Assuming you have a PC and an internet connection, here are the basics that you need to have in order to become an online content writer.
This is the fourth in a series of posts on how to make money writing online. I now make a reasonable living writing online, but I did waste a lot of time getting there, so to save you going down the same blind alleys, I am happy to share some of what I have learned along the way.
If you are interested in becoming a professional content writer and you want to start at the beginning of these posts, the first one is: How do you make money writing online?
Quite obviously, the basic tools that you will need to earn money writing content for websites are a PC and an internet broadband connection, but you will be pleased to know that those are the only things that will cost you any money to get you started as an online content writer. The following are the basic things to think about and to set up, before you start to look for any writing work.
- Online writer’s identity
- Google account
- E-mail address
- PayPal account
- Biography / resume
- Facebook fan page
Online writer’s identity
Before you set up a single thing, do you want to write under your own name, or do you want to write under a pseudonym? Why would you need to use a false name? I hear you ask. Well, on most websites you have to come up with a short username and, if you use the same short name across all of your profiles, logins and different websites, that short name becomes your brand name and people will be able to find your work more easily.
Try and think of a short name that is a bit different or even unique, if you can, and then you will be able to consistently use that name throughout all of your work. My own short name came about by happy coincidence and it turned out to be virtually unique. If you type in Artos52 into your browser, you should, I hope, be able to see how I have created a web identity for myself.
The reasons why you might not want to use your real name are as follows:
- If you are writing part-time, your full time employer might find out.
- If you plan to ever write anything sensitive or controversial, your friends and family might find out.
- It makes life simpler keeping your business emails and correspondence separate from your personal ones.
- You can dump the name and start over again if you ever wish to.
Following on with the idea of creating an online identity for yourself, you will need a google account under your short writers name too. You will then be able to access websites such as blogger.com, for your blogs under this name, start a Google+ page for your writing and, there is something known as Google Authorship, which effectively ties all your published work together on the internet, by your google name.
A Gmail account will come with your Google account, it’s free and it’s perfectly acceptable to use for your writing correspondence.
You will need a PayPal account because most sites on which you sell your services and writing will pay via PayPal. It’s easy to set up and, again, it’s free. PayPal does charge you a percentage on receipt of funds, but they don’t charge for payments, or transfers to your own bank account. Once you start to get established and have regular funds coming in, you can also apply for a PayPal debit card which can be very useful.
Biography / Resume
Remember that you are going to have to sell yourself, so you will need a biography and, or, resume for many of the websites that we will be referring to in this series of posts. Don’t worry if you have no real writing experience, you will soon be able to change that in few months’ time. For now, concentrate on the writing you have done in previous jobs, your life experiences and all the qualities that will make you a good writer, such being conscientious, delivering to deadlines and so on. You will need to edit this to make it suit each application and website you use it on anyway, but if you have a template to start from, it can save you some time. Just search online for “Writers Resume”, if you need some ideas.
Facebook Fan page
A Facebook Fan Page will help you build your online presence and you can publish examples of your work, links to your blog posts and start to build up a following. Keep it separate from your personal page, though. Your writing customers are not going to be that interested in your children’s achievements at school, or your holiday snaps!
Finally, I would also suggest that you set up a twitter account under your new writer’s short name. It’s relatively easy to build up quite a large number of followers on Twitter and you will be surprised at how many of your tweets will be read. This can generate traffic to your blog and to other websites where you are selling your written work, or your services.
With these basic things set up, you are nearly ready to start your new career. In the next post, I will give you some tips on how you actually write a content article that you can sell. In the meantime, I do suggest that you check out the website below, which has some really helpful e-books and guides, as well as a useful writing job aggregator that will find extremely useful in the future.