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Freelance Writing: The Best Places to Make Money Online

Updated on August 18, 2014
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For many people, one of the hardest parts of beginning a freelance writing career is finding work. This is especially true to those who have little experience writing professionally. Some people like me start working from the very bottom up with high client expectations for very little pay. Others have better luck finding reputable private clients. I intend this as a good starting point for any writer wanting to kick-start their online freelancing portfolio.

This list of companies are all places I worked for at some point in my freelance writing career. I've chosen my favorites that suit both new and seasoned writers alike.I made it a point to choose companies that are usually accepting new writers, so many of them are not private clients.

I promise to grow the list slowly as I look through my favorite clients list. :)

Babble

This Walt Disney Corporation owned company is a great place for anyone who wants to talk about all things family. I recommend it first when suggesting online magazine jobs. Their guidelines are clearly stated on their website and are pretty easy to follow. The pay is good and they have a pretty impressive readership, so it is a good choice for anyone who wants to get their name out there.

They do take a while to get back to you, and if they don't accept your work you won't ever hear back from them. You also need to be sure your work is perfectly edited and already fits their own style guidelines, so make sure you read through a lot of their previously published articles before starting your article.

Scripted

Some people might write off a place like this as just another content mill, but it is so much more than that. Yes, anyone can sign up for an account, but you are not automatically allowed to accept jobs. Instead, you must apply for a specialty with a relevant writing sample which is then scored on flow, reader engagement, clarity and voice.

If you are accepted, you may see if there are any open jobs available in your category. More often than not, articles are categorized under two specialties, and you must be approved in both to be able to accept the job. Other times, clients request certain writers, or writers with a specific amount of experience with the company. The best way to start working is to submit a pitch to a client. Sometimes the editors will approach you with certain topics if they feel it would be suited to your experience and expertise. Be careful though, clients here tend to have very specific guidelines that you must follow exactly if you do not want any revisions.

All the trouble to getting a job is worth it. Some work pays around $5 for a 70 word product or place description, and some pay even more, depending on the subject. If a client likes your work, he may even pay more for your work. This site should be at the top of the list for any new writers.

Skyword

This is hands-down my favorite freelance writing site. Like a few other places, it may be mistaken for a content mill, but it is so far from that. Like with other sites, anyone can sign up, but you have to apply to a program for whom to write.

Each program is basically a different major client company. The program list includes several nationally known companies such as Pampers, Angie's List, What to Expect - Word of Mom, Everyday Health, Lowes and Bounty among others. The staff are all friendly and work hard with their writers to produce quality content. They provide monthly workshops and occasional webinars with other well-known freelancers. This may be a good job for an article writer who can write knowledgeably on several topics.

The pay rate varies per program. Some are residual income only, while others pay as much as $60 or more per article. One program even offers $200 per article, but you have to be well versed in science for that particular program. Programs range from family-orientated to beauty to technology and science. Each program requires very specific content standards and minimum article requirements. One downfall is that most programs have a very long review time, with some programs taking as long as two month to approve an article. This is because it is reviewed by a content editor, your program manager, and then the client. At least they pay twice a month. My best advice: write as many articles as you can so that your long queue of work can become a good source of backup money if you find you ever need it. I usually get anywhere between $70 and $300 per pay period.

Elance, ODesk and Freelancer

Ahhh, the bidding sites. Loved by some, hated by others - and for good reason. These sites are very competitive and many clients are willing to accept low quality work in exchange for incredibly low pay. I know people who were asked to do 16 600 word articles for a mere $32 or a 60,000 word eBook for $25. The sad part is that some poor soul somewhere probably accepted these offers.

On the bright side, you can find some really great work on these sites. There are a few clients who understand that good work costs more and are willing to pay up for it too. Many of these clients often end up as long-term private clients. In fact, I know a fair few who make their living entirely from their private clients found on these sites. I, personally, have had three clients become private clients for a few months. Once you establish a good relationship with a few clients, you can easily earn a good income with them. These are sites everyone should definitely check out and try. You may just get lucky. Just be careful to not lower yourself to accepting practically no pay for your hard work!

MediaPiston

I've been debating for days whether or not I should include this company on my list. They've undergone some major changes since I last submitted any work for them, and I don't know if they have made the most important change they need yet.

For all intents and purposes, they are a content mill. They are what I like to call the newer generation of content mill which means they are a lot more friendly to their writers and are quick to weed out any low-quality writers. The last time I wrote for them, however, they did not have any real editors and writers had work sent back to them for very minor changes that an editor would normally fix on their own. Who edited the work? Senior writers that have been with the company and submitted consistently high-quality work. This is something that needed fixing right away, and I hope they have done it. Nothing more tedious than having your work sent back to you so you can add a comma here or capitalize that word.

Articles are usually technical or academic writing, so it is perfect for anyone with any writing specialties. The pay is decent and money is sent to you weekly. Similar to that of a regular content mill. You get a small base pay for a certain word count and a bonus if the work is submitted before the due date. The clients also have an option to give you another bonus if the work is to their liking. Clients also rate your work openly on a five star scale which may determine your eligibility for certain work and higher pay.

The Daily Muse

Okay, I am not going to lie to you - I never actually wrote for this online magazine. Yet. I've been reading their articles for a while now and I know some of the writers who are published there and they love it. I plan on submitting a proposal to them once I can think of an idea that will really wow them. I think you should do the same. They have a pretty impressive readership with a lot of social media loyalty from their readers, so any writer would be lucky to have an article published there.

If you've had work published here before, please tell me your thoughts!

Your Experiences...

I believe freelance writers should all help one another and build a strong community among us. Tell me about your favorite places to write online. What were you best and worst experiences? How did you begin your adventures of online writing and why?

Comments

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    • lambservant profile image

      Lori Colbo 

      3 years ago from Pacific Northwest

      In regards to my comments from before, Sutie101 is now defunct.

    • profile image

      Jel Writes 

      3 years ago

      Your hubs is really helpful and there are many like this here on Hubpages which is why it is my first choice sometimes when I am seeking information. Writers are always looking for more eggs to put in their writing baskets, so they can diversify where the work is coming from and try to be gainfully employed even over Christmas, I actually found a job on one of my sites that was to be written over the New Year period.

      My one gripe is that I live in Australia and there are many content mills and some revenue sites even, that snub their noses at anyone who is not from the US. What would really help is that when writers write these reviews which contain fantastic information, that they include whether overseas writers are welcome. I remember wasting considerable time emailing several content mills to check out this policy and even went as far to apply for one, and then was told that US writers only were welcome. This does not offend me, in fact I am sure these sites have their reasons, it would be handy if it was clear on their homepage. But, it never is, they want you to look around the site and maybe click on their ads. What I am suggesting is that the writers who write these lists in order to help other writers include whether the site is restricted to US writers only or writers from other countries.

      In any case thank you for some great information, that I will be checking out. Particualry Guru and Freelancer, I am a member of Elance. Cheers, Jel

    • Tricia Ward profile image

      Tricia Ward 

      6 years ago from Scotland

      Thank you for the tips...I guess I will never know if I don't try. Great hub

    • ThisisShe profile imageAUTHOR

      ThisisShe 

      6 years ago

      kennynext - do you know if there is anyway to ask the clients questions about the articles prior to submission? Most places have this feature (but it isn't always so easy to find) and in other cases, sometimes the company will ask the client for you. It would suck if there was just no way to ask any questions. I hate places like that and rarely ever stick with them!

      tigresosal - Thank you for reading my hub. Please do look at a few of these places. They are really worth it!

    • profile image

      tigresosal 

      6 years ago

      Wonderful hub with a great list. I shall be trying a few. thanks for the effort of compiling these sites in an order of preference. Useful. Voted up

    • kennynext profile image

      kennynext 

      6 years ago from Everywhere

      I tried blogmutt but the instructions are not clear and hard to understand what the client wants.

    • ThisisShe profile imageAUTHOR

      ThisisShe 

      6 years ago

      LadyLola - I agree! Especially since there are so many scams out there, it's nice to know where you should apply for legit work with great staff. These places are certainly it too. Thanks for commenting :)

    • LadyLola profile image

      Lanie Robinson 

      6 years ago from Canada

      Great list here of places to consider writing for. It's so helpful to read reviews of these places before checking them out, instead of going in blind.

    • ThisisShe profile imageAUTHOR

      ThisisShe 

      6 years ago

      Naimishika, can you please elaborate?

    • Doodlehead profile image

      Doodlehead 

      6 years ago from Northern California

      Naimishika---are you speaking to me? If so, I am not getting it.....

    • Doodlehead profile image

      Doodlehead 

      6 years ago from Northern California

      My boy's my puppy!

    • ThisisShe profile imageAUTHOR

      ThisisShe 

      6 years ago

      I've used Textbroker before and still do on occasion. I wanted to stay away from places like that on my list and go for places that I know not a whole lot of writers are too familiar with and have higher pay scales. I do like Textbroker though, they do have some interesting article choices from time to time and the pay is pretty decent if you are a 4 or 5 star writer. I just wish writers were paid more.

      You may certainly make money with a blog writing about your boy or anything - provided you use the necessary tools and really listen to the expert bloggers out there. I've been wanting to blog, but I just never seem to be motivated enough these days! :(

    • Doodlehead profile image

      Doodlehead 

      6 years ago from Northern California

      Wow....super cool. There is Textbroker also. Maybe it will be possible to sit by the beach and just write about the adventures of my boy, Winston.....he's going to be FAM@OUS!

      Once your get the "hang of this" is really possibe to have the life you've always wanted; I know my puppy has the life....

    • ThisisShe profile imageAUTHOR

      ThisisShe 

      6 years ago

      I've heard about examiner and suite101, but I've never used them. I heard that suite101 suffered a lot since Panda, has it been getting better? I will look into write.com, thanks :)

    • lambservant profile image

      Lori Colbo 

      6 years ago from Pacific Northwest

      Here are a few more: Examiner.com, write.com, suite101.com

      Great hub. I will look into these.

    • lannm profile image

      lannm 

      6 years ago from Out here somewhere

      Thank you

    • profile image

      lilmama4273 

      6 years ago

      I will have to check this sites out. Thanks for the info.

    • rajan jolly profile image

      Rajan Singh Jolly 

      6 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

      thisisshe, useful and interesting sites. Voted as such.

      Need to check them out.

      Thanks for sharing.

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