What are the best writing websites to get assignments?
That question shows up in the Make a Living Writing inbox over and over.
And it’s a fair question. New writing websites keep popping up all the time.
They all work basically the same. Hand over your email address. Create a profile. Get access to a list of freelance writing jobs. Or bid on work against hundreds of others. Sound familiar?
The big question: Can you actually make a living cranking out assignments through one of these writing websites, that connect freelancers with clients?
If you’re new to freelance writing, there’s a pretty good chance you’ve tried your hand at some of these writing websites. Maybe there’s potential there, maybe not.
After talking about the scammy nature of a lot of writing websites with a police officer friend who’s put away plenty of dirtbags, we decided it was time to go undercover and investigate. What we found might surprise you.
Check out our Spy Report on 10 newer writing websites — plus, get intel on 10 more in the bonus section:
10 new writing websites reviewed
If you’ve spent a lot of time writing in a particular niche, or you’ve just left a day job with a specialized set of skills, you might be able to make money by answering questions on Answeree. It works like this:
- Identify user-generated questions in your niche.
- Write a thoughtful answer.
- Make money.
That’s the basic concept of Answeree.
But is it one of those writing websites that’s going to help you pay the bills, move up, and earn more? You decide.
Rates: Answeree uses a paid-per-pageview formula to compensate you for your answered questions. Craft a well-written answer, and you’ll get paid $0.10 for every 1,000 views. Do the math: That’s a $1 paycheck for 10,000 views. There are other ways to earn money, but the rates are similar.
Pro: Freelance writer Ann LeFlore says she’s made money from Answeree. But a recent payout for writing answers to questions totaled $28.38.
Con: If you’re aiming to use your niche writing experience or advanced degree to make money writing, this probably isn’t the place, says Dr. Mark Davis:
“ I found it’s difficult to calculate earnings,” says Davis. “Wages are minimal for the work required. Many of the questions are ridiculous…If you are looking to make $.10 an hour, this is the site for you. I wish the owners of the site well and caution those who use it. You many never see your money.”
After hustling freelance work for five years, writer Amie Marse launched Content Equals Money to work with more clients by outsourcing projects to writers. It works like a lot of middle-man agencies:
- Content Equals Money lands a B2B or B2C client.
- Amie or an account manager works with the client to develop a scope of work for content needs like blog posts, website content, and case studies.
- A writer is hired to do the work.
Should you throw your hat in the ring to score some gigs from this writing website? Maybe. Marse calls the opportunity “a place to grow” and a “stepping stone.” And prefers to work with writers with 25-40+ hours of availability.
The big difference here? If you work with Content Equals Money, it won’t be as a freelancer.
“We aren’t like other sites or platforms, because all of our writers are true W-2 employees,” says Marse.
Marse says Content Equals Money writers get:
- Guaranteed 30 hours a week (“We only hire full time, so people work between 30-40 hours each week. If we don’t have client work, they still get 30 hours guaranteed.”)
- 5 hours a week of paid lunch/break time
- $100/month for tuition reimbursement
- 401(k) (CEM matches dollar for dollar for the first 5%)
- 30-day paternity/maternity leave
“The absolute lowest rate is $15 and hour, but most writers make more than that,” says Marse. “We also hire editors, proofers, project managers and sales people. We hire exclusively through Flexjobs, when we’re ready to hire. You have to complete a 2-hour, timed writing test. Upon hiring, you have a full 40-hour week of training before you touch any client work.”
Rates: Aside from the bottom rate stated above by Marse, the site also includes rates clients pay for content. These provide some insight into what you can expect:
Note: These aren’t the rates writers are paid for projects at Content Equals Money. These are the rates clients pay for content.
Pro: Freelance writer and editor Kimberlee Kile Henry says Content Equals Money is a good fit for being a work-from-home mom. And she’s been doing contract work for the company for 6 years.
“If you’re ready for an exciting new challenge that will put your writing skills and creativity to the test, then a writing job with Content Equals Money might be for you,” says Henry. “I’m a stay a home mom with a knack for words and language, so this job is a perfect fit.”
Con: Not all freelancers share the same experience. A simple Google search for “Content Equals Money reviews” uncovered complaints on Glassdoor and elsewhere about low rates, late payments, and mundane assignments.
Entrepreneur Nathan Hirsch was used to using platforms like Upwork and fiverr to find freelancers to help him scale his businesses.
But he kept running into the same problems: Mediocre writers and freelancers who can’t handle assignments from start to finish, deliver quality content on time, or be reliable.
Looking for a solution pointed the way another entrepreneurial venture for Hirsch, and he launched FreeUp. It’s a platform that connects clients with content needs to vetted freelance writers. Here’s how to tap into FreeUp’s network of projects:
- Complete the application process
- Schedule a virtual interview
- Pass a skills test
- Create a profile and set your hourly rate
- Apply for available client projects
Rates: FreeUp isn’t just for freelance writers. But there’s a designated Content Creation category. And clients need freelancers for gigs like blog writing, copywriting, and editing.
How much can you expect to get paid? From $24-$75 an hour — in other words, a range from too low to real decent money. Note that once you complete a project, FreeUp takes a 15% cut. Here’s a rate chart:
Pros: Freelance writer Angel Manalad was no stranger to the challenge of writing query letters to magaziness and pitching businesses for work when she found FreeUp. She says the platform helped ramp up her freelance business over the traditional route:
“Freelancing in the past was hard,” says Manalad. “You need to look for clients. You have to prove yourself time and time again. On FreeUp, you always get matched up with clients that can meet the rate you want, while clients get the right person to do the job.”
Cons: Ask the Interwebs about freelancing for FreeUp, and you’ll find that most reviews from freelance writers describe a positive experience. However, pay per project may not measure up to landing clients on your own.
Here’s an example. Side Hustle Nation founder Nick Loper hired a freelancer to write a couple of blog posts (1,500 to 2,000 words), and paid $60 to $70 per assignment. Remember, that’s the rate the platform charged, not what the writer made.
If you’re looking for freelance writing jobs, writing websites like iFreelance can appear to simplify the process. Create an account, and you’ll get access to a healthy list of clients in need of your services.
That’s the idea, anyway. But it falls apart pretty fast for iFreelance. [NOTE: This site is now gone, which highlights another problem with sites like this – here today, gone tomorrow.]
- Pay to play. If you want to dig through the job boards list for writing and editing gigs on iFreelance, you have to pay $6.25 and up for monthly membership.
- What project listings? A pay-to-play membership gives you access to client projects to bid on. But take a closer look and there’s currently ZERO writing and editing projects available. And there appears to be a total of four available jobs across the entire platform’s 13 different categories.
- Blind contact info. Got a question on a possible job? All you’ll get here is a blind email address/contact form. And when we reached out with questions to test the process, we never received a reply.
- Social proof. A total of seven people have a connection to the iFreelance LinkedIn page. For an online writing platform with membership fees, that doesn’t make a lot of sense. And the last Facebook post made by iFreelance was more than five years ago.
- Reviews. There’s a review about how iFreelance works written by “Oliver Taylor” that gives this freelance site a score of 3.5. There’s just one small problem: a Google image search shows the image for “Oliver Taylor” is a ubiquitous stock photo labeled “gentleman” that’s circling the Internet. The only positive review for iFreelance, written by Lauren Vork, is about a decade old. And there’s more than one complaint about mysterious fees, difficulty to cancel an account, and non-responsive customer service.
- Bad company. Dig a little deeper, and you’ll discover iFreelance is a subsidiary of the content marketing company Internet Brands. Freelance writer Ashley Johnson can tell you all about it:
“I only wrote for them for a few months…and made about $25 total. They paid no more than $5 for 100-150 word, SEO-heavy, coupon-code blurbs that probably ended up on some scam-ridden pop-up page.”
Are you trying to launch your freelance writing business as a side hustle, while you keep punching the clock at your 9-to-5 job?
Or maybe you’re at stay-at-home mom ready for a freelance writing career, but don’t have the time (yet) to write full-time.
You’re who Moonlighting CEO and Founder Jeff Tennery had in mind, when he created a platform to connect freelancers with clients.
Moonlighting launched in 2014, and amassed 650,000 registered users (freelancers for hire and clients seeking freelancers), in 4 years. And last year, the company launched a campaign to raise $25 million in funding to expand.
Is this just another one of those crummy writing websites — or does Moonlighting have the potential to help you earn real money?
Rates: Take a look at the available writing gigs listed on Moonlighting, and you’ll see a mix of assignments for copywriting, editing, even fiction and poetry. Clients on Moonlighting choose flat-rate fees per project, or set an hourly rate. Pay ranges from $500 for book consulting to $10 per blog post, along with jobs where clients are negotiable.
Pros: If you’re looking for a writing website with potential, Moonlighting’s launch, new round of funding, and leadership with deep roots in corporate America, may help grow this into a thriving freelance marketplace, says Forbes contributor Monty Munford.
Cons: As of Jan. 8, 2019, only 26 writing jobs were listed on Moonlighting.com
Online Writing Jobs is the now-revamped content marketplace formerly known as Quality Gal. (Hands up if you wrote for them!)
Here’s how it works: A business in need of content submits a request to “Hire a Writer,” spells out the scope of work, and determines the project budget. Then writers get assigned to create content for B2B and B2C clients in automotive, education, medical/health, science, technology, and travel.
If you want to write for Online Writing Jobs, you’ll have to jump through a few hoops first. First, you write an original piece of content, based on a set of guidelines. If accepted, you’ll get paid $10 for the work, and gain access to apply for SEO content, copywriting, blogging, and other writing assignments.
Rates: “We use a per-project, rubric-driven pay scale, and final payment is linked to the grade indicated by the rubric,” says Senior Content Administrator Heather Holden. “Average payout ranges between $10 and $27 per project, depending on the project specs.” (Say what?)
Pros: Freelance writer Allena Tapia uses Online Writing Jobs because the platform makes it easy to pick and choose assignments and work as much as she wants.
Cons: Two problems writing for Online Writing Jobs and many similar content creation sites like it: You’re not likely to get a byline, and you won’t work directly with clients. Rates, as you can see above, tend to be very low.
Looking for freelance writing jobs online? Guesstimate the number of hours you’ve spent sifting through jobs boards in search of decent gigs. That time-suck, of sifting through freelance writing job boards, inspired entrepreneur Danil Yasynskyi to create Periodix.
“Periodix solves the biggest problem in the freelance market,” says Yasynskyi. “We help people spend less time searching and more time working.”
Basically, the platform is designed to scour the Internet for freelance writing jobs that match up with the kind of work you’re looking for.
Rates: Rates vary. But when we used the software to search for available freelance writing jobs, Periodix found 15 niche writing jobs ranging in pay from $10 to $50 assignment, along with some gigs with negotiable rates.
Pros: If you’re willing to give up sifting through job boards, Periodix can potentially cut down your search time.
Cons: Periodix pulls freelance writing jobs from multiple lists (including Upwork) to generate a list of open writing gigs. Of course, this simply concentrates the competition among writers to apply for and land those assignments.
Freelance writer, journalist, and editor James Durston knew the sting of rejection all too well. Take the time to painstakingly craft a killer query, pitch an editor, and then wait for a response. Sometimes, a rejection would make its way back to his inbox. Often, nothing but crickets.
That harsh reality inspired Durston to find an easier way to connect freelancers with editors…editors from respected publications that pay pro rates. That’s the PitchWhiz story.
Unlike many writing websites that focus mostly on content marketing and business writing, PitchWhiz seeks to help freelancers and editors to connect.
Rates: Rates vary based on the magazine, publication, or organization. But Durston says PitchWhiz is primarily a place where freelancers can expect to find writing assignments that pay pro rates. For example, a recent call for pitches by Overture magazine listed pay at $500 for 1,000 to 3,000-word stories about science, innovation and technology.
Pros: You can search the PitchWhiz Directory with a key phrase from your niche, or an editor’s name. Writers can also use the Story Market feature to propose story ideas to editors.
Cons: Launched about a year ago, PitchWhiz is still a relatively new player among writing websites. Not many editors seem to know about it yet, so don’t throw away your copy of Writers Market.
Bonus: 6 better writing websites
Take a closer look at this list of writing websites, and you’ll see most pay dismal rates, are still in startup mode, or have other problems. But there are a few more established writing websites with a decent track record (we review several of these here):
Bonus: Writing websites that didn’t make the list
Make a Living Writing readers and members of the Freelance Writer’s Den writer community suggested writing websites to check out for this post. (Thanks for your tips!)
Some of the sites they asked about are no longer working with new writers, or are proven scams, including:
These sites don’t appear to be useful places for writers to hang out, sorry to say.
The problem with writing websites
You don’t have to look far to find writing websites that promise fat paychecks, steady work, and great clients. But the truth is, most writing websites don’t turn out to be the magical answer to your freelance needs, because:
- Rates tend to be low
- Competition among other freelancers is high
- You’re frequently working in an agency-style arrangement, for a client you can’t talk to
- There’s usually a shortage of well-paying work
Remember the most important freelance rules, when considering signing up with writer websites:
- If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is
- Do an online search for complaints about the platform first
Glassdoor is increasingly the go-to headquarters for spotting problems at writing websites — make a stop there and Google “Is X site a scam?” before you spend time and/or money signing up.
Find your own clients for freelance success
If you want to make a living writing, job boards and writing websites shouldn’t be the primary way you find work. Use them as a supplement if you must.
Instead of waiting for the perfect gig to fall into your lap, fire up your marketing efforts. Send more letters of introduction. Craft killer query letters to pitch magazine editors. Repeat. Now is always the best time to start.
What writing websites have you tried? Lets discuss in the comments below.
Evan Jensen is the blog editor for Make a Living Writing. When he’s not on a writing deadline, or catching up on emails, he’s training to run another 100-mile ultramarathon.