Monday, January 31, 2011

Why You Should Be a Proud Content Writer

You may have seen some articles or blog posts around the web about a little thing called content mill writing. Essentially journalists and print freelance writers feel that sites such as Demand Media, and others are
 nothing more than content mills. The question is, why is that a bad thing?

To understand what a content mill is and what they are looking for is the first step in making a living as a content writer. Also it is important to realize that you have no need to be embarrassed or feel any shame for writing web content for pay. You aren't doing anything wrong and if no one was looking for the content that content mills produce, they wouldn't be able to be such huge successful companies, and they sure wouldn't pay you to write it.

Read more

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Article Etiquette: Name-calling in an article does not display intelligence

State opinions intelligently.

We've all heard this but do we all adhere by it?  Unfortunately, no.  Some people, I would imagine, even have a hard time understanding what an intelligent opinion is.  I'll sum it up for you.

Don't name-call.

You'd think that anyone smart enough to be getting by fairly well on Y!CN would know that you can't state an opinion intelligently by grouping people together and calling them all a name.  But it happens more than you might think.

In a recent article by a contributor I will not name here, everyone in a religion was grouped together and called "crazy", "dumb", and "stupid".  Sounds more like elementary writing, doesn't it?  I've seen similar articles here and there and they do nothing to gain the respect of readers or peers... unless they are just as elementary as the writer, that is.

I'm not saying there's anything wrong with having an opinion.  But be intelligent about stating your opinion in words.  Name calling helps no one, especially you. All it does is make you look like you have no class.

That will be all for today.  Have a great week, Y!CN!

Friday, January 21, 2011

Contributor Spotlight: Theresa Wiza

I don't usually do this; highlight a contributor that is.  I mean, occasionally I'll share a link to something relevant to writing for Y!CN but I don't often spotlight contributors.  Maybe it's something I need to do more of, I don't know.  What I do know is that I want to share this one.

Theresa Wiza  (right) has been a contributor for over two and a half years now.  In September of 2009, she learned she had breast cancer.  She is still battling it and will be for a long time.  In the meantime, she has provided her readers and friends a journal on Associated Content that details her experiences with the disease.

An excerpt from Diagnosis: Breast Cancer - Part 1

"We [a dear friend and I] talked about how I could now use breast cancer to excuse myself from having to do anything I didn't want to do:

Sorry, can't mop up that mess. I have breast cancer. Sorry, didn't hear you - my breast cancer is acting up. Sorry, officer, I was in a rush to beat my breast cancer. And on and on.

From that point we went off on a tangent to discuss how my grandchildren could use the breast cancer excuse too. Sorry, couldn't make it to class today - my grandma has breast cancer.

Am I delirious? Possibly.

I came across these in part because I remembered someone saying that Theresa had breast cancer.  My next fiction piece centers on a woman with breast cancer.  Since I didn't know anyone close to me with the disease, I asked Theresa if she would mind helping me in my research.  She continues to answer questions that pop up as I write the story.

I admit that I didn't realize what I was getting into when I first came up with the story idea.  I knew very little about breast cancer, treatments, or the toll it takes on those afflicted.  But it's the best part of being a fiction writer; researching and seeing an entirely different side to life. Even when the topic is an unpleasant one, the knowledge that comes with researching the personal side of things is often eye opening and emotional.  And it's thought provoking in a way that helps you understand the world around you and appreciate people and their struggles more.

If you'd like to read Theresa's breast cancer journal, the links are below.  It's a bit long but well worth the read.

Part I
Part II
Part III
Part IV

Here are some other links where you can find her:

Theresa's Yahoo! Contributor Profile
Weird Dreams
Your Blog Connection
Help for Single Parents
My Heart Belongs to You
Writer of Blogs

You can find my fiction site at

Learning About Osteoarthritis

There's a gene in my family where our bones and joints are susceptible to osteo- conditions.  My grandmother has been bedridden because of osteoporosis and osteoarthritis and just recently, even my father was diagnosed with the same.  Knowing that women are more susceptible than men, it concerned me greatly that it was so prevalent in my family that my father was afflicted.

Being that I'm centered between being considered young and being considered middle-aged, I wondered if I was showing any osteoarthritis symptoms.  I wanted to learn more about it, find out what works, what doesn't, and how to prevent it.

As a result, I've been researching the latest health news on osteoarthritis and have found some interesting things.  Did you know...

  • ...taking Vitamin D hasn't shown any sign of lowering osteoarthritis risk?
  • ...osteoarthritis actually has to do with cartilage degeneration as opposed to bone degeneration like osteoporosis?
  • ...knee pain is often higher in people who also have other joint pain?

Arming myself with knowledge is the best first step I can take to preventing myself from getting osteoarthritis. PP

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

10 Online Tools for Better Attention & Focus

I'm putting this article out there for you because this is something I have a problem with sometimes.  I log in a lot of time writing and it's hard not to get distracted by emails and Facebook and all that jazz.  If you have a problem, too, then take a look at this article by Jocelyn K. Glei.

If only finding focus were so simple. With a tidal wave of information coming at us daily, focus is rapidly becoming the scarcest commodity of the 21st century. With this in mind, I’ve rounded up a handful of the best apps for fighting back against the constant distractions of our digital lives.

Save a Drive, Buy Ink Online

I live in a rural area where the mountains and fields are broken only by dots of small towns, most 2,000 or less in population.  Up until a few months ago, my area didn't have any options in buying inkjet cartridges.  Now, the county has one refill shop but for most people around here (including me) it is over a half an hour drive.  As much as I work online, printing my writing submissions and invoices for clients, I despise having to drive down all that way just to get one item.

I've just been introduced to a cheap ink site called  In trying to determine if it would be worth buying from them, I searched out the cartridges my HP printer uses.  I was surprised at the sheer number of selections available.  You can search by brand or you can type in the search box.

We all know printer ink isn't cheap when you have to go to the store to get it.  So how does the site measure up?  In comparing the prices online to the ink cartridges I usually by, I saw where with the remanufactured cartridges, the prices are very reasonable.  For new ones, the prices are about the same as what you'd find in any store.  But for either one, it saves a 30 minute drive! PP

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Page View Goals, Subscriptions... All Irrelevant Now

I'm happy at the Yahoo! change over, don't get me wrong.  And as the bugs are still being ironed out and things are slowly smoothing, I find myself more and more pleased at the opportunities now being offered.  I'm sooooo excited about being a part of the Yahoo!TV Superfan program.  I'm extremely pleased about being published on more and more Yahoo! sites and now I've just been accepted as a Featured Parenting Contributor.  I've decided to seize these opportunities and do the best with them that I can.

But this change also brings out some things that few may have thought of.  This integration has now made standard page view goals and subscriptions almost irrelevant. 

When you publish on Associated Content, two things happen.  First, a notice goes to those who've subscribed to your work.  Second, at each daily page view update, you see your main page views go up.  But some contributors regularly have articles that go to Yahoo! sites now.  Those articles' page views are separate from our main page views.  This makes a heckuva difference when you have thousands of views on the Yahoo! sites and your main views don't go up.  That makes getting to be a PV Millionaire with the little badge of honor on your profile a bit harder to reach (as if it wasn't hard enough before).  Also, for those articles, a notification doesn't go to your subscribers so they have no clue you've published new content.  Not that it really makes a difference on page views (more views come from searches than subscribers with most content), but it could be a little disappointing for those fans who want to read specific topics of yours.

In any case, I'm not complaining, just pointing out a flaw.  No longer can I successfully say "I'm going to reach 500,000 by July," when so much of my content is being shifted to other sites and page views are separated.

In any case, the same page view tactics apply to any site.  This is not meant to say that anything is different regarding how to get page views on Associated Content, only that it's a different standard now.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Which Article Topics Earn the Most Money at Y!CN?

As a journalist and writing peer mentor here at Y!CN and elsewhere, I get asked often which topics are the best to write. What brings in the best upfront payments? What topics pull in page views? What topics does Yahoo!
want to see before giving high paying assignments? Overall, which topics make the most money?

Read more

The Steam Team: Not just for carpets

In Austin, Texas, there is a place called the Steam Team which boasts being the only locally owned complete service cleaning and restoration business in Austin.  Impressive.  Even more so is that they've been in business for almost 30 years.  They have to be doing something right to have that kind of longevity.

Beyond steam carpet cleaning service austin, which is an obvious one, they are also experts in many other kinds of services.

One that surprised me when I visited their website was hardwood finishing and cleaning.  I don't live around Austin, Texas, but I found their website useful in that they offer hardwood floor cleaning tips austin.  We have the hardwood ready to install in our house and one thing that has really concerned me was the cleaning of it.  I've never had hardwood before.  After reading some of the information provided by the site, I feel better about it.

And we've recently had an issue with a leaking roof that's left those ugly water stains on our ceiling.  You know what?  Repair water damaged ceiling austin is just another in the long list of services this company provides.

I urge you to check out their site.  You'll find just what you're looking for. PP

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

2010 Year in Review on Associated Content/Yahoo! Contributor Network

A year of learning

It was around this time last year when I decided that I'd had enough of struggling through Associated Content.  I'd been writing for them for about a year at that time and was making mere change.  In that year, I'd gotten 56,000 page views.  That's an average of 153 page views a day.

Today I have over 357,000.  A huge leap, right?  That's an average of roughly 825 views a day. So what made the difference?

I stuck with it and I continued to learn.  It wasn't like I read a bunch of articles on SEO and suddenly my page views went up, it was a combination of listening to the advice of more experienced writers, reading material on the subject, and simply learning by doing.  When you're just reading about SEO, page views, and all that jazz, the topic seems so daunting and frustrating to the inexperienced content writer.  I, personally, learn better by just doing.

One main thing I learned, though, is that different tactics and methods work for different people.  Some people find their best income is earned through upfront payment, others through page views only.  Some people do well by on hitting on a lot trending topics, others by evergreen content, some by writing on a variety of topics, others by cornering a niche.  It all depends on your style, what you enjoy writing, and a basic grasp of what content writing is about.

There is no one formula for success.  Every person, every goal, every factor is different.  You need to find what works for you.  One proven way to fail is by giving up on it before you've allowed yourself enough time to get a feel for it.  If you're impatient with it and expect to be making a descent chunk of change after only a few months, you're going to be disappointed.

My Goals for the Year

I'm not making any yearly goals, just short term.  I'm going to continue to write, continue to work, and continue to learn.  Happy New Year!

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Helping Fellow Writers

Rissa Watkins
I've come back after my little hiatus over the holidays to discover that one of my writer friends, Rissa Watkins, from Y!CN has been diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia.  It's a nasty illness that will make for a harsh and trying time for her and her family.

A community of togetherness

One of the best things about Y!CN and content writing in general is that if you network yourself, you get to meet a variety of great people.  We come from all walks of life, have many different backgrounds, and while many of us are from North America, we are sprinkled all over the world.  And it never ceases to amaze me the sense of community, the acts of kindness and helping one another that our freelance, content writing circle makes.  It gives me warm fuzzies.

So as I began reading up on this, I began to see Risa Watkins name on lots of different articles and blogs.  It makes me so happy and proud to be part of this wonderful and kind networks of writers.

How you can help

I had a big paragraph of what you could do to help Rissa out but I just watched the below video from theBarefoot that lays everything out neatly for you.  Please help if you can.

Subscribe to the Barefoot's YouTube Channel

Merry New Year! There's lots going on. Forgive the fast-talk, but I was trying to stuff it all into one video.
Oh, shirt!
JPLnews - What's Up for January 2011?

Buy a leukemia tee shirt & 100% of the profit goes to help Rissa fight her cancer:
teeBarefoot Charity items -
Another shirt for Rissa from Angel Sharum

Read. Simply read. Yahoo pays Rissa for every page viewed:
Rissa Watkins at Yahoo/AC

Make a purchase from Twin Trinity Media (
$1 from every book and 25 cents from every e-book sold goes to Rissa

Send messages of encouragement:
Rissa's Facebook profile