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Why Some Writing Websites Go Out of Business

Updated on August 3, 2017
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Bob Craypoe (also known as R. L. Crepeau) is a musician, writer, webmaster, 3D artist, and creator of the Punksters comic strip series.

A Simple Google Search Will Find a Number of Writing Sites

Throughout the years I have written a lot of online articles and have done so through a good number of websites. Many of those are no longer around. There are a variety of reasons for that though. I will cover some of those in this article. However, in spite of the fact that many writing websites have gone out of business, there are still a good number of writing websites currently online. A simple Google search will testify to that.

Now, some of you may wonder what the point would be in writing about reasons for writing sites failing. I think it could be helpful in the sense that if you are considering writing articles for a writing website, you might want to know what to look for in a site. If you see some of the things that are wrong that I mention in this article, you might not want to waste your time.

Low Quality

I think the biggest reason for a writing website going out of business is quality or, to be more specific, bad quality. If someone goes to the writing website and can really only find poorly written articles, they would be more inclined to not return to the site, rather than to return. So it certainly minimizes return traffic. This hurts all writers who participate on the writing site, not just the poor writers.

The reason you may find some writing websites with poor quality articles is that they have no real quality control mechanisms in place. Basically, they pretty much let just about anybody submit any type of article. Some have so many misspellings it's ridiculous and some even have misspelled words in the title of the article.

Google and other search engines will give poor rankings to sites with low quality articles. So, the search engine traffic directed to these sites are minimal to non-existent. If you are a good writer who is writing good quality articles, you may get penalized just as much as the poor writers, primarily because of the fact that the site is poorly regarded.

Since these writing sites that have poor quality articles have poor search engine rankings, they get minimal traffic. However, the maintenance of these websites is not simple. You basically have a situation where the content is constantly being updated and uploaded. Maintenance for such sites require more people and therefore costs more money to keep running. With high maintenance costs and poor traffic, you have a situation that is not very good for profit margins. So, the site goes under and shuts down.

You as an article writer might want to check out the quality of the articles on the site to see how good it is. Participating on such a site might very well be a waste of your time. However, participating on a writing site with higher quality articles would be much more advantageous to you, simply because you would be much more likely to get more traffic to your articles through the search engines.

Poorly Administered

Another thing that often becomes an issue with these sites are that the administration of them is dysfunctional. One issue I have seen is the categorization of the articles. I would write an article and then submit it. The writing website had numerous websites where they would post the articles. They all had articles that pertained to specific subjects. They had a website that covered tech subjects like computers, the Internet and your basic IT related stuff. They also had a music website, religious websites and numerous other sites.

I don't know how many times I submitted an article and it was posted to a website where it really should not have been posted. For example, I would submit an article about classic rock and it would be posted on a Christian site. Now, I have no problem with Christian websites if the article actually had something to do with that. The problem was that it didn't. The article was about why I like Blue Oyster Cult. Posting that on a Christian website made no sense. I wanted it posted on their music website under Classic Rock.

So I would submit articles that varied significantly in their subject matter and many of them would be posted on sites that had nothing to do with the subject I wrote about. This was a big deal. It was a big deal because, since they had nothing to do with the overall theme of the site it was posted on, it probably got a lot less views than it would have if it had been posted on a relevant site.

The writing website allowed you to appeal where it was posted for the purpose of having it re-posted on a relevant site. I had done the appeal process for a number of articles and sometimes they would put the article in a more relevant location and sometimes they would not. So the ones that were not put on a more relevant site got significantly less views than the ones that were put on the relevant sites.

I then took the articles down that weren't getting a good number of views because of where they were placed. I put them on another website or on my own blog. They weren't going to do me any good where they were at so I just put them in a place where I thought they would get more views. So the next thing you look at and what you consider as far as a writing website goes is where they actually put your articles.

Poor Support

Poor support is another aggravating aspect of some of these sites. Some will get back to you if you send them an e-mail but others will never get back to you no matter how many times you contact them. Some sites will just have a help section that you will have to navigate to try to find an answer to your question or a FAQ page with answers to the most frequently asked questions. Unfortunately, there are numerous questions one might have that aren’t actually addressed. So then you try to find a link to where you can actually send them an e-mail. Most often, it’s very hard to find, simply because they don’t want to be bothered. This could be very frustrating.

Sometimes when you send an e-mail, it takes forever for them to actually respond to it. And when you finally do receive that response, it sometimes does not adequately address your question, so you send another e-mail to try to pin them down with more specificity in their answers. After a while, you just give up and become discouraged. You will probably be less likely to try to contact their technical support again, due to the fact that they weren’t helpful the last time you contacted them.

Technical Issues

One writing site I was working with started having a lot of technical issues. It would run painfully slow at times. They also had a dashboard that would take forever to update with the latest stats. The worst thing was when I would go to submit a new article and the site would lock up and the article would not only not be submitted but it was missing. And if it was not backed up prior to disappearing, it would be lost forever.

On many occasions on that site, even after I was basically able to submit an article without the page locking up or losing the article, it would sometimes take a few days for the submitted article to actually be posted. This created a level of frustration that caused me to be reluctant to submit new articles. Eventually I stopped and it wasn’t long after that the site shut down anyway. I assume that a lot of people got frustrated and gave up as well.

Late or Missing Payments

I have seen some writing websites that had a problem with making payments. Then in the forums, many of the writers would be complaining about late or missed payments. So you might want to check out the forums that some of these writing websites have. You can find out a lot about these sites by what the writers are posting.

Usually when a writing website starts missing payments or making them late, it is an indication that their business model is not really working for them. It may very well be an indication that the end is near for them. Most sites will try to keep things going in the hopes that they can improve upon the profit margin but still may end up shutting down after failing to do so.

I had an experience with a new writing site where one of the people who started the site ran off with the money. Then the other partner posted a notice to everyone what happened with the money that was supposed to be used for the payments to the writers. That site shut down shortly after because all of the writers bailed after they found out they were not going to get their payments.

Summary

So those are some of the signs of a bad writing website. Once you notice some of those signs, you may want to consider writing somewhere else. Otherwise you might just be wasting your time on a site that will be going out of business.

© 2017 Bob Craypoe

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