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Can You Make Money with Helium? If So, How Much?
I joined Helium some time ago with mixed results. I was curious to see how satisfying it would be as a writing workshop but also attracted by the idea of being paid to write. More about earning, money and wealth later!
Helium certainly works as a platform for producing written content although it has a number of limitations as a publishing tool:
- There isn't the freedom to be creative in terms of layout, fonts, photographs or illustrations (unlike HubPages)
- The rating system is flawed
- You can't delete articles once written (ie you lose control of your own content)
- Articles are difficult to edit because a 'random' Helium user has to decide if your edited version is better than the original or not - try changing one word and getting the change accepted!
On Helium, unlike HubPages, writers are encouraged to write within a predetermined title. Helium then groups articles together with the same title. These articles are then rated by other helium users and are arranged in order of popularity. This 'popular' poll has its limitations and it can be discouraging to find articles poorly written with no punctuation moved above your own superbly crafted piece.
The way to get your own work to 'move' is to rate other people's work. If you chose to rate then you are presented with two 'random' articles in a broad category you have written for yourself. You then have to decide 'is article A 'better' than article B?'.
What Goes Up must Come Down
This is highly subjective. How much should you be influenced by content and how much by presentation, style, punctuation, grammar etc.? On the basis of having written a humourous short story, I found myself having to review some painfully bad poetry. Anyway, I would argue that it is almost impossible to 'rate' poetry unless you have some clear criteria. Poetry is more a matter of personal taste.
The results of this rating system are very mixed and often the top article is not the 'best'. My experience is that new articles tend to move rapidly to the top but then tend to slide down the order with time regardless of whether the writer takes the time to rate other people's articles. Perhaps that's why they call it Helium? Even noticed how a toy helium balloon floats skyward when you buy it and 24 hours later it's resting on the floor?
HubPages membership is totally FREE - So get writing, make friends (and if you want) Make Some Money!
The Money - Peanuts or Real Cash?
How do you earn money? Helium are a bit caggy about exactly how this works but it appears to be based on a number of hits or impressions (1/10th cent per hit?) on the article. Initially the number of hits are relatively high because:
- Helium often features new articles within the site
- The search engines find the article and initially give it greater prominence because it is new
- New articles rise in the Helium ratings initially
The good thing with Helium is you don't need to sign up with cash-earning programs such as AdSense. But there is a catch - you need to earn $25 before you can realise your earnings (via PayPal). Surprisingly, most people complain they never reach this modest figure.
Initially, I wrote 10 articles of varying quality and content. At first I was earning around 50c from my better articles per month but this rapidly fell so now my best article is earning around 7c a month and the rest 0-1c a month. This means unless I write more articles it might be another decade before I can cash in my first $25!
In practice, I suspect Helium seldom have to pay out and if they do they still make plenty of interest on their writer's earnings during the period the total takes to reach the payout value.
Two people have responded to this article pointing out that you can make more money using the Marketplace area of Helium. In this case you write articles for an external publisher who, if they decide to buy, pay an agreed amount for the article. There is still the problem that it is competitive and your articles will not necessarily be bought.
Helium is fine as a social networking site and some people find it a great place to learn writing skills. But don't go there if you want to make serious money.
Do it for Writing, not for Money
The mistake many people make with Helium projections is to assume their initial earnings on an article will be sustained over decades. The reality is most Helium articles have a short shelf life and the lack of control over your own content and the advertising plus the quirky rating system make it far less attractive than a site like HubPages.
Clearly there are good writers out there earning more than $25 a year but they are the exception and they will need a large number of articles in order to reach this level of payment.
In other words, don't join Helium purely to make money or earn a significant income!