Freelance Writer Guide Chapter 4 – Choosing Sites

An open laptop computer surrounded by expanded screens of various website images.

One must work and dare if one really wants to live.” – Vincent Van Gogh

Project websites are the most powerful tool in the arsenal of a freelance writer. Generally, there are two types of sites where paying work can be found – the list sites and the bid sites.

List sites have, as is likely evident from the name, a list of various projects which freelancers can pick from. The projects may be divided into categories, such as “home” or “sports”, and may be further divided by writing skill level, a setting which new writers are tested for and sorted into. A level 3 writer, for example, would be able to pick jobs from levels 1, 2 and 3, while a level 2 writer would be restricted to jobs from 1 or 2 only. These ratings are usually awarded through an entrance exam given to new prospective site writers, or through continual editing of submitted projects. Some examples of list sites are ContentSumo.com, and WriterAccess.com.

Bid sites can be dizzying for new writers to navigate, which is why beginners would do best to stay to list sites in general. Bid sites, again, are fairly self explanatory. Clients place a project on the site with a detailed description, timeline expectation and budget, after which writers place a bid and hope to be chosen. The “winner” is entirely at the client’s discretion, though well-written bid notes that reference the specific project and offer an appealing timeline/cost are more likely to garner notice. Freelancer.com and ScriptLance.com are two examples of bid sites.

Protip: There are lots of foreigners on bid sites, which is one of the reasons they can seem extremely hectic and competitive. A closer look at their (usually extremely low) bids will usually reveal the same poorly worded cut-and-paste “greeting” for every project, regardless of the subject matter. Stand out from the overseas crowd by being original, well-spoken and interesting in your own bid.

If making money is your goal, don’t waste your time with “revenue sharing” sites, which solicit writers to provide the site with essentially free content under the guise of a cut of potential future advertising revenue. Recent updates to Google as a whole have made these sites all but obsolete as viable freelance options, and you’ll likely end up working for free, with the promised ad revenue never materializing. Hubpages.net and Squidoo.com are two examples of revenue sharing sites.

> SPECIAL NOTE 5/25/14: Site reviews now appear under the “Site Reviews” tab at the top of the screen on http://www.FreelanceWriterGuide.com. Thanks for reading!

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4 thoughts on “Freelance Writer Guide Chapter 4 – Choosing Sites

    • Hi Lorraine! You make an excellent point. My blog is very US-focused, mainly because it’s what I know. Most of the sites that encourage or court non-US writers tend to be the ones I shy away from and don’t recommend because their practices are less than trustworthy. I have an infographic chart in the works though, I’ll see if I can’t add in a bit about which sites take non-US writers to assist my friends across the pond. 🙂

  1. Pingback: Freelance Writer Guide Chapter 3 – Start Writing | The Freelance Writer Guide

  2. What would you recommend if someone wanted to get away from the use of sites? Say you have built up a portfolio paying your dues on Fiverr and Upwork. You are sick of the 10% cut, not to mention all the clients who want you to write a novel for $50! Then there are other sites where you have to apply like you’re interviewing for a job, but when they turn you down, they don’t explain why. Could you go into detail on how a writer can strike out on their own, rather than going through sites like that?

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