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Round Up of (Legit) Freelance Writing Websites: Good Sites for Newbies and Established Writers

Updated on November 2, 2011

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.

Freelancers are increasingly turning towards online writing websites rather than print media.
Freelancers are increasingly turning towards online writing websites rather than print media.

Content Sites

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.


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    • Say Yes To Life profile image

      Yoleen Lucas 

      4 years ago from Big Island of Hawaii

      Thanks for writing this list! I'll look into these.

    • profile image


      4 years ago

      Very helpful. Thanks.

    • nikkiraeink profile image


      6 years ago from So. Cal.

      Just the info I was looking for. Thanks!

    • carol7777 profile image

      carol stanley 

      6 years ago from Arizona

      This is one of the best articles about freelance writing. It is so competitive today.

    • calico Stark profile image

      calico Stark 

      7 years ago from Earth for the time being

      Thank you for the information! You communicate very well in type and I appreciate the writer's helping hand. vote up, useful and awesome!

    • Anaya M. Baker profile imageAUTHOR

      Anaya M. Baker 

      7 years ago from North Carolina

      Stephen, thanks so much for weighing in! I actually need to update the list, I've found a couple more good sites lately, and there's been some big changes with demand--they laid off half their workers, and hardly have any titles left...feel like things change so quickly in the online world, sometimes a good thing, sometimes a never ending chase for work.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Extremely useful stuff you've got here. I will have it bookmarked, voted up, and rated as useful, you have my word.

    • Stephen Crowley profile image

      Stephen Crowley 

      7 years ago from Wales, UK

      Great list but for one... Demand Studios. I dont recommend this site at all! They have a horrible system that complicates the entire article checking process through the use of copy editors (who were also just writers...) quick to lash out the whip, and at times, for no reason. I did get many published but several were turned down and so I sent them elsewhere. But, the time it takes to be notified and then get through any corrections makes it a bad choice as a primary source of income. There are better choices, take a look at my hubs. The rest of your list shows fantastic ways to make quick Adsense income.

    • ubanichijioke profile image

      Alexander Thandi Ubani 

      7 years ago from Lagos

      You are awesome. Brilliant!

    • dahoglund profile image

      Don A. Hoglund 

      7 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids

      Useful information.

    • hazelbrown profile image


      7 years ago from Central PA

      Great ideas! Thank you!

    • randomcreative profile image

      Rose Clearfield 

      7 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin

      I'm still breaking into the freelance writing word and haven't explored much yet besides HubPages. This is extremely helpful. Thank you!

    • Mrs. Menagerie profile image

      Mrs. Menagerie 

      7 years ago from The Zoo

      How did I miss this hub until now? Awesome and up!

    • Anaya M. Baker profile imageAUTHOR

      Anaya M. Baker 

      7 years ago from North Carolina

      Thanks CJames! I've heard of Triond, never tried it myself. Had not heard of textbroker, but am now on the alert to steer clear...

    • CJamesIII profile image


      7 years ago from Minneapolis, MN

      Some people have also suggested, and I would suggest stay away from! If you have that much information, try self-publishing (set up your own website or try an on demand publisher), less rules and far more rewarding!

    • MellowDayLondon profile image


      7 years ago from South Africa

      I've found this very sound advice and am checking all these sites out. I'm trying Helium first. I love the idea of the up-front incentive bonus:)

    • samiaali profile image


      7 years ago

      Hello Anaya, Thank you for a great Hub. I have found it very useful! :)

    • Jane Bovary profile image

      Jane Bovary 

      8 years ago from The Fatal Shore

      What a handy list to have. Thanks for putting this out there!

    • izettl profile image

      Laura Izett 

      8 years ago from The Great Northwest

      GREAT info- will bookmark for sure. I wondered about Helium- the competitive aspect of it sounds fun.

    • nybride710 profile image

      Lisa Kroulik 

      8 years ago from Minnesota

      Thank you so much. I am going through and registering for the ones that I am not on yet. Now if I just had the time to write for all of them!

    • WorkinItOut profile image


      8 years ago from North Carolina

      on CC, do you know others who have used it successfully? I would hate to work for a month and not get paid or find out they aren't legit.

      I have made a full living for almost two years now ghostwriting for one online service. Your work is not displayed on a website like here or CC. Clients pay subscriptions to use the service, then fund their accounts with money and submit requests for the work they want completed. Writers do not display anything, but pick up the requests they want and complete them within a deadline. Clients prepay for everything and then you can upgrade if it requires more money than the basic pricing.

      The site takes a very small percentage of the original pricing but you keep 100% of your tips and any upgrades sent.

      As soon as you submit your work to the system you are credited with the pay and can see how much you have in pay at any time. Pay is every Friday through Paypal, so it's like getting a real paycheck for me. I write thousands of articles for them every month just me alone, so you can image the amount of work passing through there!

      anyway, if you want info on them I can give it to you sometime. Right now they aren't bringing on new writers but I will let you know when they do. It's not something you have to really have to apply for, I can just give you the email for the owner and you can send him a short sample or just refer him to your hub account and he will let you in when they are hiring. They found me through, where I got my start at ghostwriting (I do not recommend that site to just anyone though, I recently cancelled my membership).

    • Anaya M. Baker profile imageAUTHOR

      Anaya M. Baker 

      8 years ago from North Carolina

      Glad I could help:) I've thought about ghost writing myself...I hear that's where the real money is! While I'm hesitant to give up my name and rights, I suppose if it were for Demand-type work I wouldn't really care. I think I'll keep it in mind- thanks for sharing your experience.

      In terms of writing sample, would you be able to use something ghostwritten even if you have given up the rights? I'm thinking it might be possible since the sample is only an example of something you've written, and doesn't get used in any any rate if you're familiar with that type of writing it likely wouldn't take you long to dash out a page of text.

      I haven't gotten going yet on CC - I'm signed up, but still waiting to send in my first article...oh that fear of rejection! Good luck on your 3!

    • WorkinItOut profile image


      8 years ago from North Carolina

      Yes, you were very helpful. Thank you so much for responding. I think I will give them a try. I have worked for a ghostwriting service for almost two years now and have been able to completely raise my kids on that alone, but I think it's time to expand and find other opportunities. Much of what I write there is what you describe for Demand, so I am comfortable with that. I write tons of website content, how to articles, blog posts, eBooks, directory articles, product reviews, just a bit of everything. I just can't use it as samples because all rights go immediately to the client there (thus ghostwriting).

      I signed up for Constant Content and really like the feel of that place. I wrote my first 3 articles there tonight as response to requested content posts. Now I will wait and see what happens :)

    • Anaya M. Baker profile imageAUTHOR

      Anaya M. Baker 

      8 years ago from North Carolina

      Hi WorkinItOut,

      I took a look at your page, and I don't think you'd have any trouble with the writing. You're a good writer, and seem to know what you're doing.

      You definitely don't need a website to apply to demand, I didn't even have a blog when I started. I'm not sure exactly what it is they are looking for in terms of experience, but I think writing samples count for a lot. They ask for two samples, which don't have to be published online, you can just send them a text copy. But you could also send in something that's already up on another site if you have an article or two similar to their style. The sample is supposed to be an informative article about anything topic. They want it in third-person, no "I" or "you," and it should be fact-based, rather than based on personal experience. For example, I love your article on dog adoptions... but Demand likely wouldn't:( (those jerks). But, if you were to write a short 300 word blurb on "how to recognize and treat kennel cough" that would probably fit the bill exactly.

      Most Demand writers work for eHow, so browse some eHow articles to get a feel for the tone of writing. Make sure to check spelling and grammar, but I think they are only looking for a level of competancy, which you obviously have, not a complete master of the English language.

      As far as hiring, I think it really depends on how they're looking as far as writers and money. I know that a little while back they were in a rough period business-wise, and I know some good writers who applied and didn't get it. But as far as I know things have ironed out.

      Hope that info helped, and good luck! Let me know how it goes if you do apply, and welcome to hubpages!

    • WorkinItOut profile image


      8 years ago from North Carolina

      Anaya, I was told that it is very difficult to get accepted at Demand Media? Do you need to have your own website or anything in particular? Thanks for your advice on this. I was kind of scared off about a year ago by a bunch of comments elsewhere on how difficult it was to be accepted.

    • Anaya M. Baker profile imageAUTHOR

      Anaya M. Baker 

      8 years ago from North Carolina

      Yikes Nell, sounds like a nightmare! Hope you get your money for the articles they accepted...

      Another site that might be of interest for folks is Yahoo Associated Content. I didn't include them on the list because I haven't tried them personally, but I know a ton of freelancers who work there and seem to really enjoy it. Don't know all the details but I think they are similar to Helium/Suite 101. I'd thought about trying them out myself but honestly just have too much going on right now...

    • sligobay profile image


      8 years ago from east of the equator

      Thanks for sharing your experience. This article is very useful.

    • mckbirdbks profile image


      8 years ago from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas

      Thanks for your hard work putting this together. Very useful.

    • Nell Rose profile image

      Nell Rose 

      8 years ago from England

      Hi, this is perfect for me as I have just had a very bad experience with a so called freelance site, I joined something called Myams where I had to sign on in the first place in a site called London Brokers. They accepted me, in fact said I was a very good writer and were happy that I had joined. Two weeks later, after all my work being accepted, they suddenly decided that I wasn't for them, and closed my account! I had at least three pieces of work that had been accepted but they never paid me! I am still trying to get the money now. It was a terrible site, they had a list everyday with what work to do, and the titles weren't even spelled right! for example, microdamambrasion in miami!! as you can see, the spelling was appalling! I had to write 1,500 words for 5 dollars! as I needed the money I did try, but it was more like a robotic way of writing, no exclamation marks, no question marks and no 'me, you or I' ! never again! I will bookmark this, very helpful thanks, nell

    • vocalcoach profile image

      Audrey Hunt 

      8 years ago from Idyllwild Ca.

      A great hub with valuable information! You have given eye-opening accounts of other writing venues. I, for one, really appreciate your efforts. Wonderful...bookmarking this and vote up and awesome. :)vocalcoach

    • toknowinfo profile image


      8 years ago

      Well written hub with wise words at the end. Thanks for the great explanations and well done article. Bookmarked and rated up and useful.

    • Peter Dickinson profile image

      Peter Dickinson 

      8 years ago from South East Asia

      Thank you. Both useful and interesting. A couple of these I had not heard of previously. Voted up.

    • Anaya M. Baker profile imageAUTHOR

      Anaya M. Baker 

      8 years ago from North Carolina

      Thanks Adnohr!

      Writer David - Congrats on your acceptance at DS! They're really not that bad, its just the random editor here or there that seems to have unusually high expectations or completely different ideas about what constitutes "good" writing. You might go months without running into one, or never have it happen at all. All in all its a pretty good site for making money, even if they're sometimes a pain in the behind. Good luck!

    • Adnohr profile image


      8 years ago from Canada

      Thanks for this information! Well written and clear.

    • Writer David profile image

      Writer David 

      8 years ago from Mobile, AL

      I just joined Demand Media about two weeks ago. I submitted both my blogs and they were accepted (which kind of surprised me). I am not a professional writer. I just have always loved to write. If they are as strict and as critical as you indicated, I'm not sure I will last long there. Right now, I am told they are waiting to distribute my blogs. Thanks for posting this. I have learned quite a bit.


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