You’ve always wanted to be a writer, see your name in print and become known as a source of information on your particular topic. Well, welcome to the Internet. It’s a smorgasbord for writers in here, especially if you can work for low pay awhile.
Now don’t look shocked. There are advantages to writing online, even without getting paid much for your time and trouble. Not that you should go crazy and spread yourself too thin. But, consider the points in favour before you slam the door.
First, you are not likely to be rejected.
As long as you have some skill with words, watch your grammar, spelling and punctuation, you are pretty much assured of finding a place to write online. I’ve even seen some pretty horrible prose published on freebie websites. So, in fact, no matter how badly you write, somewhere there is a byline for you. However, your chances of getting to the better known sites depends on your level of writing ability.
Secondly, you can become almost an instant authority on your topic of choice.
If you want to pull it off make sure you do some research, above and beyond what you already know from personal experience. Talk to others in the field, make contacts, do interviews, get fresh ideas and perspectives to add to your knowledge base. This will also keep your articles fresh and interesting for readers, always a big plus.
Thirdly, you will make contacts and promote yourself as a writer.
Whether you write fiction or non-fiction getting your name out there is important and a huge advantage. Maybe writing for a freebie website is a lowly credit but it’s still something you can show for yourself. It is still a step you have taken rather than hiding under your safe rock and wishing you were a writer. Promote yourself too, get links to other sites, add an email signature to your outgoing email, etc. You’re a writer now!
Last of all, being a web writer keeps you writing.
How do you become a better writer? By writing of course. Practice, learn better spelling, work on your grammar and punctuation as you go. Each week you can learn something new to make you a better writer. Learn by doing and study language arts.
Now, where do you go to do all of this you may be asking?
There are communal writing sites, like HubPages, About.com and others. Writers can also put up their own personal site or blog. Also, there are plenty of blogs looking for guest posts, and contributing writers (some of them even pay). Now and then you can still find small ezines looking for writers too. Search for something in your topic. Look for writers guidelines or send an email to the publisher. Take time to read what they publish, the writing style as well as the content itself. You may need to have an image with your post. Some sites are now expecting guest post and contributing writers to follow up and respond to comments. You need to decide which kind of site has more advantages for you. Established sites have their good points but there are rules to adhere to whereas on your own site you would be your own boss and have wiggle room to make mistakes, try new ideas and see what works for you.
Keep in mind, you should be getting something back for your writing: experience, feedback, social media connections, money… something.
If you aren’t getting enough out of the site you are writing for stop, move on to another one. Don’t fall for claims that major editors and publishers will see your work and snatch you up. No one can make those promises. Beware of writing showcase sites, many of those are read by a very small group of people, mostly the very same bunch that do all the writing and few others. That’s what I mean by not spreading yourself too thin. Look at the opportunities online but don’t forget to look out for yourself, be picky. Most of all, don’t get sloppy. You really never know who might stumble upon your work or when they may wander in. Keep your standards up.