Writing for a New Site is a Gamble

Writing for a new site is a gamble
Credit: Morguefile photo by cohdra

A Proven Track Record

A number of revenue-share sites have recently come into existence. When a new one appears, it's tempting to sign up. That's because there are advantages to getting in on the ground level.

On a new site, your work gains a lot of exposure. With less competition than what you'll find on more established venues, your articles will get top billing. The site may also take off. If that happens, you're very well positioned to reap big rewards.

But, what if things don't pan out? What if, instead, the site flounders? What will become of all your hard work?

Writing for a new platform is always risky. But someone has to do it, and, in order to maintain diversity in the marketplace, it's important to support these new ventures. It's good for writers to have multiple publishing opportunities.

However, for stability, platforms with a longer history are less likely to flounder. This is very important because you typically need a large number of articles before you see significant earnings. It can also take a year or more for an article to attract a lot of visitors. That's why it's important to make wise choices, as you want the site to still be around when your articles hit their stride.

If you're hoping to eventually earn a living as an online writer, it's a good idea to spread your work across several sites. You may also want to consider having one or more of your own websites, or blogs. That way, your livelihood is not totally dependent upon other people.

When Things Don't Work Out

I took the chance of adding dozens of articles to a start-up that seemed to have great promise. For the first year, it was a lively place, with a busy writers' forum. The rules were strict, but some sort of oversight is necessary to keep low-quality articles from being published. When this happens, search engine traffic eventually dries up and everyone suffers.

No revenue-share opportunity is perfect. So I tend to overlook minor inconveniences and annoyances. However, if it appears as if a platform could go under, as evidenced by lack of growth, or by any prolonged delay in financial compensation, then you might have to think about moving your articles.

Recently, I was faced with this dilemma. Given the circumstances, the only logical thing to do was to delete my articles, in order to publish them somewhere else. (First, though, I needed to make sure they no longer showed up in search engine results.) Unless you've entered into a specific agreement to sell all rights to your articles, you are free to republish them elsewhere.

But it's extremely inconvenience to pack up and move. Not every article is easily erased from web. If you republish something, and it still appears in search engine records, you'll be hit with a duplicate copy notice on the new site.

If this happens, you will need to entirely rewrite your article, with a new focus, before it appears again in print.

Prior to deleting my articles, I had to save them. I downloaded all of them to my computer. I also put them on an external hard drive. It's a good thing I did this, because my computer died during this process.

Actually, unless you want to go through the trouble of printing all of your online endeavors, you should, periodically, transfer everything you create to an outside hard drive.

Writing instrument
Credit: Morguefile photo by clarita

Finding the Right Publishing Platform

So, as you can see, it's a good idea to thoroughly investigate a writing platform before signing up.

That's because choosing the wrong platform can be very costly, in terms of time and energy. This certainly isn't to say you shouldn't write for a new site. On the contrary, we need to support them, because, down the road, they could turn into one of our favorite places to work.

I still contribute to another very new site, and I believe it has great potential. But the bulk of my energy is now reserved for the tried and tested platforms.

Before publishing your first article on any site, spend some time on the writers' forum. Have most of the posters been around for a long time, or does it seem as if everyone has recently joined? Do the writers, in general, seem happy? Or, are they ready to call it quits? Is there a lot of activity? Are monetary obligations paid promptly? If not, this can be a sign of cash flow problems.

Lastly, how long has the site been in existence? If it's been around for several years, or more, that's a good sign.

Infobarrel, founded in 2008, is one place I can highly recommend. Please feel free to sign up here.