I’ve found financial freedom in making money writing online, but there’s no one path. Learn how to make money writing online through these jobs and resources.
I have spent five years as a freelance writer and another five years before that writing reports as a stock market analyst. Maybe I am a little biased when I say that writing is a great way to make extra money online. Making money writing online could be one of the best ways to make extra cash because it costs nothing to start, and you can learn as you go.
This post is the first series on how to make extra money online. Check out the other four articles to find your side-hustle job.
How to Make Money Writing Online
Making money writing online can come from any number of jobs within editing or doing the writing yourself. I was always a relatively quick writer and liked putting my thoughts down on paper, so I always preferred doing the writing as opposed to editing jobs. I know a lot of bloggers that split their time up pretty evenly between writing jobs and editing/proofreading gigs.
Some ways to make money writing online will take longer to get going than others. Making money with your writing on a blog will take longer to build traffic and advertising revenue, but it has advantages in your credit and upside potential in owning your own site. Getting separate freelance writing gigs might be a little faster, but you could constantly be spending time looking for more work.
Blogging is the go-to choice for many people looking to make money online, but it is probably one of the most challenging and disappointing ways to make it. This is coming from first-hand experience and years of working with other bloggers. The sad fact is that the vast majority of blogs make absolutely no money or fail to meet expectations. It’s the main reason that most bloggers give it up before even six months.
While it’s tough work, blogging does have its advantages. You have complete control of the material you post and can do so with the click of a mouse. You don’t have to watch your story go cold while it sits on an editor’s desk or see half of it get censored. If you can stick with it for a little while without making much, a blog can be a great source of passive income (income you do not have to do much to earn). That’s because the search ranking and community you build up over time will help drive people to your blog even when you are not writing.
I’ve managed my own blogs for just over a year now and am starting to really make money from my writing. I plan on posting a monthly income report starting in January, but I’ve had several months where I’ve made over $1,000 through blogging.
There are quite a few ways to make money off your blog, but the three principal forms are advertising, affiliate marketing, and products or services.
Advertising, through Google Adwords, or another account, is probably one of the most popular ways to make money writing online, and it’s straightforward to set up. You position boxes in different areas of your blog to show advertisements and get paid every time someone clicks on the ad. You will need a good amount of traffic to make any real money this way. Depending on your audience, you will probably only get about one dollar for each click. Only a tiny fraction of your visitors will click on an ad, maybe around a percent or so. Using these assumptions, you can estimate how much traffic you will need to make money.
Example: You get 5,000 visitors a month and about 10,000 pageviews. For those pageviews, you might get around 100 clicks (10,000 * 1%) and make around $100 for the month.
Getting to 10,000 pageviews will take about a year for most blogs. After a year of blogging, my two blogs get just over 18,000 page views though this blog receives more than the crowdfunding blog. Now consider that I post between two and three times a week to each, and it takes several hours to put together each post. That translates to a part-time job weekly with very little return from the advertising. Some points of the year pay off very well for blog advertising, especially during Black Friday and the holiday shopping season.
Affiliate marketing is another form of advertising for making money online but with a direct contract between the blogger and the advertising company. Instead of getting paid when someone clicks on an ad, the blogger usually gets paid when someone clicks on an ad and then pays for a service or product on the advertiser’s page. If your affiliate ads are closely related to what your blog visitors need, then you might make more money with affiliates than with general advertising, but it’s still a slow way to make money writing.
If only a percent or two of your visitors click through an affiliate ad and then only a tiny percentage actually sign up for the service or product, you will be lucky to get a few monthly payments from affiliates. The upside is that affiliate ads pay much more, between $50 and a couple of hundred for each person that completes the required action.
Selling Your Own Products or Services
One of the better ways to make money blogging is by selling your own products or services. Presumably, by writing to a blog about a specific topic, you are an expert in the field and might be able to sell premium consulting.
Depending on how much your time is worth or how much it costs to produce your product, you can make much more selling through your blog than you can through advertising or affiliates. Consider the same example above; you get the same click-through rate on your product which yields a $25 profit. With 100 customers, you might make a profit of $2,500 instead of the pittance offered by advertisers.
Write For Other Bloggers
A slightly easier way to make online money is to write for other bloggers. Once a blog’s traffic gets going, bloggers start to make some really good money and may start thinking about outsourcing some of the writing. Join a few blogging groups on Facebook and get to know some group members. Not only will you pick up ideas on making money writing, but you’ll also make some connections with people looking to hire out their writing. I’ve seen writers charge as much as $500 for an article, though most start around $100 or slightly higher. You’ll need to be able to show examples of your work, so put together a few samples before you start approaching other bloggers.
I’m ready to launch four more books in December and love the extra cash I get from authoring ebooks. If you have your blog, you’ve got a lot of the material that can be re-purposed and organized into a book. My crowdfunding book sells between 70 and 90 copies a month on Amazon, accounting for a good chunk of the money I make from my crowdfunding blog. Besides being relatively easy and quick to write, ebooks are a great way to make money because they can continue producing sales for many years.
Finding Jobs and Resources to Make Money Writing Online
One of the best ways to make money writing online is by using your blog as a way to get freelance writing jobs. Look on the website of nearly every blogger, and you’ll find a page or offer to hire them for writing. It kind of sucks that you have to do months or more of writing for free just to get paid to write, but employers want to see that you can deliver on their content needs. The upside is that if you keep your blog updated regularly, you’ll also start to make money there.
Paid writing jobs are available on freelancing sites like freelancer.com, but you will spend a ton of time filling out applications. Many of these projects never get assigned, and many more go to the lowest bid. The sites are pretty easy to use; if you build up a strong profile of experience, you might get some projects from people willing to pay a little more for quality.
I’ve found the most success on websites targeting freelance writing, especially the problogger job board. You’ll still see some of the same problems with competition from low-budget providers, but the quality of jobs is much better.
Many people have started working through Fiverr.com to make money writing online and for other freelance projects. Instead of someone posting a specific task, they need to be completed, as, with most freelancer sites, you list a generic task you can complete for someone. The basic task price starts at $5, but you can add extra features to make more money. I haven’t offered any services on Fiverr, but I use it regularly to find people for small projects.
A great resource to help build your skills and make more money writing online is courses on Udemy. The education platform hosts videos people sell and regularly offers huge discounts on courses. If you’re not sure your skills are yet up to a professional level, then there’s probably a course on Udemy that can help. It’s also a great resource to sell your own courses.
Even the best grammaticists among us need a little proofreading help on our writing. While the spellcheck on Microsoft Word works pretty well, I use Grammarly.com to catch many grammar and wording problems. The site offers a plagiarism checker to ensure content hasn’t been copied and will notice much more than other software programs. You paste or link your document into the checker, and Grammarly will do the rest. I hire someone to edit longer work like my ebooks, but Grammarly saves me a lot of money by using the software to check smaller writing tasks.
Making money writing online will take time, just like any job. You may be able to find some projects quickly, but it’s only after you’ve built up your skill set and reputation that you’ll be able to charge more money. It’s still a relatively easy way to make extra money, though, because it doesn’t cost anything to start, and the pay can be very high compared to other freelancing jobs.
About the Author
Joseph Hogue is a financial expert and investment analyst. After serving in the Marine Corps, he started his career investing in real estate before becoming an investment analyst for some of the largest private investors. He's appeared on Bloomberg and on CNBC as an investment expert and has published ten books in personal finance. Now he helps investors reach their financial goals and invest in the stock market with some of the same advice he used when working for the rich.