:

    Looking For Clues
    Looking for Clues is the stand out site in this list because it is one of the few sites which offer an upfront payment ($10-$20) for your articles instead of revenue share. Approval period for LFC is rather long drawn and can take between 2 weeks and a month, but if you follow their criteria and write passably good English (no need to be absolutely perfect) then you have a pretty good chance of getting published. LFC also expects its contributers to drive traffic to the site and your payout for subsequent articles increases if you can manage to generate sufficient number hits to your articles. You can also promote your other sites and blogs through an author box.

    Snipsly is arguably the most popular site in this list and fast becoming a rival for the likes of Infobarrel and Xomba. The things that has enabled Snipsly to gain such widespread popularity amongst the online writer community are 
    • Snipsly's revenue share is better than almost every other Adsense revenue sharing site with an author ad display ratio of 80%
    • You can write about anything you want and have no issues getting it published so long as it is unique and over 3 sentences long.
    • All links are dofollow. So you can use Snipsly to generate quality backlinks
    • Snipsly uses the popular WordPress format and many writers are already so familiar with it that they can just start creating great content without having to familiarize with the user interface.
    Seekyt is yet another Adsense revenue sharing site where the author ad display ratio is 70%.Content must be unique and substantial. Check my detailed review of Seekyt and how it is evolving into a major player in the industry.

    Zestbit is a Squidoo style publishing platform (but obviously not as cool) where you can earn revenue share from a number of affiliate programs by creating Twists. Like Squidoo, you can earn from Zestbit without having any affiliate accounts in general and Adsense account in particular.

    Monday, February 28, 2011

    Squidflix: Generate Revenue Generating Webpage in Under 5 Minutes is one of the few publishing portals available on the internet where you can literally create a fully functional (and revenue generating) webpage in less than 5 minutes.
    All you have to do in order to publish a movie-review webpage (or lens) is this:

    1. Sign in with your Squidoo ID (registration is free)
    2. Select a movie (movies in languages other than English are also accepted)
    3. Decide whether you love the movie or positively hate it.
    4.Fill in a submission form with the details you would like to publish on your lens (title, cast, plot overview etc.)
    And you are practically done!

    However, you can always return and edit the page, upload photos, add new modules and jazz up your lens.
    Squidoo, for their part will put in Google and Infolinks ads and Amazon and Ebay links, and share with you a percentage of the revenue generated from these sources.
    Though some people claim to be earning over $5000 a month with Squidflix, but personally I have had no such luck.

    If you have 5 minutes to spare and want to do something fun and worthwhile then I’ll definitely recommend Squidflix, but if you are mainly looking to make a few fast bucks you may as well give this site the miss.

    Sunday, February 20, 2011

    New Age Online Billionaires

    Now that the depression is firmly behind us, the dotcom bubble is beginning to grow in size once more, and this time the focus has shifted from Google and is set on a number of new and moderately old online enterprises like Facebook and Groupon. Here is a look at the 4 fastest growing dotcom giants, each of whom are valued in several billions.

    Founded by Mark Zuckerberg in the first half of the last decade, the social networking site Facebook has steadily gained in popularity and has over 500 million members, who share their thoughts and photos through the website everyday. It is currently worth a whopping $50 billion dollars and is one of the most serious competitors to Google's throne. In fact, if rumors are to be believed, Facebook may soon go into all out competition with Google by introducing search engine and free e-mail services.
    Facebook's early gestation period has been turned into an Oscar nominated movie, The Social Network.

    The Groupon official logo
    Founded by Andrew Mason, Groupon is famous for providing its 50 million subscribers with deals of the day e-mails in which local businessmen offer large discounts to attract new customers. Groupon was founded in 2008 and is currently valued at $15 billion dollars.

    Twitter was founded by Jack Dorsey, Biz Stone and Evan Williams in 2006, and has since then revolutionized the way of posting on internet, replacing lengthy blog posts with 140 character posts known as tweets. At present Twitter is valued at $10 billion.

    Zynga founder Mark Pincus with his dog, Zynga
    Zynga, the developer of several popular social games like Farmville, has made tremendous progress in the last one year and has roped in a number of big investors and its estimated worth is $7 billion dollars. However, it is popularly believed that the real figure is probably closer to the $10 billion mark. According to analysts, Zynga earned $850 million last year from selling game credits alone!

    Friday, February 11, 2011

    Niner Niner Collaborative Blogs : Review

    Like Associated Content, Bukisa and Triond, Niner Niner Collaborative Blogs is a paid to write service. Niner Niner has been around for quite sometime but has never gained a lot of popularity and in all honesty I cannot envision them becoming a raving success anytime soon. But still, I think it really deserves to be reviewed. So here goes:
    • Basic Set Up of Niner Niner Collaborative Blogs
    Like Triond and Demand Studios, Niner Niner uses a number of collaborative blogs based on the WordPress platform on which members can publish their articles. However, Niner Niner allows the users to choose in which blog they want to contribute their article and often has multiple blogs for the same niche.
    • Articles Accepted by Niner Niner Collaborative Blogs
    Niner Niner requires your articles to be exclusive and over 200 words. They claim to have an editorial process, but a look at any of their blogs should be enough to convince anyone that it is probably lax to the point of being non existent. Simply put, Niner Niner attaches more important to quality than quantity. Compared to most other content sharing sites, Niner Niner is slightly limited in its blog categories and focuses mainly on finance, love and marriage and recipes. Visit their site for a complete list.
    • Niner Niner Payment Structure
    Niner Niner’s author compensation scheme is radically different from most other content sharing websites because:
    1. It is the only content writing site I know which offers a $5 sign up bonus!
    2. Instead of passive revenue sharing, Niner Niner pays upfront for your content. Depending on which blog you publish your article they will pay you $.10 to $.50.
    The threshold payout is a rather high $25, as compared to Triond’s $.50
    My Thoughts on Niner Niner Collaborative Blogs
    If you are into 5 minutes writing or lack the skill to write full length articles then you can certainly give Niner Niner a try. It is specially favorable for those who are not adept at getting page views, because of their upfront payments.
    On the downside, Niner Niner claims permanent exclusive rights to your articles and the money their paying is quite shabby in comparison to others who impose this criterion.

    Tuesday, February 1, 2011

    She Told Me : Earn Adsense Revenue for Promoting Your Blog

    She Told Me is basically a social bookmarking site similar to Digg or Stumbleupon with the basic difference that it allows its users to earn Adsense revenue from their social bookmarks or scoops. Here is a look at this interesting social bookmarking service:

    Sign Up Process at She Told Me
    In my experience, She Told Me is the only social bookmarking site which has a manual review system before an application is accepted. This along with the one-woman She Told Me team makes signing up for the site a rather slow process but nonetheless effective against spammers. Basically you have to fill up their application form (most fields except your E-mail ID and reason for joining She Told Me are optional) and then they will run some sort of a check (don't ask me!) and if they think your application is legit then they will approve your account. Usually this process takes 4-6 days time but may get inadvertently delayed. Here is a quote from their welcome E-mail to help you understand the situation better:
    Please note that reviewing applications takes time and I'm the only one doing this job, so if you find that 1 or 2 weeks have passed since you registered and you've heard no news from me, you should contact me, it could mean:

    - your application has been rejected (no notification when your application is rejected, if you're not a spammer it's an error, so please apply again and contact me afterwards)
    - I really have too much work on my plate at the moment (you can ask me for a quick approval, if I have time at this moment I'll do it)
    - I'm on vacation (there's not much we can do about that)

    But please do wait at least one week before enquiring about your application, don't add to my workload :-)
    Screen Shot of a Shetoldme scoop

    Revenue Sharing at She Told Me 
    She Told Me offers you 100% Adsense revenue earned from your scoops. Sounds too good to be true? Actually it is! What She Told Me actually does is put a small Adsense ad on top of your scoop and you earn revenue from that only. So, personally I feel it is quite unlikely that you will ever earn anything substantial from She Told Me. However, She Told Me is pretty good at generating traffic site and that is after all the main criterion for a good social networking site.

    1. She Told Me is most closely resembles Xomba bookmarks (i.e. you must  write a short 200-500 character description to your shares) with the obvious difference that scoops (on She Told Me) offer Adsense revenue share while Xomba bookmarks does not.
    2. Before you start posting on She Told Me you better read their content policies as the list is rather long (and you don't want to get banned from such a great site!)

    Sunday, January 30, 2011

    Snipsly : Earn Through Adsense Revenue Share from your Articles

    Snipsly is yet another Adsense revenue sharing sites, which are seems to be sprouting like mushrooms all over the web. Here is a look at Snipsly to help you decide whether the site will be worth your while:

    Publishing Policies of Snipsly
    As of now Snipsly only publishes unique and previously unpublished articles and it is unlikely that it will change anytime soon. Apart from that however, their publishing guidelines are pretty modest: reasonably correct spelling and grammar and a minimum article length of 3 sentences (though I trust you will have to write significantly more to attract any sort of search engine traffic). They accept posts on just about any topic but has a separate Topics that Earn which is one of the most comprehensive and comprehensible idea banks to be found anywhere on the web. Another great think about Snipsly is that unlike a number of similar sites, like Xomba and Bukisa, all links in your Snipsly article are Dofollow allowing you to use Snipsly to create quality backlinks to your personal website or blog.

    User Interface of Snipsly
    Snipsly uses the standard WordPress 3 interface which makes it a very comfortable place to write, especially if you have maintained a WordPress blog before. For those who do not have any such experience, the WordPress writing platform is probably the simplest and most minimalist one available today and great for churning fast articles along with text wrapped photos and videos. However, it lacks the fancy stuff like RSS feeds, News capsules and Amazon and E-Bay modules of Hubpages and Squidoo.

    Author Compensation Policy of Snipsly
    Snipsly offers a very competitive 80% Adsense revenue share by author-admin display ratio. However, you need to have an approved Adsense account to be able to earn from Snipsly. Alternately you can use your Snipsly profile to get an Adsense account (but this is probably not as easy as it sounds).

    A Few Things You Should Know About Snipsly
     Since its launching in October 2009, Snipsly has grown steadily and rapidly is creating quite a bit of noise in the world of content writing. If forum posts are to be believed Snipsly is handling its SEO really well and generating decent pageviews for its contributers. Also the general quality of articles at Snipsly are also of a pretty high quality. However, quite a few the articles I came across at Snipsly reeked of the rank amateur (like   posts without any subheadings or illustrations even for topics like Fall Fashion 2011) which leads me to think that for some reason or other, Snipsly is not attracting as many serious content writers as Hubpages, Squidoo or Suite101 but is being deemed primarily as a place for publishing 5 minutes articles (like Triond).

    Saturday, January 29, 2011

    How to Associate Godaddy Domain with a cPanel Host

    It is really quite simple to link your Godaddy registered domain name with your web host, specially if it provides a standard cPanel admin section. Still first timers can have some problems sorting things out for themselves. So here is a lucid step by step guide teaching you how to associate your domains (registered at Godaddy) with your cPanel hosting account:
    • On purchasing a domain from Godaddy, you are assigned a account. Log in to your Godaddy account and click on the My Account tab to the extreme right of the options bar.
    • In the central part of your Dashboard you should find a link to your registered domain. Click on it.
    • You will be directed to a new page called Project Dashboard. In the top half of the page click on the tab labelled Nameservers.
    • A new dialog box will open. Choose the last option or the one that reads something like “I have specific nameservers for my domains.
    • On doing so you will find 4 boxes asking for your name server info. Replace Godaddy’s default name servers with those provided by your web host.
    • Now log in to your cPanel admin section which comes with your hosting account.
    • In the top part of your screen there is a section tittled Domains. From there choose if you want an Add-on domain or a Parked domain.
    • Fill in the name of your newly registered domain in the prompt box.
    • Wait for several hours (typically 4-6 for add-on and 48-72 for parked domains) and you are done!
    • WAIT A MINUTE: Don’t forget to thank me for such a detailed guide!

    Thursday, January 27, 2011

    Boddunan :Online Earning Opportunity for Freelance Indian Writers is a new content based website which pays its author upfront for articles. Though, still quite young, Boddunan is creating quite a lot of noise, with a wave of freelance writers (mostly Indians) flocking to it. Very intelligently Boddunan is taking full advantage of Associated Content and Helium’s decision to ban Asian authors. Here is a look at the site:
    Content Accepted by Boddunan
    Boddunan accepts content in almost all legal niches and the editorial system is pretty standard, meaning most articles are reasonably well written and provides value to the site. Watch out for Boddunan’s science channels, they are simply great as a Wiki Answers alternative. They are also a great place to finally make those long dull high school classes pay their due and make you some money.
    Apart from English, Boddunan also accepts texts in Telegu and Hindi, though they are earning potential is obviously much less.
    Facts about Boddunan Freelance Writer Compensation Plan
    There are four ways of making money from Boddunan :
    • Each article or review is entitled to receive an upfront payment of upto Rs.200. Maximum cash bonus for Reviews is Rs. 50.
    • Boddunan has a Revenue Sharing Program whereby it distributes 25% of its total revenue amongst a few of its most active members and this can some times amount to a sizable sum.
    • Referrals can earn you as much as Rs. 250 depending of the activity of the referred member.
    • You can also earn through Boddunan’s various competitions like  Best Forum Supporter of the Week, Creative Poll of the Week, Daily Contests, Group Discussion Contests.
    Truth about Boddunan Freelance Writer Compensation Plan
    • The cash credits usually given out to average articles is very low, seldom crossing the Rs. 20 mark.
    • The threshold pay out is very high at Rs. 1500. However, if you meet their quality standards and participate regularly then it may be reduced to Rs.750.
    • Rs. 50 is deducted during processing of your monthly payment–an almost unheard of practice in the amateur freelance circuit. (this is usually restricted to pro sites like Elance, PeoplePerHour etc.)
    My Thoughts on Boddunan
    Though quite tight pocketed, Boddunan is created on a very sound platform and is growing every day, having reached Google PR3 within a matter of months. But three things about Boddunan are for sure: it is 100% legit, 100% open (even publicly tells you exactly what it paid the author for each article) and it definitely won’t go down without a fight.

    Wednesday, January 12, 2011

    Online Publishers Beware of the Chitika Revenue Audit

    Undoubtedly, Chitika is one of the most popular Google Adsense alternatives and many people swear by their service and often they are the only option for Bukisa and Infobarrel contributers who do not have an approved Adsense account.

    Definitely Chitika has a lot of advantage over Google Adesense, but an issue that has been coming up a lot in the recent past in a number of forums is the highly controversial Chitika Revenue Audit, and you will be best advised to know about this before signing up for Chitika Publisher Network.

    What is a Revenue Audit?
    In case you have not yet guessed what a revenue audit is, it simply means evaluating or rather estimating the number of VALID clicks (as decided by your Ad server's T & C) and paying you accordingly. This amount will be definitely lower than or equal to the raw data displayed on your account dashboard which is displayed throughout the month (assuming your ad provider pays Net 30).

    Is the Revenue Audit Unique to Chitika?
    NO! If you would care to read through the fine print, you will find that almost all ad providers including Google Adsense performs a revenue audit before charging their advertisers and paying their publishers. This is the reason why some ad providers will tell you your ESTIMATED earning for the month is $x.y

    So What is Wrong with the Chitika Audit?
    The concern with the Chitika audit is that they are regularly decreasing the raw amount earned from your site by around 20-30% and may even be as high as 90% according to some publishers whereas for Adsense the numbers are almost always less than 10% and generally varies between 2-5%.
    According a forum post one publisher allegedly had his earning reduced from $28.03 for 44 clicks to $3.05 for 4 VALID clicks!

    So Is Chitika a Scam?
    Chitika is positively NOT a scam in the sense that they always pay your audited revenue on time, in fact they are probably the best Adsense alternative available in terms of the ability to serve contextual ads on your site and has a remarkably high click through rate. However, whether their auditing technique is faulty is a totally different issue. And before we get too judgmental, bear in mind click frauds are not entirely unheard of and it is just possible that some unscrupulous  publishers may have taken the efficiency of the Chitika click tracking system a bit too lightly.

    My Personal Take on the Chitika Audit
    I have had no personal experience with the Chitika audit yet, and would stick with Chitika at least until I get approved by Adsense. I will just have to be careful I don't buy that DSLR camera I'm after before my Chitika earning is safely deposited to my Paypal account.

    Sunday, January 9, 2011

    Squidoo or Hubpages ? We Have a Winner

    Squidoo and Hubpages are two of the most popular Web 2.0 publishing platforms, offering a similar range of features and thus making a comparison between the two inevitable. And if you Google something like ” Which is better Squidoo or Hubpages? ” you are sure to get 100s of posts and articles most of which are inconclusive or are written from a particular view point (which may not concur with yours). After being a member of both Squidoo and Hubpages for over a year I have had considerable experience with both these internet giants and am in a position to tell you exactly what I think of their services in a author’s-purpose specific manner.

    Hubpages or Squidoo : Which is Better for Content Writers ?

    In my opinion, Hubpages is more suited to content writers than Squidoo, especially if you your SEO skills are as lousy as mine. In my experience, Hubs (on Hubpages) gets listed lot more easily than a Lens (on Squidoo). Moreover, Hubpages is more adept at directing its members to new Hubs and also has features like Hub Hopping to help you gain more page views. Moreover, Hubpages offers roughly 60% revenue compared to Squidoo’s 45%

    However, in the unlikely event that you are a SEO wizard then you should definitely go Squidoo, but you will probably earn a lot more just maintaining your own blog.

    Hubpages or Squidoo : Which is Better for Bloggers ?

    If you are keen on maintaining one or more mini blogs(such as a blog dedicated to your pet) then you should go with Squidoo. In fact, the Squidoo lens is specifically designed to be used as a mini blog offering the blogger TOTAL HTML control of the lens and even allows you to use your own affiliate banners, amazon codes etc. Like Blogger, Squidoo also comes with an impressive set of popular and profitable modules like amazon, zazzle, cafepress, e-bay etc.

    Hubpages or Squidoo : Which is Better for Article Marketeers ?

    As far as article marketing is concerned Squidoo is way better than Hubpages. In fact whereas Squidoo encourages you to use their platform for marketing your products Hubpages’ article acceptance policy is designed to hinder your efforts. Here is quote from an e-mail I received from them not too long ago:

    The rules – read these carefully:
    * If your Hub’s content is unique to HubPages (doesn’t appear anywhere else on the internet) then your Hub can have a MAXIMUM of 2 links to any one domain (tinyurl and other cloakers are considered wildcards). Links in the image source field of images count toward this limit.
    * If your Hub’s content appears anywhere else on the internet, then you may NOT add links to sites or offers you are promoting. This means that you can not have any promotional links on Hubs that appear elsewhere on the internet.
    * You can not give a short teaser and a link to “read more” or “continue”. The Hub must have the full content you want to present and that your title implies.
    * You can NOT add links to sites irrelevant to the Hub’s topic
    * Your Hub may not contain an RSS feed that directs to the same site as a link within the body of the hub
    Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...