How To Make Money With Technical Articles As A Developer
Learn how to monetise your knowledge and create a side income
Writing paid technical articles is a great way to create a side-income or even a salary. Thus, this article will teach you how to make money with technical articles as a developer.
The good thing is that you can make money with technical articles even if you are not a super experienced developer. However, that does not mean you should not have a bit of experience. To put things into perspective, I made money writing articles as a junior developer. So it is doable.
With that being said, this article assumes no knowledge about the subject. As a result, you will learn how to do it from zero. You will learn how to:
- choose an area of expertise
- start a blog
- write consistently
- pitch websites and publications to write for them
- write on freeCodeCamp
Your area of expertise
The first step of the process is to choose an area of expertise. Usually, people write about their area of development. What do I mean by that? If someone is a front-end developer, that person tends to write about front-end development. Likewise for other areas. As a result, you can write about the subject you know the best.
However, you are not confined only to the subject you know the best. Alternatively, you can write about the stuff you want to learn. You do not have to be an expert in the technology to write about it, but you should have basic knowledge about the technologies you use.
For instance, my best paid/non-paid articles are the ones where I learnt how to put together a handful of technologies. Other people went through the same hurdles to set them together, and they found my articles helpful. It's important to note that I have basic knowledge of the technologies I put together; if I wrote about building an application with Node.js, MongoDB and Pug, it means I have basic knowledge in all of them. On the flip side, I did not write about building an application with Angular, Supabase and Google Cloud because I never used them.
In conclusion, define your area of expertise and write articles about it. Moreover, you can also write about the technologies you want to learn because you do not have to be an expert to write about a subject.
Start your blog
The next question is where to publish your articles. There are two options:
- Pitch publications and sell the articles directly
- Create a blog and build a portfolio
In my case, I choose to create a blog. I decided to make a blog because I can build a portfolio of articles I can present to the publications I am pitching. Additionally, some publications (not all of them) allows writers to re-publish the articles on their blog. Thus, I have all the articles I write in one place - my blog.
When it comes to blogging platforms, there are many you can use. For my blog, I use Hashnode because it allows me to use my personal domain for free. However, you are not limited. There are other blogging platforms as well, and you can read about the best blogging platforms for developers.
Therefore, the ball is in your yard to decide. If your sole goal is to make money, you can sell them directly to publications. If you want to create a portfolio (which I advise you), I recommend starting a blog.
There are some caveats and extra advantages if you choose to start a blog. In my case, I received many gigs after people found my blog and read the articles. Having an active blog is like having a personal recruiter looking for opportunities for you non-stop.
Besides that, companies might pay you to write reviews about their products or tutorials straight on your blog. Usually, sponsored posts on your blog are more expensive since you need to write them and use your platform to promote/advertise them.
Thus, your blog is more than a portfolio. It can become a source of income as well!
Write for freeCodeCamp
Once you have some writing experience under your belt, I recommend applying to write for freeCodeCamp. Here is where your blog comes in handy - freeCodeCamp asks for three articles you consider to be your best articles. Having a blog with technical articles increases your chances of getting accepted as a writer.
Now you might ask why do I recommend freeCodeCamp. The main reason why I recommend writing on freeCodeCamp is that they have an editorial team. That means there are professional people that read your articles and provides you with feedback. Having someone, especially professional writers, check your articles and give you feedback is extremely helpful. You will improve much quicker and thus become a better writer.
Besides having an editorial team, freeCodeCamp reaches millions of people daily. It's one of the best publication to write for if you want to reach a broad audience and help people. Not many publications can match that, and there are not many places where you can reach such an enormous audience.
Therefore, writing for freeCodeCamp is an excellent way to:
- familiarize yourself with publications
- improve and become a better writer
- reach a wide audience
I highly recommend writing for freeCodeCamp!
The more articles you write, the better you get at writing. The better your articles are, the better your chances of getting accepted to write for a publication. You get the idea!
Create a schedule
If you are a beginner in writing, I would advise you to create a schedule and stick to it. When you create a schedule, create a reasonable one. You might have many ideas at the moment, and you might think you can ship three articles weekly. But soon, you find out you cannot keep up the rhythm.
As a result, I recommend sticking to one article per week. Writing one article weekly is manageable for most people, and it does not put too much pressure on you. Also, if you have lots of ideas, even better. Do not step up the rhythm by publishing more articles. Instead, spread it out, so you have content for more weeks.
List of topics
After creating a schedule, research and create a list of topics. In my beginnings, I made the mistake of blogging randomly when ideas popped in my head. As you might guess, I was not very consistent, and I did not have any results.
That changed when I started researching topics. You can research topics and keywords with tools like Ubersuggest, Google Trends, Ahrefs and so on. In my case, I use Ahrefs. With that being said, once you have a list of topics/keywords, it's easier to keep a schedule and write consistently.
Find online challenges
If you search for "writing challenges" online, you can find a lot of content revolving around this. Alternatively, blogging platforms like Hashnode have badges and challenges. For instance, Hashnode has a challenge aimed to make you a better writer called #2Articles1Week.
This is just one example. However, there are many other challenges on the internet!
Thus, my top tips for writing consistently are as follows:
- Create a posting schedule. Preferably an article weekly for beginners.
- Research keywords and create a list of possible article ideas.
- Find online challenges.
Find and pitch publications
The last step of the process is to find and pitch publications. This is one of the most challenging steps, but I'll make it easier for you.
Many, if not most, companies/technologies/tools have their blogs. The reason is that written content (articles) is still super powerful and helpful. Thus, they use their blogs to share knowledge and promote their tools.
Let's take as an example a database company called MarioDB (fictive company name). MarioDB might have a company blog where employees write tutorials about integration the database with other technologies. Additionally, they also accept articles from guest authors. As a result, you could pitch them and write an article about integrating MarioDB with Vue. More or less, that is how most publications work.
With that being said, each publication/company:
- pays a fixed rate
- has their rules and policies
- has their list of accepted topics
All publications/companies have a particular page on their blog that specifies all the information you need and how to apply. I will not list all the publications and websites that pay you to write technical articles here. But you can click on the embedded link to find them and how much they pay.
It's important to note that this is one way to go from zero to writing paid technical articles and not the only way. Also, it's not a get-rich-quick scheme. You have to put in the work and be patient.
To recap, here are the steps I recommend:
- choose your area of expertise - focus on the subject/s you know the best
- open a blog or not - it depends on what your goals are
- apply to write for freeCodeCamp - you get exposure to a wide audience
- get better at writing by doing it consistently
- find publications and write for them