I'm an experienced online content creator with several streams of passive income from my writing. I'm here to share my secrets.
Don't Make the Same Mistakes I Did
This article is the result of years of my efforts to make money by writing articles online. All of the mistakes I have made in the last 10 years are here for your benefit – I screwed up, so you don't have to. I wish someone had told me the things that I am about to tell you.
Here are the mistakes I made as an online writer:
1. I Didn't Check the Competition
You're walking along, and suddenly an idea pops into your head–a great idea for an article or a blog post, something that you want to get home and start writing right away. This is awesome! It's why we became writers in the first place. The thrill of finding the right topic at the right time, and pouring your heart into it. When you write articles for money, however, this kind of exuberance can be your worst enemy.
The crime? Failing to simply Google your topic to make sure there aren't already a million articles about it.
Of all the mistakes that online writers make, this one is perhaps the most damaging, and I speak from experience. Many times I have come up with what seems like the perfect topic, one I can write about with authority and engagement, and it's only AFTER I have written 1,000 words that I think to check the competition. And yep, there it is–my exact same idea, written form the same point of view and with the same authority, in countless iterations on countless websites that will always performm better than my late-comer article.
The heartbreaking thing about this online writers' mistake is that it comes from an overabundance of eagerness and motivation. Be eager; be motivated; but for pete's sake, check to see if a million other people didn't have your bright idea before you did!
Many times I have come up with what seems like the perfect topic, one I can write about with authority and engagement, and it's only AFTER I have written 1,000 words that I think to check the competition.
2. I Didn't Ask for Advice
I'm the kind of writer who likes to do everything myself, right down to the proofreading. But if you intend to actually make money by writing online, then you will find that it really helps to have another set of eyes on your work. Even when you take your time and proofread very carefully, it's almost inevitable that there will be errors in your work.
But spelling and other minor goofs are one thing–the most important part of writing is the need to communicate very clearly. You may believe that you are being perfectly clear, but you are the last person who should be making that call! Another reader may be completely confused by an article that you think is crystal clear.
Submitting your article to the forums on HubPages is a quick, free, and easy way to get feedback from other writers. But be ready: the HubPages community is not known for pulling punches!
3. I Got Stuck, and I Stayed Stuck
This problem is the opposite of number one: instead of getting all excited about writing a new article, you got paralyzed by indecision. This happens to me all the time, and I often have to remind myself that starting something–anything–is always better than second-guessing myself into oblivion.
The article you start writing may not make money for you; it may not ever even see the light of day. But the article you never write is guaranteed to earn no money. When in doubt, stop doubting and start writing! As long as your topic suits you and isn't already saturated with millions of other articles, you're always better off writing.
4. I Didn't Use Good Sources
One of the most common mistakes that writers make on HubPages is not using quality sources to support their writing. Especially when it comes to health and well-being topics, you must back up everything you claim with serious, proven sources.
Too often writers spend time writing about a subject they care very much about that has little to know support from science or medical studies. Alternative medicine of any kind is a very risky subject on HubPages (and everywhere else), and if you choose to write about this topic you will also need to reference actual studies that support what you're saying.
Worst case scenario: you write a piece about an untested, alternative, traditional, or otherwise non-medical cure for a serious ailment. Someone follows your advice instead taking medicine prescribed by a doctor, and they die. Food for thought.
5. I Didn't Think About My Readers
This last mistake is very common among writers of all kinds. You can write a beautifully arranged and composed article full of advice and information, but if it's information that nobody is looking for, your perfect article is perfectly worthless. Your readers need you to write content that is useful to them, that helps them – if you're not giving them what they need, you're not doing your job!
Take a Quick Poll
I am a seasoned online content writer with over 15 years in the business. I make decent money from this side-hustle: last year I made about $20,000 from my combined libraries of online articles, and all of that income was passive (I made money 24 hours a day, whether I was writing or not). It's a sweet source of income that I use for travel and other luxuries.
When I first started writing online, it was really more for my own entertainment than anything else. I chose topics at random, ignored SEO, and thought I could do everything myself. As a result I made more or less every mistake a rookie online writer can make. But I learned from my mistakes, and I got better.
These articles are my way of sharing what I've learned with other online content creators. They are free for you to read and act on, if you choose. If there's anything I have left out or got wrong, feel free to comment down below. Good luck to you, and I hope you see your income streams become rushing rapids!
The following sources were used for this guide:
Miebakagh Fiberesima from Port Harcourt, Rivers State, NIGERIA. on May 29, 2020:
Richard, I can agreed with you that all writers at the beginning make some or all these mistakes. Thanks for educating us on the challenge.
PT Richard (author) from USA on May 13, 2020:
Good to hear -- I love keyword tools. They're very useful.
Farrah Young from Lagos, Nigeria on May 13, 2020:
Good points. I have made a few of these mistakes, especially in the first few months I started writing on here.
Now, I make sure to check an idea competition using one or more keyword tools and since starting this I have seen some major improvements in my traffic.