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Wednesday, May 18, 2011

How Can You Make Money Writing For Helium.com? Or Is It A Scam?

Can you make money writing for Helium.com?
About a year ago, I started searching for places to write online where I could make some money. I ran across Helium.com. It seemed like a good place to start. My first two questions were, "How can you make money writing for Helium.com? Or is it a scam?

It's FREE to sign up for Helium.com. They have a list of rules regarding posting that you have to follow.

The basic concept of Helium.com is that you can write articles using previously established titles or you can create your own title, but it has to be approved before you can write your article.

Once you have found a title that fits the content you wish to write, you submit your piece. Generally, there are a handful to hundreds of posts with the same title. Your article will go through a review process by the contributors. It will appear on a screen next to an article with the same title. The reviewer will either grade the article as being substantially better, better, the same, worse or substantially worse than the article yours is being compared to. This gives your article a ranking. If there are 48 articles with that title, you may wind up being 23rd. You can rewrite the article and see if you can improve your ranking.

Helium.com places ads and embedded links in your article. If the ads get clicked or something gets sold via the links, you share in the revenue. The supposed advantage is that Helium.com has a huge amount of visitors. The downside is that Helium.com has a huge amount of content. Unless you place high, based on the reviewer's opinions, you may never be found on Helium.com.

The way you make money, though, is if traffic goes to your article. Since all of the people that are members of Helium.com are writing and reviewing (something they recommend you do, too), none of them will be clicking on the links in your ads. That leaves you to showing up in the search engines so people can click on your ad links.

A major problem with the way Helium.com operates is that it makes you write in a way that is not search engine friendly. The likelihood of your article being found by someone using Google, Yahoo or Bing is next to nil. And here's why.

One of the rules is that you are encouraged to use existing titles. The title is where your search engine optimization SEO begins. A lot of the contributors to Helium.com are from the UK or foreign countries all over the world. Their titles are not written in such a way that Americans would type in the Google search box. You make your money in America on search engines. Because you're working with a predetermined title, it might not be written in such a way that anyone would even attempt to look for it.

I wrote the #1 article for the title: How to write a comedy sketch

Knowing a lot more now about search engine optimization SEO than I did back then, I checked today using Google's AdWords Keyword Tool to see how that title fared. There were 390 GLOBAL searches last month for that title. 390. I copied and pasted the article onto this blog, changed the title, changed the opening paragraph and the closing paragraph and now I have a title that is searched for over 1.5 Million times, globally. The new SEO friendly title is:

FREE Comedy School | How To Write Comedy For A Comedian Or Yourself

Another rule that is completely contrary to what I learned and practice on this site about search engine optimization SEO is that Helium.com won't let you repeat the title of your article in the opening paragraph. That is critical to being found by search engines and they won't let you do it.

The ranking system on Helium.com means nothing outside of their world. I searched on Google for some of the titles I had an interest in and the ones that did pop up from Helium.com weren't even rated in the top 10 of their articles with that title. Obviously, the one I found had utilized keywords better and may have cheated on the opening paragraph.

Why do you write online to begin with? Are you writing for the sake of writing? Or are you writing to find an audience that grows and turns into money?

After realizing that Helium.com was putting me in a corner where I couldn't be found and then giving me a "portion" of the ad revenue my articles generated (which to date is ZERO for five articles - and they've been there almost a year), I decided creating my own blog was a better and a potentially much more profitable option.

Even when I started this blog, I was still in the "writer" mode that I had begun on Helium.com. Wrong, wrong, wrong. It wasn't until I took a five month hiatus from blogging and started back up on March 7th, 2011 that I started to put what I had learned about SEO to work.

I actually learned more by accident than I did from what I was trying to do. I wrote a couple blog posts that had all the right ingredients: SEO friendly title, SEO friendly opening paragraph with my keywords from the title in it, keywords throughout the post and closing with my main keywords from the title. All of a sudden, I was getting tons of hits on that article and I honestly didn't know why. I started looking at the traffic sources in the Blogger Stats and I saw that visitors were coming from search engines and not just from my posting to Facebook. I used the Keyword Search Terms used in the Blogger Stats and I found out I was #2 on Yahoo and Bing.

With each success, I duplicated what worked. I now have had about a dozen articles that have been in the #1 position on Yahoo and Bing for my keywords. I've been on the first page of Google a few times, too. For Celebrity Apprentice this past week, I was the #1 article on Yahoo and Bing. I beat NBC, who was down near the bottom of the page. Now, that is SEO in action. I was flooded with traffic Monday and doubled my previous daily record. SEO, baby, SEO.

One of the things I didn't like about Helium.com was the rating part of it. Initially, my articles were all scoring really high. I had four #1 articles out of the five I had published. Then, the snooty reviewers messed it all up. My articles dropped dramatically, then rose up again. Frankly, I didn't need that kind of torture on my self-esteem.

With this blog, it's real simple. If I write a piece of crap, no one reads it - on to the next post. And when I write a great article that isn't even search engine optimized and it gets passed around and builds its own little following, that is much more gratifying than having some English teacher from south Wales giving me an unsatisfactory mark on my "paper." Let that bitch get one of her articles to #1 on Google, Yahoo and Bing like I've done.

I prefer the free market approach. I can write crap or misspell words (which will never happen because it is not part of my best practices rules). I can be offensive or informative. The market will tell me what they like. I'll do more of what the market wants.

That's been my philosophy since I started blogging again on March 7th. In February 2011, I had 49 page views on the 22 posts or so that were posted in 2010. Since March 7th, over the last 10 weeks, I've had 48,000 page views, and I'm making some money - not a lot, but it's growing. I have no idea if anyone saw my articles on Helium.com.

Back to my two questions: How can you make money writing for Helium.com? Or is it a scam? It's definitely not a scam. But how you make money on Helium.com is a mystery to me. Follow my How To Start A Blog course and you'll be right where I am in no time.

Related article: How To Start A Blog | 10 Lessons On Starting A Blog For Profit

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5 comments:

  1. I totally agree knowing how to utilize SEO properly is a huge thing when getting your articles to show up in searches and getting people to see what you have to say. I have been blogging for not to long on my site more for myself and a few friends and family rather than the masses on the internet and am just starting to get into using the tools more properly and it definitely makes me think more about how I write no matter what it is.

    ReplyDelete
  2. J.M. - When I started blogging, I was a mess. And clueless. I would open a blog for every new idea I had, and I had a lot of them. None of the posts were written with SEO in mind and I never had any visitors?????

    Now, I aggressively work on keywords, Facebook marketing, but even moreso on Twitter. I have so many different categories that I've written in, I can bomb Twitter and not be annoying the same # groups twice.

    Getting in good SEO habits now will make the transition easier later, if you choose to do so.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I don't know but I had my Helium account closed because of some misunderstandings with me and my mentor (editor).My articles had been deleted because they didn't meet their standards. My account is closed but my articles are still there. Just search for Nonoy Avellanosa.

    ReplyDelete
  4. I searched for your name as suggested and found your article list on Helium. There are several I want to read, but I'm in writing mode at the moment.

    It seems odd if your account has been terminated that they'd leave your work there. Although, your work may draw traffic and clicks and that makes them money. (WHORES)

    If you read my article, I've given up on Helium. I'm way too busy writing and marketing my blog.

    I know how hard it is to make money on the Internet. You need lots and lots of traffic. I just can't see how anyone makes money they would talk about on Helium.

    Blog. It's your own show. Headline the world you create. !!!!!!!!

    ReplyDelete
  5. Helium has wronged many good writers, now there's a place to fight back at:

    http://s3.excoboard.com/boycotthelium

    ReplyDelete

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