Plenty of people start blogging with the hope of making some money off their expertise. But it can be difficult to turn a profit on blogging: until you’ve built up a significant readership, you can expect only a few cents worth of Google AdSense revenue. There are certainly easier ways to earn money by writing about your area of expertise.
There are plenty of sites that will pay for your short articles, although several have some drawbacks. The upfront payments are often pretty low, but many will pay you a portion of advertising revenues — and they get far more traffic than most blogs do. The sites listed below make a habit of paying writers at least a little more than they’ll make starting out with a blog: if you’re looking to see some cash fairly soon, these sites can provide a decent return.
Associated Content has been online for almost four years. It’s a pretty simple set up: you have to create an account but you can choose to write on just about anything you can think of. You can also respond to the site’s ‘Calls for Content,’ which are requests for specific articles. They range from “Top 5 Front Load Washers” to “Cheap Holiday Gift Ideas for Your Tween Nephew.” Associated Content also pays for video, slide shows and audio.
You must have a PayPal account to receive payments from Associated Content. The site offers two types of payment: Performance Payments and Upfront Payments. The main moneymaker on Associated Content is a Performance Payment. For every 30,000 page views your article gets, you get $45 — and you can pretty much do whatever you want to promote your article and make more money. Articles continue making money fairly indefinitely. Associated Content also offers Upfront Payments for some articles, based on their own discretion. If you submit an article for an upfront payment, and it’s accepted, you can earn anywhere from $3 to $20. It’s a bonus on top of whatever your article might make from Performance Payments. Payments are only made to account holders over 18 years old, who are citizens or legal residents of the U.S.
Another fairly well-known site that accepts articles is Helium. Helium actually offers a variety of ways to sell your articles: there’s a ‘Title Finder’, where you can write an article to match requested titles, or the Marketplace, where companies partnered with Helium can post their jobs for writers. No matter which tactic you want to pursue, you will need to set up an account on Helium.
Helium also makes payments through PayPal and will only pay out if your balance has reached at least $25. Articles are generally paid a revenue share, calculated in part based on your article’s quality, its traffic and advertiser interest. You also receive Upfront Payments based on ‘Writing Stars’: if you have one Writing Star, you receive 50 cents per article published. If you’ve reached five Writing Stars, you receive $2.50 per article published. Articles published through the Marketplace, if selected by one of Helium’s partners, receives between $16 and $200.
If you don’t want to write a full article, you can earn money on myLot by participating in discussions on the site. Payments are based on how often you use MyLot and respond to discussions. You can also raise your earnings by posting content the generates discussions. For any friends you refer to the site, you’ll also earn a bonus equal to 25 percent of their earnings.
The model that myLots uses to calculate its payouts is proprietary, although I can tell you from experience that the payouts are definitely lower per post than you might get from an article on Helium or Associated Content. All payments for myLots are handled through PayPal or moneybookers, and the minimum payout is $10.
Unlike the previous three sites, Suite101 requires prospective writers to apply. If a writer is hired, he or she will receive a share of advertising revenue for any articles as long as they are up. Suite101 has been around for 12 years and is very reliable. There is a requirement that, if you write for Suite101, you complete 10 articles every three months in your chosen subject.
Once you have 50 articles live on Suite101, you receive an additional 10 percent of ad revenue — and you get another 10 percent after you publish 100 articles. While Suite101 doesn’t pay per page view, the site says that they’re averaging about $4.20 per 1,000 page views.
BrightHub is another site that will require you to apply to write, and writers with a knowledge of technology are definitely preferred. There is more of an editorial process on BrightHub than many other sites that pay for written content, but the site offers payments to its writers in a variety of ways.
For the finished article itself, writers immediately receive $10. For each relevant backlink to an article, BrightHub pays one dollar. And writers receive 80 percent of the ad revenue of their articles.
My personal opinion
While I’ve spent time on all of these websites, I’ve had the best experience with BrightHub. It has a better payout for writers than most of the other options. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s the easiest site to make money on: not only do you have to pass the application process, your content has to pass editorial approval. In my experience, the easiest site to actually get an article up and earning money is Associated Content. Just by posting the link to an Associated Content article in a couple of places, you can often push up your revenues to make it worth your while.