It’s little surprise that I love to read – just check out my Goodreads feed or my Instagram for a taste of what books I’ve picked up lately. Last year, Dani and I discovered the PopSugar reading challenge, and we thought it would be a fun way to read different books (and make a pretty spread in our bullet journals.)
Toward the end of last year, we decided to make a 2018 challenge of our own. Over the last few months of 2017 we started noting down categories or prompts we saw on other lists, or ideas we thought of as we walked around Chicago. In December, we sat down and culled it to a list of 50 prompts, thinking that 50 books in 52 weeks was a pretty good read rate. We then added a 51st prompt to pick a book for each other to read, because we do have pretty diverse reading tastes.
I thought I’d share our challenge here in case you’re looking for some creative prompts to mix up your reading and want to read along with us! I have a shelf on Goodreads where I’m cataloging the books I’m using for the challenge, and at the end of the year, I’ll probably do a recap post.
This will probably mean that my formerly-quarterly book club review posts might get more frequent, so get ready for lots of recommendations!
We’re also making notes with ideas for next year’s challenge, so if you have any suggestions for prompts, let me know in the comments! Check out this printable Pinterest graphic (it’s sized perfectly for a bullet journal, so you can print it out and paste it in if you, like me, are too lazy to draw a pretty page for all the challenge prompts :))
What do you think of the prompts? Any suggestions for our reading challenge next year?
You’ve been focusing hard on your blog – picking a theme that puts the focus on your content and creating great, engaging posts that benefit your readers. So why aren’t you getting the traffic, engagement, or brand partnerships that you’ve been working for? Sometimes you can have the best content in the world, but have some other issues going on with your blog or website. In my day job, I often review and audit websites and offer tips and tricks for the owner to improve the site going forward. These are some of the most common issues I see when looking at other websites!
You’re Not Self-Hosted: This is the number one mistake anyone could ever make, especially new bloggers. I get it – it can be hard to shell out the money for hosting and a domain name, but without your own domain name, you won’t ever look professional. Consider a brand or potential sponsor getting a request to sponsor “yourblog.blogspot.com” – this could lead readers to think that the brand is associated with Blogspot, rather than your particular website. And if you do find a partner with a URL like that, readers might not remember what your website is going forward – they might only remember the top-level domain, which will make it harder to find you again. It doesn’t even have to be very expensive – my hosting and domain names are less than $100 per year. If you’re looking to make the move to self-hosted and start to increase your traffic and monetization, check out BigScoots – they’re my favorite!
You’re Using Comic Sans: Poor old Comic Sans takes the fall, but there are a lot of terrible fonts that are sorely overused in design and blogging. Papyrus, Bleeding Cowboys, Stencil… the list goes on, and you can probably think of a few others. There’s a reason these fonts regularly get listed on “do not use” lists – they’re unprofessional and dated, and when used on your blog or website, that’s the message they convey. If you’re using these fonts, consider browsing some alternatives. Google Fonts is super easy to integrate into a WordPress blog, and DaFont has a huge library of free fonts to check out – Pinterest is also a good place to look for free fonts to use!
You Don’t Interact With Readers On Social Media or In Comments: Creating a loyal audience is important when growing your blog, but you can’t build a relationship based on one-way communication. If visitors are commenting on your posts, be sure to reply – maybe they’re sharing more valuable tips you can benefit from, or have questions about a point in your post. If you’re struggling to get comments, consider including a question at the end of your posts as a call to action. Check your notifications on social media regularly – engage with your followers by posting content they’ll benefit from, and reply to their posts! Twitter is especially fun to interact on – it’s easy to find other people with your interests.
Your Bio Sucks: Admittedly, the bio page is a delicate balance, so it can be tough to get “right”. Without drawing on your entire life story, you want readers to be able to quickly get an idea of who you are and what you’re like. I’ve seen bios that detail each year of someone’s school life, pages that include little substance or are written in a way that doesn’t connect, or worst of all – blogs without any sort of “about” page. Your readers want to quickly get your backstory – especially new readers who might be jumping into your blog without any context. If you aren’t feeling very inspired, this is a great post on how to improve your biography, or look at this post with some of my favorite examples!
Your Layout Is Bad: If you’re using the WordPress default layout, it might make you look a bit amateur – you don’t have to spend a ton (or any!) on a theme for your blog for it to look great. I’ve gotten my last two themes on Etsy for super reasonable prices, and many designers even offer installation, if you’re a total newbie. There are tons of resources for free themes, like these for WordPress and Blogger. Be sure that it’s mobile responsive, though – almost 60% of all traffic online now is on a mobile device. Themes that aren’t responsive won’t display well for visitors on phones or tablets, and they might not be able to read any of your content. If you lose them, you might not get them back!
You Have Pop-Ups: Repeat after me: I will not use pop-ups on my website. There’s nothing worse for me than visiting a website and having to close an opt-in or call to action (and it’s even worse when something pops up on every page.) Instead, consider adding your mailing list signup to the top of your content or sidebar areas, or adding a call to action as a header image. I’ve always found it to be a bit presumptive to ask someone to subscribe to you before they’ve even had a chance to check out your content! Some pop-up widgets aren’t responsive either, meaning they can’t be closed or minimized by mobile visitors. If you have to use a pop-up, be sure to test out to make sure it can be closed on a mobile device. Google is actually starting to penalize websites that use pop-ups, so be sure you’re working within their guidelines if you do choose to use these.
There’s No Mailing List: When your visitors do click through to read your great posts, they’ll want to subscribe to get emails from you. If you don’t have a mailing list yet, there’s no better time than now to start! ConvertKit is really popular with bloggers and entrepreneurs to manage mailing lists, but the old standby MailChimp is great for beginners (and free for up to 2,000 subscribers!)
Your Site Isn’t Secure: A few months ago, Google and other search engines started penalizing websites that aren’t using a secure SSL certificate. Basically, SSL is a setting that provides extra security for your visitors – it lets browsers connect securely to different websites. In addition to being penalized in search results, Google Chrome (the most popular web browser) will display a message to visitors that your site is not secure if you don’t have an SSL certificate. This can definitely scare away visitors who think your site may be hosting malware or other material harmful to their computers. It’s typically pretty easy to turn it on – I just emailed the guys at BigScoots, and they issued the SSL certificate right away for no extra cost. Your host can help you out more with this. You can learn more about encryption here!
Do you want to hear something silly? I never considered myself a writer. I’ve had this blog for over five years, with more than 400 posts (and at least 700,000 words.) Off and on over the years, I’ve submitted to and been published by other websites and print publications. In my day job, I’m responsible for copywriting and customer service (a communication job if ever there has been one.) But until a few months ago, I didn’t think of it this way.
In addition to working remotely, I love to help my friends find writing jobs online that will pay for contributions. Today, I thought I’d share some of those sites! Some publications even pay $750 for one post!
What’s in this post? They’re typically freelance positions but could turn into staff jobs depending on the organization and their needs. I tried to stay away from any “content farm” companies as these are typically pretty low paying and might not end up paying in the end anyway. Some housekeeping and notes on what you’ll find here:
All of these are free websites. There are plenty of places that let you pay to access their job board, which I really recommend once you get established – often, this is where you can find the highest paying positions. If you’re just starting out, or don’t want to make a consistent career out of freelance writing, these websites are all great options!
They might change their guidelines or stop accepting posts – if you see one that’s not accepting them anymore, let me know!
Payment pricing is in USD, to the best of my knowledge.
There may be other blogs or websites that pay. My criteria for this list was to only add websites that publish their rates – anything that said “exposure” with no mention of a dollar sign immediately got axed.
I’ll try to update this semi-monthly to keep it as up-to-date as possible and add new opportunities, so be sure to bookmark or pin it for future reference!
Check out these resources and related posts that can help with getting started on your freelance writing career and get paid to write!
A List Apart is “for people who make websites.” They accept three different types of posts: features, articles, and mini-articles, which pay up to $200 per assignment. If you’re involved in making websites from coding to design to content and community (if you’re a blogger, that’s you!) check them out.
Speaking of bloggers, Slick WP is specifically for WordPress users who know how to use the Genesis framework most effectively. They accept posts on tutorials for those two products, as well as reviews of other themes and plugins. It’s a great way to earn $100 for tech-savvy bloggers!
If you’re a UX designer or developer, check out UX Booth. They accept posts with concrete evidence and examples of ways to improve user experiences in a variety of settings.
Lifestyle & Women’s Interest Writing Submissions
I grew up reading Cosmopolitan (no shame here) and they accept submissions from anyone with a unique or crazy college experience. Published essays on their website earn $100, and they’ll keep you in mind for future assignments!
XOJane is known for more risque reader submissions for their “It Happened To Me” series. Pitch features or your own personal stories, and they’ll pay you out if they publish your post!
For a chance to write longer, higher-paying, and potentially more “controversial” articles check out Bitch Media. Their focus is on feminism and pop culture. Each of their issues has a theme announced on their pitch page, and they accept pitches on a rolling basis.
Upworthy accepts pitches on original, meaningful stories. These short posts can be seen by millions of readers and much of their content goes viral, so it can be a great way to make some money and get your name out there as well!
Her View From Home accepts posts on a variety of niches, from faith, family, and grief to recipes, fitness, and fashion. They pay on a tiered system based on how many views your post gets and pay via PayPal.
Men need all the help they can get, and website Mantelligence pays $0.03 cents per word.
LovetoKnow is a website with a lot of different categories, so no matter what your interest is, they’ve probably posted articles about it. Apply to be a writer with them and make between $25-$100 through PayPal per article.
Mommy Bloggers & Family Content
If you’re a parent, check out A Fine Parent. Payment comes via PayPal at $50 per article, and submissions open at different intervals throughout the year. They offer a signup form where you can subscribe to be notified when they’re accepting pitches again.
Family Fun Magazine has several different columns that they pay for. Check out the PDF file and submit your “idea of the month,” “how we have fun,” or other feature, and you could be $750 richer if they publish your article.
Freelance Mom is the ideal website for stay-at-home writing moms. They outline really specific guest post guidelines, so it’s clear what they are looking for (increasing the likelihood that your submission will succeed.) Depending on your post, they’ll pay you $75-$100 – and if it’s the most shared post on their website that month, they’ll reward you with a $150 bonus!
Michigan represent! MetroParent publishes posts from southeastern Michigan parents on both their website and their monthly magazine. The payment for these posts is high, so think about your favorite family-friendly activities and work send it their way.
Maybe you’re in Arizona instead. Raising Arizona Kids also publishes a print periodical and online articles. Compensation varies based on length and they may assign you stories rather than accepting a pitch.
Storkguide is a guide for first-time moms, so if you have kids, share what you’ve learned with new moms! They’re looking for short posts and pay starting at $50 per post.
In the HR or management industry? iWorkWell is looking for experts to contribute to their website. They don’t post the minimum or average payout, but they note that posts that perform well can earn $200 or more.
Horkey Handbook is a great place for new VAs to learn the industry and for anyone to find productivity and career tips. I’ve been a fan of Gina’s for a long time! They pay $75 per accepted post and may close for submissions throughout the year depending on their content load.
If you’re a small or independent entrepreneur, check out IndieMade. They pay you and provide a byline. Any indie type of business is featured here, from Etsy shops to tips on being a successful musician. IndieMade looks for articles for their resources section as well as their blog.
Consider yourself an expert on business topics? B. Michelle Pippen is looking for submissions on several areas. She’s especially interested in articles with tips on how to make money through Google+ and YouTube and getting booked for media spots or speaking gigs.
The Dollar Stretcher has been around for almost twenty years, and they’re still giving readers tips on how to save time and money. They pay $0.10 per word – depending on your article, that could be very lucrative!
If you’re a personal finance writer, check out Money Crashers. They’re looking for thoroughly researched posts on retirement and financial planning, tax arrangements, credit and debit card news, and any other money lifestyle topic. They pay monthly via PayPal or direct debit!
Doctor of Credit is a website for all things finance: credit information, budgeting, saving, coupons, and more. If you have something to contribute, they’ll pay $50 for each published post. If it’s well-received by their audience, they may ask you to be a regular contributor.
Write about your unusual ways to save or make money for Money Pantry. They accept posts from freelance writers and those without any prior publishing experience! Like many other sites, they also offer staff positions to their favorites.
The Penny Hoarder started as a very popular money saving personal finance website, and it’s exploded into a website with posts on travel, lifestyle, family, and career as well. Some writers do get paid when arranging it with the editors beforehand, but paid writers don’t get the benefit of a link back to their own website in the byline.
First Quarter Finance accepts money-related articles and notes on their website that they’re looking to hire regular contributors. They pay for referrals of successful candidates sent their way too – $50 each!
Science, Medical & Healthcare
If you’re in the healthcare sciences industry, ACHS will pay $50 for every published post on their blog. Posts should be between 600-1000 words on any holistic wellness topic.
Write for WorldStart and help people learn how to use their computer! They accept posts on Windows, the internet, and email tips and pay out via PayPal depending on length.
HowStuffWorks is a really popular website, so they’re choosy with their contributors. When they’re recruiting new freelancers, they’ll update their website.
Where was this website when I was roaming around as a lonely, lost, non-traditional college student? Back 2 College pays starting at $55 for original features for articles relating to their target audience: adult students who are going back to college. They also have an “Ask the Experts” forum that they recruit writers for as well.
Comedy & Lists
Cracked offers lots of different options for contributing, accepting writing, graphic design (both infographics and their “Photoplasty” series), and video submissions. They used to pay at least $50 per submission, but they now list on their page “we’ll pay you if it’s good.” If you’re funny, try submitting to Cracked!
Listverse is – you guessed it – a website with lists on lists on lists. If they accept your post, they PayPal you $100. Their team of editors choose any associated collateral (like photos or videos) so all you have to do is write your list (with a paragraph or two per bullet point) and send it along for review.
Have some weird bit of trivia? Share it with KnowledgeNut and make $10 per “nut.” They pay by PayPal or Bitcoin, and accept posts around 400-500 words.
Make a quick $5 by submitting an 800-word, 10-item list to Wonderslist. They pay via PayPal or Payoneer, or you can also submit a 1500-word guest post article.
Writing About Writing
The Write Life pays writers $75 per article after they first submit a published article in exchange for a link as credit. They look for posts about 600-900 words in one of their five categories: freelancing, marketing, publishing, blogging, and the writing craft.
Take a look at Barefoot Writer for freelance submission tips, as well as the opportunity to get published in their magazine. They have six editorial opportunities of varying lengths, and depending on the assignment, you could bring home up to $300.
Funds for Writers is a resource for writers to find – you guessed it – funds via grants, competitions, and other sources. Each of their email newsletters also includes one short article. They pay $50 (through PayPal) for original articles they purchase.
For a website with tools, courses, and a job board in addition to its blog, try Wealthy Web Writer. In addition to payment, they also offer backlink options. That helps your SEO!
Make a Living Writing is a great resource for writers of all kinds, and it’s been around for quite awhile. Carol has great courses for writers, free stuff, and lots of great tips on her blog – and she also pays for guest posts. She pays between $75 and $150 per post, and even if you’re not looking to submit, give her site a look. It’s really informative for writers!
Newsletters can also be a great source, like WritersWeekly. They pay $60 through PayPal for each article they publish – and for a weekly newsletter, they need a lot of content to keep it fresh!
Be a Freelance Blogger hosts a Pitchfest, and pays winners $100 during that time. You can submit a post anytime, but it looks like paid opportunities are only available during this quarterly contest.
WOW – Women on Writing sends out a bi-weekly newsletter, and they feature freelance submissions in these emails. Depending on the length and content of the piece, they pay $50-$75 via PayPal.
Health & Fitness
Healthy Livingis looking for lifestyle posts on anti-aging, beauty, parenting, travel, cooking, and more! They also accept recipes, so clean up your favorite, make it as healthy as possible, and you could earn $30-$150.
Work From Home Writing Jobs About Arts & Entertainment
If you’re into theatre, check out HowlRound. They accept a wide variety of submissions (from show critiques to recurring blog series ideas) and depending on the content, they pay $50-$150 per submission. They also offer other options to get paid, like running a live stream or hosting a Twitter chat!
One of my favorite websites, WhatCulture, pays for content. Another one that structures their payments based on views, they accept posts on a variety of entertainment topics (including WWE.)
The Escapist is an online magazine catering to video game and comic fans, with “channels” on tech and entertainment as well. Payment is based on the author’s experience, and it appears they have a heavy editing process.
Uproxx accepts pitches for articles on music, and they also frequently recruit news writers. They especially like articles that go beyond the typical album or concert review – think along the lines of how musicians are using social media, or what innovative trends are becoming more and more popular.
It’s not a surprise by now that I love reading, so BookRiot is a blog on my list to keep up with weekly. They pay contributors for posts on living that literary life. They feature news, commentary, shopping lists, and any other bookishly content!
AnySubject will assign you books, provide a copy, and pay for your honest opinion. They make it clear that they want really honest reviews, which might make it a bit easier for someone who struggles with criticizing things they don’t love.
Depending on the book, OnlineBookClub pays up to $60 for reviews. They also provide free books, and in order to ensure that reviews are high quality, your first submitted review isn’t paid. They note that as you establish yourself, you can earn a few hundred dollars a month!
Booklist looks like a great publication to submit book reviews to as well. They assign book reviews and have a lot of content opportunities, and it looks like they even pay for rejections if you’re assigned a book they don’t run your review of.
Kirkus Reviews is looking for freelance reviewers to write 350-word book reviews. Articles are due two weeks after a book is assigned and can be published in their monthly magazine or on their website’s blog. Kirkus also hires freelance copywriters and book editors, if that’s your expertise!
Are you an expat? International Living hires writers to outline basically any aspect of living abroad. You can choose your topic and send along any photos you want to include (though it’s not required.) If they accept your “postcard,” they’ll pay you $75! They have a second newsletter as well that also pays $75 per accepted submission.
Great Escape Publishing is a resource for aspiring travel writers, offering courses on how they can monetize their writing. Of course, they offer paid post opportunities. Depending on what you have to contribute, you could earn up to $200 for accepted posts!
A new magazine, Hidden Compassis paying $200-$300 per piece, depending on the department!
Travelicious.Worldaccepts travel writing of various lengths, and pricing they pay out lines up accordingly. They pay in Australian dollars.
BootsnAll is dedicated to independent traveling, and they’re accepting pitches. If they’re interested in one of your feature ideas, they’ll pay $50.
Another website that has articles on “alternative travel” and destination tips is GoNomad. For $25 per article, they’re looking for engaging and entertaining posts on unique trip experiences or “mini-guides” for different cities.
For female travelers, Wanderful is an awesome resource (and pay $50 per posted article). They include the traditional travel tips and destination suggestions, but they also feature news on global issues. Wanderful’s “Women to Watch” series is also really interesting.
IWA Wine Accessories pays $50 per blog post on storing and enjoying wine. If you’re a wine enthusiast and have a unique tip on serving, storing, or selecting, send it their way! It definitely looks like this is a very niche blog for serious winos.
Here’s another one I can really get behind. Plum Deluxe is all about tea! If you have entertaining ideas, tea time topics, or well-being and mindfulness ideas, they’ll pay you $30 if your article is published.
Niche Blogging Opportunities
If you’re into model trains, Model Railroad Hobbyist has many options to contribute. Whether it’s submitting a video or article, or even becoming a contributing editor to receive regular assignments, this very specific niche blog is a great example of how you can even monetize your hobbies!
Theme Park Tourist is looking for Disney lovers and other amusement park enthusiasts to contribute unique, entertaining, and informative posts to their site. List posts work well for them, and they pay based on page views – you could earn up to $500 for one post (which can be a great start for your next vacation savings goal!)
If you have an inspirational story, think about submitting it to Chicken Soup for the Soul. They pay $200 for every published piece, whether it’s a personal story or poem.
Other Free Places to Find Writing Jobs That Pay
Problogger‘s job board is one of the oldest resources for freelance writing jobs. Their job board has both paid and unpaid opportunities, so be sure to pay attention if you want to mentally filter out any that are for exposure only.
Who Pays Writers is a great resource for aspiring writers. Freelancers who have submitted to different publications can submit their experiences with publishers here, as well as how much they get paid for the assignment, which can be helpful when trying to quote your own pricing. (The Sh*t List is also a new website putting publishers on blast if they don’t pull through with payment.)
Some companies might post openings on sites like Craigslist – I haven’t tried it out just yet, but SearchTempest will search across all Craigslist boards!
Cold pitching to specific websites might still be the best way to land high-paying repeat clients. If you aren’t comfortable with reaching out to people, sign up for Jorden Roper’s free Writing Revolt course – she’s hugely successful and provides examples of pitch emails she has used in the past to land clients.
I hope this post was useful! If you liked this, sign up for my email list for even more tips on where to find paid writing opportunities or work from home jobs.
It’s been quite awhile since I sat down to write a race recap! Last weekend I headed out to do the Race to Wrigley 5k, sponsored by the 2016 World Champion Cubs.
I didn’t go to packet pickup so I can’t speak to that experience, but my partner in crime seemed to be in and out very quickly.
Saturday morning we rolled out of bed at 6am and grabbed a coffee and a Lyft by 6:45. Next year I would leave a bit later – it was a little on the chilly side, but the Cubs team store and Sports World were both open for pre-race shopping. Getting there was very easy – they hadn’t shut the streets down yet so our Lyft dropped us off right at the start line, and everything was well-signed so it wasn’t hard to navigate. For the first time I thought I might have an issue with runner’s trots, but it ended up holding off (thank goodness.) Around 7:40 they started corralling everyone to the start line, and after a few stretches and the national anthem, we were off. Thank goodness the rain held off – I’m writing this in a thunderstorm and it would have been a cold (but fun) race through this weather.
I thought the course was great – flat, easy, and not too many turns. There was a ton of course support in the form of security and police officers, and it was one of the best and safest road races I’ve ever done. The two water stops on the course both seemed like they could have benefitted from a longer head start or more tables to line up cups on because when we went through, they were already getting backed up and running out, and we were toward the front of the pack.
When the course looped back around and we saw Harry Caray standing on the corner signaling our arrival back to the Field, it was such a relief, but also super exciting. Running through the concourse was fun, and a great way to finish the race. Hitting the mile 3 marker and with the finish line in sight, we both took off to cross the finish line… so we thought.
The finish line was the only part of the day I would have changed. Not too long after we took off at the mile marker, it started backing up terribly because the finisher chute was far too small to sustain the number of runners finishing. Add in the fact that many of the fun runners were finishing at the same time as us and there was really not enough room. From the time we stopped until we actually crossed the timing mat, it was almost six minutes. I’m still really proud of my time (especially for having not trained at all) and proud of Brendan for doing so well even when it got hard!
This race also helped me remember how much I love running. The camaraderie, the good ache after going hard, the joy of the finish line banana and happy volunteers giving out medals. Despite the finish line backup, it was a really great race, and I’m excited to Race to Wrigley again next year!
Digital nomad, work from homer, distributed team – there are many ways to label virtual companies, or a company that doesn’t feature one physical office. I work remotely, and it doesn’t escape me every day how lucky I am. No commute to work or worrying about weather, no layering up for a frigid office even in the summer months, no one to steal your lunch out of the community fridge. Plus I really love my job! Virtual companies are becoming more popular than ever, and for people who want the benefit of a home office without the stresses of being their own boss, it’s important to know how to navigate these sites! By virtue of having a remote job already, I’ve become pretty familiar as to where they get posted, and what to look out for to know you’re looking at a legitimate, reputable company. Today I’m sharing some of the tips I’ve given my friends when they’re on the hunt for remote jobs!
Direct company websites: As with traditional jobs, every remote company will post their openings on their own website first. If there’s a specific company you have your eye on, check in with their jobs page occasionally, and sign up if they have a newsletter they announce postings to. Eventbrite is a good example of a company that features this! This helps to make sure you’re on a legit website and gives the benefit of applying directly without any third party application or the possibility of a trimmed job description. Some companies that hire remote workers include Basecamp, Amazon, Museum Hack, and even Teach for America!
Jobspresso: This is my favorite remote job aggregator, and the place I have all my remote-seeking friends start. They have a great interface, easy search tools, and put the job title as well as the company on the front page. Jobspresso also features easy categories, so you can browse through the job types you’re looking for in one click. They tend to get more customer service and marketing/content jobs than other websites mentioned here.
WeWorkRemotely: Not the prettiest of the sites I’m outlining, but super high quality jobs posted here, and it’s affiliated with Basecamp. This also means that they’re updated a bit more infrequently and don’t have quite as many positions as the other sites, but they’re highly vetted and of good quality.