Monday, June 24, 2013

Get Paid to Write Online

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There are many different ways to get paid to write online.  Creating your own content, whether for blogs, ebooks, or websites, offers the greatest rewards.  However, that takes a level of skill few begin with.  It takes time and practice to figure out how to be effective.

Writing for others gives us the chance to learn while we're earning; knowledge you can then apply to your own blogs or sites.  There are trade offs, which I will detail as I cover the most common ways to get paid for writing online.

I'll also give you some good resources to get started, whichever path you choose.

Digital sharecropping:

This is the path I chose, so that's the one I can speak the most about.  If its name sounds unattractive, there's a reason for that.  At its essence, this is writing on someone else's website for a share of the ad or affiliate income generated by your content.

Since 2005, I've written for Gather, HubPages, Xomba, and Squidoo.  Squidoo was my greatest success other than writing for my own sites, but HupPages and Gather were also very much worth my time there, in their turn.

Sites like this do offer advantages in return for the revenue split.
  • You take none of the risk of start up costs: domain name, server space, engineers, and management.  
  • Ideally, they come with help pages or a community to help you learn how to write for an internet audience and how to monetize your writing online.  
  • The best are well established, with content quality guidelines that allow them to offer a certain authority in the eyes of search engines.
  • Shared internal traffic through inter-linkage of articles.  That means someone else's very poor article that somehow achieves great visibility and traffic can sometimes send large amounts of that traffic your way until your article gets more established to draw its own.

The con, in addition to only receiving a portion of what your content earns, is that you're at someone else's whim.
  • Rules can change, and often do over time. 
  • Management can change, bringing with it new focus or, potentially, less passion for the site or less skill in running the site than previously. 
  • Sites like these can suddenly lose Google's favor or even close, costing you traffic and income through no fault of your own.
I've been through the con list with Gather and Squidoo, both, in various ways.  This past year, my traffic at Squidoo dropped so low my income cut in half almost overnight.  And, eventually both Gather and Squidoo have essentially closed up shop, requiring me to spend time salvaging my content and moving what I felt was worthwhile over to my blogs.  These are just facts of life writing in someone else's "house" so to speak.  

While digital sharecropping is a good way to learn to make money writing online without risking anything more than your time, it's never a good idea to have all your eggs in one basket if you're relying on that income.  Try a few different sites.  Even better: build to a certain level (say, 30-50 articles) and leave those articles there to earn while you then go on to apply what you've learned - and experiment even more - on another site with your next block of articles.

Professional blogging:

I'm totally BLOGGING this Tshirts
I'm Totally Blogging This
by avitable
With monetized blogging or crafting a website, you make your own opportunities.  In return, you keep 100% of the profit, and have the freedom to write about whatever you wish, within adsense and your affiliate networks' rules rather than those of someone else's platform.

It does take time and dedication to build up your content while you are new and your site isn't earning much yet.  You have to learn what sorts of content best serve your audience and best convert to income, how to write to draw traffic, and where and how to promote, primarily on your own.

One of the earliest lessons to be learned in this type of writing (which I was fortunate to learn from Gather) is that no one reads you without a reason.  To be read, there has to be a benefit to your audience.
  • You might teach something, like I try to do with this blog.  
  • Perhaps you can offer a personal perspective of social change or cultural events in a time of intense worldwide interest.  
  • Share advice or nostalgia from within your hobby or experience.  
  • Or, perhaps you have a gift to entertain, like TheBloggess.  (You can bet no one but family would be reading these stories if she wasn't hilarious.  And she is.)


This method involves writing content for someone else.  A client typically provides a topic and any specifications they may have.  When it's finished, your name doesn't appear on it - theirs does - and they use it however they will.

The benefits to you include:
  • You get your money quickly in one lump sum, rather than slowly over time.  
  • You can begin earning without the more extensive skill set needed when you set out on your own.
  • Paying attention to the specifications and feedback of your employers can help you hone your skills for writing web content.
  • Your employer assumes any risks and marketing responsibility.  
  • And, of course, you have little in the way of start up costs.

But, in return:
  • Your content is typically going to be worth more than you'll get paid for it, should you have put it on your own site and let it work for you instead.  
  • Some unethical clients will try to get something for nothing, however they can.
  • You lose all right to claim your work with the sale.

Having an experienced guide to help you through this process is invaluable, especially to avoid being burned.  I'm going to introduce you to Tiffany Dow, briefly, because while I do not and never have ghostwritten, she does, successfully.  She's a WAHM well-known and trusted in the internet marketing community for her straight-shooting style, her concern for her readers, and her excellent in-depth, BS-free guides.  She got her start ghostwriting, and now has gone on to create her own content for blogs, websites, ebooks, and more.

I first heard of her a few years ago when she released a free .pdf guide which motivated a group of us to write at least one good sales page a week for Squidoo to increase our income.  What I learned from her helped me break into triple digit incomes over there.  The lady knows her stuff.

Since then I've been on her email list and a regular reader of her blog, and she continues to teach us as she encourages us to make our online writing endeavors a success.  So while I don't follow the path of ghostwriting, if you'd like to give it a try, I trust her to teach you well in her inexpensive guide, which you can see here: Ghostwriting Cash.


Writing ebooks that you then sell on Amazon or your own website is another valid method many have used to generate online income from their writing skills.  Whether you have expertise or research skills and the willingness to learn, this can be a very profitable method. In this, again, I can recommend an inexpensive how-to guide from Tiffany Dow: Building an eBook Empire.

Now that you have a basic overview of common methods, where do you start?

Blogging Platforms:

Blogger - This is Google's blog site, with easy integration to get started earning Adsense and Amazon affiliate income. You decide how much advertising you want, what kind, and where on your page.

Wordpress - Another blog platform used for monetized blogs, with lots of helpful plugins.  As a user you can only monetize WordPress if you host it on a separate webhost or join a community that hosts their own. Your basic WP blog hosted on WordPress is not allowed ads beyond the ones they put there.  

I write on a self-hosted Wordpress as well as several free blogger blogs.  I like both platforms.  Blogger is, by far, the easiest to use.  WP has an extensive set of guides, and lots of plug-ins to customize your site.

Shared Revenue Writing Sites:

Some of these require you to have your own adsense or affiliate accounts to earn income.  Those are:

Hubpages - Gives you 60% of the ad impressions.

Wizzley - Gives authors 50% of the ad impressions.

Xomba - Gives writers 60% of the impressions.

There are many more sites than these, but these are the ones I'm familiar with and comfortable recommending.

Another Online Writing Option:

Constant Content - Here you can submit articles for sale. People who need content browse the site and purchase articles that suit their needs.  Each article can have different prices, depending on the rights the consumer wishes to buy.

TextBroker - With this service, those who need content are able to order custom content from authors registered with the website.

Great FREE Resources for New Online Writers:

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