Friday, October 23, 2009

Venture Out and Project Explorer

At, I've now been posting articles for four months. Posted my 56th article there last night, and have one in mind to whip out today. These average about 750 words each, so that's about 42,000 words, I figure. That productivity on my novel would have put me more than halfway through.

At Suite we have a forum--a message board--where writers, editors, and administrators interact about Suite, writing in general, and occasionally the competition. Some Suite writer will fairly regularly post something about "Oh, my revenues are so low!" Yet when they say what they've earned they are miles and miles ahead of me. I'll post how low my revenues are and tell them they are actually doing fairly well.

It seems I've selected to write in topics that simply don't generate much ad revenue: civil engineering, American history, poetry. I have a few articles in other topics, but most are in these. After my last post about low revenues, a friend on the board, Donald, presented a challenge to me, himself, and others with low revenue. Break outside of our boxes, he said. Find a new topic to write in. Write one article in it, track what happens for a month, and report weekly to the forum. He called it the "Venture Out and Project Explorer" challenge. Only three of us accepted it.

Searching for other categories/topics to post in, I decided maybe I could do something from my stock trading experience. I'm not trading now, leaving that to my better half to do, but I've taken a bunch of training and have traded off and on for five years, and we have a couple of books and other references I can use. Why not? Would articles on stock trading generate ad clicks? I figured it was worth trying.

I selected Bollinger Bands as my first topic in the VO&PE program. This is a technical indicator of the range a stock price is likely to trade in. I did my research in our technical analysis books. I checked Google Adsense to see how many monthly searches were made for that term and how much advertisers are willing to pay for ads for web pages with those key words, and determined both were high enough. I checked the Google Sandbox (don't ask me how it got that name), and found there were adequate numbers of ads ready to go for that kind of article. So I wrote the article and posted it on Wednesday, Oct 21, 2009.

Now, the statistics that Suite 101 give the writer does not include how much each article earns. We get: daily page views; page views accumulated for three months; daily revenue; accumulated revenue; page views per article; and details on how our articles were access (i.e. a search engine with the search term used, another web page, or Suite internal). So I'll never know whether my Bollinger Bands article earns a bunch of money or not. But what I can know is that Wednesday I had record page views, and I had a revenue spike to my second highest day so far.

Neither of these is definitive. It could be coincidence that the revenue went up. And the page views were not that much higher than the previous record, and they were down on Thursday. But, if the revenue stays up, maybe--just maybe--I've found something I can write on that will generate a little income. If I could earn every day the amount I earned on Wednesday, that would be almost twelve tanks of gas in a year.

And that would be fine.

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