Writing for the Web involves much more than article writing. Even within article writing (or Web content writing), there are several different types of work you can do in an effort to make money online as a freelance writer. Below is a list of some relatively common types of Web writing services that may be a good fit for your or your clients.
Web Content Writing
Web content can have several purposes. Generally, content is designed to inform, educate, or entertain. However, more recently Web content has been used solely as a search engine optimization (SEO) tool – keyword-rich content is written or purchased to try to improve search engine rankings and therefore traffic to a website (sometimes these SEO articles are poorly written, with no real consideration for readers beyond the search engine spiders). Here are a few types of Web content you may want to consider offering to clients:
This may be solely focused on search engines, or it may be designed to attract both search engines and readers. These are the types of projects generalist Web writers often take on.
Authority Web Content
This type of article is usually written by an expert or specialist writer in the niche. Their credentials lend authority to the content, which in turn gives authority status to the website in the eyes of visitors. Authority content is the most valuable kind of Web content, and in some cases you’ll earn just as much writing it as you would earn writing for high-paying print publications – it all comes down to who you target and how you position yourself. Authority Web content not only attracts readers, but keeps them coming back for more. It also brings in natural incoming links (it’s a form of “link bait”) and word-of-mouth referrals (which is the best type of marketing out there).
Blog posts can fall under either SEO content or authority Web content, but they’re a bit different than more traditional articles. When you blog for clients (or for your own blog), you have to keep it conversational, and the work goes beyond the initial post in responding to comments.
E-books and reports are another type of content writing, although on a larger scale than articles. You may write your own e-book and sell it to end buyers for residual income, you may ghostwrite e-books for clients, or you may write them and then try to sell one-off rights to another buyer who would then earn the residual income selling to end readers.
Web Copywriting / Business Writing
Web copywriting and business writing projects are related enough that I’m going to lump them together here. While content is designed to inform, educate, or entertain, copy on the other hand is designed to get some kind of reaction. It’s persuasive. It may be overtly so – telling people to buy a product through a sales page. It can also be incredibly subtle – like a company’s “About Us” page which is actually designed to build trust between the visitor and the company by disclosing facts about them and their work openly.
Here are some types of copywriting and business writing that you may be able to do through a Web writing business (the work can be done and transmitted to the client entirely online, even if it’s ultimately used offline):
- Basic Web Copy (the text on a company’s website other than articles or blog posts)
- Sales Pages
- Newsletter Copy (again, everything but strict content)
- Ad Copy
- Press Releases
- White Papers / Reports
- Brochures (increasingly created and used in .pdf format rather than printed)
- Business and Marketing Plans
These are just some of the more common types of freelance Web writing out there. Essentially, any kind of writing you can do offline, you can do online (even magazines have online versions, and we now have e-books to complement print books). Don’t try to “do it all,” but instead choose the right mix to specialize in to maximize your online earnings and satisfy client demand.
About the Author:
Jennifer Mattern is a freelance business writer / Web content writer, blogger, and author of the Web Writer’s Guide to Launching a Successful Freelance Web Writing Career e-book. She runs several writing sites and blogs devoted to helping readers find writing jobs and build more successful writing careers.