Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Earning Residual Income Online With Revenue Sharing Sites

Welcome to the new blog. You may know me from my previous website, The Freelance Home Writer, from which I've taken a hiatus for an undetermined amount of time. The reason for my absence (and the creation of this site) is that I just have no interest in writing articles for upfront pay anymore. I once relied upon sites like WiseGEEK, BrightHub, Associated Content and Demand Studios for the bulk of my income. Today, however, I focus primarily upon increasing my residual, passive income. I still write occasionally for Demand Studios when I need quick cash, but I am trying very hard to improve my residual income stream. This blog will be a chronicle of my experiments - a place to share my knowledge and insight on a subject that I know well.

Now that the introductions are out of the way, let's get down to business. As you may or may not know, I was once a huge advocate of writing for eHow. I  made tons of money writing short how-to articles for the site, and this was really my introduction to residual income. I loved writing for the site, despite the less-than-transparent revenue share model and constant software glitches. I was willing to tolerate these flaws because I made so much money. Unfortunately, things changed and eHow no longer accepts submissions from its users, except through the Demand Studios platform. On the positive side, my eHow articles continued to earn even after the writer's compensation program (WCP) closed. This month will be my highest earning month ever, even though I've added no new articles and created very few backlinks to my existing work. The site just has that much authority with Google.

After eHow closed its WCP, I was at a loss. I didn't know where to concentrate my efforts in order to increase my residual earnings. I submitted articles sporadically to other publishing sites including Suite 101, HubPages and Infobarrel. I started several niche blogs, joined the Keyword Academy and even started my very own "Super Site." My niche blog is just beginning to earn about $50 a month, and I'm quite pleased with this, considering I only put about a week of work into it. My super site is still in its infancy and honestly, I don't work on it as often as I should. I've come to realize over the years that I much prefer publishing on revenue sharing sites as opposed to maintaining my own niche blogs and sites.

What's that, you say? Am I insane? I know. I know. Every blogger and "freelance writer" from here to the end of the world says that you absolutely must host your own blog/website (or write strictly for upfront pay) to make any legitimate money. I respectfully and wholeheartedly disagree. In fact, I find that I make far more money publishing on revenue sharing websites than I ever have publishing on my own sites. Now, I do understand that the potential may be greater if you host your own site, but I HATE, HATE, HATE promoting my niche sites. It's not fun and it doesn't make me feel productive. I know, the conventional wisdom is bubbling to the front of your brain here and telling you that work isn't fun no matter what and sometimes you have to do what you don't like to make a living. Well, that may be true if you believe it; I don't. 

Here are some of the reasons that I prefer publishing on revenue sharing sites instead of self-hosted sites.
  1. Starting From Scratch and Paying for It - To host my own site, I have to pay for the domain name and hosting. I also have to start from absolute scratch. This means I have to work very hard to get even a single visitor to my site, and it may take years to make more than a few bucks a month. On the other hand, I can choose to publish on a revenue sharing site that is already well established in the search engines and that has a moderate to high page rank, a built-in reader base and in most cases, an active writer community. On my own sites, I'm all alone with no Google love and a lot of work ahead of me. I'm more than willing to sacrifice a portion of my revenue to forego the cost and headache of maintaining the website and to benefit from the natural strength of an established site.
  2. Backlinks Be Gone - We all know backlinks are a very important part of earning online income. You need them to rank your sites well in the search engines. However, I never built backlinks to my eHow articles (well, maybe a couple unintentionally), and I've made more money there than on any other site, including all of my own sites combined. This is because eHow is so strong to begin with. I can use the strength of established revenue sharing sites to rank my articles almost effortlessly rather than spend countless, boring hours writing crappy backlink articles. Don't get me wrong - backlinks can catapult your earning power from mediocre to fantastic, but they aren't necessary to earn with residual sites because these sites already get lots of traffic and your content will rank well on its own over time.
  3. Keeping Things Interesting - Another reason I hate creating niche sites is that I get so tired of writing about the same topics over and over again. I get burned out and I abandon the project before it reaches its full potential. Although you can create your own site and publish any-old-topic you want, your chances of success decrease substantially. On revenue sharing sites, however, I can write on the topics that interest me at the time and move on when my interest wanes. I have a terrible habit of losing interest in subjects quickly, so revenue sharing sites are a good fit for me, at least.
  4. Instant Gratification - Another benefit of posting on residual sites is that you get to see results almost instantly. I challenge you to publish 10 articles on a new blog and 10 articles on a revenue share site such as Infobarrel. Do nothing to them - no backlinks, no bookmarks, no promotion - and see which ones begin earning first. I guarantee that your revenue share articles will begin making money within a few days to a week. You could even build backlinks to your blog articles (to make it a fair fight) and not to the rev share articles, and they would still earn before those published on your own site. Yes, you may eventually earn more from your blog if you constantly promote and add backlinks, but in my opinion, you're better off just posting them on a residual site and leaving them to earn on their own. Maybe I just like to take the lazy way out. :)
These are just some of the reasons that revenue sharing is right for me. Everyone has to make their own decisions, but I highly recommend at least giving it a try, even as a supplement to the conventional (much harder) path to earning online income. Please, feel free to share your thoughts and opinions in the comment section below. In the coming days and weeks, I will begin posting my experiments on various sites to try and find the strategies that work best. 


  1. These are interesting points to ponder...
    I'm at a bit of a crossroads myself.
    Thanks for your perspective on this on-going
    discussion! :)

  2. Thanks for stopping by, sharieo. I think the trick is to just pick something and try it out for a while. If it doesn't live up to your expectations, move on. I've wasted far too much time trying to choose a project, I think, but now it's time to take action. :)

  3. Hey Willow, great to see you focusing on Residual Income again - I've been casually reading your freelance writing blog for sometime and look forward to hearing your thoughts on ResInc here.


  4. I've been a Demand "hack" for almost a year now, and I'm much more inclined to write what I want for residual income, even if I don't see that $15 or $20 up front right away for an article I'm bored out of my mind with. I'm interested to read your new blog (just read this post thus far) and follow you.

    Since eHow is now absorbed by the Demand machine, which residual site would you say is your favorite? I belong to yahoo's contributor's network (which absorbed Associated Content) but I can't see that earning me more than a pittance no matter how many years my articles are up. I just joined Infobarrel because I saw it mentioned by you here. Maybe I'm jumping the gun and you mention them in your later posts. I'm just anxious to get away from the Demand machine and start writing what I enjoy.

    Like you, I get bored easily with one topic, so the idea of writing what interests me when it interests me is a big draw!

  5. Hi K.,

    I'm glad you like the blog and thanks for stopping by! In answer to your question, right now I like Infobarrel the most. I'm currently making the most money per article there - more than HubPages, which is really the only other site I've considered of late.

    Oh yeah, Associated Content (the Yahoo Contributor's Network) pays less than any other site in my experience. But then again, my articles there are not my best work. Still, my page views were cut in half after Google's algorithm change. I wouldn't consider writing there right now, because I think you can do far better on Infobarrel or even HubPages.

  6. Hi Brian,

    Thanks for stopping by! I actually just stumbled upon your blog earlier today when I was trying to find out how much other people were earning from their Infobarrel articles. You're really doing well there, and I hope to catch up to you soon!