The online freelance writing world is one that is changing constantly, and methods that paved the way to easy payouts in the thousands of dollars a month just a year ago or less now may no longer exist. One of the most important traits a successful freelance writer can have is being adaptable and knowing how to diversify, and this is even more true with writers who focus on web writing, which is even more volatile than the regular markets. While there are many options when it comes to writing online, it's also important to understand that the online landscape will be changing constantly. The best writers who continue to profit will learn how to adapt, just as experienced writers have already had to adjust to the following.
Remember eHow? If you started freelance writing back in 2006 or 2007, one of the best places to write was on eHow. You could sign up for free, and it was a residual income based set up that you profited from. Originally eHow articles ranked extremely easily without any link building, and even the smallest amount of SEO could often shoot these articles into the top 3 or 5 for search engine rankings. The results? A new author who knew how to do just nominal keyword research could earn $3-5 an article per month easily even without much SEO and without hitting a "home run" type of keyword. Since it was easy to write 10-15 articles a day, this was a great place to go from $0 to $2,000 a month in only a few months. However eHow stopped taking new submissions in the spring of 2010, and then Demand Studios close the writer compensation program completely in spring of 2011, shutting out a full time income for many writers.
The End of Demand Studios. At first, not everyone was bummed since writing for Demand Studios meant $15 an article and writers who were good at writing formatted articles and didn't get caught up in completely unimportant details and steps could easily write 2 or more an hour. Writers using voice software could produce even more. Many writers for years made a very comfortable living freelance writing here, and it was a great site to introduce beginners to. However, things started going south in the summer of 2011 and as the number of titles available fell from hundreds of thousands to mere thousands of titles, and then eventually none. Now for all intensive purposes, the writing program for Demand Studios is no more despite being one of the largest writing programs for online writers for several years.
Is HubPages Killing Itself? This is a sad one, because the change in management behavior here and reactions to the infamous Google Panda updates has more to do with this site suffering as opposed to even the Panda Updates themselves. HubPages used to be one of the best places for online writers to get into Google AdSense and Amazon sales. However the change in ad layout makes hubs virtually worthless for AdSense clicks and conversion, and the Amazon sales just like the eBay sales, are now rolled into the "Hub Ad Program" but the problem is the uptick in the Hub Ad Program is nowhere close to the income lost. Also, the inconsistentcy of these pages to rank and the loss of age value after being moved to subdomains means I just can't recommend these to newbies anymore. Many of the best marketers have left this site, which is going to kill their earnings, and the new hostile movement towards users certainly doesn't help. At one point HubPages was a gem, but those days are long gone. Beginners are better off starting with their own pages and building it up from there. With the way traffic numbers and administrator actions are taking, it wouldn't be out of the question to wonder whether or not HubPages will even be around a few years from now.
Staying Away from Xomba. Xomba was a popular site for online writers that emphasized a 50/50 AdSense split and also offered a very popular section for bookmarking links with a small blurb. This section has all been but removed (and really was the best they had to offer writers and Internet Marketers) and they went pretty hard core on being anti-money and going heavy quality. While this might work for some in the long run, you still need to be able to make money to make it worthwhile. If you're starting out, there's no ranking advantage to writing for Xomba versus starting your own website from scratch, so why give up half of your income?
The Infamous Google Panda Updates. These updates have changed the face of the online writihg world. The good news? Old crappy content written with rehashed "facts" by 3rd world writers is going out the window as Google refuses to reward these types of websites anymore. The bad news? There is a strong movement with the new rankings to go to big established companies for products. This means a lot of the old strategies are out the window. For passionate writers who provide high quality and are willing to work on their own passion site will do well. Talented writers who are willing to provide high quality content to website owners can also do very well since they are going to be in much higher demand as ghost writers.
The Google Panda updates, and the rolling monthly updates, means more and more emphasis will be put on high quality content and away from thin affiliate or advertising sites that used to be favorites among bloggers and affiliates. As the search engine game continues to change, people who choose to freelance write online will have to continue adjusting to profit from these changes and practices. Since Google owns the overwhelming percentage of the search engine market, for the time being every move they make is going to effect how online websites work. This even affects online freelance writers who don't care about passive income, as being able to meet market demands will keep you in high demand.