The best freelance writers earn $5,000 to $15,000 a month or their hard work.
Many earn in the $2,500 to $5,000 per month range without struggling too much.
However, these earnings are only possible if you know where to get the right clients.
Since we have some expert freelance writers that contribute to Elite Personal Finance, we’re going to take a more personal approach towards evaluating the top 10 best paying writing sites. The information you are getting comes from real experiences so you’ll actually have an idea on what it’s like to work at these writing sites.
The Best Paid Writing Sites Online
If you are going to start writing online for money, then these are the sites you’ll want to check out to kick-start your journey. But remember, you do not want to stick to writing job sites forever. You should also work on learning how to get corporate clients directly so you can bank more and not have to chase work all the time.
Without further ado, here’s our pick for the top 10 paid writing sites on the Web!
Becoming a freelancer could not be any easier in today’s digital age. The Upwork platform makes for everyone to capitalize on the opportunity to work online. This site is larger than ever, thanks to the merger that occurred between oDesk and eLance a few years ago. The byproduct was Upwork, a company with $1 billion of freelancer revenues in 2014, and a company that expects $6 billion in freelancer revenues by 2020.
What Makes Upwork Great for Writers?
Hands down, it is the most useful site for clients and freelancers. There are over 13 million members in total, which means pairing top-level services and corporate clients is easy. Therefore, you have room for growth if you can build your feedback — and it’s not some exclusive writing job board, when you take writing jobs here you earn them through your proposal.
Honestly, you can pull assignments that pay as much as five cents per word by conveying yourself well in your job proposal message. This is the initial reach-out to the client after reading their job posting, and it’s also where you attach your bid for the project.
If you have an online authorship footprint, you can expand your earnings dramatically by using it to your advantage. For example, if you have publishing access on Huffington Post you could easily make $200 or so just for submitting a guest post. Add the cost of your writing and you’ll manage to make $300 to $400 off every post you write. These bad boys only take an hour or two to make, which means there’s huge profit potential here!
Then start dressing your Upwork profile with your guest post experience. Take it a step further and reach out to mid-sized SEO companies to see if they are interested in partnering with you. The backlink that websites can earn through your guest posting access is worth its weight in gold. It can boost the site’s search engine rankings within a week; you would be surprised how many $200+ posts you can write for clients online.
What We Don’t Like About Upwork
This site has saved many of us freelance writers when our private clients went amiss. We have never really been let down by Upwork. It’s a marketplace controlled by support vs. demand, and they have the market cornered so the majority of respectable jobs flow this way.
If you’re going to deal with your clients privately, Upwork is the place to do it. Still, you are going to want to know about a few weak areas you might not enjoy …
- As of June 2016, Upwork’s fee structure has changed. The first $500 transacted with a client is charged a 20% fee. Between $500 and $9,999 means a 10% fee. If you manage over $10,000 with the same client, then you go down to paying a 5% fee. So at the cost of $50 per client to start, you can potentially save thousands down the road if you lock someone on a full-time basis.
- Getting a full-time contract on Upwork shouldn’t be your end goal. Even after $10,000 of payments, losing 5% to the site isn’t fair after so long. You should want to attract name recognition and land private clients outside of the Upwork network; if you can work directly with a client, payment processors like Stripe make it possible to invoice, get credit card payments and receive cash in your bank. Don’t limit yourself, especially if it limits your income too!
- You will find yourself writing a fair number of job proposals in the first few months. The fact is that clients tend to choose the more experienced users right away. But after you take on a few lower-paying assignments and your Job Success Score increases, you’ll have more luck.
- About that Job Success Score … it’s easy to have a perfect score if you have one happy client you always deal with, but if you take on 50 assignments a month and even 1 or 2 end up unhappy, you’ll watch that score go down pretty fast!
- There’s no lack of transparency in client-freelancer relations on here. You can make it so your profile only shows your first name and the first initial of your last name. However, as soon as you reach out to a client your full name will show. This is also what shows up when they get invoiced from Upwork; on the flip side, if you need ‘proof of income’ they even put your address so it work for you.
All things said, you want access to the pool of ready-to-pay clients that Upwork possesses. As such, you will have to build up your freelancer profile on Upwork so you can stand a chance to land good jobs as they come. Then keep an eye on the latest job postings (and consider setting up job alerts) to find high-paying projects as they get posted.
If you have no paying work elsewhere, you can also find writing tasks pretty quickly on here. If you need the money immediately, however, their 6 day clearing process might leave you disappointed.
Alright, you have immediate access to corporate clients that pay up to 10 cents per word but the catch is you need to get approved as a Scripted writer first.
Why Scripted is the Best Pure Writing Site
This is a super hot site!
They get contracts from big name corporations like eBay, Sportchek, and Wal-Mart on a regular basis. If you want to build up your writing resume — this place will give you experience like no other. And at times there will be enough work to keep you busy and earning $5,000 or more in a single month. But it’s not all lollipops and rainbows — they run through dry patches where their 80,000+ writers have nothing to do sometimes.
However, even this one point of weakness is taking a turn for the better. The website has been redesigned in the past year and established as a place for corporate clients to find corporate quality writers. Clients can now message writers when assignments first start, writers can custom set their rates and take privately requested assignments, and clients can search the database for writers better now.
Furthermore, under the new platform there is a Topic Marketplace feature. This is a place for clients to browse available post pitches, and if they like any they can order the post and have it written by the pitch creator. You can submit a bunch of pitches and sit back and wait for high-paying work to flow your way; you are even able to set the rate to whatever you want it to be for the post you’re pitching!
If you’re a networker, take advantage of their $50 referral bonus. You’ll get this much in a one-off payment for each client and/or freelancer that transacts $1,000 after joining the site through you. It’s a great way to build your earnings up even more.
If you become a top-rated service provider, the site will even insure your service. This means, if a client is unhappy, they will cover the refund cost without taking it out of your account. This is one of the few ways Upwork shows they truly care about their clients (and freelancers).
The Downfalls of Being a Scripted Writer
If you make yourself a regular on this site, there are a number of weak points you’ll notice pretty quickly. They are as follows:
- A lot of the time there are no jobs available.
- You need to become a Specialist (not hard) to get access to many of the jobs
- The editors are a mixed bag. They get paid for each piece they edit, and while there are usually some issues pointed out you rarely get much communication from them. If you want to know if your skills are improving, it’s best to ask your account manager
On the flip side, even if your ‘feedback’ rating goes down you will still have access to the same jobs that everyone else sees. You are still also able to submit post ideas through the topic marketplace. If you want to build your feedback up, start out by suggesting posts you’d be interesting in writing as these are likely to get reviewed better.
Furthermore, in May 2016 they rolled out an affiliate program. You can earn $100 for every client you attract to their site. All they have to do is sign up for a free trial offer, which can be canceled at no cost at any time. So this is a pretty easy bonus to rake in.
Zerys is a writing site that many freelancers have not heard of before. Yet they still have many clients that go to them regularly for their content needs. And there are even some Zerys writers making $1,000’s a month on here.
Why Aren’t More Writers on Zerys?
The truth is many freelance writers have tried their luck at Zerys and they weren’t happy. It seems you need to be logged in and checking the job board for a few hours or days before you see any assignments. Then you need to get excellent feedback right away, because your rating dictates which jobs show for you.
There are really many more jobs than you see. They let you look at who claimed what, and if you check yourself you will notice every few seconds or so there’s a new job taken. These are on public writing boards that new writers don’t have access to; sometimes there are privately requested assignments sent out by clients as well.
You will find some incredible earning opportunities if you establish yourself with a quality reputation on Zerys. They let you set your own rate, and many top-level clients start out at paying at least 7 cents a word so there’s definitely room for growth. Further, you can potentially gain editing assignments that pay very well if your writing feedback holds strong for a while.
So yes, Zerys is definitely a hidden gem. You’re going to want to try and build an active profile on here. After you do, they will send you emails about the latest jobs posted and their pay range — in whatever frequency you wish to set. You could grab anywhere from $100’s to $1,000’s in work every month on here, and the average assignment pay rate is 2 to 4 cents per word. So it’s a decent paid writing site to fall back on if you have no luck elsewhere.
Do you have posts you authored on the Web in your name? Are any of them for high-level sites? If so, you can build up a credible profile on Ebyline very fast. This will get you access to many jobs that pay as much as $500 per post from big name clients like eBay and The Miami Herald. You often get to claim your byline after the fact, which means you can throw large corporations onto your writing resume.
How to Make the Most Writing at Ebyline
For most Ebyline writers, the bread and butter assignments pay around 5 to 6 cents per word. These are usually basic writing assignments, like creating this example Top 5 eBay post. It’s super simple and you can make a good $4,000 a month off just these assignments.
Ebyline also tends to have more writing assignments at any given time than Scripted. But these tasks are all assigned in bulk usually, so you have to be dedicated to writing for them to get much of the work load that goes around.
The best thing about writing on Ebyline is the fact that their editors truly care. You will be able to get quick and helpful answers all the time. Your account manager will also be able to help you if the editor cannot. They are even open to creative criticism — at times, your feedback might create change for the client and they’re willing to relay potential benefiting strategies if ever suggested.
You will truly feel valued if you make yourself a regular Ebyline writer. But, again, they really look for that online authorship history as a way to qualify their writers. Then you can be one of the 2,000+ Ebyline Approved writers and you will gain access to the $500 post jobs — not just the regular $50 assignments.
The Problems with Working at iWriter
The biggest flaw with iWriter is actually false advertising — they trick writers into doing more work to become ‘Elite Plus’ ranked by showing fake job postings at this level. Once you do the 40 posts you need, without dropping under 4.85 out of 5, you will be able to see all the open Elite Plus jobs. Sometimes there are dozens, but often there are none worth taking; so the site is not as great as it might seem.
However, you can still grab a fair number of ‘Elite’ level assignments on here. An Elite writer only needs a 4.6 rating, which is easier to sustain — another issue with this site, clients like to complain and leave poor feedback all the time. But if you are at least an Elite writer, you can grab jobs with high approval ratings as you notice them.
In the end, you’ll struggle to make more than $500 a month off iWriter. You also can’t plan ahead as they want you to complete one post at a time. If you are lucky, you’ll score a Tweet or Status writing assignment that pays $50 to $100 for half an hour’s work. Or, you’ll pick up a post that pays $75 or so for about an hour of writing.
Hire Writers is a site full of low quality clients and writers. There are few true expert writers that even bother with this site. Yet, they are popular enough that orders flow their way from bigger clients at times. For their active writers, this creates the odd assignment that pays two to three cents a word and even some Facebook statuses and Twitter tweets that pay around $1 each.
What Can You Make on HireWriters.com?
You shouldn’t be expecting to make much on here. If you take an assignment, the point would be to complete it quickly — as most are just simple blog posts for SEO purposes. You just have to avoid the assignments that come with complex instructions. And since you can see the client’s approval rating, make sure to avoid anyone who seems to reject work often.
If you do it right, and if you type fast, you can make some spare money on here. It’s pretty easy to make $25 to $75 in a week if you spend a full day on it. But this obviously doesn’t pay the bills and its borderline paid surveys wages. So you are going to want to step up fast, instead of getting bogged down by all the little tasks you can take on here.
But since it’s a reputable company overall, and because you’ll get paid if you do the work, we do support writers that choose to work at HireWriters. In fact, we suggest younger writers with no experience, and those with English language issues, start out here to build their portfolio and to gain some online writing experience.
Should you happen to have prior publications on the Web under your name, then excelling in the CopyPress platform will be incredibly easy. You just have to do some of their tests and get certified by their standards in order to show up in their freelancer database. Then you are marketed directly to endless corporate clients; if you have something unique to offer, this could create jobs that pay upwards of $100 a page for blog post writing.
Why CopyPress is So Different
There are also many other unique writing opportunities through CopyPress. But they don’t work like a content mill site and many get confused when signing up here. They scout for great writing talent and match people to the contracts. It’s not just a matter of throwing work in front of writers — they really do want their clients to be as satisfied as possible.
So it’s not just a paid writing site, but also a network for writers to interact through. So if you’re active on their network you can build your presence further; those that are active, and quality fits for new assignments, will get screened to see if they should be matched with the client.
There are many writers that have gotten paired with corporate clients, and now they earn $20 to $60 an hour easily, all thanks to their CopyPress membership. It’s free to join and you don’t have to be active if you don’t want to; just keep an eye on your emails in case they send a screening invitation, as there’s usually a few new ones sent out every month!
If you are from the United Kingdom and you’re looking to make money writing online, make sure you join here. They get assignments from corporate-level clients like Gumtree, TripAdvisor, and etc. You will get paid upwards of 10 cents per word for creating city and product descriptions. This is the bulk of their work at the moment; if you’re top-rated, there are many other writing tasks you can take advantage of as well.
Why Great Content Might Not Be Great for You
However, if you are not a British English writer it is best to avoid this place. You’ll get a few of your posts accepted likely, and you might earn a few hundred dollars. But there’s a good chance they will drop you without warning as they are highly targeted towards UK English. This is because the vast majority of their clients are businesses in the UK.
Note: Even though GreatContent.com caters to American writers and clients, they still have a much larger name in the UK and their work load reflects this. You might want to make an account even if you’re not in the UK, so you can watch out for a huge influx of writing jobs. But don’t waste too much time trying to make British clients happy as you’ll likely destroy your score and reputation with the company before there’s a chance for things to get better.
If you are in the United States and looking for online writing work, you are able to join Writer Access which gives you access to many simple assignments. The site compensates you anywhere from 1 to 5 cents per word depending on your ranking and the project requirements.
Writer Access is an American writer’s dream!
There is a high number of jobs available on Writer Access, especially if you achieve a 5-star rating which also gets you a 5 cent per word valuation.