A few years ago, I had no idea I could get paid as a freelance writer.
Like many others who wanted to make money online, I started a blog and hoped to monetize it with ads when I had enough readers. For a year, I barely made enough money to run my blog, and then a client reached out and offered to pay me $100 a post to write articles for his website.
I've since earned $200 or more per article, and freelance writing has been my main source of income for the past five years.
If you’re looking for more ways to earn money as a freelance writer, look beyond the content mills.
The pay: up to $700
What editors want: Compose is a database cloud hosting service, and its editors look for articles about running databases for modern applications. They prefer submissions to be at least 1,000 words, and they pay $200 in cash and $200 in Compose credits, which you can use toward the company’s hosting.
Compose’s posts run on three-month cycles, and at the end of every cycle, the editors will ask their readers to choose their favorite Compose articles. If your article is selected as the overall favorite, you’ll earn an additional $500.
The pay: up to $350
What editors want: If you’re a parent who can tell a story other parents in Los Angeles would love, you have a good shot. Your article can fall into any of the site’s categories, including Family Fun, Education, Enrichment, Party, Shopping, Holiday or Los Angeles Parents.
The site generally pays $50 per article, or up to $100 per article if you’re a blogger. However, editors will pay more for featured topics requiring in-depth research, and you can earn an extra $100 if your post becomes one of their top five, and another $150 if it hits the top spot.
The pay: up to $300, depending on the section
What editors want: They look for articles for their International News, National News and People Making a Difference sections. Their submission page has a great guide to what types of topics they’re keen to cover.
The pay: up to $200 depending on topic and length
What editors want: WpHub accepts articles about WordPress, including posts about web design trends, popular concepts, coding best practices and up-and-coming plugins.
Articles should be between 800 and 1,200 words with visuals.
The pay: $200
What editors want: You’ll want to share “humane, ethical analysis or commentary on politics, religion, popular culture or current events in Australia or the world.”
Unsolicited pieces can be up to 800 words, and you can send a query to their editor if you want to contribute longer pieces.
The pay: $200 to $500
What editors want: Independent travelers, share your unique, unforgettable travel stories! You can’t have previously published them on your own blog, though, and the site retains full rights to accepted articles.
The pay: $100 for narrow-focused articles; $200 for full-length, state-of-the-art articles
What editors want: Share your expertise on software development best practices, including articles on how to configure, integrate and develop software.
To help inspire you, the site has a list of ideas they'd love to see.
The pay: $200
What editors want: You need to write clear, step-by-step tutorials about installing or configuring software and applications. Start by sharing a writing sample and suggesting a topic for your first tutorial.
The pay: up to $200, depending on length, complexity and type
What editors want: They want articles on the craft and business of getting paid to travel, whether by writing, photography, giving tours or other means. They also publish interviews about getting paid to travel, and expect articles to be between 300 and 600 words.
The pay: $250
What editors want: They want articles that teach people about Linux, especially those about OpenChange, WebRTC, gaming servers or Ansible. Make sure your piece is original, detailed, accurate and formatted according to their style guide.
The pay: $200
What editors want: Two Plus Two is an online poker magazine that accepts articles on any related topic, especially strategy, statistics or interesting players. Articles should be be around 1,000 to 2,000 words.
The pay: up to $200
What editors want: The site needs articles for their Consumer Guide series, which gives readers “an in-depth look into companies and the products and services they offer.” You’ll need to apply with a few samples of your work, and you’ll get to pick from a range of projects to work on.
The pay: up to $200, depending on length and type
What editors want: Indeni wants articles to share with their audience of IT engineers. If you know a lot about “Check Point firewalls, F5 load balancers or Palo Alto Networks firewalls,” they want to hear from you -- and they’ll even help with the writing part.
Articles can be anywhere from 100 to 1,500 words, depending whether you’re writing a simple how-to or a more advanced tutorial.
The pay: $250
What editors want: This leading gaming publication looks for articles about video games, film and TV, tabletop games, comics, cosplay, science and technology.
They follow AP style and have specific formatting requirements, so make sure to give your piece an extra once-over before submitting.
The pay: $250
What editors want: If you renovated your house and got your hands dirty doing most of the work yourself, This Old House might share your story.
Send a short article about what you did, a floor plan and before and after photos to firstname.lastname@example.org for your chance to be featured.
Your Turn: Have you written for any sites that pay $200 or more for an article? Share your experience in the comments!
Bamidele Onibalusi (@youngprepro) teaches writers how to make money and be in charge at Writers in Charge, a leading blog for freelance writers, where he put together a list of 110 websites that pay writers. The Huffington Post calls him a business success story, and he's been featured in Forbes, Digital Journal and other leading publications.