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How to Write for Money: Three Ways to Get Paid for Content
Five years ago I realized I had to come up with some kind of career that I didn't hate, so I started writing content for the internet. I've had my ups and downs since then, but at times I've supported my family by writing. Here's a quick overview of what I've learned about how to write for money:
1. Get Freelance Jobs
This is the plan that most content writers start out with. It's also how I got started. For beginning freelancers, I recommend applying to Demand Studios. They require a relatively high standard of writing, but they are always hiring more writers. If you have great grammar skills and can write high-quality instructional articles, you have a good chance of being hired.
If you are hired as a writer, you must also qualify as an expert in at least one topic in order to start writing. Once you do, you'll have a list of titles to choose from. Most articles are 400 words, and pay $20 to $30.
This is low pay for freelance writing, but it's also relatively accessible to writers with no professional experience, and it can be a decent hourly wage if you work quickly. If you do get hired by Demand Studios, you'll probably want to start building a portfolio that you can use as experience when you look for other writing jobs.
2. Make a Niche Website
The thing about many content writing jobs is that you still have to answer to someone else. You may be told what subjects and titles you can and can't write, and given strict guidelines about how to do it. Plus, you know that in most cases your employer is getting more money than you are earning for ads placed with your content. It makes sense to cut out the middleman and make your own niche content website.
This is a website on one of your favorite topics, filled with as much quality related content as you can come up with. You can monetize it with adsense ads and affiliate programs, or sell your own products like ebooks.
Many experienced content writers swear by this method. Right now I'm giving it a real try for the first time. I've created the website Encyclopedia Organica to write about all sorts of natural health topics, and I have about twenty pages of content so far.
The problem is that it requires tons of overhead in terms of time, and there's no guarantee that it will ever pay off. I know quite a bit about SEO for example, but will I ever see the kind of results I'm hoping for? Only time will tell. Also, since larger websites tend to rank well with search engines, new niche websites are really disadvantaged in this regard. In my niche website's first month, I had almost 1,000 views and earned about ten cents.
3. Write for Hubpages
I'm relatively new to hubpages, but I have to say that so far it compares really favorably to my own website. I've been here for about a week, written ten articles and made thirty cents. Ok, so I'm not quitting my day job yet, but that compares really favorably to my own website. In fact, the rate per pageview seems much better than what I get on my site – maybe because of the hupbages ad program?
It also compares favorably to the other article-publishing platforms I've tried, including Squidoo, Suite 101 and Associated Content. There's a great combination of freedom to do your own thing with serious functionality (like a simple way to add Amazon Associate ads, which is awesome). Plus, I've gotten quite a few pageviews here compared to other sites I've tried.
Are pageviews and a few cents enough, though? Can writing for Hubpages be a job? It seems like some writers do make it into one. If you want to go that route, I think that realistically you are looking at writing hundreds of quality hubs with title research and so on. If you do that, I think it's plausible that you might make at least a part-time passive income.
Niche Website Vs. Hubpages
I'm still working on my niche website and my hubs. Both are long-term strategies. I'll be curious to see how they play out, comparatively. Neither is receiving hits from search engines yet, which is a big question mark in my plan. Most sources seem to say that search results will show up more quickly for hubpages, which makes sense since it's a huge site to begin with. It's possible that with consistent work and high quality content, my webpage will eventually become more visible, though, since the content is more tightly focused. Also, if I develop any ebooks of my own, my website will be a better platform since there's no support for that at Hubpages.
In the meantime, I like the strategy of working on both. For one thing, I link from my hubs to my own website, which helps to develop my pages' rank. Oh, and I still write for Demand Studios, too...it pays the bills while I try to figure the rest of this out.