Freelance Writing Jobs For Beginners
There are many career paths for good writers from the local newspaper to self-help books to novels. Checking on my favorite web source, Wikipedia, they have over 30 different categories or possible subject areas for writers. Here’s the list:
- Book coach
- Commissioning editor
- Copy editor
- Creative consultant
- Dog writer
- Hack writer
- Literary editor
- Manuscript format
- Medical writing
- Polygraph (author)
- Script coordinator
- Script doctor
- Staff writer
- Technical writer
- Website content writer
But I think the hottest market that a beginning writer can make quick progress is a website content writer. The market for content writers for websites is booming due to the huge demand by thousands of websites. Any website owner will tell you content is more important than ever in the Google dominated search engine wars. Content attracts people through search and good content gets shared and recommended by readers. Visitors stay on-page and onsite longer too which is also a key metric in the search engine competition.
In the old days a 300-500 word article was the norm for most websites, but these days you can easily find 1,500 to 5,000 word articles on just about any subject. Which ups the competitiveness even more to get the golden 1st position on search results. And it not only needs to be longer, but articles need to be better written, really cover the subject in depth, and offer high value to the reader.
What is A Website Content Writer?
But before we get into the actual job subject, let’s cover what makes a good website content writer and in turn good copy for a website. There are several factors that make an effective writer and the end results need to be both informative and entertaining. And most visitors demand very specific information that is presented in an easy to understand manner that jumps off the page. At
first glance that seems to make sense but it goes deeper than just a good quick read. So here is a list of things good writers exhibit.
- You need to be a quick study person. Research your topic well to gain insights
- Write in the spoken word style – Storytelling, emulate talking one on one.
- Use proven outlines (introduction, problems, etc)
- Headlines and subheads that peak interest (questions, benefits, get inside readers head)
- Use some keywords, LSI words, and related information (a light touch is best)
- Use visuals but sparingly – infographics are great
- Always review with Grammerly and other writing tools
- Always end with call to action, further information, and conclusion/solution
OK, so now let’s dissect what is considered to be a good article by factors.
- (navigation is not article related but always have a very easy way for users to find what they want – menus, buttons, and clear navigation)
- First you have to get the reader’s attention (headlines, subheads, images) since you only have about 4 seconds to grab the visitor’s attention.
- A clear and precise presentation of the subject matter (most important first, details, conclusion or solution or call to action).
- Storytelling helps hold your visitor’s attention and keeps them on-page longer. Graphics, diagrams, videos, and other visuals also increase the time spent.
- Finish strong with what you want them to do next, repeat benefits and solutions
These are very broad factors but they will give beginner writers a good idea of what might be required. If you are absolutely new to writing, I also suggest you get some type of training in both writing and in the specific area of writing content for websites. A great place to get very specific training for a very reasonable cost is Lyndia.com. There are 100’s of great classes on all sorts of writing for websites from Press Releases to sales copy. And there is just a monthly fee of $29.99 and you get the first month free. And can take as many courses as you want, on any subject, so it’s a great solution for beginners.
Anther great website to learn about writing for websites is called Fizzle (fizzle.co). It’s similar to Lyndia but more about websites and copywriting. Hands down they have a very simple and easy to use guide sheet that can help anyone write better articles or any copy for a website. It’s the best quick tool I’ve seen and can help anyone be a better writer. You can download it for free here. They also have courses on just about anything to do websites and like Lyndia they charge a flat monthly fee ($39.99) and you can take as many classes as you want. I have never taken a class but if they are as good as their copy writting guide sheet then you will learn a lot.
There are really three different paths for people just starting out in writing
The first and very common one is to check all the job websites like Indeed.com or Flexjobs.com for traditional writing jobs. But if you are just starting out it’s tough to compete with more experienced writers. So your resume better be pretty darn good. And if you go for the true beginner jobs, the pay is not going to be very impressive. The good news
is it will give you some good experience and you can get some good samples of your work for later down the road. Plus if you work on a team the other members can be great mentors on real world projects.
Another method is through websites that you can setup shop in like Iwriter.com, Fiverr.com, Freelancers.com, Upwork.com, and many others. All of these platforms provide a lot of traffic but the catch 22 is there are a lot of experienced writers to compete within all areas. It takes time and effort to get a few jobs rolling and you really need to specialize or show a deep knowledge in specific areas. And one problem with the big platforms is the race to the lowest price. Trust me, this is not a good marketing method for production work long term. Writers create their product or service and should sell on value rather than price. Live by the price, die by the price.
And last but not least, and a path that I highly suggest (and it can work well on the large platform websites too) is to create your own website(s) and Web 2.0 sites as samples of your writing. This allows you to show your work, have a great marketing method by offering your services on these sites to visitors, and if you do it right, make a few extra bucks. You can stick to the Web 2.0 websites if you don’t want to mess with domains, web design, and all the related technical stuff or you can find a web designer and trade services. These sites can be a great way to show your skill, diversity, and effectiveness of your writing to any potential client. If you create a website or Web 2.0 property that gets a lot of traction it will be a win-win situation.
Regardless of which path you choose, or even a combination of several, a good writer can always find a job or customers if a Freelancer. I’ve met a lot of good writers that never knew they were writers until they gave it a shot. Of course that first novel can be a challenge but you can make a pretty good living writing for websites while you work on it.