Make Money Online From Someone Else’s Blog

I know, I’m just as surprised as you are. Michael Kwan is putting up an entry on John Chow dot Com and it’s not a ReviewMe. Nope, this time around, I’m going to draw on my expertise as a professional freelance writer and tell you how you can make money online through blogging… but not on your own blog.

Make a Name for Yourself

When you’re first starting out as a blogger, it can be ridiculously difficult to make a name for yourself. There are millions of blogs out there, all trying to gain exposure, so what makes you think you’re so special? It’s good to have an optimistic outlook, but chances are that no one is going to care what you have to say. In the beginning, you’re going to be seen as no more important or interesting than anyone else. You can have the greatest content and the best insights, but if no one reads it, it’s kind of a moot point.

By contrast, if you blog for big-time sites like Gizmodo and Joystiq, the things that you are writing will be read, and they’ll be read by lots and lots of people. If it weren’t for Gizmodo, I would have never known about Adam Frucci or Brian Lam. By the same accord, if I didn’t write technology news for Mobile Magazine and do ReviewMe reviews for John Chow dot Com, there’s a very slim chance that anyone would ever stumble across my personal blog, Beyond the Rhetoric. BTR is still far from being my main source of income, but it’s received considerably more traffic after people found it through JC.

Writing for other blogs might sound a little like selling out on the dream of becoming a dot com mogul, because you are still trading hours for dollars, but it’s a stepping stone (and a very important one at that). It gets your name out there. It gives you an opportunity to be recognized for your writing ability. People learn that you are actually interesting to read, so they’ll feel more inclined to visit your blog.

Very few of us will ever achieve the same status as Darren Rowse or John Chow, but by blogging for others, you can elevate yourself well above the emo kids on MySpace. After I started writing for John Chow, for example, I’ve seen my Technorati ranking rise from well north of 100k to 21,543. A similar effect was experienced with my Alexa reach.

Bear in mind, though, that freelance writing is not the same as blogging. When you write for others (freelance writing), you have to adhere to their standards, their “tone”, and their preferred word count. (sounds like PayPerPost, huh?)

Where to Find Blogging Jobs

When you first start out, you might have to put up “guest entries” on someone else’s blog for free. Thankfully, I never had to do that. Remember, when you blog for others, it’s a job like any other and you should compose yourself accordingly. It’s more casual than working downtown, clearly, but you should still present yourself in a professional manner. I have a website where I highlight my previous work, for example.

How much you can expect to get paid will vary widely, depending on a number of factors. These include things like your professional writing experience, your expertise in that particular field, and how big the site is. It’s rumored that the writers for Gizmodo make over $7,500 a month, but most other (smaller) sites won’t offer nearly that much. My freelance rate for Mobile Magazine is much better than peanuts, but it’s not quite Engadget money either.

So, where can you find these gigs? When I started out, I went and poked around Craigslist for writing jobs and stumbled across a couple of opportunities. Later on, as I surfed my way around the blogosphere, I came across postings on sites that I visit anyways. I don’t write for them, but I know that Leftlane News is hiring freelance reviewers. If you’re interested in cars, that’s probably worth a shot. My other advice would be simply to email the managing editors of blogs that you enjoy reading. There’s no harm in asking.

There are plenty of professional blogs out there with very specific niches. If you’re persistent, you’ll surely find one that suits your interests… so long as you’re a good writer. :)


99 thoughts on “Make Money Online From Someone Else’s Blog”

  1. Mubin says:

    So how does someone go about making a guest post on JOhn’s Blog?

    Im sure he’ll love my writing skills. Hey John check out my blog and let me do a damn guest blog!!!

    http://www.mubinahmed.com

    1. Michael Kwan says:

      Well, I kind of cheated, because I became friends with one of John’s friends (Ed Lau). I started comment whoring here and well, I guess John noticed. I’m not 100% sure — I can’t remember — but I think John was the one that approached me.

      1. Ed Lau says:

        You’re buying me a pho this weekend, you bastard. 😆 I still remember John asking me “Who the heck is Michael Kwan?”

        I’m doing a little bit of guest blogging myself this week at [Geeks Are Sexy].

        1. Michael Kwan says:

          😛 How about I get you an iced coffee instead? With a John Chow amount of condensed milk.

          1. Ed Lau says:

            I’m trying to avoid diabetes, thanks. Only John can drink that much sugar and not die on the spot.

      2. Jason Spence says:

        That kind of sounds like you were stalking JC. So that’s your secret huh? Your about as evil as John. 😈

        1. Michael Kwan says:

          Well, I never intended on writing for TTZ or John Chow dot Com. It just kind of happened. My actual goal was to expand the audience of Beyond the Rhetoric, my own blog, and to gain exposure for my freelance writing business. I didn’t know that John himself would be interested.

          1. looks like it worked like a charm eh? :smile:

    2. Kumiko says:

      Why should a big-name blogger go through all the hard work of checking out your writing and asking you to do a guest spot?? Why don’t you take the first step and send him an original article to publish? Most bloggers are more than happy to receive some free content – if it’s good enough, I’m sure it’d be published.

      1. Court says:

        True that. I think if you want to guest blog you should write something that’s really good and submit it to them.

      2. That makes sense — however, you can never be too sure. The host site could post it and not even include a by-line with your name on it; that would be so sad, but hey, it happens.

        1. Ed Lau says:

          We’re evil and John will do just about anything to MAKE MONEYEEEEE!!! as he says but we’re not jerks.

          If you think that sort of thing could possibly happen, then that’s probably not the blogger you want to guest blog for.

        2. Marc says:

          It’s a potential risk, but it’s more than worth it. For the very few who might do that, think of all of the good ones you will encounter who will either thank you and post it or will say thanks but no thanks.

      3. Mubin says:

        Do you know who I AM???

        I am kinda a big deal!

        But no good idea, I guess I should contact John First. Man I guess being lazy is not gonna help me out here.

      4. Matt Jones says:

        Kumiko – If you are writing that with someone in mid 😉 I can promise you that wont happen! 😀

      5. Marc says:

        Exactly. There’s no way someone’s going to bother going through all of your stuff to see if you’ll write a good article. But if you write the good article first, even if the rest of your stuff is not so good, you’ll still have a chance.

      6. Easy way to get a link back too….

    3. Matt Jones says:

      I’m after guest bloggers! Blog for me! :smile:

    4. Dave says:

      Give John something that will benefit him, and then maybe he will notice.

      It’s a two way street.

    5. Hey Mubin,

      It seems that you have a strong desire to guest blog here! You make this comment all over. I’m going to read your blog, you made me curious

  2. Gizmodo writers making $7500 a month! I didn’t know some Freelancers make that much. That is impressive.

    1. Michael Kwan says:

      The income of freelance writers varies as much as the income of actors. You’ve got waiters who think they can act, and then you’ve got Oscar winners demanding $20 million a picture (okay, freelancers might not make millions).

    2. Court says:

      Dang that’s a lot, probably 100 times more than they could make on their own blogs.

    3. Friends of mine “in the business” claim that ghost/freelance writing has made them considerably more money than maintaining their own blogs.

      1. Michael Kwan says:

        I know that freelance writing has made me A LOT more than my own blog. Beyond the Rhetoric makes peanuts, relatively speaking.

        1. Dave says:

          It all depends on how things develop for you.

          Sure an A-List blog will probably earn you a LOT more than freelancing, but it’s not exactly easy to build an A-List blog.

          1. Marc says:

            It’s also not very easy to find a freelance gig 😉 No matter what you do, it’s going to be tough to make the big bucks.

          2. Elance.com has tons of good freelance writers. I get custom content from people there alllll the time.

    4. where did you get that figure from?.. I would assume those guys are working a ton of hours :mrgreen:

      ..but it’s still cool to get paid for writing 😎

  3. Excellent advice, Michael. I picked up a once a week “guest posting” gig from a blogging friend just from the comments I left him … no pay … unless you count the experience and learning opportunity I’ve had so far, which has been of tremendous value.

    You can’t learn to ride a bike by watching a video … you can’t learn to blog successfully without blogging on a successful blog.

    @==> Mubin … you missed a great opportunity, guy. I clicked over to see what you were writing myself … others, including John likely will … and there was no post titled “What I’d Write On John’s Blog” … just some stuff about making money 10 cents at a time. Lot’s of people (myself included) are not in John’s price range … so think through how “big” you’re thinking. Usually in life you’ll either reach your goals or fall short … you’ll seldom exceed them … so make sure your sights are set high enough. I only want the multiple dollars at a time, I already know how to earn the dimes.

    1. Mubin says:

      Just so you don’t think Im a complete loser only making $.10 at a time…

      http://mubinahmed.com/my-1500-adsense-month/

      It’s just a tagline I swear!

      1. I never try to put links in the comments. People always screem spammer. haha

  4. max says:

    Hey great information Mike. :)
    Craiglist probably is the best source right now for bloggers… 👿

    1. Michael Kwan says:

      Craigslist is also one of the biggest sources of work-at-home scams, so tread carefully.

      1. max says:

        oh yeah, definitely. Speaking of, ebay scams are about 1 in 2 now…

        1. For real…scams are lurking everywhere, taking advantage of every opportunity to dupe someone. Craiglist IS probably the best source of freelance work out there, only because there are lots to choose from, but a little circumspection can’t hurt ya.

        2. I’ve always thought ebay should clean stuff like that up… Sometimes it’s hard to find what your looking for because of all the spam auctions.

  5. blogdinero says:

    Helium pay per post, but the revenue is low if you write under the average.
    There´s guys writing 15 post daily ! and what a post!

    I think that if you decide to be a write, you must say no to blogging per click.

    1. blogdinero says:

      sorry 4 my spanglish 😥

      1. max says:

        Spanglish = Spanish + English?

        Actually, your spanglish is pretty good. I don’t even know Spanish so I can’t even speak Spanglish… I envy you… 😆

    2. Michael Kwan says:

      Upon occasion (like during CeBIT or 3GSM), I’ve been known to write up to 25 articles a day for Mobile Magazine. It’s a little out of the ordinary, but it happens.

      1. Marc says:

        That’s pretty heavy Michael! I suppose on a good day I could get up to 10, but 25! That’s crazy 😮

        1. For a seasoned writer/blogger, like Michael, I guess 25 articles is duck soup. It also depends on what you’re writing about; if your article requires a lot of research, then you’re lucky to even finish one at all.

          1. Michael Kwan says:

            Yeah, when I say 25 articles, they’re all uber short (150-200 words). Depending on the content, I can usually get one done in about ten minutes.

  6. Re: writing costs

    Online writing has many differing tiers. Pricing varies depending on expertise and what the final product will be used for. Prices for freelance writers range from a fraction of a penny per word to several dozen dollars per hour. It totally depends on the level of research quality and final use of the product. We charge anywhere from HALF A PENNY (rewriting articles clients have rewrite rights for) all the way to $1295 per month depending on what a client needs.

    If anybody here would like to blog for others but don’t have the time to write and research, you can try outsourcing it. There’s many freelance sites out there. You can also barter for it–ie., you are a coder/marketer and know a writer so you trade code/traffic for content.

    1. Michael Kwan says:

      I’ve seen some pretty ridiculous things in my day, especially with writing being outsourced to India, Pakistan, etc. There are writers there who agree to writing 500 word posts for $1. I would never agree to something like that, no matter how easy the 500 words were.

      1. I share your shock and dismay. But that’s where the online content business is going–market segmentation.

        To be frank, when I first saw Indian/Pakistani/Filipino competitors’ pricing structures, I was discouraged. After seeing samples of their work, however, I broke out in a :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen: Price follows function. If a publisher just wants feeder content for SEO purposes, fractions of a penny per word will do just fine. For REAL website content (some research, “top 10” lists, tutorials, step by step guides, academic assistance sites, etc.), publishers that want REAL CONTENT will EXPECT to pay more than fractions of a penny. However, not all webmasters need “REAL” content–others just need ‘spins’ for semi-automated publishing networks. Others use the text for promo purposes.

        We provide original content that addresses these differing types of publisher content needs and activities. I have to agree with you that the BULK end of the business is a race to the bottom. But hey… that’s capitalism and free market competition for ya.

      2. Dave says:

        Yeah, the quality of content you get from “writers” like that is poor at best.

        1. Of course “low cost” does not always necessarily mean poor quality.

          1. Marc says:

            Not always, but you’re going to look through a lot of haystacks before finding the needle as the price drops.

  7. santosh p says:

    Can you throw some light on how to write superb posts, and a fast food way kind writing top for a designer. I dont want to start all over and learn copywriting. But few articles which would help me with grammer, and lines would do great.

    1. Just a little tip — never rely on spell/grammar check to do the work for you. Editing is key; sometimes you just have to write, proofread, and re-write until you get it right. 😎

      1. Matt Jones says:

        Yeah, I proof read twice after the spell/grammer check, and sometimgs I still find somthing wrong when Ive published it! (which I change straight away)

        1. 😎 Especially when you wish for your work to be published somewhere else; you would want to let people know that you’re not just offering good content, but also high-quality deliverables.

      2. Marc says:

        I’ll second that. Editing makes a huge difference. Many times you’ll re-read something and it just doesn’t flow the way you thought it would when you first wrote it.

        That being said, I don’t do a whole lot of editing on my blog, but I do lots for my article based site.

        1. This is pretty interesting stuff, isn’t it — I mean, editing is like second-nature to some and I respect the hell out of people who do it. But the reality is that not all sites (blogs, especially) require arduous editing. Sometimes, if the content is really really good, people come back anyway and they forgive any spelling or grammatical errors. Of course, nothing beats flawless articles; makes them look smarter and more believable in a way.

  8. max says:

    I think there is no fast way. I am not a writer really but I think if you keep writing, you will be able to write superb posts really fast… well that’s my 2 cents…

    1. Court says:

      I agree, there isn’t really a fast way to be thorough. I think that most of the time you have to choose either fast or good.

    2. Matt Jones says:

      As you practice you do speep up, but your standards get raised as well,…

  9. A good worker should never compromise quality for quantity — although in some cases it can’t be helped. If your main objective is to get noticed and earn SOME, then I say go for quantity. If you’re in it for long-term grade-A success, I think it would help if your content is pretty darn amazing. That’s how you earn in the long run; not only by bombarding people with nonsense.

    1. max says:

      Yes, if you want to go fast, just check out my blog at http://zedomax.com/blog. Although I don’t have that many words, sometimes, all you need to say is that it’s cool. Sometimes the video or the picture you have is worth 10,000 words! 👿

      besides, people don’t have the time to read everything, just say what the point is and link to the details… 👿

      1. Short-and-sweet does work for some, doesn’t it. It depends on the nature of your work really, and how you want other people to view you as — browsed through yours by the way; good stuff!

        1. Marc says:

          It does indeed completely depend on your goals. If you’re writing SEO fodder then the quality matters less. If you’re writing to attract an audience, then you’d better spend time making sure your writing is up to par :)

  10. JaneMay says:

    I was just contacted by a very popular forum owner that wanted me to be a moderator for him. The perks would be great and no quotas. However, running two sites and adding in addition to a full time job might be a little much, but it would bring a lot of exposure…decisions, decisions…

    1. That responsibility could be tasking if you do have other priorities, like a full time job. Ultimately, you just have to weigh your options and do what you think will bring in the more dough (and have fun with at the same time). :smile:

      1. JaneMay says:

        CCC- Thanks for the input. That’s what I’m struggling with since doing it will open up my blogs to a lot more viewers and potential income.

        1. Marc says:

          It all hinges on the perks. But if there’s no money involved and it won’t help you with backlinks, then I’d pass and work on your own stuff if I were you. Otherwise you’re hard work is going to make the owner money.

  11. Kevin says:

    good post michael. I think that writing for other peoples blogs can also bring a lot of traffic to your own blog. Im sure writing for john has brough you a lot of new readers.

    1. Since I came aboard the John Chow dot com train, I’ve also been visiting Michael’s site and Mitch’s Harpzon dot com a lot. 😎

      1. Matt Jones says:

        really? I havn’t visited them once! … maybe I should…

        1. Yeah, I suggest you do; they have very related yet uniquely enlightening advice and information about making money online, copywriting, entertainment, and technology. Too bad Mitch is selling his domain name though; I wonder how it’s going to affect him…

        2. Michael Kwan says:

          My blog is a little more sporadic than John’s, as it’s more of a personal blog than a professional “make money online” type of blog. I write about a lot of different things: hockey, movies, blogging, etc.

  12. Doug says:

    Nice post. As mentioned in the post Craigslist is a good way to go about finding jobs for paid blogging.

    What you should also do if your interested is write and submit articles to article directories and then join freelance services like elance and bid on a job and use the articles as your sample articles.You can also Google “keywords +blog” to find blog topics that you are familiar with and try and contact the blog owner to see if they are interested in hiring you as a blog writer.

    Its a smart idea to always show your portfolio of articles that you have written.

    Doug
    http://www.imutopia.com

  13. soundofgold says:

    I though of another “evil scheme” for guest writers.

    What if, in the spirit of revenue sharing, a blog owner “paid” his/her freelance writers by allowing their personal publisher code in AdSense (other aff/ad programs) within their particular article?

    Blogger gets his quality content, freelance gets money based on the article performance, last time I checked revenue sharing was not forgiden (ie. is allowed) by Google => everyone should be happy.

    What do you think? Would that be viable?

    1. Michael Kwan says:

      That’s the system found at writingup.com (I had a blog there once). You post up content, keep all the rights, and your Adsense code is displayed 50% of the time. The other 50% is for the site owner to pay for promotion, hosting, technical support, etc.

  14. max says:

    Actually, this is due-able with Pligg CMS, which is basically a digg copy. Each user can have their own unique GoogleAd by using the Google Revenue sharing plugin. I have been testing with it on http://stinkyworld.com and http://wagg.it. Right now I have the plugin turned off but it’s pretty much built in so… I think you really need a good business model first though. 👿

  15. Cade says:

    I think you have done very well Michael and I feel it is so important to get exposure. I was amazed today to see how many people went to curt shilling’s blog because of the “bloody sock scandal”. It was publicized on Around The Horn on espn. There are so many ways to get your name out there and you have to be creative and willing to do what others are not. Well done Michael.

    1. Michael Kwan says:

      Thanks Cade. Both my business and my blog have grown a fair bit since associating myself with John. Whether that’s causal or correlational is up to debate.

    2. Dave says:

      Er, I must not be missing something, I didn’t hear about any bloody sock scandal…

    3. Marc says:

      So you’re suggesting we all go out and pitch in game 6 of the world series with a bust ankle to get visitors for our blog 😯

      Hmmmm… Might not be a bad idea… 😎

  16. bloody sock scandal? 😯

  17. Alex Ion says:

    This is one of the most interesting blog posts I’ve read in the last couple of months.

    The idea of becoming a problogger or a freelance writer for others rises in many people’s minds. It is a good source of income, indeed, but you need to be a very good one.

    I am doing tech blogging, too and I find it easy to write about. I would love more exposure, for example writing on Gizmodo or Engadget (they took some of my articles a few times and quoted me) but I still have a long way till there.

    Alex

    1. Writing about something you’re interested in or passionate about does help; content becomes a secondary priority next to relevance and writing technicalities.

    2. Michael Kwan says:

      Which tech blog do you write for? I might have cited you on Mobile Magazine before too.

      1. Alex Ion says:

        I am writing on my blog http://www.devicepedia.com

        Yes, I guess you did once :)
        Btw Mike … great job on mobilemag 😉

  18. Amanda says:

    I think that is really great advice.

  19. Doug says:

    Oh, if anyone is a goof writer then feel free to contact me :D. Im always looking for new writers but if your writing for me you have to bring your A game so send me some samples and your rates.

    http://www.imutopia.com

  20. Monty Loree says:

    Great idea. Using somebody else’s reputation as leverage is a good idea.

    Thanks.

  21. Make Money says:

    Why would someone blog for someone else?? That’s waste of time IMHO. I think that the time that you spend to build a name for yourself, you can do some seo work to get on the front page for your keywords and you’ll be good to go.

    1. Some think it’s a good part-time gig; those who can’t put up their own site would rather contribute and earn a little along the way.

    2. not necessarily.. you can gain a ton of exposure that way.. lets say you write a post on your site that only gets 1 visitor a day – that’s only one visitor.. if you write the same post on a blog that gets 100 visitors a day – you’re going to have more than one person reading what you’ve wrote (and possibly visiting your site). :roll:

  22. esofthub says:

    Mr. Kwan,

    That was a well written post and it’s great advice.

    I wholeheartedly understand what mean when you say it’s difficult to distinguish your blog amongst millions of others. So far, I’ve been fairly successful (relative and IMHO) with “My SysAd Blog” by picking SEO friendly titles. 95% of my traffic is coming from Google searches – basically someone looking for a UNIX answer. However, I’ve definitely hit a wall in increasing my traffic levels (stuck around 3500 uniques per week for the past two months). As you probably already know, the UNIX crowd is fairly sparse, but I think I should be able to increase my numbers somewhat over time. Do you you have any suggestions?

    Roy
    Korea

  23. Anyone have some advice on where to get a decent php coder?

  24. I liked this post because it made clear what I’ve been thinking about doing for a little while, but hadn’t articulated in my head.

    Some crummy blogs (though higher ranked on Technorati and Alexa than mine) wanted me to write guest posts. I think I’ll do them, now, since they’ll drive more traffic to my site.

    1. Why not? It’s good to make yourself known. This attracts more jobs, and if you are really good, people will notice that sooner or later.

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