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Writing online for profit

Updated on April 2, 2015

If you are reading this you are probably a keen writer who enjoys using the Internet and wants to explore ways that you can convert your writing skills into an online income. Am I correct so far?

Now whether or not you do it here on Hubpages or elsewhere, you can make money from writing online. How much you earn from your writing however will largely depend on a number of factors, such as where you write, what you write about, how much work you are willing to do in order to get your articles seen, the quality of your writing (spelling, grammar etc), how much you write and of course, how many hours you are willing to devote to writing online.

If you are wondering if you can make a full time income from writing online, then the answer is yes you can. This is not going to be easy though and you will have to do a lot of hard work to achieve it. There is no such thing as a 'passive income' and you will have to put in the hard work, do a lot of reading as well as writing and still not expect overnight success.

Can You Write Well?

The first thing you will need to establish is can you write well? Everyone tends to be their own biggest fan, and most hate criticism of their writing skills, however if you are to be a successful writer online you need to get other people to read your work and offer you their honest opinions. You will also need to be willing to consider that you might not be the brilliant writer you thought you were. Constructive criticism is a good thing, especially if you are writing in a second language that is not your native language, which could result in spelling and grammatical errors (a sure fire way to get people to click away from your articles).

Revenue Sharing Sites

There are many websites that offer revenue sharing if you choose to write on them, whilst also allowing you to maintain ownership of your actual content. These tend to be collectively known as 'Content Farms', and most offer around a 60/40 split in favour of the author. These sites generally generate income for you via Google Adsense, meaning that you will get income from clicks made on adverts that are featured on your articles. Hubpages offer you their own system too which is based on impressions as opposed to clicks, and can work better for you depending on the nature of the articles you write. It is worth being aware that these sites are always quite a high risk area to write though, and as was proved by Google's Panda update, many writers who solely wrote for content farm sites saw their traffic and income vanish overnight. In many cases it has never recovered and those writers are now starting from scratch.

Build Your Own Websites

Your best chance of making a permanent and long term income from writing online is not to put all your eggs in one basket. Diversify, diversify, diversify, and do this by writing in many different places so if one site fails, then you won't lose all your income in 'one fell swoop' (or 'one foul swoop' as some prefer to say). The most secure way to make money online from writing is to build your own websites, and before you run screaming to the hills claiming this is way beyond your skill levels, trust me when I say I thought it was way beyond mine up until a few months back, and then I was pointed in the direction of a site called The Internet Bloke, the owner of which is a former Hubber himself. With his help I now have my first website up and running, and it is my intention to soon begin my second one, whilst continuing to add content to my first one and promote it through backlinks.

Keywords and Backlinking

Whilst some recoil in horror when you start talking about keywords and backlinking it really isn't as terrifying as you might imagine. You don't need to write incoherent rubbish to use keywords effectively, and you shouldn't really need to drastically change your writing style to incorporate keywords that will push your articles to the top of the search engine results. Firstly you need to establish what topics you feel you can write knowledgeably on, and then use a tool such as Adwords or Market Samurai that will help you to establish what relevant words and phrases you should be incorporating into your text in order to get the maximum amount of high paying clicks on your articles. I wrote an article some time back that explained How to use Adwords for this purpose and without any cost.

Backlinking is something you will need to put a lot of time into as well. In fact be prepared to spend at least as much time on backlinking, (if not more time) than you actually do writing the articles themselves. This isn't cheating, it is just a practical way (as are keywords) of making sure your quality articles actually get ranked, seen and read by people. An article with no backlinks or keywords can very easily spend its time languishing in oblivion, thousands of pages into Google's search results, with many inferior articles on the same subject appearing in the first few pages of the same search results simply because those authors did use backlinks and keywords in their articles. Backlinking consists of posting links on various external websites that point back to your own website or articles. Essentially you will want to post a short comment or a few paragraphs on the subject your article or website focuses on, and insert (hyperlink) relevant text with the URL back to your site or article, e.g. if I was backlinking from here to my own website, I would maybe include a sentence saying something like "So why grow vegetables at home when you can simply buy them from shops?". You will see if you click on that link it takes you straight to my site, and that is because I inserted my websites URL into the same text as the name of my site.

Of course there is no point in placing these backlinks on sites where they will most likely be deleted as SPAM, so you might want to ask permission on certain sites before you attempt to post there. You could also offer to post a reciprocal link back to their site on your article, although this could get messy if you have too many external links appearing on your article. You could also spread links back to your articles on various sites you own or write on, essentially interlinking so that unless you choose to delete the links, no-one else can or will. By far the easiest option though is to join a system which costs a monthly fee to use, but allows you access to literally hundreds of sites where you can post short articles and links back to your own sites or articles without fear of deletion providing you stick to basic rules. I use such a system and absolutely love it.

Affiliate Links

Many sites allow you act as affiliates for products they sell. This means that if you sell a product on their behalf they pay you a commission. You will no doubt recognise the names of many of these sites, Amazon, Ebay etc, but there are many other sites that will also offer you the option to promote their products and pay you commission for any sales made. Clickbank is one and although Hubpages no longer allows Clickbank Links, I always found Clickbank very useful to use. There is no reason why you can't use them on other sites that still allow Clickbank links though, and of course you can use them as much as you want on your own sites.

You can also promote books from sites like Smashwords as they have an affiliate program too. In fact there are loads more sites that will allow you to promote their products and earn money as a result, all you have to do is seek them out, and ideally find the ones that are geared towards products that you are already comfortable writing about.

Choosing Your Topics

I have a theory, and that is that for the highest profits you do need to focus on sales / product based hubs or articles. These will need to be detailed and preferably based on your own experience of the products as opposed to rehashing other people's write ups already on the Internet. The trouble is that many products quickly go 'out of date' e.g. iPhones and computers, so the profit in these articles may be good, but they will have a 'lifespan'.

Seasonal articles can make good money, but they are only going to make you money during the relevant season, e.g. Christmas, Halloween, Valentines etc.

Evergreen articles are ones which are unlikely to date, and whilst they might need the occasional tweak, they will essentially always be useful to someone who finds them and their content will not go out of date. Examples might include most 'How to' articles, or any of the articles on my growing vegetables website. These articles are your 'bread and butter' and will continue to produce a regular income indefinitely because the demand for such articles rarely fades.

Of course there are plenty of other ways to make money from writing online, such as on sites like where you will get paid per article although the returns are not huge. You could offer to do freelance writing for various sites on a pay per article basis or you could sign up with and earn money from writing answers to questions on numerous topics. Ultimately you will earn the most money from creating multiple websites of your own, filling them with quality content and then promoting them through backlinking strategies, the rest of it is just icing on the cake.


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