Writing for Your Wealth

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How to Make Money Writing for the Web

January 25th, 2010 · 8 Comments

make-money-writingOut of curiosity, I looked up “make money writing” on Google. I found a couple of decent links and a whole bunch of pages designed to sell me make-tons-of-money-super-pronto ebooks. Since I make a living writing content for my blogs and websites, I thought I’d chime in (no ebooks to buy in this post, sorry).

There are two basic ways to make money writing: write content for others to sell (or otherwise monetize) or write content that you sell (or otherwise monetize). Let’s take a look at both methods.

How to Make Money Writing Content for Others

We’re essentially talking about freelance writing here, and it’s my least favorite way to make money for a couple of reasons:

  • In most cases, you only get paid once for your work (no matter what rates you’re eventually able to command, it’s always going to be an hour’s work for an hour’s pay), so there’s no opportunity to earn significant passive income.

  • You’re competing with a lot of people, and there’s always going to be someone willing to do the work cheaper.
  • In selling your work to someone else, you give up the rights to it. It belongs to a new owner, and, in most cases, you can’t ever use it again.

All that said, writing content for someone else is the easiest way to start making money quickly. (In the next section, I’m going to talk about building up your own sites as a way to make money from advertising, affiliate programs, or creating your own products–i.e. ebooks or training courses–but this takes longer to get off the ground.) You can find a gig on Rentacoder or post an article to Constant Content and possibly get paid within a month.

If you’re trying to make money writing right now, then this is the way to get started. Here are some sites you can check into:

Elance & Rentacoder — These are sites where you can bid to get freelance writing jobs. Someone may be looking for a ghostwriter for an ebook or content for a website. To give yourself a good chance of being chosen, you’ll want to put together an online portfolio with sample articles you’ve written (if you don’t have a site of your own yet, you can use some of the sites I’ll post next as places to “publish” your work). Chances are, the pay will not be good, as people generally come to these sites looking for as good a deal as possible, but it can be a way to get started while you work on other ways to make money from your writing.

Associated Content, Helium, eHow, Hubpages — On these sites, you create an account, and submit articles (you have a lot of freedom on what to write about). These sites make money displaying ads next to your work. In some cases you’ll earn a couple bucks for articles that are accepted, in some cases you’ll earn money based on page views (basically a percentage of what the outfit is making from advertising), and for some sites it’s a combination of both. An article that’s initially purchased for a measly $5 may end up making more if it becomes popular and gets a lot of views. The outfit will encourage you to promote your own articles so you can get more views and thus earn more (in my opinion, if you’re going to go to that much trouble, you might as well create your own site, and keep 100% of the advertising revenue).

Constant Content — This is another site where you can publish articles, but it’s a little different in that you get to set the prices for your articles. You’re not selling them to CC, but to buyers who will come to the CC marketplace in order to browse articles. You have the option of offering a usage price (meaning the article can be sold numerous times to folks who just want to use it and don’t care if it’s unique) or an exclusive price (meaning the person who buys it is the only one who can ever use it). The passive-income-loving writer in me likes the idea of selling articles again and again for usage rights, but from the message boards it sounds like most folks are lucky to sell articles more than once or twice.

How to Make Money Writing Your Own Content

This is what I love to talk about and largely what this site focuses on. The way to make good money writing for the web is to create assets that you control 100% and which pay you again and again.

Blogging — Creating a blog can be an ends in itself or it can be a launch pad for other ways of making money from your writing. I’ve talked about blogging quite a bit (check the category), so I’ll just touch on it lightly here, but the idea is to choose a niche you’re interested in, create quality content that informs people (if you can solve people’s problems, you can always make money), and build up the number of visitors it receives (through building links to your site). Once you’re getting a decent amount of traffic, you can make money from your blog by adding advertising, such as Google Adsense, or selling advertising directly to merchants. You can also sign up for affiliate programs and make money promoting products that are related to your niche.

Books, Ebooks, Newsletters, and Other Products — Once you have a blog built up, you can also use it as a platform to launch products of your own. While I’m a big fan of selling advertising (I love Adsense, in particular, because it’s so low maintenance and there’s absolutely no customer service involved), I fully acknowledge that the real chance to build wealth and control your destiny is to have your own products. As a writer, books or ebooks are natural first steps, but, depending on your niche, you may want to create higher-ticket products as well. Many entrepreneurial types favor training courses (which may be offered through membership sites) or paid-subscription newsletters. These types of services involve people paying for monthly, quarterly, or annual subscriptions, so you earn money over and over again, with earnings increasing as the number of subscribers increase.

No matter which road you take (you may like a mix of both), you can make money writing for the web. Don’t believe anyone who tells you otherwise!

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Tags: Writing for Wealth 101

8 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Maria (WAHM) // Jan 28, 2010 at 7:05 am

    So great to see you posting again, Lindsay!

    I started out writing on the web for others but have moved into a residual income model where I write almost exclusively for myself. I count residual-sharing sites such as eHow as writing for myself, much like article marketing, because although I don’t host the articles, I have control over them and still own the content.

  • 2 Lindsay // Jan 30, 2010 at 10:43 pm

    Hi, Maria! Thanks for stopping by. Good point that you don’t give up any rights with the article sharing sites.

    I used to post my article marketing articles to Associated Content just to embed a couple backlinks. Every now and then they’d send me a dollar for the revenue share. :P

  • 3 Isaac - Life is simpler // Feb 1, 2010 at 7:58 am

    Hi Lindsay,
    I have never tried the first approach. I prefer to work hard on things that will continue generating money over the time. It is difficult, but it gets you much more.
    People who is new at making money online should try freelancing, but they will have to move to blogs and products someday.

  • 4 Zac // Nov 18, 2010 at 6:55 am

    Really useful information and being a writer already, having used hubpages too, I would go for creating your own and controlling the content. You also control the quality and not have your work up against something that is not so good and this makes you lazy. The internet should be treated as you would when sending a book to a publisher. It should be respected. This is a great blog.

  • 5 Ryan @ Planting Dollars // Dec 22, 2010 at 8:35 pm

    You can also use your writing skills to build up sites related to local businesses in your area then farm out leads to them. Have done this a bit with local real estate agents and it’s worked out pretty well.

  • 6 Judith // May 12, 2011 at 12:06 am

    I’m just going through the process of trying to earn a few dollars by writing articles for Constant Content etc. I agree with other comments here that its a starting point and I want to move to using my writing skill to build an income which will last.
    Great blog by the way! Thanks.

  • 7 Jatin // May 14, 2011 at 8:05 pm

    Hi, judith ,
    I’m also trying to earn money by writing for web.
    If you know , pls write to me.

  • 8 David Harris // Jul 31, 2011 at 11:24 pm

    Hi Lindsay,

    Great article with some helpful pointers for someone like me who is just getting started, thank you.

    Do you know where I can find information about typical ranges of rates that are paid and on patterns of page views please? I’ve just published an article on a site that pays $10 for every 1,000 page views. Views for the first 5 days were 4,000; 2,600; 700; 200; 160. It would be really helpful to find a site with comparison data.

    Thank you.


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