The Easiest Way to Make (A Little) Money Online

Pat Flynn released his 15th podcast episode over at the Smart Passive Income Blog yesterday.  In it, he suggests that the easiest way to create a passive stream of income on the internet is to write articles for revenue-sharing sites like InfoBarrel.  I don’t like to get too metaphysical, but it seems like the stars were aligned just right when he mentioned InfoBarrel only one day after it produced my first internet marketing revenue.  I’d like to go into a little more detail about the pros and cons of writing these kinds of articles as a means of creating passive income streams.

The first big pro is that this kind of work can be done without having to set aside a lot of time.  I am a good, experienced writer, so I can turn out a quality 500 to 750-word article in about 30-60 minutes.  InfoBarrel will even accept articles as short as 325 words.  I can write an article during the little gaps and downtime throughout the day.  This is a big benefit over working on a project that requires long, uninterrupted chunks of time.

The second big pro is that there is basically no investment of money required to get started.  Even if you don’t already have a computer and an internet connection for personal use, you could conceivably do this from a public internet terminal at your local library.

The big con in all of this, of course, is that the return on the time you invest does take quite a while.  If an average article provides about $1.00 in pre-tax income a month, the time I spent writing it might take six months to a year to surpass minimum wage equivalency.   Three or four years down the road, though, those early articles will have produced a pretty impressive hourly rate.  It’s the long run that really counts here, and with the ability to add an article here and there rather than having to sit down and write for 8 hours at a clip, this is an excellent money-making option for people who can produce lots of good content.

If I produce even three articles a week, they will start adding up quickly.  My first two articles have already made me about $4.oo in less than two months.  Just for the sake of simplicity, we’ll say that the each of the articles is averaging $1.00/month.  If I produce three articles each week, and each of those articles continue to average the same $1.00/month, let’s take a look at how that would affect my passive income over the course of a year.

At the end of the first week, I will have created a monthly income rate of $3.00, and my earnings at the end of the week will be about $0.69.  By the end of the second week, my monthly income rate will have increased to $6.00, and my total earnings would be $2.08.  While these numbers are small, so is my investment of time.  I could very well have produced the three articles in about an hour to an hour and a half.  While two bucks for three hours of work is pretty lousy, remember that this income stream will continue to flow all year, getting bigber and bigger.

At the end of Week #52, my monthly income rate will be about $156.00, and my total earnings for the year will be $954.00.  While my hourly rate at the end of Week 2 was only about $0.69/hr, my average hourly rate at the end of the year will be $12.23.  It’s nothing to write home about, but it was simple to do.

So what happens if I don’t write even one more article after that first year?  Well, in the second year my original 156 articles will produce another $1,872.00, without my having to put in any more work.  I have no costs associated with their upkeep–no domains to renew, no hosting to buy, no advertising costs, and no employees to pay.  After the writing is done, I can truly leave it on autopilot.

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5 Responses to The Easiest Way to Make (A Little) Money Online

  1. Stephen says:

    Hi Cory

    Out of interest how many articles did you have on Infobarrel and how long have you been an author there before you saw a return from adsense?

    Just curious because i just joined myself.
    I know not to expect big returns anytime soon, but like you said it bulds up.

    • Cory says:

      Glad to see you’re still following the blog, Stephen. :)

      I only had two articles on InfoBarrel when I got my first revenue. The first article I wrote just as a way to build a backlink to my first niche site. It has garnered very little traffic. The second one I wrote was actually done with the intention of making me some money directly.

      The site used to have an article suggestion tool for writers that seems to have been taken off with their recent redesign. One of the suggested articles was “Hydrogen [Fuel]”. I actually used Market Samurai to do a little keyword research to see if there was a more specific long-tail related to hydrogen that would make a good article, as I have a decent knowledge of chemistry. A decent phrase I found was “HHO Generator”.

      I had just written a rant about that very subject after a friend of mine was talking about someone who was promoting the technology. I had to inform my friend that it was a well-known (at least to me) scam, and broke down the snake-oil sales pitch scientifically. I just did the same on InfoBarrel and called it “The HHO Generator – A Myth Debunked”. It didn’t get a whole lot of traffic for the first month, but for some reason people have been hitting it hard and heavy the past week. I even got another click-through today for another $0.66 in AdSense revenue. So, it did take almost two months before I saw a dime, but that isn’t bad considering I only wrote two articles.

      I am really hoping to get at least three more articles a week posted to the site, so the revenue should add up quickly. The new niche site I am working on has lots of great long-tails associated with it (all 1000+ local monthly searches, with little/weak SEO competition), so this is going to really be a double whammy for me. I am going to focus the next few days on getting the new niche site filled with content (which is going to be a lot easier than it has been with the garlic site–that niche was a poor choice, but I still think I will get to #1 in another month or two). Once the site is up, I will start writing my InfoBarrel articles to match the content. Each article will be matched to a good long-tail keyword for direct InfoBarrel revenue, and will also link to a relevant page within my new niche site for direct traffic and SEO link juice.

      • Stephen says:


        I’m curious to see how you get on with the blog to be honest and you have a good writing style so keep it up.
        That is a good tip, adding a link from your infobarrel articles to your niche sites individual pages.

        I think now with so much competition in almost every niche it goes without that saying that one must target niches within niches and also to target those long tail keywords, particularly as the site grows those long tail traffic to the site will turn into shorter keyword traffic.

        I started writing for infobarrel myself this week and wrote 5 articles so far with no problems getting them approved. Hopefully I can keep up my article a day going and the more articles you have the more you can see which titles and which subjects attract the most traffic and adjust subsequent ones.

        P.s I found your site from smartpassiveincome blog, I clicked through on one of your comments.

        Oh and yes I have to agree the garlic site doesn’t seem like the greatest niche site idea in the world. But we have to start somewhere.
        Good luck

  2. mike says:

    thanks for the detailed analysis and for expanding on pat’s ideas about infobarrel.
    my girlfriend is trying to get into internet marketing with me and she wants to start by writing articles as well. i’m just afraid that the lack of quick results will turn her away. i hope that she sticks with it..

    good luck to you.

    • Cory says:

      There definitely isn’t any immediate gratification in writing for InfoBarrel. Even just a few days after that spurt of revenue, my motivation for posting articles is perceivably lower than it was when the clicks were coming in. I have played poker semi-professionally on and off for the last six years, and writing for InfoBarrel is similar in a way. Sometimes you get a really high CTR to pump you up and get you excited, but mostly it’s just a grind. You put in a lot of time without getting anything back immediately, knowing that they’ll pay off down the road in those occasional bursts of revenue.

      I’m working hard to get the content ready on my second niche site, and as soon as that is ready to receive some traffic I will be knocking out a bunch of related articles for InfoBarrel. I’ll be adding good contextual links to both the homepage and the inner pages, with strong anchor text. Of course, I intend to make these really good, quality articles, and I want the linked-to pages to really add value to the users’ experience. It will offer a really great situation, I think. Readers will get great info, both on IB and my niche site, I will make money from my contextual ads on IB, and I will be loading my niche site with solid backlinks.

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