Writing Online for Money
By Steve Gillman
Subscribers to my "Unusual Ways" newsletter and
others often ask me about writing online and whether it's possible
to amke money doing so. Here are some of the more common questions
on this topic, along with my answers. (Note: this was written
in 2009, and some aspects of writing and making an income on
the internet will have changed by the time you read this.)
How do you make money writing online?
There are many ways to do it, but I personally create websites
and then promote them using articles that I wrote and distribute
through online article directories. The actual revenue comes
from pay-per-click ads and affiliate programs that I promote,
as well as ebooks that I sell.
How does giving away articles in directories work?
At the bottom of every article I write is what's called an
"author's resource box" or "about the author box."
This is just a final paragraph that has my name and sometimes
a fact or two about me, and always a link to one of my websites.
Readers click on the link and visit, and that's when I get to
make money with some of them. There is also "optimization
value" in having all those links out there, meaning the
search engines consider the site more important and so display
it higher up in the results. That means the articles help people
find my site directly in the search engines as well.
What do you do to get readers to click on your links?
It helps to have a "tease." For example, after an
article about ways to increase your IQ I might say, "Discover
ten more ways to increase your IQ at..." You can also offer
something for free. I have free courses and free ebooks that
I use for promoting various sites.
Were you a writer before you started your internet business?
I was never paid to write, but I had an interest in writing.
If you find some of my articles from a few years ago you'll notice
that my skills have been greatly improved. But even those first
ones brought in the readers. the main thing is to offer useful
information and convince the reader that they'll find more on
your site. You really don't have to be a great write to make
Are there other ways to make money with your writing?
There are many ways, but writing online for money takes two
basic forms. You either write for others or for yourself. Writing
for others can be an easier way to get started. There are places
that will pay you to post on their blogs, for example, and you
can bid on writing projects on sites like Elance.com. You might
even get hired as a permanent writer for one of the bigger blogs
that can afford to do that.
But I like the second strategy, which includes any of the
ways in which you write for yourself. These include writing and
selling ebooks, writing website or blog pages (and then promoting
them with articles), and creating courses or newsletters. The
advantages include more freedom and no limit to how much money
you can make. When you write for others you can only make so
much depending on how fast you write and how many hours you can
work. When you get a site going well you can leave it to pump
out the revenue while you start another.
How much of the time in your business is spent writing?
Not enough. I don't delegate very well or I could spend more
time writing. As it is I probably spend about half of my time
writing and the other half doing all sorts of necessary tasks
to build and maintain our websites. If I didn't have my wife
running the business with me I would be in real trouble.
How much can you make writing online?
As mentioned, it depends on whether you write for others or
build a true business of your own. We're making four or five
times more than I ever made at any of the many jobs I've had
in the past, and our business is still growing despite the current
recession. Writing for others limits your potential earnings,
although you probably do get to spend more time writing instead
of learning and doing marketing and website maintenance.