I began offering my writing services online in 2014. Fresh out of school, I started with no professional experience and I worked long and hard to build a good reputation to back my talents.
Through the years, I have tried out many platforms trying to find a site with a variety of projects, fair pay, and–most of all–thoughtful support staff to stand behind the freelancers who keep them in business. I’ve had some bad experiences, but I’ve been fortunate to find a handful of platforms that stand out to me as the best writing sites, period.
I’ve learned that the best sites for writers tend to have an application process. That can sound daunting, but if you put in the effort, you’ll see the benefits once you’re accepted on to such a platform. Businesses trust closed platforms more because they have higher quality writers (that means more and better projects). Plus, closed platforms usually don’t allow too many writers to join, which means finding projects is easier once you’re in.
So, let’s go through the list!
While I am not an active seller on Freelancer.com, this is the platform where I accepted my first-ever project so many years ago. I think it’s worth mentioning because I know many writers, editors, and other freelancers who have found success on here. With that said, bidding on projects is time-consuming, but if you’ve got time (and selling skills), it might be worth a try.
How much you can earn on Freelancer.com will vary depending on each project owner’s budget. It can be hard to stand out in the sea of pitches until you have a few reviews under your belt, but if you have specialized experience, you’ll find it easier to win bids.
Fiverr is really where my writing career took off. I joined in early 2015 and my profile has since collected over 5,000 reviews. I still take clients through the platform, although I’m gradually shifting away for the same reasons as other freelancers.
You can read sellers’ experiences on the forums, with the most common complaint being the support team refunding customers on a “no questions asked” basis. While that’s great for buyers, sellers end up taking a loss–even in instances where they have delivered their services exactly as promised. I’ve heard in recent months that Fiverr is working to crack down on fraud, but the communication between customer service and sellers still isn’t there.
All of that said, setting up a gig on Fiverr could get you your first sale in a matter of days (or sooner, if you choose to market your gigs). People love Fiverr because the buyers come to you. I have never spent time marketing my gigs and I continue to get a steady stream of sales. That hands-off approach and the accumulation of public reviews work together to give a lot of writers their start.
Fiverr does take 20% of every dollar you earn. They also charge separate fees to your buyers. There’s a two-week clearing period for all of the money you earn, but they pay cleared funds instantly through PayPal. Most writers charge between $0.03/word and $0.05/word, but you can charge more if you specialize.
Admittedly, I don’t have a lot of hands-on experience with nDash. I joined a long time ago and I’ve played around with the dashboard a little bit. Given that it’s a legitimate platform with the chance for big opportunities, I think it’s worth mentioning even though I don’t use it often myself.
There are a few ways you can work on nDash. The first is by creating content, which will then appear on your profile where companies can purchase it directly. The second option is to “Browse Assignments,” which allows you to pitch to companies who are actively searching for a writer. Some companies want ideas while others already have a topic in mind.
The final way you can work through nDash is by navigating to the “Companies” tab and pitching your ideas directly to brands. If you take the time to research the target group, I think you could find major success on this platform. You set your own prices and nDash won’t take anything out of what you earn. Instead, the brands who hire your services have to pay all the fees nDash charges.
While you’ll want to spend a bit of time learning Verblio’s terminology, motivated writers will certainly find success on this platform. It’s ideal for self-driven writers who want to get to typing without waiting for buyers to come to them. Once you’re in, you can review a long list of active projects and submit all of the content you want.
If a company rejects the content you submit, you can either it “Archive It” and use/sell it outside of the Verblio platform or you can “Recycle It” and use it to pitch another customer on Verblio. You earn points for submitting content to ghostwriting jobs and those points will help you level up. Higher level writers get access to the most projects.
They have taken a fun gamification approach to their platform and it’s very well thought-out. At the time of writing this article, I was able to view over 14 pages of active projects as a level 1 writer. Level 1 writers can only pitch to projects in the 300-word range, which pay $10.50 each (so $0.035/word).
I applied to be a writer for The Quill Network some time ago, but I actually just setup my online profile this morning. I received the acceptance email in September or October and I have since received a couple of other emails inviting me to projects. However, it wasn’t until today that I received access to their online platform, officially known as ContentPlace.
Previously, the Quill Network (quillcontent.com) required a thorough application and approval process to join. I’m not sure what it takes to signup to ContentPlace (ep.contentplace.io) currently. ContentPlace appears to be their new platform for project management, so I assume they’re shifting away from the email invitations I was receiving previously and looking to put everything onto the website.
Interestingly, they don’t have a set pay rate. Instead, they state: “With ContentPlace, there’s no need to name your price each time you take on a new batch of articles for the same project. Simply give us your price at the application phase and, if you’re selected, your price will appear each time a job is assigned to you.” Keep this in mind when you’re applying because I don’t think you’ll be able to change it. I’d suggest between $0.05/word and $0.10/word.
I joined ContentFly shortly after it launched. They’re based in Canada, but I had no issue joining or getting paid as a United States citizen. When I first joined, they had an email invitation system for a long time. Basically, every writer received an email alert when a new wiring project was available and the first person to click the link was able to claim it. A submission link was included in the email along with deadline and pay rate information.
Later on, ContentFly shifted to an online project management system. I had stopped writing for them prior to the change, simply because CopyPress and Scripted (my all-time favorite platforms) were keeping me busy at higher rates. Still, I have nothing bad to say about ContentFly, although I can’t speak to how the project claiming process works these days.
I believe they now use Artificial Intelligence to decide which writers get invited to which projects. When I wrote for them previously, the pay was $0.05/word, which was generous given the minimal amount of time most projects took. While I do not write for them often anymore, I would certainly recommend applying.
CopyPress has quickly risen to become my second-favorite writing platform (and it’s been keeping me busier than anything else as of late). I get paid $0.05/word and I believe that’s the preferred rate I gave when I applied. I am not sure if this is a flat rate they pay all writers or if it varies.
For confidentiality reasons, I can’t name the exact companies I work with through the platform, but I can give you some generic examples. I’m currently working on resume samples for a major job search site and I will be writing cover letters for them next. I’m also creating articles containing accommodation recommendations for small cities across the United States, with the pieces set to be published on a major travel booking site.
Companies contract CopyPress directly and CopyPress then divides the projects amongst their pool of writers. I get an email about once a week when new projects have been released. I then login to the dashboard where I can accept or reject them (as long as I get to them before another writer does).
Of course, no platform is perfect. The worst thing about CopyPress is that they take three months to pay. That’s right: I won’t receive pay for the work I’m completing this week until February 2020 or later, depending on how long the editors and recipients take to review my work. They only pay via check and I received my first payment last week after I began writing for them back in August.
Another downside is the amount of time it takes to complete most of the projects. I was accepted long before I began writing for CopyPress because I was simply overwhelmed by the length of the briefs and the various style guides you have to review before writing anything. However, once I decided to spend some time looking at it, I realized it wasn’t too complicated. I have only worked with a few companies anyway, so I have grown familiar with their requirements, which makes things much easier.
I have now been writing for Scripted for over a year, and they remain my all-time favorite platform. They check all the boxes: diverse projects, fair pay rates, and excellent communication with the company’s full-time staff, who work with companies to organize projects for us writers.
Scripted is a pitching platform, so you can’t just accept invitations (although companies can hire you for an “instant start” project if they like your work). Through the dashboard, writers can pitch to projects ranging from a few hundred words to many thousands of words.
You get to set your own rates and perhaps the best thing is their floor pricing model. That means no writer can charge less than a certain amount per word, so you don’t have to worry about a super cheap writer coming along trying to hog work by offering unrealistic prices you can’t beat.
When pitching on Scripted, I generally charge $0.10/word as the projects are much more time-consuming than the work writers take through sites like Fiverr (or even CopyPress). Like CopyPress, every project has a unique brief that you must review before writing. On top of that, the pitching process in itself takes time. Clients also have specific requirements for linking and sometimes request images, screenshots, and other extras.
With all of that said, I still highly recommend Scripted for any dedicated writer who wants to pursue writing as a career. On a final note, while I wasn’t charged a fee when I applied, it looks like they now may charge an application fee given their growing popularity.