Writing online for money: some site reviews

Since I don’t have a formal job, I decided last fall that I needed a way to make some money. Obviously, blogging wasn’t going to cut it, and I haven’t made millions writing the next Great American Novel.

So I started registering for websites that pay for writing, and I have to say, it’s getting more profitable. I’m not making a boatload of money by any means, but if I’m going to write, it’s nice to get paid for it. Plus, I’m building a portfolio of my writing and keeping up my skills

Here is a list of the sites where I write and my experience so far. And it would be great to hear if you know about any other writing sites and your experience with them…

eHow: I started with this site because it was the easiest. I didn’t need any credentials and I could write what I wanted. So far I’ve written about 45 articles. Unfortunately, everything must be written in a “How To” format and they are extremely literal about it. Therefore, about ten of my early articles were removed, even though they were well-written. I’ve been able to sell the content elsewhere, so it’s not a complete loss.

The money with eHow is very little, since it’s based on hits, but it does become cumulative. I’m still making money on articles I wrote six months ago. It’s a nice base, but I realized after a few months it wasn’t going to be enough for me and I needed to write on other sites, also.

Demand Studios: After writing with eHow for a few months, I graduated to Demand, where I needed to submit my online writing experience, which I was able to do with my writing on eHow. Unlike eHow, Demand tells writers what they want written. They mostly pay a flat fee for their stuff, and the max pay of most articles is $15. Not much when you consider what freelance writers can make for a 500 word article. Also, their database of articles is a mess and it’s very hard to find anything decent to write about, short of doing lots of research, which I don’t plan to do for fifteen bucks. But again, I have been building my online writing experience.

Note of warning: I have had extremely frustrating experiences with Demand. Recently, I submitted an article that was going to pay a lame $7.50 that asked for medical information on a supplement (I already had the info which is why I decided to write it). When I submitted the piece, I was told I couldn’t give any medical information (in total conflict with the original request). It was a complete waste of time and I will probably be limiting my writing for Demand in the future.

Examiner.com: In December I graduated to Examiner.com, based on what some other writers were telling me. With Examiner, the stuff you write is “local” (i.e, best bars in Chicago), but you get to pick your own topics. Also, you have to prove your writing to get accepted and then you pick what type of “Examiner” you’ll be. I am the Chicago Budget Weddings Examiner. I have yet to get paid from them, but it’s done on a per hit basis.

SEED.com: SEED is a new site that just opened in December. They are very much like Demand, but they have way more articles to choose from since they are new. I didn’t have to submit any writing to get accepted, but each article is either accepted or rejected by the editor. If they accept your article, you get paid the flat fee promised. If you’re rejected, you get nothing. But the flat fees range from about $25 to $400, with most of them paying $30 to $60. This is a far better rate than I’ve found elsewhere for online articles.

Suite101: Ok, I haven’t written for these guys, so I can’t really comment, except to say that they own all rights to everything you write for them. The other sites I write for have some or no limitations, so I can use my content elsewhere. I just can’t spend my time writing an article for $25 and never being able to use it anywhere else. But I do know some others who write there and seem to like it. If you have an experience to refute my opinion on this, I’d love to hear it!


6 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. darksculptures
    Jan 20, 2010 @ 13:50:56

    I’m so glad you have been able to put your journalistic talents to work for you and start to build an income. I’m completely envious of your ability to write this way. I’ve thought about taking a class on writing for magazines, but I really don’t think my heart would be in it.

    Thanks for sharing these site and your experience. If I ever decide to change my mind I definately know who to ask when I need advice.


    • kathanink
      Jan 20, 2010 @ 15:39:07

      You know, my heart’s not in it all the time either (esp. b/c the money isn’t so hot yet), but since I have the skill already, I may as well use it! And of course, if you decide to do anything along these lines, feel free to ask! 🙂


  2. dayner
    Jan 19, 2010 @ 23:06:04

    All very good information. Maybe you should turn this into an EHow article 🙂
    I hope very soon this all adds up to a decent income for you. If anything it’s more to put on your writing resume.
    I try to click on everything to get you as many hits as possible.


    • kathanink
      Jan 20, 2010 @ 15:37:19

      Thanks, D!! LOL about the eHow article! I don’t think they’d dig me “advertising” other sites. Besides, Demand owns them, and well…I don’t have much good to say about them.


  3. Natasha
    Jan 19, 2010 @ 14:43:58

    Very interesting and informative post. Thanks, Kathan. My only experience with any of these is as a user — I’ve gone to sites at both ehow and suite101 when I’ve looked for something via google. ehow was pretty good because I was looking for basic how-do-you-do-this-simple-thing.

    I did feel uncomfortable with suite101 because I went there looking for something related to specific medical issues I was researching and found the information seemed to be weird — it didn’t jibe with what I was reading elsewhere. That may have been an isolated example. But I agree that writing an article for $25 and then losing all rights to it doesn’t seem like a good deal.

    BTW, if I were having a bridal shower in the Chicago area, I would DEFINITELY follow your suggestions!! Good ones!


    • kathanink
      Jan 19, 2010 @ 16:24:19

      Unfortunately, the problem with many of these sites is that you are not required to have references or anything. The only one so far that has required that of me is Demand Studios, but they post all over the web. So you have people giving all sorts of strange info on some of these sites. In fact, a few of the articles on eHow are so badly written, they’d probably get an “F” in an English class!

      BTW, I don’t really know how much Suite 101 pays (I said $25 because that seems to be about average). But I read that if you write a 500 word piece and sign over all rights, you should be getting $200 to $500, depending on the topic. I very much doubt they pay that much (again, someone correct me if I’m wrong!).

      One the benefits I receive is being able to reuse my content on various sites (revised, of course).

      And thanks! You can use the ideas in your area, just find some places that are similar!


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