Writing Online - Things I've Learned as a New Online Writer
I've been writing for as long as I can remember, but have only been doing it professionally for a short time. I was working mainly as a fiction writer until October 2010, when I decided to branch out into writing articles and trying to make more money online. I've discovered quite a few things since I started writing articles online, and I thought I'd share this information for other new writers, or people who may be thinking of writing online.
If you don't try, you'll never know
Don't let fear of failure or rejection stop you from trying. I'm very self-conscious and shy in real life and I often worry that people won't like what I write or even take the time to read it. I let it hold me back for a long time and then I decided that not doing anything and never knowing was worse than doing something and possibly failing. The beauty of many online writing sites is that you can remain completely anonymous if you choose - create a nickname or writing pseudonym and people never have to know it's you, unless you decide to share your identity. This is great for people who are nervous or uncertain about their abilities, or who just don't want people to know it's them.
One of the other great things about writing online is that sites like HubPages and Squidoo encourage you to write about what you know and what interests you. There's no application process like some other online writing sites, which means no waiting and wondering whether you'll be accepted and able to write for that site. With some writing sites, you can make money with Google AdSense and other ads, as well as affiliates like Amazon, eBay, AllPosters, and a whole host of others. You can also create a personal or business blog and make money through these same companies, and more.
Networking and self-promotion are keys to success
Networking is one of the most important things when you're an online writer. Many writing sites are revenue share sites, where you make money through the number of page views, or through Google AdSense or other ads. The number of page views, as well as people clicking ads placed in your article or on your site are major factors in how much money you make, therefore you want to spend time trying to generate website traffic to your article or site. Social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter, as well as link-sharing and social bookmarking sites are great ways to direct traffic to your article or site.
Also, on the sites you write for, take time to make friends. Browse others' articles and make comments. Many people will return the favor and you may eventually find some loyal followers/readers who will not only read your work, but might share it with others as well. Just don't spam people's comment boxes, profile pages, or follow a ton of people for the sole purpose of hoping they'll follow you in return.
Being successful as an online writer takes a lot of patience
I've read dozens of articles and stories by people who have been writing online for years, and the consensus seems to be that it will take time to really start seeing a significant amount of revenue, and maybe even traffic. When it comes to Google Adsense revenue, some people say it takes three months, others say six months, and I've even seen some who say it will take as long as a year before you really start to see significant money. This depends on how many good, quality articles you write, how well you network, how good you are at adding keywords and key phrases, and a good dose of plain old luck. You need to have a lot of patience, stick to it, and not get discouraged or frustrated.
If you're just writing for fun and don't care about the money, you don't have to worry, but for those of us who are hoping to make a decent income from our writing, the main thing is sticking with it, writing as much as possible and publishing as many quality articles as possible. You're not going to get rich overnight - you may never get rich or even make enough money to live off, but if you stick with it, you may eventually bring in enough money to make a dent in your expenses or start a nice savings account. I've read accounts from people saying that they're able to cover all their bills through Adsense revenue, so it is possible to make writing online a career.
Find out what works best for you and stick with it
There are an endless list of online writing sites to choose from. I had a lot of trouble at first deciding which ones to write for - I originally thought I would choose one and focus all my attention there, but I quickly learned that would be a mistake. Many of the successful online writers I've talked to write for many different sites. In deciding which sites to write for, I read a lot of reviews, success stories and accounts from people who weren't so successful. I finally decided to try a bunch of sites and see which worked best for me. I've been keeping track of things like where I get the most page views and the most comments, where I make the most money, and which sites I feel most comfortable writing for. I've narrowed my online writing down to three sites - HubPages, Suite101 and Squidoo, because those are the ones that work best for me.
It may take time to get some solid statistics because sites fluctuate a lot depending on what people are searching for - you may get a few hundred or thousand page views one day and then hardly any another day. After a few months, you might be able to narrow down the number of sites you write for, or even decide to write for one site exclusively. Many sites offer bonuses in revenue once you hit a certain number of articles, so that's incentive to write more for those particular sites.
Read advice from the pros
On any site that you join, there are people who have been there for a long time and have had success. Many of these people will write articles giving tips, tricks and advice so that new writers (or people who have been at it awhile and aren't finding much success) can benefit from their knowledge and experience. If it's worked for them, these people obviously know what they're talking about. Taking some time to read what they have to say certainly can't hurt and you might learn something valuable to apply to your own writing or networking. Most sites have a section on their home page dedicated to popular writers and/or popular articles, so you shouldn't have to search much to find articles from experienced writers. You can also do a search based on what you're hoping to find, whether you're looking to make more money online, generate traffic to your articles, hone your craft, etc.
Whether you're writing online for pleasure, trying to earn a bit of extra money, or hoping to make it a career, online writing can be a very rewarding experience. There's always something to learn, and as a fairly new online writer, I feel like I'm learning something new every single day. There are sites where I have editors making suggestions on how to improve my articles or generate site traffic, and sites where I read other writers' experiences and learn something or feel inspired to keep going. Not everyone can dedicate their lives to writing online full-time, but if it's something you're interested in, try to find the time, and don't let anything or anyone stop you.
Thank you for reading
Thank you for reading Writing Online - Things I've Learned as a New Online Writer. If you enjoyed this article and found it useful, please vote it up, rate it, and/or leave a comment - you don't have to be a member of HubPages to leave comments. If you'd like to learn more about me and read my other articles here at Hubpages, you can visit my profile page. I love writing for HubPages, and would recommend it to anyone who's interested in writing online. If you'd like to join (it's free to join and a great way to make money online), you can sign up here.