How to Explain Online Writing Compensation to Non Writers

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Most online writers do an automatic cringe when someone asks them how online writing makes them money. Just ask well, “what do they pay you?” and you can see small signs of panic behind the bloodshot, over tired computer eyes. That is because it is difficult to explain.

The challenge of telling anyone what you are making or have the potential to make via any writing website is a challenge. Each website, you explain, has different criteria that will determine payment.

The average person could not conceive that some places pay only performance fees. This means what you make there depends entirely on how many readers you get. Now, you see why we are constantly posting links all over. We don’t make money at all on some websites unless we get readers. Most writers’ goals are to get the most folks to their written word and develop a large readership.

The next unbelievable statement if all writers shared the truth would be that often they do get a fee up front, but unlike the print world of yesterday, this fee could be as low as a dollar or two or even pennies depending on who you are writing for. This has only made a writer more willing to do more work for less money and compete against tons of people for even that small amount. But a real writer wants to write so he will stick to his passion regardless of the monetary results. When you write for a place like Helium, depending on where your writing and rating stars are and how high up on the topic list you come determines to some extent the upfront payment you earn. There is also a performance fee. Another example is Hub Pages, when you complete those the main way you can earn is by affiliate performance fees. Bukisa is all about performance pay. Every website has a new wrinkle on the payment system so it is often quite hard to answer the question, “What do you get paid online to write?”

This is a business where you want to grasp the rules before submitting. Some places, your work must be the original article and not been previously published. Some, like Associated Content, will allow you to send the same piece to another writing website once it has been published first on their site. Others do not care where it is been and will publish regardless. Some will only pay for articles of a certain topic or from a list of topics and will not pay for others, even though you may have those others published.

There are also contests, special marketing opportunities and being a featured writer for example on Associated Content which ups the fee considerably.

This is not a business for someone who wishes to get rich. Those stories are few and far between. Online writing is not known to make you a real living or for being paid for their time spent or for their well educated mind spitting out stuff endlessly. You need to prepare to work harder for less and beat out your competition getting there first with an unusual, not already overworked title. Some places take into account more than what traffic the article receives. They consider how many articles a person reads while visiting, if it were a unique visitor, how long they spent reading, what advertisements were appropriate for your article, and if people clicked on the ads at all, among many other factors. The formula can be very complicated.

Here are some of the tips

• Know all the guidelines and what each type of submission means and how that transfers into your payment. Follow all guidelines.
• Write great content. No matter what you do, if the article stinks, it will not make you money. It must usually be something with a worldwide appeal.
• Topics must be picked carefully as some websites seem to do better with one type of subject matter and do less well with others.
• You must craft good titles (one of the things I still struggle with). They need to be searchable. A snappy, crisp, short title is best. It must tell exactly what that article is about.
• Your articles must be full of key words, tags, and anything else that makes it easier for search engines to pick it up.
• You should master grammar and spelling. Use your spell check, but reread till everything sounds and looks right. If you are an atrocious typist like me, the spelling looks like it is the problem where it is just your typing skills.
• Promote your article wherever where possible. To keep from seeming to only be self promoting, promote other people’s work also.


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