The Payout Chronicles: Whitney05’s AdSense milestone is impressive!

Payout Chronicles

Whitney05, domesticated animal expert and master Hubber, was thrilled earlier this month when she checked her AdSense earnings for November and found out that she earned over $1000 in a single month for the first time. Over $900 was from her Hubs alone. With a great 2nd-place win in last year’s HubLove contest and ever-growing traffic, Whitney has translated her love for and knowledge of exotic pets into sizeable monthly earnings.

Whitney05 generously answered our questions–have a gander below:

1. Whitney, you’ve been with HubPages for 2 years now, and you’ve really been a committed presence on the site. What keeps bringing you back?

I like to push myself to see wht I can come up with, what do I think people are looking up or may have questions about, and (of course) what do people want to buy. I like to learn, so when I have a question, I write a hub. When I think someone else may have a question, I write a hub. I like the atmosphere, and I enjoy the user friendly site that is HubPages. Of course, the ease of writing hubs and sitting back to watch the extra cash flow in doesn’t hurt, and having that second source of income is great.

2. $1000 from AdSense alone is really fantastic, with the lion’s share (about $900) coming from your HubPages publishing. In your estimation, how does HubPages compare as a writing monetization platform compared to other sites you’ve evaluated or used?

HubPages is by far the best place that I’ve found to earn money. I have tried other websites, and I’ve read many TOS from similar sites, and HubPages really has the best deal. The traffic is awesome, which means my profits have a better potential of actually earning money. I don’t have to work nearly as hard on HubPages, yet I earn so much more. It does take work, don’t get me wrong, and in many cases, it’s a hit and miss on topics, but the overall interface of HubPages is the best, from my experience. It’s just hard not putting all your eggs in one basket when HubPages makes it so easy.

3. Your traffic profile has shown steady growth as well, with you getting about 10,000 Hub views per day now. Are there tricks you’ve learned to attract traffic to your Hubs, besides publishing great-quality, useful information?

Truthfully, I don’t have any tricks. I don’t bookmark or do much of anything to create backlinks. I let them come naturally. I don’t search keywords or trends. I just write whatever, honestly. It’s worked for me, but it’s not something that works for everyone. The only thing that I do try, is to make sure that my layouts are visually appealing. I feel that if the page looks nice, views stay, which potentially bumps me up in searches because of longer page views… At least, that’s what I tell myself.

4. Where on earth have you been able to amass so much information on such a wide variety of pets? There is no question that you know more about caring for pets and animals than anyone I could possibly imagine.

Research and personal experience. I’ve had numerous pets throughout my days, and the number is still counting. I mean, I’ve had just about everything from dogs, cats, hamsters, mice, rats, chinchillas, guinea pigs, leopard geckos, crested geckos, gargoyle geckos, bearded dragons, ball pythons, rosy boas, Russian tortoise, red footed tortoises, and a few other pets here and there. I’ve done a lot of research that is on-going to this day. My love for animals grows with every new pet I research and learn about. I’ve always loved animals, but I never knew how much and to what extent until I started volunteering with an animal shelter in middle school and started seeing the variety of animals one can actually have as a pet. I started researching then, and it just never stopped.

Grooming, nutrition, health, training, and overall care of dogs is just important for any dog parent to know, so I do my best to stay in the loop of the latest info. I feel that if you have a pet, learn everything you can and keep learning.

5. How about your other earnings: eBay and Amazon? Have they steadily increased, too?

eBay and Amazon earnings are always fluctuating. I have my good months and not so good, although I do always reach payout. Amazon has increased, as I’ve been able to watch what people are buying, and I’ve catered a few hubs towards that, but I’ve never really worked on eBay. Lately, I’ve been trying to bump up eBay, we’ll see if it’s a hit or a miss. In general, eBay and Amazon takes a little more work figuring products and trends when compared to Google Adsense, and right now, I don’t have the time for research. I do my best and follow my reports from both affiliates, but sometimes, it takes more than that.

6. What would you suggest to a new (or veteran) Hubber who’s interested in achieving such an impressive earnings milestone?

Write. Don’t stress about earnings. Write what you know. Write what you want to learn about (research then hub it). Write what you think others may be wondering about. Make it pretty. Keep it simple. Have fun. To me writing and coming up with ideas is fun and a personal slice of entertainment. The more you stress about it, the hard it becomes. If you let it come naturally, or at least semi-naturally, it’s just so much easier. And, if you have to, research trends and keywords, but remember fads will fade really quickly, and you want your words to be longlasting. Evergreen is the key.

Keep up with what Whitney05 is publishing on HubPages–become her fan!

HubFeed = Hubtivity + Interactivity + Magic

HubPages strives to be the best place to write on the web. We have a fantastic community of Hubbers who regularly write content about almost every topic under the sun. So we like to think that HubPages is already a great place to be if you are a writer.

We want to make HubPages a great place for readers, too. There are so many interesting Hubs, comments, and forum posts created every minute of every day on HubPages, that whether you are a writer or not, we think it’s worthwhile to keep up with the latest goings-on. The trouble is that the interesting stuff is scattered all over the site, so it’s easy to miss some of the content that you care about.

HubPages recognized this problem early on and created Hubtivity as an initial attempt at a solution. Hubtivity, while popular, had some limitations, though. In particular, it wasn’t very customizable. Larry recognized this shortcoming a few months ago and came to the rescue with the amazing new customizable home page.  With the new home page, you can keep track of the exact topics and Hubbers you are most interested in. Thus, the problem of customizability was solved! But there was another problem with Hubtivity, namely the lack of interactivity. If you wanted to read a Hub, leave a comment, answer a question, or anything else, you had to leave Hubtivity and go to another part of the site to do what you wanted to do.  In our attempts to rectify the situation, the new HubFeed was born.

Besides interactivity, there are a couple of key differences between the HubFeed and Hubtivity. For one thing, Hubtivity shows you everything that happens on the site that is relevant to you, whereas the HubFeed takes a more selective approach and tries to show you only the most interesting stories. You can help the HubFeed decide which stories to show you by (1) following topics that interest you and (2) hiding Hubbers and topics that don’t interest you. To hide someone or something, mouse over the gray circle with the X on it that appears in the top right corner of a story.

Another new feature of the HubFeed is the ability to post status updates. You can write any message you like that is 140 characters or fewer. Your followers may see your updates in their feeds.

If you see a story in your HubFeed that you particularly like, you can express your approval in one of two ways. You can “like” the story, so that others who see the same story in their feeds will know that you liked it. Or you can “share” the story, which will push the story into the feeds of your followers. You can also “star” the story so that you can easily access it later.

Just like you could with Hubtivity, you can configure your feed so that it only includes certain types of stories by editing your “filters by type” in the sidebar.

We hope that the HubFeed will make it faster and easier than ever to find and contribute to the conversations that you most want to be involved with. Beyond that, we hope that it helps you to discover great content that you might otherwise have missed. I for one wouldn’t have seen pgrundy‘s hilarious new Hub Top Ten Passive-Aggressive Gifts for People You Hate if it hadn’t been for my HubFeed. On a whim, I decided to follow the topic “Holidays & Celebrations.” As a result, pgrundy’s gifts Hub appeared in my HubFeed. I saw Nelle Hoxie‘s comment about how she laughed so hard that she was in tears when she read pgrundy’s Hub, so I had to find out what was so funny. After I read the Hub, I liked it so much that I read a couple more of pgrundy’s hubs, and then decided to become her follower. I suspect that pgrundy is just the first of many talented authors I will discover using my HubFeed.

The current HubFeed is just a first incarnation, and we will definitely be making improvements to it in the near future. If you have ideas, as always, you can let us know by commenting or posting in the forums.

The Payout Chronicles: Nelle Hoxie makes $1000 in a month!

Cape Cod native Nelle Hoxie, a Hubber extraordinaire for about 9 months now, shared some great news about her Hubs in the Forums recently: she made $1000 in a single month!

Sounds incredible? Nelle’s spectacular achievement is testament to the value of consistent effort and mastering traffic-acquisition techniques. For the benefit of all of us, Nelle was kind enough to answer my questions to shed some light on what has made her so successful, as well as a little on what makes her tick. Enjoy!

1. You’ve been with HubPages for just 9 months now. How did you come upon HubPages, and how does HubPages fit into your overall Web publishing and monetization strategy?

HubPages was recommended as a place to get backlinks – similar to Squidoo – in an affiliate marketing forum that I look at once in a while. So I popped over here and quickly learned that this is not the place for mindless backlinks. I was working on a Cape Cod Travel website and decided that I might write some hubs about Cape Cod motels. I wrote about 5 hubs and then went back to my affiliate marketing. A month or so later I remembered the hubs and came back. I was totally floored by the Google traffic and rankings. However despite traffic and rankings, the hubs had not made any money, so I decided that a new monetization strategy was in order. I was already an affiliate of both Amazon and Ebay so I just had to start writing hubs and learn what works.

After 250 or so hubs, I’m ready to start integrating those hubs with my other affiliate marketing websites. I’m thinking of them as my “Nelle sites,” because they will all be “Nelle this” or “Nelle that” and Nelle Hoxie writes the HubPages. I’ve selected a WordPress theme, while not identical to HubPages is complimentary and won’t give visitors a visual shock as they move between the two. Right now my HubPages Widget is in the top right corner of all the pages. There will be other connections as I figure it all out. I’m very excited about this and I think it’s a winning strategy because of the HubPages’ Google traffic and rankings. This integration is a primary element of my 2010 work plan.

2. You’re quite a prolific Hubber – 251 Hubs over 9 months comes out to about almost a Hub a day! How do you maintain your Hubbing stamina?

It is such a joy to write Hubs – that staying motivated isn’t an issue. I know that if I write a Quality Sales Hub, I’ll make money. One of my favorite books is The Creative Habit by Twyla Tharp. She stresses the need for rituals and a routine that provide discipline, so that you have the time and energy to be creative. So my morning schedule is I get up and as I drink my morning coffee I write a hub. Then I shower & exercise and write more marketing and sales copy.

3. I can easily see why you’ve achieved $1000 in a single month – your Hubs are well put together and they very intelligently target shopping niches, with search-friendly titles (like this one: Buy a Heart Necklace Online). How do you decide which niches to target?

I have a degree in Marketing from the Wharton School at UPenn, which has helped me a lot. But I think I was born to market and sell. When my sister and I were 5 and 4, we wanted to stand outside the Hoxie House (the oldest house on Cape Cod) and sell our autographs to tourists for a nickel. The next summer we learned how to make change, and with our parents’ support and approval, we opened a farm stand – which ultimately paid for half of my UPenn education.

To see what trends are hot and heating up, I spend a lot of time at Wal-Mart, because they survey their customers once a week and probably know more about the American consumer than anybody. I also watch a lot of QVC for hot trends and more importantly to hear the sales pitches. I read catalogs and magazines by the bucket load. I don’t use keyword tools to decide on niches, I do use them to write effective sales copy.

4. What many Hubbers have no idea about, but which is so very important, is that you are one of our prized “flaggers”, who identifies spam and other forms of inappropriate content on the site so that our moderators can get rid of the stuff and keep the site clean. To what do we owe this very much-appreciated magnanimity?

You actually have Relache to thank for that. One night I told a spammer off in the forum, and promptly got an email from Relache telling me it is more effective to report them.

As far as hubs go, I only report those that don’t conform with the Google Adsense TOS – it’s not just their Adsense at stake but mine too. If I’m booted out of Adsense, then I’m also booted out of the Google Affiliate Network. That means I lose the revenue from 100 GAN merchants.

5. How and why did you fall upon writing online, and how has your strategies changed? What advice could you offer to new Hubbers in order to make the most out of their Hubbing experience?

I ran a very proper economics consulting firm until 9/11. When the economy tanked that fall, I went with it. That following December I stubbornly sat at my computer on snowy night, and decided if others could make a living online, then I could too. I didn’t even know that affiliate marketing existed. But I kept finding affiliate sites and then I figured it out. By 3 am I had my first links up. The first week I sold enough dahlias and geraniums to get a $30 commission. And I was hooked. I’ve never wanted to do anything else since then.

6. Cape Cod is one of the most beautiful, charming parts of our country that I haven’t been lucky to visit myself. What can you tell us about it?

If I walk to the end of my street and turn left I’m at the beach. If I turn to the right I am in the postcard-perfect Sandwich Town Square, one of the oldest in the country. There is an inn where statesman Daniel Webster used to hang out. It’s also in communities like Sandwich, that the purest form of democracy was developed and remains in place today. Our form of open town meeting is what I’m most proud of. And then our commitment to public education, historic preservation and the environment.

Cape Cod is a wonderful place to live, but a hard place to make a living. Affiliate marketing and HubPages are what makes it possible for me.

7. I like to keep the final question relatively free-form. What would you like to share about yourself, or about something that interests you, with your fellow Hubbers?

Nature plays an important part in my daily life and determines in large part the values that I have. Last summer I stood with thousands of others as we watched and cheered as an endangered juvenile right whale navigated the Cape Cod Canal with a Coast Guard escort.

I love our New England poets – Mary Oliver, Stanley Kunitz, Donald Hall and Jane Kenyon who put into words the relationship between life and nature that I experience but can’t express.

Keep up with what Nelle Hoxie is publishing on HubPages–become her fan!

The Payout Chronicles: $100 *per day*?! Sunforged shares his secrets

Sunforged, a Hubber who’s been with us for 13 months now, shared a jaw-dropping revelation in the Forums recently – he earned $100 in a single day through his Hubs. Cyber Monday, the first working day after Thanksgiving that’s typically a boon to online retailers, is apparently a great day for clever Hubbers who lined their ducks up in a row for when the searchers jump online.

And this important breakthrough couldn’t happen to a nicer guy. Always helpful to new Hubbers in the Forums, sunforged has earned a well-deserved reputation for reliable advice on how to put together a Hub that is good enough to garner great traffic from the search engines.

In a characteristically generous manner, sunforged took some time out of the wee hours of the morning (still working!) to answer a few of my questions:

1. $100 in a single day is really amazing…most have to wait several months to get their $100 payout check from Google. How does that compare to other earning milestones you’ve set for yourself in the past and for the future?

That $100/day is particularly exciting for me as it’s only been about 4 months since I increased my Hub output and did massive title and keyword changes in all my older hubs. I have only had HubPages separated out into URL channels for 4 months so I dont know when my first Hubs only payout was made, but I can tell from my stats that my Hubpages earnings have doubled each month since.

My current goal, which I think it is very achievable, is a daily $100 in passive income. At this point “passive” is very much a misnomer but as my web presence grows I hope to be able to take a weekend off and open up my various dashboards and accounts to see that my past efforts are still reaping rewards.

My past goal was to replace my overly tedious and labor intensive eBay business with an income source that was more varied and enjoyable. i thrive on variety; online content writing allows you to tackle different topics and wear many hats throughout the work day. HubPages has definitely added to my ability to now only sell on eBay as a fun side hobby rather than having to rely on it as a major source of income.

2. I see you’ve been publishing on HubPages for just over a year now. How has your publishing strategy changed over this time? Have you covered different topics? Have you changed how you structure or promote your Hubs?

One strength of HubPages is a very real opportunity to achieve first page results in almost any topic. My topics have certainly jumped around, I feel I can write in topics I enjoy or try and tackle my latest possible keyword gem with almost equal results.

I am always experimenting with formatting and layout here on HubPages. There are lots of great hubs that show or explain some of the ways to best use the publishing tools to create a profitable and appealing hub. I went back and edited all my past Hubs to reflect that information and will do it again if experience changes my current theories. My promotion efforts are much more strategic and planned now compared to when I started. I openly discuss and share my promotion methods in hubs and on the forums… after I test the method for a reasonable amount of time.

3. Several Hubbers, both veterans and new, have thanked you for your advice and help. You were, of course, instrumental in resolving the mass-plagiarism-of-Hubs problem on Docstoc a couple of months ago. Help us understand why you’re so generous with your time and wisdom on behalf of Hubbers in the community.

It’s specifically because of my agreement that HubPages is a “community,” that leads me to want to assist others when questions are within my knowledge base.

Unlike most online communities that have a potential profit motive, HubPages seems to have an active user base of friendly, ethical and real people. In the course of my own research into the topics and methods that help me to live a mobile lifestyle, I frequent a lot of internet marketing related forums and sites. The quality of content and the value of the product that is promoted are always an afterthought, with many other forums and platforms are driven solely by people chasing a quick buck, usually using any means necessary. That distinction, that HubPages enjoys–creating quality content and accurate information–is a welcome change.

To me, the users of HubPages range from experienced marketers using the awesome internal SEO benefits of the platform, teachers, mothers, college students to professional freelance writers and experienced experts in many fields. These people deserve to find success because they represent what this field SHOULD be in my eyes. So, I don’t feel I am overly generous compared to other active users here. This is a generous and supportive community.

4. Your Hubs demonstrate a strong sense of SEO understanding: clear, search-friendly titles, unique, well-researched content, etc. Where did you learn your SEO skills, and what do you see as the best opportunity for new Hubbers to attract search engine traffic to their Hubs?

I think my learning experience has been mostly a method of deconstruction. Rather than always taking the so-called “gurus” advice at face value, I try to analyze what led me to the information in the first place. Once you pick up the lingo/vocab most of the information one would need is readily accessible via the search function in any browser or even just here at HubPages! Since, I attempt to optimize mostly for Google, I find Matt Cutts’ blog to be the final answer on any iffy subjects, like duplicate content and the future of search theory. The word you always will see mentioned there and here at HubPages is “quality,” Google has a lot of very smart people working towards creating an ever increasing “search quality” and I try to keep that in mind when evaluating any new flash-in-the-pan methods of optimization.

Best opportunity for new hubbers? Well, I think even if the writer doesn’t have a major profit motive, they want to write for someone, they want to be read. So they simply must take the time to learn the basics of keyword research and develop a backlink strategy. For instance, simply changing one word from singular to plural can add a couple of 00’s to your pageviews. 10 minutes a day following or preceding publishing a new hub is about all it takes. Think like your reader and try to guess how you would search for what you’re writing about.

5. With the great money you’re making from your Hubs, what do you like to spend it on?

I’m anti-stuff, so it’s not common for me to spend money on anything that’s not destined for eventual resale on eBay.

See, hes waving!

See, he's waving!

My last purchase just for me, was a netbook so I could work from anywhere in my city.

But I’m a painter and paint and art supplies is expensive! I tend to save in the winter for trips to the mountains to snowboard and in the summer to go to music festivals. I was saving up to move closer to family in Southern California, and when I visited last January, I fell in love with the overall vibe, surfing and the music scene. But, today, I saw the first picture of my 11 week old mini-sunforged, so I think I know where all the money is going now!

6. I noticed in your profile that you make your own wine (among many other interesting tidbits). Tell us a little about how you got into that, and what your hobby involves today.

One of my first successful niche websites is in the homebrew beer market. I live in an area of NY that has tons of wine trails and local breweries so I have a rare opportunity to take photographs, do interviews and develop first hand content. Its really not a bad gig to be able to say I’m going on a wine tour for “work”!

Making wine at home is just the natural result of having organic groceries and champagne yeasts within walking distance of my home. My set up is pretty low maintenance and DIY, I still have to burp my bottles!

7. As a final question, I’d like to leave it relatively free-form. What would you like to share with other Hubbers, about yourself or Hubbing or anything else you find interesting?

Well, I’m pretty long winded, so I think I have said enough “do’s” about myself. So here are some “don’ts” that I wish I had kept in mind when I started.

  • Don’t become a stats junkie – set one time a day or week to check your earnings and don’t get caught up in the little spikes and valleys.
  • Don’t expect immediate results and dont become discouraged by your own inflated expectations.
  • Don’t forget to have fun.

Keep up with what sunforged is publishing on HubPages–become his fan!