Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Finding Freelance Work on the Internet

Sourcing Work on the Internet

The internet has revolutionized the world of freelance writing and opened up an amazing range of opportunities, even for the newest writers. The biggest question asked is where can I source work? Without having some understanding of the internet and the way websites operate, it can be a very confusing business.

Common Terms
The first step is to understand some of the terms that are used in connection with the internet.

· Domain – A domain name locates an organization or other entity on the internet. For example, http://www.suite101.com/ is the domain name for Suite101, an article directory.

· URL – Uniform or Universal Resource Locator. This is the address of a resource or a file available on the internet. The following is the URL of one of my articles in Suite 101.
http://research-writing-techniques.suite101.com/article.cfm/dialogue_spices_up_fiction

· SEO – Search Engine Optimization. This is the process of improving the quality and flow of traffic to a website. When doing a search, the articles that pop up first on the list, are those that rank highest on the search engine. This optimization is achieved by a combination of keywords and content. Keywords are important when writing for the internet as they bring your article up when people do a search.

· HTML – Hyper Text Markup Language. This the computer language used to create documents for display on the World Wide Web.


· HTTP – Hyper Text Transfer Protocol. This is the set of rules that governs the transfer of documents and files across the internet. It appears at the beginning of every internet address.

What are People Looking for
There are websites that analyze the most common word searches of the day/week/month. It can be helpful to look through these as they give you an idea of the type of thing people are reading. Some subjects may be a short-lived trend and others are stable favorites. If writing web content, it will be useful to keep an eye on these sites.

http://www.nichebot.com/
http://www.wordtracker.com/
http://www.top-adsense-keywords.com/
http://www.google.com/trends/hottrends

Searching the Internet

There are dozens of websites that offer links to freelance work opportunities. The best way to find suitable sites is by doing a word search relating to the type of work you are seeking. For example, if you want work that involves writing articles, you could enter the following words: freelance writing jobs articles. Placing inverted commas around the words will narrow the search to links that contain the words in that order only. I entered this search on Google, and without the commas, it listed 631,000 results. With the commas, it listed only 72.

Metasearch Engines

These link several search engines and run a search over all of them, saving time and effort. Here are a couple for you to try out:

http://clusty.com/
http://www.dogpile.com/
http://www.ixquick.com/

What Do Job Sites offer

There are several different ways that they operate. Some provide the information for free and others charge a monthly subscription. Some offer low paying market information for free and charge a fee for accessing the higher paying markets. Others act as a go between and charge commission on all work that is done through them. A variation on this, is sites that allow writers to bid on projects and the most suitable gets the job. There is normally a fee involved. Article databases accept articles from writers and the writer is paid according to the number of clicks made on the adverts that accompany their article page.

How Do I Choose What Suits me

The best way is to set aside a morning or an afternoon, and browse through some websites. Make notes on how they operate and how many jobs are on offer that would suit you. Decide whether you want to join up to a paying membership or would prefer to stick to the free resources. Then narrow your search down and find some work.

Links

Below are some links to get your started on your search.

Freelance Writing Gigs

job leads and advice posted daily and article markets posted on Monday. One of the best sites online for freelancers.

All Freelance Writing

job listings and advice columns

Journalism Jobs

mostly jobs with a physical location, but there is a search option for telecommute position in the drop-down menu

Media Bistro

paying membership to display your profile to prospective clients

Write Jobs

listings of all kinds of writing jobs

Funds for Writers

newsletters, lists of grants, and jobs for writers, including a separate listing for children and college kids

ProBlogger

blogging tips and resources

Writers Gazette

online writing community. Free newsletters and resources.

Writers Weekly

lots of stuff for writers including free job listings

Worldwide Freelance

free links to low paying markets. Subscriptions from $1.25 per month for access to higher paying markets

Odesk

work is monitored through odesk and a commission is paid to them. Offers free and paid memberships

Freelance Writing

links to freelance writing jobs and writing contests

Freelance Switch

resources and links to freelance writing job sites

Elance

free and paid membership

Writing for Dollars

Offers free ebook – 83 Ways to Make Money Writing, weekly job listing, newsletter

Freelance Jobs

job links and advice

Article Directories

The following sites accept articles on virtually any subject and payment is according to the number of reads and ads clicked on. It’s a slow process but the articles remain online indefinitely, creating a passive stream of income. Most of the sites purchase all rights, so read the fine print before you sign up.

Suite 101
Helium
Triond
eHow

Demand Studios

Have a browse and let me know if you pick up any work through these sites. It’s always encouraging to hear success stories. Happy hunting!


Debbie Roome works as a freelance writer from her home in New Zealand. Read some of her work at Suite 101 and Faithwriters.



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7 comments:

Tracy Ruckman said...

Excellent list of resources!!!

I can't wait to hear some of the success stories!

Sunny said...

Oh wow! What a wealth of information! Cant wait to check out the links.

Stonefox (otherwise known as Heidi) said...

As a not very tech-savy person, this was very helpful. Lots of great links, too. I will be back to learn more! stonefox@pobox.com

the schros said...

this is so interesting- thanks for the links- I'm always afraid things like this are scams

Jennifer said...

wow what a great list of stuff to use and know! thank you for this post.. I will have to check out many of these links on keywords and search engines

lukenlarry at yahoo dot com

Donna said...

Great info here...I was able to find and enter some recipes for writing/recipe contest! Yippee!

Shooting Stars Mag said...

this is great. i'm very interested in freelancing. i'll have to give some of these links a look over soon.

-lauren
lauren51990 at aol dot com