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Round Up of (Legit) Freelance Writing Websites: Good Sites for Newbies and Established Writers
In my quest to become a writer, I've tried out a bunch of different freelance writing websites over the last year, and researched even more. I've learned that not all sites are created equal, and not all sites will meet the needs of each individual writer. Some are great for beginner's, user-friendly, helpful, and not overly demanding. Yet other writers with a bit more experience may crave more of a challenge, editorial oversight, or different platforms and payment structures.
All of sites I've tried personally. They are all legit, and do pay. Some I like better than others, but that isn't to say that they're not worth looking into. Again, everyone's needs are different. One of the most important things to remember about freelancing is to always keep your options open, and never put too many eggs in one basket. Having two or three sites with which you actively engage is a good idea, especially in case something sours with one. Sites go out of business, take a hit in Google traffic, or simply stop being profitable without warning.
Its always smart to keep a few names in your back pocket as well. Many times a writers will simply outgrow their favorite website. With experience comes increased skill and a larger portfolio, which like in any career, often leads to bigger and better opportunities.
A content site essentially pays freelancers for writing articles, blogs or posts. Some sites allow writers to choose their own topics, while others provide titles and assignments. Pay structure varies widely from site to site.
HubPages - The site you're looking at right now! Revenue is generated by Adsense, Amazon, eBay, or the HubPages ad program, which tends to earn much more than Adsense alone. Currently, I'm making almost 40 cents a month per article, which is ten times as much as at Helium.
At HP, Anyone can create an account, there is no application process. Articles, or hubs, can be on any topic you wish, and are voted up or down by readers, not critiqued by editors. Hubpages is by far the most fun site I've used.
I generally use this site for writing about whatever strikes my fancy, as a "parking lot" for articles I haven't figured out just what to do with yet, or articles for other sites that got rejected or would need significant changes in focus or scope in order to go through. The forums here are also worth checking out, as they are a combination of good advice and interesting people. To learn more or get started click here.
Helium - So so. Upfront payments for articles are pretty low, one or two dollars for the most part, and you're competing to get these. Revenue shares stink, I average about 4 cents a month per article. For this one, you don't get to pick your own titles, but there is a huge range of titles in almost every category you could think of. Despite the low earnings, I am still an active member with the site, because I've gotten a lot of opportunities through Helium. Content Source and Custom Projects actually pay quite well, and I've made some interesting connections there, including Moral Relativism Magazine.
Constant Content - More experienced writers might want to consider signing on with this one. Writers submit articles on their choice of topics, which are then made available to customers. Writers are allowed to set their own prices, which tend to range from about $20 to as much as $300 for longer articles or specialty topics.
Watch out though, CC is very strict about submissions, and will only accept articles that are flawless in terms of grammar and punctuation. This can be a downer for writers that are lacking good editing skills, but the upside is that successfully selling articles on CC carries quite a bit more weight in the freelancing world, and the pay reflects this. Click here to apply.
Demand Media - Don't bother with them anymore. They recently laid off the majority of their writers, and are phasing out their article writing program. I believe there is still work there if you write to auto repair titles, but that's about it to my knowledge at least.
Suite101 - Similar to HubPages in that you can choose your own topics and get paid by adshare revenue. The main difference is that Suite articles are reviewed by editors, which I've found to be generally helpful. This is a great site for getting your feet wet and building up a portfolio, and they have a lot of good resources and learning tools. An application and two writing samples are required.
I signed up with Suite initially, but haven't done a lot there, I've found that I just prefer concentrating on Helium, Hubs and a few other sites.
Merchant Circle - Four dollars per article. I worked for them on a previous project during the site-building phase, but haven't taken part in their article program. They pay four bucks for an article, but the problem is they want them with images, intros, keywords, SEO optimized, references, etc. It's just too much work for a measly four bucks for me, but if you need money, or can do all this stuff quicker than I can, it's an option.
Skyword - A platform that works with four different sites, Gather (news, politics sports and entertainment) ImpreMedia (Spanish language news site), Daily Glow (beauty) and Pampers Pregnancy (parenting). After signing up with Skyword, you apply to as many of the four different sites as you'd like. Each one works a bit differently, and I'm currently only working for Gather News, so I don't have details on any of the other programs.
At Gather, you write stories either of your own choosing or suggested by an editor. The stories you write must go through an editorial process before going live, but the turnaround is quick, usually within a few hours, and I've never had an article rejected or even returned for revision, unlike at Demand. A tiered payment plan determines rate of pay, and it differs across the board. At Gather News, in a given month if a story reaches 150 page views it nets $2.50, 250 is worth $4, 500 is worth $7.50, and so on, up to $75.
Social Bookmarking Sites
Any article or blog that receives adshare revenue should be promoted. In addition to facebook and twitter, social bookmarking sites are a great way to do this. Even when the sites are not giving you much actual traffic, the backlink created will help your work rise in the google rankings. For more on why backlinking is so important, especially in the wake of Googlepocolypse, check out this article by ryankett. For more on article marketing and promotion, embitica has some good info here.
Best Reviewer - From the guy that created SheToldMe, Best Reviewer is pretty simple to use. Gives backlinks and pays adsense. You create a "Top" which is a list of 3-20 top anythings. Each item has room for a link, and a short description if you feel that motivated. This works well for articles that run on the same theme. For example, today I created "Top Three Articles on Mrs. Dalloway." Throw in a few sentances, for the into, put in the links, and voila, 3 backlinks in less than 2 minutes. Here's the link to BR.
Reddit - Seems to have replaced Digg and StumbleOn as the most popular social bookmarking site. I just tried this one recently hoping to score some juicy backlinks, but haven't been there long enough to measure results. The site is a bit confusing because there is so many categories, but all in all any traffic is good traffic, so its worth taking a few minutes to set up an account and put some links in.
Update: I've been using Reddit a lot more lately, and definitely getting into the site. The categories aren't really all that difficult once you get used to it, and the site overall is a great source of information. I've gotten some great traffic for SOME of my postings. This happened once I started to figure out just how the whole category thing worked, and what people are actually interested in.
Just a word of caution: Reddit users and the site admins are working really hard to keep it a quality site. This means that just posting constant links to your articles and sites is kind of frowned on. If you want to use it to promote your writing, thats fine, but just do your due diligence in making sure the stuff you post is in the appropriate category, and that you are also taking the time to contribute in other ways to the site, such as through comments, or sharing (interesting) material that WASN'T written by you!
Digg - Just because many people have moved over to Redditt doesn't mean Digg's days are done. Still a great way to get work out there and boost traffic. Personally I found it a bit easier to use than Redditt, but I'm still using both. With Digg, I just slam in a quick link to everything I write, and don't bother with the site itself. Yeah, I'm an unethical spammer, I know.
Xomba - Adsense enabled, but requires quite a bit more writing on each post. Not sure the minimum word count, but about a paragraph or two, even for a bookmark. Far more useful, I think, for marketing groups of articles on one theme.
Snipsly - Snipsly also has an adsense program, which is pretty cool. Its always great to get paid for a backlink. Snipsly requires a few ORIGINAL sentences for every post, but overall its pretty easy.
Excerptz - Signed up for this one, but haven't used it yet. Platform seems similar to Snipsly. It does require a longer word count however. Still in the early stages, so we'll see...
A Word of Caution
Writers, please do be careful when trying out sites! A lot of
scams out there, so do your research and due diligence before getting into anything. One great trick I've found is simply type the name of a site with the word scam into a search engine. You will need to filter through the results to find out which comments are simply from disgruntled people who just didn't like the site for some random reason, and which are real concerns, but it is well your time in the long run.
Finally, NEVER pay any money to create an account on a writing site. You should be paid for your work, not pay the employer to work for them.