How Do I Earn Income by Writing Articles for Online Markets?

Q: I would love to write articles online as a supplemental income while I’m in school. I would appreciate any info on how to get started. Thank you very much!

Writing for Online Markets to Earn Extra Money

A: The most important thing to remember is that writing online and earning money isn’t easy. You don’t necessarily need strong writing skills, but you need to be able to write well. And, perhaps more importantly, you need to have an entrepreneurial mindset and a nose for interesting stories that editors will pay for.

Online writers need to constantly send out pitches to online editors, approach bloggers, and research websites that pay for content. It’s not hard work, but it requires consistency, self-discipline, and creativity. It’s not easy work – you don’t just show up and get paid. You have to seek out work, always act professionally, and nurture your relationships with editors and fellow writers.

In How to Find Online Writing Markets and Write for the Web, I offer five tips on finding markets (eg, ezines, blogs, huge websites) to write for. That’s most of the battle! Also, I just received an email from Susannah Bradley, the producer of MSN Healthy Living. She said she’s accepting pitches for that site, in a slide show format. That is an incredible site to writ for; they pay $1 per word (that’s what they paid me, anyway), and they’re great to work with.

One of the best ways to find markets is to go to the big websites, such as MSN Healthy Living, and find their editorial contact info. That’s how I broke into Woman’s Day, Reader’s Digest online, MSN Health (which is now MSN Healthy Living), and other smaller online markets.

Another tip on getting started as an online writer is to think about Suite101. In Thinking of Becoming a Suite101 Writer? 10 Benefits of Online Writing, I describe why I think writing for a site like Suite can be extremely beneficial. It won’t pay a lot of money at the beginning, but it’s valuable training ground for new online writers and bloggers. I started writing for Suite in 2006, slowed down in 2010, and finally stopped in 2011. I still earn $300 to $500 a month from my old Suite articles; they pay me every month through PayPal. It’s not a lot of money, but I’m very happy with it! It’s a perfect example of passive income: earning money without actively working for it.

Another important tip for earning income as a writer is to know what kind of articles you can pitch and submit! Read 11 Types of Magazine Articles to Write for ideas.

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24 thoughts on “How Do I Earn Income by Writing Articles for Online Markets?”

  1. I know this is an old peice but I just read it and got some value out of it, thank you so much for publishing!

    I’m currently trying to break into online freelance writing and there’s just so much out there. I appreciate your breaking it down a bit.

  2. Salman,

    How have you tried to find writing assignments in the past? What has worked for you? If you’ve never been paid to write an article, you’ll need different advice than if you’ve been published a couple times, but can’t find more assignments.

    Where are you, in your writing journey?

  3. It’s all about find the write market..Sites like elance and freelancer has been a good market for writers for a long time..But there the competition is too stiff and difficult to break through…

  4. And, you need to dedicate a great deal of time and energy to writing, publishing, promoting, and selling your book!

    It’s a big job…which is why I prefer writing online articles 🙂

  5. Roderick Mcfarland

    I write a book based on my life. You need to be very interesting first to write a book and you need to be charismatic in order to have many readers. You also need the Internet to make the book popular.

  6. The best way to earn money writing for online markets is to start getting your feet wet. Try all the different content sites, and find out which one works best for you. I used to like writing for Suite101, but think they’ve gone down the toilet now. But that’s what you do — you get experience writing online, then figure out where you can earn the most money!

  7. Writing quality content is the key here. there are few nerds out there who could just copy others content , add and/or delete something in the article OR spun the article a bit and they are done ! but they won’t stand long using this tactic the quality content will always win.

  8. Thanks for the advice. $1 per word is incredible, but I cannot imagine that that is the norm as I have been seeing more on the lines of about $50 per article.

  9. Wow, if I had been paid $1 a word I would be retiring right now. Usually I get paid $10 for 500 words or so. I guess it is never to late for higher aspirations.

  10. Hi Laurie, I have never heard of $1 per word! That’s awesome. I have been a writer and blogger from past 7 years and the max I’ve ever got is $70 for 1000 words! I’m going to explore the options given by you. Thanks for the info.

  11. Congratulations for the post, was looking for a starting point. I’m from Brazil, and here also is not easy to work on the Internet.

  12. It’s interesting and insightful that – for me -the common thread between your post and some of the comments is HARD WORK. Somewhere along the way online writers, like any other writers or workers, have to come to the realization that to be successful – however you measure it – takes work and effort.


  13. The most important part of writing the articles is the quality. If you write bad articles, you will quickly lose reputation and have to settle for selling your work at a huge discount. On the flip side, I have paid as much as $8 for a 500 word article to writers that are very well.

  14. I am sure that making a living writing articles is not easy. But selling a (digital) product over and over is quite simple. Find the right product, setup your website and a paypal account, write as part of your inbound marketing campaign, spend a few hours daily on promotional efforts and watch the cash flowing in. Good luck!

  15. Thanks for the tips, You may already know this, there are many ways to make extra money online(from $5 to $ 500 and even thousands of dollars/month).What influences the amount? There are several factors: hard work, the information that you own, intuition, luck, inspiration.

  16. You have provided some good tips for online writing. Writing isn’t easy, whether on online for business or offline for any other purpose. If you’re writing as a career, you have to continuously update your skills and techniques.

  17. One dollar per word!

    If only they all paid as much as that.

    Thanks for the article. I’m always looking for ways to make money by writing online.

  18. Thanks for the wonderful tips. I used to work on clients that pay so less it made me realized I was wasting my time writing for them while earning so little while they earn so much from us, the starters. With the tips you gave, I am really planning to earn as much as I used to earn.

  19. Really good tips here, better than sending peopleto some these freelance websites that want writers to work for peanuts. I Really enjoy reading your posts, thanks a lot, Sean