Make Money with Swagbucks

While I would not call this a work from home job, Swagbucks is an awesome way to make some extra money each month.

Whether you’re looking to get free Amazon gift cards, Target gift cards, Walmart gift cards – all which can help your household expenses go down…want to get gift cards to your favorite restaurants so that you can eat out for free…or even want cold hard cash…Swagbucks can help you.

There are many ways to earn with Swagbucks, and since I’m a member, I thought I’d share some of my tips.

While you won’t become rich off of it, you can definitely earn some extra money when you have some free time and are near your computer, laptop, cell phone, tablet, or more.

Here are some of the ways I like making money with Swagbucks (along with some I don’t do very often but are also good ways to earn):

  • Surveys – I’d say this is probably the way I get most of my Swagbucks. I love filling out surveys because I find it so interesting to see what companies are trying to find out, and the products they sometimes ask your opinion on. I know that my opinions are being taken into account, so I love being able to give them. The fact that you can get for example 48 (sometimes less, sometimes more) Swagbucks for 20 or so minutes time is just great. Plus it’s fun to do!
  • Watching Videos – This is probably where I get the second most Swagbucks from. Each day you can watch videos either on your computer, tablet, or phone, and get Swagbucks for watching them. The videos are in all sorts of categories, so there has to be something that you will find interesting. I often watch these videos when I have nothing else to do…like if I’m waiting for someone, or am just relaxing.
  • Searching – If you use their search instead of Google or another search engine, every so often you’ll win Swagbucks. I usually end up winning once or twice a day, and you can win any number of Swagbucks with your win.
  • Playing Games – I’m not big on games, but you can earn points by playing online games as well. I’ve tried this a few times, and it works.
  • Shopping – When you shop through their links, they will give you Swagbucks for it.
  • Coupons – You can get Swagbucks for printing out coupons and using them at your grocery store.

…and there are other ways to get Swagbucks as well.

It doesn’t take many Swagbucks to earn a gift card.  You can get a $5 Amazon gift card for 450 Swagbucks, and most other $5 gift cards for 500 Swagbucks.

You can save up your Swagbucks to get $10, $25, $50, or $100 gift cards as well.

If you don’t want gift cards, you can also save up and get money via PayPal as well!  So you can end up with cash instead of the gift card if that’s what you’re looking for.

Note: It doesn’t cost anything to join Swagbucks. You should never have to PAY someone to make money!

So while this won’t make you rich, and isn’t exactly a job…it’s a great way to earn a little extra money when you have some free time.

Join Swagbucks!

Yawning Polar Bear

A while back, I started this blog, “The Quest for a Million” so that I could share how I was growing my business towards a million dollars.

The problem?

It bored even me!

I realized that I didn’t want to give away some of the specifics of my websites, because unfortunately there are a lot of people out there that when they hear a website is making money, not just take the idea, but will often just take the whole website!

And I really didn’t enjoy being very vague.

So…it finally occurred to me.

I want to show you my “real life” quest for a million dollars.

And that involves both making, and saving money.

I’ll still talk about some of the things I’m doing with my business to help make money, so that you can see what types of things work and what types of things don’t…

But I’ll also talk about some of the other things I do to earn a little extra money, or even save money…because saving money can be even better than making it!

It’ll be more of a personal blog, sharing how I’m getting closer to a million each day.

So, I hope you’ll find this interesting, and that it’ll give you some great ideas on how to go towards your first million as well.

I know to me it’s a whole lot more interesting than some vague “Niche Website 3a” made $3 dollars today!

Plus, since I’m now not talking JUST about my online business, you’ll probably notice that I’m a bit more open about certain things I’ve found…

For example…when a new product is released, it’s the BEST time to talk about it!

It may seem obvious now that I’ve said it. But when something new is released, especially when you see commercials about it or people start talking about it on TV shows, it’s the best time to post about it since people are interested and want to learn more about it.

Not that long ago, the Beachbody’s P90X3 was released.

I posted about it right before it was released, just listing everything that I knew about it, and who it would be able to help.

And in the past few months, I’ve made quite a few sales from it!

Sure, I probably would have made some sales if I promoted one of the older Beach Body products, but by promoting the latest one, I knew a lot more people would be searching for information about it – plus there wouldn’t be that many other options for information since the product was so new.

So I hope you enjoy this new format, and that it helps make you money and get you on your way to a million dollars!

  • Comments Off on The “Real” Quest for a Million…
what makes more money, affiliate links or adsense links?

Multiple streams of income is one of my favorite phrases, and I really believe that it’s something everyone should have.  This way if one way of making money online stops working, it’s not a big deal since you have many other websites making money in different ways.

Many people who have businesses online also try to have a few passive sites that they spend a few hours putting up, and then don’t need to touch, hopefully making them passive income month after month.

If this is the case with you, then you’ve probably had the same question.

Which site will generate more income? A site with lots of great content leading to affiliate links? Or a site with less in-depth articles with AdSense links?

This is what I’m going to try to figure out with my the next set of websites I put up this month. The domain names are very similar, and are in the exact same niche. The WordPress theme is the same on both sites, as well as all of the plugins. The only difference is the content and the affiliate links vs. AdSense links.

I will say that it did not take long to get traffic to the sites. I put both sites up on February 13th, and started getting traffic to NicheWebsite3a (the one with affiliate links) on the 16th. Now, I only have 3 posts up for NicheWebsite3a, and 2 posts on NicheWebsite3b, so I really need to add more…but this is definitely a great start. This goes to show that the niche you choose is very important, since all I’ve done besides write the posts is use is RSSBot, which pings certain websites telling them about my new post. There has been no other promotion, so any traffic is coming from search engines after they indexed the sites.

While I already have affiliate links on NicheWebsite3a, I have not put AdSense links yet on NicheWebsite3b. Why? From all of the reading I’ve done, it seems that you’ll do better if you start getting traffic to the site first before putting the links, so I’m going to wait a few weeks before I add them.

While I would think that a site with affiliate links would make more money in the long run since each time someone purchases something the commission would be $8+, the good thing about AdSense links is that the visitor doesn’t have to buy anything – just click on a link…so there is a lot greater chance of that happening than someone buying something.

So once I get a decent amount of posts (I’m going for 20ish on each site for now), and some time passes, we’ll be able to see which site is doing better.

As far as content, I will be writing all of the content for NicheWebsite3a, as I learn as much about the products as I can in order to tell others about them. As far as NicheWebsite3b, I have written a few of the posts, but I don’t know that much about this niche and will have more generic information on this blog.  I will also be getting some content from article directories such as EzineArticles.  They allow you to repost articles from their website as long as you follow their terms of service, such as keeping all links intact, and only using up to 25 articles a year from them.

It will be very interesting to see which does better, and will also help me decide which type of website I should create more of in the future.  It would be a lot easier for me if the AdSense site does better, since those types of sites require a lot less work from me…but we’ll see!

Register Now for Blog World Expo 2012 in New York City, June 5-7!

One thing I’ve picked up over the years is that you learn a lot at live events/conferences. While I haven’t attended as many as I would have liked to, I learned a lot, and always look forward to being able to go to them.

Why am I bringing this up now? I just purchased my ticket to Blog World & New Media Expo 2012. It’s taking place June 5th – 7th at the Jacob Javits Center, in NYC. I’ve missed out on a lot of events because either they were too expensive (in the thousands of dollars), or were too far away. This time, I have no excuse, and am really excited by it.

The guys over at Blog World decided to be really nice this year…and lower the prices, by a lot.

This year, you can get a 3 day pass for just $147 when you get your ticket by tomorrow, February 22nd. Miss that? No problem, the prices gradually goes up, and the highest it will go is $397 if you get your ticket after May 15th.

Last year, if you wanted to attend Blog World Expo in NYC, you would have paid anywhere between $697 and $1,297 for a full all access pass.

While the sessions for this year haven’t been released yet, they have tracks such as content creation, distribution, monetization, network, new media expo, and more. So you’ll definitely find multiple sessions that are interesting for you, and will help your business.

When I took a look at last year’s sessions, I have to say there were so many that I would have wanted to attend that I also purchased the virtual ticket add-on, which allows you to get online access to every recorded session, for an additional $47.

If you’re a blogger (or any type of new media content creator), I suggest you join me and get tickets for the Blog World & New Media Expo. You’ll learn a lot, and might make some great connections.

If all of that isn’t enough, you’ll also get free access to the Book Expo America (BEA) show going on at the same time.

In the interest of full disclosure, I’m an affiliate of the Blog World Expo.  I’d still be promoting it even if I wasn’t an affiliate though, because I am excited by how much I’ll be able to learn – and for such a low price.

Let me know if you decide to go, and maybe we can meet up!

Get your Blog World & New Media Expo Tickets Now!

Where I went wrong.

I know it’s been quiet on this blog for the past 2 weeks.

You might be wondering why.

The truth is, I have a few very good reasons why.  I know that I’ve definitely learned a lot from my mistakes over the past month, and hopefully won’t repeat them again.

Let’s start with why I haven’t posted in 2 weeks. That one is very easy. I haven’t had anything to update you with. I’m still working on the same 4 websites, and haven’t had anything to share. I had figured that January and February would be slow since the sites were all brand new…but not this slow. I’ll get into one of the reasons why below. But since I haven’t had anything to say, I haven’t posted. I hope that as the month goes on, I’ll have a lot more to report and will be able to keep you updated more.

As for where I went wrong…this is funny. It’s one thing to learn a lesson after something goes wrong, but it’s completely different when it’s something that you know is wrong ahead of time, and it’s something you tell others to do, and yet you don’t do it yourself. So…here are 2 ways that I went wrong in the past month, and how I’m fixing them.  Hopefully you won’t make these same mistakes!

  1. Having a Schedule (Time Management):It’s really important to know what you’re going to spend your time doing each day. Not everyone needs to do it the same way of course, but even if you only write down how many hours you’ll spend on a task, it is something that you really should do.

    What happens if you don’t?

    You end up like me. In your head you think you’ll spend a few hours on this website, a few hours on that one, and you’ll get everything done. But in reality, since you don’t have specific items written out, you won’t know exactly what to do, and will end up spending your time doing something else entirely.

    My plan was to spend 2-3 hours early in the day working on my other websites that are currently making me money, and then spend the rest of the day “working on the new sites”. That’s as specific as it got. So each day, I would start off working on my other websites, and since I didn’t know exactly what to do with the new sites at that moment, I just kept on working on my other websites!

    So in the past few weeks, while I have spent a few hours on PopShops1 and PriceChecker1, that’s about it. So how can I expect results if I don’t put the time into it?So that it doesn’t keep happening, starting tonight I will write out a list of what I want to accomplish the next day. I don’t feel the need to be very specific, but will write something like I want to write 2 posts to NicheWebsite2, or research keywords for NicheWebsite1, etc. This way I will make sure that I work on all of the websites I want to. If I don’t get everything done that day, it’s not a big deal as I’ll just carry it over into the next day’s tasks. But this way I will always have a list of things I want to work on.I strongly suggest that you do the same.

    Not everyone needs to write the same kind of schedule…it can be very broad “work on this website” or very specific “write a post using this keyword”, but you need some kind of schedule if you want to make sure you get certain things done. Because while I certainly have accomplished a lot in the past 2 weeks, it hasn’t been on the websites that I wanted to work on the most.

  2. Keywords are important (with all parts of your website):
    I have written about how keywords are important to research if you want to make sure that you get on the first page of search engine results, and have known this fact. I’ve even written posts about it in the past.But while I spent a lot of time researching keywords for my domain name, and the subject of what I’ll post about, I never even considered researching keywords for the posts themselves for my 2 new niche websites.

    So what happened?

    On NicheWebsite1 I wrote 8 posts, and finally last Friday I got a visitor that came from a Google search where I was the 26th result. Why is this? Because I was randomly picking keywords based on what I wanted to post about and review, instead of using my keyword research to help pick the subject of my posts.To remedy this, I have started using my keyword research to come up with post ideas.

    It will probably be a little bit more difficult for me to post exactly what I wanted to, but I know I’ll still be able to write what I want, and even if I still do some posts with the subjects that I want, overall I should get a lot more traffic since many of the posts will be from keywords that I researched and get a lot of traffic and have low competition.

    So my recommendation to you is that you not only use keyword research for a domain name, but for your specific posts as well. Again, this is something that I knew, but completely ignored when writing the posts for my niche websites.

I think that all of us can learn from the mistakes I’ve been making. Hopefully I’ll remember these, and things will start moving faster, and I’ll be posting more often!

getting trafficI created both blogs (PopShop1 and PriceChecker1) on January 17th, and started posting the next day.

So far I’ve been putting up 1 post each weekday, so as of right now there are only a total of 7 posts per blog. But guess what? I’ve already received traffic to both of them!

Not counting bots, on January 24th, I received my first visitor from Google. It was to PriceChecker1. Since then I’ve gotten a few other visitors, but not many.

On January 25th, I got my first visitor from Google search to PopShops1, and so far that is the only non-bot visitor I’ve gotten.

Of course, it’s still VERY early in the game…but I’m shocked at how fast I’ve gotten traffic! Less than a week after putting content up, I’ve already seen traffic on both sites.

Now, just like with NicheWebsite1 and NicheWebsite2, I didn’t do much as far as promoting either site. I installed Google XML Sitemaps on each site, so that I would have a good sitemap. I then went to Google Webmaster Tools to add my sitemaps.

Each time I finished writing a post, I used a program called RSSBot to both submit my RSS feed to multiple websites as well as ping them.

That’s all I’ve done so far with these sites. So to start seeing traffic already is wonderful.

Does anyone know of any other plugins (free or cheap preferably) that will help me get more traffic? I love automation to help get things done!

Testing 2 Websites

Since the two niche websites I’m working on are taking up so much of my time, the next websites I created needed to be something that was quick, easy, and something that didn’t require much concentration. You know, the kind of work that you can do while watching TV at night.

So I decided to take two websites, and test what works better: PopShops (which I talked about in my last post), and using a Price Checker plugin that I purchased on the Warrior Forum (I’m not sure if it’s still for sale.)

The Price Checker plugin lets you enter in a keyword, and then choose specific products that you want to show from Amazon, CJ, and Linkshare, in a table format, one item per row.  Since it is a price checker, the items will be displayed lowest price first.

In order to make this a fair test, I’m using the same keyword in both domains, using the same exact theme for both domains, and am even using the same keywords for the specific posts…just not in the exact same order so the websites aren’t too similar.

The only difference at all between the sites are that one has the posts created by PopShops, and the other by the Price Checker Plugin. I figure this way I’ll see which works better and if there is a big difference, I might change over my other websites to which ever one wins.

I also plan on writing some articles on each site, and while I will write different articles for each site, again I will use the same keywords to keep things fair.

As far as pricing goes, I pay $29.99 a month for PopShops, and I paid a one time fee of $24.00 for Price Checker.

I don’t have a clue what will win out short term, but my guess is that long term PopShops will win. Why? Because PopShops has a feature that you can turn on (with 1 click) that if the product you chose is no longer for sale, it will put a similar product up for you. Price Checker has no such feature. So a year from now, if products change that much, PopShops will still have a full set of products, while Price Checker will not.

This means that unless I spend time updating Price Checker, eventually everything will be outdated.  I’m not exactly sure what Price Checker does when an item is not available any longer, so that will be something I keep an eye on as well.

To make it easy, in the future I’ll refer to these websites as PopShops1 and PriceChecker1.

I’m really looking forward to getting some more content up on these websites. It takes me less than 5 minutes to put up a post for either site. The longest part of the whole process is coming up with a keyword, so I know soon I’ll have a lot of content ready to drip onto each website.

I’ll be sure to keep you updated.

PopShops

This is what it looks like while creating a PopShops Shop

In my next post, I’m going to write about the next two websites that I’ve been working on.

One of these websites will be a PopShops site, and I know that I didn’t know anything about PopShops until shortly before I started using it, so I wanted to share with you exactly what it does, and how it works.

PopShops is a coupon and product feed platform. It makes it very easy (point and click easy) to create a webpage full of products to sell from your favorite retailers.

How does it work? First, you must apply to and be accepted to individual affiliate programs from your favorite affiliate networks such as Commission Junction, Google Affiliate Network, Share a Sale, Linkshare, and more. Once you are approved in the programs that you want to promote products for, it’s easy.

You create a new “shop”, and put in your keywords. For my example in this post, let’s say I was going to create a page that sold fishing rods. I would put the keyword “fishing rods” into the search box, and then all of the stores that sold fishing rods would be returned in a list, along with the fishing rods they were selling.

I can then go through each one, and with the click of my mouse, add them to my store. NOTE: All stores that have fishing poles will be returned. Make sure you’re an affiliate of that store, or you won’t make any commissions on it. Also, any product that has the words fishing poles will be returned, so you might get a book on fishing poles, or a fishing pole holder.

Once you have finished the page, you click on another button to get the code. You then copy and paste it into your website, and you now have a page full of products to sell!

Since you can customize the page – colors, number of products in each row, etc., it looks great and like it was created for your website.

PopShops Shop

Here is an example of a PopShops Shop

As you can see in the picture above, it shows you all of the fishing rods that you chose while in PopShops. Since I just did a preview, and didn’t put it on my website, it looks kind of plain, but once you put it on your website it looks more like it fits in.

Once you put this page up, whenever anyone clicks on any of these links and buys something, you’ll get the affiliate commissions for it…and you didn’t have to sit there and put in your links for each individual item. It saves a LOT of time if you’re trying to promote a lot of products.

Is this right for every website? Of course not. But if you’re looking for an easy and relatively inexpensive way to showcase products, this will do it.

They have 3 plans, ranging from $14.99 – $59.99 a month. I have the one in the middle, at $29.99 a month, and use it on quite a few websites. I love that I can easily create a new web page in about a minute or so, and then move on to the next thing I want to work on.

I have only one major complaint with PopShops. Like I mentioned earlier, when you get the results with your keyword search, all companies that sell products with those keywords will be shown, whether you’re a member of that affiliate program or not. When you’re like me and are a part of hundreds of affiliate programs, it is impossible to remember them all. This causes me to have to often log into CJ, Linkshare, etc… to first check to see if I am indeed an affiliate of that program before I put any products from that company in my shop. If it could take into account what programs I was apart of, it would make things so much easier.

Learn more about PopShops

If this type of thing interests you, there are also other programs out there that do somewhat similar things, and the price definitely varies on them.  I know the following sites offer nice easy product feeds, although I must admit I don’t know much about them. For Me To Coupon (with a free 30 day trial), AvantLink (which is free), and GoldenCan (which is also free.)

Now that you have more of an idea about what PopShops is and how it works, it will make more sense when tomorrow I write about the test I am doing with two websites I am creating.

Market Samurai

Who knew it would work so well?

I knew that Market Samurai worked, because of all of the reviews I read prior to trying it and buying it just last month.

But I didn’t realize until today how well it worked, and how fast.

On January 2nd, I wrote a post explaining how I choose the niches for my websites.

I wanted to use an example, but really didn’t want to use one of my current niches. For some odd reason, fishing came into my head. I figured that I have no interest in fishing, and would never create a website that had anything to do with fishing, so I decided to use that as an example.

After using Market Samurai, and entering the keyword “fishing” into it, I took a look at the results. There were a few that looked decent, but bamboo fishing poles had great results.  Plus, it’s a product that someone could buy, so I thought it was the perfect keyword.  So I decided to use that as an example.

Well…this website hasn’t been up long, so while it has been spidered by Google, I haven’t gotten any traffic to my website  yet due to the search engines.

So imagine my surprise when I went to Google Webmaster Tools just a short while ago. Under “search queries”, I have had 3 different queries that have showed this website as a result.

What were the 3 queries?

  1. bamboo fishing rod
  2. bamboo fishing pole
  3. bamboo fishing poles

Forgetting the fact that this is a new website, it has absolutely nothing to do with fishing, and that post was the only post that mentioned bamboo fishing poles, or fishing at all.  That shows how great a keyword it is!

I’m sure if I had created an entire website with bamboo fishing poles as my main keyword, or even a website about something fishing related with a few pages on bamboo fishing poles, I’d easily rank well for the keyword bamboo fishing poles.

Now, you can feel free to use this keyword for yourself, but I feel I should give you this warning. I did take a quick look, and didn’t find that many bamboo fishing poles that were being sold online. So if you’re going to use the keyword, I’d strongly suggest maybe just having one page or only a small number of pages dedicated to bamboo fishing poles, and use the rest of the website to talk about something in the same area but uses other keywords.

Let me know if you decide to use it, and what kind of results you get.

Set Working Hours

When you first start your own business, one of the biggest perks is that you can make your own hours. No more having to be at work at 9am, and not leaving until after the sun goes down. Now you have the option to start working whenever you want, take breaks whenever you want, and take vacations whenever you want.

Don’t like spending your weekends getting things done? You can run errands in the middle of the weekday when places aren’t so crowded. Not a morning person? No problem. Sleep late and work in the afternoon and evening. It sounds great, right?

It is incredible, but if you aren’t careful, you could end up spending all of your time working – or worse – none at all. That’s why having set hours, even if you change them daily or weekly, can really help.

If you’re really into your business, and want it to succeed (and who wouldn’t?) then there’s a chance you’re going to end up having a problem. You’ll feel like you should always be working. If you don’t have set hours, any time you’re home and are relaxing, you’ll feel like you should be working. I speak from experience! If on the other hand, you have decided that on Monday you’re working from 10am-1pm and 3pm-7pm, once it hits 7pm, not only will you stop working and relax, but you won’t feel bad about relaxing and will be able to have a good time instead of feeling guilty that you should be working.

You’ll also be able to put more effort into your work, since you’re only working certain set hours. Instead of spending time surfing the web, you’ll know that you’re only working a certain amount of hours and will want to get as much done during that time as you can.

This is the biggest problem I had. I always felt like I should be working. The worst part is after a while you will stop working, but you won’t do anything fun since you feel like you should be…so you don’t get anything done, but don’t get to relax and enjoy yourself either.

Setting working hours gives you permission to relax and enjoy yourself, so you’ll be more productive while you’re working, and will be a lot happier overall.

There is another problem that comes with having your own business and working from home as well, especially if most of your work is done online. Your friends and family may not see it as work, and will call you all times of the day, expecting you to drop what you’re doing to talk to them or help them. It’s not on purpose…but since you’re home, and you’re just using a computer, a lot of people think that means you’re free to talk anytime they want. This is another great reason to have set hours. You can tell people that you’re working during these hours, and that you can’t be disturbed during them. Trust me, you’ll get a lot more done, and have a lot less interruptions.

While you can just work when you want without setting yourself working hours, you’ll find that you get more done, and enjoy your free time more when you have set working hours.

If you’re already working from home, how do you make sure you get things done, but still have time to relax? Do you have issues with people thinking you’re always available to talk to them or help them because you’re just “at home on the computer all day”?

About this blog

Some people only tell you about the money they make online. Others only tell you about the money they've saved. I want to show you how I make money as well as save money on my quest. You'll learn what works and what doesn't, so that you as well as I can continue on our quest for a million dollars.

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