This is a guest post by Kalen Smith.
If you are a new writer, you may not always know who to take on for clients. In the beginning, you may be tempted to take any who will pay a salary. In several of his previous articles, Onibalusi mentioned that it can be better to have no clients than a poor client. I’m definitely inclined to agree with him on that point and go into the issue in a little more depth.
The truth is that there are plenty of sites that allow writers to get paid creating low quality articles. Some of the sites that come to mind are ehow, Suite101 and Brighthub.
Now I need to make a few points and make sure I don’t offend anyone. First of all, I have written for each of these sites. I am betting there are other great writers here who have as well. Quality writers have produced good work for these sites.
When I said that they allow writers to get paid writing low quality articles, I meant that the standards are fairly low. You can create high quality work. You just won’t get much more out of it.
These sites all seem like an easy way to get into writing. If your writing is great, you will have no problems getting accepted. However, you can probably do much better somewhere else. Writers who have not perfected their craft yet can still have a shot at getting in. They usually don’t have a limit on the number of writers they will take, which is appealing to many who are struggling to find the best way to pitch themselves and compete against the more experienced in their profession.
Although it can be tempting to work for a site that will take you on without asking any questions, you want to make sure that you can find a way to build your reputation and get paid what you deserve. When you write for content farms, you will do neither.
When you write for a content farm, you will either get paid for each article or get paid on the benefit the article creates for the site (usually through revenue sharing or traffic). Let me discuss each of them and why they won’t help you.
Payment per article
There are a variety of sites that will pay you a fee for each article you write. This fee may range from $2 to $25. Whatever the case, you probably won’t be satisfied with the level of work you have to put in or the work that is available for you.
Here are some examples of sites that pay you for an article:
- Demand Studios (which took over ehow)
- Break Studios
As a former Demand Studios writer, I can tell you how disinterested I was in the posts. I would get paid $15 or $25 for each post I wrote. I tried to finish the posts in half an hour. Anything beyond that wasn’t worth my time. Every writer who ever complained about the site on forums such as Demand Studios Sucks said the same thing. They also gave the following advice:
- Choose a topic that you understand or is easy to write.
- Write the article as quickly as possible.
- Hope you get an editor that doesn’t suck.
- If you are told to do too many edits, then abandon the article. The penalty for rejections can be bad, but more importantly is just not worth the time.
As you can see, most writers at these sites take no pride in their work. They may be awesome writers, but they probably can’t do their best work for a site they don’t enjoy. Frankly, it was hard to enjoy writing for a site that asked me to write on topics I wasn’t interested in such as “Government Grants for Horses with Learning Disabilities.”
- The old eHow (since Demand Studios took over ehow some articles still offer revenue sharing)
- Brighthub (articles offer revenue sharing on top of the $15 per post fee)
Some of these sites give you more discretion on what you write about and may motivate writers to do higher quality work. However, they are not going to pay for a couple of reasons. First of all, the Google Panda Update has basically ruined the chances writers have to make money from these sites. One writer said she used to rely on getting at least $20 a day from articles she’d already written. After Panda, her rates fell to about $2 a day.
Another issue you will face with any content farm is the image you give yourself. When you write for a content farm, potential clients may judge you. I turned to Demand Studios for a two month period when a couple of my guest blogging jobs tapered out. I was still writing for a few high quality sites like Money Crashers and Investopedia.
I had published guest posts in high profile sites, but was struggling to market myself. I needed money and turned to Demand Studios. At first, I was disappointed when I couldn’t find my Demand Studios articles on Google. The only articles that showed up were articles written by other authors who cited me as a source through one of my Money Crashers posts.
However, I later realized that was a blessing in disguise. The truth is that potential clients may look for you on Google. They may overlook the great articles you’ve written and judge you if you’ve been published on a content farm. That may not seem fair, but it’s the truth. When you write, you need to think about your brand image from day one.
I know how hard it is when you get started writing. I was there myself once. You need to learn how to create quality work, work hard at building a portfolio and use solid marketing practices. You already have the talent, but you are going to have to work hard to nurture it. Once you do, you will end up with much better clients.
Never choose the easy path to success. It may buy you a pizza or two, but it will only undermine your efforts in the long run.
Kalen Smith was inspired to join the Internet marketing movement when he was in high school. Now, he inspires new entrepreneurs to learn internet marketing with his new blog, Onlinerookies.com. He loves networking and hearing from other bloggers. He has shared entrepreneurial advice in popular online and print media outlets including Forbes, Dragon Blogger, Young Entrepreneur, Investopedia and the Grass Hopper Group.