How to Make Money as an Online Writer

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In my post, Make Money Blogging | A Guide for Beginners on How to Make Money Online, I announced that our family will be moving to North America in just under two years, and my goal is to earn a full-time income from my online entrepreneurial activities.  Thus, I’m in the middle of a three part guide on how to make money online for beginners.

Currently, my income online comes from three income streams:

  1. Blogging
  2. Writing articles online
  3. Selling eBooks and other products

The center of my online business is this blog, so that is why I introduced blogging last week.  Today, we will discuss the second income stream – how to make money as an online writer.

Money earned report

[pullquote]The goal of this article is to introduce how I make money writing so that you can implement a similar plan and start earning a side income by writing online.[/pullquote]

How I started getting paid to write articles online

When I started blogging, I had absolutely no idea that a person could get paid to write articles online.  That was not part of my business model at all.  However, now 17 months after I’ve started blogging, I’ve had more paid writing job offers than I can take.

My story continues.

Here’s the one thing I did to launch an online writing career – I wrote articles for my blog.

Then one day I got an email.

I opened the email.

In the email I learned that I was being offer a job writing for another blog (Bible Money Matters).  Since I had been submitting guest posts to websites, I figured that getting paid and getting exposure was a good thing, so I accepted my first paid writing job about three months after I started blogging.

Several months later, I saw a blog post that another blogger was hiring writers (Moolanomy).  I applied, and I got hired as a staff writer.  Then I got another email.  Then I applied for another job.  Then I got another email.  Before I knew it, I had a decent side income by writing 2-4 extra articles a week.

If you’re interested in earning a part time income by getting paid to write articles online, then I encourage you to keep reading.

Why you need a blog if you want to write paid articles online

If you want to be a writer online, you need to start a blog.  If your primary goal is to write online, then you need to keep that a primary goal for your blog.  The good news is that paid writing online can help grow a blog, and blogging can help increase writing opportunities.

The two form a perfect union.  Eventually, you may need to choose one platform to focus your efforts, but at the start, developing your blog can be a key way to launch your writing career.

[pullquote]There are a lot of people who blog for exposure instead of money.  If you are a writer, then exposure should be your primary goal.[/pullquote]

Your blog serves three primary purposes:

  1. It is your writing portfolio and your online resume.
  2. It is a means of free advertising.  While most people are out hunting for jobs, when you have a blog it is possible your future employer is out hunting for you.
  3. By blogging you gain SEO experience, and you learn about the technical aspects like h2 and h3, tags, and meta description.

This is a writer’s market.

I almost hate to say it (because I also pay people to write), but if you are writing for an online blog, there is a good chance you could be getting paid more.  Why?  Supply and demand.  With the growth and popularity of blogging, there are a lot of bloggers who are looking for people to provide good quality content.  This makes you, the writer, a more vital component.

Why You Should Do Paid Writing if You are a Blogger

Are you starting to notice the reciprocal relationship between blogging and paid article staff writing?  Each fuel the other.

If you are primarily a blogger, you’ll need some type of metric to evaluate the usefulness of your online writing for other bloggers.  Here are the primary benefits:

  1. Links – many bloggers will allow you to include links to your own site as long as you have links to their site as well.
  2. Money
  3. Relationship building – when I launched The Secret to a Successful Budget, I know that some of the contacts I made through staff writing helped get the affiliate support of other larger blogs.
  4. Traffic – a good article on a strong website can really boost traffic to your own site.

As a blogger, you will need to determine which of these is most important, and it might not be equally important for each blog.

In my case, I’ve taken some lower paying jobs that provide more traffic and I’ve accepted others simply because of the monetary benefit.

A recent check of the Wisebread Top 100 Personal Finance Blogs list shows that I’ve been able to get a lot of exposure to much larger blogs.

I currently contribute paid articles to:

  1. Wisebread – #2 on the list
  2. Moolanomy – #7 on the list
  3. ChristianPF #13 on the list

Since MH4C is #56 on the list, that means I’m getting a lot more exposure by doing paid writing.
[pullquote]
The best part is that because of the size of each of these blogs, I’d gladly write for them for free (please don’t tell them), but now I get paid for it.[/pullquote]

Special Tips for Bloggers who want to get paid writing positions

  • Submit guest posts. I think that at least a couple of the above opportunities opened up because I developed some type of a relationship through submitting guest posts.  At the very least, the blog owners were aware of my writing because I forced them to read at least one of my better articles.
  • If time is an issue, you might consider reducing the workload on your own site by posting less frequently to free up some time for paid writing.
  • Too many writing projects can burn you out.  Since almost all of my writing is in the personal finance niche, I find that when I’m writing a lot of articles, my brain starts to fizzle.  That’s why I’ve had to get extra help with MH4C and minimize the number of people I write for.
  • Always leave comments in your personal name.  If you plan to write, you want people to identify your name, not just your website.  For example, sign Craig Ford, not Craig @ MH4C.

Important Tips for Online Freelance Writers

I wonder how many of these tips are going to make full-time freelance writers have heart failure.  But, I’m just telling you what worked for me.

1.  Be Yourself. Getting paid to write is a fantastic feeling, but I don’t write for money.  The money doesn’t provide enough benefits and advantages.  To be a real deal freelance writer, you need to sweat.  You must be willing to take jobs writing ads or proof reading John Grisham’s latest novel.  You need to do whatever it takes to get yourself exposure.  Exposure is important, but I don’t want someone to fall in love with my writing when I’m not writing what I want. What if I change my style to make it more appealing and everyone likes it – except for me?  Who wants to spend the rest of their life miserable?  The bad news is that this kind of a mindset will probably limit your income earning potential.  The good news is that you’ll love what you do.

2.  Start somewhere. This may seem like a contradiction to #1, but you need to take whatever opportunities come your way.  How I differentiate this from the warning in #1 is to maintain control over your content and writing style.  At one point I was writing for someone and I just didn’t feel like my style connected with his.  I stopped even though it was good exposure; that writing was not what I wanted to showcase.

You need to view your freelance job like a staircase.  Take a solid first step.  Write for peanuts as long as it gives you some decent exposure.  When another opportunity comes along, take the second step up.  Right now, I write three articles a week for other people.   Those three articles combined get sent out to about 42,000 people.

3.  Learn when to say ‘no’. Saying ‘no’ is hard for me.  Eventually, when you develop a solid reputation, you will need to say no.  If you don’t say no, you will continue working on start up jobs when some jobs with more potential await you.  Unlike working for a company, with freelancing working your way ‘up’ often means moving along to better paying jobs and opportunities.

4.  Communicate openly. I openly touch base with those I write for to get some feedback.  I want to open the door for feedback because if something is less than satisfactory about my performance, I want to be notified so I can make the necessary adjustments.

How Much Can You Get Paid to Write Articles Online?

That is a very hard thing to answer because it depends completely on your style of writing and the topics you typically cover.  I’ve done paid writing for six different websites and have done negotiating with another, so I have a fair idea about paid articles in the personal finance niche.

In my writing experience, there have been writing offers anywhere from $5 per article to $200 per article.

I would say that in the personal finance niche, $20 per article is average (depending on the nature of the project).

[pullquote]I think it is possible to to make an extra $300 per month by writing 3-4 articles a week.[/pullquote]

Incentives or negotiation points to consider:

  • Experience writing – Do you have a blog?  Are you SEO smart?  Do you know your way around a WordPress dashboard?
  • The non-monetary benefits -  A larger blog giving your blog exposure is one form of compensation.
  • Page views – At times you will get paid by the number or times your page is viewed.
  • Adsense – Part of the benefit may include allowing you to put an Adsense block on an article.

Chose your niche wisely!

The biggest factor that determines your pay will be the niche.  Writing for a humor blog might not pay well, but writing for a personal finance blog may.  If there are blogs that are making good money in the industry, there are also writers who are getting paid well in the industry.

If you’re looking for companies that pay you to write you should check out this post.

Comments

  1. says

    So Craig, about that supply and demand thing….

    Just kidding! :) I’m enjoying this series. It’s good to hear your thoughts on the subject. You’ve been quite successful in the short time you’ve been blogging and I’m sure you’ll meet your goal.

  2. says

    A development of your business model where you write an article once and get paid once, is to write once and get paid multiple times. This is Private Label Rights (PLR) material including articles, blog posts, and ebooks, produced for website owners on a non-exclusive basis. So you might sell a pack of 10 articles on a subject for $10. Not much for one article but you will over time sell that pack dozens of times from your online PLR store. Build up your ‘stock’ of packs in your PLR store and your income increases. You are building a business.

  3. says

    Being a blogger, and then a paid writer is really a perfect union.

    For those thinking about being a freelance writer, it’s such a no brainer to start your own site and show case your work!

    Unfortunately, I’m so lazy with editing, that I just write what I say and hope it makes sense. I tend to edit the next day or evening.

    How about you Craig? How much time do you spend editing?

    • says

      @Sam
      I agree completely. It makes so much sense to start a blog if you want to write.

      My wife does most of my editing so when I’m done an article she makes sure it makes sense :).

  4. says

    Thanks for a great article. There so much confusing information on the internet mainly from people who have not done what they are talking about. It is good to hear from someone who is actually ‘walking the talk.’ Thanks again.

    • says

      Vic,
      Thanks for your comment.
      I think there are a lot of people who are talking about ways to make money online who have never tried it or the only way they make money is by talking about how to make money. It’s unfortunate.

  5. Michael J. Mckeiver says

    Writing is something I do well as I was told by others around me ., after reading your article on blogging and making extra money I have more of a greater intrest … I love to start an new era in my life .i really don’t know where to begin I would love more info with great assistants on beginning on do so …..Michael J. Mckeiver

  6. says

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  7. says

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  8. says

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  9. says

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