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Write Articles for the Web (and for Money!)

Writing for the web is a hot way to earn cash. The web is the information highway, and someone needs to do all that writing. If you’ve got writing skills, then someone can use you. Webmasters, bloggers, business owners, news and non-profit organizations pay writers to create content for their online properties. Most companies pay a flat rate per article, and if you land several gigs, you can create a steady stream of extra money each month.

SEO Article Writing

SEO stands for search engine optimization. It’s what websites use to make sure you find them when you’re looking for information. For example, if you were to search for “diapers” using your favorite search engine, you’re going to get a list of 10 websites that include the word “diapers” on the website. You’re not going to find your mom and pop grocery store on that list. Your likely search results will be Wal-Mart, Target, Amazon and other big stores or online platforms that sell diapers. The reason is that they have invested a lot of money in search optimization for the keyword “diapers.” They know that if they appear on the front page of the search results, consumers will click on the link to the information, and a percentage of the web traffic will buy from them.

Your job as an SEO writer, which is what many writing gigs are, is to write information which includes those keywords that companies want used in order to attract more web traffic. This is referred to as SEO article writing. You would write 400, 500, 750 or 1,000 word articles that include those keywords sprinkled throughout them. Some examples of articles based on the keyword diapers are, “Diaper Buying Advice” or “Creating Your Stockpile of Diapers.”

Blog Posts

SEO writing is not for everyone. You do have to include the keywords in the exact order given, and some writers find that too restrictive. If you like more flexibility, then you might enjoy writing blog posts. You don’t have to own a blog to be a blogger. Many pro bloggers (owners of blogs who make a full time living from it) hire other writers to do the writing for them. The writing style is more personalized, in many cases, and allows for more creativity than SEO writing. Many blog owners allow you to generate your own ideas for posts, and the writing length requirements are often shorter, as low as 100 words per post.

Forum Posting

All is not what it seems on the Internet sometimes. Some of the forums you visit are full of paid writers who write as forum participants. Forum moderators are also paid to write content on the forums, as well as edit posts. If you enjoy engaging in online communities, answering questions, finding answers and initiating conversations, then you’ll enjoy forum posting. You can work for the forum or get paid by individuals and business owners to post in several forums.

Social Media Writing

Blogging is not the only form of social media writing on the web. You can get paid to tweet, comment on Facebook, and write YouTube comments and descriptions for videos. For example, the company owners don’t have the time to think of, write, and post 140 character tweets to followers multiple times a day. They want to hire you to do that. Most social media writing involves engaging fans and followers in conversation, or calls to action, such as clicking on a link to check out a deal.

Let’s Talk Money

Most of these writing gigs pay you a flat fee per job. The rate depends on the website you’re working for, and what web owners require in addition to the written content. For example, you might be asked to find and upload pictures to accompany your articles; you might be asked to create and upload videos. Here are some examples of pay rates that are a common for beginners:

  • $10 to $15 per article for SEO writing
  • $2 per post for forums
  • $5 to $20 per blog post

The key to success is to find one or two companies who, on a regular basis, have a high demand for content. They will upload topics from which all writers will pick and choose. You can decide what you want to write and how much you want to write. Flexibility is important if you have a limited time to write without interruptions. You can also determine how much you want to make each day or week since you’ll know what the pay is per content item you produce.

Getting your foot in the door can be difficult, but be persistent. Write a few articles for free and upload them to article distribution sites such as ezinearticles.com or hubpages.com so that you have links where your work is published online; you’ll be able to use these as writing samples.  And don’t forget the obvious: make sure your emails to potential employers do not contain typos or grammatical errors.

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17 thoughts on “Write Articles for the Web (and for Money!)”

  1. Denise624 says:

    I am new to writing but I am currently a student working toward a degree. I love doing it, and would like to try freelance. I wanted to enter a contest from a magazine and wondered how safe it is, etc.

  2. Denise624 says:

    I am new to writing but I am currently a student working toward a degree. I love doing it, and would like to try freelance. I wanted to enter a contest from a magazine and wondered how safe it is, etc.

  3. Sarah Deren says:

    I have to agree with Nicki. I am a professional freelance writer and editor. I regularly write and edit books and academic articles for my clients. But when I’m in between jobs for the “regulars”, I sometimes get jobs from a popular online freelance work site.

    This article makes it seem WAY too easy and profitable. The particular site I get most of my work from is arguably the best paying of the freelance work sites, yet you’d be hard pressed to find a job that is paying $10-15 per SEO article. Most article jobs pay $.50 an article, a dollar or two if you’re lucky.

    You have to realize that all of these article-writing jobs have been mostly “taken over” by ESL writers, which has pushed down the going rates for articles. Most of the articles that you’ll find on the internet or blogs tend to be written by writers from poorer countries because they command lower rates, and as a US writer, you will be forced to compete with these rates.

    Don’t get me wrong – well paying freelance writing gigs do exist, I’m proof of that. But it can take months of bidding on jobs and networking before you’re even able to land a low-paying job, and YEARS before you are actually making industry-comparable rates (as far as the internet goes, because the brick-and-mortar world still pays much, much better.) And I find it kind of offensive that you think that as someone with no training in writing or editing, that you should deserve these rates anyways.

    BTW, Google recently changed their rules for how they determine search rankings, and as a result, many of these “article mill” jobs are now disappearing because they realize that Google will no longer bump up their ranking just by having thousands of crappy SEO articles on their websites.

    Bottom line – If you actually have some writing skills or training, most certainly you are welcome to join the freelancing club. But try to avoid article writing gigs, because they honestly aren’t worth the time and money, especially if you are a decent writer. Try to find some better-paying jobs – there are lots of jobs writing books and reports and all kinds of things that actually pay real rates.

  4. Sarah Deren says:

    I have to agree with Nicki. I am a professional freelance writer and editor. I regularly write and edit books and academic articles for my clients. But when I’m in between jobs for the “regulars”, I sometimes get jobs from a popular online freelance work site.

    This article makes it seem WAY too easy and profitable. The particular site I get most of my work from is arguably the best paying of the freelance work sites, yet you’d be hard pressed to find a job that is paying $10-15 per SEO article. Most article jobs pay $.50 an article, a dollar or two if you’re lucky.

    You have to realize that all of these article-writing jobs have been mostly “taken over” by ESL writers, which has pushed down the going rates for articles. Most of the articles that you’ll find on the internet or blogs tend to be written by writers from poorer countries because they command lower rates, and as a US writer, you will be forced to compete with these rates.

    Don’t get me wrong – well paying freelance writing gigs do exist, I’m proof of that. But it can take months of bidding on jobs and networking before you’re even able to land a low-paying job, and YEARS before you are actually making industry-comparable rates (as far as the internet goes, because the brick-and-mortar world still pays much, much better.) And I find it kind of offensive that you think that as someone with no training in writing or editing, that you should deserve these rates anyways.

    BTW, Google recently changed their rules for how they determine search rankings, and as a result, many of these “article mill” jobs are now disappearing because they realize that Google will no longer bump up their ranking just by having thousands of crappy SEO articles on their websites.

    Bottom line – If you actually have some writing skills or training, most certainly you are welcome to join the freelancing club. But try to avoid article writing gigs, because they honestly aren’t worth the time and money, especially if you are a decent writer. Try to find some better-paying jobs – there are lots of jobs writing books and reports and all kinds of things that actually pay real rates.

    • Freelancer says:

      Elance? If so, me too :-)

      If not, then you might be amused to know that we refer to SEO articles as “artcals,” because that’s usually how the client spells the word. They also say “writting.” Nice!

  5. Nikki says:

    As someone who actually spent time as a professional magazine writer and editor before becoming a stay-at-home mom, my reaction to this post is a bit mixed. It’s not that the post is misleading, because this is a viable option, but it’s easy to underestimate how much time it takes to find and then complete this sort of writing. I’ve found that it is not always worth the time investment, unless I am looking at it as experience.

    I am currently doing some freelance writing/editing, and I have gotten my gigs in the strangest of ways; if you can believe it, I got a blogging job when I offered to correct the English a seller was using in customer feedback on Amazon. I find that it’s hard to find regular opportunities that offer both flexibility and sufficient pay. The last thing I want at this point in my life is constantly looming deadlines on the one hand, and people don’t always want to pay the going rate for genuinely high-quality writing on the other. I have ended up pricing myself on the low end and even doing some editing and blogging on a volunteer basis just to keep myself writing.

    I’ve decided that most of the time if I can’t work on an hourly basis, charging for actual time spent, it’s not worth my time and effort. Log your time carefully — everything from looking for assignments to corresponding with site owners/managers and any time spent researching a topic or editing your work, in addition to the actual writing time — to discover how much time you are sinking into the project. Then take a look at your earnings and see what they would amount to per-hour.

    I’ve found the pay structure for online writing is widely variable. Some blogging gigs actually pay on a per-comment or per-click model, and it seems like more and more blogs and sites are moving that direction, since most sites are ultimately about driving web traffic. I’ve watched friends try that kind of work and become burnt out rather quickly, because they didn’t end up making money enough to pay for their time investment. If you choose to do that type of blogging, you are going to either have to find ways to drive your own traffic and comments, or you will have to depend on the site itself to be well-networked and search-engine-optimized enough to draw in sufficient outside traffic, which may not be the case at all.

    If you put the time and effort in and do a good job, you *can* make a go of writing for pay online. For most people, however, it will only be a source of supplemental income, and not a particularly lucrative one at that, unless they are willing and able to either juggle multiple small contracts or get one or two larger, more demanding assignments. I wouldn’t discourage anyone from trying it, but I would caution people to be realistic and understand that there are so many individuals willing to write for free or nearly free, and so many sites only willing to pay a little something for passable writing, that it can be hard to find solid, well-paying opportunities.

    • Marissa says:

      Thanks for writing this, Nikki.
      You took the words right out of my mouth
      (ps: i’m a writer/journalist, too)

    • Freelancer says:

      I’ve been a freelance writer for over ten years, and I can tell you that it is a very competitive field. Unfortunately the rates that KKC has posted aren’t what the marketplace is offering. SEO articles go for $1 to $5 each, and blog and forum posts are no more than a few cents apiece.

      Writing is a skill, one that must be honed over time. People who are trying to make a fast buck will be disappointed, and in doing these jobs, you could be taking income away from people who earn a living at it. A good analogy is suggesting that people make extra money at graphic design — it’s a skill, and you can’t just pick it up and expect to make any money.

      P.S., if people continue to work for these rates, which amount to slave labor, the marketplace will continue to offer them. Seasoned, experienced writers hold out for a lot more money; I make $20 to $50 for each 400-word article, and those rates are still lower than what I normally charge. This is a huge debate on freelancing sites; those of us who do make a living at writing are generally quite disgusted with the current trends.

      Another idea to consider is that online content is still going through a metamorphosis. Initially, no one thought content was important. Now companies — usually offshore or companies set up purely to drive traffic elsewhere — are using SEO content. Unfortunately, most of this content is copied from other online sources and “spun,” which means rewriting someone else’s work. Shady practice!

      • me says:

        that was not very nice. ur telling people not to try to make money so u can make it instead. how do u figure u rate better than anyone else?? u might b a pro, but dont tell people they shouldnt try, and “leave it to the peoplethat make a living at it”…what do u think other people r trying to do??? u r a very negative and selfish person for writing that!!!

  6. Mine1st says:

    This is great–I am in a real need for some extra money for bills and could really do this! Thanks for the heads up–Will be looking up those links today!

  7. Dawn Harvey says:

    I’d love to know who is paying $2 per post on forums! I think that one is unrealistic.

    • Hippiegrace says:

      Is $2 high or low? I am looking for some work like this.

      • Freelancer says:

        $2 is average. It takes about an hour to research and write the article, so you’d be making $2/hour in an incredibly competitive marketplace.

  8. Imuilu says:

    What kind of experience would be necessary for this? And how do you go about looking for a job like this? How would you know who is looking for help?

    • Dawn Harvey says:

      Do a search on your favorite search engine. Try some of these:

      paid forum posting
      paid blogging
      seo article job
      seo article writers needed