Sunday, February 5, 2012
Writing for Textbroker
Life for me has suddenly changed. My husband had a good job offer fall into his lap last December, so he closed down his handyman business and went to work for a large construction company. That means my income is no longer essential. That has good and bad aspects, however, but mostly good because I am now free to spend my time devoted to writing I enjoy doing. It has taken me awhile to wrap my brain around that idea again.
When I first signed up to write for Textbroker, it was with eventual retirement in mind. My husband’s business wasn’t doing well, my writing for Health Mango had been put on hold due to Google’s latest algorithm changes, and Suite hadn’t yet decided what they were going to do about everything yet. In addition, I signed up for Google plus, designed a writers circle and an autism circle, and focused heavily on learning how to market myself. But that can be tricky because you don’t want to spam your new friends, even with articles they might be interested in.
I have spent the vast majority of my time lately focusing on Textbroker. While I’m still a Topic Editor for Suite 101, there are only a couple of autism writers there who have not walk away. I don’t have much to do, other than my own autism writing. I’ve been hesitant to add to my collection of articles at Suite because I didn’t know in what direction they were going to go, but now decisions have been made, so I have a clearer vision about what is happening.
As for Textbroker, I really enjoy working for them, but they are not in the same category as a content farm or article website. You can’t write on topics that you want to write on. It’s basically what I would call contract work. There is a listing of writing assignments that website owners, SEO specialists or marketing individuals have ordered and paid for. Sometimes, those assignments are placed by a middleman, in that they plan to take what you write and sell it elsewhere. These article requests can also come from blog owners who don’t have time to keep up with their blog posts. Basically, anyone who wants writing done for any reason.
These article requests go into an order pool where individual writers can claim them. You are allowed to claim one article at a time and generally have about 24 hours to complete the assignment and submit it. If you don’t finish the article on time, the order returns to the general pool where someone else can grab it. So you don’t want to accept anything that you can’t finish on time. Sometimes, an order does give you longer than 24 hours to complete it, but not often.
The articles are generally short. Most of them are not over 500 words and do not require references, so the research and time required to write them depends on your own experience with that particular topic. Sometimes using European English or Australian English is mandatory, but most of the time American English is what’s needed. Pay is small, but I’ve heard that it’s better than other similar sites, and Textbroker does try to watch out for their writer’s interests.
Occasionally, there are some lengthy articles. Whether shorter or longer articles are better in terms of pay depends on the individual writer. Pay at Textbroker is per word, not assignment.
When you look at an assignment, the website owner or whomever gives you directions as to how they want the article to be written, the keywords you are to use (if any), how often you are required to use those keywords, and any other information such as type of voice or person they would like used. The downside to Textbroker is that very few orders come with good instructions. Most of them are rather vague and the writer has to guess what the person ordering the article wants.
Sometimes that’s because the article is only for SEO purposes and the person who needs the article doesn’t care what you write about provided you use the targeted keywords in the way they want you too. But sometimes, that’s because they really don’t know what they want or are unable to put that into words.
For me, the downside to writing for Textbroker is my personality and lifestyle. I’m not much into beauty topics and fashion. I don’t know much about computers, programming, electronics and vehicles. I totally stink at writing product descriptions, reviews and news. I prefer to write articles that I can easily research, learn about, and write. Mostly, I stick to health topics, easy blog posts about topics with which I’m familiar, and weight loss articles, but I do branch out now and then with mixed results.
Overall, I like writing for Textbroker. While they are strict as far as their ratings go, that is not a bad thing. It helps to keep you on this side of reality if you attempt to make a complete living working for just them. From watching others over there, I've learned that sloppy writing brings lower ratings, and lower editor ratings mean less pay per word. In the present online writing climate, lower ratings also mean less work available. No matter what kind of writing you’re doing, you should always do your best.