About.com is a website with information on all kinds of different topics. I’m sure that at some point, most people have stumbled across this site when looking for information on the Internet. About.com hires guides, contributing writers and video producers to create the content for their site.
As you may know, working for yourself as a freelance writer is the most lucrative route. However, About is one of the higher-paying content websites out there, and if you get accepted, it could be a good way to add some supplemental income.
How much does About.com pay?
The way About pays their guides has changed since I first wrote this article (thanks to a reader in the comments below for alerting me to this. Instead of a flat rate per month, guides are compensated per article, although the rate is still OK. The reader below states that she earns $48 per article although I suppose this might vary depending on your topic.
The rate (according to About.com) is relative to pageview growth, when that amount is higher than the total compensation based on the per-article rate.
Compensation has also changed for topic writers in recent years (formerly known as contributing writers). From the About.com site, “In their first two years, Topic Writers are paid by the article. In subsequent years if the Topic Site grows, About.com also pays Topic Writers for page views above and beyond the minimum pay per article. Compensation is limited only by page views – while the guaranteed per article minimums are offered as a safety net, there is no cap on what a successful Topic Writer can earn.”
Compensation for video producers on About.com is a flat fee of $250 per video. No further compensation on videos is earned beyond the one-time flat rate.
How and when does About.com pay?
About.com pays their guides and contributing writers on a monthly basis. Video producers are paid bi-weekly on the 15th and 30th of each month. There is no information that I can find as to the method of payment used for guides and contributing writers, but video producers may be paid via direct deposit.
What is the difference between a guide and a topic writer on About.com?
Guides have more responsibility than contributing writers. From what I can tell, they sort of run their own mini-site on the topic they are hired to write about. They write both blog posts and articles, and they are required to update their site frequently with fresh information.
Contributing writers do not maintain guide sites, but they do work with guides to help produce content on sub-topics relating to a specific category. They are required to produce a certain amount of content each month.
How long do the articles have to be on About.com?
They have no minimum word count. As long as the relevant information is in the article, the word count doesn’t matter.
How does the application process work?
When you apply for either the guide or contributing writer position, you have to search to see if there is a category open that you would want to apply for. About writers can’t write about just anything–they must apply to a category that matches their fields of expertise.
The requirements for each category may differ. Some require educational background, but most just want people who have first-hand experience in the topic. Many of the topics relating to medical and health issues do want people who have previous experience working in the medical field.
When you apply for either of these positions, you’ll need to fill out some basic information along with a 500 word writing sample related to the topic you’re applying for. You will also have to enter in some information regarding your qualifications in the category, but they don’t want your resume.
If you’re applying for the video producer job, About.com wants you to list your qualifications, a link to one of your reels or clips and five video ideas.
How does training work?
If About.com hires you as a writer, you’ll go through a lengthy training process, which lasts for about a month and is divided up into two parts. You are not paid for your training, but they won’t keep any content you submit during training if you are not hired.
During training, you’ll learn how to write and publish for their site, and you will be evaluated on an ongoing basis by an About.com editor. At the end of training, the editor will decide whether or not you are a good fit for the site. If you are hired, you’ll receive a $250 hiring bonus!
Video producers are hired as About.com producers immediately upon acceptance of their applications. There are no training programs to go through.
How long does it take to find out if I’m hired?
They get lots of applications, so you may not hear from them for a long time. Fortunately, they will let you know either way. This is good, because there are so many sites that don’t even email you if you’re not hired. You just apply and never hear back from them.
Final Thoughts on About.com
I have read few negative complaints from anyone who does work for About.com. Most writers agree the training process is rather grueling, but worth it in the end if you’re accepted.
I have not applied to About.com myself, but only because there are no categories available relevant to me. I might try at a later date however.
P.S. – Want to Go Into Business For Yourself?
Going into business for yourself is usually the most lucrative way to earn money writing. You can seek out your own clients and set your own rates, which isn’t always possible with every content sites.
If you think you’d like to start a professional freelance writing career, I’d suggest reading this post about Gina Horkey, who leaped from from $0 to $4,000 monthly in writing income over a six month period. Plus, she created an affordable, high-quality eCourse that will teach you how to achieve similar success. I was given access to the course content, and I can vouch for it being helpful information.