Writing for ad-revenue websites

Just as the sky is the limit for money making opportunities on the net, one of the more seemingly regular methods of generating income is to write journalistic articles for websites.

These websites promise great returns and flexible working in return for articles structured/tailored to the sites own requirements.

Different websites pay in different ways – the main two are on a submission and acceptance basis and either; a one off fee on completion, or some kind of ongoing revenue share (based on how much the article makes the website).

Now, most professional writers turn their nose up at this type of content farming journalism. Nevertheless, you will get paid if you can negotiate and adhere to the writing guidelines.

Your articles are checked by editors and may be passed back for a re-write if they do not think you have written the articles to the required standard.

There are many sites such as about.com, hubpages.com but the two main sites I have tried are :

Demand Media
Suite 101

Demand Media
Demand Media is a platform which powers (amongst other sites) the ehow.com articles which you may noticed at one time used to jump to the top your Google searches (not anymore, due to Panda/Penguin updates).

You get paid between $10-15 dollars for providing articles on various pre-set subjects, which are powered by the types of websearches people are making, i.e. “How to change the tire on a car”. You agree to take on the article and deliver it with x number of days.

To put this into some prespective, I wrote 2 articles = $30.00. However, the second article required 2 re-writes and 2 hours of my time, so it really depends.

Once the article is accepted, it becomes the property of Demand Media and they will make revenue on it. Your fee is a one off. You get paid at set times every month and if you can set enough time aside, you may make some reasonable supplementary cash.

Update – With last years (2012) Penguin/Panda Google updates, which caused alot of ehow and livestrong’s articles to drop out of googles first few pages, Demand Media let alot of their writers go. What this means that getting accepted at Demand Media is probably extremely difficult now – but not impossible.

Suite 101
Suite 101 is a website where writers write about whatever they want and the money is made via the readers clicking on the accompanying articles adverts. The more clicks, the more revenue is generated for the website. It is some of this revenue which the website passes onto the writer.

Suite 101 are able to push the articles high up in the Google page ranks. The revenue is then generated from the adverts placed on the article page and for every click on an advert, Suite 101 get paid and pass on some revenue to you. The more articles you write, the more revenue you may receive. After your article is published Suite 101 then edit it. This in itself can cause problems, as if you have not checked that the article is perfect before submitting it they may remove it and you from the site with no explanation.

Now for every article you write for Suite 101 and every viewing resulting in a click through on an advert, you will receive in the region of $0.03. To put this in prespective, I wrote 14 articles and after 3 months had accrued $3.00 (you need $10 to collect via paypal). Suite 101 do not tell you how much they make on the article anywhere on their website, but you can bet it is a damn sight more than 0.03 cents.

Another problem is every editor who checks your ‘already submitted to Google’ article, picks up on different things. There seems to be no consistency which only makes it more confusing.

The one area Suite 101 is good it that it gives good insight into SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) and how to use the various tools such as Google keywords, inbound links, meta tags to better effect to place your article as high as possible in Google.

Update -The Panda/Penguin update hit Suite 101 aswell, so much so that they have now reverted there business model to concentrate on a Wikipedia sharing model (why they bothered to copy Wiki’s model – is not known).

In conclusion

Don’t believe the hype of any of these websites. The only people making serious money here are the websites themselves. With few financial opportunites for most writers, writing for these websites is probably the difference between getting paid and not for most. However, expect little return unless serious time is to be put in. For every person claiming to be making the equivilant of a full time wage, there will be hundreds of other people who do not see enough benefit for the time given.

I would however, treat these websites as entry level opportunities to develop your writing skills before looking to start your own site or seek some sort of gainful writing employment in the real world.

Then you can write what you want, when you want and earn money through advert programmes such as Google Adsense.

What both of these sites offer is guidelines on what is required, in terms of style and presentation, but this is all top loosely adhered to by the editors themselves as the gatekeepers to whether you will succeed or not. After a time of battling them and their suggestions for article improvements, most people will just give up and any revenue acrued is lost to the company.

The pick of the two would have to be Demand Media, based purely on a flat fee per article. You could go months on Suite 101 without making a penny/cent.

Although times are tough for writers at the minute, they shouldn’t submit to these writing websites without the realisation that money is going to be made but little to the individual who wrote the article, but the majority to the company who publish it.

If you can accept that, then you might just be what they are looking for.