It’s not news to any regular that I’d love to take this site full time. I’d love to write and code just the things that I truly have a passion for. To that end I’ve been looking around at writing for some other sites to get my name out in a wider audience.
The big sticking point for me always comes down to pay. Most are only paying $60 – $80 for a 900 word article. Since I charge more than that per hour spending all the time it takes to write a 900 word article that I’d actually be proud of means I’m making a few dollars per hour.
If I decided to write WordPress tutorials and screencasts it could get up to $150 but that still seems low for quality content. Even if the pay was double, I’m not sure that I really want to be writing WordPress tutorials, long term. I don’t see how that really could transfers readers to my regular blog.
I suppose my goal is not to turn writing for someone else in to my source of income. With that in mind, a sacrifice for a bit to get wider recognition is the real pay off. That means I need some way to figure out how to connect the freelance writing, and the traffic I may get from that writing.
Getting an extra 10k visitors is not really something that matters, I want to see a subscriber increase. Tracking additional subscribers with a particular blog post is harder. Sure if I add 30 subscribers the day the freelance piece comes out then we have some indication where they came from, but the further we get from the post the harder it gets to track where new subscribers came from.
I suppose that what you really need to do is test. Actually write some freelance articles and see what happens for each site that you write for. If site A brings little change in subscribers, but site B adds a bunch write more for site B. At some point you’re going to saturate the subscribers on site B so you’ll have to move on to testing site C and D.
A secondary pay off would be editing. As the author and editor of my own work I’d love to get feedback on articles before they get published. Writing for someone else would provide that. Maybe writing freelance off and on would just make me a better writer and my site would get more quality traffic and subscribers as I upped my game. Having an editor could also take the place of the mentor I spoke about craving.
The benefit of becoming a better writer is even harder to track to any specific source. Was I just going to improve because I wrote more, or did the work of an editor force that improvement on me? That can only be judged internally and that makes it really hard to track with any trust in the conclusions.