How to Publish Articles Online

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A man types on his desktop computer in an office setting.
A man types on his desktop computer in an office setting. (Image: monkeybusinessimages/iStock/Getty Images)

In theory, the sheer abundance of websites covering such a broad range of topics should make publishing an article online a simple affair. In practice, many content owners struggle with the where -- and even more with how -- to publish articles online.

Online Publications

Many traditional magazines and newspapers now maintain active websites that feature content from their print versions and Web-exclusive content, and numerous Web-only publications provide a large field of potential outlets for publishing your articles online. Although some publications will look at completed articles, called spec articles, most require a query or pitch letter. The query letter details your idea for the article and typically a rough outline of the structure, as well as a brief explanation of why it’s appropriate for the publication or site. If the editor accepts your pitch, you agree on the specifics, sign a contract and write the article. A publication's specific query or submission guidelines typically appear on the website under a dedicated submissions guideline section, editorial guidelines or in the contact us section. As these markets offer comparatively high pay, competition is fierce and rejections are common.

Blogs

If you have a passion for a particular topic, you can find a blog that caters to that passion. Blogs need content and often welcome guest posts as a way to take pressure off the blog owner. Some blogs, especially those that pay, follow a query process similar to those of online magazines or papers. Other blogs allow writers to submit entire articles for review. Blogs that accept guest posts typically set out submission guidelines. A polite query by email regarding a guest submission to a blog with no formal policy can get your article published. As blogs tend to pay less or offer only links back to a profile or website, you face less competition and better odds of placing an article.

Paid Content Providers

Paid content providers serve as middlemen between writers and buyers. The content providers strike a deal with clients to provide articles on specific topics or even titles, and writers select from the available orders or titles. Paid content providers typically employ an application process that almost always includes a writing sample, but may also require a resume and even a grammar test. Some content providers employ house style guides and in-house editors, while others leave it to the clients to determine structure, voice and length requirements. Pay scales vary considerably by site and writers frequently lose any right to a byline. Once accepted as a writer on the site, however, your article gets published online if it meets in-house or client requirements.

Personal Website

A personal website or blog offers the fastest route to publishing your articles online. You determine everything from the topics covered to the tone and length of any article. Publishing your articles this way rarely pays, but you can create passive income through ad networks or sell ad space directly to interested third parties.

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