Freelance Writers and the Web
Itís really just another way to publish
Back in the beginning, say the late 90ís or so, the ubiquitous they promised the internet would change everything. And for awhile, it did, sort of. For the freelance writer and editor, it was fairly easy to pick up web writing gigs; we often wrote for free, or close to it, because we were promised and expected big pay as a result of advertising to come and so forth. Most of those promises went bust when the dot com bubble burst.
One thing hasnít changed, however, and thatís the fact that the web is simply another publishing medium. It was, is, and looks like it always will be another way to get your words in front of the public.
Multiple Kinds of Opportunities
The web has opened up an amazing variety of ways to be published. There are sites that will pay you for your work; there are sites that will share some ad revenue with you.
You can (and should) build your own site to market yourself and/or your work. Drive enough traffic and you may be able to earn income from the site itself.
There are sites that will let you post your work for free or a small fee in hopes some paying editor will find you. On the whole, most of us have had little success with these - but they can provide you with some linked samples until you find 'real' markets.
You can create and sell your own ebooks; you can hook up with bigger sites that will sell your ebooks for you.
But itís all publishing, one way or another. Your goal, in every instance, is to find an audience.
Finding Paying Gigs
Getting paid to write for a web site is much the same as getting paid to write for print. You need to identify your area of expertise or specialization then search out sites that reach that audience. Then you need to find out if they pay and how much. Although some sites have this sort of information posted (check under the links that talk about the site itself if there isnít an obvious link) most times youíll have to query.
There are also sites that post paying opportunities. I post jobs twice-weekly and if you sign up for the newsletter you'll get notification automatically.
Then there are sites that charge you to place a bid. Most professionals have discovered the bidding process results in devaluation and skip these, but it works for some. All these avenues post some web writing jobs, but most are found through queries and applications.
Evaluating Free Options
Iíve not had much luck with the free options. I think the reason is fairly obvious. Most editors who actually pay writers have a steady stream of queries. The same is true for agents. On the other hand, having some of your work posted can do no harm, and it does give you a link to use in your resume.
Frankly, I think a better option is your own site, with your own domain name. Sure, itís a bit of an expense, and getting your first site up and running is a struggle, but itís not longer truly difficult. With your own site you control the content and you have a single place to post clips and samples. You can see mine at http://www.annewayman.com
Make writing for the web one more tool and one more market as you build your writing career.