One of the ways to make money blogging is affiliate marketing, the basics of which are covered HERE. However, this is not the only way to monetize your blogging skills.
If building out a website isn’t where you want to start, I’ll make a couple of recommendations on other ways you can use your writing skills and knowledge to make money online.
Writing a Blog on Medium for Money
If you don’t wish to set up and build out a website (the affiliate marketing route), you can write up articles to post on Medium. You do this by joining Medium as a partner, setting up a Stripe account with them (if you don’t already have one), and start writing.
It’s simple and easy to get stated, and you don’t have to worry about paying for advertising or getting your site ranked in the search engines to get traffic. Medium has its own internal search engine which readers of this site will use to search for whatever topic they are interested in.
Like the affiliate marketing side of the equation, content and content niche is king. You’ll want to create great articles that are useful/helpful to the reader, which will hopefully build a following, assuming you target a niche that is of interest to others. While you can make money being a generalist, you’re less likely to build a dedicated following, which can do wonders for your viewership (and monetization).
To make decent money, you will need to write content that people spend time with (more time = more money, in the Medium payment algorithm). In order to maximize your article’s readership, you’ll want to get your articles curated.
Getting curated can be a challenge. Your article must first attract the attention of the Medium algorithm that is used to automatically “thin the herd” (so to speak) of the many articles submitted daily, down to a reasonable number that the editors can read through.
If you pass the ai’s qualification of a quality article, it will then flag the human reviewers to have a look. Only after they deem it worthy of recommending, will your article get curated (featured on a main page). That’s where the money-making magic happens – not that getting curated is necessary to make money (it’s not, but it helps).
To keep the money-making potential in perspective, those making the most money are getting multiple articles curated daily. That is a lot of work. Consider that less than 10% (actually, around 7.5% so far in 2020) of all writers on Medium hit the $100/month mark.
On the positive side of the earnings potential, the top authors over this same time frame have earned from $17,126.40 (March, 2020) to $23,488.16 (January, 2020). No indication in the report whether it is the same author.
Also, 64-67% of all writers on Medium have earned money. No indication of how much, beyond what I’ve previously mentioned, so that runs the entire span of one penny through the aforementioned $23K+. But at least a majority do see something.
If you like to write, and can write well, you can make money on Medium. I’m not trying to talk you out of it, if the idea appeals to you. I just want to tell you the whole story. As with affiliate marketing or anything else, how much you make comes down to your abilities, work ethic, and tenacity.
- You can make passive income.
- There is potential for a good income, if you are a good (and prolific) writer.
- No need to build out a website to monetize.
- Initial payout could be pretty soon, especially if your article gets curated.
- Income consistency is likely a large variable.
- Effort to income ratio seems pretty high.
My personal take: This is a good way to make some extra cash on the side, for those that like to write. However, if you are looking to build up a passive income stream to potentially replace your job, I think there are better ways to invest your time.
While creating a replacement income on Medium is possible, the sheer amount of work involved in making a living at it is pretty darned high. Putting this same level of effort into building out your own niche website, can potentially be a much better $$/effort scenario. It may take longer to see the first paycheck going the website route, but the potential is much higher, IMO, when you own your own online business and build it properly.
Further, the livelihood you build up from all your hard work cannot be impacted at the whim of a company policy (note that Medium recently “changed the rules” on how they pay out, which did impact many). As an affiliate marketer, you can be impacted by rule changes within affiliate programs (see my Amazon Affiliate Update, as one example), but you are not limited to just ONE affiliate program.
Conclusion: Medium is legit. I’d rate this one as “worth a try” to those who love to write, and would like to make a bit of cash on the side.
[If you are interested in affiliate marketing, and are looking for a good platform to try it out for free, please check out my Wealthy Affiliate Review.]
Writing a Top 10 List For Money
If you have a talent for creating unique and interesting top 10 lists, Listverse may be for you. Even if you don’t get paid (you can be published without getting paid), your writing would gain a lot of exposure. Let me explain, using verbiage I pulled directly off their submission page (best way to ensure accuracy):
“Listverse does not pay for submissions. If you submit a list, you are freely donating it to the site for publication if we select it. However, if you send in excellent content that the readers love, you may be selected to join our team of paid Listverse writers.
Before submitting your list make sure it is proof-read and edited. Lists that lack novelty are less likely to be accepted and all lists must conform to the highest standards of the English language. Lists that don’t comply with our terms and conditions and our author’s guide will be rejected without consideration.”
Also, they only accept submissions from the following countries: US, UK, NZ, Ireland, Canada, Australia, and South Africa, so its not available to everyone.
In order to make money with Listverse, you’ll need a PayPal account, as this is how they will pay you, assuming they select you to write for them. Just be sure your submission is interesting, and at least 1500 words. You can submit an article HERE.
- High pay-out per article (I can’t confirm this, but in my research I came across information that claims $100/article).
- Lots of exposure if you get published, even if you aren’t selected as a writer for Listverse, which is good for your writing resume’.
- Likely a high difficulty level in being selected as a paid writer, thus most would be doing this just for the fun of it, or for the writing exposure.
- One and done. I’m open for correction on this one, but I don’t believe there is any passive income potential with Listverse. It’s pay per article.
Conclusion: Listverse is legit, though getting paid for your submission would be a challenge. It’s definitely worth a shot if you have a knack for writing “top 10” lists. Try it and see what happens. Just understand that you are likely donating your material to Listverse for free, and it’s no longer yours once submitted.
Submit an Article to The Penny Hoarder
Do you have a unique and fun idea how to save or earn money? You can try pitching your idea to The Penny Hoarder. Payment is negotiated (rather than per article or per word, as with other models), assuming they accept your article.
Odds of getting published really depend on how well you write, and the quality of the idea (and whether someone beat you to it). If you get published, and have a website you’d like to reference in the article, you can negotiate that, as well.
Types of articles they are looking for (as of the date of this post, check the link provided, above, to see if it has changed):
- Success stories and unique job ideas.
- Eating/travel/life on a budget.
- Step by step smart money guides.
If you have a knack for this sort of writing, you can make money with The Penny Hoarder.
- The Penny Hoarder is a well-established site, with a large community.
- If you get published, you will get a lot of exposure.
- If you have a website, your published article can be used to drive additional traffic to it (traffic is the currency of any online business.
- You’ll have to be a pretty decent writer, with a unique idea, in order to make money. Easier said than done.
- Pay per article (getting paid is good, but residual income is king).
Conclusion: The Penny Hoarder is a legit, well-established site. If you feel you can contribute something unique and fun, there are benefits to getting published, beyond the payment for the article. And for those who have a business website, getting published can assist in driving traffic to your site, assuming you negotiate the inclusion of your link.
For The Really Prolific Writers Out There…
If you are a true writer at heart, and love to tell stories – or even have a great “do it yourself” idea you’d like to publish in the hopes of making money, why not try publishing it with the largest online book seller on the Internet? As you can see, there’s quite a bit of interest and information about doing just that.
While this is not exactly an idea that completely matches the topic of writing a blog for money, it’s still a way you can monetize your writing skills online (just not in blog form).
For those who want to create a passive income from their writing, and are willing to invest a good deal of time in creating something special, why not write a book and publish it via Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing?
Your choices of what to write about are only limited by your imagination and knowledge. If you can write a novel, non-fiction book, or even a ‘how to’ booklet, you can publish it on Amazon.
Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) is the publishing direction of the future. And Amazon doesn’t limit you to digital product, either, which is great, because many people still prefer a physical book.
It is easy to publish a digital book with KDP. Publishing a digital product allows for higher profit margins, while selling at a lower price than the paper counterpart.
- Get a proof-reader. This may seem obvious, but many will try to do it all themselves – with varying degrees of success and professionalism. If you are going to sell an e book or novel on Amazon, treat it as the business it is, and be professional… do what the professionals do, as much as possible. There are plenty of free-lance professionals that will do this, without breaking the bank.
- At the very least, get a second opinion/feedback BEFORE uploading (more is better). We all have different filters, and perceive things a bit differently. It helps to get a second set of eyes to spot anything potentially problematic (or perhaps difficult to understand for those not as knowledgeable as you on the topic).
- Make sure you understand all the submission criteria before you start writing.
- Carefully target the title of your book. Don’t create more competition for yourself by naming it like other books in your niche that are selling well. The title is what will grab a potential buyer’s attention.
- You’ll discover that using low competition keywords in your title can help your book get noticed on Amazon. A keyword tool designed for selling on Amazon can be helpful. I go over a couple of them in this article. If you’re going to make this a side hustle (or a way of life), make the best of it. A book that doesn’t come up in Amazon searches will not sell, nor will a book that comes up 10 pages down in a crowded niche.
- Carefully research how to create a proper listing for your book. Spend some quality time on this, as it is critical to go from click to purchase. People READ the descriptions – sometime very carefully. Attention to detail is rewarded.
Of course, you need a KDP account to get started. If you already have an Amazon account, you can log into KDP using the same credentials. If you don’t have one, it takes little effort to sign up.
- Easy to publish your book.
- Good potential for passive income.
- Amazon can print a paper copy of your e book, if you wish. There is a cost associated, but it takes all the printing headaches off your hands if you wish to sell paper & digital product.
- LOTS of traffic on Amazon to tap into.
- Your book is copyrighted immediately upon upload, and all rights to it are yours.
- You don’t have to write a novel to make money. A small ‘how to’ (or the like) eBook can be profitable, if appropriately targeted and well-written.
- If you can get a solid number of good reviews of your book, is like printing money (well, not quite, but it is the gold standard on Amazon).
- Let’s face it, writing a good book isn’t easy. If it was, everyone would be doing it.
- Lots of competition in most niches. You’ll need to be creative.
- Bad reviews can kill the profitability of your book.
- A lot of work is involved, and even a quality book can fail (low or no sales). A good product does not guarantee success, though it certainly is the starting point.
- Amazon gets a cut (you knew there had to be a gotcha somewhere 😉 ). Of course, its worth it, as the platform provides the potential you would not otherwise have of publishing and selling your book. You keep up to 70%.
Conclusion: Of course its legit. It’s Amazon. For the truly gifted writers among us (or even good writers), this is a great way to publish your work. KDP provides a huge audience of potential buyers, handles everything for you after you upload and list it, and its a great way for a writer to simply and quickly (quickly, as in after you write the book) create a passive income. They are currently offering free tools to help you get started.
These are just a few of the ways you can make money with your writing, but it’s far from a complete list.
If you do a bit of research, you’ll find plenty of ways to freelance your writing skills – for blogs or freelance.
To become a freelance writer for many publications, you’ll need references. In the digital era, a body of online work you can give them can make or break you. Every option, above, can potentially be used as a part of your resume.
If this topic is of interest to you, let me know in the comments. I’d be happy to expand on this list. There are many more options available.