Online Content Writing 101

Updated on: by Miranda Grimm

When I first began my own search for work at home jobs I could do with my children running around, yet still make more than a few bucks an hour, I consistently ran across writing jobs. They are everywhere. I was a little concerned that my writing abilities would not be up to par. However, I quickly learned there are many ways to start as a beginner. Unfortunately, as I learned for myself, entering the field can be quite confusing. There are many different ways to earn money from home with writing and it is important to understand the differences. If you are considering writing from home, this guide should save you the headache I endured!

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1. Writing for Revenue Share

When you know what you want to write and do not always want to be tied down to specific topics, styles and keyword matching then Revenue Share writing may be worth considering. There are many companies, like,,, and so on, that allow you to use writing as an outlet while still making money. However, the results of your work may take some time to develop.

Revenue Share writing allows you to submit your own articles, there is usually very little restriction to what you can write, but be sure to check the company policies. Once you post you can earn a percentage of the ad revenue the site receives from your posts or possibly by page views.  The earnings are usually very small, maybe some change a day but as you add more posts and give them all some time, your efforts could pay off.

This takes either a strong commitment to your writing or a good understanding of how to write the current hot topics that will be sure to receive a lot of page views. This writing is similar to starting your own blog. However, you already have your articles on a site that is well-established with a high search engine page rank. Unfortunately, the profit sharing concept can really hamper your motivation to keep going.

2. Writing for Upfront Pay and Online Content Mills

There are many companies, such as Demand Media, WiseGEEK, BrightHub, BreakStudios, Writer Access, Textbroker and so forth, that will provide you with a list of articles they need written. You can find something of interest or research the topic enough to provide a short (usually 300-700 words) article for an upfront pay. This pay can vary from as little as a couple of dollars to well over $30/article. However, I would say the average article earns $10-$20. Many of these companies expect a high level of quality work and possibly some experience. A great way to get started with Upfront Pay writing is to either write for starting (low pay) companies like Textbroker and The Content Authority or write for a revenue sharing site like mentioned above. I always suggest Textbroker as a great place to begin as it not only gives you experience but allows you to get a feel for the style of work and an understanding of what is expected of a content mill writer. Another great company to start with is the Yahoo! Contributor Network, previously known at Associated Content. They offer both upfront payments as well as revenue share for your personally written articles!

3. Freelance Writing with Private Clients

If you are a skilled writer then there are many personal clients who need you! As I pointed out earlier, there are writing jobs listed on nearly every home based job board you can find! Many website owners, businesses and bloggers are in need of writers to provide either a one time service or a consistent contribution. The pay is usually very well but you will need to match the style of writing they need and often requires an understanding or passion for the niche the client is needing a writer for. I personally find this type of writing to be something for those who have experience or have an exceptional skill. It does allow you more flexibility to negotiate your rate and pick and choose where and what you want to write. However, it will require you to actively seek out clients to keep a steady income.

These three types of online writing are also a nice natural way to progress. Many of us start off  either with the revenue sharing or the beginner online content mill sites. Once we are comfortable with our work, we apply for the higher paying content mills and then…once we are sick and tired of being pushed around we find our own private clients or even revert back to revenue sharing/blog writing (which give us much more control). Whatever your reason for writing will determine the path you head. If you are doing this to make a substantial earning, then content mills may be the best route. If you are writing as a way to have an outlet and share information then revenue sharing or blogging is the likely road you will find yourself.

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Katie Jones

May 19, 2011 at 2:00 pm

This is a great post! Really goes into depth of different kinds of writing one may want to do and provides excellent resources.
I have been thinking about writing but I am always unsure of my writing.
I might need to practice and then I will finally be confident enough 🙂


May 20, 2011 at 2:37 am

Thanks Katie! If you ever get the time you should check it out!! The more you write, the better you get! So, just keep writing your blog posts! You are already qualified for most places though, you have a natural knack for writing anyway!

That Fish Lady

May 26, 2011 at 1:15 am

You summarized the three types very well 🙂 Out of all of them, I prefer private clients. However, after writing everyone else’s content for the past couple years, I’ve finally started writing more for my own sites.