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Make Money Online From Someone Else’s Blog

written by Michael Kwan on April 26, 2007

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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. :)

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{ 96 comments }

Mubin April 26, 2007 at 3:46 pm

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

Michael Kwan April 26, 2007 at 4:07 pm

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.

Ed Lau April 26, 2007 at 4:18 pm

You’re buying me a pho this weekend, you bastard. :lol: 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].

Michael Kwan April 26, 2007 at 5:22 pm

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

Ed Lau April 26, 2007 at 8:12 pm

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

Jason Spence April 26, 2007 at 8:49 pm

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

Michael Kwan April 27, 2007 at 12:44 am

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.

Everyday Weekender April 28, 2007 at 10:01 am

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

Kumiko April 26, 2007 at 4:24 pm

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.

Court April 26, 2007 at 5:21 pm

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

Cheap Custom Content April 26, 2007 at 5:51 pm

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.

Ed Lau April 26, 2007 at 8:14 pm

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.

Marc April 27, 2007 at 9:20 am

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.

Mubin April 27, 2007 at 1:38 am

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.

Matt Jones April 27, 2007 at 1:58 am

Kumiko – If you are writing that with someone in mid ;) I can promise you that wont happen! :grin:

Marc April 27, 2007 at 9:16 am

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.

Great Dog Site. April 27, 2007 at 8:35 pm

Easy way to get a link back too….

Matt Jones April 27, 2007 at 1:54 am

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

Dave April 27, 2007 at 7:06 am

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

It’s a two way street.

Cool tips and tricks April 30, 2007 at 3:34 am

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

Blog Potato.com April 26, 2007 at 3:52 pm

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

Michael Kwan April 26, 2007 at 4:08 pm

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).

Court April 26, 2007 at 5:11 pm

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

Cheap Custom Content April 26, 2007 at 5:55 pm

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

Michael Kwan April 27, 2007 at 12:45 am

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

Dave April 27, 2007 at 7:08 am

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.

Marc April 27, 2007 at 9:26 am

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.

Great Dog Site. April 28, 2007 at 11:24 am

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

Everyday Weekender April 28, 2007 at 10:04 am

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 :cool:

Dave Starr --- ROI Guy April 26, 2007 at 3:59 pm

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.

Mubin April 27, 2007 at 1:40 am

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!

Great Dog Site. April 28, 2007 at 11:25 am

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

max April 26, 2007 at 4:06 pm

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

Michael Kwan April 26, 2007 at 4:10 pm

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

max April 26, 2007 at 4:22 pm

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

Cheap Custom Content April 26, 2007 at 11:42 pm

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.

Great Dog Site. April 28, 2007 at 11:26 am

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.

blogdinero April 26, 2007 at 4:07 pm

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.

blogdinero April 26, 2007 at 4:07 pm

sorry 4 my spanglish :cry:

max April 26, 2007 at 4:43 pm

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… :lol:

Michael Kwan April 26, 2007 at 5:24 pm

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.

Marc April 27, 2007 at 9:29 am

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

Cheap Custom Content April 27, 2007 at 9:36 am

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.

Michael Kwan April 27, 2007 at 11:03 am

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.

Cheap Custom Content April 26, 2007 at 4:16 pm

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.

Michael Kwan April 26, 2007 at 5:31 pm

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.

Cheap Custom Content April 26, 2007 at 9:29 pm

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.

Mubin April 27, 2007 at 1:59 am

Ahem!!!

Dave April 27, 2007 at 7:10 am

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

Cheap Custom Content April 27, 2007 at 9:27 am

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

Marc April 27, 2007 at 9:30 am

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

santosh p April 26, 2007 at 4:28 pm

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.

Cheap Custom Content April 26, 2007 at 6:01 pm

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. :cool:

Matt Jones April 27, 2007 at 2:00 am

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)

Cheap Custom Content April 27, 2007 at 3:48 am

:cool: 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.

Marc April 27, 2007 at 9:32 am

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.

Cheap Custom Content April 27, 2007 at 9:43 am

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.

max April 26, 2007 at 4:36 pm

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…

Court April 26, 2007 at 5:13 pm

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.

Matt Jones April 27, 2007 at 2:01 am

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

Cheap Custom Content April 26, 2007 at 6:08 pm

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.

max April 26, 2007 at 10:07 pm

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! :evil:

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

Cheap Custom Content April 26, 2007 at 11:34 pm

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!

Marc April 27, 2007 at 9:34 am

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 :)

JaneMay April 26, 2007 at 6:25 pm

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…

Cheap Custom Content April 26, 2007 at 6:34 pm

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:

JaneMay April 26, 2007 at 7:25 pm

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.

Marc April 27, 2007 at 9:35 am

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.

Kevin April 26, 2007 at 7:35 pm

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.

Cheap Custom Content April 26, 2007 at 11:50 pm

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. :cool:

Matt Jones April 27, 2007 at 2:02 am

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

Cheap Custom Content April 27, 2007 at 3:57 am

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…

Michael Kwan April 27, 2007 at 11:05 am

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.

Doug April 26, 2007 at 8:07 pm

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

soundofgold April 26, 2007 at 8:16 pm

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?

Michael Kwan April 27, 2007 at 12:52 am

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.

max April 26, 2007 at 10:09 pm

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. :evil:

Cade April 26, 2007 at 11:06 pm

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.

Michael Kwan April 27, 2007 at 12:54 am

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.

Dave April 27, 2007 at 7:12 am

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

Marc April 27, 2007 at 9:40 am

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 :shock:

Hmmmm… Might not be a bad idea… :cool:

Best CD Rates April 26, 2007 at 11:15 pm

bloody sock scandal? :shock:

Alex Ion April 27, 2007 at 4:07 am

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

Cheap Custom Content April 27, 2007 at 9:32 am

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

Michael Kwan April 27, 2007 at 11:06 am

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

Alex Ion April 27, 2007 at 12:13 pm

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

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

Amanda April 27, 2007 at 6:26 am

I think that is really great advice.

Doug April 27, 2007 at 3:43 pm

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

Monty Loree April 27, 2007 at 3:50 pm

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

Thanks.

Make Money April 27, 2007 at 7:57 pm

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.

Cheap Custom Content April 28, 2007 at 8:36 am

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.

Everyday Weekender April 28, 2007 at 10:08 am

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:

esofthub April 28, 2007 at 5:56 am

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

Great Dog Site. April 28, 2007 at 11:27 am

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

Western Sahara Blog April 29, 2007 at 3:12 pm

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.

Cool tips and tricks April 30, 2007 at 4:01 am

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.