How I Make More Money Writing by Performing Experiments

This post is part of the blogging challenge series.

If you follow this blog closely then you’d have noticed that I haven’t personally been active here lately.

The team has been contributing and guest posts are being published, but I didn’t really make any update myself in January.

There are valid reasons for this, though. Some of them are:

  • I secretly launched a coaching offer to my newsletter last December and had to make a lot of calls in January. I had over 20 calls and the effort and time investment required was more than I anticipated.
  • I was VERY sick in January; for over 3 weeks. I’d been coughing since late December and I decided to ignore it like I usually do, but it was different this time around. I was diagnosed as having a pre-asthmatic condition. I became so sick I could hardly work and I was on medication, so doing a slight amount of work made me very nervous and fearful, something that never really happens. As a result I could do very little. I’m the sickly type, getting better over time, but this is the longest period of sickness I’ve ever experienced. I was powerless.
  • I had more client offers; I had a few client offers from my challenge blog and from this blog and being sick didn’t make things easy for me.

I’m not complaining, but this post is going to be partially related to the third point and it will also talk about how I plan to take my challenge blog to the next level.

Now, I know that there are a lot of ways to market your freelance writing services and get more clients. In fact, I’ve written a lot about this very subject so I’m not here to talk about that.

Instead, I’ll be talking about how I’m closing more deals from my challenge blog without marketing.

A Small Update

This isn’t an income and traffic report for my challenge blog. I’ll probably be publishing the last one in a few months, which will show how things have gone in past months.

Now, however, as much as I regret saying this, I haven’t really touched my challenge blog since I last published an update on this blog.

I had a few new guest posts go live on major blogs but other than that, I haven’t done anything in around 2 months.

With that said, the blog is still averaging 400 – 600 visitors monthly and I’ve gotten around 4 new clients since that last report.

I even got a potential 5 figure client who might take this whole challenge to the next level. I say “potential” because I’m on a trial with this client – I’ve been paid $2,000 in advance – and if I could prove myself the deal will be worth over $30k in 6 months. I’ll write more about this in more details in a future article once the deal is certain.

However, in this article I’ll be sharing how I got that client and more as well as how I plan to take the challenge blog to the next level.

Why You Should Always Test

I haven’t really had as much time and space to test things on my challenge blog as I need to, but you’ll be surprised by the findings of one of my recent tests.

A lot of readers of this blog are familiar with the kind of hire me page I use on this blog and on my challenge blog. I’m starting to see this kind of hire me page pop up in a lot of places so I like to think it’s a concept I have popularized to some extent.

Nevertheless, it’s important not to just blindly follow “guru” advice, but to test everything you’re advised to do before you stick to it permanently.

What I did was split test my hire page.

(You can learn more about split testing by reading this Wikipedia article)

There was an original variation, the one I use and I usually recommend that others use.

Here’s a screenshot showing how the original version looks:

original version

(Click the above image to expand)

A major problem with the kind of hire me page featured above is that it’s too plain; it automatically assumes that those who are reading it are in the mood to hire me and only focuses on that; the heading is too week and hardly convinces people to pay real attention to the copy.

There are obviously other problems with that page, but this was the problem I tested it for.

After noticing this problem, I decided to split test this page to see what could be improved. As a result, I created two variations of this hire me page; I changed the heading of the two variations and some copy and tested them against the original.

Since the original hire me page says “Hire Me,” let’s see what would happen if I decided to experiment with having a more compelling headline on the page?

After testing for a little under a month, around 26 days now with no marketing, here’s what my split testing tool tells me:

hire me page split testing

The image you’re seeing above shows the total number of unique visitors to the hire me page on my challenge blog in the past 26 days; the split testing experiment was started on the 15th of January and I’m writing this post on the 10th of February.

By taking a quick look at the above screenshot, it’s obvious that variation #1 has the highest conversion rate. Variation #2 is also shown to have a nice conversion rate but what’s most surprising is the fact that the original version has zero conversions, despite having more visitors than variation #1.

In case you’re curious, variation #1 has resulted in 2 leads. The same number of leads as variation #2; so 0 leads from the original page means it sucks and I can only imagine what I might have lost if I didn’t run a split test.

Variation #1 also resulted in the client I’m working on a trial with – to close the five-figure deal I mentioned earlier in this article.

What is instantly obvious is that, for now, variation #1 is the most effective version of my hire me page; I’m still testing obviously, but that’s what is apparent for now.

We’ve all seen a screenshot of how the original version looks above so we will be looking at the changes I made to variation 1 and variation 2.

Here’s variation #1:

variation 1 intro

Here’s variation #2:

Variation 2 intro

By taking a look at the screenshots above for variation #1 and variation #2, one thing is instantly obvious; the messaging is the same but the headings are different compared to the original.

Of course, the only difference between variation #1 and variation #2 is that the heading for variation #2 has the word “Guaranteed.” I thought that would significantly impact conversions, but this version is still under-performing variation #1.

Here’s what the heading says…

Variation #1: “Let Me Help You Get Results by Writing Quality Content and Guest Posts for You

Variation #2: ”Let Me Help You Get Results by Writing Quality Content and Guest Posts for You, Guaranteed

While I’ll still have to get more traffic, do some more marketing and do a lot more testing to be able to say exactly what resulted in more conversions, I’d like to think this is because of the emphasis on results in the heading.

The new heading for variation #1 & #2 talks about how I can help the CLIENT get results. It also mentions “quality” so the focus is on the client. That’s so unlike the first version that says “Hire Me.”

Truth be told, my client could care less who I am but they care a lot more about what I can do for THEM.

Of course, the point of writing this article isn’t to give you Copywriting advice, so I’ll stop here. The point is to make you realize the importance of testing and not blindly following what some guru says or what your gut is telling you.

I plan to do a lot more testing in the future and with some major changes I’m making on my challenge blog – more on this below – things will only get exciting!

My Plans to Take the Challenge Blog to the Next Level

At the moment, I have gotten 3 clients through the challenge blog who are paying an average of $1,000 monthly for my services. I have two clients who are in the $500 range (who may upgrade), and I’m working on trial with a client whose work could potentially put my monthly freelance income through that blog in the five-figure range.

I won’t dive into the specifics here, but one thing I’d like to say is that the results I’ve gotten so far have surprised me.

I’ve spent a total of under 30 hours on the challenge blog since starting it and I have written fewer than 15 posts and guest posts in total since starting it; that’s far from my goal of 20 guest posts and 10 blog articles monthly when I started the challenge blog.

One thing is without doubt, though, it’s already a success. I believe I’ve proven that a newbie can do this with little to no start-up capital. Leaving the blog inactive for a very long time will only hurt it, so I’ve decided to take the blog to the next level by getting the WritersinCharge team involved.

Before I had the intentions of starting the challenge blog, June and Lanre from the WritersinCharge team compiled a list of over 500 blogs in 26 different categories – a series I initially planned to publish here.

That’s a total of 26 different posts and around 30,000 words. For some reason, I was waiting for the perfect time to publish the post here. Seeing the way the challenge blog is going and due to its focus on guest blogging, I believe it’ll be the best place to host this massive resource now.

Not only is it best suited to publish these resources, but publishing them will also help the challenge blog experience some exponential growth and as a result lead to more client and traffic.

I’ll eventually link to the resource post here in the future once the challenge is officially over, but till then I’ll have to keep things the way they are.

For the purpose of total transparency, I’ll be talking more about my expenses on the challenge blog, especially in creating the list of posts I plan to publish, as well as the results I get from it.

With that said, the challenge is officially no longer “me only”; I’ll now be getting the WritersinCharge team involved, keeping it more active and working on getting more results.

Since I also plan to launch a few products here this year, and move towards making more income by helping writers get started online, I’ll work on a way to start outsourcing most of the client work I get from that site. I’ll only personally work on the most lucrative gigs.

A Recap

Other than the announcement on how I plan to get the team involved with the challenge blog, the main point of this article is: TEST A LOT!

Don’t believe what a writing guru tells you or what some professional marketer tells you; there’s every probability that what works for me might not even work for you, so make sure you keep testing.

For those who are curious, the tool I used to split test my hire me page is called Optimizely and it’s very powerful! I used it when I launched my coaching offer last year and noticed 100% conversion increase on a variation of my sales page. It’s very powerful, extremely easy to use for non-technical people, and gives great insight into what is influencing people to take action on your split tests.

You might have to spend some time getting the hang of it, but that’s about it! If you enjoyed How I Make More Money Writing by Performing Experiments, please share it on your social networking sites. Thank you.

About the Author

  • http://www.youreverythingservices.com Deb Lamb

    I’m so sorry to hear you’ve been sick. I hope you are on the road to a quick recovery. I always love the advice you give. It is so nice that you are so successful. I wanted to sign up for your last class, but money was really tight. Will you be offering it again anytime soon? Thanks for all the wonderful education! You are the BEST!

    Deb :)

    • http://www.youngprepro.com Bamidele Onibalusi

      Thanks, Deb!

      I’m feeling much better now and I’m more active than ever.

      I’m not sure I’ll be offering coaching again but I should be offering a course based on this challenge and that addresses issues I experience while working with the current set of coaching students I accepted.

      Thanks a ton for the support :)

      Best Regards,
      Bamidele

      • http://www.youreverythingservices.com Deb Lamb

        I’ll look forward to the course. Thank you!

        Deb :)

        • http://www.youngprepro.com Bamidele Onibalusi

          Awesome, thanks! I’ll be sure to give it my best :)

  • http://copysuxes.com/free/ Sheyi @ copysuxes.com

    Nice one, could not finish reading word for word. I got the drift – though I’m not a freelance writer but I’ve been able to take home some nuggets here.

    Do what the guru says but test yourself. Expand. Take one frmo the guru and probably turn it into 5 and maybe in 5 months time, you’ll be better than your guru!

    Innovation all the way. By the way, I never knew you were sick. So sorry to hear about the sickness. Take good care of you and the Lord is your strength.

    • http://www.youngprepro.com Bamidele Onibalusi

      Exactly, you’ll be surprised how much doing some basic tests can reveal.

      And thanks! I’m feeling much better now.

  • http://www.guestbloggingtactics.net Thomas R Coffee

    I didn’t realized you have been so sick. I am in the coaching class.
    I have ask questions and you have always answer them for me. Which I do appreciate that you did. The article is a big help to me. I will be creating some new stuff for my blog. I want to get it setup to test when I launch it next month.
    I appreciate all you have done to help me get started.
    I will be praying that the Lord will heal your body.
    Tom

    • http://www.youngprepro.com Bamidele Onibalusi

      Aha, no problem Tom!

      Since I made a promise when I did the launch, I tried to do my best to respond to coaching students when I was sick; this affected my client work and general emails, but I did my best to ensure coaching students weren’t affected. So, I’m glad you’re enjoying the coaching :)

      And thanks a ton for your prayers, I’m feeling a lot better now.

  • http://www.infowland.com dan

    Hello My Big Bro!

    I never knew you were that sick–no wonder you weren’t picking my phone calls. Anyway, the lord is your strength. Also ensure you take your rest–this is very important.

    I was about to fall victim to sickness last week but God didn’t allow that.

    Anyway bro, I’m happy to let you know my business is going fine–I mean, real fine ( you know what I mean) and I’ll be sharing my progress with you via Skype.

    I think it’s now time for me to enjoy my fruits of 7 months labor. He he!

    God bless you for being there.

    Danny

    • http://www.youngprepro.com Bamidele Onibalusi

      Aha, thanks bro!

      I’m much better now :)

      Regarding the phone calls, it actually has nothing to do with my health; my phone isn’t mostly with me. I use it for email and online notifications when I’m not in front of the computer; most of the times you call me, I’m probably in front of my computer and not with my phone ;)

      I’m not much of a fan of the mobile phone but I love anything internet-related.

      Best Regards,
      Bamidele

  • http://www.investor-sibuk.blogspot.com Rida

    Hi, nice to know your blog for a while and hope you’re in good health right now.

    Speaking of developing ability to write in plain English, while English is just my second or third language, do you have any suggestion on this? Thanks.

    • http://www.youngprepro.com Bamidele Onibalusi

      Thanks!

      Yes, as simple as it seems, the key is to read and write a lot.

      You might want to look into guest blogging and try to write for some major blogs; you’ll get feedback and criticism that’ll help you improve along the way.

  • http://johnoyedu.com John Greatman

    Hello Oni,

    i have been a regular reader of your blog and i must say, I’ve benefited greatly because I’ve been longing to be a freelance writer but no clue.

    Thank God for leading me to your blog and makealivingwriting.com
    you said you’ve recovered? THANK GOD! we need you always…
    what i learned today is DON’T BELIEVE ALL THAT THE GURUS TOLD YOU…. TEST IT YOURSELF AND IMPROVE!

    God reward you greatly

    Yours in Success,
    JOHN GREATMAN OYEDU

    • http://www.youngprepro.com Bamidele Onibalusi

      Thanks bro! :)

  • http://www.squidoo.com/best-iphone-5-bumper-cases Betrand

    This is a lot but I managed to read everything because I couldn’t stop reading. Great info. Thanks.

    • http://www.youngprepro.com Bamidele Onibalusi

      Aha, I’m really glad to hear that. Thanks! :)

  • http://sdmmovies.com Rahul Kashyap

    great information @Bamidele. this is informative and valuable post. I like it :) thanks for sharing this post.

  • http://myandroidmag.com/ Android Mag

    I also used to make lots of experiments with my blog, my writing style, ad layout etc.
    sometime I get positive result, sometime negative.
    though both success and failure always help me know more.

  • http://capturedbloggingtips.com/2013/02/how-to-increase-page-rank/ Khaja moin

    Hey Oni,
    I`m glad you recovered form it.
    I can imagine those awful those days was, feel sorry.

    ~@Khajamoin1

    • http://www.youngprepro.com Bamidele Onibalusi

      Thanks, Khaja!

      Those days were awful indeed!

  • http://www.compellingadverts.com Peter

    Awesome tips on testing on how to test your landing page. how do you do the actual test is their an article you’ve written on this. Would love to have a look at it -or you could recommend a resource

    • http://www.youngprepro.com Bamidele Onibalusi

      Thanks, Peter!

      Yeah, Optimizely has a resource on helping you get started if you use them: https://www.optimizely.com/

      Explaining the whole process here will be more technical and I haven’t seen enough demand to justify it; if more people request it, I can create example split tests to show people how it’s done. For now, it’s out of line with the topic of this blog ;)

  • http://moneysoldiers.com Money Soldiers

    When I read your sentence, saying something like, “Get clients without doing marketing”, I knew exactly what you mean. My blog, Money Soldiers get advertisers even when I am not actively searching them. I admit I do not have the biggest traffic but I think getting clients has a lot to do with how you present your blog visually. If you present it in a pleasing way, most people will associate their visual pleasure with other positive traits like high traffic, intelligence or skill. I think that’s what your AB testing of your Hire Me page showed in the results.

    • http://www.youngprepro.com Bamidele Onibalusi

      Exactly. It’s funny how much impact some basic changes can have :)

  • Maria

    As usual Bamidele ALL Your blogs gives us so much valuable knowledge, that it so under describable! Glad You are better, sorry, did not notice it in all of our daily dealings…Mea Culpa, Mea Culpa…You were and are at the top of Your teaching, mentoring, helping blogs, etc. and most of all a greaaaat friend. Always keep You in my/our prayers. May The Lord million ply all the good You always do! Gratitude, Love & Blessings!!!

    Your follower,
    Maria Lash
    760-252-1935

  • http://www.smartyoungpro.wordpress.com Ajiboye Olasunkanmi

    Hi Oni,
    Thank God U’r better now.Thank God I found your blog n I started following you a couple of weeks ago.I actually found U through my research on how to make money crime free from Nigeria,I’ve since read so much about you;fron interviews to your posts b4 I discoverd your blog.I was most of all touched and Inspired when I saw your Name amongst d authors on a book fron E-junkie-I pray 4more divind guidance for U.
    I know its in me to be a good writer and U’r really helping to get started.Thanks A lot.
    I just started a blog n I’m giving myself a six month period to make it a blog that matters.Exposing young people especially from Africa to real internet opportunities n income without resultin to crime….GOD help me

  • http://hermineericksen.com Hermine

    Glad to hear you are feeling better and good to see you posting here again. Business, no matter what you do is always about testing to see what gets the best results.

    Never assume that what you think will work for your audience is the best solution. Sometimes it’s the most unlikely things that will get people to respond and that’s the great thing about being in business for yourself – the freedom to remain flexible and always experiment.

  • http://www.thenet.ie scott graham

    Thank you for the insight, testing is something that I must do more but really didn’t think about it to much, so thank you for the advice.

  • http://www.cellurite.com Merlin

    Hey Bamiedele, I hope you are doing well now! Certainly, testing is very essential before launching any project be it blog or a software product. As a software developer, I understand the benefits of testing and the way you have dictate the pros of doing so in this post is excellent. Truly enjoyed reading it! Thanks for such an informative note!

    • http://www.youngprepro.com Bamidele Onibalusi

      Thanks, Merlin! :)

  • http://www.nirmalblog.com Joseph Nirmal

    Hey Oni Iam Joseph Nirmal from Chennai. Iam new to blogging. How to make traffic to blog. Because i have very less number of visitors.

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