Tips and Tricks After 550 Pages on Wizzley

by JoHarrington

Two years of writing for Wizzley has given me a great insight into how to do well here. So what have I learned while penning the last fifty pages?

Where have all these people come from? When I first started as a Wizzley writer, there were about a dozen of us and the odd owl. Now new writers are flooding through the proverbial door and causing quite a buzz.

This is fabulous, because back in the day I was forever being warned to be cautious. Wizzley was a new site with little in the way of hard data about where it was going to go. Which brings me to the point of these tips and tricks articles.

Every fifty pages, I pause to bring you hard data. They are the notes left for myself, and for anyone seeking to blaze their own trail here. Caution? Ha! Two years in, we now know that we were the trend-setters!

Is Wizzley Doing Well?

None of us have crystal balls. Choosing an online writing site is a little like buying a lottery ticket based on a lot of educated guesses and such data as we can find.

Image: Back to the FutureWe've all been there. Sitting writing away with our monetisation columns showing fat rows of nothing, wondering if we're wasting our time. That's when we look for reassurance.

That's when long-time Wizzley writers like me get in-boxes bursting with messages, asking things like 'am I good enough for Wizzley?', 'am I doing something wrong?' or the perennial 'is Wizzley really a good place in which to invest so much time?'

The answer to the latter will require Marty McFly to loan us his DeLorean, but all indicators are pointing in the right direction. I wouldn't be here, two years and 550 articles in, if I didn't believe that.

ChefKeem and the rest of the Wizzley team are hot on quality control. If your article has been published, and remains live, then it's good enough for Wizzley.  YOU are good enough for Wizzley.

As for doing 'something wrong', that generally pertains to making money. So many things factor in there, but top of the pile is time. I've had articles which didn't make me a penny for eighteen months, then suddenly BAM! It's one of my top earners.

So how about that biggie at the end?  You might be the world's greatest writer, but if Wizzley slinks into the shadows, who's ever going to know about you?  Let me show you something on the subject of Wizzley doing well.

Image: Wizzley Stats for The Conjuring Review
Image: Wizzley Stats for The Conjuring Review

You will recognize the above as the statistics for a single page on Wizzley. I've chosen it because it tells a tale well, but it's by no means the only one to follow this pattern.

I published my review of a movie called The Conjuring. As usual, I alerted the world via social networking that it was live. That accounts for the sudden burst of traffic at the very beginning. That fell away until the article hit a page rank of 100%. Now it's on the front page of Wizzley and you can see the result.

Around December 16th, it left the front page of Wizzley. My readership fell accordingly, quite steeply in fact!

That should have been the end of it, but then a comment on it caused the article to appear on Wizzley's Buzzing page.  The traffic rose again, higher than before, as this was a new place. By now, it was also featured at the top of Wizzley's horror movie category.  All brilliant in terms of new readers finding it.

What makes this really interesting - and more than me showing off my internet traffic - is when you look at from where those readers came.

99.7% of them were already on Wizzley. Over 7000 people read my movie review, because they were here reading articles.

The more darkly pessimistic amongst us could argue that these were Wizzley writers. But they'd be wrong. Anyone with a keen and constant eye on the new articles being penned here could tell you that.

Wizzley's ranks of writers are fast growing in number, but there are not 7000 of us regularly writing. You are glimpsing our readers.

Image: Pie Chart for The Conjuring
Image: Pie Chart for The Conjuring

Articles Which Attracted Wizzley Readers

People arrive from many sources to read my articles on Wizzley. This is a selection of those where the readers were overwhelmingly already on Wizzley.
Ed and Lorraine Warren were famous paranormal investigators from New England, USA. 'The Conjuring' chronicles the terrifying case of an entity in the Perron home.
A medical emergency could happen at any moment. The question is whether you have the knowledge to save lives. We should all have that.
Fans of Lego and Star Wars both will find a treat for their Christmas tree each year. Star Wars Christmas Ornaments with a Lego look!
The Medieval struggle for the English crown continues. The House of York and the House of Lancaster pitted cousins against each other on the battlefields of Britain.

What About Wizzley's Rank on Alexa?

Alexa is a site which records internet traffic, and acts as a guide towards the most popular websites across the 'net.

Image: Wizzley on AlexaOne site which attracts undue interest, from those writers seeking to evaluate Wizzley, is Alexa.

It's only to be expected that this is so, as this is the closest that any of us can get to assessing the site as a whole.

It can be a source of great cheer, if all the graphs indicate an upward surge. It can prompt great depression and concern, if those spikes head downwards instead.

The huge trouble with Alexa is that it's only as good as the data fed into it. It's monitoring only the traffic produced by people with an Alexa toolbar. Only those readers will reveal how they arrived at Wizzley, how many articles they read and how long they were on-site. Have you got an Alexa toolbar?  Did the database receive information from you?  How about your friends and family? Does Alexa know anything about their habits on Wizzley, or any other site?

Right now the indicators are brilliant. Apparently people with an Alexa toolbar are coming to Wizzley in ever increasing numbers. They're reading an average of 8.90 articles, and spending nearly thirteen minutes doing so.

But they only account for a tiny fraction of the whole. Plus they can be terribly manipulated.

Who are the kind of people who download Alexa toolbars?  They are you and I. Those interested in SEO and website data. Individuals who make it a point of their livelihood to know whether Hubpages, Squidoo, Bubblews or whichever are doing best right now. In short they are us.

Do you want Wizzley to do better on Alexa?  Download the toolbar. Have it running while you're about your normal business on our website. Then look in amazement as the spikes head upwards.

I strongly suspect that such positive data will also lure people from other writing sites onto Wizzley too. They will be seeing a website surging in popularity, so will be coming to find out why. Enjoy!

Do You Consult Alexa about a Writing Site's Popularity?

Whether to determine where to write, or to check that a site like Wizzley is doing alright.

   Login
No...
AbbyFitz on 01/08/2014

No, I'm internet challenged. I write where I feel comfortable and hope for the best

Yes...
AngelaJohnson on 08/18/2014

Yes, since Squidoo is closing down.

Jo_Murphy on 01/18/2014

not all the time

Adding Tags to your Images on Wizzley

Give a boost to your sight impaired readers, and attract more search engine traffic at the same time.

Image: Blind WomanOf course, Alexa isn't the only website ranking site out there. It's merely the most popular. I was having a peep at the information about Wizzley given out on WooRank.com, which revealed something worrying.

That wasn't our ranking. It's fabulous. Wizzley is fabulous everywhere. It was more to do with the room for improvement that was suggested.

It seems that Wizzley writers, en masse, aren't adding tags to our images. This is unhelpful on many different levels.

From a SEO point of view, those tags act as yet another hook for the search engines to find. Hence we'll want to insert them for very selfish reasons.

Personally I've got a bigger reason too. In a previous life, I worked on a government initiative, which sought to level the playing field for people entering into higher education. Part of that was ensuring that media was optimized for those with sensory impairment. In short, adding tags to images helps those with blindness or partial sight navigate our articles too.

Programs read out the content to those internet users. They linger upon the pictures and either replicate the tag, or say that there's nothing to report.

Image: Tag added to a Wizzley picture.
Image: Tag added to a Wizzley picture.

Adding an image tag is such a simple thing on Wizzley. You just plonk it into the 'Image Description' area, as you upload your pictures to use.

I always prefix it with the word 'image:', though 'picture:' or any other variation would do as well. It tells search engine spiders and accessibility programs alike that this text refers to a picture. Not to mention lessening our 'room for improvement' on WooRank!

Blatant Book Plug by Jo Harrington

This is my published guide to Wizzley. It's full of tips and tricks, aimed at beginners but useful for veteran writers too.

What About the Bottom Line?

It's all well and good proving that Wizzley is doing well, but what about the hard cash?

Few of us are here for our health. Though, fortunately, Wizzley is friendly enough that it can seem like we are hanging out here for that too! What most of us are looking for is a livelihood. We're writing for the cents, not the sense.

I've written the most articles on Wizzley, and I've been here since nearly the beginning. Therefore it's hardly surprising that one of the most common questions that I'm asked is whether it's financially worth it.

It's getting there. Let me show you what I'm looking at, so you know why I'm still here.

Image: Jo Harrington Earnings from Online Writing
Image: Jo Harrington Earnings from Online Writing

The majority of the Suite101 earnings occurred during my first few months of writing online. They were given a sudden boost of $100 in October 2013, which was my reward for an achievement there. It's not going to be repeated, as that was a one off payment.

Most of my Wizzley earnings happened during my second year here. For months, I earned nothing at all, then the trickle began. As time goes by, that trickle is becoming quite a substantial income stream. It's getting faster, and arriving in larger amounts. It's coming from articles months, maybe even years, old. That's why I'm still here.

My earnings taking off. New writers pouring through the door in ever-increasing numbers. Loyal Wizzley readers turning up in their thousands. Yep, this is why I plan to stick around for the foreseeable future on purely business terms. But then I was staying anyway for the community!

Guides to Making Money as an Online Writer

Sales Articles Can (and Should) Be Fun!

Making a product the focus of your Wizzle is one tried and tested route to increased riches. But that shouldn't be a boring regurgitation of Amazon descriptions.

There's an estate agent halfway up Glastonbury High Street, whose window I always pause to read. I'm not at all interested in buying or renting a house in Glastonbury, but that doesn't stop me looking.

Why? Because it's interesting. His blarb about each property doesn't focus upon the boring stuff like how many bedrooms, and if the garden is south facing.

If you were seriously drawn to that, then you could ask inside for the fine detail.

Imagine a garden display, framed by beautiful flowers and greenery, wherein you can enact the Zombie Apocalypse with undead garden gnomes. Great, isn't it?
They are the wolves of the street! But they've been saddled with a reputation for being cute and fluffy. This toy breed dog was born to be wild and wants the jacket to prove it!

No, Ralph Bending amuses us with his descriptions. He makes us want to read, even if we didn't think we were in the market for his product. There are lessons there to learn. I discerned them well and applied them to my Wizzley 'sales' articles. It's worked.

Just before Christmas, I had a friend hail me with laughter over my Wizzley article about Zombie Garden Gnomes. This was surprising. Why would he have read that? He didn't have a garden. He didn't even have a computer upon which to peruse the article, nor to receive a link via social networking.

What he did have was our mutual friend, who'd been so amused by said article that he'd shown it to him on his mobile phone.

By taking the Ralph Bending approach to selling things - crafting amusing or surreal stories instead of harping on about the product itself - I'd written a Wizzle interesting enough for people to share. My readership had grown accordingly.

Moreover, such 'sales' articles are much more interesting to write. I had as much fun writing the two above, as people apparently did reading them.

For those who care about such things, the latest intelligence coming from Google is that they rank down articles which add nothing of value. This includes 'sales' articles which merely copy and/or expand upon the information already listed in places like Amazon. 

Don't be afraid to be creative. That's the zeitgeist these days!

More Sales Articles Where I Used my Imagination

Winter is hard for our little feathered friends. Help them out with a cheap but wildly popular bird feeder. Birdscapes Clear Window is a best-seller on Amazon!
In the game Portal, the Weighted Companion Cube becomes a friend. You can have your own Aperture Science Companion Cube in real life too!
I've been deaf in one ear since I was nine years old. The most frustrating thing about that is other people. Grab an Angry Deaf badge to defend against the audists in your life.
It's not merely the main characters who have been rendered as plush toys. For those recreating the Super Mario world, there are background pieces too.

Sales Articles Aren't Without Their Dangers

What happens if you build your article around a product, then the product is pulled?

Image: Cartoon penguin holding giftsI was feeling pretty gleeful as Christmas approached. I'd written thirty-six festive articles the previous year, which were all now matured nicely for this one.

After all, if we're always writing for this time next year, then it's nice to arrive at that point in the following year.

But there was a problem. When I came to check those articles, it seemed that many of the products were no longer on sale. Effectively, I had a lot of pretty text about items which no-one could any longer buy.

It took me about a week to repair the damage. That involved either looking for replacement listings for the same products, rewriting the text or, on one occasion, creating the items for sale myself.

It was highly dispiriting, but taught me a few hard learned lessons. I also realized that I'd dodged a bullet, which would otherwise have made the articles irreparable.  My tips therefore are:

  • Periodically check 'sales' articles to ensure that the products are still available.
  • Never include a specific product in your URL. You can re-purpose the article for a similar one, if you keep it more generic.
  • Let the product modules speak for themselves. You'll have to rewrite way too much, if your text is merely describing the item.
  • Choose products that have been around for a while, thus are stable enough on the market not to suddenly disappear.

'Sales' articles might be great for injecting more cash into your commission stream, but not if they aren't evergreen. Take care to ensure that if they're not, then the article can at least be rewritten to safeguard the maturing of your URL.

Here's just a few examples of the issues that I found, and what I did about redeeming the URL for use this year:

Most of the Celtic language cards had disappeared off Zazzle! I repaired and substituted where I could, then was forced to create my own store to ensure there was a card in each language.

Whether it's Nadolig Llawen or Nollaig Shona Duit, there are Christmas cards to match. It's a beautiful way to convey seasonal greetings to all of your Gaels and Celts.
Looking for something nice and warm to gift to your Star Wars geek this Christmas? Come and look at this lovely choice of Star Wars hoodies to gain some present ideas.

I had to practically rewrite the Star Wars sweaters article, after 90% of the clothing was no longer available. That's why the thumbnail picture isn't replicated anywhere in the Wizzle itself. I missed that detail in the rush to re-purpose.

Tra-la-la-la-laaaa-la-la-la, we'll deck the halls when we've got this next level. You know how it goes. Just buy a gamer a decoration and hopefully it'll make it onto the tree.

This article is much, much shorter than it was last year. That's because the selection was reduced by many of the decorations no longer being on sale. I deleted where I couldn't replace the ornament with another just like it.

I've always been fairly wary of 'sales' articles, and this experience hasn't done a great deal to make me love them. At least 'information' articles tend to be evergreen anyway. As the focus isn't actually on the product, then it's easier to replace those that you have monetizing your Wizzle.

Plus, in my experience, they can be just as (if not more) lucrative than those articles solely there to sell stuff.

My Wizzley Stats After 550 Pages

I reached this milestone on December 29th 2013, just over two years after first signing up with Wizzley.
Image: Jo Harrington's Wizzley Traffic December 29th 2013.
Image: Jo Harrington's Wizzley Traffic December 29th 2013.

Taking the long view of internet traffic, you can practically see the moment when the long, hot summer days gave way to people huddling inside buying Halloween decorations and Christmas presents. Just watch the readership grow, as the temperatures drop!

By the end of December, there was a distinct spike caused by a Facebook group discovering one of my years old articles about the Irish Genocide. I naturally wrote another to fuel such interest, which accounts for the smaller spike two days later.

It was one of the darkest periods of the Victorian era. Even in the modern day, the population of Ireland has not yet recovered.
Between 1845-1851, the British attempted a genocide of the Irish by starvation. It's a mistake to think that it's over now. The on-going effects are still felt globally.

This is a great example of how old Wizzley articles can suddenly come to life, and how you should always be ready to add something more to the discussion if that is the case. Not to mention the fact that monitoring your statistics will highlight such events.

My Wizzley Stats in Context

Image: Jo Harrington's Wizzley Statistics at 550 Pages
Image: Jo Harrington's Wizzley Statistics at 550 Pages

There seems to me to have been a massive surge in people reading my articles just recently. This is borne out on the figures showing increased revenue too.

Ok, it's taken me longer to write the last fifty pages than usual, which might unnaturally boost the difference, but there are still comparable figures there. Looking at, for example, the statistics for 250 pages versus those at 350 cover roughly the same time-scale and relative months. There's certainly been a massive overall leap in unique readers there.

While the reach is ever upwards, then I'll certainly be hanging around to see what happens next. It's all good.

Previous Wizzley Tips and Tricks Articles by Me

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.
Sixteen months into my Wizzley adventure, I'm starting to experiment a lot more. Doing what I was told to do at the very beginning has very mixed results.
After a year on Wizzley, I've amassed a lot of articles which are starting to mature. It's fun watching to see which ones will suddenly wake up!
It's possible to write nearly sixty Wizzley articles in a month. I know because I just did it. Don't expect too much from this latest Tips and Tricks. It came around so quickly!
Updated: 07/11/2014, JoHarrington
 
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JoHarrington on 08/22/2014

I didn't like sales articles, but now I've realised that you don't just have to sit there regurgitating Amazon product information (and indeed shouldn't), they've become fun. The trick is to find novel and entertaining ways to write those things, without it all spiraling off down a rabbit hole. People can read Amazon blarb for themselves, but only if you make your article interesting enough for them to want to.

When I began writing on-line for a living (well, writing platforms like this anyway), Suite101 was my first site. I started there in August 2011. As I was a noob, I didn't know that things were already going awry there, because of Panda hitting. But in November 2011, things happened which even I couldn't miss. Another writer there strongly recommended that I branched out, as insurance against Suite going down.

That's when I came to Wizzley - on December 16th 2011 - initially as a kind of insurance, edging my bets. But walking in here was like finding a quiet party in progress. Wizzley was brand new, so everyone was enthusiastic and brimming with energy. There were only a few writers, all thrilled with themselves for being the first ones in and delighted with the site itself.

Which was fabulous for me, because they were so bouncy and pleased with things, they were queuing up to help noobs. Like me. I had one-on-one master-classes in all kinds of Writing Things, which saw me through a seriously steep learning curve. I've done my best to pay that on ever since.

And on that note, you're welcome re the Tips and Tricks pages.

It took me ages to remember that initial advice from a Suite writer, about having more than more writing platform, as back up in case one goes down. It's no reflection on Wizzley that I joined Bubblews in July 2013. It was just me finally grasping beyond the theoretical that you should have 'back up' sites.

The amounts listed are total earnings, with the proviso that I haven't written for Suite since they stopped paying for new articles in March 2013 (and I'd barely written an article a month for them for the whole year before); most of my Wizzley ones were written when the place was so new that it was barely out of digital diapers (still the case); and I've only just past my first year at Bubblews.

It's quite hard to do like-for-like stats in those circumstances!

AngelaJohnson on 08/18/2014

Like you, I don't care much for sales articles.

I liked your "What About the Bottom Line?" section, but would like to know when you started writing for each place - Bubblews, Suite 101, and Wizzley. And is the amount listed for each place total earnings or yearly earnings?

Thanks for writing these tips and tricks pages.

JoHarrington on 01/23/2014

I'm glad that it has been helpful for you. Yes, tags are a great way to attract more internet traffic, while also being friendly to those using accessibility programs.

KathleenDuffy on 01/23/2014

Great stuff! Thanks for that tip about the tags - I didn't have a clue....not very internet savvy. Congrats on your hard work.

JoHarrington on 01/10/2014

Awww! Thank you very much. :)

Mira on 01/10/2014

Pinned two images on my new board Write Online for Money

JoHarrington on 01/10/2014

You too, my dear. It's always a pleasure to share ideas with Valeed, it makes them so much more bulletproof. :)

Tehreem on 01/10/2014

Congratulations Jo! I am looking forward to learn a lot from you. Have a blessed day !

JoHarrington on 01/10/2014

That's one of the cheeriest things that I've seen. When I noticed it and worked out the implications, I grinned for the rest of the day. Thank you for coming, readers of Wizzley!

Mira on 01/10/2014

Congrats, Jo! Nice article, too. I particularly like the bit about the traffic: people who come to Wizzley and stay around for a good number of articles. That's very, very good!


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