How to Make the Most of Online Publishing

by EverydayMiracles

Online publishing is a wonderful tool, and there are several powerful platforms at your disposal. There are several things you can do to make the most of your experience.

Three years ago, I ventured into online publishing on Hubpages. When I did so, a whole new world opened up for me. I found that with a lot of effort into my hubs, I was making a few cents a day, then a few dollars. I've kept a blog for quite some time as well, but I didn't fully understand how to integrate the two together.

Since then, I've become involved in Squidoo, Wizzley and Zujava well. I've learned a lot about how to integrate one with the other, how to promote my articles and how to choose topics. I'd like to share with you what I've learned.

Intro Image

Introduction to Online Publishing

Answering some Basic Questions

I'm working on the assumption that you're new to online publishing. If you aren't, that's great! We're all still learning, and there's a ton still that I don't know. For me, I'll continue to learn about what I do until the day that I die; nobody's perfect, and I hope that some of the ideas that I have here will help you in the long run, whether you're brand new and find yourself starting right up at the top of this article or if you've been publishing for years and skip around to find what you're looking for!

To begin with, I'd like to answer a few of the most basic questions about what online publishing is.

What is online publishing?

When I say online publishing, I'm referring to the act of creating content on the Internet. Some people use the term to refer to publishing e-books online. This article covers the topic of creating content via internet publishing platforms such as Wizzley.

Why publish online?

There are several reasons that you might like to publish articles or stories online. I've been doing it for many years now, though I only started to work with Hubpages about three years ago. When I first started out, it gave me an opportunity to share stories and poetry on my own website. Back in those days, personal websites were fairly new! Here is a short list of reasons why someone might want to publish online:

  • To make their voice heard
  • Because they have a story to share
  • To make some extra income
  • To make a full-time income
  • To be part of a community

How much does it cost to publish online?

Remember that what I'm talking about here is publishing on an online platform. I'll be recommending several that I have used and enjoyed, so you'll have some options (plus of course you can do your own research as well).

Overall, the cost of online publishing is minimal. The majority of the recommended platforms are free, and those which cost money can be customized based on your needs. I pay $10 a month through Hostgator and have had a very good experience with them for the most part. If you're looking for a reliable web host, then that's definitely the one that I would recommend. I've tried several over the years and have never been with the same host for so long before. You will also need to purchase a domain if this is your choice. I highly recommend Godaddy instead of purchasing your domain through Hostgator. You'll save a lot of money!

Can I make money publishing online?

You bet! I do! It took me a while after initially getting started to gain the skills that I needed to really get things moving for me with online publishing and sales (as well as click throughs) but I'm getting paid monthly now in Adsense and I'm making enormous progress with several of the platforms where I publish on a regular basis. You can make money too! In fact, this article is geared toward those who want to make money publishing online, just to get you started!

Decide What You Want to Get Out of Online Publishing

Different people have different motivations

I discussed some of the possible motivations for deciding to publish online in one of the above sections, but I would like to stress that there are a lot of reasons why a person might want to join the world of online publishing. Your reasons for doing so may determine future choices that you make in relation to your articles or stories, and I want to help you to choose the right options for you.

But first, allow me to share with you a personal story related to choosing a platform.

When I first started writing online, I stumbled across Hubpages purely by accident. I left. And I went back. I danced around the idea of joining, and decided not to (I'm not a good enough writer to succeed, I reasoned). After about two weeks, I was back and had an account set up. My first hub is embarrassing. If I recall correctly it was a response to a question that had been asked (this is  a feature of Hubpages that I rather like).

My reasons for joining Hubpages were pretty simple; I wanted to see my name and picture on the right hand side of an article that was published on a domain I didn't own. I know, it's pretty silly, isn't it? I wasn't thinking about making more than a couple of dollars a month; I just wanted to write. Oh, and to be part of the social community. I have over 600 followers there. They happened mostly very quickly. I was very social on Hubpages in the beginning.

A couple of weeks later, I joined Squidoo, though it took several months before I published my first lens. I don't remember why I joined, other than that somebody said that I should. I made an almost total switch to Squidoo when I began to become frustrated with Hubpages. I'd hit a hubberscore of 100 several times and had received hubscores of 100 on more than one occasion. I was getting greedy and my head was starting to spin with the potential of it all. I was making a few pennies here and there, and I'd begun to salivate over those times of day when I could look at Adsense. I needed a break. So, in order to get back to publishing purely for fun, I took myself and my business to Squidoo. That didn't last very long, let me be honest. I had a series of lenses about historical women that were planned, but I only got through Sacagawea before I realized first of all that lensmaking is hard work. A lot goes into it. Don't ask me why it's harder than Wizzley, Hubpages or any other platform I've used, but it is. I had to start making money, or I was going to lose my mind. 

So I moved into another niche (which still does well for me). And gradually began to understand lensrank (well, as much as anybody understands lensrank anyway). I was making money. A few dollars a month, but it was all going right into paypal. I was obsessed. My focus changed to making money online. Now I work on six platforms!

Your focus may change, especially once you begin to make money. That's okay! If you want to make money online, there is no shame in that at all. Feel free to do whatever you can to make money online! Or if you just want to publish poetry or personal stories online so that others can find them, that's great too! It is a wonderful way to get in touch with people who share particular beliefs of yours. I'm going to be giving my recommendations for choosing your platform below, based on what you know of your reasons for wanting to publish online.

But I do recommend first taking some time to sit down and write down your reasons for wanting to write on an online publishing platform.

What are your reasons for wanting to publish online?

After you've done some brainstorming!

Free online publishing platforms

Advantages and disadvantages

As with anything, it's always wise to take the time to examine the pros and cons of any choice that you're going to make. I personally spent a lot of time making this decision before even signing up at Hubpages. You have so many options that you'll want to make sure that you know which option is right for your personal needs. Don't slack off on working out your own personal pros and cons before you make a purchase of a domain or set up your account on a free platform!

Advantages of Free Publishing Platforms

There are several advantages that come with free publishing platforms. The majority of my online writings are located on free publishing platforms for the following reasons:

  • They're... free.
  • I don't have to remember to renew my domain every year
  • They are usually located on established domains (such as or
  • It's easier to get more traffic early on (though not necessarily later on!)
  • Many of them pay directly to you. Instead of receiving several checks every month, your money goes into paypal
  • They're easy to use; no coding knowledge necessary.
  • They provide good tools, support, and feedback from other users
  • You get the social aspect that comes with their forums (in most cases. Blogger and Wordpress don't have forums!)
Disadvantages of Free Publishing Platforms
  • You don't (usually) get to choose your own high-value domain name
  • There are restrictions on the types of content you can publish (pages about poker, for example, generally get flagged as "gambling")
  • You aren't in control of whether or not the site shuts down while you're still using it
  • Other users can choose to "flag" your content for any reason, including the fact they don't like you or want your spot in the rankings
  • You have to share your revenue with the site; you don't get all of it

Hubpages is one of the oldest online publishing platforms that I recommend. Many of their members have moved over here to Wizzley, and with good reason. Hubpages is exceptionally easy to use, but it is not the most attractive option and there is a lot of spam peppering the platform these days.

Squidoo is a very good publishing platform. It is attractive and you have a very large number of available modules. I do not recommend Squidoo for beginners! It can easily become overwhelming and a single page takes twice as long to compose on Squidoo as it does on Hubpages or Wizzley. There is also a lot of spam on this platform.

You're on Wizzley right now, reading this page. So far, I think I like Wizzley the best, even though this is only my second page that I'm publishing here. Wizzley combines the advantage of being easy to use with having a great look, even with few images. I haven't seen a lot of spam here and it seems that article quality is higher here than in many other locations.

Zujava is the newest of the platforms that I use and am recommending. I really enjoy the community there; it's still small and very friendly and the site's founders are active (as they are here on Wizzley). Publishing is very simple on Zujava, but the leaf sections are still very limited, so take this into consideration when choosing to publish on Zujava. You do have the advantage of getting in at the ground level!

If you haven't been living in a cave for the past few years, you probably already know what Blogger is. It's Google's publishing platform where you can sign up for a completely free blog. Blogger allows you to have your own sub-domain, which is a serious advantage. Blogs don't work the same as other publishing platforms, and you do not have the same content restrictions that you do on other platforms!

Wordpress (dot com) is another blogging alternative. There are a few things about that I really don't like, the main thing being the fact that the platform makes it impossible to add Adsense ads to your blog and you can't use iframes in order to support Amazon links either. Note: You DO get these features if you host the software on your own server.

Paid online publishing platforms

Advantages and disadvantages

I've given you an idea, however brief, of what the advantages and disadvantages are to using free publishing platforms. I use a combination of both, since your choice of platforms depends in large part on what you want to get out of a particular area of writing. If you're just starting out, you might want to try something free and then move on to a paid publishing platform. However, if you're confident there is no reason not to take the leap!

Advantages of Paid Publishing Platforms
  • You control your content. Nobody can tell you what you can and cannot publish!
  • Nobody can shut your site down on you unless it's found to be in serious violation (which is unlikely unless you're doing something illegal)
  • You get to choose your own high-value domain name
  • You're building equity in your own space on the Internet
Disdvantages of Paid Publishing Platforms
  • They're... paid. In other words, they aren't free
  • You have to remember to re-register your domain(s) every year
  • Paying monthly can be a hassle if you're on a budget
  • Unanticipated downtime is a struggle
  • Tech support isn't always the best
  • No built in sense of community

Wordpress Publishing Software
This is a download. Above you will see that there is another Wordpress link. That link will take you to a hosted version of the software. If you choose to host your blog on your own paid server, you will have a much better experience, including the ability to use javascript (and therefore Google Ads and Amazon Associates).

Host Gator
I use Host Gator for my hosting needs and have had a generally very good experience with them. I highly recommend their service over most of the others that I've tried. There are a couple of others that I really enjoy and you will also find links to those hosts below. Which one you choose is going to depend on your personal needs, but I recommend chatting with a sales associate. This can be very helpful!

Lunar Pages
Lunar Pages is easily one of the best hosts that I've ever worked with. When they raised their prices, I moved my business since I didn't need the amount of space and bandwidth that I was paying for (and the price had gone up). Their customer service, however, is bar none. If you want really helpful service, this is the way to go. They also have incredible uptime in my experience.

If you're going to be needing a domain, please use Godaddy to purchase it! There are some problems with them, but they are inexpensive and reasonably reliable. I've been using Godaddy for years, and once you get used to the service, it's easy enough to use. You can find coupon codes online, so make sure to do a web search looking for Hostgator coupons. I never pay more than $10 for a .com domain name, and you shouldn't have to either!

Do you prefer free or paid hosting?

Complete your About Me or profile page

Alright, alright. I know that I'm not one to talk; I don't have a profile up here at Wizzley yet and there isn't an "about me" page on any of my blogs. But I'm working on getting these put together! My profile pages tend to be relatively long and detailed because I'm ridiculously pedantic, but I'll have all of mine up soon!

One element of building trust is letting the reader know who it is who is providing the information to them. You don't need to be credentialed in order to write online. But readers do like to have an idea of the person who you are. Please make sure to upload a profile photo if you are using a publishing platform such as Wizzley. You'd be surprised how much more personal this makes your pages look!

After that, provide as much or as little information as you like. Some people like to tell their audience what it is that they write about; I tend to do some of this, but I also have a compilation list of all of my articles in one place (on my blog). I also have entire pages that are dedicated to letting my audience know who I am. If you want to see a page that contains links to all of my Wizzley pages, that's coming soon. Currently I'm also sprucing up my lensography over on Squidoo. This kind of page provides quite a bit of information to your audience while allowing you to show off the best of your work!

In short, let your audience get to know you a little bit. Be open to them and friendly. Converse with them on your pages or your blog posts. Be conversational in your posts. You'd be surprised by how much better your results are when you're conversational toward your audience!

Understand niche topics

This will save your life as a writer!

If you're new to online publishing, I'm sure that you want to jump right in there. I showed you (above) what my first article was on Hubpages. It was terrible, in all honesty. I knew nothing about narrowing down a niche, and I figured that I could just write about whatever I wanted to. Since then, I've learned quite a bit, even though there is still a lot more for me to learn.

The most important and useful thing that I've learned since starting in online publishing is to choose a niche topic. I have several, including (but by no means limited to!):

  • Marriage tips and advice
  • Book reviews
  • Hunger Games
  • The Sims 3
  • Writing tips

The key is to choose a niche that is something that you're interested in. My needs have changed over the past three years, but all of these niches mentioned above still very much pertain to me. Notice that they are all fairly broad. Broad niche's are not good topics for publishing online. I don't particularly want to make a page about The Sims 3. It's too broad a topic. Not only would it be virtually impossible to cover in a single article, but the competition for keywords would be extremely intense!

So I want to break that down. I want to make my topics much, much smaller than "The Sims 3." I can start out with a review of the Sims 3 (click for an example). I've also written pages about Create a Sim and The Legacy Challenge. My tightest micro-niche under The Sims 3 blanket is about taking good pictures within the game for story creation.

The essence of your niche is that you want to choose a very specific topic to write about. Brainstorm as much as possible in order to determine where you want to go with your niche. I recommend mind mapping!

Coming Soon!

How to plan an article for online publication

My next article is already in the works: "How to plan an article for online publication." I hope that you'll take the time to bookmark this page so that you can come back and read the next article in the series. Article planning of this type is new to me, and I find it incredibly exciting, so I wanted to share with you what I'm learning as I go! I'm no expert, of course (I'm not an expert on much of anything, in truth) but I would like to give you a chance to learn from my experiences!

Updated: 04/06/2012, EverydayMiracles
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Tolovaj on 06/07/2012

Thanks for this overview on online publishing. I use all of platforms you mentioned (plus some more), except HubPages and I am just trying to make some experiments with integration to get some serious traffic from Google. As we all know, community is fun, but business comes from search engines.
I am looking forward for your updates, there is so much to learn and in my case narrowing the niche is probably next logical step...

EverydayMiracles on 04/08/2012

I'm fairly active on Squidu and a Giant on Squidoo, so I get around :)

sheilamarie on 04/08/2012

EverydayMiracles, I've enjoyed this article very much. I also write on several platforms and sometimes worry that I've spread myself too thin, but we do learn as we go how to make the most of our time. I agree that writing on a free site like Wizzley is more satisfying than some others, mostly because with the community here, we know someone will read what we write and give us feedback. It's fun to get used to seeing certain people day to day and to getting to know new faces, like yours, too. I don't think I've seen you over at Squidoo yet, but I'll look you up. (And you're right, Wizzley is easier than Squidoo, though I like them both.)

EverydayMiracles on 04/06/2012

It gets more rewarding the more you learn. It's been three years for me and I'm still learning more and more!

vocal_pen on 04/06/2012

its funny. i couldn't say how i got into online publishing but so far it has been fun and slightly rewarding

Sheri_Oz on 04/05/2012

Excellent article. I am a newbie after less than a year at squidoo and a few months here. Your article is a big help in organizing thoughts. My thoughts are still so disorganized!

EverydayMiracles on 04/05/2012

I do some of both too, Katie. Paid publishing isn't all that expensive when it comes down to it. Once you have a hosting package, domain registration isn't that expensive, especially if you use coupon codes!

katiem2 on 04/02/2012

I do a little of both paid and non paid, spread yourself around I bit... Great read I very much enjoyed reading your insights on online publishing. Happy I found you!

EverydayMiracles on 03/31/2012

It's sometimes hard to keep the motivation up, Brenda. Good luck!

BrendaReeves on 03/31/2012

I'm paying for my own domain on Wordpress and I've got to get busy on that site. Thanks for the article.

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