If you are looking for a way to make residual income while pursuing other writing avenues, Yahoo is a great place to work for new freelance writers. The Yahoo Voices division of Yahoo allows freelance writers to write and create an online brand.
There is an interesting history to Yahoo Voices in that Yahoo actually bought out Associated Content several years ago. Since then the site and the brand itself has grown bigger than ever and this has led to some impressive writing opportunities both within Yahoo and from external sources.
Getting Started with Yahoo
Getting started is easy and you may already have the login necessary. Any Yahoo, Google or Facebook account can be synced to allow access. Once you sign up there is no waiting period to get started. You can write and submit immediately. Please keep in mind that Yahoo currently only pays writers in the United States, although you are still able to publish you work if you live outside the US.
Yahoo has a great intuitive Dashboard that makes navigation quick and easy. At a glance you can see how much you have earned, how many people have seen your articles, whether or not there are new assignments and how you are doing compared to the rest of the month.
This is one of the best Dashboard layouts that you will find on any site and it gives you complete access to your account from this page. There is also a quick alert button to let you know if there is a message from an editor.
The 5 Ways to Make Money
Unlike most writing sites, Yahoo offers writers 4 specific ways to make money through their writing. There are a few rules but they are common to any writing site:
- You have to use a ‘real’ name. You can use a pen name, but it has to be a real name.
- You have to upload a photo or official logo.
That’s it for the rules. The idea here is to project professionalism. It’s good for Yahoo and it’s good for the writer.
On your Dashboard you will find a block with all current open assignments that you are qualified to take. A single click on the title and you will find out all of the specifics for the assignment including word count and deadline. You will also find out what the specific assignment pays.
Do you have a particular interest in the news? Maybe you have an interest and talent for crafts? You can apply for Beat assignments where you write between 5 and 8 articles per week. You select the title and keep it between 350 and 600 words. As long as it is within the topic, you can write on it. Most Beat articles pay between $10 and $15 depending on the topic.
One great thing about Yahoo is that they don’t limit the number of Beats that you can have. So grab several and you can have a steady supply of work for as long as you like. If you are assigned 5 articles a week, you have the entire week to submit them. You can do them all at once and you can skip a week whenever you want. This is about as low pressure as it gets.
This is exactly what it sounds like: you write whatever you want and submit it to Yahoo for consideration in regards to upfront payment. You have the option to refuse the payment when it is offered or you can accept it. Once you have accepted the payment your article will be published.
It’s important to read the manual for what is and isn’t allowed for publication. For the most part common sense applies. There is no minimum or maximum number of articles you can publish per month.
If your article isn’t accepted for upfront payment, you can edit it and try again or you can publish it as ‘display only.’ This means that it’s eligible for performance payments as well as distribution to Yahoo partners.
Writing an Article
You get started by clicking on ‘article’ and then choosing the type of article you want to write.
Yahoo has a great platform but their auto save feature doesn’t function consistently. For that reason it’s usually better to compose your article elsewhere and then copy and past it into the submission form.
You have the option for adding text links, photos and there is room for sources or further reading links at the bottom. It’s a basic and simple format that gets the job done. You select categories and tags then hit the submit button.
One positive aspect of the Yahoo writing platform is the ability to edit your work after submission. The only time your work cannot be edited is when it’s in the Yahoo editing process. Display pieces can always be edited.
There is of course an editing process. All articles are going to be vetted for inappropriate content for everyone that is new. This is simply the way it is and it’s not a hassle. If you are publishing for display, it’s going to get a basic glance looking for anything that is a violation of the rules. As long as there is no problem it will be published.
Upfront payment requests are going to get real editing before an offer is made. The editor wants to make sure that the article is useful as well as timely. Beat assignments will get a similar treatment but the editors are looking for glaring errors in facts, grammar and spelling.
The editing process at Yahoo is generally quick and there is some give and take between the writers and editors. There are some complaints because there is no ability to really dialogue with the editors but other than that the process is headache free.
Here is the best part of writing for Yahoo Voices: Everything you ever write is eligible for performance payments forever. There is no timeline, no minimum number of times you have to publish or anything like that. You do have to actually log into your account once a year but other than that you don’t have to do anything else.
How Residual Payments Work
Residual or performance payments are based on the views that your articles receive. At a level 1, you will get $1.50 and as you gain more page views you will increase until you are making $2 per thousand views. Your overall views are what count in increasing your score and your individual month views are what is calculated for your performance views.
Because of the ability to publish directly for display articles that you have previously published or had rejected by other sources (This has long been a place that writers for Demand Media place their rejected articles) it’s possible to accumulate quite a few articles in a short period of time. These articles can end up making you quite a bit of money over time. One of the first articles I published for free on here five years ago has made over $2000 in performance payments and it’s still making money.
Yahoo has the strangest payment schedule of everyone but it works very well! Your residual payments are paid every month on the 10th. Everything else is paid on approval. If your payment is approved today you will be paid tomorrow. No other site does it like this. All other sites have a set pay date and everything is paid then. Associated Content understood that writers may not be able to wait an entire month to get paid so they set this system up and Yahoo continued it. Payment is through Paypal.
One area that stands head and shoulders above other writing sites is the community forums area of Yahoo. This is an outstanding resource for both beginning and seasoned writers.
Writing can be a lonely profession and this makes it possible to get that old ‘water cooler’ chatting that many people miss from working an office job. You can also submit links to articles and ask for input on how to improve.
Spend a little time looking over Yahoo and seriously consider both writing for the site as well as getting a copy of the Yahoo Style Guide. Their style guide has essentially become the standard for Internet writing. The Yahoo site itself is a great place for new writers to get started on a fantastic new career as a freelance writer.