Compare Pay per Click with Upfront Payments and Incentive Payments for Freelance Writers

When writing on the internet, there are lots of different options available.  Some sites offer upfront payments, some incentive payments, others pay per click and a few offer a combination of the aforementioned payment methods.  When considering which sites to invest your time in and write for, knowledge about the payment systems is an important part of the decision making process.  You have to think about what you prefer and what you hope to achieve in terms of financial gain for your work.  Here is a description of each type and an overview of the pros and cons of each.

Pay per click

This can work in two ways.  Some sites pay you per set number of clicks on to your article.  Other sites give you a share of clicks onto advertisements that are displayed on your article.  It is always best to check this out before spending a lot of time writing for a site.

Pros of pay per click
The main advantage of pay per click is that as long as the article remains active (potentially forever) you will continue to earn from that article.  Although the money you receive for each article each month may not seem a lot, over a lifetime, the half an hour that you have spent writing the article could possibly earn you a significant amount.  The more articles you have, the greater the potential for earning.

Cons of pay per click

There are two main disadvantages of pay per click.  First of all, you will only earn small amounts of money at a time.  Secondly, your earnings will depend on the popularity of your article and how well promoted it is.  If nobody views it, then you earn nothing.  Over a period of time, the topic you have written about may no longer be relevant or current, therefore the performance of an article can diminish over time.

Upfront payments

Usually, this means that you are given a one off payment for an article.  This is normally stated prior to your article submission and will be a set amount.  Quite often, if you have been given an upfront payment, then you are handing over total or partial rights to the work.  This is well worth checking out first.

Pros of upfront payments

One of the main advantages is that you know what you will be getting for your article.  Another advantage is that it is usually significantly more than you would get in pay per click or incentive payments.

Cons of upfront payments

The major disadvantage of this is that once you have been paid, that is it.  You will gain no further financial remuneration for your work.

Incentive payments

This isn’t exactly a wage for your work, it is more of a token of appreciation from the site for the work that you have done to encourage you to continue to write for them.  Many sites that offer incentive payments also offer other ways of earning, such as competitions or pay per click payments as well.  Some sites call this an activity bonus rather than incentive payments.  

Pros of incentive payments

You will gain more financial reward than if you were writing for a site where the sole source of money is from pay per click and you will feel in some way rewarded for your time and efforts.  If you write enough articles, this can accumulate into a nice little sum.

Cons of incentive payments

It can often be disheartening when you realise how little your time and effort are worth, particularly when you are only being offered $1-2 for up to an hours work.  

Combined payments

Many sites offer a range of different ways of earning money and this makes them popular choices for writers to write for. They will often have some specified article titles that are worth a set amount of money and others where there is an incentive payment.  They also usually offer content earnings for the views that your articles receive. 

Pros of combined payments

One of the best points about these sites is that you have options open to you and you can choose how you want to earn money.  They are also often the best money makers because you are paid for the article and then continue to get a residual income for your work.  

Cons of combined payments

The only downside is that it can sometimes seem confusing trying to work out the different systems of a site and consider what your best options are.


Overall, the best sites to write for are those that offer a variety of ways to earn money.  However, it can be a good idea to write for a few different sites that have different things to offer so that if one site closes down, you still have the others to fall back on.