In a tough economy, many people are out of work, underemployed, or are just looking for an additional way to bring in a little bit of extra cash. Fortunately, if you like to write, there has never been a better time to make a little bit of spare income.
I’m not going to lie to you. Making money by writing on the internet takes work. It doesn’t pay a great deal to start. However, it does pay. Often, the money comes in slowly at first. However, because your content stays on the internet, you’ll continue to get paid for it, year after year.
While there are plenty of opportunities that exist, I am only going to write about programs that I have personal experience using. It is also not a good idea to write exclusively for one site. They may go out of business, and then you have to start all over again. In most cases, you retain the rights to your own work; if that’s the case, you may want to save a copy on your own computer. I don’t really recommend reposting the same article more than once, but if a site goes down, you could then repost it elsewhere. Also, it can give you ideas for future articles.
Be Your Own Blogger
You may want to try to make money on the internet by being your own blogger. It’s relatively simple to set up a blog. I recommend that you buy your own web site and host it yourself. The cost of hosting your own domain has gone down in recent years; however, if you don’t have any experience with blogging or writing articles, you may wish to start by doing something else.
Making money on your own web site isn’t just limited to blogging. At Brookelorren.com, I have a Joomla site as well as a wordpress blog. Most people know Wordpress. To use it, you will have to install it, or have your hosting company install it for you; many hosting companies have a program called SimpleScripts that will put it up for you. You may have to learn how to install different themes, but Wordpress has made it fairly simple nowadays. Joomla is a program that I use to write longer articles that offer more evergreen content. Joomla allows me to categorize my articles so that people can read them later. There is a slight learning curve to it; if you are a technical novice, you may want to have a friend help you. Many hosting companies are able to install it for you.
As your own blogger, you can get paid in several different ways. You can post your favorite products and add Amazon.com links to them; you’ll have to sign up for an Associates ID. You can also sign up for Google AdSense. When people click on the links to the products they are interested in, you get paid.
Associated Content was the first company that I started writing articles for. You get paid for page views; the first pay level starts at $1.50 per 1000 page views. These pay levels are called “clout” and range from one to ten. At clout ten, you get the maximum pay rate of $2.00 per 1000 views. That may not seem like a lot, but as you get more content published, it’s easy to get more page views. One of my articles has over 46,000 views, which means that I’ve earned more than $70 for what amounted to about an hour of work. I wrote that article over a year ago, and this month alone, I have earned $9.08 for it. You can also get paid for articles, but they have increasingly become more picky about what they pay for, and they don’t pay what they used to per article.
Squidoo is another place that allows you to write and get paid. You can also choose to give directly to charity. Instead of writing articles, you create “lenses”, which are a lot like web pages. They are fairly easy to set up, but they do take some work if you want to provide quality content. You can get paid at Squidoo in a couple of ways. You get paid for sales that are made on Amazon.com and Ebay modules that you set up; this can provide an unlimited amount of income if you can convince people to click on the link and buy your product. You can also get paid by creating lenses that are in the top tiers. There are currently three paying tiers; the first tier pays a little over $10, the second tier pays a couple dollars, and the third tier pays a few cents. Every one of your lenses will be ranked, and will earn in one of these tiers.
Helium is a company that allows you to write articles and get paid for them. Unlike Associated Content, the article titles are already chosen for you. You (and perhaps several other people) will write the same titles, and people rate the articles to determine which article is the best. This is where they get the name helium… the best material rises to the top. As you write for Helium, you earn writing stars. These writing stars allow you to earn money by writing articles with “empty titles”, or those that have less than three articles already written on the topic. They also have contests, and you can write for the Helium marketplace, which offers a fixed amount of money. The down side to Helium is, if you haven’t rated at least 10 articles in the last 30 days (or 30 articles in the last 90 days) you won’t get paid. So you have to at least stay semi-active to earn.
EHow is a web site where you write a how-to article about a subject. We all know how to do something, whether it is tying a tie or driving a stickshift. Whatever your expertise, you can write how-to articles and make money. The formula they use for earnings is secret, but it is related to the money that EHow makes off of adSense. They seem to have a few technical issues though.
Xomba is a web site that not only pays you money, but helps you direct traffic to all the above sources (and as a result, make more money over at other places as well). You can write your own articles, or you can link to other articles that you find interesting (each link must include a description of 50 words or more). You can link to your own articles. You are paid through your adSense account. 50% of the adSense impressions will go to your account. You can also refer your friends and earn 10% of their ad impressions (the person you refer will still earn 50%, Xomba then earns the other 40%). Xomba seems a little spammy (they have some of the “you are the 100,000th visitor” type ads on their site), but they are not the people that are responsible for paying me (Google is), and I have earned money there.
She Told Me
She Told Me is a web site that looks a lot like Xomba, but it seems a little less spammy. You get 100% of the ad impressions from this site. Unlike Xomba, you only post bookmarks to sites you like (called scoops on their site). You have to write a summary of 200 characters or more on the scoops that you submit.
This is a cute site. I think that it's fairly new too, so if you join Infopirate, it looks like you'll get in on the ground floor. It's a lot like She Told Me and Xomba, except it has a pirate theme. When I logged in (at about 2 AM my time, I work a lot at night), there were only two visitors and about 13 guests. I've recently started to see links pop up to this site, so if you want to maximize the exposure of articles you write, you might want to submit your info here.
You Say Too
If you have a blog (or two) that you write to earn money, there’s really no reason not to sign up for You Say Too. Once you sign up for You Say Too, your blog posts will automatically syndicate to their site, and you receive a percentage of the adSense impressions that you generate. This will increase your readership, although they might not all go to your site (but you’re still getting money from adSense). The only problem that I had with You Say Too was signing up. I inputted my blogs, but I was getting an error message that my RSS feed wasn’t set to full. I didn’t even know what that meant. It turns out that there was a problem with my Wordpress code (I’m using version 2.9.2). If you sign up and have that problem, there are a few lines of code that you need to replace in your wp-includes/wp-rss2.php file. There is a great article on how to replace these lines of code to enable full RSS feeds. I literally spent hours trying to figure out how to resolve the problem; if you have difficulty, you should be able to fix the problem in mere minutes, as long as you have a little technical know-how.
I have had an account on Epinions.com for nearly 10 years now (I signed up in August 2000). They used to be independent; they are now owned by Shopping.com. They have different promotions from time to time to encourage people to write for the site. You earn a “royalty share”, but I’m not sure what this really means. I have earned about $600 from the site over the years; it doesn’t seem to be the most lucrative place to write, but it still pays. If you write product reviews, you can post them here, or you can post them elsewhere, give it a rewrite (you don’t want to produce duplicate content) and post it up here.
With all these opportunities to write on the Internet, the only thing that should really keep you from posting content is time and writer’s block. I must also comment that the more work you put into writing, the more you will get paid. The amount that you get paid will start off small, but if you keep writing material, you will learn new things, and your earnings will grow. While I don’t earn enough money yet as a freelance writer to quit my part-time job (my full time job is unpaid; I’m a homeschool teacher), I do earn enough to buy nice things every month, and I almost earn enough to pay for my daughter’s gymnastics bill. Most of my earnings every month are not related to the work that I did in the previous month, either, so I will continue to get paid a decent amount, even if I don’t continue to put a great deal of work into my writing business.