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The Top 5 Things That Helped Me Make Money With Writing Online
On Medium, Substack, and elsewhere
I’ve been writing online for over 14 years. But only in the last 1.5 years have I made significant money with online writing.
Here are the top 5 things that helped me achieve this.
#1 The perfect platform
For the first 12 years of my online writing career, I used a self-hosted WordPress blog (or multiple) to publish content.
That never went well.
Then I found Medium in February 2021 and boom! Views and money. It was like magic. The perfect platform for me. No technical stuff that distracts me, no ads, just a plain editor and a blank page.
#2 A writing system
During the first few months on Medium, I was winging it. Pretty much. I did earn some money, but it was when I started developing my own writing system that my views and earnings took off.
First, I established a writing rhythm and habit. 5–7 stories per week, a mixture of short and long-form, staying within the flow and finishing what I started.
Then, I started using Notion to write, track, and back up my content. That took my productivity and consistency to another level. The Notion system I’ve been using is called Write OS and is available on Gumroad for anyone who’s interested.
#3 Grammarly and LanguageTool
I’m not a native English speaker. That isn’t hard to tell. If you read my first few posts, you’ll realize that pretty quickly.
Luckily I started using Grammarly a few months in. That helped a lot. Then I found LanguageTool which, in my opinion, is better than Grammarly in a few ways.
Firstly, it plays nicely with Safari on Mac and Medium. Grammarly does not. Apple users might know this.
Secondly, LanguageTool is cheaper than Grammarly. I’m talking about the premium versions here. The base versions are both free.
Also, one of my old colleagues works at LanguageTool now, and I love that.
Indeed, Twitter was one of the main drivers for my early Medium success. I connected with many Medium writers, learned a lot, read great threads, and made some friends.
I also share my content on Twitter, of course.
If I regret one thing, it’s that I didn’t start an email list sooner. Right from the get-go, to be precise.
When I began my search for an email platform, I first used ConvertKit but didn’t like it. Then I tried Revue. Finally, I gave Substack a chance, and it has been a blast ever since.
I’ve been publishing a newsletter since April 2022 and couldn’t be happier about the results. Subscriber numbers are steadily growing, open rates are reasonable, and I enjoy the process.
In addition, I’m always genuinely and pleasantly surprised when someone decides to become a paid member. My Substack newsletter is free, yet people choose to pay. That’s freaking awesome.
It beats the hell out of AdSense ads on a costly WordPress blog.
The bottom line
These are the 5 things that helped me most with my online writing career. I took a long time of failure to finally get it right.
It’s a blast now.
Have a few seconds left? It would mean the world if you shared this post on your socials or with friends who’d be interested. It only takes you seconds, but it’s a huge deal for me. Thank you!