Well, I now have the new website up and running. It’s still very bare bones, but I’ve got my main pages up for contributors (site intro, how to sign up, submission guidelines, payment info, privacy page, etc). And I’ve put up three blog posts of my own so that interested writers can see what kind of content I’m looking for from them.
The design is simple (just a basic WordPress theme) and cheap at this point. I could spend money on the design up front, but then I’d have a pretty website with no content and no writers and no more money to pay them haha. So I think it’s more important to put that money towards paying contributors first.
I did make a few changes in the rules and structure, though.
Keeping It “Niche” (sort of)…
A comment from a reader, Gil, a couple of posts back got me thinking about the topics to be covered on the site. Gil asked whether it would be a niche site focusing on one main topic or if it would cover just about anything.
My original vision for the site was that it would be similar to HubPages and would cover practically everything under the sun. But I had to abridge that, because I am going to guarantee writers that every post they publish will make the same amount of money every month, regardless of traffic…totally consistent passive income that is not based on page views, stats, etc. If I let contributors write about ANYTHING, then I’m going to lose a lot of money haha! So I narrowed it down to 13 potentially profitable categories, and I figured I’d let contributors write about anything that fit into one of those categories.
It’s going to take FOREVER for me to organically and legitimately rank a new site that has no focus.
So I’ve decided to have new contributors pick one of the 13 categories as their niche, and their first 30 posts must be in that category. After they get 30 articles published in their chosen niche, then they can branch out and write stuff for the other 12 categories.
So that was one change. (Thanks Gil!)
Simple, Straighforward Pay Rates
Another change was how much I would pay the writers. If you saw my previous post on this, then you might remember this big long payment scale where writers start out earning 25 cents per post per month and then gradually work up to 30 cents, 35 cents…all the way to $1.00 per post per month. But that would take pretty much forever and would discourage a lot of writers (although it would motivate some quite well).
Anyways, I simplified that and went back to my original plan, which was to pay 50 cents per post per month. It’ll cost me more up front, but I think it will be more enticing for new contributors and could make the difference between them signing up or walking away.
The last big change was concerning external links.
Originally, in my zealousness to build a website that would be more or less spam-proof, I was not going to allow any external links in posts, not even in the author byline at the end of each post. But that was overkill, and it would make for a possibly frustrating experience for both the readers and the contributing bloggers. So I amended that rule to allow a link in the byline that goes to the contributor’s blog homepage. That way, if the reader loves what they read and wants to comment or interact with the author, they can just click the link and go straight to that contributor’s blog.
Plus, it’s a small incentive for the contributor, getting a link to their blog from every post they write.
So, that’s where I’m at today on this project.
Now I’m asking a handful of bloggers I know and trust to take a look at the site and let me know what they think about it. These folks have written for sites like HubPages, Squidoo, Textbroker, Odesk…and they have their own blogs as well, so they know their stuff and would likely be able to offer some great feedback. After that, I may or may not make some more tweaks to the rules and guidelines.
Then all I need is content