Skeffling’s December 2012 Online Earnings – Happy New Year

by Skeffling on January 7, 2013 · 37 comments

Post image for Skeffling’s December 2012 Online Earnings – Happy New Year

Happy New year and welcome to my last earnings report.  It is a lot of work to put them together and I think you can now see what is possible if you work at this.  Numbers are getting unbelievable now anyway, so this is for those who have been following and are curious how December went.  I am sure there will be a drop in January and Febs earnings coming up, so this will be a nice cushion.

If I can only get around to doing one blog post per month, it may as well be as useful as possible for the readers, rather just an earnings report.  The earnings reports take about two days of work each month, so I am better off spending even just one of those days writing something else that people can use right away.

With Squidoo’s huge unannounced update on December 7th, unfortunately my plans to add all the Amazon modules to the Infobarrel articles had to take a back seat.  The Squidoo improvements were needed improvements and I am really glad that spurred us into fixing any enormous regular Amazon modules that were now hideously large.

As a result we spent days and days in December, updating lenses (while watching National Lampoon’s Christmas vacation and other holiday movies) and we have well over 300 done out of 450 or so.   We got another giant Squid approved on another account so that is more peace of mind on the site.  The improvements had increased clickthroughs so that is great!

Seekyt also had some responsive design improvements and I think we will have the VA working on reformatting for the new mega rectangle/skyscraper as we were formatting for an adsense module half that size and it does look messed up.   Our VA is working on Wizzley updates this month.  He can add the Amazon modules to IB once he is done that.  I think we need more VAs!

So, onto the earnings, even crazier than before!

December 2012 Online Earnings

  • Adsense $161.88
  • Chitika $2.76 
  • Kindle Books $22.89
  • Zazzle $155.13  
  • Hubpages $19.16 
  • affiliate (Mine and Nathan’s IB/Seekyt/Wizzley/Squidoo) account $8549.65
  • £46.64  so $69.96US
  • Clickbank and Shareasale Affiliate $71.16
  • My 50% of the Squidoo Amazon affiliate commissions $7498.01
  • Commission junction $38.02 (first ever)
  • Squidoo Conservative estimate for adshare  $1773.01 (could be another $200 or so higher, it will be officially calculated by Squidoo in 6 weeks).

Grand Total is $18,361.63


We have 763 articles on Squidoo, IB, Seekyt and Wizzley and the earnings over all of them is $24.07 per page (or close as the Zazzle totals are in there too), that is up from $15.70 per article last month.

Total Amazon sales were approximately $361,705 in December so with November’s sales that is over $600,000 in the past 2 months, and over a million in Amazon sales for the year!  We hit 8.25% on my Amazon account (for the first time ever) and Nathan’s was 7.5% rate.  The percentage commission on Squidoo’s sales averaged out to 3.4%.


Looking back at 2012 

As a year, 2012 could have not have been any more unexpected or surprising.  But it was great!

We learned a lot about Internet marketing, but we learned even more about getting your debts down and the false financial security that comes from having a job.


Luckily, we discovered the true bliss (haha!) and freedom that comes from working from home as a couple.    Nathan being laid off was the best thing that could have happened, and we are no longer on that treadmill.

You do not realize how little you really need until you are not rushing around, stressed out and trying to make things work and trying to make yourself feel better about the whole situation.

Totals earned for the year are approximately $64,720.09 and the monthly earnings have gone up fairly steeply as the year has gone on, thanks to the Christmas shopping period.    Here are the monthly amounts again too.  I am guessing costs are $10,000-14,000, nearly all in outsourcing content.  I haven’t added it up yet!

I have never graphed this and am amazed how steep it is.   But my efforts were linear-flat out from about October onwards in 2011, so look at that almost flat first 6 months of  learning and article maturing lag even with outsourcing !   So realize it takes time to build up momentum.  I am expecting a big drop, likely to Summer earning levels for the next couple of months unless we figure out how to do some thing new that works and earns fast.


What next?

I don’t really set goals, I just do things I like and it takes care of itself.  If you read the old earnings reports, you’ll know that!  I guess the only real goal was the one on the Infobarrel forum for earning at least $1,000 some month in 2012 and quitting work which we both managed.

We did try to come up with goals when Nathan joined me in Sept and they were to diversify, get Squidoo down to 25% of the income, and Amazon affiliate down too, and you can see that hasn’t happened yet.  At least half comes through Squidoo/Paypal, and half as cheques from Amazon. most of it earned through Squidoo.  So I am technically calling this next section plans for 2013 rather than goals.



Amazon sales of our own private label products. I have products and recipes I designed 5 or 6 years ago that friends and family loved, but were too onerous to make and sell by hand as a business, so this month I’ll be researching PL companies and commissioning a batch or two.

More Kindle outsourcing and sales.  Nathan will spend more time on this, I will do the research and he will oversee the outsourcing, editing and publishing.

We will build out the niche authority websites with informational pages and continue the daily posts.  I have more ideas for websites, but we have enough on right now!  The 4 sites have earned us about $900 since the first started in Oct, so they are hard to ignore as an income stream.  Any new VA we get will be helping with those I think.

I want to learn how to do photography properly and take better pictures.  I can apply that to Zazzle and other image sales and royalties online eventually too.

Other affiliate programs for physical products like Commission Junction and Ebay and Viglink.  CJ likely through Squidoo and other web 2.0 and Ebay through our niche sites.

We really need to increase Adsense income for true affiliate diversity though it is lower priority as the yield is lower for the effort, and it is harder to re-purpose the content if the account is lost.  By updating,  increasing and improving the Wizzley, Seekyt and Infobarrel articles this will be active enough for now.


For 2013

All I can say is I am excited about moving house, working with my husband in our home, learning new stuff, and sharing what I have learned.  The community online is what I love, learning from others and supporting each other!  Thanks so much for reading and commenting and making this so much fun.  2013 should be a great year for us all!  Best wishes for everyone’s success and true happiness online and real life too.

I plan to have the first part of the book available in the next day or two.  I am too technologically feeble to do what I was originally planning with the list today, I just tried!  Looks like it will take til tomorrow to arrange things properly.  Late night anyone?   I think what I have decided on will be better anyway!  There will be Squidoo troubleshooting treats for the list subscribers, not available on the site!  Thanks for your patience, just a bit longer!


So how did the shopping season treat everyone?  I’d love to know!  Was it Squidoo or other sites that gave you a boost?

Kevin January 7, 2013 at 8:00 pm

Congrats on the huge success, including your venture in the great commissions you can get from CJ. During Halloween, I make thousands from them so it will certainly pay off for you! Now, if I could convince you to get on the Squid eBay bandwagon (I made over $600 just on eBay from Squidoo this month)… :) I know, I know. Priorities! Anyway, congrats!

Skeffling January 7, 2013 at 8:11 pm

Hey Kevin well done! That is awesome! I am starting to add an ebay module low-down around the comments area to pick up any stragglers, though ctrs are pretty high now.

How do you set yours up? Multiple ebay modules or just one or two majorly targeted ones? I have some ideas for used stuff and will go to those if the Squidoo Amazon saturates or I get 5 minutes to do it! Right now only ever seem to sell $5 cables or cell phone cases on ebay. How do you like Viglink on Wizzley? I just signed up today.

Gie January 7, 2013 at 8:15 pm

Hi Claire!

Been waiting for your update for days. Lol! It’s nice to the steep rise in income – very encouraging. Really goes to show what people can achieve if they keep at it (me included ;) I’ve read in your comments from the Nov. earning report that you spend 10 hours a day online in the past year. It’s hard work but it definitely pays off.

My Dec. is about $100 lower than Nov., but I’ve only added 8 lenses in Nov., and my main earner last quarter was a Christmas-related decor niche site, so the sales started to dwindle around mid-December.

It’s great to see you’re diversifying into authority sites, and $900 from 4 sites in like 3 months is a huge achievement, only a few have managed to attain that. How do you do your authority sites? Is it something you’re interested in? Do you only monetize it with Amazon? Do you write content yourself or outsource it?

My main concern with niche sites is that you need to publish a LOT of content, info articles mixed with reviews/articles with aff links. Do you just rely on search engine/google, or do you have a following/any other traffic source for your auth sites?

While this earnings report may be the last one we hear from you, I do hope you’ll share your other experiences as well. I’ve started learning about kindle books, while consistently posting at least 30 lenses/mo on Squidoo. I’ve followed your links to Pat Flynn and Chris Guthrie, and they’re both excellent resource. For your authority sites, where did you learn info re: site set-up, etc.?

thanks a lot for sharing. I know it’s not easy, and it does invite some of negativity from people struck with the green-eyed monster ;) for every person who said you can’t make a full-time earning from free web 2.0 sites, you managed to prove them wrong :D

Do keep us all posted!


Skeffling January 7, 2013 at 9:57 pm

Hi Gie. What a great comment to read! I thought I was the only person who did them that long! Its good you still had some earnings, but I try not to go too seasonal, just gift lenses! Thouhgt I tried 4 decoration ones too and they did the same as yours. 30 lenses a month is a solid goal, you will be doing well when you have them all up!

I guess we proved it is possible, even in a just over year! But even though returns per effort are lower by diversifying, we badly need to and get a product of our own.

Authority sites, right now are niche sites! Haha! We have 50-ish reviews on each, the oldest one has maybe 100 about 1 post a day per site. We are just starting to add informational content and outsource it (low competition titles, decent volume queries) like I do for Squidoo. It is the first time I have ever commissioned purely informational pages and it feels wierd-I usually like every page to earn its keep!!

No back-linking or much social stuff yet, takes too much time, and I have no idea how to do it properly! There may be a point later where we push, but we want to get the content up as well, as long as it earns early on, we can wait on the other stuff. Do you have any suggestions?

We haven’t done this before or “read the books” on it, so we’ll try it out as it is a departure from anything we have tried before. We had been doing the posts ourselves, probably 80-100 total each, but we can’t keep that pace up and still keep going with everything else. So we have 4 female writers writing content for us now! There is lots to do!

We are still posting on the sites and it is our chance to tweak and fix up the content as it comes in, so content will have to improve somewhat or be edited by us first before we’d have a VA do that. We have been married to these sites daily for a few months now, so we are pretty picky, but we want them to be decent! As far as niches, they were ones we were interested in (but not particularly passionate about, though I could bore anyone silly who wants to know about it now!), that we were familiar with and did well on Squidoo. It is a great testing ground.

ash January 7, 2013 at 9:39 pm

Hey Skeffling this is really great, have you ever considered travelling around the world

Skeffling January 7, 2013 at 9:49 pm

Thanks Ash! Yes, we just were realizing what is possible! We are thinking of starting with a week’s narrowboat trip round the UK, and if we like it we’ll do longer like a few months, but I am not ready to give up my hobby farm and chooks just yet, so it will be short trips first. Just need someone to look after the chooks and dog while we are away, as the chickens are totally irresponsible! haha!

Eric January 7, 2013 at 10:56 pm

Claire, this is just astounding! Congratulations! I did a couple lenses 2 months ago (which you liked not long ago so thanks for that :) – but had no success with them. The first one was a throw away b/c I didnt see in your tips that it shouldnt be keyword phrase that was already there, or google doesnt index it. I spent about 10 hours on those 2 and never got a sale, but they did get decent rankings..up to 78,000 out of 1.7 milion lenses at the time. But seeing these earnings I just have to give it a second try. Seems you really have to think outside of the box for buyer keywords for products people actually want when so many keywords are taken on the squidoo platform. Cant decide if I want to try more lenses or write some kindle books. Did you do any SEO research or Amazon/Kindle store for your 3 books?

Skeffling January 9, 2013 at 9:51 pm

Hey Eric, I’d say realistically you need to get 30 or so lenses going and then you’ll have a better idea of how well it will work. 78k is not bad for a start. A lot of people start on Squidoo, leave it for months, go back and realized they earn a little something while they were gone and just need to scale up.

I only looked at Google Adwords search numbers and analysed my competition the way I do for my lenses, but have my allintitle set way higher. It is a little different as I would say they are more Adsense topics than Amazon topics if you know what I mean, and I have yet to nail Adsense! Good luck with whatever you choose.

Mitja Drame February 11, 2013 at 8:14 pm

Eric, it’s not so hard to find buyer keywords. Just think about the things you can have in your arms or something you can wear, etc. Start with a seed keyword (mug), then find a long-tail keyword (blue Snoopy mug), you get the point. Then analyze the competition on Google for the keyword. When you find great keywords, build a lens around them and add products from Amazon and maybe eBay.

You can also improve the lensrank of your lenses. Make another keyword research and add new tags, keywords. Then write fresh and original content and add it to your lenses. You can add video as well. Participate on Squidoo and you’ll get likes, higher CTR, … so your lensrank can improve.

Claudine January 8, 2013 at 12:19 am

Hi Claire,
I just wanted to say thanks so much for posting such in depth earnings reports. They’ve been so inspirational! Congrats to you and Nathan on your online success!

I bit the bullet and got SKD and SKCA. I’m still getting into the groove with them but I love how they’re helping me get more organized with keyword research.

I’m starting to see results using your methods and I’m getting decent traffic from a lens that’s just a month old. Haven’t had any sales from it yet, but I got 2 tiny sales from 2 other lenses! I just have to patient and work a lot harder to get more up! Can you please send your work ethics my way? Lol!

Now, I’m eagerly awaiting the first chapter of your book and checking my email regularly :)

Skeffling January 9, 2013 at 9:58 pm

Hi Claudine,

Thanks. I was happy to do them. Without them, I probably wouldn’t be where I am today. Great on the programs, I hope they help! Congratulations on the sales, that is very promising so soon!

I wanted to send out a troubleshooting guide first and just did tonight! I know many have Squidoo lenses already and some are struggling, so hopefully it will help those in the mire, quickly. It will give anyone new a bit of a heads up too. I’ll give it a day or two then send the first part of the book. Claire

Dave January 8, 2013 at 12:57 am


I was actually looking forward to this. Was really curious how well you guys did… and you guys did awesome! Congrats!

Skeffling January 9, 2013 at 12:04 am

Thanks. We are pretty happy!

CottageHomestead January 8, 2013 at 2:29 am

WOW! Can I just say what a HUGE encouragement you are to me. I started Squidoo this summer and read so many lenses on how to have success with Squidoo. The big thing seemed to be keywords and number of lenses so I just started creating, I am up to 143 lenses and I am pretty sure this months payout will be my best, best being around $100. Nothing comparable to yours but that is my GOAL!!!! Thank you for sharing so much.

Skeffling January 9, 2013 at 10:00 pm

Hi there, thanks for reading and your kind words! Well done on the hard work and earnings! The earnings rates get better as lenses mature and you figure out how to make them earn better with experience! Welcome, again and hope we see you again.

Marcin January 8, 2013 at 3:14 am

Hey Claire, congrats on your earnings ;) Good luck with diversifying your income sources this year. I hope that you’ll put up some sort of earnings report a year from now, showing us some great earnings from other revenue sources, those you’re working on right now and those you’ll work on later this year:)

For me, the holiday season was pretty awesome – I’ve earned over $1500 in December, all thanks to your advice you give everywhere you are. Thanks again and keep up the great work:)

Skeffling January 9, 2013 at 9:53 pm

Hi Marcin, Thanks. We’ll see! I was wondering how you were doing! That is awesome. I think you have it cracked now! Not bad for 3 months work! Not bad at all when you have all the residual coming in too. Hope 2013 is great for you and you don’t need another job!

Dean February 1, 2013 at 4:27 pm

Hi Claire,
Is something wrong? Your last post is dated over 3 weeks ago.
Normally you would have had 75-100 back and forth posting on this blog.
I hope all is well.

Skeffling February 1, 2013 at 6:53 pm

Hey Dean, thanks so much for the concern, it is appreciated. Hope you are great there!

We are just fine, just our nice “quiet” winter suddenly got even busier. Looks like we are moving from the farm in less than a month, gulp. Still has to be firmed up (by this Monday), but we have had to do everything as if we are going March 1st, find a place to move to, selling furniture, doing well testing, house inspectors, bank arrangements and appraisals as well as packing. Ugh!

We just got back from a few days at the Toronto Gift and Tableware show (booked way back in in November) looking for products to sell on Amazon. We think we found some, but that is going to have to go on hold like everything else til we get into the new place. We are excited, it will be good to get this over and done with at last!

I was swamped with comments after Decembers report and haven’t has a good day to sit down and answer them, as I do like to answer them all when my friends and new readers have made the effort! I have 274 comments to look at but I am guessing at least 2/3 are spam.

Joseph February 19, 2013 at 9:02 pm

Hey Claire,

I hope all is well. I’ve been on the look out for your next monthly update but haven’t seen it which is getting me a bit concerned. I know you just responded a few weeks ago, but you often aren’t delayed when posting results.

Hope you and your family are well, and it’s just being overly busy that’s kept you away.

Skeffling March 7, 2013 at 11:01 pm

Hi Joe, Sorry for the delay. Things are fine. I just did a new post today that may help get you caught up. Just too much going on, I have no idea how we would have managed if we were both working jobs! I think we’d be divorced by now! Hope you are doing well there, Claire

elmaco February 23, 2013 at 9:13 am

“… and the earnings over all of them is $24.07 per page”

That is huge. Mega huge. My average on web 2.0 domains is between 8 – 10 bucks a page… and I have been in this game a long, long time.

I am humbled by your performance and could only wish to learn how you get those results.

Good work!

Skeffling March 7, 2013 at 10:55 pm

Wow. Thanks. That is quite a compliment. It just kept going up! I was excited when it was $3 per page just under a year ago, it doesn’t seem real now. I think it down to using buyer phrases where there are really no review articles for that very specific item, then having a decent amount of content on the page to snag long tail Google search. Many of my articles seem to get one search a day per term, for tons and tons of terms. Very few have multiple visits for the same phrase. Then click-throughs are getting better over time. Bigger images help for sure and organizing the page and breaking down the topic or niche seems to help. I have made changes to the page, then check ctr a day later.

Bruce Bussell February 23, 2013 at 10:27 am

Hi Claire,

This is very impressive. One thing I was wondering is if you use paid search any for some of your lenses. Thanks and keep up the great work.


Skeffling March 7, 2013 at 10:47 pm

Hi Bruce, thanks for reading. No paid searches here. I am pretty basic and have ignored a lot of more advanced things to do to increase traffic. I figured I’d learn when I had too, and don’t seem to have needed to yet. I love your lenses!

KathyT February 25, 2013 at 6:40 pm

Hi Claire! You are motivating AND inspiring me! Obviously, with only 61 lenses, I’m no where near $18k. BUT, last January/February, I made NOTHING… And this year? I was paid $20.87 in January, and $43.54 in February!

SO! There’s a start!!

Your post is truly educational, showing me different ways to diversify my lenses. I know I can do this!

Obviously, everyone has to start somewhere – and now I have a start. :)

I also wanted to comment on a response you made to Gie, above (January 7) where you mentioned not working a lot on back-linking, etc. I truly believe that you are proving the point about writing awesome, valuable content being the key component. You can have all the back-links on the planet, but if you write junk, it’s not going to matter.

Please keep us posted! Thanks so much for the inspiration. And keep up the amazing progress!! There is nothing like reading success stories to keep me going!

Hugs to you,

Skeffling March 7, 2013 at 10:45 pm

Thanks Kathy, for reading and your kind comments! I don’t know if the content is awesome, but the reader stats seem to bode well. I only set Google analytics up in Dec and I am pleased with what I have seen so far. I am so glad our story is spurring you on. Even those first few bucks show you the real potential!

Peter Trapasso March 2, 2013 at 1:43 pm

Hi Claire,

Thank you so much for sharing this great information!

I grew up near Niagara Falls, New York before moving to San Francisco several years ago. Ontario is very familiar and beautiful to me.

My background is in web publishing and social media as you can see from my blog. Right now I am making the transition to copywriting or ” words that sell”. Your information is invaluable. We should chat sometime soon.



Skeffling March 7, 2013 at 10:43 pm

Thanks for reading Peter! Copywriting is an art I have always been interested in learning. Hope it goes well for you!

Hope you like the picture on the new post! It is on the Niagara escarpment! I love limestone cliffs and pine trees.

Dean March 7, 2013 at 2:15 pm

Hi Claire,
I’m sure most your faithful followers are as puzzled and disheartened as I am.
Have you officially shut down your blogging activities here and/or writing to your
e-mail list? I hope it is not a health issue or a legal situation. Please let us
have an update on your online commercial activities or just let us know if you
are not going to blog anymore. Thank you. Dean

Skeffling March 7, 2013 at 10:21 pm

Hi Dean,
Sorry to hear you are puzzled and disheartened. I haven’t shut down blogging, we just have a lot on at the moment, and the blog has had to take a back seat. I just posted a new post tonight that might explain. I should have posted before, but things have been up in the air for ages, with no real news to report. It certainly made the winter fly by here! Hope things are good in your world online and offline, Claire

Stephen J Parkin April 8, 2013 at 8:04 am

Hi Skeffling,

I am very impressed at your performance to date and curious as to what made you decide to go this route? Your dedication and efforts certainly appear to have paid off! Do you belong to any member sites on IM such as WA etc.? How are you learning and in particular what traffic sources are you using or did you find that sheer volume in terms of lenses, articles and authority sites drives traffic in and of itself?

I would also be interested in what other tools you are using (if any).

Thanks and congratulations on this success to date.


Skeffling April 17, 2013 at 7:11 am

Hi Steve, thanks for commenting and reading. I spent a lot of time on the free Infobarrel forum when I was starting out, and do pop in from time to time, and now the Squidoo and Yuku forums. I love forums and find learning on them, whether picking up tidbits, tips, or whole changes in direction there, is easy and you never know what you will learn. I always say you don’t know what you don’t know. The forums give you a glimpse of what you don’t know. I have spent maybe a couple hours total on the Warrior forum and have found there is too much to have to steer clear off. I tend to go out of my way to avoid negativity and being sold to, so seldom spend time there. Not sure what WA is.

I just get google traffic mostly and a little of the other search engines. Articles maturing and the quantity of them seem to be the key to traffic, and writing about things that people are looking for that there are not many pages on. Quite a few of my websites and pages only get a few visits a day, but when they are targeted to buyer keywords, the sales rate is not too bad.

I have just been using a stealth keyword digger lately, and not so much the 2 others. I like how it gives me search volume as well and does a decent job of scraping up phrases. I haven’t had as much time as I’d like to spend on kw research with all the Squidoo changes and things going on here, and it is pretty fast to use now. I hope that helps a bit. This is hard work, and takes determination, but I love it!

10thingz April 15, 2013 at 8:34 pm

Thanks for the transparency about your earnings. I have had a successful freelance copywriting career but know that the real money is in residual income, so I’m trying to build an online presence slowly but surely. I have yet to see success in Squidoo but I think I’m starting to figure out how to drive more traffic. One thing that is a bit discouraging (because it seems sort of like a pyramid) is that it appears that many of the lensmasters and bloggers who are most successful are those who write about how to be successful … what portion of your income stream would you attribute to this kind of content? Thanks for your insights!

Skeffling April 17, 2013 at 6:56 am

Thanks for reading and that is a great question 10thingsz. It does take time to build up a collection of articles and each one can take a long time to bring in significant traffic, so do no be discouraged. As soon as you have soem small tangible success, look at that page and try to see why it happened, then apply thta to more pages. Often it is just time as you can see in the earnings graph in my earnings report in Dec

You are right to be cautious, the internet has a history of people making more money from IMers than whatever they are writing about! For me it’s about $50 a month, out of over $10,000, so not really significant and it was never the intention of the blog, I just figured it was easier to answer a question once in one location.

There are other people having success on Squidoo and who explain the basics well, with blogs and that are not charging for books etc. Like CJ Ashley, and Lake Erie Artists, and GreekGeek. We all certainly need to be cautious about who we follow and doing what they say. I tend to shrink back from advice or a blog if I read something that I think is a way or gaming, a short term fix, or something that will eventually take away from the sites I write on. People have to look to themselves and say “is this reasonable and realistic? could this work?” and the only way to be able to do this is with experience, which take time and makes this all frustrating!

But if you are questioning this you are thinking the right way! Good luck with the tranistion on Squidoo. Infobarrel is another great site that recognizes great writers, earnings are lower but admin are more responsive, consistent and it is a nice stable site with a great community. A nice place to diversify.

{ 2 trackbacks }

Previous post:

Next post: