Many online writers like myself started out writing on article sites such as Squidoo and Hubpages. These sites, which are now being referred to as sharecropper sites, are slowly being phased out to some extent as the Internet changes what is acceptable to write, and Google continues to expand the technology that seeks out and destroys spammers.
While there will always be some spam and junk online, Google is trying to limit what rises to the top of the search engine which is where most activity takes place. Therefore, sites like Squidoo are adapting to the new reality by asking for a more personal, storytelling type of writing which in the end will not pay writers as much as straight curated sales pages will.
What that means for those of us who make a living writing online is that we need to rethink our strategy. While we can continue to work on sites like Squidoo and share our earnings with the site owners, they are other ways to earn via writing.
If affiliate marketing is the main way we want to earn money, then we can set up our own sites, and make a higher percentage from each article we write. This is a long-term strategy as any new business takes time to build. I began working with this strategy two years ago, and have found even with a small amount of effort, I can earn income this way.
Another way to earn money right now is to write for content mills like CloudCrowd, iWriter, and Write.com. This is a path that I was introduced to last fall, and I have slowly been learning the ropes of writing for other people. It means that you may be writing articles that you don’t love or about topics that are not interesting to you personally, but it is a way to earn necessary income now. Many of these sites require tests, resumes, and approval before you are accepted.
Lastly, you can build your own clientele list by becoming a true freelance writer through sites like Elance and oDesk. These are sites that give you a chance to bid on jobs related to your experience and knowledge base. Once you hook up with a client, you deal with them directly and get paid directly by that client. Once a freelancer becomes experienced, they can often get hired through their own website bypassing any referral fees to the third-party site.
I used to advise people not to put all of their eggs in one basket meaning one of the sharecropper sites. That strategy is not really enough anymore if you want to earn a living wage. Earnings from these sites are no longer reliable, and though they will continue the money will not be enough to live on. It is time to move on to bigger and better things, and try some new writing sites to fill in the gaps of your income. This can be a safety net for now, and become a true source of income later as search based income continues to change.
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