Friday, May 16, 2014

How to Blog and Make the Most Money

How to Make More Money From Your Blog

How to Make More Money From Your Blog
Image Source: Public Domain image

I have several blogging experiments running.  My goal is to compare several ways to make money blogging to determine what works well and what doesn't.  Since Google and other search engines frequently update their search engine algorithms, I plan to keep these experiments running long-term to monitor for changes in web traffic patterns.  Some of these experiments have been running for 16 months now, providing valuable data on the best ways to make money blogging.

Experiment 1:  Blogger vs HubPages
As of today, I have published 82 posts on Penny Pincher Journal 82 featured Hubs on Dr. Penny Pincher's blog at HubPages.  I started both of these projects within one week of each other and have added posts/Hubs to each at about the same rate, so I have a good comparison.  I monetized my Blogger site in a similar way to HubPages monetization using AdSense, Chitika, Amazon, and eBay.

Experiment 2: eBook
I used Smashwords to publish an eBook.  I published my eBook for free and even received an ISBN for my eBook.  You can buy my eBook on sites including Amazon, Apple, Sony, Barnes and Noble, and many more.  This link to my eBook Penny Pincher Journal: How to Save Money Every Day shows many of the retailers that carry my eBook.

Here is an article that tells you how to publish and eBook for free and get it sold at all of the popular on-line book retailers:  How To Publish an eBook for Free! 

This experiment is looking at how much you can make selling eBooks vs revenue from advertising and affiliate marketing on a blog or website.

Experiment 3:  top-level .com domain vs subdomain
My latest experiment is to compare the performance of a top-level domain vs a subdomain.  My blogger site is a subdomain of  My HubPages website is on a subdomain of  It's URL is  Both of these sites are subdomains of major websites- and

My latest website,, is not a subdomain.  It is a custom top-level webdomain that I attached to my Blogger blog called Fast Money Answers.  This experiment will give me insight into whether search engines prefer domains over subdomains.  Some sources suggest this is true.

In fact, HubPages is running its own experiment with this right now.  They have selected some Hubs as "Editor's Choice" hubs and place these on the top-level domain.  I have had a number of hubs selected as Editor's Choice, so I have another way to compare the performance of top level domain vs subdomain in search engines.

Experiment 4: Short posts
I am running a blog called ClickFact which features very short and to-the-point answers to popular questions.  Supposedly short websites and blog posts are not preferred by search engines, but it seems that when I am doing web searching short pages are often near the top of the search engine results page.  Short posts are certainly easier to write, so I am giving this a try.

Experiment 5: ClickBank
I decided to try ClickBank to make money from my blogs.  Essentially ClickBank provides e-books that you can sell and get a very high commission- 50% or more.  Many of the eBooks are fairly expensive, so you can make $25 or more from each sale.  I won't reveal the complete results of this experiment, but you'll notice that none of my blogs have ClickBank links any more...

Expermiment 6: Amazon vs eBay
I have been running both Amazon and eBay affiliate marketing on some of my blogs and websites.  I have obtained a lot of data on the relative performance of these monetization tools.

Experiment Results- How to Make More Money From Your Blog

Optimize Your Blog to Make More Money
Image Courtesy of Edward Betts (CC-SA-30)

I plan to continue Experiment 2 (eBook) by publishing an eBook with detailed results of these experiments and tips to make more money blogging...  For now, keep reading Pro Blogging Journal!

Copyright © 2014  Dr. Penny Pincher.  All Rights Reserved.  Pro Blogging Journal

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Can Short Blog Posts Rank in Search Engine Results?

Can Short Articles Rank in Search Engine Results?

Can Short Articles Rank in Search Results?
Image courtesy of Justinc CC-SA-20

I started an experiment on December 6, 2013 to see if short blog posts can rank in search engines and generate search traffic.  My new blog is called ClickFact, and features brief facts and information about computers and technology.  Most of the posts are 200-250 words in length.  The style of this blog is to present key facts and information without pictures or a lengthy discussion.  This is intended to be useful for people looking for brief definitions and explanations.  This format is especially well suited to smart phone and tablet users.

For example, if you want to know "What is SS USB", you'll find three paragraphs explaining what SS USB is, why you might want it, and how to tell if a computer has SS USB by looking at it.  The article is something you can scan quickly and get a complete answer to your question.  I think this is the kind of article that most people would find helpful- but will it rank in search results?

Longer posts tend to do better at ranking in search results- at least that is the popular belief.  Google recently suggested that articles 600 words or longer will rank better in search results.  This article has a discussion of the length of blog posts to get the most traffic.   But in my own experience searching the web, it seems like very short articles and posts are often near the top of search results.

I decided to give the blog short format a try and see if it can be successful or not in search engine results.  Short articles are certainly quicker to write, and may be more useful to people looking for quick answers.  I decided to monetize ClickFact using AdSense and some amazon affiliate links and ads that are related to the topic of each post.

Will this strategy of short posts that quickly answer questions work?  Time will tell.  I started the new blog with 51 posts so far.  Within a few months, I should know if short blog posts are worth pursuing or not.

Copyright © 2014 Dr. Penny Pincher.  All Rights Reserved.  Pro Blogging Journal

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Easy Ways to Check PageRank- How to Check Google PageRank for Free

Easy Ways To Check PageRank and Boost Your Traffic

Easy Ways To Check Google PageRank
Image Source: Dr. Penny Pincher

What is PageRank?

Google PageRank is the result of a scoring system that Google uses to evaluate the importance of a website.  The algorithm was developed by Larry Page at Google as part of development of search engine algorithms.  PageRank is still used today by Google as a factor to decide which pages to display in Search Engine Results Pages.

How is PageRank Calculated?

The details of Google's PageRank algorithm have not been disclosed.  Based on patent applications and other publicly disclosed information, the concept of PageRank is to evaluate links from other website and links within a website.  For example, if a lot of important sites on the internet link to, the PageRank for would be high.  In fact, the current PageRank for is 9 out of 10- a very high score.

What Do PageRank scores mean?

PageRank score ranges from 0 to 10.  The scale is nonlinear- for example, a site that has a PageRank of 2 may 16 times more important than a site with PageRank of 1.  Sites with PageRank of 8 or higher are elite sites on the internet.  A PageRank of 4 or 5 for a blog would be considered pretty good.  New sites or blogs will have have PageRank of 0, or will not have a PageRank at all.  You can still rank in search results with a PageRank of 0 if you have good keywords and weak competition.

How Can I Improve PageRank of My Site?

Links are the key to PageRank.  If you have really good content, you can get reputable sites to link to yours.  One of my blogs has a link from this is a big boost and provides some serious "link juice" in terms of PageRank.  You can link to your page from some of your other sites to help boost PageRank.  Internal links are also a factor in PageRank, so you can link to your own pages and help increase PageRank.  PageRank is only updated every 3 months, so it takes time for PageRank to increase as a website or blog becomes popular.

How to Check PageRank with Free, Easy PageRank Tools

There are some free tools that let you check your PageRank, or the PageRank of any website or blog.

Page Rank Checker:  This website has a box where you can type a URL of the site you want to check.  You then enter an anti-bot code and you can see the Google PageRank within a couple seconds.  This is a very simple site, probably the easiest way to check PageRank.  If you like, you can get a badge for your blog or website that shows your PageRank on your page to visitors.

Website Analyzer:  This free website provides Google PageRank and many other statistics about a website such as Alexa Rank, backlinks, authority rating, keywords and more.  If you want more details than Google PageRank, this site provides an analysis report.

Use PageRank to Improve Search Engine Traffic to Your Blog

When you are doing keyword research to decide what title and keywords to use in your blog post or website, you can do a Google search and see what comes up in the search engine results- this is your competition.  Before you invest time and effort developing content, it is worth spending some time to determine if your content has a chance to be displayed on the first page or two of search engine results.

Landing pages have PageRank scores, and individual pages have PageRank scores as well that may be different.  When checking out competition in SERPs, check the PageRank of the page that will be competing with your page to help determine if you will be able to outrank that page based on the PageRank of your site.  Other factors come into play in the position of pages in search engine results- you may be able to beat a page with higher PageRank if you use better keywords or have a better title.

Copyright © 2013 Dr. Penny Pincher.  All Rights Reserved.  Pro Blogging Journal

Friday, September 20, 2013

How to Fail at Blogging

Why Do Blogs Fail?

While almost of the other posts in Pro Blogging Journal deal with how to succeed at blogging and make money with your blog, today's post describes the top reasons that blogs fail.  They say you can learn more from failure than from success.  Study these reasons that blogs fail to improve your chances of having a successful blog or website.

Why do blogs fail to make any money?
Image Source:

1. The blogger burns out after about 1-3 months
You have probably seen this type of failure when reading blogs.  A new blog is started and the blogger posts frequently for a short time and then stops, never to post again.  Why does this happen?  This is a classic case of an author getting burned out.  The blogger is excited to have a platform to address the world and pours a lot of time and energy into the blog, at first.  Then the blogger runs out of ideas and is perhaps discouraged by the anemic traffic to the blog.

How to avoid failure:  Start new blogs, keep reading to get fresh ideas, be patient while your traffic ramps up- it takes Google some time to trust new sites with high rank in search engine results.

2. Google updates kill search engine traffic

Here's another blog failure scenario.  A blog gets up and running with good content and gets AdSense and affiliate marketing monetization going.  Traffic starts to pick up and then... traffic falls 30 to 50% all of the sudden.  What happened?  All of the sudden, Google doesn't like your blog anymore.  This can occur when Google updates their algorithms by giving more weight to certain types of pages and penalizing others with lower ranking in search engine results.  If a blog has pages ranking on the 1st page of search engine results and then slips to 2nd page or further back, this significantly impacts traffic.  

How to avoid failure: Google algorithm updates seem random, all you can do is try to figure out what characteristics pages that rank well have and try to mimic these in ways that make sense for your blog.  For example, keep an eye on keyword density- Google has been changing the preferred keyword density downward recently.

3. Blog is not approved for AdSense or Affiliate Programs

AdSense is one of the best advertising programs for blogs.  You have to apply to get your blog approved to have AdSense ads shown.  Some blogs apply repeatedly and do not get approved.  Or sometimes a blog is approved and then receives notice that AdSense approval has been withdrawn due to Terms of Service violations.

How to avoid failure:  Don't click on your own ads!  This will get you banned from AdSense.  Don't have any content on topics that are not allowed.  Watch out for user generated content- text and links in comments on your blog left by users can bring you crashing down if the comments or links are related to topics that are not allowed for AdSense approval.  When applying to AdSense make sure you have plenty of good content and have a Privacy Policy.  Also, there are other advertising programs- check out Chitika and other advertising programs for your blog.  Depending on your blog topic, you could make money with your blog using only affiliate marketing opportunities.

4.  The competition is better, you just don't get any traffic

Some topics are crowded with lots of high quality content.  Even if you can produce high quality content, Google likes sites that have aged, so you may never get to that first page of search engine results.  No matter how hard you try, you just can't get much traffic to your blog.  Without traffic, you might as well write your blog content on scraps of paper and put it in your closet.  A blog is useless without traffic...

How to avoid failure:  Choose a topic with less competition.  You are much better off with 10% of the traffic on a mediocre keyword than 0% of traffic on a really high volume keyword!  Start a niche blog on a topic that you know something about.

5.  You end up in the Google Sandbox...

There is debate on whether or not the Google Sandbox is real or not.  I suppose it is a matter of definition, but sites can end up in the situation where they have been crawled by Google, but are not listed in search results.  For some reason, Google is not ready to trust the site.  I have experienced this myself, and have heard accounts of this going on for a long time, for example a year!

How to avoid failure:  You can leave your blog up and running in the sandbox, but move on to work on another one for awhile.  Make sure you don't have too many 'spammy' links to or from you blog.  Spammy links are links that are not related to the topic of your blog post- for example if your post is about buying a car and you link to a post on repairing shoes,this looks like spam to a search engine. Also make sure you don't have an excessive amount of affiliate ads, this can be an issue particularly when affiliate ads are bunched together on a page.  Otherwise, there is not much you can do if you're in the Google Sandbox.  Move on, and come back to work on the blog when it gets out of the sandbox.

Copyright © 2013 Dr. Penny Pincher.  All Rights Reserved.  Pro Blogging Journal

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Keyword Density: How Much Should You Use Your Keywords?

Keyword Density- How much to use keywords?

What is the best keyword density to rank in search engine results?
Image Source: Dr. Penny Pincher

Keyword density is a metric that describes how often your blog post or webpage contains a keyword.  For example if you write a 1000 word blog post about "Old Navy Credit Card" and use this keyword phrase 10 times, your keyword density would be 4%.  The math to calculate keyword density is simple: this keyword phrase contains 4 words, if you use it 10 times, that adds up to 40 words.  This keyword density is 40 words out of 1000 words total, which means you spend 4% of your words on the keyword phrase "Old Navy Credit Card".

How Do Search Engines Use Keyword Density?

Search engines use keyword density as a factor in deciding how to rank pages in search engine results.  If your page has a higher keyword density for the search term, that is an indication to the search engine that your page is highly relevant to the search term.  However, some bloggers and webmasters engage in "keyword stuffing"- using the keyword many times in an attempt to rank higher in the search results.  I have seen pages that have a block of text repeating a keyword phrase dozens of times. Sometimes this was done with the text set to match the background color so that search engines would see the many repetitions of the keyword, but humans would not notice it.  This sort of abuse has resulted in search engines penalizing pages for "keyword stuffing".

Keyword density is an important factor in Search Engine Optimization (SEO).  If fact, some write for hire tasks specify a range of acceptable keyword density.  If keyword density is too low, the page will not rank well in search engine results.  If keyword density is too high, search engines may flag the site as spam and greatly reduce its rank.  If the keyword density is right, the site can rank very high in the search engine results.

How Much Should You Use Your Keywords?

Until recently, the guideline was to use your keyword with a density of about 7% to 8% to maximize your page's placement in the search engine results.  It takes a bit of work to get keyword density up to the 7-8% level.  You can replace some pronouns with your keyword- for example instead of saying "it", you can say "Old Navy Credit Card".  You can also add headings that contain your keyword phrase.

Following some of the latest Google Panda updates, I have seen advice to aim for about 3% keyword density.  Google is really trying to reduce spammy results such as articles that repeat keywords a lot yet provide little information of value.  The 3% keyword density more closely matches the keyword density found in natural writing.  Getting to 3% keyword density in your writing is easy and does not take much special effort.

How Can I Check Keyword Density?

There is a free and easy to use tool to check keyword density on any webpage or blog post.  You enter your URL, and a report is generated within seconds showing keyword density for all combinations of keywords on your page.  This allows you to check the main keywords you are trying to use as well as all other possible keywords.

The tool is Keyword Density Tool from seocentro.  Below are example results from the Keyword Density Tool.  The first is the Tag Cloud which is a graphical representation of keyword use in your page.  The more frequent  keywords are larger.

More frequently used keywords are larger
Keyword Density Tag Cloud from seocentro Keyword Density Tool
Image Source: Dr. Penny Pincher

The second result is a table of keyword density.  In this example, you can see at the top of the center column that I use the keyword "Old Navy" with a keyword density of 4.78%.  You can use these results to fine tune your use of keywords to get them to the desired keyword density.

Table shows keyword density for all keywords on your page
Keyword Density results table from seocentro Keyword Density Tool
Image Source: Dr. Penny Pincher

Running the seocentro Keyword Density Tool can give you ideas for other keywords that you may want to accentuate on your webpage or blog post.  Remember that all words on your page are keywords to a search engine!  You may be attempting to rank for a particular keyword, but the search engine is looking at all of the words on your page as potential keywords. There is no reason not to attempt to rank in multiple keyword searches if it makes sense for your content.  I have pages that rank well for multiple search terms- this is desirable to maximize traffic.

After reviewing the results of the Keyword Density Tool, you may decide to reduce or increase utilization of certain keywords in your writing.  This tool is very easy to use, and you can get detailed information on your keyword density in a few seconds.  If you have some pages that are doing very well in search engine results, you can check the keyword density and attempt to match this keyword density on your other pages to boost your search engine traffic.

Another way to use the Keyword Density Tool is to check the keyword density on successful pages that rank on the 1st page of search results.  For example, I checked one of the top results for the keyword search "Kohl's cash", and found that one of the top results had a keyword density of 3.75% for the keyword "kohl's cash".

Note that there are many factors that go into search rankings in addition to keyword density such as page rank and backlinks.  But keyword density is easy for you to control by simply editing your content to give your pages the best chance to rank high in search results.

Copyright © 2013 Dr. Penny Pincher.  All Rights Reserved.  Pro Blogging Journal

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

How Long Does It Take to Write a Blog Post?

How Long Does it Take to Write a Blog Post?

Astronomical clock
How long does it take to write a blog post?
Image Courtesy of Judith CC-20

Theoretically, the fastest you could write a blog post is limited by your typing speed- at 40 words per minute, you could type a 1000 word blog post in 25 minutes, plus about 10 minutes to add some pictures.  So I would say 35 minutes is about the fastest most bloggers could write a 1000 word blog post if they have a topic they know well and are experienced at writing blog posts.  Maybe a bit longer if you are typing on a cell phone...

I would say 35 minutes is about how much time it takes to write a journal style blog where you write about what is on your mind, make a few edits, and publish.  The type of blog posts I write are usually more like magazine articles and take longer to produce.

Realistically, it takes longer than the theoretical limit of 35 minutes to write a quality blog post.  It takes time to choose a topic and organize your thoughts.  Depending on the topic you select, you may need to do some reading and research as well before writing your content.

Another step that takes time but is a good investment- keyword research.  If you spend a couple hours writing a blog post, is anyone going to read it?  Keyword research can help you answer this question before you even begin writing.  You can use tools such as Google Adwords Keyword Tool to check what people are searching in Google.  You can also check your potential competition by searching in Google- if the search results using the keywords you are considering are already stacked with high quality articles from reputable sources, you probably won't get much traffic even if you write a great blog post.  You might want to try a different topic.  Keyword research also gives you a chance to focus your content on a topic with high potential before you start writing.

Steps to Write a Blog Post and How Long it Takes

Following are some example time requirements for the steps to writing quality blog posts:
  • Choose a topic idea:  15 minutes
  • Keyword research: 15 minutes
  • Research topic, prepare to write: 30 minutes to several hours
  • Outline, and first draft: 30 minutes
  • Flesh out, edits: 30 minutes
  • Add images: 10 minutes

The total time required to research and write the blog post in the example above is 2 hours and 10 minutes.  This seems like a reasonable estimate of time required to produce a quality blog post based on my experience, although sometimes I spend hours researching a topic, or even decide to take my own pictures which takes longer.

On the other hand, some blog posts that I write take very little time to write.  I can think of some blog posts that took less than an hour to write total, including thinking of the topic idea, writing the post, a some quick edits, and adding a few pictures.  If you know where to look, you can quickly find free high-quality pictures to add to your blog post.  The blog posts that are easiest to write are on topics that you are very familiar with and that require little or no research.

The quickest way to produce quality content for your blog or website is to write about topics you already know well.  Start a niche blog on a topic that interests you- think about things that you know about from work or hobbies that people ask you about.  These can make good blog post topics that you can write quickly and easily to create valuable content.

Copyright © 2013 Dr. Penny Pincher.  All Rights Reserved. Pro Blogging Journal

Friday, August 2, 2013

Blogger vs HubPages revenue sharing: Where should I host my blog?

Blogger vs HubPages revenue sharing site

There are two types of free hosting services you can use to start a blog.  One is Blogger, also known as  This is a blogging platform run by Google.  You can get free web hosting and use the Blogger tools to create your blog.  It's all free, and you get 100% of the advertising revenue and affiliate income that you generate.

Advantages of HubPages and other Revenue Sharing Sites

The other type of blog hosting arrangement is revenue sharing sites for writers.  These sites provide an environment where writers communicate with each other about their writing and about how to make more revenue from their writing.  These sites have a social networking aspect built-in.  For example, you can increase your "score" by interacting more with other writers, and you can follow other writers and get them to follow you.  Perhaps the most popular of the revenue sharing sites for writers is HubPages.  You get to keep 60% of the revenue from ads and affiliate income- HubPages keeps 40%.  Other popular revenue sharing sites for writers include Squidoo, Triond, InfoBarrel, and Wizzley.

Why would you take 60% of the income from your blog at HubPages instead of 100%?  The main reasons people use HubPages and other revenue sharing sites are:
  • You get advice from other writers and form connections
  • The revenue sharing site provides simple tools to create articles
  • The revenue sharing site has a high page rank with Google and may get more search engine traffic
  • You get some built-in traffic from other authors on the revenue sharing site
  • You can link from the revenue sharing site to your own blog or webpage to increase your traffic

I have blogs on both HubPages and Blogger.  The writing community on HubPages is a big plus.  It provides more motivation to keep writing when you know some people are following your work and will read your next post.  You will get more comments on HubPages than on Blogger.  HubPages also has great forums where you can ask questions and get help and advice from experienced writers and bloggers.  HubPages give you accolades as you achieve milestones such as number of posts, number of pageviews, number of followers, etc.  This allows you to take into account the experience of people who are offering advice by checking their profile.

Check out HubPages to Increase Your Skill as a Writer and Blogger

If you are new to blogging or are having trouble staying motivated to produce more content, give HubPages a look.  It's free, and you'll learn a lot there about writing and search engine optimization (SEO) if you participate in the forums and study the FAQs and training materials.  Since HubPages makes more money if YOU make more money, they are motivated to help writers become successful.


Copyright © 2013 Dr. Penny Pincher.  All Rights Reserved. Pro Blogging Journal