Making Money Freelance Writing. Back in August last year, I was able to forecast being fairly short of money due to some unplanned bills, economy, moon cycles, and so forth. I took up a night job and through a fair bit of Google searching on a slow day at work came across Associated Content. August stretched into October, and my night job was really killing me on average daily sleep time. As a result, I conducted more research and decided that I would make a go at freelance writing jobs. I set an initial goal of making $1000 and a secondary goal of making $1000 monthly.
My First Freelance Writing Job Experience
Making money freelance writing has a common theme when researching online – it takes time to get income streams started and into one’s bank account. So, without really knowing how to write optimized online content, I wrote a few articles without knowing about keywords, hyper linking to related or reference content, etc. The first article that I was “guided” to using keywords was: “Phillies Parade, Is the City of Brotherly Love Celebrating Too Soon?”. The article was a call for content due on the same day, defined a keyword frequency requirement, and was my fourth article published on AC. Although it has only gotten about 650 page views (PVs), 500 of those were in the week it was written and served as motivation to stick with freelance writing jobs! I then came across CP Mike Grisso who answered a ton of questions for me. He also provided tips and links to tools for freelance writing jobs which have helped me achieve my goals for 2008.
Getting Started With Freelance Writing Jobs
If I had to go back to October and start over, I would take a different approach to how I focused my approach for making money freelance writing. First, I would focus on claiming three calls for content due within 24 hours to accelerate being able to publish articles for PVs on my own. Next, instead of waiting to apply to other websites for higher paying upfront gigs until I hit 50 articles, I would go ahead and do so after publishing 10 on AC. Finally, I would research Search Engine Optimization (SEO) more thoroughly before starting to write daily vice waiting until I was 10-20 articles into my writing.
Making My First $1000 Freelance Writing
My first freelance article of any note was published on October 28th, 2008. It took two months to make my first $1000 freelance writing. As Robert writes in the Other Online Writing Gigs Forum, on AC, defining several freelance writing income streams is critical to realizing any monetary goal of significant value in today’s freelance writing market. This was a key point for me as my first month on AC, although worthwhile, wasn’t providing enough income on its own for me to quit my night job. As a result, I applied to Demand Studios, was accepted, and my writing income started to significantly increase. To apply to demand studios, the site required a resume, writing sample, and URL’s of any on-line published content. For the writing sample, I provided an AC article, and my AC URL. From application to acceptance, the process took approximately two days. Demand Studios(DS) typically pays $15 USD an article if they have defined the topic, $5 USD if you propose a topic which is approved. New writers are typically started out at a maximum of 10 topics which is increased to 15 after publishing a few pieces. DS does require a different style of writing than AC but there is a fairly pointed style guide available to help new writers. On the down-side, DS does not pay the writer for page views. The jump in up-front pay from AC makes it so DS gets about 60-70% of my writing time now (DS income is approximately 75% of what I realize at this juncture). Additionally, many of the available topics on DS require a technical background of some type. Many of the DS articles I have done, however, simply come from the knowledge it takes to accomplish “Do It Yourself ” projects while owning a home. Many of the writers I talk to on AC prefer the content on Brighthub.com to DS, however, I just haven’t had time to write in that forum yet. The third site that I write for, more of when in a block or bored for AC or DS content is textbroker.com. Unlike AC, TextBroker does not pay as you go for calls for content, only monthly on the 5th if one has greater than $10 USD in work approved. TextBroker pays approximately a dollar per 100 words, but has a fair number of calls that can be written quickly (product reviews, travel, etc).
Freelance Writing Tips and Tools
Based off of Mike Grisso’s original help, the following seven steps and associated tools have helped served me well when writing content for the web:
1 – Identify your keywords or phrase and check them at freekeywords.wordtracker.com. The site will provide the average monthly search rate for a set of keywords with greater than 1000 being a good set.
2 – Check the key words or phrase at Google.com for combinations that have less than 500,000 results to give you a better chance at being higher on the Google Index.
3 – Use your key phrase in the first 90 characters of the first paragraph of the article, at least twice in the body, and once in the closing paragraph. It can vary based off of what CP you talk to, but frequencies between two and four percent for key phrases are desired. Greater than 4.5% can be considered spam by the search engines.
4 – Verify yourkeyword/keyphrase density by using the Textalyser web interface located at textalyser.net. Rewrite your article if the metrics in step three are not met as required.
5 – Link to related content in the article. Now, some of the producers on AC still do some strange things to my content on some daily calls I do such as in this article:
“NCAA Basketball, Jan. 19 Rankings and Previews”, the editor removed all links to college sports teams home pages and instead inserted random geographic location links. Google does analyze article content and subject matter of material author’s link to help identify where it should be indexed so this should not be an area you ignore.
6 – Use bolded Subheadings in your article. Web usability guru, Jakob Nielsen, has done some fairly significant usability research for web and web content since the Internet hit mainstream. There are some great reports on his site, UseIt.com on how web surfers scan the screen in a visual “F” pattern with their eyes when reading content. Use of Subheadings in bold help inform the user, and hopefully bring them back to your article when hyperlinking out to related content.
6 – Spell check in your word processing program, spell check again in AC’s CP tool, read the article a third time before pushing publish.
7 – View an outside analysis of your writing at labs.daylife.com based off of one’s pen-name. The site generates a word cloud and frequency from all content you publish as well providing some other neat tools and references to writers producing similar content to yours.
Freelance Writing Goals for 2009
Closing out 2008, I achieved my goal of making money freelance writing after two months by fulfilling freelance writing jobs on AC, DS, and Textbroker. A key to this was regular production of content across the three sites. As I head into the middle of my third month writing, my freelance writing goals for 2009 are:
1 – Maintain Freelance Writing Income Streams above $1000 monthly
2 – Obtain 500,000 page views on AC by the end of 2009.
3 – Write and publish an EBook.
4 – Set aside one day a week to review and comment on more content on AC and other related forums, conduct project research, and generally relax or in Steven Covey’s words, “Sharpen the Saw”.
5 – Do a better job of posting content from my AC site to Digg.com and my beginnings of a blog.
6 – Make time in the work week to contribute to other online freelance writing jobs such as Helium, BrightHub, and EHow (not through my DS work).