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How to Earn an Income Online by Writing

Updated on January 24, 2018


There are many opportunities to earn a side income or even build a career online by writing for different businesses/websites which are always looking for freelance writers to produce columns, articles, information, and even entertainment such as comedy or fiction. Although it is a relatively simple process to begin making a side income by providing written or creative material to businesses and websites, building a career is often more challenging as it can require a substantial amount of material and dedication. Building a career as an online freelance writer is comparable in some ways to building a business, any material that you produce can contribute to your own portfolio/resume which could one day inspire websites/businesses to come to you as a customer for content. Although it may take time and commitment, an online writing career can be extremely rewarding as you can begin working on your own volition, doing something you are passionate about and enjoy.

How Can You Start? Do You Need an English Degree?

You do not need to have a degree related to the English language or literature to start writing for money online. It is important to consider however that many websites and businesses will be looking for freelancers with the most passion and dedication to providing the content which they desire. Therefore, it is important to consider what your level of experience and dedication is and where you would be best suited to start. It would be ideal to have even a minimal portfolio of any type of well formatted material you have written to have upon your application; it generally will not matter what topic or niche this material was written about as long as it is fairly relevant to the service you are applying to write for. The demands and expectations of each organization/website will naturally vary however, the Smithsonian Magazine for example has strict requirements concerning the credentials of the author and the authenticity of the submitted material. Do do not hesitate to start small and build your reputation gradually if you must. Above all, make sure you are interested in the subject matter you will be writing about, and be prepared to devote plenty of time to your writing.

Where is Online/Freelance Writing Work Primarily Found?

There are numerous websites and businesses that have application pages for freelance writers who are interested in developing contributions. You could simply perform a web browser search with the keywords "write for us," and the results will display a variety of websites and businesses which have application pages for freelance writers or submission pages for relevant written material. Generally speaking (depending on the terms of the website/business you are writing for), you will be paid per submission, although a consistent stream of quality material can help you earn a more dedicated writing position within some websites/businesses.

What are Some Niches/Topics to Write About?

There is an incredible amount of variety in the different topics/niches that different websites and businesses are looking for. The length of your writing work can also range between short comedy skits, informative hubs, all the way up to novels. This is all naturally going to depend on to whom you are appealing to write for, and what niche they occupy. There are opportunities to write fiction, comedy, mysteries, museum headlines, technical articles, informative articles, novels and many more topics and niches that cannot all fit into this article.

Can Technical Skills be Useful?

Absolutely, there are a number of websites and businesses which will pay for submissions of technical or instructional materials for hosting. I will list some examples in my table below. Naturally, there are a multitude of different organizations and topics you can write for/about; a couple of the most popular technical topics to write about online include web design and computer programming. There are also opportunities to write about automotive mechanics, DIY, and a variety of other topics. Ensure that you are knowledgeable of the subject, your reader's safety can sometimes depend on accurate tutorial material.

Some Example Organizations Receptive To Written Material Submissions

Desired Content
Paid For Submissions?
Smithsonian Magazine
Museum Magazine
Informative Articles
Creative Asset Marketplace
Informative Articles
Yes (negotiable)
Primarily Comedy
Web Design Database
Technical Articles/Hubs
Hallmark Channel
Television Network
Romance/Mystery Novels
DIY Community
DIY Tutorials

How Are You Paid?

Generally speaking, if you choose the route of freelance writing involving submitting written materials to the organization you have chosen, you will be paid a set amount per submission as defined by the website/organization's policies. Keep in mind that not every website/organization will pay for content submissions, so be sure to read any terms which are stated on the submission page itself. If your portfolio and commitment have allowed you to earn a more committed remote position/job within a website/business, then you can expect to have a more conventional salary. On the other hand, a network organization such as the Hallmark Channel is more unconventional, as their initial content submission is substantial (65,000-85,000 words); albeit a well received submission could potentially be drafted or featured on their network, and become a unique opportunity for a more advanced job. The Smithsonian Magazine is another special case, as they have a thorough credential check before you will be permitted to submit content to their magazine. It is neither possible to submit material nor be compensated unless you meet their requirements. You can generally expect to be compensated in United States Dollars, so conversion rates depending on where you live will naturally vary, and some websites such as the Smithsonian Magazine allow you to pre-select your nation of submission.

Freelance Contracts/Steady Writing Jobs

If unhinged online freelance writing is not a stable or convenient enough income option for you, it is possible to utilize online employment/freelance resources to find more stable and structured writing jobs or longer term freelance contracts. There is a fair amount of variety when it comes stable positions or contracts which you can find online, they can range from physical jobs to more online-work oriented contracts such as writing blogs or promotional materials. Applying to more structured writing jobs, whether or not they are physical or work from home can often require more credentials, or in some cases a more developed portfolio at least to showcase your writing ability and passion for the subject material. It is also arguable that no freelance work is truly stable, so ensure that you deliver well on your contracts so you can have the best possible reputation to earn more.

Some Example Resources For Finding Online Writing Jobs/Freelance Contracts

Positions Offered
Employment Search Engine
Steady Jobs/ SomeFreelance
Freelancing Platform
Freelance Work
Freelancing Platform
Freelance Work

Example Freelance Job Offers (

Example Freelance Job Offers

Example Fiverr Freelance Job Categories

Upwork/Fiverr Considerations

While Indeed can be used to find freelance oriented work, it is nonetheless an employment search engine based around your resume/portfolio, most ideal for finding more steady employment. Therefore, if you choose the path of independent freelance writing by the way of Upwork or Fiverr, choosing a specific niche (one that you are most preferably knowledgeable and passionate of) will become more essential; as your ability to provide quality material and to build a positive reputation around your image as a freelancer and your work will be the driving force of your income.


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