There are a lot of myths and misconceptions when it comes to writing online -- specifically Web content writing. Many of these misconceptions come from the print writing side of the fence, where (while things have improved dramatically over the last few years) there's still occasionally a feeling that Web writing just doesn't measure up.
That sentiment definitely played a role in what I'd consider to be the biggest misconception about freelance writing for the Web -- that you can't earn good money in Web content writing. What's worse is that this particular myth has unfortunately led to people justifying taking extremely low rates just because they consider projects to be quick and easy.
Now don't get me wrong. If you're happy with $10 for an article, by all means take it. I'm not in the mood to debate it as a business decision (blah, blah, blah -- been there, done that). What concerns me more is that there seems to be an underlying assumption that if you charge significantly more then you must have to spend hours upon hours writing to earn those rates.
That's not true.
You can earn ten times that much (and significantly more) writing Web content without having to spend hours on a single article. We're not talking magazine features here -- just SEO Web content. It also isn't that difficult to do. You need to focus on your specialty area and position yourself as an authoritative source (just like you'd do in copywriting, PR writing, technical writing, medical writing, etc.).
The real beauty of these gigs is that clients rarely want one piece (making the "content sites will give me lots of work so they're better" argument moot). They usually want content for all-out SEO campaigns (often meaning regular monthly contracts), and more and more companies and even bloggers are looking for writers who can add expert content with SEO flair. They're also willing to pay well for it.
I'm not really worried about the Web writers who choose the low paying route for themselves. More power to them (and less competition for the better gigs!). What I would like to explore more here though is the role Web content writing can play for those print writers who perhaps used to shun it.
I'm going to be working on a new free report in coming weeks, where I'll be talking to both freelance magazine writers and reasonably well-paid freelance Web content writers about how print writers can position themselves to land these decent Web writing gigs in the interim (between projects or as they're waiting for query responses).
If you fit into either of those groups, and you'd like to answer a few questions or take part in some other way, feel free to contact me at email@example.com. We'll be reaching out much more to freelance magazine writers through the New Year, and I'm hoping this report will serve as a fun and useful tool to show print writers and Web writers how similar they truly are in some ways, and how a magazine writer dabbling in Web writing is anything but "selling their soul."