Like many freelance writers, I would love to earn some extra money from articles I write for the web. The grim reality is, however, that this is not an easy feat to accomplish. After a full year of effort, including writing for upfront pay, I have come back to where I originally started--writing articles of my choosing on revenue share sites. I have come to believe that this model suits me the best, with its promise of eventual passive income plus the freedom to write in my own voice. Is this concept new to me? Not at all...
My First Experience With Revenue Share: EHow
For a while, I wrote on my own blogs, something I enjoyed immensely. I couldn't help but notice, though, that I wasn't making any money. I did some research and discovered a site called "eHow" where writers could submit how-to style articles and earn part of the advertising revenue their work produced. The Writers' Compensation Program was in existence for approximately three years and was, unbeknownst to me, right on the verge of being terminated when I signed up. I had submitted only a handful of articles when I received the email from eHow's parent company, Demand Studios, informing me of the program's imminent demise. However, DS did also let me know that they had incorporated me into their own writing program, based on the work I did for eHow. I submitted as many articles as I could before the deadline, but wound up with fewer than two dozen in total. There they sit, to this day.
My First Experience With Upfront Pay: Demand Studios
For a while, I couldn't find any decent titles on the DS list, so I did one or two articles in two months' time. Article choices such as "How to replace an entire drivetrain on a Hummer 2" just didn't tickle my fancy, nor did $15 seem adequate compensation for such an article. For a short time, though, I did find quite a few titles to work with. I made some pretty good money, but then--poof--these categories disappeared. Thus ended another chapter in the eHow/Demand Studios "How NOT to Earn Money Online" ebook!
Other Content Sites, Similar Situation
To be honest, I couldn't have held on much longer at DS, anyway. Their editorial style was usually brusque, often verging on rude. Rules seemed made only to be broken, and the first (and only) time I wound up with an article rejection I nearly pulled my hair out over the time and anguish spent on an article that wound up paying me nothing. Moving on, I applied to several other sites and worked for only a couple, since the titles and assignments offered on many were just as unattractive as those I routinely saw on DS. Although the editors I worked with after DS were less nasty, I found that they were either too picky or wouldn't give appropriate feedback to allow me to improve my chances of success. The main problem, though, was the rigid writing style these sites demanded of their writers. I found myself dreading writing these upfront-pay articles, so frustrating was it for me to force my own voice to conform to theirs. Eventually, I gave up.
Back to Basics: The Revenue-Share, Passive-Income Model
I schlepped around the internet for a while then, reading other writers' blogs and forum posts, looking for ideas and direction. What I found was that I was not alone; many other writers found the content sites deadening and not worth their time. My husband noted that I had been much happier writing posts for my own blogs, and suggested I go back to that for a while. I did, and while back in this mode I remembered how much I had enjoyed the eHow experiment of the year before. Why not try again, with a different site?
I actually decided on two sites, Infobarrel and Hubpages, both of which seem to have all the attributes I desire in a content site-- including a method of making money--while allowing me to write about the topics I care about, using my own voice and style. I have also been studying SEO techniques, which I can't wait to start implementing. Whatever happens, though, I am prepared to stick it out for at least one year, and re-assess the project then. I feel sure that I will be pleased with the results. One thing is for certain: I am enjoying writing again, and for a writer, that really is the best part.