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9 Questions to Ask About a Website Before Writing

Updated on September 17, 2014

Questions Every Freelance Writer Should Consider Before Writing

Considering writing for a new website? There are some questions to ask yourself before you begin. Evaluating a freelance writing website for your own personal needs before you jump in can save you a lot of time and trouble in the long run. What are you hoping to gain? Experience? Income? Promotion of Your Writing?

1. Can You Edit, or Delete, the Writing After It Is Published?

The ability to delete, or edit, your writing after it is submitted is important because you lose control of your work if you do not have this ability. Often websites that have full-rights to your published work, do not allow editing, or deleting. Some websites that are notorious for prohibiting deletions and edits are Today.com (blogging), and Life123.

2. What is the Google Page Rank of the Website's Homepage?

The Google Page Rank on the website's homepage is important. It will give you a good indication of the websites reputation with Google and also give you a good indication of how much exposure your articles will get at the website. Of course, with enough backlinking and promotion, your articles can do well anywhere. But, one of the advantages of writing for a well-known content publisher is to get good Google Page Rank with less effort.

While you are visiting the website's homepage look around and see how professional it is. If a website appears poorly designed, consider whether you want your work to be associated with that site.

The Google Page Rank of eHow is 8, Suite101 is 7, and Mahalo is 6.

3. Upfront or Residual Payment?

Do you want your money today, or tomorrow? Today seems like the obvious answer, but residual payment (payment tomorrow) often brings in more money long-term than upfront payment for freelance writing. Stretched over several years, residual payments for an article can be hundreds of dollars. Compare that to the common upfront payment of $10-15 per article and residual makes good business sense. However, some writers need to work for upfront payments to pay bills that are due today.

Upfront Payment Websites

  1. Demand Studios
  2. Brighthub
  3. Textbroker
  4. eCopyWriters
  5. RightCopywriter

Residual Payment Websites

  1. Suite101.com
  2. Squidoo
  3. Life123
  4. InfoBarrel

4. How Are You Paid for Your Residual Payment Writing?

Payment structure can vary a lot between residual payment freelance writing websites. Life123, for example, pays strictly by view. Fifty views=$5, five hundred views=$5 more, etc. Bukisa and eXaminer are more examples of websites that pay per view. Some websites pay a percentage of advertisement profits. This percentage of ad profits, is often disclosed. Most often the advertiser is Google Adsense. Sometimes, you are required to have a Google Adsense ID. Other websites such as Squidoo allow writers to earn from other advertisers such as amazon, etsy, and zazzle.

5. Does the Website Allow Links within the Article?

Links within an article are important for promoting your content. There is no resource more valuable to a writer than being able to create quality backlinks to their own work. Each link you create to articles you have previously written generates traffic to that writing and possibly increases Google Page Rank of the writing as well. Some websites do not allow writers to include links in their articles, while other websites require it in every piece of writing published.

Where Backlinking is Allowed:

  1. Hubpages
  2. Suite101
  3. Squidoo
  4. Associated Content

Where Backlinking is NOT Allowed:

  1. eCopyWriters
  2. Textbroker


On the surface, this seems like an unimportant question, but if you put a lot of time into a website that pays you only a few cents per article, reaching a minimum payout $10 can be exhausting.

7. Does the Website Have a Good Reputation with Writers?

This is possibly the most important question to ask yourself. Spend some time browsing around work at home forums. Listen to what others are saying about the website. Read reviews and listen to the words of others that have already put the time and effort into writing for the website. As with any website, you will hear good and bad reviews. If the majority of writers rave about a writing website, it is probably a winner.

Read more about finding legit work at home opportunities through forums.

Two AWESOME freelance writer blogs:

Heather's Telecommute

The Freelance Home Writer

8. What Writing Style is Required?

First person (blog style) is often easier to write, because it's written as a person would speak. Third person is a formal style required by many websites because it is more professional. Both styles of writing have their perks.

First PersonMost writers are quicker at first person writing. If you can crank out twice the content in the same amount of time, that is an important consideration. I enjoy blogging, writing at Info Barrel and designing Squidoo lenses, because all are places that my first person voice is welcome.

Third PersonWhen building a writing portfolio, articles published in third person will make a better presentation. When I apply to write for a new website, I always send my third person articles. Most websites that allow first person, do not require sample work to be submitted prior to hiring. Third person is required from Suite101 and Demand Studios.

9. Is there an Editorial Process?

Some writers fear the editorial process. But, if you are planning to build up your writing portfolio and establish yourself as a professional in the world of writing, it is critical. Writing websites that provide an outstanding editorial service are Suite101 and Bright Hub. Life123 has an editorial process, but grammar and spelling errors seem to slip through a lot. Writing websites that allow your work to be published without editing are Squidoo, personal blogs, and eHow.

Do You Have More Questions? - Leave them here!

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    • KarenTBTEN profile image

      KarenTBTEN 7 years ago

      There is some good information here. I like how you compared sites freelancing sites on several points.

    • FlynntheCat1 profile image

      FlynntheCat1 7 years ago

      Interesting and useful, I haven't hear dof most of these sites...

    • KathrynDarden profile image

      Kathryn Darden 7 years ago

      Examiner has added itself to the list of notorious sites which do not allowe removal of articles:

      "By uploading, posting, transmitting or otherwise making any User Content available on or through this Site, you are granting Examiner.com, and its parent, subsidiaries, affiliates, and other related entities an irrevocable, nonexclusive, perpetual, royalty-free, transferrable, sublicensable, worldwide license to copy, reproduce, modify, publish, display, distribute publicly, perform, exploit, and prepare derivative works of such User Content (including your name, image, likeness, or information you have made publicly available in connection therewith) in any manner, media or format now existing or hereafter devised, without any obligation of notice, attribution or compensation to you."

    • hsschulte profile image
      Author

      hsschulte 7 years ago

      Thank you Kathryn for your input. I agree that a writer should use caution when publishing to a residual site that doesn't allow the author to remove content.

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      My question is what websites allow you to retain full rights to your works? I mean I just read the terms and conditions of many mainstream freelance writing platforms and they all have in the clause, that you give up full rights to them and they may reproduce and publish your work on any website they see fit without giving you credit. So what should I be looking for in the Terms and Conditions that give an aspiring writer a firm footing?

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      If you are considering Examiner.com, don't do it! They pay you a penny per view, expect you to write 4 times a week, and send a LOT of spam. Go to a reputable site. I made the mistake of writing for Examiner.com, found it to be a waste of time, & unfortunately my content is up there forever.

    • hsschulte profile image
      Author

      hsschulte 6 years ago

      Hi eXaminer.com Hater,

      That is a good point. I like to warn people about websites that don't allow writers to delete content. However, I know many writers that are happy there. I personally didn't enjoy it and no longer contribute there, but some writers do like it.

    • momscorner profile image

      momscorner 5 years ago

      Thank you examiner.com hater for the useful information. HSschulte, thanks for this very informative lens.

    • profile image

      TammyL 5 years ago

      This is a very helpful lens. Thank you for your insight. I am a new squidoo member. I have been writing for hubpages for about six months now. It didn't take me very long to decide examiner.com was taking too much time and limiting me to one topic and forcing me to localize my content. I would much rather write on more than one topic and generalize my content for more readers.

    • achraf lm profile image

      achraf lm 5 years ago

      thank you for all the explanation.

    • laki2lav profile image

      laki2lav 5 years ago

      Thanks for sharing this with us.

    • profile image

      RebeccaE 5 years ago

      thank you so much for this information. I found this very helpful. In your mind what other website will be good to have in a writing portfolio?

    • profile image

      amanitele 5 years ago

      thanks. very informative, especially for a new- starting out writer.

    • savateuse profile image

      savateuse 4 years ago

      thanks for a useful lens!

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      Practical informative, thankyou

    • Huntsnan profile image

      Huntsnan 4 years ago

      Since I'm just starting this is the type of information I need. Thank you, great info!

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      I am so very grateful to you for this article! How generous of you to share such critical information, especially with new freelance web writers such as myself

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      Your link to textbroker is not working.

    • profile image

      TanoCalvenoa 3 years ago

      I found this information to be very helpful. Thank you!

    • profile image

      TanoCalvenoa 3 years ago

      I found this information to be very helpful. Thank you!

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