You may have heard that it is possible to make real money online by writing articles. And you may be wondering, as I once did – is it possible to get paid to write online unless you are a professional writer with a well established niche? Well, as I and many others have found out, making money writing online articles is a perfectly workable strategy, and it is possible to make some decent extra money on the side even by writing online casually as a hobby, as I have done. And it is possible even to make quite a good living by writing online for money if one approaches it as one would a regular job. Indeed, for someone currently unemployed, or a stay-at-home parent looking to make money at home, online writing on a regular basis is a viable means for helping make ends meet by significantly supplementing family income. And for the rest of us, even the occasional article written in the evenings or weekends can bring in enough money over time to pay for vacation expenses, eating out or the occasional splurge.


It is important, however, to keep expectations realistic about how much you can earn online. Online writing is not a get rich quick scheme for most people. However, earning hundreds of dollars a month is possible even through a part time effort, as long as you employ some strategies, rather than just writing on any site about whatever catches your fancy.


Some ways to make money online writing articles


You can maintain your own blog or website on which you can write articles on topics you choose. This allows you the greatest freedom to write whatever you like, and in any format. Programs like Google Adsense make it easy to monetize your site by inserting relevant ads into your webpages. You get some of the ad revenue every time someone clicks on your ads. However, keep in mind that you need to write on specific niches and pay attention to keywords and Search Engine Optimization to maximize the chances that people will find your websites and actually click on the ads. More on this topic in a future article. Also, as the owner of my own website, I need to drive traffic to my site actively, rather than just relying on people to find me through search engines. I can do this through appropriate postings on relevant forums and social networking sites, and by backlinking articles on different sites (i.e., putting links to my articles in article directories). Keep in mind that there’s a fine line between spamming and legitimate promotion or backlinks. Make sure to promote in appropriate forums without being obnoxious and repetitive. Otherwise, your strategy could backfire as you might get blacklisted or penalized by search engines.


You can also write articles for revenue sharing sites such as InfoBarrel (this site). Revenue sharing websites earn money when people click on ads served up by Google Adsense, Chitika, Infolinks or other ad programs on these sites. The sites will share this revenue with you, either by depositing money into your Paypal or bank account, or by displaying your Adsense or other ads on their websites part of the time (which is what InfoBarrel does). You might wonder, why write on someone else’s website when I could have my own money making websites and not share revenue with anyone else? The reason is that sites like InfoBarrel are set up to maximize revenue potential by promoting their articles, interlinking related articles and by the brand reputation they try to build up over time. This might allow you to monetize your articles more effectively than if you tried to go it alone on your own website, more than making up for having to share some of the revenue. Of course, if you are an expert website developer and online marketer, you might not need to go through a site like this one, but most of us who want to make extra money online as a hobby or part time occupation, and don’t have the time or expertise to go it alone, are well served by revenue sharing websites. 


Another way to make money on the internet is by writing for upfront payment sites. Demand Studios is an example of such a site. You have to apply to be accepted into their program, but once you’re in, you can pick from a list of constantly updated titles to write for. Articles can vary in the amount of payment you will receive, and this depends on the type and length of article you choose to write. Short answers to questions might earn you about $3.00 each, whereas a longer how-to article could net you as much as $15.00. It is quite feasible to make several hundred dollars online a month, or more, even by doing this as a part time hobby. The advantage of writing for such sites is that you get paid to write articles upfront, so you don’t need to worry about marketing your articles later. The flip side is that you potentially forfeit future revenue if your article turns out be a high earner. Also, these sites often have many requirements you have to fulfill in order for your articles to accepted, such as specific writing styles you have to adopt. They can get sent back for rewrites if they don’t fit all the criteria, or even rejected. All this takes the fun out of writing online as a hobby; however, it can provide a valuable supplement to your income in lean times without too much effort.