I’m going to start with a caveat… and that’s that content mills are really great for beginners. Right now, I’m a little bit of a beginner again. I’m not working TOO HARD to secure private clients because I’m trying to focus on my fiction writing. That said- my fiction royalties aren’t enough to live on yet so I’m spending 25-50% of my time focusing on generating fast income. These sites are web content agencies that all operate essentially the same:
- Client signs up to receive articles or blog posts for their web site
- Writer chooses assignments
- Writer writes
- Client pays
- Writer gets paid
The details and reward structure for each of these sites vary slightly. The user interface also varies, so even if you sign up for all of them at once, I recommend you take time poking around to learn where everything is. Each site has their own version of a tutorial to teach you how to use the site, so plan to spend time working through the instructions. You won’t regret it.
First, I’m not recommending any site that I haven’t used frequently for the past 3 months. Period. If it’s on this list, you can be sure that it’s part of my daily routine and I’m happy to vouch for their legitimacy.
Second, some of them offer rewards for recruiting, so I’d be a fool if I didn’t use the link they gave me to keep track of that.
Third, If writing web content is your dream career, you’re better off securing private clients. I plan to write some advice for securing private contracts since that was my job for so long. When and if I do that, I’ll put a link here but in the meantime, since it’s a steadier gig and ultimately results in a better portfolio and higher earnings.
Fourth, The income potential here is all related to your speed. You need to think fast and type fast. Some writers take an hour to write a500 word piece while others can knock them out in 20 minutes. My strategy is to either A- write only about topics I can spew forth with little research or B- research only things that I can write about frequently, to build my knowledge base til I get to the point where I can spew it out. Spewing. Sorry, I realize that word may sound gross.
Top Content Mills For Writers 2016 – 2017
Blogmutt is a Colorado based company that pays writers anywhere from $8-$72 per blog post. They have thousands of clients and once you’re accepted as a writer you start at the lowest level ($8 for 250 words). As you submit and as posts are published, you earn points that can elevate you to higher levels. At higher levels, writers are allowed to choose higher word-count assignments and receive higher levels of pay. At level 7, writers can choose the 1200 word assignments and receive $72 per article.
The Interface at Blogmutt is very easy to use. They have instructions on their Help page. Read them all the way through. The staff is very responsive to feedback from writers, simply send them an email or tag then in your forum question. About those forums… I don’t understand recreational writing on a writer’s forum, so I don’t spend much time there. I get it that some people enjoy a sense of community but I don’t understand why every time I log in there are hundreds of new chatty conversations happening in the forum. Aren’t you here to work? They seem like a perfectly nice group of people and I love that they have a sense of community but I’m there to work and I rarely stop into the forums. Mama ain’t got time for that. If you do, and the community is attractive, you’ll enjoy Blogmutt. They all seem to be supportive of one another and generally kind people.
Self-policing… not a topic you’d expect to see in this section, but I feel it’s important for protecting the brand and the integrity of the agency you’re writing for. One advantage Blogmutt writers have is to review the history of a client’s acceptances and rejections. The writer’s name isn’t shown, but their work is. So, in preparation for writing for a new client, you can get a feel for what sort of voice they like to see and what they’re rejecting. The staff at Blogmutt monitors this a bit, but sometimes I’ll come across a rejection (or- gasp- an accepted post) that’s actually an embarrassment to the company. As a writer, you can “flag” your colleagues work to let staff know that something is very wrong here. Whether it’s terrible grammar or spelling, mumbo jumbo or other “funny business” it’s helpful to flag awful articles so the staff can pay more attention to the work of whoever submitted it.
Blogmutt pays every Monday via Paypal for all articles accepted prior to invoicing. However, you won’t get anything if you don’t turn in an invoice. Some writers let their money pile up before invoicing. Others create an invoice each time they’re published. I’m in the latter group, I have kids to feed. Once you create an invoice, everything that’s accepted between the creation of the invoice and the Monday pay transfer is added to the invoice. Creating an invoice is easy, you just click one button and your pay is scheduled for the following Monday.
Last thing to say about blogmutt, clients can choose specific writers for special assignments and add them to their list of favorites. I haven’t explored that very much but they do have access to your profile page, so be sure you set that up. Here’s mine for reference:
iWriter is a site I didn’t use in my previous write-for-income life, so I’ve only been registered there for a few weeks. Their interface is a bit crowded for my taste and the internal messaging system is a bit tricky to navigate. The only thing I don’t like about this site is that every writer starts off at one star. For me, that means that when I take an assignment on iWriter I am being paid as little as .004 per word. That’s right, less than half penny a word. It’s fine for topics where I can spew (there’s that word again) 150 words in 2 minutes and make $1, that’s $60 an hour which is fine. But if a 500 word post takes 5 minutes to write, it’s only $29 per hour and that’s really not fine.
I visit iWriter a few times a day and grab teeny little assignments in an effort to increase my star rating and be eligible for higher paying jobs. Currently, at the highest level there are 17 cents/word assignments. It’s still pretty low but the site always has open assignments.
iWriter pays a minimum of $20 at a time and writers can choose to be paid every Tuesday, every other Wednesday or monthly on the 5th or 25th. Pay can be issued via Paypal or they can mail a check. I believe the minimum for a mailed check is $100.
I’ll admit, I haven’t written a single thing for Clearvoice.com yet. I did, however, set up my writer’s profile and I have to say that I’m really impressed with the profile page they put together for me. I also like that writers can choose exactly how much they want to be paid per word.
I signed up when Carol Tice posted about receiving $400 for a blog post. I’ve been reading Carol’s blog for years and she’s always been against content mills because of the low pay and the anonymity of the writers. I generally disagree with her “no content mills” stance because honestly, not everyone working as a writer from home has the skills or time to invest in building up a private clientele. But when she posted about her experience here, I listened. She’s got a healthy level of skepticism and values her time and energy as a writer.
Setting up my profile was easy, I simply linked to my previous work and they generated this beautiful page. I can rearrange the tiles if I choose and social media stats are also included (but not shown here. If you click on it you’ll see). I have several more I could add to this, it’s on my list of things to do. In addition to choosing your acceptable rate-of-pay, you can choose whether or not to have a byline and what topics you’d like to be considered for. Rather than explain a system I’m not familiar with, I will direct you to the “How to get more gigs” section of their FAQ. I hope you find it helpful.
I visit this site daily and pull 3-4 assignments a week. I have to say it’s the most complicated interface I’ve ever seen. When I first started writing here, I got several very annoyed notes from an editor because I’d pulled an assignment and hadn’t written it. However, navigating the back-end of their site is such a nightmare. They’ve got stars and tests and badges and awards and certifications and all sorts of different levels of writing and none of it makes any sense to me. If you can make sense of it, you can probably have access to a ton of different assignments I’m not finding. For example, in poking around their complicatedness to try and explain this site, I’m seeing that “There are 29 asset types for which you do not meet the minimum order requirements. You will need to complete more orders to qualify for additional elite badges.” What does that even mean? They also have a “love list,” a “garage” and “casting calls” I really don’t know why they make it so complicated. My way of working on this site is definitely not optimizing it. If I ever have time to learn their language, I might be able to make more money there but really I think they just need to tone it down, it’s ridiculous. To make matters worse, I’ve clicked on the FAQ a few times this week trying to understand how to optimize it and the page comes up blank. So that isn’t helping.
If you want to do it “my way” sign up and click on “Dashboard” (why it doesn’t automatically take you there is anyone’s guess). Under the “manage orders” section click on the number associated with “available content orders” and choose an assignment, then start writing. Because I’m the low man on the totem pole there, I often see zero available assignments. Surely if I were to take their tests (if I could find them) I’d make more. I’m not bothered by it, Blogmutt always has plenty to choose from and they’re easier to find so I usually only go to WriterAccess when they send me an email. Somehow I got on a client’s “love list” and I might be writing exclusively for them at this point. I don’t even know. The rates vary and my only advice is that when they give you a minimum and maximum word count, always beef it up til you hit the max, otherwise you’re leaving pennies on the table.
If you want to do it “the right way” check out their tutorials and plan to spend some time reaching for their higher levels. Although it’s such an ego boost to see so many clients saying that I’ve exceeded their expectations. For whatever it’s worth… I think I’m the only one who can see that (except I took a screen shot of it to share with you ———->>>>
More Writing Sites for 2016
Sites I’ve already written about:
- Constant Content
- Demand Media (formerly Demand Studios- if you click on this, enjoy the drama. I actually haven’t written there in years, they changed their protocol and I can’t figure out how to be approved for any category but I’m still getting paid from stuff I wrote ages ago, so I’m not complaining)
Sites I’ve Signed up For But Haven’t Written About
Sites I Haven’t Signed up For
I’d love to hear your experiences with any of the sites I haven’t signed up for. Which ones are worth it? Which ones are a headache? Which ones need more writers? How do they pay? Tell me all about it, please 🙂