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  • Book Review: Blogging for Profit by Ruth Soukup

    Review of Blogging for Profit - chieffamilyofficer.com

    Note: This post contains affiliate links that help support this site at no additional cost to you. Thank you for clicking through them! You can read CFO’s full disclosure here.

    I discovered Ruth Soukup’s book, How to Blog for Profit (Without Selling Your Soul) last year when it was mentioned by Crystal at Money Saving Mom.

    I’ve been blogging for nearly ten years {wow, the years have flown by!}, so I’ve read a lot about the topic of blogging. But it’s taken me a while since quitting my job as a lawyer and becoming a full-time blogger to embrace the fact that blogging is now truly my job.

    How to Blog for Profit really helped with that mental shift, because Ruth takes the business of blogging seriously but also with enthusiasm, passion, and conviction. Most of what’s contained in the book can actually be found for free all over the internet. But Ruth has pulled all of that information together in one place, and it’s all well-written and completely credible.

    She covers all of the major topics, from advertising to sponsorships to SEO optimization and strategies for increasing traffic to your site. She even shares income figures for some anonymous blogs, and how those figures divide up in terms of where the income comes from. I have to say, Ruth’s explanation of SEO was the easiest to understand that I’ve ever come across.

    The biggest message in How to Blog for Profit is that your blog content needs to be worth reading. It’s always been true, of course, but it’s so true that it’s worth repeating. The addendum to that is one that hasn’t been addressed as much, and it’s that your content needs to look good, especially in this day and age of Pinterest.

    The best message in the book is that if your content is great, you can make money. Ruth covers the various methods, including affiliate links, selling your own products, ads, and more. Her writing is concise and clear, and in my experience, accurate and credible. In fact, because my own personal experience correlates with much of what Ruth says, I find her completely credible on the parts that I didn’t know much about, like SEO.

    Each chapter ends with an action plan, although most of the tasks on each action plan aren’t “do it and forget it” types. Many require an implementation plan of their own, such as designing an aesthetically pleasing and useful site, or joining collaborative Pinterest boards. Basically, you can read the book in one sitting, but you’ll have to choose tips to focus on, and then come back to the book when you’re ready to take the next step.

    All in all, How to Blog for Profit is easily the best advice I’ve ever read on making money blogging. If you’re a blogger, or thinking about becoming a blogger, who wants to make money, I can’t recommend this book highly enough. At $4.99, the book is well worth the price. However, Ruth seems to regularly put the book on sale for just $0.99, and I’ll let you know the next time I see the book at that price.

    Good luck in your money making blogging ventures!

    Image via FreeDigitalPhotos.net by ddpavumba.

    Quirky Ways to Make Extra Money

    This is a guest post by Kyle Taylor, who writes about how to make extra money at www.ThePennyHoarder.com.

    Making extra money is as popular a financial goal as paying off debt or cutting your spending. When you’re just making ends meet, it can be tempting to try to make extra money through traditional channels such as freelancing or taking on a part-time job.

    But what about having a bit of fun when it comes to making extra money? What about doing something that’s not the norm? Chances are the pure novelty factor of doing something unique will help you keep a sustained effort to continue to bring in the extra dollars.

    If you’re looking to boost your bottom line, consider some of these quirky options:

    Become a Tester

    There are countless medical and cosmetic research tests happening daily. Why not cash in on this opportunity by finding some where you fit the company, university or hospital’s required specifications?

    As long as you’re being smart by not putting your body or health in jeopardy and you understand all of the aspects of the study and potential risks/side effects, becoming a tester can be a fun, interesting way to bring in some extra money.

    One other option is to peruse the websites of local universities. A lot of social science departments (psychology, anthropology, ethnology) run studies and need volunteers to complete simple tasks or interviews. In exchange for your time, you’re often rewarded with money, free parking and even free meals.

    Embrace the Odd Job

    Maybe you’re a yard work or house cleaning pro. Perhaps you’re a handyman who enjoys DIY projects. Whatever your hidden talents and interests may be, consider doing odd jobs to boost your cash flow. You can post your services on websites like Craigslist or you could respond to help wanted solicitations you may come across.

    Sell Your Gift Cards

    If you’re holding onto a bunch of gift cards for stores or services you know you won’t use, consider selling them to make some extra cash. You can easily post them on eBay or other sites for a percentage of the face value and once they’re sold, that’s extra money straight to your pockets.

    Rent Out Your Space

    No, this doesn’t mean taking on a roommate or giving up your privacy. What we’re talking about here is renting your outdoor space out to people who need it. Think garages, parking spots, boat docks, vacant land you own, etc. If you’re someone who lives in the city or are located close to attractions or event locations, renting out your parking spot could easily fetch you a few hundred dollars a year (or more!).

    With locations close to event arenas, don’t discount the option to rent out your yard/driveway for temporary parking for the event-goers. If the location where you’re renting is close to a popular destination or area, check out the rates commercial garages are charging to get a sense of how to price your space. Come in under the commercial guys’ rates and you’re sure to be on your way to more money.

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    Money-making Tip: Update your listings if you sell on Amazon

    I’ve written before about selling on Amazon, and how it’s my favorite way to sell used items like books, video games, and DVDs. Not everything is worth listing, but one thing that’s great about Amazon is that it’s pretty much a “list and forget it” kind of thing. If an item sells, Amazon will send you an email, but unless and until that happens, you don’t really need to think about it.

    However . . . I’d noticed that it had been a long time since I’d sold anything at Amazon. So a couple of weeks ago, I went through the two grocery bags where I kept the items listed for sale at Amazon and checked the listings. Many of the items were no longer worth selling – there were too many similar items, so the price had dropped considerably since I’d created my listing. I deleted those listings and moved the items to my pile of things to donate.

    For most of the remaining items, I had to drop the price to bring it in line with other sellers’ prices that had been posted since I’d last checked. I also updated a couple of listings with more detail about the condition of the item.

    The effort has paid off. In the couple of weeks since the update, I’ve sold half a dozen items and keep having to go to the post office – adding about $50 to my savings account in the meantime.

    If you’re interested in learning about selling on Amazon, check out my previous series on selling at Amazon, and these updates.

    The Top Five Ways I Earn Free Money Online

    Ways to Make Money Online - chieffamilyofficer.com

    Last year, I quit my job as an attorney to become a full-time blogger and be more available to my children. My main source of income is blogging, but you don’t need a blog to make money online. Here my top five non-blog sources of income:

    1. Swag BucksSwag Bucks is my favorite way to earn free money, because it’s so effortless. I just use Swag Bucks as my default search engine, and earn Swag Bucks throughout the day. Then I redeem those Swag Bucks for prizes like Amazon and Paypal gift certificates. If you use Swag Bucks regularly, searching multiple times throughout the day, you can easily earn a $5 Amazon certificate each month – and more if you have referrals. Learn more about Swag Bucks here. Thank you if you join(ed) Swag Bucks using my referral link!

    2. Instant Win Sweepstakes & Giveaways – I enter instant win sweepstakes and giveaways every day, and I win rarely. But I do win often enough to make the effort worthwhile – things like $25 Visa gift cards, $100 eBay gift cards, and free product coupons. There’s more information here, including how I find giveaways and sweepstakes to enter.

    3. Pinecone Research – Pinecone is a survey company that pays $3 per survey. Last year, I earned $84 from them by taking surveys whenever I had time. Unfortunately, Pinecone is usually closed to new registrants, but if you ever see that there’s a sign up link, I recommend registering immediately if you’re interested. Learn more about Pinecone here.

    4. My Points – I’ve been a member of My Points for nearly ten years now, and I really enjoy getting gift cards for free through them. I get CVS or Walgreens gift cards that I can use to save even more money in The Drugstore Game. All I’ve ever done is click through their emails, answer surveys, and print coupons from their site – and that’s enough for two to three $10 gift cards per year for about 10 minutes of time per week. Learn more about My Points here. Thank you if you join(ed) MyPoints using my affiliate link!

    5. Instant Cash SweepstakesInstant Cash Sweepstakes is a market research site that offers tiny cash payouts for taking surveys, but those small amounts add up and you can cash out when you have $2 in your account (it takes about a month). I like the consistency of ICS, and you can build up your pennies faster through referrals. Learn more about ICS here. Thank you if you join(ed) ICS using my referral link!

    Banner via MySavings.com.

    Instant Cash Sweepstakes Update

    I’ve written about Instant Cash Sweepstakes before as part of my Ways to Make & Save Money series, and I wanted to highlight some changes they recently made because I won $50!

    ICS is a market research site that offers tiny cash payouts for taking surveys – usually 1 to 9 cents every three hours or so, with four questions per survey. With each survey, you win coins and tickets, and it used to be that your tickets would be entered into a daily $50 sweepstakes. You could use your coins to buy more tickets, but I always found it inconvenient, because you couldn’t just convert all of your coins to tickets and it took too long to buy small batches of tickets.

    But one of the recent changes ICS made recently is to make it easy to convert all of your coins to tickets, and by last week, I’d accumulated over 30 million coins. So I entered them all into the daily sweepstakes one day and won the $50 daily prize. 😀

    Instead of buying more tickets for the $50 daily prize, you could go for another of the recent changes and use your coins to enter the $2 drawing that’s held every four hours.

    As I mentioned in my last post about ICS, it’s taking me less time to earn money through them than through other methods like MySurvey, and I like that I can earn it consistently, even if it’s just a few cents at a time. ICS pays out through PayPal very promptly, which I appreciate.

    If you’re new to ICS, I’d love it if you’d sign up using my referral link – your pennies + my pennies will help me reach my savings goals that much faster. Thank you!

    Ways to Make & Save Money Update: I’m still enjoying ICS

    A few months ago, I recommended Instant Cash Sweepstakes as a way to make free money online. It’s a very simple site to use – you just answer a few multiple choice surveys, and every few surveys, you earn a few cents. I’ve won anywhere from 1 cent to 9 cents. You can withdraw your cash winnings as soon as you hit the $2 mark, which has been taking me about three weeks. When you don’t win cash, you win tickets and tokens, which can be used to buy more tickets. The tickets go into a pot for a daily $50 drawing. I haven’t won the $50 yet, but I’m holding out hope because My Good Cents has won it multiple times.

    It’s taking me less time to earn money via ICS than through other methods like MySurvey, and I like that I can earn it consistently, even if it’s just a few cents at a time. I’m not waiting for surveys to become available, like I am with MySurvey or Pinecone.

    No, I’m not going to become rich through ICS, but it’s a worthwhile investment for a few minutes of time a few times a day.