Writers looking for places to post their writing online have a growing number of choices. Some are great and have been around for awhile and others are not that great. Some are here for a short while and then disappear into thin air not having plan that is sustainable. Often times choosing the site that you wish to write for is about personal preference. Many of them have advantages and disadvantages. Helium is a site that has been around for awhile (almost three years at the time of this writing). It has had many changes and will probably continue to change. It has some great features and some that drive some crazy. The money changes often because of different pay structures, but it can be profitable.

Helium is a site that is huge now. They try and provide a resource for those looking for information. There are articles on almost every conceivable topic. They also do a few things differently then other sites which make them easy to write for.

Choosing a Topic.
Most sites that you write for want no more than one article per title. Helium, however has set up their site to function with multiple articles per title. The articles are then ranked and the top articles tend to be the ones that get read and make passive income. This can make it very easy for finding articles to write. Go there, sift through the categories you know things about and find articles that you are interested in contributing to. You can also use the search titles function (located under the "write" tab) to find all the articles that relate to certain key words. This makes it possible for you to write several similar articles on topics you know a lot about.

Writing Articles.
To write articles you simply need to click on the little pencil icon that says "write now". This will bring you up to a blank page. You can either copy and paste your material from a word processor or you can write your article right there. You will need to make sure your article is at least 2400 characters (it says 400 words, but usually it is closer to 450 words with the character minimum). It is a good idea to be careful and order your article in a logical manner. Split it up into a lot of "bite sized chunks" with headings for easy reading. Then proof read it and spell check it before you publish it.

One feature that you will either love or hate is the rating system. After you have published an article Helium will take you to a page that allows you to read two articles and choose the one that is the best within a specific (random) article title. Rating is required in order to to make money. Therefore it is important to do at least a little rating.

Upfront Payments.
Currently those with at least one rating star and one writing star will be given an upfront payment for every article that they write on that has less then five articles in the title. If you work your way up to five writing stars then you will get $2.50 an article. Upfront payments haven't always been available so it could change.

  • Writing stars: To get a writing star you need to have written a number of articles and those articles need to be in the top 1/4th. They do throw out the bottom ten percent. This makes it a little easier to get your stars. The more articles that you write, the more stars you can get and the more upfront payments you can get.
  • Rating stars: You need at least one rating star in order to make any money at any given time. One rating star can be achieved by rating ten articles or more and rating them in such a way that your ratings match up fairly closely to other people's ratings.

Passive Payments.
As long as you have one rating star or more (at the end of the day) you can get passive income payments. This is based on how much Helium makes and how your articles bring on money. However, Helium doesn't post its algorithms so no one knows exactly how articles earn money. With a significant number of articles it is possible to make a lot of money though.

Helium runs weekly contests. These contests have several articles in a general topic. For example "babysitting" would be the topic and then there would be 15-25 articles in this general topic. You can write an article for one or for all of them. Then you get rated. You earn points (or negative points) based on your score. If you are in the top portion you can make as many as five points, but lower rankings will get you lower points and the lowest rated article will give you a negative five points. The top three to six people (depending on the contest) will earn money based on their points.

Helium also has a marketplace. Here publishers for a variety of medium post job offers. They then choose articles from the batch submitted to purchase. If your article is chosen you make money.

Stock Content.
Your articles on Helium could get purchased by publishers searching their site. Every time one of your articles gets sold this way you get $5 in addition to any upfront pay you make on the articles and in addition to your passive income as well. The article stays on Helium making more money for you passively. Additionally you can make money by selling this article again. All of this happens without any additional work on your part.

Evaluating The Money.
It is hard to evaluate how well Helium works because the payment methods change periodically. In the beginning I made a lot of passive income from the hundreds of articles that I have there. Now I make a lot less each month even though I have more articles there. With the introduction of upfront payments my earnings have gone down. I have about 900 articles there and make less then $100 a month from them (with no new upfront payments). This isn't so great, but most of those articles have paid me upfront, I have sold several on the marketplace, and won a contest. All in all, I have made only about $0.27 an article for the two years I have been there. The one advantage is that these articles will continue to make money for me and all I have to do is write one article every 180 days.

*Update- 1 year later. I now have 988 articles there. I have written a few when we needed money I could rely on. With five rating stars I can go there and be sure to make the 2.50 an article upfront. I have now made a little over $4.27 an article there which is better than before. I usually make between $100 and 250 passively, plus any upfront payments I have earned. While the money there isn't great I have made more per article than I do when I sell the article to someone upfront.

Writing More.
It takes a lot of articles in order to make money from Helium. It is a good site, but it does take work if you want to make any significant amount of money. Other sites often make more money per article.

The Advantage.
If Helium isn't a great place to make a lot of money for your writing then why should one write there? The advantage is that it is easy to come up with topics. Finding topics to write hundreds of articles isn't always easy to do. However, Helium makes it easy to find lots of topics that you have the knowledge to write on. You don't have to try and come up with topics, just search through the categories you know something about and choose titles you can write to. It's that simple. It is also easy to write these articles. They tend to be fast and easy to write making it less time consuming than other locations.

All in all, Helium isn't for everyone. The money there isn't fantastic and isn't something to quit your day job over. It is an easy site to write for and if you are okay with the rating process you can make a little extra money.