Friday, January 9, 2009

Surfing with the trends

One of the causes for spikes in my online earnings as a writer is when I just happen to have a piece that is related to a hot news story and people start suddenly reading my content; in other words, I managed to get lucky to be a part of the websurfing trend.

Such earnings tend to be short-lived, but they are interesting to experience.

There are three ways to get involved in such trends.

One is to be a really fast writer, and keep up with the news. I tend not to be in that category, though I did write a personal comment on Flight 1404 when it ran into trouble a couple of weeks ago. I am a college student after all; most of my writing is done between classes without any internet or media access.

The second way is to predict what is coming up in the news. I am more in this category than the previous one. Like for instance, I suspected that today's unemployment news was going to be bad. Therefore, I wrote a piece about how unemployment is defined.

(If you ask me, I believe the official reports are unstating the problem. After all, I am a discouraged worker [unemployed but no longer looking for a job]; how many more are actually out there?)

But let's be honest, all of us could have made that prediction.

The third way, which is my personal long term plan, is just to have a variety of articles online. I am in the process of creating articles in categories I have no articles in yet; another reason for the set of unemployment articles that I am writing.

The reason that I lean towards the last option, besides time restrictions, is that most surfers are using a search engine to find items of interest to them. So if an article has not been indexed yet by a search engine (Google seems to be the main way for people to find my stuff), then no one is going to find it. Most of the traffic on the article sites, such as Helium and Associated Content are coming from search engines and not internal traffic.

I just hope that my unemployment article has been indexed already, so that I get some surfing income from that one.

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