One important thing to understand when you’re trying to make a living by writing online is how to analyze your statistics. Each website gives you access to different factors and information. Learning how to “fill in the gaps” is the best way for you to determine which articles are bringing in the most income and how well you’re doing as a writer. The question of “What should I do today?” Is answered by “Whatever it is that brings me income” Personally, for me, it’s also “Plus whatever requires the least amount of work” Because I have 6 kids that are way more fun than writing online.
As writers, we sometimes believe that we are “word people” and that others are “number people.” This is simply not true. There’s no such thing. We like research, we like to tell a story and that’s just what your stats are; the research tools you need to tell your story. “Once upon a time there was a lady with 6 kids…”
So- without further ado, I present “How to analyze your eHow stats:
uh-oh, here’s some further ado. This is the first in a series I’m doing to help writers understand ALL of their stats, so I’ll be going over Examiner, Suite101, Bukisa, Textbroker, Adsense and whatever else I can think of. If you can present one for Squidoo, Hubpages, Associated Content, or anything else, let me know and you can guest-post, with backlinks. If it’s Triond or Helium, I’ll be super-skeptical, in case you wondered.
OK- and now… How to analyze your eHow stats:
OK, first login and go to “my articles” the first thing you will do is click on the word “earnings” to sort out the highest earning articles. Sometimes it will automatically sort in ascending rather than descending order, so you’ll need to re-sort it (just click again if you see zeros)
OK- here are all of your highest earning articles. You probably knew that. To make money writing, though, it’s not enough to know JUST the highest earners, you need to analyze to see which article is making the most per visitor. An article that makes $10 with 1000 visitors is essentially a much better article than the one that makes $10 for 10000 visitors.
Let me clear up a common misconception here:
COMMENTS do not have any affect whatsoever upon your income. Period. If anything, attempts to artificially drive traffic to your article via “visit, vote & comment” clubs simply skews your data, because these visitors never googled the topic and are therefore not even interested in the article, so why would they be interested in the ads? It’s the ads that you get paid for, so the only traffic you WANT is traffic that is looking for you. Give up those crazy social bookmarking attempts, in the long run, they ruin your stats and WASTE YOUR TIME.
Here are some benchmarks that you should analyze for:
$/hit – How much am I making for every page view, or how much am I making per hit. Again- it’s just a little benchmark. If you’re at $10/1000 then you get about a penny per view.
and its cousin, the macro-view:
$/1000 – How much money am I making for every 1000 visitors. This is a common measure for online writers. Suite 101, for example tells you your $/1000 directly, they also occasionally disclose the site-wide $/1000.
%PV/100 – What percentage of your articles are getting more than 100 hits per week or per day (you choose. The %/PV/100 isn’t something I can analyze for eHow. It would involve recording each day’s pageviews and I haven’t done that yet. It doesn’t seem lucrative for me. I use this analysis on Suite101 because their dashboard makes it easy to check.)
$/count/month – How much am I making per article per month – this is an average that writers reference sometimes, it relates to the overall success of your entire body of work.
S/new articles/year – How much work did you do this year and how much did you earn this year? Even if this year’s articles haven’t brought in much income, this number is a good indicator of the overall success of your body of work. Each year, the income should increase. If your body of work does not increase, it’s OK. Making money without working is (for me) part of the point.
In the image above, the highest earning articles are stacked in descending order. When you look at this, you need to look beyond the obvious “Which article is bringing me the most money?” and ask yourself “Which article is earning the most per view?”
A shopkeeper doesn’t focus all his attention on selling the highest PRICED item in the store, if he’s smart. A wise shopkeeper places impulse items by the register, each might only profit a teeny bit, but more people are likely to buy them. He draws attention to items that he purchased below wholesale, knowing that his profit margin is higher on those items. For us, the goal is to get the most amount of income per page view.
A simple way to do that is divide the articles income by the amount of pageviews. For the first article, that would be $125.77 divided by 1599 views. I recommend using a spreadsheet program because it’s a lot faster than a calculator. You can copy & paste your charts into excel or open office and just set up each row to automatically calculate itself. If that sounds difficult, leave me a comment and I will tell you how to set it up (in an article of course, so subscribe, OK)
Anyway- using that method, we can see that the top article has a $/view of 7.8 cents. Clearly that’s not an indicator of what to expect, it’s just my personal highest-earning article. Is it my most profitable? No way- not at all. In fact, I only wrote it because someone in a message board said that she’d had success with the topic area. I knew nothing about it and spent almost 3 hours on the research. I definitely do not plan to do that again. Being that the topic isn’t the slightest bit interesting to me, I have no interest in duplicating that experiment, although I am happy with it, obviously.
In my experience, a $/view of 1 cent is what I look for. Anything higher than that catches my eye. 1 cent per view translates into $10/1000, which is almost triple what Bukisa pays, almost triple what the average Suite101 writer makes and really easy to eyeball. For example, at a penny per view, 500 views is $5.00 (see that- all I did was add a decimal and a dollar sign) 1675 views =$16.75, 2395 views = $23.95 (See, I told you numbers weren’t scary)
When I scan my stats, I am looking for articles that bring in considerably more than $10/1000. In the image, you can see that some of my top-earning articles fit that profile, while others do not. Subsequent pages show a similar phenomena.
My name for these articles is HTAC– meaning “higher than average conversion” when page views convert to income, higher-than-average is a good thing.
Please note that the word “average” is actually not an average, it’s actually a high average. I have about 135,000 page views on eHow, meaning that if 1 cent per view was average, I’d have made $135,000. TOTALLY not the case.
HOWEVER- It’s important to identify those high-earners, to make sure they STAY on top of search results, to boost your ego and to help you in your personal analysis of “what works for me”
It’s for this reason that I don’t advocate placing a lot of work on sites like Examiner and Bukisa. One thing they do, in order to be “fair to everyone” is to average the entire site’s $/view and then pay writers a certain amount of money for each page view. How would you feel as a writer, knowing that you can make almost 8 cents per view on an article and that writers who SUCK are getting paid the same? Basically, the articles that have good SEO are driving traffic to the site and ALL the writers are getting paid the same. If you’re serious about making money by writing content, then do not focus on those sites. They have their place, but don’t deserve your daily attention. If you’re just writing for fun, love telling people to read your articles (otherwise they’d never get traffic) and don’t mind the idea of profiting from someone else’s research and hard work, then by all means, sign up at Bukisa and write there every day. You’ll get about $3.50 for every 1000 page views and never have to research a single keyword.
– SORRY about the funky captioning thing, I don’t have time to fix it.
OK- this screen shot shows a page of lower-earning articles. Some of these are from 2008, some are from 2009. The thing to note here is the 30% HTAC rate.
To further complicate matters, I once wrote an ebook. It sells for about $5 and I’ve sold about 8 of them. The only promotion I did was to write 2 eHow articles teaching people how to do the same thing my ebook taught them. In the links at the bottom of the eHow articles, readers can click over to the sales page for the ebook. The two articles have 2783 hits and 13.05 in eHow earnings, which would, at first glance, not make them noteworthy in the slightest. However, when you consider the $40 in sales, $53.05 for 2783 hits is definitely HTAC.
Other articles have affiliate links and links to my work on other websites, diverting traffic in immeasurable ways. (thanks to the writergig eBook for that badass suggestion)
$/count/month is another way to measure your progress. In the beginning, you may write several articles that make money forever (assuming they’re not swept out) and the theory is that each month you make more and more money for putting in a continuous stream of effort.
This one is actually the most fun because no matter how you look at it, you earn the most when you do the least amount of work. In have 67 articled published from November of 2008 but the income was only 17.73. That’s not terrible, I reached payout the first month, which a lot of writers don’t do, but some people would look at that and say- Oh my goodness, you only got 26 cents for each article. That’s definitely not a rate that’s impressing anyone. However, in June of 2009, when I wrote only 1 article, I made over $100. THAT is nothing to laugh at.
In my mind, this is actually the most important number because my goal is to get paid without having to work. I write for 8-10 hours a day before my kids wake up and after they go to sleep. I also squeeze in writing time when they’re busy with other things. One day, when all this pays off, I am going to sit on the couch with my husband after dinner and drink a glass of wine. The beauty of writing online is the idea of continuing to make money even when I’m not working. In September of 2009, I took 2 weeks off, using my writing income to take the entire family to Dallas for an unschooling conference. I can’t even express how wonderful it felt, at the end of the month (yesterday, as I write this) to see that my income for the entire month had only decreased by 30% even though I only worked for 50% of the time. I can’t wait until I can take an entire MONTH off, or- eeks- never work again.