reviewed and updated December 2018
Writing On Line for Payment
Do you want to earn money writing online? If you are motivated to write, there are a number of sites on line where you can write and receive payment for it.
There are really 4 main kinds of paid writing on line that I see:
- private hire jobs, that is, writing different types of articles, letters, press releases, sales pages, translations or whatever, in response to a client’s specifications;
- public writing, such as submitting articles or stories of your own choosing to relevant websites or posting them on your own blog; or
- answering questions posed by interested or worried people or those unwilling or unable to do their own research; and
- producing private label rights (plr) articles, on particular subjects that you sell online to a limited number of customers.
You will generally get paid a fee for categories 1 and 4, that is, for private contracts and for producing your own product for sale. Payment for category 2 can be either by direct fee (usually for stories) or often via revenue sharing, where the site earns money from adverts that appear on it and the more money the site earns from advertising, the more the contributors are paid. In category 3, payment is often via revenue-sharing. If you write on your own blog, your income will be more likely to come from advertising, or via products offered for sale via affiliate fees, or possibly your own product.
There are also sites that do not pay any money at all to contributors but people are willing to write there for the benefit of the backlinks they get. A backlink is a link to a site of your choosing, such as your own website or blog. The sites that work this way are very big and a link from those sites is valuable and well worth the time it takes to answer someone’s question.
Let’s take a look at each of these:
- Private Jobs
The best known site here is probably Upwork.com (formerly called Elance). Vinaya has written about the type of job she was paid for on odesk (now disappeared) and Melody23 has written a longer article on how to be successful with obtaining higher paying jobs on that site. Scheng1 has written a short article mentioning some other sites that pay for jobs. A new site that has just got a mention is Hubwit. Bestwriter wrote about joining this site and that it was a bit hard to find her way round. But she persevered and has since written an update about getting her first job and getting paid for it!
- Public Writing – articles and stories
Articles of any kind are accepted on many sites, though most are VERY tough on plagiarism – so don’t copy someone else’s article! Most of these are revenue sharing sites, such as HubPages where you need to make long, authoritative posts (Hubs) with many pictures. These kinds of sites are known as revenue-sharing sites, because the site’s revenue (or income) comes from advertisements shown to all visitors and the contributors get a share of that income. Some sites earn more than others of course, so the level of pay you can receive will vary widely, and it also depends on your level of participation and the views of your articles. At Hubpages, while you MUST not make posts that too overtly commercial or sales orientated, if you include links to relevant Amazon or Ebay products you can also get a share of the income from any sales generated by your hubs.
If you are just starting out on writing, you may find it easier to start somewhere like PersonaPaper because you can just write something off the top of your head, provided it is in coherent English and does not flout their rules, however, this site is not currently paying for posts, not is it accepting new members, although you can get a guest post published which will get you a backlink. Hubpages articles need to be much longer and filled with rich media, photographs, videos etc, or you may find your Hub being unfeatured because no one is looking at it!
Another, similar site is Wikinut, which Micksy1983 has posted on. Many general article sites have disappeared or amalgamated and any list of sites can change very quickly, so check the chosen site carefully before joining or posting.
Short posts and Sharing
If you want to write REALLY short posts, you can do this on Facebook, Scrazzle and Twitter. These are also good sites to SHARE your articles in other places, so you get more views (and thus more income). You don’t get any income from Facebook and many of your posts there will be private but you may get people to look at your articles. Twitter allows you to post 140 character “Tweets” to your followers and Scrazzle is similar but allows slightly longer posts. Again both of these gain you more views to articles written elsewhere. BarbRad published a poll asking where people got most success promoting their writing and it mentions a number of other promotion sites you may wish to try. AliCanary has written an excellent article on promoting your blog and has provided a number of ideas on this.
Stories can get published on a number of sites and if accepted, you often get a direct fee for these. Of course, you can also write your own ebooks and link to those from your article or story, for extra sales. You can also publish your own stories or low content publications on Amazon.
Micksy1983 has written a number of articles on getting fiction accepted for payment. Stories can be of different lengths or types, such as flash fiction, 100 word stories, 1,000 word stories: Tweet length stories and sci-fi and fantasy stories.
You can earn money by answering other people’s questions at some sites, provided you have an adsense account. Survey sites could also be included here but the kind of questions you answer there are (of course) survey questions, so you do not actually have to think of your own material for writing there and LowDown0 has provided some information on that. Yahoo Answers provides questions for you to answer but you do not get paid, however, if you need backlinks, it is a useful site to use.
- Writing PLR
PLR stands for Public Label Rights. This is more of a business than perhaps the other types of writing sites would be. You also need a way to sell your work. The way this works is that you create a number of articles on a popular subject. The articles need to fit into what is called a microniche, that is they need to be in a narrowly defined area or subject or targeted at a small, narrowly defined audience. So that, rather than write on weightloss as such, you might write on weightloss for the over 50s or weightloss in the 60 days after giving birth. You would write a number of related articles on your chosen subject, at least five, maybe as many as 50 and you would sell these articles as a bundle. Purchasers would have the right to publish these articles wherever they chose and also to modify the articles if they wished. Some PLR sellers bundle up articles they have already written somewhere maybe a long time ago and make additional money by selling them to others.
Finding the Time
Of course, if you REALLY want to earn money online, you need to find the time to do it. Planning out a schedule and reviewing the best places to write is what MomatHome is doing, ahead of returning her earnings to what they were a couple of years ago. And some people think they can just pop in somewhere and make money with a few hours of typing. That maybe unlikely as oneoveralpha points out. So you may wish to check out Fesisty56’s post on keeping notes organised. If you really want to bring in outside visitors to read your posts articles or review topics (which you should do if you are writing to earn money) then you need to take account of Search Engine Optimization (SEO), which AliCanary covers here. And if you do want to make money, then the more articles you write and publish, the more likely you are to get some return on your time. Ali Canary has also written an EXCELLENT article on how to get 15 articles a day published on PersonaPaper (the daily limit).
Improving your Writing and getting Ideas
Published author David Owen, who wrote the Prophecy Stones trilogy and the thriller, Evolvere, says he treats storytelling as if he were going on a car trip and gives examples of that. There is also a good hub by JR Scarborough on improving your writing which many of us could do. And TheresaWiza has written a great article, linking to her book on where to find ideas.
Terms and Conditions
Remember, before joining a site, check out their terms and conditions. All reputable sites will have these available for you to read and possibly FAQs too. Some may even have tutorials or email series showing you how best to write for them or how to earn more money.
All reputable sites will let you know that you must NOT plagiarise anyone else’s work. That means, do NOT COPY someone else’s writing. You work must be your own original work.
Use only permitted graphics
All sites will also tell you that you MUST have permission to include any graphics or photographs that you use or that they must be your own original work. You can find graphics that are free to use on several sites, including Pixabay, WikiCommons and Morguefiles.