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What's The Point of Writing Online?

Updated on March 26, 2015

To Start

You join a 'writing' site, that
is an 'online publishing'

You have checked the Terms
Of Sevice (TOS) to make
sure you don't lose your

You have checked the rates
of payment and although
not much, you agree.

If you are brand new you
might think there is some
proofreading or a real

You have not yet grasped
this is not a Writing site...
athough it may call it
self such, it is actually a
Publishing site.

What's the difference you think.

Understanding Writing vs Publishing

A writing site, like a hardcopy magazine, has Editors, has various sections, and what is judged is quality and relevance,

A publishing site, (which all of these 'writing sites' really are) is a venue which virtually publishes anything. There is no actual human moderation, no real standards, and no real 'pay'.

Your work may be 'judged' by an A.I.; some sort of ap which checks for certain words or standards. For example, on a particular site to be featured your item needs X number of
photographs, X number of links, X number of words in Bold type. This is set by the owner of the site.

People who catch this algorithm can publish absolute rubbish but it will get that 'star' because it is the A.I. which 'judges' not wetware.

Your work might be judged by other users who, in competition with you, see an item, decide to plagiarise it, so vote down your own. .

But you don't know this the day you join.

You write your very first piece and it's published, and you feel like you've won something.
You are a published writer!

You wait to see if anyone reads your writing and you learn that you have to Market your work. No one, not the site, not the advertisers, not the tooth fairy markets your work.

Maybe you think its unfair.

After all, the people who may come to the site to read your work are the ones who will see the ads, and the advertisers should do something to help you. The Site, which makes money from your work should do more than give you a template.

But alas, you learn, maybe within a few minutes, hours, weeks, years, that writers are six a penny. The only people who make money are those who own the site.

As Time Goes By

You join Adsense as most sites only
pay by Adsense.

This means you could have 1M hits,
but get Nothing unless you join Adsense.

This means your work will be smothered
in ads.

Maybe you also join Amazon and post their ads on your page. Now your prose can barely be found amid all the ads. Amazon pays Nothing unless the reader clicks on the Amazon ad and buys the product. Then you get a tiny little kick back.

Hence you learn, to your sadness, that Amazon ads are often a total waste. In fact, they are a detriment. Not only do they add to the clutter on the page but some unemployed reader who can't write a shopping list and spends its days trying to hurt others might flag the article as the Amazon Ad doesn't match the article.

This means you have to spend more time either changing the ad or removing it, or altering the prose, etc.

So you've now learned three things about online writing.

Firstly; that the writing is totally incidental.
Secondly, you have to market your own work.
Thirdly, you have to smother your article with Ads, some of which are detriments.

Becoming Seasoned

Over Time you learn about Search
Engine Optimisation; (SEO).

This is a trick in which you find particular popular words or terms and shove them into your article in as many styles as you can so that when someone enters those words into any search engine they'll be directed to your page.

The more matching, the higher up on the search one's article will be.

This means that the person who couldn't write a 'B' paper in High School but knows how to manipulate search engines gets the hits,and the cash.

The person who doesn't use SEO can be a Pulitzer winning author but won't get the hits nor the cash.

So here comes the major dilemma:

Do you write unmitigated rubbish with nauseating repetitions so as to catch the Search Engine which will direct thousands of people directed to your page,

Don't be afraid that the reader will see your garbage and jump off so that the hit doesn't register. Most people open a few different browser windows at the same time. Hence although no eye is on the page, it has been up long enough to get that 'hit'.

Hence, no one reads the rubbish, you just get paid.

Or, do you write what you want, as you want, as best as you can, and get 6c at the end of the month?


A chap on Triond wrote a complete fabrication. It was garbage from word 1 to word 765. Millions of people clicked on the site and he made thousands of dollars. Others have a template in which they pop in the 'What's Trending' terms.

"Everyone today is interested in 0000. People all over the world are concerned about 0000. But 0000 is nothing to worry about. Many people have learned that 0000 can be..."

Over and over, saying nothing but replacing 0000 with this minutes 'hot topic'.


You can continue to write and publish your best work and maybe after five years make $200 from of 1000 different articles on five different sites.

You can figure out how to cash in on SEO terms and write rubbish you don't want to hang your name off of but make enough to pay your light bill.

You can become totally discouraged so that you don't bother writing online any more.

You can create your own blog so that you can be ignored on your own terms.

You can use the various sites as storage for work you plan on tying into a thesis or book or polished articles when you get around to them.

You can pray that along will come a site which pays and has human moderation and proofreading of some level and that you will be marketed and maybe feel like you aren't wasting your time.

But as things stand now, writing on line is like writing for your school paper.


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    • qeyler profile imageAUTHOR


      5 years ago

      The fact is, if you search for those 100 folk and make an attempt to 'read' their prose, in many cases you are left with emptiness because these 'top earners' are not the 'top articles'.

    • Sullen91 profile image


      5 years ago from Mid-Atlantic Region, US

      Hmmm, I see what you're implying. That the bulk of hubs are of such a dubious quality I could see, as a disinterested observer, within 10 seconds of clicking a link that I had misfired is a prosaic remark on the credibility/lack of of Hubpages -- overall.

      But with the benefit of hindsight, it's fair to say Hubpages is less than lucrative compared to other opportunities, no?

      So if you can't conceive of writing meaningful posts for no money and little fanfare, it would make sense to consider your options.

      Even this hub is about Hub-pages, which is an irony of sorts because there are volumes of pages a user might reach before this one if his intent was to actually read about this site. Alas, it took me less than one week to arrive at a conclusion similar to yours.

      From time to time I do enjoy perusing old hubs though; All it takes is one well crafted Hub to help one store and remember that they are capable of writing at a high level.

    • qeyler profile imageAUTHOR


      5 years ago

      The fact is, if sites like Hubpages, Triond, etc. did something to help publicise the work then we would have a chance. The site would be a bit careful at what it published and publicised, which would mean Google would treat it as a 'real' site, and not a Content Farm. Very often you will write an article, then put the exact title in a Search Engine and all sorts of articles with one or two of the words appears before your item with all of the words.

      This means that Google considers the site itself rubbish and everything published on the site, rubbish.

    • Sullen91 profile image


      5 years ago from Mid-Atlantic Region, US

      Ahh what a dilemma. Should one continue to put out quality despite it yielding nothing in monetary gain or should one contrive promotional material passed off as substance to be taken half-seriously. I think there's way too much competition in this sphere to make it worthwhile chasing after the latest, greatest, story. Everyone would like to make money just typing out their thoughts, but who wants to get paid in exchange for contributing novel, thoughtful ideas that might stimulate discussion or provoke meaningful action. Those in the second category don't subordinate their passion for free expression to their awareness of what's considered most practical. If that was the case, there would be no dilemma. But it's another thing to write what you want, the way you want. That's more akin to unstructured discourse. As far as waiting years to make $200, enterprising writers are known to make that writing one paper.

    • qeyler profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago

      sure it would bigsands;

    • qeyler profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago

      That's precisely the point; you may have come to a site wanting to write, and then have to stop writing and start marketing. And there is something unsavoury about 'pimping' your work. Reddit will slap you down, Stumble Upon doesn't promote you, and sure, you can start the facebook tweeter thing.

    • Bonijun37 profile image

      Bonnie J. Smith 

      6 years ago from Lakewood,WA

      Interesting topic, I would like to learn more. djelrod I would like to read your work. I am a writer/author of two books and poem through hubpages. I've been published but not paid. I used two self publishing companies. I will be using one of them to publish my next work and upgrading it to get paid as I should. The point to write online is to be seen.

    • michiganman567 profile image


      6 years ago from Michigan

      There is another step that you forgot. That is developing a system of back links so that you might get recognized by people that can promote your work for you. I have not mastered this step, but I think that it can be done. I think that spending time in social media is more important than actually writing if you expect hits. Just writing something and hoping for hits is a lost cause.

    • djelrod profile image


      6 years ago from Seattle, WA

      I feel your pain, but I enjoy writing even if nobody reads it. Most of my writing has only been read by me, and I'm fine with that. I do wish I had more of an audience to get engaged and discuss the topic I write about on HubPages (running), but I will continue to write whether or not that happens.

    • qeyler profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago

      I appreciate the thoughtful responses. As to Triond; the chap who wrote the rubbish announced he was going to write the rubbish and expected the rubbish to be published; it was, expected to get a lot of hits; it did, and make money.

      As to the process of writing; well, yeah, I kind of enjoy it, but I still have that sense of unfairness that I have to write and market it and allow all sorts of ads to rub up against it.

    • thoughtfulgirl2 profile image


      6 years ago from East Coast

      I still say take the money out of the equation and see if you want to still do this writing thing. I would write even if I wasn't paid. What would the world do without all of the great works of literature that have been written or the outstanding journalism that has helped us learn about our world? Don't forget what interested you about writing in the first place:)

    • chaturrajneesh profile image

      Rajneesh Chaturvedi 

      6 years ago from India

      That's a reality. People even publish their own blogs just to get adsense clicks. The choice is whether aim is to earn money or to contribute to writing.

    • AudreyHowitt profile image

      Audrey Howitt 

      6 years ago from California

      I do think you need to make choices when writing online--It is a shame that your friend on Triond chose to write rubbish and even more of a shame that he was compensated for it. On the other hand--your piece is well written--and I hope that you enjoyed the process of writing it--cheers!


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