Friday, July 25, 2014

Second Sign-up for Online Earners: Paid Searches

When it comes to earning money online, whether you are interested in writing, getting paid for surveys, or joining sites that pay you to do certain things like watch videos, sign up for offers, play games, etc., the second thing I would recommend that you do (after opening a new email account) is sign up for a site that pays you to search the internet.

You aren't going to get rich doing this. These sites typically pay about half a cent per search, and limit the number they will pay on per day to around 15 cents or so. So why bother?

Because you're going to be doing a lot of searching as you research the sites you are looking for. If you're a writer, you'll be researching your topics.

And because 15 cents is still 15 cents.

Granted, it can take a long time to get to a redemption level on nothing more than searches, but it does add up over time. And other than Bing Rewards, most sites have an assortment of other activities that you may be interested in that will pay you more money.

Which site should you join first? It depends on what else you're interested in. Match the site, and it's payout offerings, to your interests and preferences, then start using it.

Stick to just one site initially to start your serious searching. Because it doesn't matter which you start with if you end up joining one or more "Get Paid To" sites. You're always going to find an offer somewhere to get X amount of points from Site B to sign up with Site A (the one you just joined) through them.

I don't want to post a full review of a site until after I've cashed out on it, and as of the date of this writing, so far the only site that pays for searches that I have redeemed from is SwagBucks. (Update: since this writing, I have redeemed from Bing Rewards. See that review here.) That said, I do feel confident enough in these sites to tell you that I also use paid searches at the moment through Inbox Dollars and Send Earnings. I'm looking for additional paid search sites to join.

Bing Rewards, Inbox Dollars, and Send Earnings all pay one cent or one point for every two searches up to a maximum of 15 cents or points per day (although Bing sometimes increases the limit on certain days).

SwagBucks does not pay on every search, only randomly, but I have received between 6 and 23 SwagBucks on searches that do reward. Typically, they run in the 6-8 range for me. In my first two months on SwagBucks, I have made a cumulative total of $3.29 on searches.

I will review each of these sites in future posts.

If you do decide to join one of these sites, I would appreciate it if you would use my referral links below. Thank you.


First Sign-up for Online Earners: One or More New Email Accounts

One thing every website, every e-newsletter, every sweepstake, and every freebie that you sign up for is going to require is a valid email address. The reason they want your email address is so that they can send you emails. And many of them want to send you LOTS of emails.

This is why it's important to have more than one email address.

There are plenty of places to find free email accounts--Gmail, Yahoo, Outlook/Hotmail, your internet provider, etc. Take advantage of that opportunity to open as many accounts as you need to organize your email to suit your specific needs.

If you are only interested in signing up for writing sites, junk mail should not be an issue. Most writing sites usually only contact you about payment. Others allow you to opt in to receive notices about certain issues. But payment emails are something you don't want to miss, so when signing up for writing sites, it's wise to use the email address where the important stuff, like bills and bank statements, goes. If you are going to be paid by PayPal, it should also be an account tied to your PayPal account. (More on that in a future post).

One email address might be sufficient if you're signing up for writing sites only, but it never hurts to have one or more extra.

If you intend to get paid more than an occasional 50 cents for taking surveys, then you may want to set up an account just for surveys, or for surveys and other things that you want to check on several times a day. The ratio of surveys you are offered to surveys you actually qualify and are paid for is very low. The invitations that land in your email box should theoretically be the ones most likely to match your profile, so you want easy access to them so that you can respond to them as soon as possible before all the slots in your profile group are taken. You don't want the notice to get lost in a long list of other mail.

Then there's the other stuff. If you like to enter sweepstakes or sign up for freebies, you already know how much junk mail that can sometimes generate. Even if the site doesn't share your address with their "partners", you could end up with multiple sales pitches in a single day from a single site.

"Offers", either free (as in not supposed to cost you anything) or paid (as is fork over your credit card info), are a big part of some "Get Paid To" (GPT) or "Paid to Click" (PTC) sites. All of them require an email.

The free ones are basically a trade-off. You give them your email address in exchange for a token amount of points. All of them are going to generate some email. Some of them are going to generate a lot.

As of this writing, I haven't had much extra mail from the GTP sites I have signed up for themselves. Some of the offers, on the other hand, send one or more emails daily. I still have many more sites I want to sign up for, so I expect the junk mail to increase.

Most of the time, you can unsubscribe without any more hassle than clicking on the unsubscribe link and following through the instructions. It's not difficult, but it does take a little time. If you multiply that by a lot of sign-ups, it could take a lot of time.

So, it's a very good thing to have a separate account for anything that could be spammy: newsletters, sweepstakes, contests, online retailers that you aren't currently placing an order with, organizations that offer you information, etc. If it turns out that the communication you get is something you really want to receive, you can always change your contact information later.

As far as GTP and PTC sites, it should be okay to sign up for the reputable ones with a regular account tied to your PayPal (if they pay via PayPal). I haven't had enough experience with some of them to know. If in doubt, use the junk mail address. If it turns out okay, you can change it later easier than you can unload the junk mail from your regular account should they turn out to be spammy. Just be sure to make certain that you sign up for offers with your junk mail account. Sometimes they automatically fill out part of your contact information on offer forms, including the email you signed up for the site with. Watch out for that and change it.

When signing up for a junk mail account, choose one with a good spam filter. Just make sure to check for confirmation emails after signing up for something new. You will need to respond to these to confirm your account, and you may need to hunt them down if they are sent to the spam folder.

What I Do:

I'm preaching from hindsight more than practice, but I am in the process of taking my own advice. I have a "good" account that I keep as private as possible. This is my main PayPal email, and the account I use for important things. I've opened a new junk mail account for many of my new sign-ups.

And then there's my "regular" account.

This was formerly my primary account for almost everything, which is how it ended up being clogged with a lot of junk. I'm in the process of reclaiming it now for the things I want to see daily, such as surveys and emails from stores and websites I use daily or weekly (got to have my free downloads from Book Shout, Kroger, and Saving Star!), and sites that I trust but don't want to give my good address to. This is my secondary PayPal address. I'm in the process now of moving other things over to either my good account or the junk mail account.

As I see more organizational needs, I'll probably open one or more additional accounts in the near future. Right now I'm noticing two different types of emails in my junk mail account that I'd really like to separate. I'm considering another account for things that are somewhat important but that I don't want in my regular account.

You Can Earn Anything Online From a $5 Gift Card to a Fulltime Income

Looking for a little extra spending money each month? Or are you looking for a full time or part time job working from home with a flexible schedule? Earning money online may be the opportunity you are looking for.

Although there are many companies offer opportunities to perform various jobs from home, either full time or part time, the scope of My Road to Earning Online deals with opportunities to earn cash, gift cards, or merchandise via a number of websites as an independent contractor. And since you are your own boss, it's up to you how much time and effort you wish to commit to earning, when you do it, what you do, how you do it, what websites you will choose, and how you will be rewarded.

It is what you make it.

If you're looking to make a fulltime wage working from home on the internet tomorrow, you need to be reading someone else's blog. I don't know how, and the opportunities available are not ones I am interested in. Go search Bing for get rich quick schemes.

If you're looking to make money writing, answering surveys, searching the internet, watching videos, or a number of other easy things, keep reading.

What I am pursuing is a dream to have writing pay as many of my expenses as possible, supplemented by activities that I can pick and choose according to my needs, interests, and time, activities that will not significantly detract from my writing.

No one option of the kind I am choosing will provide you a living wage. And while it is extremely accessible, it's not always easy. It's simple to earn a $10 gift card over a period of several weeks. To bring $500 a month into your PayPal account from multiple sources is a huge challenge when much of the time you are literally working for pennies.

The trick is not bringing in $50 an hour from one website. It's in bringing in $5 here, a dollar there, 50 cents here, 10 cents there, and doing it from the amount of sources it will take to add up to your goal.

Don't quit your day job just yet.

Is earning online going to be just a hobby for you? A meal out at your favorite restaurant every once in a while? A way to earn money for Christmas presents? School clothes for the kids? Cash to pay the rent? A full time job?

Start with a small goal and work up from there. It takes awhile to learn what does and doesn't work for you. What works for someone else might or might not be what you want.

The first thing to do is research. Find out what is out there. What are the things you can do to earn money online? Which ones are you willing to do?

Thursday, July 24, 2014

My Road to Earning Online

First of all, let me emphasize that my blog My Road to Earning Online is MY road to earning online. This isn't what someone else did, or a comprehensive list of every way someone could make money online. It's what I do.

Unless I specifically state otherwise, each website I write about is one that I either currently use or have used in the past. The opinions I express about them are mine, and they will be honest ones.

I do use referral links when suitable. If you click on a referral link, sign up for that website, and complete any specific tasks the referral agreement calls for, I will be paid. What I earn will depend on the website. It might be a dollar. It might be a commission based on how much you earn. Or it might be just a penny. I will include referral information, if applicable, in each website review if you want to know what I make or what you can make also.

That said, I will not refer you to a website that I cannot endorse just so that I will make a little money. Unless otherwise stated, all referral links will connect you only to sites I currently use myself. It would make no sense to use a referral link to a website that I don't expect to get paid from.

When I review a site, I will tell you what I like about it, and what I don't like. I will only post comprehensive reviews of sites that have paid me. If I feel confident enough to recommend a site that I have not yet cashed out on, I will specifically state that I have not yet redeemed from that site.

My reviews, of course, will be colored by my expectations of the site. For "Get Paid To" sites, for instance, I am most interested in:

Things I am doing anyway, such as internet searches,
Things that are quick and easy, like daily polls or confirming paid emails,
Things I can do in the background, such as listening to the radio,
Things that are fun, like playing games or watching videos.

I rarely shop online and I'm very leery of signing up for things I have to pay for. For that matter, I'm leery of signing up for some things that are free. If you were looking for a site that gives cash back for shopping, you might have a completely different expectation of a site I love for playing videos or doing searches or that I don't like for doing surveys.

I will strive to be as accurate as possible in what I say. It doesn't hurt my ego a bit to say "I don't know."

I don't expect you to take my word as a sole recommendation. There are a lot of scam sites on the internet, and a lot of legitimate sites. There are also a lot of legitimate sites that have serious shortcomings. Do your research. Search for reviews and complaints. Be aware that many people who whine about not being paid didn't get paid because they broke the rules. Try to sift the legitimate complaints from those that have no basis.

Always read the terms and conditions and the privacy policy of any website you are considering. A good idea would be to read through them upon first interest, then research how the site works, how you earn money there, and how you get paid there. Then, if you decide to sign up, read through the terms again carefully before you commit.

As a consideration to me, I would ask that if I influenced you to try a site, that you would come back and click through my link should you decide to sign up. You are free not to, of course, but doing so would ensure that I got the referral. I will be very thankful if you do.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

What Did I Write About on Yahoo Voices?

Other than my Old Roads Once Traveled blog, Yahoo Voices was the first website I wrote for online, or for that matter, for the public to read. As a new and rather intimidated (not to mention timid) writer, I admit to being at a loss for ideas. I knew I wanted to create a niche offering advice to owners of diabetic cats, so my experience with Guiness' diabetes was an obvious inspiration.

That written, submitted, and published, I was then faced with the "what next?" question. Nothing inspires writer's block faster than that question. Writing is easy. Coming up with topics can be hard. Fortunately a reunion concert with former members of the Cathedrals (one of my all-time favorite Southern Gospel quartets) had just been announced. I wrote up a short news story, submitted it, waited, and it was published a week after my first article.

Those two articles are my top articles on Yahoo Voices, being viewed just over 460 times each over the last 12 months and earning me 39 cents in performance pay (for views), not counting the $3.23 upfront payment I received on the first article.

By comparison, had I published those on Bubblews, I would have gotten paid over $4.60 each for views, plus a penny for each like and comment. And that is just one of the reasons the Yahoo Contributor Network--while I am adamant about being glad I joined--got neglected very quickly once I joined Bubblews.

I followed those two articles with two book reviews, an article about the Book of Kells, a how-to/review on uses for toothpaste, one assigned topic, and a museum review.

My total views for the eight articles surpassed a whopping 2000 views and failed to make me rich beyond my wildest dreams. Still, I don't regret the time or the effort I put into them, and I remain continually grateful for the Yahoo Contributor Network and it's Academy for the training and experience they gave me. If they weren't closing, I would highly recommend anyone interested in writing online get their start there.

Here are the eight articles I published on Yahoo Voices, but they will only be available to view until July 31, 2014.

7 Things Not to Do when Your Cat Has Diabetes

Cathedrals Family Reunion Brings Together Former Cathedral Quartet Members

Little Farm in the Ozarks by Roger Lea MacBride
Little House on Rocky Ridge by Roger Lea MacBride
What is the Book of Kells?

Putting Toothpaste to the Test
5 Life Lessons I Learned Teaching Piano Lessons

Seven Springs Museum in Powder Springs, Georgia 





Yahoo Voices and Yahoo Contributor Network to Shut Down

Yahoo has announced that it will shut down it's Yahoo Voices site on July 31, 2014. The Yahoo Contributor Network, comprised of the writers who contributed to Yahoo Voices, will follow suit in August after making the final payments to the writers.

As I mentioned in my previous post, the Yahoo Contributor Network was my first paid writing experience. It wasn't the most fun and I earned very little there, but the education and experience it gave me was well worth it. I will always be grateful that it was the site I joined first. If I had joined Squidoo or Bubblews first, I would never have gained the knowledge and skill that I am still applying to every other writing opportunity I've had.

Despite the low pay, the Yahoo Contributor Network was a site I continued to recommend to new writers, and would continue to recommend if it as not closing.

I only published a few articles on Yahoo Voices. There are only a few days left to read them on that site. Here is the link to my profile page.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

A "Real" Writer

I remember the moment. I had searched for a topic I no longer remember, and opened a blog I no longer remember the title of by someone I don't remember the name of, and started reading an introduction. When I clicked on the "Read more" link, I was directed to an article on Yahoo Voices.

Somehow in discovering that blog, I discovered a writer who made a decent income writing as a member of the Yahoo Contributor Network. Whatever information I originally sought from him was forgotten as I read his articles on how he made money writing on the Yahoo Voices site. I did some research and was hooked.

I joined the Yahoo Contributor Network July 4, 2013, and it was a decision I have never regretted, and don't foresee any reason to although they announced their closure almost a year to the day (July 2, 2014) later. I ended up only publishing a handful of dollars there and made just a little over five dollars, but it was the most productive five dollars I have ever earned.

I will always be eternally grateful that the Yahoo Contributor Network was my first paid writing site. Before I ever tried submitting an article to Yahoo Voices, I paced myself through all three levels of their online Academy. The Academy not only taught me what Yahoo expected of me as a writer as far as content, quality, and submission practices, it taught me so many things about writing online for any platform. Things that were sorely lacking from my 1983 Media Writing class in college (imagine that!). I'm not sure I had ever heard the term "Search Engine Optimization" before then, but by the time I completed all the courses, I had a basic understanding of it and how to apply it to writing content for the internet.

My first article for Yahoo was published on July 15, 2013 and netted me an upfront payment of $3.23 (plus performance pay from views). I was now a "real" writer. A "professional". I had been paid.

You can read it here, but read it quick. The Yahoo Voices website will be shut down July 20, 2014.

The photo is of my cat Guiness. Guiness' diabetes was the subject of my first article, and he's still one of my most profitable topics.

He's also a "real writer" himself. He posts his own feline spin on life on "The Guiness Blog by Guiness the Cat", in addition to frequent "The Guiness Blog" journal posts on Bubblews.

The Blog

It sounds so simple. Start a blog. Get a Google Adsense account. Make money.

So I set up a blog on called "Old Roads Once Traveled" and commenced writing with a warning that I really didn't know what I was doing. I've learned a lot since then, but as far as the technical stuff, the warning still holds true.

I wrote a few posts and then, as Blogger had encouraged me to do, I applied for a Google Adsense account.

And promptly got rejected.

I got no explanation from Adsense why I was rejected, but common sense since acquired makes me certain it was because I was applying for a brand new blog with just a tiny bit of content. So, now monetization shy, I set about building content with a view to monetizing later, like, say, after three months.

Just so you know, as of this writing over a year after that "after three months" estimate, I still haven't monetized that blog. But it's still on the to-do list. When that happens, you'll read about it here.

In all fairness, I did get sidetracked from making money writing a blog by making money elsewhere, which is the subject of my next post.

How I Became an Online Earner

I have been a writer all my life.

I just never got paid for it until 2013.

Taking the plunge that spring with my first blog, I began the process of trying to figure out ways to make money writing online. That process led first to writing sites, but it is very difficult to make a living writing online, or at least not without a steady reader base and a large portfolio of online content.

And that takes time. I needed money now.

I enjoy the freedom of working for myself and the flexibility that writing online offers and I enjoy working from home, so the next logical step for supplemental income was other online opportunities. A search for potential online earning that would (1) supplement but not interfere with my writing, and (2) allow me the freedom to pick and choose what I wanted and how much time I wanted to devote to it led me to survey and "Get Paid To" sites.

This blog will chronicle my journey into my online work. I don't claim to be an expert about any of the topics I share. I'm simply sharing what I've learned and what I think. This is what has, and hasn't, worked for me. It might or might not work for you.

It's an ongoing process. I'm still learning, but what I'm learning I'm happy to share.