How to Start Making Money Writing Online
This is Part 1
This article is Part 1 in a series.
How I Make Money Online
Recently I either got very lucky or very good. I haven't decided which, but one of the pages that I wrote here on Hubpages back in 2009 took off like a shot. Traffic skyrocketed from less than 300 visits a day to over 5000 visits every single day. Because I accomplished this with minimal strategy (i.e. back-linking) and because the page was written in my very early days at Hubpages, I thought that I might be qualified to write a series of articles about how to make money writing online. While I am, by no means, an expert, several friends have asked me to share with them how to get started.
The purpose of this article is to help you through the first steps to earning money by writing online. Its goals are modest, and you will need to keep reading in this series of articles in order to get a full tutorial on how to do everything necessary to be successful. Information has been broken down into manageable chunks in order to accommodate a variety of learning curves. If you have any questions, feel free to ask them in the comments on this page: I will be happy to answer anything you might have to ask.
What You Need to Get Started Writing Online
In order to get started, you really just need a small handful of important things, which you can find listed below with details about what you'll need to produce the best results from writing online.
To Write Online You Need a TOPIC
Before you start with anything else writing online, you need to have a topic. Your topic is the most important component to writing online. Your starting topic should be broad enough to have a wide appeal. I recommend having an individual blog (or Hubpages account, etc) for each broad-appeal topic that you want to write about. For the example that I'll be using throughout this series, let us say that your topic is going to be "crafts."
Once you have your topic, you'll be able to get started brainstorming ideas (I'll cover this in a later article on the topic of brainstorming for writing online). You can do this with a pen and paper and for that reason, you don't even need a computer or the Internet in order to write online.
Make sure that the topic you're choosing to write about is something that interests you. What you write about is less important than how passionate you are about the subject, because there are surely other people who are interested in what you have to write! My hub about Ichthyophobia has done quite well in the past, even if it would appear to appeal to a small number of people. It could feasibly have fallen into the topic of "Phobias" or "Psychology."
(Any topic that you enjoy can be turned into a long-tail topic that will work for search engines, unless your topic is too narrow. If you're concerned that nobody else will be interested in your subject, broaden it a bit: You'll be narrowing it down later on anyway!)
To Write Online You Need a COMPUTER
In theory, you should be able to write online from a cellular phone, but between the keyboard and your very limited view, you will likely find this difficult. If you want to write online, a high-quality computer is recommended. Speed helps with parts of the process (particularly with browsing Flickr for images, as sometimes my computer hangs up on this site and doesn't want to load the pictures). Having a computer makes writing online much more pleasant than using library computers or a cell phone.
If you do not already have a computer, I recommend a Mac. For those who have never used one, a Macintosh is a very different experience than using a PC for online work and play. Its speed is generally faster because it doesn't have such a heavy load running in the background. Your PC will work just fine, but it's always a good idea to defragment and cut down on background clutter by shutting down excess tasks you have running.
To Write Online You Need the INTERNET
An internet connection is essential to writing online. Without it, you won't be able to reach your audience by posting your articles to the internet. A reliable connection is even better. Depending on where you post your content, you may run into problems if your internet connection fails during the writing process. Making sure that you have a solid connection will help to prevent problems with losing your work.
Zujava is the youngest of these platforms, but it is a viable option for those who want to get paid based on tiers (as with Squidoo). Better for building links and content than for audience and pay.
Wizzley is the best (like a cross between Squidoo and Hubpages) but you'll be on your own for income rather than getting paid by the platform the way that you do with Hubpages and Squidoo. Highly recommended!
With a weakened community, this site has begun to pay increasingly less over the past two years. It remains, however, a good place to build related content and potential back links.
Hubpages comes highly recommended! Currently where I make most of my money with strong, high quality content and good Google juice. Very community-oriented.
To Write Online You Need a PLATFORM
Okay, but what's a platform exactly? The platform is the site you write on. Many platforms have built in systems to help you to make money using them. Hubpages is one of these platforms. You will find a list of other platforms (most of which are recommended in one way or another) to the right.
Please note that in the near future I'll be writing an article to compare Hubpages to these other platforms in order to help you to determine where you want to write. Right now I make the most money writing on Hubpages. This may seem like useful information, but two years ago I was receiving three times the number of hits from Squidoo. When policies change or the search engine algorithms change, sometimes the statistics do too.
The best advice I ever got was to not put all my eggs in one basket: Be prepared to write for more than one site!
In addition to the sites to the right, I recommend that you consider getting a blog, either on Blogger or on Tumblr. Both of these platforms allow you to put ads onto your blog and you can use the blog for linking to your other articles in order to show them to followers. This is part of a backlink strategy.
What You Need to Make Money Online
In some cases (such as Squidoo and Zujava) you can make money online without anything other than a Paypal account, but in most cases you need more than that. Here's what you're going to need to successfully make money online.
PayPal is the faster, safer way to send money, make an online payment, receive money or set up a merchant account.
To Make Money Writing Online You Need A PAYPAL ACCOUNT
Wherever you decide to write, at some point you're probably going to get paid by Paypal. Make sure that you have a valid e-mail address (I recommend having a separate e-mail account for Paypal) and sign up for an account. You'll be given several options for your account, but you just need the basic type since you aren't a business.
To Make Money Writing Online You Need AN ADSENSE ACCOUNT
The Paypal account was the easy part. If you want to make the most out of earning money writing online, you're going to need to get an Adsense account to associate with your Hubpages or Wizzley account (Squidoo and Zujava don't use Adsense).
This isn't as easy as it sounds, as you cannot simply hop over to the Adsense website and sign up. Google needs to be able to confirm that you are producing the right kind of content for their program, and therefore they are going to ask you to illustrate for them that you have a portfolio of content.
Adsense may approve your account for Hubpages with as few as five hubs. But you're better off applying once you have more than ten. Don't worry! You will probably get approved.
The video to the right explains how Adsense works.
Tip: When affiliate marketing, make sure that whatever you're selling is relevant to the people who are searching for your page. Don't try to sell a coffee maker on an article about shoes (I've seen this happen!).
To Make Money Writing Online You Need AN AMAZON ASSOCIATES ACCOUNT
An Amazon Associates account is relatively easy to get and you can make a lot of money with affiliate marketing if you obtain an Amazon Associates account. Note that I emphasize "can" in this case. You may not, but it's worth it to take the possibility. Squidoo will pay you directly from Amazon sales, but with the other platforms (and with blogs) Amazon pays very well and is a good means of adding an extra cash flow to your endeavors.
How Will You Get Paid?
I plan to write a future article covering this more in detail, but I wanted to share with you that this is what I like most about Hubpages.
Hubpages gives you 60% of all ad impressions and they take the other 40%.
In most cases, the website platform you're writing on splits with you 50/50 (unless you have an independent blog) and pays you directly to Paypal. Hubpages gives you 60% of all of your ad impressions. It's up to you to produce content that results in ads that people want to click.
Put simply, you earn more on your hubs than Hubpages does as a corporate entity.
Do you make money writing online?
These are the Basics
This article just covers the basics of earning money by writing online. Future articles will break down the details for you. If you haven't already signed up for Hubpages or another platform, this is a good time to think about doing it. If you have ideas that you can use to write about online, you should be able to successfully earn using these ideas to produce high-quality content!
Note: It's normal to only make a few dollars in your first month or two. It picks up after that. Hubpages will pay you the month following your earnings. For example, I'll be getting paid this month for money earned in December.