Better than Blogging?
Starting your own blog is fun and can be profitable. 50,000 new blogs are born everyday, turning blogging into a worldwide hobby and industry. Some people create blogs to keep in touch with family or share the weird and fabulous links they find on the internet. Many others start blogs in the hope of hitting it big in this disastrous economy. With 2.6 million jobs lost in America this year alone, people with time on their hands are looking for a way to make it pay.
What Makes a Good Blog?
A blog is a potential source of income, if it meets the following factors:
1) You can come up with fresh, new, well-written content every day
2) You blog on topics people want to read about
3) You are a lucky duck
The Clock is Ticking
Even when the stars align perfectly, it takes many months before you will begin seeing even a meager pittance from your blog. It can take two or three years before a blog becomes profitable. If you are looking for a better income source, or a way to make money while you wait for your blog to take flight, try writing for other websites.
What it Takes to Write Online
Writing professionally online is not for everyone. You must have good grammar and a knack for discussing topics that interest people. Communicating your point in clear, concise language is another important aptitude. Some will tell you that understanding SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is also important, but only as secondary issue, because the quality of the content is what really matters.
Although writing for other websites requires a bit more skill and discipline, the same abilities that make you a good blogger will help you succeed as a web writer.
Where to Start
One good place to start writing online is at Textbroker. This one-of-a-kind website pays only a few dollars per article, but the staff will rate your writing, showing you if you have the skills to write online. You may also work towards better writing with each submission and improve your rating. Textbroker rates its writers on a scale of 2 to 5 with 2 being the lowest acceptable standard. If you can achieve a rating of 4, you probably have what it takes to become a professional writer.
Becoming a Professional
If you pass the Textbroker test, it is time to move on to bigger, better and more profitable websites. The most important website for serious writers is Constant Content. This site demands professional, grammatically correct writing, never written in the first-person voice.
If Constant Content rejects your writing three times, you become barred from further submissions. Therefore, it is important to follow the submission guidelines carefully. Before you submit your first piece, be sure to review how other writers are marketing their articles on the website. Follow the example of successful writers and you should do well, as long as your writing is good.
Like an agent, Constant Content markets your writing. You post your asking price and Constant Content takes a 35% commission when the article sells. Professional writers will make around $25 to $200 for a 500-word article, depending if they are selling use rights or exclusive rights to the buyer.
Other Revenue Streams
Other places to sell your work are less strict about submission guidelines. For instance, Associated Content and Helium will allow you to submit articles written in the first-person voice. Helium also promotes creative writing and poetry, which makes it a fun place to invest your writing energy.
Both Helium and Associated Content share advertising revenue with you, based on how much internet traffic your article produces. Your writing is also for sale on these sites. While Associated Content encourages you to write original work for them, you can submit pieces that are also published elsewhere, allowing you to develop more than one income stream for the same piece of writing.
Xomba, Hubpages and Triond are other writing websites that pay based on revenue sharing. Triond, however, asks that your articles be original pieces, not published elsewhere.
This reviewer is also checking out Bukisa, MintArticles and MyLot, so you should expect an update regarding these sites soon.
What Does it Pay?
So exactly how much can you make using these sites? Barbara Whitlock, Community Development Manager for Helium reports, “We’ve had a huge surge in ad revenue pay since October, with our page rank rising two points (to 7) in the last year. Our members are reporting huge earning increases, double monthly income, $100 in ad revenue for one day, and one person … earned $1,200 in one day on an article picked up in [a social bookmarking site].” Now that’s the kind of money people are looking for!
The Advantages of Online Writing over a Blog
While you will not own a website that you can sell for a big payoff, like a successful blog, your chances of succeeding through online writing are much higher than going it alone. Good writing websites have high page rankings and are already well known with search engines. Try an internet search on any informative topic and you will find the sites discussed here coming up often.
Another advantage of writing for other websites is that you can write about whatever topic you choose, allowing for the whims of your scattered mind. Blogs typically focus on one subject and suit you better if you obsess daily about one topic. Online writing can also be a good outlet for a regular blogger who occasionally wants to write about something different, just to get it out of her system.
Start Small, Dream Big
The best way to be successful writing online is to start small and develop your writing skills over time. Your blog may be a good place to get your feet wet while you figure out what suits you. Work to improve your ratings at Textbroker and Helium until you gain confidence in your writing ability. Then take the big leap into Constant Content and the other writing sites. You can use your newfound skills to supplement your income while you build the next big blog. You may even decide to scrap the blog and focus on freelance writing alone.