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Passionate
09-19-2007, 03:59 PM
I have recently engaged a writer to write some webpages for one of my Internet projects.
So I was thinking, what if I partnered up with a writer and let them write about their area of expertise. I would produce and market a specific website for that content (not an eBook or POD).
Any successful site on the Internet needs to provide valuable and high quality content. That is the only way it will develop and attract a growing numbers of visitors. But there are also a lot of technical and analytical tasks that support that success.
I am proficient at the technical and analytical things. But I cannot write great content.
How would we earn money? Through ads and product recommendations that are related to the topic of the site. If the writer has published books on that topic, the site will naturally promote them as well.
The process would be something like this:
1) The writer suggests a topic (in a non-fiction area)
2) I research it for viability and come back with a list of related keywords
3) Together we develop a structure for the site (at the start we should be able to plan the content for around 50 pages at 500-800 words each)
4) Then the writer just delivers the written pieces and I program, design and maintain the site.
5) Once the site has around 150-200 pages (so it would have a similar size to a book), it is maintained by a blog, e-zine and smaller updates of the content (probably a new piece of 300-500 words once a fortnight).
6) We share the revenue
My questions are:
Would you enjoy that or see it as below your standards to publish on a website?
Would you feel comfortable earning from advertising and product recommendations (naturally only the ones that are worthwhile)?
What share of the income would you expect to receive?
Would you be willing to share the costs of the production of the website (I am talking external costs, e.g. hosting, graphic design, etc.) or only be interested, if I covered the full investment?
What questions do you have?
Looking forward to your feedback.
Alexander

PattiTheWicked
09-19-2007, 04:21 PM
Would you enjoy that or see it as below your standards to publish on a website?

The question here is not a matter of whether it's "below someone's standards" to publish online. There are a number of us here, myself included, who make a decent amount of money by publishing our work on the Internet. The question here is "is it worth the writer's time to do so." If you've got someone creating 500 - 800 word articles for you, on whatever subject, but the final pay scale breaks down to just a couple of bucks per hour, then why should a writer bother?

Would you feel comfortable earning from advertising and product recommendations (naturally only the ones that are worthwhile)?

How are you planning on tracking this sort of thing? Would this be a site in which the writers are paid only on a PV count, or on clicks to advertisers links? How are you planning to market it to advertisers so that it will be worth THEIR while to have an ad on a page with the writer's content?

What share of the income would you expect to receive?

How much are you willing to pay your writers? Are you planning on splitting your revenue with one writer, or fifty?

Would you be willing to share the costs of the production of the website (I am talking external costs, e.g. hosting, graphic design, etc.) or only be interested, if I covered the full investment?

I can only speak for myself but I know that I personally would never share in the costs of website design for someone who was supposed to be paying me. The money is supposed to flow TO the writer, not the other way around.

What questions do you have?

What makes your site different than the thousands of other ones with a similar model that pop up every week?

Passionate
09-20-2007, 03:59 AM
Hi Patti,

maybe I was not clear enough that I am not talking about a site where many writers publish their writing. I am talking about one single site for a single writer on a single topic.

That said, I'll try to answer your questions

You make decent money by publishing on the net. Is that mainly though about.com? That is great that you have found your spot in there. They also moentize through advertising. So you know that it is possible.

A couple of bucks per hour is too little, I agree. I would not want to work for that either. I actually do not think in hours so much as in Return on Investment. I invest my time, energy and money and expect a worthwhile return.

How would I track that and interest advertisers?
The most simple form is Google AdSense. It includes excellent tracking tools. And as there is one writer for one site, the revenue from that site is shared with one writer only.

I understand that you would only do it if you did not have to share the costs. After all that is not a writer's specialty. So we would have to look at the overall investment (of time, energy and money) and find a fair split of the income based on that.

What makes my idea different?
It is not one site for many writers. As I said at the start: one site for a single writer, who will be the face of that site, starting to build relationships with the visitors (through blog comments, possibly a forum when there is enough traffic). And the writer chooses the topic.

Is that clearer?

Passionate
09-24-2007, 11:31 PM
Is that really all there is to say to this?
Please give me feedback. Or do you think this is a scam and not worth your time?
Alexander

Popeyesays
09-25-2007, 06:55 AM
I don't think there's any advantage to it for the author. It's not going to be as remunerative as e-publishing.

Regards,
Scott

veinglory
09-25-2007, 07:13 AM
There are quite a few sites out there that already do this. Their experiences suggest that the earning potential is very low. If you are writing a substantial amount an ebook is likely to do better.

Passionate
09-25-2007, 10:57 AM
Can you share some of the sites you are talking about? If it is about.com, suite101.com and helium.com, etc. they are all aggregating content by many authors.

I am talking one site for one author on one topic. Have you seen that anywhere?

Alexander

veinglory
09-26-2007, 03:19 AM
Yes, usually run by the author which is why I don't really want to point fingers re: earnings. But if you depend on something like adsense it doesn't make sense.

Medievalist
09-28-2007, 06:08 AM
Unless you've a really really popular site, with lots of new content, and a target niche/audience, no, you're not going to make anything like enough money to make it worthwhile.

Popeyesays
09-28-2007, 06:39 AM
Here's an example of a niche site that does business selling books, art to assemble cardstock models, lead soldiers, etc.

http://www.fauxtoys.com/tvag/index.html

Unless you have a strong niche you'll never make a dime and I doubt one write on one topic can create the kind of traffic you want.

Regards,
Scott

ResearchGuy
09-29-2007, 02:01 AM
. . . one site for a single writer, who will be the face of that site, starting to build relationships with the visitors (through blog comments, possibly a forum when there is enough traffic). And the writer chooses the topic.. . .
That might work fine (and probably is working fine) for someone who is already well known, at least to a sizeable audience. It might or might not make money in itself, but might help to promote books and other merchandise. It might also be useful as an adjunct to a business. For an example of that, see http://www.stephaniechandler.com .

--Ken

Passionate
09-30-2007, 08:20 AM
Thanks for those examples.

I have found the writer who is working on this project with me. And I'll keep you posted how we are going with it. It might be 6 weeks before there is anything to show. But I'll let you know.

Alexander

Featurewriter
10-28-2007, 02:42 PM
I'd be interested to know how this worked out for you, Alexander. It's about four weeks into your six-week forecast, so I hope you'll stop back by and give us an update.

Couple of things to note:

You begin your proposed system with:

1) The writer suggests a topic (in a non-fiction area); 2) I research it for viability and come back with a list of related keywords.

I'm both a full-time writer and a part-time Web entrepreneur with several years' experience with Google AdSense, so I work both ends. It seems to me that it would be far more efficient for you to research the keywords by niche' first, making sure there are sufficient monthly searches, good KEIs (or R/S if you prefer), sufficient CPCs and enough ads to make it worthwhile.

You'll also need to study up on LSI as this is likely to become increasingly important for long-term success with AdSense approaches. It's no longer just about main keyword density (although the effective range is still around 3-7 percent and will likely stay there), which is what a lot of PLR gurus would have you believe. It's about combining related words in the right flow and framework, and unfortunately nobody but Google can really tell you what that means. You'll have to guess, and try to explain it to the writer ... and by the time you get the point across, the writer may very well be wondering why he or she is writing on spec for you when it would make a heck of a lot more sense to just get a website builder (or use GoDaddy's, etc.) and do this without you.

Have I lost everybody yet? Sorry ... trying to make a point here to the new webmaster-joint-venture-hopeful guy, who should be well-versed in the "geek-speak" above AND be able to translate the important parts of it to a non-geek writer.

As to your fourth point:

4) Then the writer just delivers the written pieces and I program, design and maintain the site.

Interesting use of the word "just." Two comments:

The content is the most time-consuming, as well as the most IMPORTANT element; and
You make site maintenance sound like the big job, and writing like the "oh, by the way" job. First, saying you will "program" the site makes it sound highly technical and complex (for AdSense? C'mon ...). Second, design does take time, but it's a one-time effort and then you move on. Third, site maintenance, if done properly, takes very little time.You'll find it very challenging to find a skilled writer to partner with you because of the nature of your proposal. The fact is, it is VERY EASY for writers with little or no Web design knowledge to succeed with AdSense. All they need is to learn how to do a little topic research (as it pertains to profitable keywords), use an easy site-builder, and they're up and running. Then it's just a matter of keeping at it.

It's obvious what's in it for you to have a writer who's willing to work on spec for part of your AdSense revenue ... but what are you offering the writer that he or she can't get without you?

The writer's contribution is the lion's share of the value, and as such should not be offered up on speculation.

Seriously, you'd be better off going with a good PLR service. It's nearly impossible to leverage your labor completely with speculative offers, because if you succeed, the writer has no guarantee of future revenue (you could drop them and the required lawsuit to get what they're owed would be impractical), and if you fail, they fail. There's no upside, only two downsides.

Can't blame you for trying, though. In any event, I hope you succeed ... you'll find it's easier to get what you need in other ways. And they're out there.

Good luck!

Mac H.
10-28-2007, 03:56 PM
I'd be interested to know how this worked out for you, Alexander. It's about four weeks into your six-week forecast, so I hope you'll stop back by and give us an update.I was curious to see how his sites are going, so I checked out his main sites:

http://www.passionate.com.au/ & http://www.home-based-business-hub.com/

I'm not sure which one is the new one - possibly neither, especially as the income seems to come from selling training programs for about $180 - $670 (with a 25% commission on the referring affiliate link) rather than advertising like the new site.

It will be interesting watching the project progress.

Hope it goes well for him - and the writer of all the content !

Mac

AndyPolyak
10-30-2007, 02:48 AM
Hi!

I have launched my own website to sell my fantasy books.

This webpage is completely mine. I can place the links to my Lulu storefront, to the illustrations made for my books, to my friends etc.

I can sell my e-books at low prices (as I don't have to share the money with anyone), I can tell the readers my news. A website, even a small one, is much more convenient than a blog or a service like MySpace.

For, example, tomorrow Livejournal will decide to delete your account for some reason (their boss will dislike you or something else), and you will lose all your links, all your announcements and contacts. No blog, no writer. I knew such precedents (not at L.J. but at similar services)

Or, maybe, there will be some software failure. Things happen.

But a personal website will be yours in any event. Keeping its copy on your computer's hard drive or on a CD, you will always be able to re-upload it or to change the hosting company, if necessary. You are the only master of your site, and no one can make you stop telling the world about your books.

Passionate
11-01-2007, 06:09 AM
Hi Featurewriter,

I wanted to let the writer select a topic, so that it was something dear to his or her heart.
In any niche there are lots of ways to spin it and there are always profitable keywords to be found. But finding a writer whose heart and experience is in a specific topic is more hit and miss.

What is LSI?
The concept I am following is to produce a site that pleases humans with great content. After all the search engines use their alogrithms to look after their human users. The algorithms might change, but the underlying conept is always: show the best content for a specific keyword.
So naturally there are a few basic rules to be followed (e.g. using Metatags and having the keywords in headings, links, etc.), but I am not too focused on guessing on algorithms. As you said: Only Google knows it anyway.

Site maintenance is easy, but takes time. And I am not just talking about uploading new pages, but also link building, analysing the best return on affiliate programs, placement of GoogleAds, etc.
But I agree with you that the content will make or break the site. It is what makes it long-term success possible.

"You'll find it very challenging to find a skilled writer to partner with you because of the nature of your proposal."
I forgot that my original thought was just a revenue sharing model. I am actually paying the writer for each page. So I take all the risk. Would that change your opinion of the viability of this proposal?

Alexander

Passionate
11-01-2007, 06:12 AM
Hi Mac,
neither of those sites is the one. We actually published the first version two days ago. And I'll share it with you in two weeks (when the 6 weeks are up).

Thanks for your good wishes.

Alexander

Passionate
11-13-2007, 08:56 AM
Here is the first cut of the site:
http://www.freelance-writing-career.com

We published it on October 29. So it's been 15 days.

The site already has an Alexa Rank of 1.75 Million.

I would love your feedback on what you think.

Alexander

Featurewriter
01-02-2008, 05:46 AM
Looks like I lost track of this thread and didn't answer Passionate's question. Sorry about that!

LSI: Latent Semantic Indexing. (It's not just about keyword density anymore!) You can find out more on it here (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Latent_semantic_indexing).

Passionate
01-02-2008, 06:05 AM
Thanks featurewriter,
looks terribly complicated. Without all the formulae, does it basically translate into: a site that is focused on a clear niche and has links to and from sites of that same niche will fare better than something unfocussed?

PinkUnicorn
01-05-2008, 11:49 PM
Well, I run over 200 seperate websites, including 12 forums (all hosted by Proboards), 32 MySpace pages (one account for me, each of my books, all 3 of my businesses, and the main characters from my books), 5 Blogger Blogs, 7 WordPress Blogs, 15 Fanlistings, and 72 Freewebs sites. I do all the codeing (both html and java) myself. In addition to hosted sites which I build, I also use several big "multi-author" sites, such as Squidoo (I have over 200 pages on thier site alone), Associated Content, etc. (Check out the links in my siggie to see a few of my sites with these various places/hosts.)

Anyways, I wrote my first book in 1978. Since than, I've been writing steady non-stop and continue to write today. I joined the internet in 1997, just 3 years after it started, and this year marks my 11th year as an "html goddess" as others have called me, and my 29th year as a writer.

In addition to writing fiction books, fiction short stories, comic books, and non-fiction articles, and building and writing web sites and web site content, I worked as a traveling door to door sales man for 7 years and an in-store retail saleman for the past 2 years. I am considered to be a "professional business woman", I even am required to wear a suit on the job. While I call myself a writer, writing does not put food on the table, my being a salesman is what brings in the money.

On top of all that I live on and run a full time working farm, and still find time to raise a family and volunteer by opening my home as a foster home to 10 feral cats.

My point is this: you made a comment about writers not being strong in other areas, thus being the reason why a writer would need you to build and market a website for them, however in my experiance writers tend to be very much like myself: business folks who run their own websites, sell their books off their sites, write non-fiction articles to post on their sites, write blogs, and are among the best business people out there when it comes to marketing and sales. Granted this is not true of all writers, but all you have to do is search Google for a few author names, and you'll be literaly bombarded with author owned, author run, and author written websites.

In answer to your question:


How would we earn money? Through ads and product recommendations that are related to the topic of the site. If the writer has published books on that topic, the site will naturally promote them as well.


Actually, it is not easy for a website to earn money. Most site can earn money, but the average amount that sites make each year is: $20 per year! Only a rare few like ProBlogger actually reap in the big bucks. ProBlogger btw is the website that makes more money than any other website. Google the word ProBlogger and you'll be taken directly to his blog where he tells you how he makes money ($200,000 per year) with just that one blog. He's useing the same basic idea you are talking about doing, so you might find his site pretty helpful in your venture.

With all of my websites, only a few of them are actually set up so that they bring in any money. I have found that the best way to bring in Money useing a website is to sell promotional items off of it and to write articles for sites that pay money, than link to those articles from my websites. About 90% of the money I make on my sites comes from 4 places listed here in the order that I have made the most money from highest to lowest:

#1.) CafePress: I make anywhere from $2 - $60 a month here without any promotion of my shopd, and with promotion of my shops, I believe I can up that figure to about $150 - $300 per month. (A theory I am currently testing). I have been making money here since 2005.

#2.) Squidoo : I currently make anywhere from $10 - $40 a month. Each month I make a little bit more than the last month. I should be earning $30 - $90 per month by this summer. I have been makeing money here since 2007.

#3.) Zazzle: I currently make $2 - $20 per month here. Like CafePress, this was done without promoting my shops. I have just begun to promote my shops, so hopefully I will see a raise in my income from Zazzle. I have been making money here since 2005.

#4.) Amazon: I have made additional money by selling books through Amazon auctions, I make between $5 - $50 per book, and if I had more books I wanted to sell, I could probably live off this income alone. Problem is, I need quite a bit of overhead up front, to buy the books, so that I can resell them for a profit. I have been making money here, since 1997.

Small amounts of money also come in from haveing a PayPal donation button on my sites.


I've tried nearly 500 differant MLM, pyramid, secret shopper, take survies, play games, Google Adsence, and affiliate programs... so far not a single one of them has paid me a single penny.

Well, I don't know if any of this well help you out or not. I hope is does.





~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~




EDIT:


Just went back and read the comments and found the one where you got started. I just checked out your site... looks pretty good.

I love the yellow background! Yellow is one of my fave colors, because it's so bright and happy and cheerful... it gives your site an overall happy good feeling to it.

Everything seems well laid out and well thought out. I can't find any complaints with it. You did good!

Best of luck to you!

Passionate
01-17-2008, 08:06 AM
That is absolutely amazing. How did the saying go: "Women can multi-task, men have to stick to one thing at a time..." How can you juggle so many different things?

Wishing you all the best.
Alexander

Featurewriter
08-15-2008, 11:53 AM
It's been a long time since anyone commented here, so I imagine this conversation probably won't continue much further. But I wanted to drop in something to contrast what EelKat said about generating revenue from websites (although she makes a good point about revenue diversification).

The link in my signature goes to a very clunky, very dull-looking site which I deliberately designed that way in order to run a test.

It has all sorts of errors which conflict with W3C standards and Google's basic recommendations for how to build a decent site. It also resides as a sub-domain under another site, which, as any SEO expert will tell you, isn't the optimal way to go about trying to raise rankings.

All of that was on purpose, because I wanted to see whether the "gurus" were right when they say that you "have to" do things in certain ways.

I'm the first to agree that no one should do what I did with my test site if they want to get far online. The test was to see whether or not the strength of the content -- the actual words -- would be enough to overshadow other concerns.

Here's exactly what I did:

1. Chose roughly 30 articles that had been previously published in trade magazines and newsletters, whose rights had reverted to me.

2. Re-purposed the articles for the website (editing).

3. Posted everything into a single table of contents page, rather than grouping them by topic. (In other words, I didn't even want to make it easy for the site visitor to find things).

4. Stuck AdSense code on about 20 of the 30 pages.

5. Wrote five promotional pieces for article directories, three of which were for a topic that pays ZERO in AdSense revenue (because nobody advertises for that topic).

6. Other than adding a couple of articles about 18 months ago, I just let the site languish with absolutely no updates.

After two years, Google dropped the site from its index. You can't even find it by typing the site's name into Google's search engine. It's been obliterated. That made my test results even MORE telling, because it meant that any traffic or revenue I generated would be coming from other places.

The bottom-line? This extremely BAD site (from an SEO perspective) made over $100 in the last 12 months, after making more than $100 the year before that. And all of that revenue was from stuff that had been published years before -- I didn't have to write anything new, just reuse what was sitting on my hard drive.

It proved what I was looking to determine: That if a website's CONTENT is good, IT WILL MAKE MONEY even if many other factors are all screwed up.

So, based on my test of "doing it all wrong on purpose," my opinion is that any writer can set up a basic site, make a few bucks, and see it continue to flow in month after month for a very long time.

Now, imagine what can happen if you do most things right! I'll withhold comment on my efforts in that regard for now, so as to not detract from the main point here.

Suffice it to say that I firmly believe that writers are in the absolute BEST position of everyone starting out with an online presence. And you certainly don't need to be positioned like Darren Rowse (ProBlogger) to do well.

Mac H.
08-15-2008, 01:25 PM
Just as an update - Passionate's site was abandoned about May this year - he's since moved on to a business giving quotes for Solar Heating.

The site had about 20-30 visits per day, so assuming a $1 per-click price and a 2% click-through rate, the entire site was earning $182 a year in advertising. The costs include $100/year hosting (and $10/year for the name) giving an income of about $70 for the entire year - to be split between the writer & the owner !

And to think that people were telling him that the business model may not work ....

Mac

Passionate
08-18-2008, 03:01 AM
Interesting to read your comments. The project stalled because I lost my writer. After the initial concepts of sharing risk and all that, I actually paid him per post. But one day, he just stopped to communicate.

I kept things up for a while, but as I am not a writer, I could not really deliver the quality content that was necessary to satisfy the site's audience.

When I consolidated in May, I offered the site to anyone interested - for free (or for my hosting costs). Here are all the details
http://www.freelance-writing-career.com/get-this-freelance-writing-blog-for-free.html

No one took me up on that yet.

Any questions, just let me know.

Alexander