Create a Spreadsheet to Keep Track on Wizzley and Beyond

by JoHarrington

My entire life is governed by an Excel spreadsheet. It's where I note all that I research, write, earn and plan for more. My gift to you is a writers' spreadsheet of your own.

Progress is revealed in my Wizzley authors' spreadsheet. Things like that are too hard to discern, when you're living it.

There's a huge element of not seeing the wood for the trees, but there's much more to it.

Time is always a factor for an online writer. Yet memory blunts and warps the facts. We forget how slowly everything moved at the beginning, when we're two or three years on, and all has long since sped up.

My spreadsheet never forgets. One click takes me back to the start. My morale rises along that upwards line towards the present day. I see how far I've come. I may predict how far I'll go.

I read my notes and trace the patterns. They point the way forward - secret knowledge known only to me; an edge in this game that sometimes looks like a career - in key facts recorded over time by me. Now acting as signposts for the future.

I'd be lost without my online writers' spreadsheet. Hopefully it'll help you blaze your own trails too.

Step One: Download the Spreadsheet for Online Writers

Did you think I was going to direct you in making it from scratch? That would be several hours' work. How much do you love me right now?
  1. Visit Google Drive.
  2. Ignore the messy pages on the screen. It won't render properly unless viewed via Excel, or an equivalent program.  If you don't have Excel, then download Apache OpenOffice Calc here.
  3. Run your cursor over the page to reveal the Google toolbar at the top.
  4. Select the second icon from the right, labelled 'Download'.
Image: Download icon on Google Drive
Image: Download icon on Google Drive
  1. Follow instructions on your screen - different according to each browser.
  2. Wait for the Wizzley Excel Spreadsheet to download.
  3. Save your document to wherever you wish it to be saved.

Step Two: Using your Wizzley Spreadsheet

Nor do you have to keep coming back here to check back on the notes. I've added them into the workbook itself.
  1. Open your online writers' spreadsheet in Excel, or an equivalent program.
  2. Click on the tab entitled 'Jo's Notes' (unless it opens there already).
  3. Panic at the wall of text.
  4. Don't panic. Grab a towel. Don't you people read Douglas Adams?

The idea is that you turn this spreadsheet into something useful to yourself. I've produced a fully working model, but it was all designed on the understanding that you'd build on that framework, customizing it for your needs.

Therefore these notes will act as a run through for those proficient in Excel, so you know what I've done and where all the formulas are hiding.

Not great with Excel?  Don't fret. Every formula is there. The spreadsheet works largely automatically, with you regularly adding a few figures here and there.  In those notes, I've clearly outlined precisely where to update things, and what information is required.

It may all look rather daunting at first - particularly if you've never used Excel before - but I promise you that it's all very straight-forward. Just work your way through, page by page, and you'll wonder what all the fuss was about by the finish.

And it will amount to a very useful resource, as you build your writing career upon it.

Step Three: Recording your Earnings

This is as close as I get to accountancy. Don't worry if you're no good at math, because I created it and I'm pathetic with figures.
  1. Open the tab entitled 2015.
  2. Open the tab entitled 2014.
  3. Marvel at their abject similarity, give or take a date.
  4. Remove the example figures that I added to the white cells in the table.
  5. DO NOT TOUCH THE PINK CELLS.
  6. Ignore five if you want to change the color, because pink really isn't you. Otherwise DO NOT IGNORE FIVE. (Even you. You know who you are.)
  7. Message me to help you fix the table, because you messed with the pink cells.

This should be very self-explanatory.  This is where you'll build up a picture of what avenues are bringing in the cash. If you've just begun with this internet writing malarkey, then it'll all look very depressing for a while.

On the bright side, when you've been at it for a year or two, you'll look back upon those earliest tables and gasp in delight and wonder. Future morale boosts start here.  For now, you're being future you's best friend.

As you earn commission on any of your affiliate links, then type the amount into the requisite box.  Formulas already added in the background will automatically update in several different places.

Therefore, these are probably the most important cells you'll complete within your spreadsheet.

Image: Commission table on your spreadsheet
Image: Commission table on your spreadsheet

In the example above (replicated in the workbook that you just downloaded and should be looking at now), I've chucked some figures in so you can see how it all works.

  • You earned $1.00 from Amazon in August 2014. Hence the cell where they meet has $1.00 typed into it. 
  • You earned $0.50 from Chitika in September 2014. Hence that is updated too.
  • Ditto the 20c from Zazzle in June 2014.

Naturally these should be removed to make way for your real earning amounts.  You cannot break the spreadsheet by adding sums into the white boxes, so please do feel free to play nicely with it.

You Need to Record Earnings Yourself

  1. To edit a cell, click on it.
  2. Type in the appropriate information/amendments.
  3. Press enter.
  4. Save the document.

How to Add Another Column

  1. Click on the letter at the top of an adjacent column.
  2. Right-click the highlighted column.
  3. Select insert from the pull down menu.
  4. Click on the topmost cell in the new column.
  5. Type in a title.
  6. Save your document.

The formulas etc. should have shifted across to accommodate your new addition. Hence it will all still work.

My own spreadsheet has many more columns than I transferred here. I run my entire online writing empire from the same table, hence it includes columns for ALL of my sites.

You may replicate that according to your own requirements, which will probably expand as the years pass anyway.

(Incidentally, right-clicking will also reveal an option to 'delete' on the pull down menu, should you wish to remove a column instead.)

Get Into the Habit of Keeping Notes

Do you know why the earnings on a certain website skyrocketed during October 2011?

No, me neither, just off the top of my head.

Fortunately, I was keeping my spreadsheet updated then too, and noted what caused that anomaly while it was happening.

That's what the big white box beneath the commission tables are for - notes for future you to consult; clues to inform the patterns that unfold.

Type away!

Step Four: Checking Your Monthly Earnings

Morale boost central! I love you monthly earnings tab. You keep me sane in annual comparisons to show from where I came.

Image: Yearly growth for an online writerYour monthly earnings page won't look like much yet.

But mine has three and a half years' worth of pretty graphs, demonstrating without a doubt that everything is heading in the right direction.

I've reproduced a snapshot of how yours will look, when it's in full swing, with enough years of data to make it meaningful.

This tab was a latecomer to my general melee of Things Recorded To Make Me Look Organized. Without a doubt, it's my most valuable page of all.

A wise woman named HollieT once mopped up my tears mid-panic attack, and informed me that I was doing it wrong. I was mapping my affiliate earnings month by month, then worrying myself stupid over the year's natural dips and rises. If January hadn't brought in as much as December, I was a mess of anxiety.

Hollie pointed out that the only true comparison is between what you earned this month, and what you earned during the same calendar month last year, and the year before, and... well, you get the general picture.

Hence the monthly earnings tab was born. It calms me down better than a pacifier does a baby. I can see, in glorious technicolor, how well I'm doing.  And I'm doing very well.

You won't have to do anything on your version of this page. It's one of the many things automatically updated, as you feed figures into the table in the last tab.

Some Spreadsheet Stuff on Amazon to Make It Look Like I'm Monetizing This

Step Five: Updating Your Monthly Stats

This is another page where you feed in figures and the graphs make it seem like everything is under control.
Image: Productivity and Readership Table
Image: Productivity and Readership Table

As with the annal accounts tables, the white cells here are awaiting your input. The pink cells are full of formulas, doing automatic stuff, therefore should be left well alone. 

I've also chucked in some random figures, so that you can see how it all fits together. Play nicely with those, then remove them, when you're ready to do this for real. Your true statistics will take their place, and automatically update both the overall columns and the lovely graphs too.

Keeping Track of your Productivity

  1. Write an article for Wizzley.
  2. Type '1' in the white box, under 'Pages', by the correct month.
  3. Write another article for Wizzley.
  4. Change that '1' to a '2', and so on.

Keeping Track of your Internet Traffic

  1. Log on to Wizzley.
  2. Click your name on the top toolbar.
  3. Select 'statistics' from the pull down menu.
  4. Copy the figure alongside 'impressions'.
  5. Paste it into the appropriate white cell, under 'Impressions' and alongside this month, in your spreadsheet's monthly stats table.
  6. Repeat the last two items for 'Unique Visitors'.

Try to do this at least once a month, so you can keep a reasonably accurate record of your growth in readership.

Expanding Graphs for Each New Month

  1. Click anywhere inside a graph.
  2. Look to the table to see what data is bordered.
  3. Position your cursor over any tiny square in the corner of those data borders.
  4. Left click and drag down.
  5. Release your mouse when all required months are now in the graph.

And the Point is...?

Graphs!  It makes you look professional.  And something to do with mathematics.

Step Six: Plan Your Wizzley Writing and Promotion

So far it's all been maths, therefore completely over my head. Here's where the writing part kicks in, hence a much more serious prospect.

Have a good look at your profile page.  If you have less than nineteen articles already written on Wizzley, then have a look at mine instead.

Understanding how new Wizzles appear in your portfolio is imperative, if you want to follow what I've set up under the 'Wizzley Articles' tab on your spreadsheet. Let me demonstrate with the reality and the planned pages right alongside.

Image: Snapshot of a Wizzley profile
Image: Snapshot of a Wizzley profile
Image: Snapshot of Same Grid in the Spreadsheet
Image: Snapshot of Same Grid in the Spreadsheet

Note the correlation between the first six cells on the spreadsheet, and the actual articles as viewed from my Wizzley profile.

Ignore the planned column, as that's exactly what it says on the packet. Though you can see that the next article planned is 'Wizzley spreadsheet', which is precisely what you're reading right now. When this is posted, the public face of my profile will alter in a very predictable way.

  • Wizzley Spreadsheet will appear at the top of the first column, above the Llanrwst one.
  • At the top of the second column will be an article exploring the song meanings on the Manic Street Preachers album The Holy Bible.
  • At the top of the third column will be a Halloween Wizzle highlighting Frankenstein costumes for children.
  • The George Edalji article will slip back into the first column, where it will occupy the seventh row position, beneath a Wizzle about history in the 4th dimension.

Because Wizzley galleries operate in known ways, we can always predict how our profiles will look at any given time. We can arrange certain articles to publish alongside others. We can ensure that we've adequately mixed and matched our subject titles or, if we're writing for niche topics, that everything looks very pretty.

Most of all, we can ensure that we never embarrass ourselves by accidentally aligning potentially inappropriate pieces.  Just use your imagination.

How to Update the Grid

For a start, take my articles out and insert your own.
  1. Click the number '2' on the vertical toolbar.
  2. Right click anywhere within the highlighted row.
  3. Select 'insert'.
  4. Left-click inside the cell containing your planned, now newly published article title.
  5. Hold down the left-clicked mouse.
  6. Drag it across the adjacent two cells in the row.
  7. Right-click inside the box now outlined.
  8. Select 'copy' from the pull down menu.
  9. Right-click inside cell B2 (which should be blank).
  10. Select 'paste' from the pull down menu.
  11. Click on the number '7' on the vertical toolbar.
  12. Right click anywhere within the highlighted row.
  13. Select 'delete' from the pull down menu.

Voila! Your table should now look like that displayed on your Wizzley profile.  And the above took a LOT longer to describe than the mere second or two it'll take you to do.

Updating the Categories

Again mine should be removed, as they're only there as examples.

This one is easy. You just click inside each cell and type in what you wish to see displayed instead. 

There's no need to alter the final tally, as that automatically tots up all that's in its column.

A more pertinent question would be - why are you doing all of this?  The answer: Promotion! Plus keeping a record of your proof-reading and other checks over time.

My version of this has all 697 articles written for Wizzley to date listed in one database.

A glance at that tells me that this is the third article that I've ever written for the Make Money on Wizzley category. I've not been back to check the other two over, since I first proof-read them upon publication. The monetization might be defunct by now. I'd better have a look.

I also have the RSS feeds - for both the whole category and my own articles within it - ready and waiting to be run through Twitterfeed. I could tell you when I last spammed the Twittersphere with them, as the date is there.

Those blank cells, further along the rows in each category, are spaces where I jot down random article ideas.

In short, it's all useful stuff when it comes to planning articles, then effectively promoting them over the long-term.

All Wizzley authors want to attract more readers to their articles. Twitterfeed will help you get the word out on Twitter and a host of other social networks.

Random Amazon Stuff about Online Promotions

Step Seven: Wizzley 50 Article Challenge Database

This is only relevant if you're actually doing the Fifty Article Challenge on Wizzley.

If so, then the whole page will be very self-explanatory. It's identical to the one which I periodically screenshot to update the Wizzley forum with my progress.

If you're not doing the Challenge, then right-click the tab - where it says 'Wizzley Challenge' - and select 'delete' from the pull down menu.  All gone!

The Wizzley Challenge

You may also call this the Wizzley fifty article challenge. Or how Jo Harrington would have done it, if she was at the beginning again with all she knows now.

Obligatory Book Spam

A Writer's Guide to Wizzley: Learn how to make a living writing about what you love

Wizzley is one of the youngest and brightest writing platforms on the internet today. Online livelihoods are made in writing articles there. Jo Harrington is one of its foremost...

View on Amazon

Some of my Wizzley Tips and Tricks Articles

I do these after every fifty pages. You'll see another one in two articles' time, but you already saw that in my planned articles grid.
The traffic is down, but the sales are up! And here I am with half a millennium worth of Wizzles and a brand, new game.
My articles are consistently amongst the most popular on Wizzley. But I'm new to this writing game. This is how I'm doing it.
Every fifty pages, I pause and share all I've learned. This time there's been an emphasis on money-making; and an article that went viral.
The learning curve goes on and with it comes some amazing insights. But what will work in the long term?
Updated: 01/13/2015, JoHarrington
 
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Seelyon on 06/21/2015

Thanks for sharing these tips, I'm okay with Excel (not excellent) but should probably get something like this organised.

CruiseReady on 05/13/2015

I'm big on spreadsheets, too. I do keep one - in a bit of a different format, for Zazzle, but I like the idea of a daily accounting for all revenue streams. What a nice tool for online writers - thank you for creating it and making it available! Putting a download on my to do list.

JoHarrington on 03/06/2015

LOL I've just created another couple of them to keep track on various sites. But I do have the bulk of them in my Wizzley spreadsheet, as it all spirals out from here.

Telesto on 02/09/2015

Thank you Jo, I'm glad I'm not the only person whose entire life is ruled by spreadsheets... If it isn't on one of my spreadsheets, it didn't happen!

JoHarrington on 01/08/2015

This time of year is the worst for me, because all of the tables etc have to be copied over into a new year. I'm up to date again now though.

AngelaJohnson on 01/04/2015

I hate keeping records but I know I should.

JoHarrington on 11/26/2014

Awww! That's nice of them. :)

frankbeswick on 11/26/2014

They phoned to apologize. It was an error. I just got a nice email thanking me for my efforts. All's well that ends well.

JoHarrington on 11/26/2014

Frank - Erk! Re them ninja-ing more exam marking on you. Shows you're valued, but still stinks.

JoHarrington on 11/26/2014

I've been learning this year how quickly one can become overwhelmed. 2012-2013 it was all about Wizzley. 2013-2014 it's been about adding in other writing/revenue streams to complement Wizzley. But wow! Has that been hard work!

I think 2015 will be about attaining sane working hours, which might require focusing upon those sites which are working.


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