Writing Online Is A Job
Writing Online is a job, for me as well as for many others who are serious about writing. I love writing and I have been writing online for many years. Writing is a wonderful way to express oneself and if you can make money from writing online, well, then that is a bonus.
I first started my blog on Google’s Blogger in September 2004. Having written online for 10 years, I feel it is time to write this article. I write this article, not as a big time blogger but as a housewife blogger who has been writing for a very long time. I write this article for the average blogger who is interested to earn a little income from their writing.
The question is where should you write your articles? There are many content sites. However, my experience is mainly as a blogger and as an almost ex-Squidoo lensmaster or Giant Squid as what they call Squidoo article writers who are dedicated lensmasters who are creative, self-motivated and care about publishing original articles. Oh, I do miss being a Giant Squid already. Now, I am on HubPages. I will not be writing about other article writing sites because I do not have direct experience with those sites so this is a general article for writers who are interested or thinking of putting some of their content on their own websites.
Your Own Site in this article refer to your own dynamic blogs rather than a static web page that used to be the thing before blogs came along.
This Is My Workstation
25 Myths And Realities Of Blogging
Perhaps I should have titled this hub 25 Myths And Realities Of Blogging. Anyway, before you decide where to put your content. Here are a couple of things you should know.
# 1 YOUR CONTENT IS YOURS…. OR IS IT?
The online world is not permanent, just like how digital photos are. They can disappear overnight if you do not take the necessary steps to protect that which is yours. Remember that if you put your writing on your own site, any original content that you write is yours but you must take care of it. Blogger blogs can disappear overnight. Even self hosted blogs may have problems. So, protect that which is yours. However, this is easier said then done. How do you back up 10 years of work?
# 2 YOU ARE FREE TO WRITE WHATEVER YOU WANT
Not true. While you certainly have a lot more control over what you write, you still cannot write whatever you want if you want to earn money from your articles. You can write anything you want if your blog is personal and private. However, when you write online you still have to adhere to your big boss’s rules ie Google especially if you want to make money from writing online.
Everything that you have learned from writing sites, all the rules they have apply to your own sites as well. You also have to make sure you do not write anything sensitive that may hurt others or break the unspoken laws of your land. Many workers have been sacked and some people have even been arrested for their writing.
# 3 IT IS BETTER TO WRITE FOR YOURSELF THEN TO WRITE FOR OTHERS
Not true. It is better to write for yourself and to write for others. It is better to write for your own website as well as to write for revenue sharing sites like HubPages. In fact, it is invaluable to write for content sites because you learn a lot of things that you wouldn’t if you go it alone by writing on your site exclusively. It is also not better to write for content sites only because then you will miss then chance of learning other the other things that you will learn if you write on your own site. You will also enjoy the camaraderie among the writers of such sites.
A mix is much better. It is also better not to put all your eggs into one basket (as many Squidoo lensmasters learned the hard way). Even if you have your own site, it is also not good to put all of them on your site alone. If you have the time, it is better to write for several content sites plus your own site. However, I am not doing that because I can’t spread myself too thin. I have 5 blogs, 180 Squidoo lenses and having just started at HubPages this is my 6th Hub. I won’t be able to manage writing for another content site so I have to select the tried, tested and those that have been around for a long time with proper systems in place like this one.
# 4 YOUR TARGET AUDIENCE IS THE WORLD
True. When you write and share your articles online, you are sharing your writing with the whole world, not just the part of the world where you live in. Have a look at my stats below for this week (August at the time of writing). I am from Malaysia but as you can see from the statistics of one of my blogs the Parenting Times, my target audience is largely from the US. Malaysia is second and India is third.
Usually in August, I have a spike of activity and pageviews from India because of one article I wrote about Teacher’s Day gift ideas. I had written this article in May 2012 at the time when Teacher’s Day is celebrated in Malaysia. However, Teacher’s Day is celebrated in September in India and that’s the reason for the spike in August.
I think it is pretty amazing that something you wrote a few years ago may continue to generate page views on your site. If you keep on writing, you will get that search engine audience eventually, so work hard on it.
This screenshot was taken for the pageviews for one week in August for my Parenting blog
# 5 SPREADING OUT YOUR CONTENT OVER SEVERAL TARGETED SITES IS BETTER THAN HAVING JUST ONE SITE
When I first started blogging, I wrote about everything under the sun, anything that mattered to me, all that I saw and thought, I recorded on my blog. I was told that it was not a very good thing to have a site that lacks focus. So I decided to have a health blog, a quotes blog, a parenting blog, a blog just for mothers and a personal blog for me to write anything and everything.
On hindsight, that wasn’t such a fantastic idea. While it got me more writing assignments from advertisers who wanted a more targeted blog, in terms of income from ads, surprise, surprise, my first anything and everything blog continues to do the best.
# 6 WHAT ARE THE WAYS TO EARN MONEY IF YOU PUT CONTENT ON YOUR OWN SITE
You earn money the same way as how you earn if you were to put your content on content sites like HubPages. You earn income from Adsense, for affiliate links like Amazon and eBay plus you may also get writing assignments from advertisers. However the latter is on the decline now.
During my early days of blogging, link buying was rampant. Everyone wanted to pay you for writing and linking to their site. However Google put a stop to all that. Many of those who had paid to get you to link to their site eventually had to pay someone to contact all the sites to get their links taken down because they had been penalized by Google. So, that way of earning money is a way of the past.
However, you may still get local advertisers from around your area who are willing to pay you to write more about their product or service. This is very localized.
Google Adsense Tutorial
# 7 WILL YOU RUN OUT OF THINGS TO WRITE A
So you started your own website. You are also writing for several content sites. Will you run out of things to write about? The answer is no. I have found from experience that the more you write, the more things you have to write about. If you stop writing, as I have for several months at a time from time to time, you lose your momentum and you stop having things to write about. However, if you keep on writing, it will lead to more and more ideas and you will have even more to write about.
You should also try to write outside your comfort zone and venture into writing other things that you would not normally write about. You will be encouraged by the fact that you can write about other things too. The more you write the better you become at writing.
In addition, when you write about life and your experiences you will always have something to write about because life goes on and your experience changes. I have moved on from writing about breastfeeding to taking care of babies and making baby food to the challenges of taking care of grade school children and about education and looking after preteens. Life moves on and so does your writing.
# 8 IF YOU WANT TO BE PAID FOR YOUR ONLINE WRITING, WRITE AS IF YOU ARE BEING PAID EVERY TIME YOU PUBLISH EVEN IF YOU ARE NOT
If you write well, traffic and advertisers will come to you naturally. You do not have to work very hard in those areas. Just concentrate on improving your writing.
The way to improve is to write often and write well.
Be passionate about writing and write about things that you are passionate about. You can’t go wrong if you do this.
Apart from writing, you should also improve on your layout and the photos you use for your articles.
# 9 WATCH YOUR STATS
if you have your own website, pay close attention to your statistics. It can tell you something to help you decide on what you should be writing about that will generate more views and income online.
In fact, you should watch your stats wherever your content is.
# 10 COMMENTS IS NOT AN INDICATOR OF TRAFFIC
When I first started blogging, I had a lot of comments because in those days, there were not many social sharing sites and blogging was one of the ways to share socially.
When Facebook came along in a big way, the commentors left for Facebook and many bloggers stopped blogging altogether.
However, although my comments disappeared, my traffic increased because my blog has been around for a very long time and is recognized by search engines.
I Love Blogging. Do You?
# 11 IT ISN’T ONLY ABOUT WRITING
When you have your own site, you should take care of it lovingly, like tending to a garden. First you must prepare your grounds by having a good template and layout. Then you plant your flowers by publishing posts and watch your blog grow.
In my early days of blogging, blogs weren’t as user friendly. I had to learn many things from scratch, playing around with my template over and over again till I got it right. It is so much easier now. Many things can be done with just one click or drag.
# 12 IT IS REWARDING AND SATISFYING
Yes, that is it. Having your own site is very rewarding and satisfying, even if you don’t generate any income from it. However, you will, if you work hard at it.
# 13 BLOGGING IS GOING DOWNHILL. IT IS NO LONGER THE WAY TO EXPRESS YOURSELF
Not quite true. When I first started blogging, blogging was THE way to share and express oneself. Then Facebook came along and blogging took a nose dive.
However, after the bad experience many online writers have had with some content sites, blogging has started to go up in popularity again as a way to share well written original articles.
It is no longer THE best way to share personally but it has become more of a way to share professionally. If you want to share personally, you can do so a lot more easily and by saying a lot fewer words as in Twitter or say nothing at all if you use Instagram.
# 14 YOUR BLOG IS NOT AN ISLAND
Your blog or own site is not an island. You must integrate it with other social sharing sites like Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, Google Plus and more. The good news is, it has become easier to do this, usually you can do it with a click of a button.
# 15 YOU HAVE FULL CONTROL OF YOUR SITE
Not true. While you may have a lot more freedom in what you write and how you present it, you still do not have full control of your site. I have had my self hosted site down on several occasions because of server problems.
Sometime during my 9th year of blogging, I have even had my 9 year old Blogger blog disappear from the radar completely. I could not view my site anywhere online and I could not log into my account for that blog. All I received was an email informing me that my blog has been removed because it was spam.
Imagine the horror of that. All of my blog posts disappeared overnight (9 years of original published material) without the ability of me going in to retrieve anything at all! I wrote to Blogger and my blog was reinstated only to have it happen again a few days later. I had to write in again. Of course my blog was reinstated since it is obviously not spam, anyone can see that but the machines cannot. It led to a few days of anxiety for me.
# 16 YOUR CONTENT WILL BE STOLEN
Be prepared for this. I have had my content being stolen in many ways. Once, there was a person who took my very personal posts and wrote them on her blog pretending that she was me. That was very spooky indeed.
The more common way of plagiarizing is not so personal. You will find your blog posts and sometimes your entire blog being copied. Of course, there will be ways to address this but then it will happen again and over again. People will try to make money from your content. The worse thing is sometimes your stolen content ranks higher in search pages then your own original content.
Do You Want To Be A Successful Online Writer?
# 17 YOU WILL EARN PASSIVE, CONTINUOUS INCOME
This one is true. If you work hard writing and updating your blog, there will come a time when you no longer need to work as hard. You can leave your blog unattended to for months and the income will still come.
# 18 YOU HAVE TO TREAT IT LIKE A JOB
If you want that day when you can earn continuous income to arrive, you have to work really hard at first. You have to be serious about it and treat it professionally as you would any other job. Treat your online writing on your own site as a freelance writing job.
# 19 YOUR TRAFFIC GOES UP WHEN YOU PROMOTE YOUR SITE
No question about this. Your traffic goes up when you promote your site. It comes down if you do nothing. However, you will always get traffic from search engines just from writing (without promoting) original articles and updating your site regularly with articles.
# 20 PHOTOS ARE NOT ONLY FOR MAKING YOUR PAGES PRETTY
When Google and other search engines started having image search, it became a new way for getting traffic to your site. If you choose your photos carefully and give them targeted titles that match your article, you will rank high in image searches and get traffic from that.
You should also pin your images on pinterest. That is another major potential for traffic that can increase your pageviews significantly.
# 21 YOU WILL NEED TO HAVE A LOT OF PATIENCE
Your site will not earn you income immediately. You must put in all the work first and expect rewards later.
For example, it took me 6 months before I had enough articles to get my Adsense approved and another 2 months later before I started earning and eventually it was a more than a year before I received my first check from Adsense.
I never earned anything from Amazon affiliates. It was only after I started writing on Squidoo that the Amazon earnings started to pick up. Using that knowledge, I applied it on my own sites and it improved a little bit but it was never as good as it was at Squidoo.
That is why it is sometimes better to write for established content sites. You get to earn your adsense a lot faster. You also cannot beat content sites in terms of updating and traffic because of their sheer volume of content. Not in a million years.
# 22 TO DOTCOM OR NOT?
Which is better? Free blogging platforms like Blogger, WordPress, Tumblr etc or your own self hosted site on your own domain?
After I had my Blogger site for a while, I was told that it would be better to have my own self hosted site so I started my own site at mumsgather.com At that time some advertisers prefer it if you had a dotcom.
However, apart from getting the few writing assignments which are not so popular these days, I am really glad I didn’t transfer all of my content from my original mumsgather @ blogspot blog which I now call Parenting Times.
I kept it and continued to update it and it has continued to be my best Adsense earner, not the dotcom one. So in this case, free turned out to be better than paid hosting.
# 23 BECOME A MASTER CURATOR
You can help people who are searching for information by becoming a master curator. Think about a topic that someone is searching for, then put all the relevant information for that person all in one page including links to websites, slideshows, newspaper articles, videos, photos and more. In fact, you can do this whether you are writing on your own site or otherwise.
# 24 FOLLOW THE UNSPOKEN RULES
Whatever rules you have to follow on a content site, do it for your own site as well. Write only original content, do not steal or copy, update regularly.
# 25 OVER TIME YOU WILL HAVE ENOUGH CONTENT FOR A BOOK
You know what? If you keep blogging diligently, over time you will find that you have enough content for a book! That is what I did, after years of writing about certain subject matters over and over again, I found that I had enough content for not just one but three books. So I turned all of them into self published books which I now sell online as an additional way for making money online.
# 26 NEVER EVER STOP LEARNING
I know I only started with 25 when I started writing this hub but I wanted to add this very important thing. Never ever stop learning. Wherever you write, whether on a revenue sharing site or on your own blog or site, you will learn a lot of new things along the way. This is one of the most exciting things about writing online. If you love this part and never ever stop learning, you will continue to grow as a writer. Also, do not be afraid to share your knowledge. Share generously. By sharing, you continue to learn too as I did when writing this hub.
The Latest Technology Makes Your Work As An Online Writer More Fun And Productive
I use both a desktop pc and tablet computer for my writing assignments. The tablet is for taking photos and creating graphics while the desktop is for writing. Photo Source: Amazon