18 Online Tools for Freelance Writers that Help Boost Productivity [Part 2]

On Thursday I started with a list of 9 online tools that are great for boosting the productivity of freelance writers. I went over 6 tools that can help you track your work, create invoices, and get paid quickly and securely. I also mentioned 3 sites that can help you to find freelance writing jobs and projects, which means more income for you.

Today I’ll finish up the list with the last 9 tools – 3 more sites for finding freelance writing jobs and 6 storage tools for saving, sharing, and collaborating on files with clients.

If you haven’t already, be sure to read Part 1 of “18 Online Tools for Freelance Writers that Help Boost Productivity“. Now, on to Part 2.

Find Work and Gain Experience

As I mentioned Thursday, using freelance markets are great for increasing income, improving your writing skills, and building relationships. The first 3 tools mentioned were iFreelance,, and

Project 4 Hire

At Project 4 Hire, you first register as a contract or freelancer. You can then bid on jobs and projects for free. After you sign up, you can choose to become a Certified Contractor, which will increase your chances of being selected for projects.

Project 4 Hire - Use your skills to earn money.


At ScriptLance you will find both short-term and long-term projects. There are hundreds of projects posted daily. You will also be provided you with an escrow account in order to keep your funds secure.


The concept of Elance is simple: find clients, get hired, get paid. You can create an online profile and portfolio, submit proposals for jobs, and even collaborate with teams. Payments are made securely through the Elance website.

Elance - Find clients, get hired, get paid.

Looking for more? Check out 30 Best Sites to Find Freelance Jobs.

Securely Store and Share Files

Finally, as a freelancer you will need a safe place to store your files and a secure way to share them. Cloud tools are the best method of choice since sharing files is quick and easy. All your client needs is an account on your service of choice and you’ll be sharing files in no time. Here are some tools that can be used on the Web or even on-the-go (on your mobile device).

When you sign up for, you’ll get 10GB of storage for saving and sharing files. You’ll be able to access those files from the Web, Windows, Mac, iPad, iPhone, Android, or Kindle Fire. Every file also has its own comment stream so that you can collaborate with your clients. - Store, share and access anytime, anywhere.


Dropbox is always mentioned on lists like these, but that’s because it’s such a useful tool! Dropbox is your hard drive in the cloud and is accessible on your computer and mobile devices as well. You can share folders with your clients, making it quick and easy to share files and documents.

Google Docs

Google Docs is one of the easiest ways to write up your articles and share your completed work with clients. Not only can you access and edit your documents from any computer, but you can also share those documents and collaborate in real-time.

Edit your Online Documents from Any Computer. Try Google Docs.

Zoho Docs

Much like Google Docs, Zoho Docs give you the ability to create documents, access and edit them from any computer, and collaborate in real-time. Between the two, Zoho Docs is a bit more advanced and offers more features than Google Docs.


Minus lets you upload and share files instantly just by drag-and-drop. You can upload and access files on Windows, Mac, Linux, iPhone, Android, Chrome, Firefox, and of course the website. When you first sign up, you’ll have get 10GB of storage. Just like, each item has a comment stream for collaboration.

Minus - Upload and share your files instantly. “has the features you need to upload, download, manage and share your images, videos, documents and more with ease”. It comes with 10GB of storage and daily bandwidth. Along with the website, you can upload and access files on Windows, Mac, iPhone, iPad, and Android.

Now that we’ve finished up the list, what tools do you use most? Do you use any on this list?

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Help Us Help You Improve Your Blog: ProBlogger Census 2012

Here at ProBlogger HQ we’re gearing up for a big year of blogging. Central in our focus is a desire to make ProBlogger as useful to bloggers as we can. After all if we’re not helping you to improve, we’re wasting everyone’s time.

To help us achieve this goal, we’d love to find out a little more about you and your blogging and have put together a short ‘census’ survey to do just that.

Please take the survey here.

Note: information gathered in this survey cannot be tied to individuals and will be used solely for the purposes of improving this blog and serving you better. We may report on some of the statistical information we gather about blogging platforms etc., but nothing you share will be used for any other purposes, and your anonymity is assured (unless you include personal details in one of your answers).

Thanks for taking the time to participate—I’m looking forward to a great 2012!

Originally at: Blog Tips at ProBlogger


Help Us Help You Improve Your Blog: ProBlogger Census 2012

ProBlogger Blog Tips


3 Free Tools to Help Keep Your Email Inbox Organized

Do you hate looking at your inbox? Is checking your email becoming more of a chore that never seems to be completed? Well, it’s a new year, so why not start by taking control of your email inbox once and for all?

If your inbox is out of control and you don’t know where to start, or if you just want to start the new year off productively, here are 3 free tools that can help.


If your your inbox is totally out of control and can’t keep your priorities straight, you really need ActiveInbox. This plugin for Chrome and Firefox works with both Gmail and Google Apps accounts. It lets you turn emails into tasks, snooze messages to read later, and helps you focus on top priorities. Emails can also be organized into project folders and you can even add notes, which will only be visible to you.

ActiveInbox - Take control of your Gmail

The “Previous Conversation Viewer” is also nice because it helps you keep up with all correspondences from a single recipient. ActiveInbox adds a whole new section to your sidebar for better organization of your tasks and messages.


Taskforce is a lot like ActiveInbox in that it lets you convert emails into tasks, but it stops there. Taskforce displays a small collapsible task window at the top of your inbox, so that you can keep up with what needs to be done and what is currently being worked on. You can delay tasks and collaborate with other people right within the task window, but only if the other person is using Taskforce as well.

Clear your inbox with Taskforce

If that person does not have Taskforce installed, you can still collaborate with them, but it will be done via email. The Taskforce plugin is available for Chrome, Firefox, and Safari; it works with Gmail and Google Apps accounts.


I’m a long time user of OtherInbox (for 2 of my email accounts) and love how it automatically organizes your messages into labels. It currently works with Gmail, Yahoo! Mail, and AOL mail. Basically, OtherInbox automatically analyzes your incoming mail and then sorts them by priority. The low priority messages are archived and organized into automatically created labels; however,  you can create your own labels and it will automatically adapt.

Save your inbox for real people with OtherInbox

You’ll get a daily email digest showing you a summary of all your organized messages. A great addition is the ability to unsubscribe from newsletters just by placing messages in the “OIB/Unsubscribe” folder.  OtherInbox will take care of the rest by working with the sender to make sure you’re removed from the mailing list or newsletter.

If you’d rather organize your inbox on your own, there’s always Gmail filters, which have to be setup manually.

What is your favorite method of organizing your inbox?

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Blogging Tips


Syrian Freedom Fighters Use The Internet. We Should Help.

The great strides social media has made helping oppressed people unshackle themselves from the autocrats and other dictators that imprison them is finding yet another home in Syria.  The actions of President Bashar al-Assad’s secret police including not so secret massacres of protestors have only been brought to the attention of the world through Syria’s media activists.

Consider the price they pay. The Sydney Morning Herald reports recently on the plight of two teenage brothers that were caught with loudspeakers in the Damascus suburb of Douma and tortured for nothing more than plotting to have the very freedoms we take for granted. They were tortured and eventually released but the crackdown on any news getting out from that country makes what they do all the more important.

Abdullah is a 28 year old who reports in the same article that although people are scared of the nail bombs and other hideous instruments the regime’s forces use, they send texts to each other to report where the government activity is the strongest. Gone is the clenched fist of yesterday’s freedom fighter. Tomorrow’s icons hold up the tiny black box that is the smartphone with a camera.

We have a responsibility to help them from the safety and comfort of our worlds, where ever they may be. If the Arab Spring has taught us anything , it’s that the latest mobile apps, Twitter and Facebook accounts are a great distraction and way to stay in touch from our perspective here in the West. But there’s more to what this technology can do and we need to do our part without letting these opportunities slip by while we turn away from realities like Chamberlain standing on the steps to the plane, paper in hand, proclaiming  peace in our time.

The wave of the freedom fight in Syria will stop at our shores if we let it. Even when the mainstream media picks up on some of the horrendous video and other reports coming out from Syria, their spotlight is momentary and off to the next story that attracts ratings as soon as one crops up.  Bloggers need to pick the cause up and carry it. Spread evenly across the web, the fight of the people in Syria that are yearning to determine their own destinies will be heard and the pressure constant.

What’s being done in the Arab world and other diplomatic circles may have more impact, but exerting whatever influence we can on the net as people who stand shoulder to shoulder with our brothers and sisters in that part of the world can help.  We should do our part.  Write a blog or post a comment where it matters today.




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Blogging Tips


Get Product Recommendations and Help Other Shoppers on

Have you ever needed a new product, but didn’t know where to start looking; maybe you knew the type of product you needed, but didn’t know which exact one/type to choose? It always helps when you can get recommendations from others who are more knowledgeable about that specific category of products. That’s where comes in handy. is a Q&A platform that helps you get product recommendations quickly from thousands of people.” It’s as simple as that. First you connect your Facebook and/or Twitter accounts. Next you setup your profile. Lastly you can ask your questions or help others who have asked questions.


From the home page you can see recent questions from all categories. You can also navigate to other categories (via the header links), ask your own question, click to view the leaderboard, view the top helpers, and see recent visitors to the site. This is the best place to find questions that you can jump into and give your input. Home Page - Ask and View Questions

You’ll also notice that there are often a few odd-ball questions mixed into the bunch.

Answer Questions

The main purpose of is to get product recommendations and help others who need suggestions. Sometimes you’ll find questions that are looking for a straightforward answer, while others may ask you to suggest your own product.

In the screenshot below you’ll see that some users have suggested headphones that the user might like. Other users can then go in and vote for one of the suggestions or add their own to the mix.

Answer Questions and Help Others on

There are also ways to share and follow questions that interest you. Additionally, you can see related questions along with your personally history (recently viewed questions) in the sidebar.

Ask Questions

Asking your own question is quite simple as well. First click on the yellow “Ask Question” link in the top header of the site. You can then type in your questions along with additional details (if needed), budget, and topic (electronics, automotive, photography, makeup & beauty, parenting).

Ask Questions on


Lastly, you can choose whether or not you’d like to get product suggestions (like pictured above).


Finally, there is the settings area. Here you can ad a picture, choose a display name (full name or first name and last initial), add a mini bio and about info, add your website, and customize your email notifications.

Unfortunately, you can’t actually change your display name. For instance, I signed up using Facebook and now it is using my full name as my display name. Personally, I’d rather use a screen name or at least a name that most people know me by, not my legal full name.

Do you feel there is a need for a service like It is something that you plan to use yourself?

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Blogging Tips That Can Help You Become Successful

Online Blogging Success

For many people, blogging represents a steady source of income. However, this activity can easily bring along not only a nice monthly income but also a great reputation. In this post we will go over thing that you should do to help you achieve online success, while making good money doing it. However, if you want to get some truly amazing results, you must consider a few important tips to help you become everything you possibly can.

The Most Important Tips for Successful Blogging

The most important element, which can help you become successful and earn money, is the traffic towards your blog.  Getting traffic and knowing things about your traffic will play a vital role. The more visitors you have, the better it is for your income and reputation. Furthermore, if you are able to write interesting posts in a truly unique manner, you can make a name among the other bloggers. Gaining a good online reputation will bring along important benefits to online success. But, in order to achieve this you must take into account the following tips:

  • Time Management: Management of your time represents a very important aspect in the online world. Posting some truly interesting and high quality content on your blog, including posts, videos, and feedback becomes very time consuming and you can only do so much of it. Additionally, social media marketing and link building also require a lot of time. Thus, making a daily plan of attack can help you divide your time efficiently. If I have a plan, I find that I make better use of my time everyday. First step to doing this is to realize that your blog just like a full time job.  You have to put in daily work and work overtime some days to make it work.  I personally use Basecamp to organize my life and assign myself things to do.  It’s a little bit pricey (0/month) but if you have people working with you it’s a great way to keep track of everything and assign yourself things to do, then mark them off.  Great for keeping track of clients as well!
  • Build a List: Another thing that you must do is to build a list. This aspect is very essential especially because the list can easily help you double your profits. Building a list will enable you to properly communicate your readers whenever you need to. When you have a list you can send offers that will help your readers out while making money if they buy it.  We recommend aWeber for managing your lists.
  • Build the Relationship: Keep in mind that building a relationship with your readers is the key to your success. Your readers and website visitors are who is going to be buying your products, reading your posts, telling other people about your site.  You must build this relationship, get to know them. You need to give them your attention. Most people want to know that someone actually listens to what they are saying and cares about them as a person. In order to build a strong relationship with your readers, you should start discussing their problems and help them find solutions to help them solve all those problems.
  • Choose a Niche: This is the very first thing that you must do prior to creating your blog. In order to achieve some amazing results, you have to know what you want to write about. Furthermore, try to find a topic that is not very competitive but still has a lot to offer.  Make sure that you are passionate about this topic or you’ll blog for a couple months and get sick of it and quit.  Readers can always tell if you are passionate about something, it will show in your writing.

While considering all the topics above, keep in mind that blogging will take time and patience. Blogging can allow you to supplement some or all of your income from money you make on your blog. You can earn good money, become popular and even build a serious business. But until you can reap the benefits of this activity, be ready to put in a lot of time, dedication, and a lot of hard work!


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How My Family and Friends Help Me Blog Better

This guest post is by Jonathan Dunsky of

A lot of bloggers work alone. I started out the same way. I hardly talked about what I was doing and never got into details with the people closest to me.

Today, however, I feel that this approach can limit the success of your blog and that you must reach out to those closest to you to help you build your blog to its fullest potential.

helping friends

Copyright Yuri Arcurs -

The people around you can help you in a variety of ways: giving you ideas for content creation, providing usability tips, design ideas, and general constructive criticism. You can use all this to make your blog more appealing, interesting, and popular.

In the two years in which I’ve been writing my health and fitness blog, I received tremendous help from the people in my life. I want to share some of those things with you to give you some ideas on how the people around you can help you become a more successful blogger.

Pushing me to make difficult changes

I have to admit that I love my blog. I’ve put a lot of work into it and I find it hard to make changes to it.

Fortunately for me, my wife, Karen, is not as sentimental and kept pushing me to invest in a better design for the site. She didn’t like the plain look of the free theme I used whereas I didn’t want to touch it.

In the end, as is usually the case in our marriage, I capitulated and bought a premium theme, tweaked it a bit to look just right, had a designer create a logo for the blog, and implemented a magazine style home page instead of a regular blog format.

The result was a decrease in bounce rate, general approval from readers, and I am even more in love with my blog today than I used to be in the past. I guess I’m just a shallow guy and looks do matter to me.

The point is that making this kind of change would have taken me a lot more time if no one was there to push me to do it.

Creating better content

There are a number people in my life that have helped me create better content.

The first is my wife, who is a physical therapist. I often consult her about correct exercise techniques and how to craft effective workouts for my readers.

The second is my friend, Dorothy, who has struggled with her weight for years. She represents the average visitor to my site—a person who wishes to lose weight in a healthy and gimmick-free way.

Just by speaking with her about the methods she tries and the process she’s going through reminds me to create content with my readers’ problems in mind.

Following trends from afar

I live in Europe so it’s harder for me to keep up with trends in the US and Canada, where most of my readers are. Fortunately for me, one of my childhood friends lives in New York and I can ask him whether a certain fitness product or diet plan is getting a lot of attention and media coverage in the US.

In this way I can create content which people are more interested in at that time.

For instance, my review of the Shake Weight might have never been written if I didn’t know how big that product was in late 2009. Up to this day, that blog post received nearly 300 comments.

Design improvements

My sister-in-law, Sharon, is a graphic designer so I consulted her about the color scheme and design of the blog and logo. Whenever I want to make design changes I know I can count on her professional opinion to steer me in the right direction.

How to enlist your friends and family to help you blog better

First, you have to be open about what you do and what your goals are. If you’re blogging about some shady topic and you can’t even talk about it with your friends, you will have to do things on your own.

Second, accept criticism. If people are afraid to tell you what they really think about your blog, you will miss out on crucial tips that can make it much better. From now on, any criticism should be viewed as constructive.

Third, your blog is written for people. Unless you write about internet marketing, you should seek the advice of people who are not marketers. Get the viewpoints of people who are similar to your readers.

Finally, don’t disregard anyone’s opinion. Don’t be quick to reject proposals. You don’t have to accept or implement every suggestion you get, but you should take the time to consider it.

If you have other stories about how those closest to you have helped you become a better blogger, or some tips to add, please share them in the comments below.

Jonathan Dunsky is a writer, husband, and fitness enthusiast. You can check out his fitness and nutrition tips at

Originally at: Blog Tips at ProBlogger


How My Family and Friends Help Me Blog Better

ProBlogger Blog Tips


Why Displaying Ads Alone Won’t Help You Make Money as a Blogger

When it comes to blogging, a lot of people have been sold but they don’t realize it. It is true that blogging is a great way to make money online and it has great income potential but one thing I noticed among a large percentage of the bloggers who are really desperate about making money blogging is that they all rely on making money by displaying ads on their blogs. The truth is 99.9 times out of 100, this won’t work for you.

Yes, I know you have a lot of examples of highly successful bloggers making great income by displaying ads on their blogs but have you ever considered the fact that they have other solid income sources and that income from ads is only a fraction of their blogging income? Have you also considered the fact that they get far more visitors than you might ever get? If you take a look at Darren Rowse from Problogger you will notice he gets around 500,000 visitors monthly to Problogger, if you take a look at Daniel Scocco from DailyBlogTips you will notice he gets around 300,000 visitors to his blog monthly and if you take a look at Yaro Starak from Entrepreneurs Journey you will notice that he gets over 100,000 visitors to his blog monthly. If you also carefully analyze all of the above bloggers you will notice that displaying ads isn’t their only income source and that they only make great income from ads because they are established and because they have a lot of traffic.

There are several other ways to make cool money online from blogging and there are so many reasons why you shouldn’t rely on ads for your blogging income. This post will be giving you some reasons why displaying ads alone won’t help you make money as a blogger.

It Strongly Relies on the Number of Your Traffic

As a good marketer you will know that no solid income generation strategy relies on the number of traffic you get. The reason for this is that the value of your traffic isn’t in the numbers but in the quality and if the overall blog traffic you get can impact your income you’re on a dangerous road.

A great and perfect alternative to displaying ads on your blog when it comes to traffic is affiliate marketing. You can easily write and optimize a product review for the search engines so you can keep on making money from your review months after it is live. You will notice that with this strategy it doesn’t matter whether your overall traffic is affected or not, as long as your affiliate review is in place and your search engine rankings are intact you will still be making money from your blog. A good income source focuses on conversion of your traffic, not numbers!

It Wastes Space and Delivers Low Results

Even if you take a look at Darren Rowse’s Problogger you will notice that with the amount of traffic he gets he can be making 5x the amount he makes from displaying banner ads on his blog by replacing those ads with affiliate banners. The reason for this is that any single banner ad he displays on his blog will be seen as a recommendation from him and due to him being a very credible and respected blogger he will have a high chance of converting those visitors into buyers for those who own the ads. Let’s say he is able to deliver 3000 visitors monthly (he gets 20k a day) to a single affiliate site selling a product for , if he is able to convert 50 of those visitors at a rate of per sale he will be able to make 00 per affiliate ad. While this is only an estimate you should know that this is a little bit perfect, even if he sends fewer visitors to the affiliate banners, because all products are not equal. Some products can be as high as 0 and who is to say he can’t make a few sales from those monthly.

Making real income online is all about trust and if what you recommend is other people’s ads instead of your own affiliate products then you’re sending those who would have purchased through you to them.

It Risks You Losing Your Trust

If I see a banner ad on your blog I will be 100% sure that it has your endorsement and unlike affiliate products that are carefully researched and promoted, not all banner ads can be trusted. Your readers will see those ads as what you recommend and this will aid their purchase of the product, if the product happens not to be trustworthy or they have problems with it this might have an effect on your relationship with them. Since it isn’t possible to use all products you promote via banner ads (they are not consistent) you will have more chances of using an affiliate product before you promote it (in fact, most affiliates will happily give you a review copy of their product to get it on your blog) thus ensuring there is a reduced chance of your readers having problems with products you promote. No money in the world really matters if your readers who help you make it lose trust in you so it is very important to consider this before displaying any banner ad on your blog.

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A selection of e-books to help you improve as a blogger. Find out more at

Blogging Tips


18 Twitter Backgrounds To Help Get You Into The Spring Spirit

This winter a lot of states were hit very hard with horrible and even life threatening weather. Thankfully, spring is almost upon us and will hopefully bring about a much needed, warmer change. To help get you into the spring spirit, here are 18 free Twitter backgrounds to add color to your profile and brighten up the last of your cold winter days.

Flowered Backgrounds

Because of the flowery nature of these backgrounds, they’re probably considered more on the feminine side, yet still boast “spring is here!” Fresh blooming flowers are always a good sign that spring is quickly approaching, which is why these flowered Twitter backgrounds are sure to brighten up your profile and lift your spirits.

Spring Flowers

Spring Flowers Twitter Background

Lots of Flowers

Lots of Flowers Twitter Spring Background

Spring Flowers 2

Spring Flowers 2 Twitter Background

Yellow Daisies Field Blooming

Yellow Daisies Field Blooming Twitter Spring Background

Pink Flowers

Pink Flowers Twitter Spring Background

Wonderful Lilac

Wonderful Lilac Twitter Spring Background

Yellow and White Flowers

Yellow and White Flowers Twitter Spring Background

Nature Backgrounds

If you’re looking for less flowers and more nature inspired backgrounds, these are for you. From birds to bees to trees, these backgrounds are sure to have you wishing that you were in a similar place.

Bird of Spring

Bird of Spring Twitter Background

First Spring

First Spring Twitter Background

Spring Time Green

Spring Time Green Twitter Background

Beautiful Season Spring

Beautiful Season Twitter Spring Background

Wheat and the Sky

Wheat and the Sky Twitter Spring Background

Zen Birds

Zen Birds Twitter Spring Background

What a Great Day

What a Great Day Twitter Spring Background

Backyards Again

Backyards Again Twitter Spring Background

Spring Day in the Grassy Fields

Spring Days Grassy Fields Twitter Background

Collage Backgrounds

These are not what you would consider traditional collages, yet these square patterned Twitter backgrounds will give you a nice medley of spring all over your profile.

Beach Collage

Beach Collage Twitter Spring Background

Spring Squares

Spring Squares Twitter Background

If you’re looking for more of a unique looking, you may also want to check out Creative Design With Amazing Colors of Spring for some very artistic, high quality backgrounds.

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How to Harness Your Email List to Help Pay Your Rent

This guest post is by the Blog Tyrant.

Wouldn’t it be nice to send out an email or two and pull in ,000+ to pay your rent or mortgage payments for the year? It is actually possible using your own products or those of selected affiliates. And while some of you will be thinking that word “affiliates” sounds dirty and underhanded, I’m here to tell you that affiliate marketing is actually one of the most honest ways to make money on the Web.

In this post I am going to show you how you can make ,000+ a year using your email list and a product or affiliate program. I’ll even do a bit of math to prove it.

Creative Commons License photo credit: Esparta

How it works

Let me start by giving you a little overview of how this all works, in case you’re totally new to the idea. I’ll go in to more detail later on.

  1. Use your blog to grow an email list
    If you’ve read any of my other guest posts on Problogger you will notice that I have a pretty (un)healthy obsession with email lists. I’m constantly telling my readers to focus on growing a list of active, engaged, and interested email subscribers. It should be the main focus of almost every blog.
  2. Provide value
    The most important thing to remember with this process is that you need to provide value. You need to enrich the lives of your subscribers. You need to solve their problems. Without this step you will find that your list grows largely unresponsive.
  3. Create a product or find affiliate programs
    The next steps is to create a product of your own (ebook, ecourse, etc.) or find a product of someone else’s that you can promote and sell to your email list. It needs to be highly relevant, valuable, and helpful.
  4. Promote it to your email list
    This stage is actually rather complex and can involve a pre-launch and launch, as well as automated messages and so on. The net result is that you make a lump sum of money during a launch period, or an ongoing stream of income from automated sales that happen over time.

The whole thing can be a very exciting process and, if it’s done correctly, it is an extremely ethical way to make good money while enriching the lives of your subscriber list.

Doing the math

Now, let’s do a little math to see if ,000 per year is really possible. In fact, if you really catch a hold of this concept you’ll find that ,000 is actually rather conservative. The possibilities with this type of marketing are endless.

Let’s take a look:

  1. Capture four email subscribers per day
    Let’s assume you are able to capture four email subscribers per day. It is a very small amount that any one can do with ideas like this and this.4 x 365 = 1460 subscribers per year.
  2. Sell a ebook to 20% of your list
    If your followers are loyal and engaged you should be able to sell to around 15% to 20% of them.1460 subscribers x 0.2 = 292 sales @ = ,804

Now, for those whose lists are significantly larger than this, the estimates are conservative. For those who have smaller lists, this can serve as inspiration to keep going with your blogging work. Remember, an ebook is just one example of the multitude of things you can promote to your list.

How to make k+ per year with email subscribers

George is Keeping an Eye On You!
Creative Commons License photo credit: peasap

The wonderful thing about this process is that it can be expanded upon to incredible levels. For some bloggers, ,000 is a tiny sum of money. My hope is that this post serves as a catalyst for you to learn more about the field and really take your blog to its full potential.

1. Grow the email list

The email list is the backbone of all good blogging income sources. If you can capture a large number of email addresses of readers who love what you write, trust your advice, and look to you for help and new information, then you are setting yourself up to be in a very profitable situation.

I know what you’re thinking: “But isn’t it rude/annoying/spammy to sell stuff to my followers?” This is a very common question. I encounter so many people who don’t want to sell anything to their subscribers but, to be honest, the logic doesn’t make sense to me. Why? Because, like everyone else, you also have bills to pay, you aren’t trying to rip anyone off, and with the right products, you can help your subscribers to better their situations.

Don’t get me wrong: some people abuse their lists. I don’t condone this at all. But guys like Darren, who only sell high-quality ebooks or training courses that can help you grow a bigger and better blog, are helping their subscribers. Why shouldn’t Darren make some money selling a product that has taken him years and years to acquire the knowledge to create—and helps you in a big way?

How can you grow your list quickly?

  • Focus on value and quality information
    Your blog needs to publish high-quality content that adds value to the lives of your readers. Every time someone sees a post on your blog, they should leave feeling like a problem is solved. This is important.
  • Have an angle
    There are hundreds of millions of blogs out there. You need an angle. Why should people read your stuff over someone else’s? Without an attached story or angle, you give a person no reason to subscribe to your blog.
  • Use Aweber to add subscription boxes and send a free ebook
    I recently wrote a post about why I switched to Aweber and the reasons are simple: you can add a subscription box to your blog in about five minutes, you can send out a series of automatic follow-up emails and, best of all, you can send out a free ebook automatically. This is a tried and tested method for capturing a lot of email subscribers: write a highly valuable ebook that appeals to your niche, and give it away in exchange for their subscription.
  • Write guest posts related to your niche
    Once your free ebook offering is up and running, get out there and start guest posting on as many of the top blogs as possible. Darren has a thorough post on how to do this, so the only thing that I’ll add is that you should make your posts as good as possible, and in some way relate them to your free ebook. This ensures that all the visitors that trickle through to your site are interested in your stuff.
  • Engage people in email, Twitter, comment threads, etc.
    If you want your email subscribers to be loyal and engaged, you want to make sure you engage them in as many places as possible. As a general rule, I reply to every comment on my blog, and Twitter and Facebook accounts. I work from home so it’s easy for me to do this, but even if you work in an office, you should make an effort to reply to contacts and commenters each evening when you get home.

As a general rule of thumb, the number of email signups you attract is a good indicator of how successful your blog is. You might be getting all the traffic in the world, but unless you can convert it somehow, you probably aren’t making much progress. Capturing as many email subscribers as possible is the first and most important step in affiliate marketing.

2. Create a product and/or find an affiliate product to promote

This section is broken up in to two parts—your two different options. The first option is to create your own product and sell that to your list. I prefer this option because you can tailor it to suit your readers’ needs and wants. The second option is find someone else’s product to promote to your list for a commission (i.e. an affiliate program). Let’s take a look at both.

Creating your own product

The wonderful thing about the Internet is that it allows you to create your own product without much in the way of difficulty or start-up costs. In a recent article on how stay-at-home moms can make money, I said that a product launched off the back of an expert blog is one of the easiest and most rewarding ways to make an honest living online. This is true.

Your product could take one of many forms:

  • an ebook
    Creating an ebook is one of the simplest ways to make money from your blog. All you do is brainstorm a concept, write it out in Word or Open Office, tizzy it up with graphics and pictures, and then convert it into a PDF. Instant product. The problem? There are a lot of them out there. People have become a bit blind to them. If you are going to sell an ebook, you have to make sure it is of an outstanding level of quality and addresses a problem that’s massively relevant to your blogging audience. Ideally, it will cover a topic that hasn’t already been heavily written about.
  • an ecourse
    Another popular option is to develop an ecourse that teaches your readers how to do something. It could take the form of a series of emails sent out every week, or it could be an ebook mixed with video and delivered in module form. This is sometimes a better option because, the course content can be created or amended on the go, to respond to the feedback you get from users.
  • a membership site
    This is new black: it seems like everyone is creating membership sites nowadays. A membership site is basically a password-protected area of your blog that people can only access by paying. It could contain tools or courses or a forum of experts, for example. Some of the more successful membership sites are SEOBook and SEOmoz.
  • a physical product
    If you are one of these talented people who have an actual real-world skill like painting or designing clothes, you might want to make your product a physical one. This can work extremely well if you have a big list of people who admire your work.

Whatever you decide to create, you have to make sure it appeals to your readers and continues to add value as you’ve done on your blog. People simply will not pay for something unless they know that it will add to their lives in a meaningful way.

Promoting someone else’s product

If you don’t have the time, energy, or ideas to create your own product, you can start out by promoting other people’s—by becoming an affiliate. For example, if I created an amazing Blog Tyrant ecourse, I would offer people the opportunity to sell that ecourse on my behalf and earn a commission (usually 40% to 80%) on every sale. If you believed in that product (trust me, it’d be awesome!) then you could sell it to your list. Money for jam.

There are a few prerequisites to generating an income through affiliate sales:

  • The product must be relevant.
    If you run a dog-training blog there is almost no chance that my amazing Blog Tyrant product would sell to your list. You need to find affiliate products that are highly relevant to your blog.
  • You must believe in it/use it yourself.
    Personally, I never promote an affiliate product unless I use it myself. My site is all about helping people dominate their niche and grow an online business that allows them to work from home. Why would I risk my reputation (and in some cases friendships) promoting a product that I’ve never used?
  • It must be reputable and safe.
    Some affiliate programs out there really do not offer good protection for their customers. It’s getting rarer and rarer, but every now and then you come across a program that gets people involved with spam, or makes it difficult to get a refund. If you are going to promote something to your list, you want to make sure it comes from a reputable source that you know and trust. Shoemoney says that he never promotes an affiliate unless he has met the owner in person. This is a good rule.

Please do not think that affiliate programs are all dirty. They aren’t. There are some really solid brand names out there who are promoting very valuable tools and information. Darren’s one of them. With a little bit of research and planning, you will be able to find something great for your crew.

Finding affiliate products to promote
There are so many different places to find affiliates out there—some good, some bad. What you often find is that it is best to locate the product you want to promote first, then figure out what company that product creator is using to sign up affiliates. Some of the main ones you might want to look at include:

A lot of the larger companies run their own affiliate programs. In this case you want to visit the sites of the sellers themselves, scroll down to the very bottom and look for the Affiliates link that will direct you to the signup page.

3. Sell the product to your email list

The final part of this post is all about selling your product, or your chosen affiliate product, to your email list. This topic could be studied for a lifetime, but here, let’s look at a rough game-plan.


The first step is to generate some interest among your subscribers around the product launch. You want to prepare your readers for the big sale day. There are lots of different ways to do this, and many different schools of thought as to what works and what doesn’t. Some ideas include:

  • a free give away
    Having a free give away that is related to your product launch can be a good idea because people circulate the free part to their friends and on their blogs. It can also help you capture more email addresses to use for the actual promotion.
  • a time-sensitive signup area
    Something else that can work is to have a time-sensitive signup area. For example, if you are releasing a membership site you might only want to release it to 100 members. Having an earlybird signup area on the blog a week in advance can get people motivated to join, rather than risk missing out.
  • create an affiliate program
    Around this time, if you’re selling a product you’ve created yourself, you also want to set yourself up as affiliate seller so that other bloggers can sell your products. Email your list of high-profile blogging contacts, letting them know about the product launch and the affiliate program, and ask them to help you out.

Whatever you decide to do, make sure it really does generate some buzz. The idea is to get as many people talking about the product, and sharing news about it, as possible.


The launch stage is where you actually send out the email to your list promoting your new product. You should also do a post on your blog to ensure your RSS readers hear about what’s going on. Make sure your launch email:

  • has a strong call to action
  • details all the specs of the product
  • uses social proof
  • focuses on benefits, not features.

As I said, this is only supposed to be a rough game-plan. There are some amazing articles out there that give you specific details on this process. I’d recommend starting with Copyblogger’s landing pages tutorials, Darren’s video on product launches, and Yaro’s article on creating an ebook.

Automate follow-ups for affiliate products

One thing to remember is that if you’re promoting someone else’s product you don’t have to do all this launch stuff. You can actually just set it to be entirely automatic. How? Well remember we talked about Aweber’s automatic messages earlier? What you can do is create a series of follow-up emails that go to every subscriber that you get on a sequence of set days.

For example, let’s say you subscribe to my Dog Training blog. On day one I might send you an automatic email thanking you for subscribing. Then on day three, you get an email with a highly useful dog training tip or tutorial. A week later, you get another training tip and then, maybe a day after that, I send you an email with an affiliate product that relates to the tips and tutorials, and really helps you solve the problem. It’s all automatic, and it works extremely well.

Remember, don’t flood your subscribers with emails, and don’t send anything out unless it’s highly valuable and useful to your subscribers. Don’t risk compromising your relationship.

Have you done it? Will you try it?

I’d really like to open up the comments now and ask you guys for any advice from your own email campaigns. Have you tried these kinds of approaches before? Did they work well? I’d also really like to know whether you will give this a try on your own blogs. Do leave a comment and let me know.

The Blog Tyrant is a 25 year old guy who makes a full time living from blogs and online businesses. He has sold several blogs for ,000 plus and answers every comment he gets on his blog. Subscribe by email or follow him on Twitter, Facebook or RSS.

Post from: ProBlogger Blog Tips


How to Harness Your Email List to Help Pay Your Rent

ProBlogger Blog Tips