Why I Prefer Freelance Writing for the Web

You've probably come across the freelance writing debate of writing for the Web versus writing for print markets before. Some people still look down on Web writers, and think if we don't write for print markets, we're not "real" or "professional" writers. I think those views still exist solely out of ignorance. What do you think?

I think one of the biggest problems the print-only advocates have is that they look at one type of Web writing (such as SEO Web content writing that you'll see people doing for peanuts, and without any semblance of quality), and they equate it to all Web writers. What they often miss or neglect is the fact that most, if not all, of those print publications they write for actually have online versions. Those publications also hire equally-qualified writers to create unique articles for their online presence.

Personally, I prefer writing for the Web (although I have no problem with print markets, and actually wish I had more time to pitch a few). Here's why:

  • Your work is published far more quickly.
  • Your work is more easily accessible to more eyes (and it's easier for you to share it with people you want to see it - just link to it, email a link to someone, etc. - this also makes them easier portfolio pieces for clients wanting quick samples).
  • Contrary to popular belief, you can earn just as much money writing for the Web as you can writing for print markets (if you don't want crap rates, you simply reject those gigs just as you'd reject one of the many print publications that doesn't want to pay you your rates - personally I rarely work for less than $.20 / word and have worked for well over $1.00 per word entirely online - equal to what print publications in my niches are generally paying).
  • You often get paid more quickly writing for the Web. I believe I only have one client that is currently paying by check, where there's a delay after delivery. All other clients pay online before I start on the work, or with the payment due right away - there's no processing time to deal with in most cases. For larger publications, you may still have to wait for payments though, so check on their policies (or make your own clear) before working with someone new. Then you won't have any surprises.
  • Writing for reputable Web publications can do just as much (if not more) for your credibility as print publishing (lets face it... I'm more likely to recognize a name of a reputable niche blogger these days than some "expert writer" who freelanced for some magazine, no matter how big the magazine is).

So what do you prefer? Print writing or Web writing, and why?  Why do you think some people still look down on Web writers, and do you think they're justified? Do you see any other perks in Web writing that you feel I've missed?

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Jennifer Mattern is a professional blogger, freelance business writer, consultant, and indie author. She runs numerous websites & blogs including All Freelance Writing, Freelance Writing Pros, NakedPR, and Kiss My Biz.

Jenn has 25 years' experience as a professional writer and editor and over 20 years' experience in marketing and PR (working heavily in digital PR, online marketing, social media, SEO, new media, and thought leadership publication). She also has 19 years' professional blogging and web publishing experience (including web development) and around 18 years of experience as an indie author / publisher.

Jenn also writes fiction under multiple pen names and is an Active member of the Horror Writers Association.

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4 thoughts on “Why I Prefer Freelance Writing for the Web”

  1. Personally, I’m starting to feel that web writing is a better gig. I just turned down a print job that would only pay 30c a word, plus I had to blow time researching, interviewing, AND the publisher wanted me to attend that industry’s association events and represent them.

    The sad thing is, some other writer is going to accept work at that crummy rate, when they’d be better off marketing their services on-line, and accepting only the better-paying jobs.

    I know it’s hard to knock back work when the rent is due, but there’s a reasons writers are amongst the most poorly paid professions in the world (if not rock-bottom).

    At least on-line, you have a far larger pool of potential clients to pick and chose amongst.

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  2. Online, for most of the same reasons, but so far, I pretty much still made 4-20 times as much in print than online. Haven’t tapped the source of anything beyond $0.10/word, and the latter very recently.

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  3. I much prefer writing for the web for the same reasons: faster publication, faster pay and often payment comes upfront. Most of the time, I write without a byline for small businesses and I give up all rights but I don’t mind–I usually wouldn’t spend the time selling reprints anyhow. Though I wouldn’t mind a paying gig that would allow me to write how-to articles with my byline on a more regular basis. (WINK)

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