I admit it. I'm a numbers-nerd. I like to compare options and work out the actual numbers before I make a decision that might impact my freelance writing business.
Recently, I've had a lot of people slam my decision to NOT recommend revenue-sharing sites.
So here's my math-nerd response - and some questions for you to consider in the meanwhile.
Answer these questions...
Are you willing to write lots and lots of content for free in the hopes that you MIGHT earn some "passive" income in the future?
Are you also willing to spend a lot of time promoting your work to make sure you get lots of page views?
Does the idea of reading and commenting on lots of other people's pointless, aimless posts in the hopes that they might visit yours in return excite you?
If you said yes to any of these things, you probably already spend a lot of time trying to earn money from writing on a revenue share site. You may also own your own blog.
How do Revenue Share Sites Work?
Revenue share sites all work on a similar platform. The site owners earn money from advertising revenue generated by the content you create for them. They pay you a tiny portion of the revenue they receive based on how popular your posts are and how much they're earning at the time.
Owners of revenue share sites also place the responsibility for increasing your own page views right on your own shoulders. If you get no page views, you earn nothing. Even if you DO get page views, you may not always earn anything, depending on the advertisers they've chosen to use on their site that show up on your posts.
So it's your job to write the content, promote your work and find traffic for THEIR site.
If you're willing to write lots and lots of content for someone else's site, chances are you could end up in the ranks of "high" earning revenue share site writers, who are always in the minority. Or you could become another statistic earning less than $150 per year for hours and hours of low-paid work each week.
Let's be honest, most new online writers believe that getting paid by a "get paid to write" revenue share site is a good opportunity for them to learn. Likewise, the spiel sold on 'get paid to write' revenue share sites is that you earn more for contributing more. In other words, they really want you to work hard to make their site more popular for them. As they become more popular the amount of money they can earn from their advertisers increases, so they try to tell you that you'll earn more in the long run. If that was true and the site owners were so confident about earning enough revenue from your work, why wouldn't they pay you upfront for your contributions?
What Are Your Options?
By comparison, you could create your own blog. You can also spend your time and effort writing lots and lots of free content. Only this time you have the choice which advertisers you work with.
You're still responsible for finding your own traffic and attracting new visitors to your posts and you're still responsible for promoting your work, so nothing changes there. You're also responsible for connecting with your readers and finding ways to entice them to keep coming back to visit your blog.
The difference is - you don't have to share your revenue with ANYONE. It's all yours.
Unfortunately, far too many new writers believe they can't do this. So they fall for the slick sales pitches revenue share sites sling at them and they hope to earn a few extra dollars over the long term. They think writing lots of posts and attracting visitors and promoting their new blog will be too hard.
... and yet they do the same things willingly for a revenue-share site for a fraction of the revenue. Curious.
Your Own Free Blog vs Revenue Share Sites
Let's say you spend three minutes setting up your own free blog on Blogger or on Wordpress or Typepad - or whatever blogging platform you want. You spend another 30 minutes signing up for a Google Adsense account, or an Amazon affiliates account, or a Clickbank affiliate account, or Chitika or Donanza or Neverblue - or any other type of advertising platform you want to play with.
You set up your blog's format and layout and you start blogging about whatever you love. You write 2 posts per week at around 500 words per port. Of course, you post a link to each post on your Facebook account and on your Twitter account so people know to come and read it.
Yes, it takes time to build up a following. But that's the same amount of time and effort you'd put into building up a following on a revenue-share site anyway.
Time for the Freelance Writing Math Lesson
It's time now for a little more freelance writing math.
Let's look at the comparisons side-by-side. For the purpose of this example, we're going to compare writing simple 100 word posts for Bubblews to writing 500 word posts for your own blog.
Writing Articles for Your Blog
100 per post
500 per article
Number of pieces written
Sub-total words per week
2,000 (+words written for comments)
Number of comments left
100 (about 20 words per comment = 2,000)
Total words per week
Number of connections required per week
Time spent per week
Amount earned per week
Earnings after 1 year
Hmmm... so you're earning around double the amount of money (maybe), but you're only spending two hours a week writing something you actually enjoy. Plus, you're not dependent on another site owner choosing what ads are displayed on your work.
You're also not dependent on them being honest about the amount of revenue you're actually earning for them while they give you a few pennies in return. When it's your blog, you get to see exactly how much you're earning from each different advertiser you have.
When you can see the statistics of which blog posts earn you the most money and gain you the most page views, you can duplicate your efforts and choose topics that people are more likely to come and read. You have more control over your online business, because you can see what's really happening behind the scenes.
But Owning a Blog is Hard Work...
What's that? You say it's hard to drive traffic to a blog? It's hard to increase page views? It's hard to think of new things to write?
So, what exactly are you doing on those revenue share sites anyway to earn a few extra pennies? You're focused on increasing your page views. You're focused on thinking of new things to write. You do all this in the hopes that someone else will pay you AFTER they get paid from the same advertisers you have the same level of access to directly.
Before you fall for the hype of earning "passive income" from a revenue share site, think carefully about your options. Your time and effort could be better spent elsewhere - for more money in the long run.
Personally, I own several blogs across a range of niches and topics. I know it took me a bit of time to get them up and running. It also took a bit of effort to get them ranked in search engines and to find a few regular followers.
I also know I earn quite a bit more each month from my blogs than most of the "higher earning" people on Bubblews earn. And I really only spend a few hours a month on each of them, because I also write articles and ebooks for various other clients throughout the day.
So, what's your choice for your own freelance writing business and your own freelance writing future?