WORDS PAY: Earn money writing from home

By Laura Sands

Like most of you reading this, I'm always on the lookout for the perfect job or business, which pays well but allows me to work at home according to my own schedule. Recently, I've discovered opportunities as a freelance writer that just may be the best fit for me.

With the advent of MySpace, Yahoo360 and even popular networks like CNN and LinkTV, the term 'blog' has quickly integrated into the American vocabulary. For those of you still not familiar with the word, it is the shortened version of the term 'web log', which is easily defined as an online journal. Blogs on every subject imaginable abound on the internet and afford their authors a forum from which to share their opinions, information and even advertise products and services, often for free.

While I'm familiar with the term, I was less familiar with the fact that people are actually making money producing blogs. Companies like Google's AdSense and Blogitive lead the way in popular websites willing to act as a sort of middle man to bring revenue producing ads to your website or blog. And, unlike so many other work-at-home businesses, it's absolutely free to sign up for both a blog and for the companies that help you to advertise on them. There are even companies who will pay you to author, moderate and edit their blogs present on their company's website.

I'm finding that opportunities like these abound on the net for those willing to seriously delve into the research it takes to find them.

But before you scurry to the net and begin blogging your heart out, there are a few things that you need to know. First, the biggest key to anyone's paid-blogging success is their ability to draw an audience in and, hopefully, have that audience click on strategically placed ads during their visit. We've all seen these buttons and sidebars present on our favorite websites. Most of the time they feature products and services relevant to the site's content, but even then, how many times do we actually take the time to click on one of these? If you're like me, you seldom do and this is one major drawback to consider when entertaining the idea of blogging for cash.

While you can easily get ads placed on your site, there's no pay involved unless you get people to actually click on your ads. Most of the agreements necessary for you to get the ads in the first place also prohibit you from clicking on your own links or even leaving a note on your blog encouraging others to do so. You've got to, more or less, work to draw a crowd and then sit back and hope that your audience is interested in viewing ads before they leave.

Despite this minor drawback, however, some actually report making a decent income from ad sponsored blogging. As you can imagine, most of these individuals do this full time and, yes, they publish several blogs at a time on a variety of different topics instead of depending on the revenue of just one.

This leads me to advise you to think seriously about your blogging topics before you even sign up for a new blog. Take the time to formulate in your mind a theme and stick to it as closely as possible in your regular entries. Ask yourself if you really think that people are interested in reading about your hobby of making tiny toy birds out of tin foil. And how many tiny tin toy bird makers are going to actually tune in every day for tips and tricks of the trade? While blogging on this topic may seem fun and interesting to you and maybe four other people on the planet, is it profitable for you to locate these four other people, convince them to log into your blog, hope they click on your ads and hope they check back for your regular updates on the topic?

On the other hand, how would a blog on a social issue, parenting, your favorite soap opera or even a reality show do? My point is that there is a fair amount of strategizing and work that goes into blogging for a profit.

The fun in making money writing online doesn't end with blogging, however. There are also sites that will pay for your articles or pay you to write articles on topics offered to you. These sites are known as content sites and one example is Associated Content, where your text, photographic, video or audio content can be published for free exposure of your work or for a negotiable fee.

While you certainly won't get rich working with a content site, it is a good place to showcase your talent, store writing samples in which you can direct future clients to or even make a few bucks writing reviews or articles on such things as back to school shopping or popular pet grooming tips. Most importantly, though, is that opportunities like these offer a new writer a place to fine tune their skills and get valuable feedback from other writers on the content they publish.

As I'm discovering a world of options and opportunities in writing which didn't exist even ten years ago, I'm also discovering the value in doing what it is that you love to do. My advice to anyone who wants to work from home is to find a company or idea which encompasses your true passion. I started off asking myself three crucial questions, which I believe crucial. What talent or skill comes naturally to you? What kind of work would you do if you didn't have to worry about making a living? And what are you passionate about? In answering these three questions for yourself, you'll find the best fit for you. All the research that you need to do it is right at your fingertips and, who knows? You may even parlay that into the coolest work-at-home business ever!
For more information on work at home writing opportunities, visit:

Laura Sands, a freelance writer living in Southern California, is founder and President of Lamasa Publishing, LLC, a self-publishing firm. Her blog, sharing writing resources and chronicling her journey in the world of freelance can be found at http://babyblogger1.blogspot.com/. She can be reached at MoneyMakinMama@gmail.com for further comment or information.


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