Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Diversify Without Spreading Yourself Too Thin

Online freelance writers or SEO writers can easily find themselves spread thin trying to write for the many residual and up-front payment sites available. Freelance writing is as much about being a multitasker and time manager as it is about being a skilled writer and researcher. So how do you know where and how to spend your time?

Originally, I thought that I would spend most of my time writing for up-front payment sites like DemandStudios because it seemed like I could make the most money from those sites. After I thought about it though, I realized that they couldn't pay me what they were offering for my articles if they weren't making money off of them. That's when I realized that writing for residual pay had the most potential for long-term money making. That's not to say that I didn't still write an occasional up-front payment article. It's always nice to have immediate money. I just figured that I wasn't going to spend much more time with up-front payment sites than I needed to.

So, I am currently trying to add as much quality content as I can to two residual sites: E-how and Suite101. I think that these two sites have the greatest money-making potential. Suite101 even offers a 10% bonus once you reach 50 articles. I am also slowly sprinkling in articles to sites like Bukisa and Associated Content. I am working hard at producing high-quality articles with optimized keyword usage. By honing the majority of my focus on two specific sites, I am able to be more productive and feel less like I am spreading myself thin.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Why Keywords Will Make or Break Your Earning Potential

Online freelance writing is not like writing for print media. Keywords make a huge impact on your articles' earning potential. Keywords are those words that are most likely to show up in a search engine. The more effective your keywords, the more people will see your articles and the more money you will make.

Suite101 has a great article on picking effective keywords.

For me, I try to think of things that everyone wants to have or know. For instance, most people want to lose weight, look attractive, make more money and have more free time. These are topics that people will always search for. Creating quality articles that address these topics will help to generate larger audiences.

It's also important to find unique angles within the broader topics. For instance, you might compare and contrast running and walking to see which exercise is best for losing weight.

Once you have your topics, check your keywords on the google adwords site. Type in your keywords to see how many similar keywords have been used in searches recently. You can see how many times each of the keywords has been used. You can also see similar keywords. For instance, i searched jewelry and found that many people searched for that topic spelled like this: jewellery. By including each type of spelling, I could double my views.
Bottom line, keyword research will help you to achieve greater hits on your online articles.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Am I The Only One Confused By Helium?

So I am trying out Helium for the first time. I have heard very little about it and I'm blindly feeling my way through the site.

Initially it sounded pretty great because you supposedly get up-front payments and residuals on your articles. In fact, I was offered a payment of $5 for my first article.

I guess my problem is that their site is difficult to navigate and I'm taking a while to fully understand what I need to do. For instance, I wrote my first article, but I don't know where to check to know if I was paid the $5. Also, they require writers to not only write a certain amount in a given time, but also to rate a certain amount of articles in a given time. I've never worked for a site that required writers to make ratings. I guess it makes sense, but I am still confused.
I just wish there was a simpler way to check what I needed to do.

Now for what I do like about Helium. The site allows you to write about topics about which other writers are posting articles. If you are reading an article based on a writing prompt, you can click on a little pencil logo and write an article based on the same prompt.

All in all, I still think it's a little early for me to sum up my overall experience with Helium, but I hope that my confusion lessons as I continue to use the site. What are your thoughts about Helium? I would love to hear how others are using the site.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Making the Most of a Layoff

As many of you out there, I have been hit hard by the recession. I thought that I was one of the lucky few who had a job that was recession proof. As a teacher, I thought that I would certainly have a job next year. So when I was called into the principal's office and told that I was being let go due to financial and staffing issues, I was shocked. It turns out even public education has been hit hard by the recent economic downturn.

So, after allowing myself to be shell-shocked for a couple days, I decided to devise a plan of action that would allow me to make money even if I couldn't find another teaching job. I earned my first degree in journalism and I remembered my professors talking about freelance writing. I thought that I might as well give it a try. Little did I know that the Internet had made freelance writing extremely convenient and endlessly profitable.

I did a couple of searches for freelance writing sites and read a few blogs about freelance writing on the Internet. I started with a website called Ehow.com. Ehow allows writers to post articles about how to do just about anything. The articles earn residuals, that is to say that they earn money based on how many people read the articles and find them useful. The more articles you write, the more money you earn, and Ehow articles continue to make money as long as they are posted online.

I eventually went on to find more residual-based sites such as Bukisa and Suite101. These sites allow you to write about whatever you want. Writers earn more at Bukisa when they build their network by asking friends to sign up. Suite101 also pays residuals and a bonus of 10% once you publish 50 articles. The site provides excellent editor advice as well. By writing for these different sites, I am able to improve my skills and enhance my monthly earnings.

I also found some sites that pay up-front payments for articles. Demand Studios pays $15 for every article accepted. They also have a stringent editing process and many times they will ask for a rewrite of your article. If you have strong writing skills though, you will be able to make fairly decent money with Demand Studios. Demand Studios also provides a residual program but, in my opinion, I don't think you make as much money with residuals on Demand Studios as with other sites like Ehow. I also just signed up for Helium, but I haven't written any articles yet. I will report back once I see how that site works.

Anyway, I'm also starting this blog to let others know about online freelance writing. I will try to keep you posted of my trials and successes. If you are a freelance writer, I would love to hear your stories too.