This is a guest post by Alban SmithMore than anything the internet is about the exchange of information – if you’ve ever thought ‘what did we do before Google’ then you know this is true. People turn to the internet for answers to questions about cooking, renovating, raising their children and finding a job, any question which has ever occurred to you, you could ask the internet and it would provide you with a plethora of information.
So have you ever wondered where all of that information comes from? It comes from people who have a targeted knowledge base, who have information and skills to offer, and the time and willingness to offer them. Before you think that you couldn’t be one of those people, think about the last time you were asked to fix a leaking tap, help a friend move house, baby sit your nephew or take your mother to a doctor’s appointment – you used skills which you’ve learned, developed and honed, which work for you, and will therefore be useful to other people in your position.
You can of course get even more specific as you share the knowledge which has come from your university degree, or your years in a specific field. We all have something to offer others, and by simply writing about your knowledge and experience, you can make money online, keeping in mind the following tips.
1 – Watch out for scams
Wherever there is an opportunity, there is always someone ready to exploit it, and as you’re not the only one looking to make money from writing articles online, there is a myriad of scammers out there willing to take advantage of you. However, don’t betray your inexperience in the business of online article writing, and watch out for the following offers of writing work, because they’re probably a scam:
- No experience necessary. If a writing job you are looking to apply for tells you that all you’ll need is a computer and internet access, it is likely a scam. This is not a genuine offer of writing work, because to be a writer you do need experience and jobs like these are likely to have little to do with actual writing.
- Send a writing sample you won’t be paid for. It is easy to dismiss the hour or so you would spend creating a sample article to apply for online writing work, however, when you submit your article, hear nothing from the company and then see your article published online word for word, you will know you've been scammed – so don’t fall for it in the first place.
- The work is urgent. When a potential client asks for writing work with a very short turn around, the natural reaction of any hard working business person is to work out what needs to be done to get the work done on time. Unfortunately in the heat of chasing down the deadline, you can forget your normal business practices, such as researching the client, and asking for a deposit, and once you've submitted the work, the client won’t be at all driven to pay your invoice to a deadline, if at all.
- The pay will improve. Some scammers will ask for a bulk order of writing work and offer a ridiculously low payment. However, they will promise you that there is better paid work down the track, but once you've submitted your cheap bulk work, they will move on to their next victim.
While learning the ins and outs of scammers is all part of venturing into a new employment world, you can protect yourself by avoiding these above scams, and always asking for a deposit before commencing work. Of course, clients are perfectly justified in asking you for a sample of your work, so aim to provide something you’ve already written, and which is sold so can’t be republished, or if you do hear nothing back from an unpaid sample writing project, use the article to showcase your skills on your website or blog.
2 – Write what you know
The most successful article writers on the internet are genuine, as the move towards the more interactive and social Web 2.0 means that users are always on the lookout for a sales pitch in disguise, and are very savvy when it comes to spotting writing which is uniformed and uninspired. However, when you write what you know, and you love the topic, this knowledge, passion and experience will shine through to your readers. As a result, your work will be noticed and coveted, and you’ll have writing contracts knocking down your door.
3 – Get paid when you’re read
Find planes online where you can be paid each time your articles are read. Sites such as Trinod will pay you 50% of the net revenue generated by your articles and you will continue to generate this revenue for as long as people read your work. Plus, on Trinod you can post articles as well as pictures of videos so you can start earning from media you already have in your possession.
At Associated Content you will be paid upfront for submitting your articles and you will receive a performance bonus when your articles are read. You can also choose whether to submit exclusive or non-exclusive work, where you will earn more for an exclusive, but you can’t republish it.
4 – Make sure your articles are found
If you want to develop a presence as an online article writer, and make sure people read your work if you are getting performance payments, you will need to take time to actively promote your work. Start by getting your articles indexed with the major search engines so that it appears in search results.
Also make sure that your articles are search engine optimised as this will also ensure the search engines find your work. An optimised article will use keywords frequently but naturally, and a good density of keywords is between one and four per cent – that is, for a 100 word article, use the keyword four times. You can also optimise your articles by building links to your page because the more sites link to your page, the more useful it appears to the search engines.
5 – Start your own blog
It can be very easy to start a free blog site where you can start sharing your knowledge and expertise, and honing your online writing talent. As you develop your skills you will find new ways to promote your blog and drive traffic to your site, and once you have built up readership, you can start selling advertising space on your site.
You can also publish blog posts which promote certain products. This is known as affiliate marketing, and you are paid by the company which produces the product to endorse it on your blog, to encourage your readers to try it too. You can start making money from affiliate marketing without any set up fees and if your blog is reaching enough people, you will have a captive audience any promoter would want to target.
Alban is a freelance writer and keen blogger at http://www.homeloanfinder.com.au.