The following is a review of my experience writing for Travelista Club, which operates under Writers
I first came across
Let me explain more…
Is Travelista Club legit?
The first question people new to Travelista Club ask is, “Is this legit?” But what I think they actually mean is, “Will I really get paid for the articles that I write?” Yes, you definitely do. I am more than happy to vouch for this.
But when it comes to a deeper understanding of exactly what you’re writing and how your work generates profits, Travelista Club slides into a rather questionable business model. Below I give my account of writing for Travelista Club, highlighting the benefits and discussing some of the potential drawbacks.
Travelista Club really pays
Payment happens exactly as the website describes. The first article you write as a new freelancer for Travelista Club will be a 1000-word travel guide for a destination of your choice. You will also need to provide photos. I wrote about the Transit & Stay Cultural Programme at the international airport for Tokyo in Narita, Japan. The first Friday following its publication, I received AU$40 into my PayPal account.
Trustworthy and reliable payment
As a freelancer, being paid in full and on time is a major concern. In this regard, Travelista Club is completely trustworthy. I have been paid promptly into my PayPal account on the Friday following the publication of each of my subsequent writing pieces. No fussing around and no missing or delayed payments at all. That said, the rate of pay is very low. But I am willing to accept it for the time being.
What is the rate of pay?
There’s no denying it: Travelista Club’s rate of $40 for 1000 words is low. To be honest, I am not sure if it gets any better. Since my first article, I have only received offers to write 500-word articles and blog posts for AU$20 each. However, at this stage of my online freelance writing career, I choose to look at it as paid work experience.
Free training with paid work
Also, the website is more than just an agent hooking me up with paid writing jobs. (Although, whether the website even operates as an agent at all is something I am not yet certain of, which I explain in detail further down.) Alongside offering paid writing jobs, it provides an in-depth training platform. Here you learn all about the art of freelance writing. This includes the finer points of setting up a personal blog and using it as a marketing tool to get clients. In my opinion, this aspect of Travelista Club offsets the low rate of pay, at least for the first few months.
What are the requirements for getting work through Travelista Club?
In short, there are three requirements to write for Travelista Club. First, you need to verify yourself as a real person through logging in via social media. Second, you must have your own blog that is not hosted on a free domain. (Just like Written in Paradise.) You must submit this for review before you can move on to the next step. Third, you have to follow their style guide and successfully submit your first article. After that, you will be listed as a writer on their website and will be eligible to receive offers for more paid work. However, this point needs some clarification.
Travelista Club vs Writers.Academy
You won’t actually be getting work through Travelista Club, and, as I’ve found, the articles you will be offered to write probably won’t be travel related. Travelista Club is one of many websites that comes under the umbrella of Writers
So when you first sign up, you register through your preferred topic (see below for a comprehensive list) to write and publish your first article. After that, you won’t be restricted to any one topic or theme. Rather, you will be invited to write on a diverse range of topics via emails sent from the Writers.Academy team.
Do I need to pay anything to join Writers.Academy?
The only cost involved is the price of buying your own website. It’s not very much and the payment doesn’t even go directly to Writers.Academy. It’s actually more of an investment in your own writing career/side hustle than a fee for signing up. I think I paid US$12 for 12-months for this domain, which is dirt cheap.
Buying your own domain
As mentioned above, you will need your own blog to join and you need to own the domain. To help you with this, Writers
If you already have your own free blog, there are guides to help you transfer it over to a paid domain with hosting. And if you already have your own blog with a paid domain, you can apply using that so there would be no need to pay at all.
Making your money back
Once your domain is verified by the Writers.Academy team you will be able to complete your first assignment. As mentioned above, if you sign up with Travelista Club, you will write a 1000-word travel guide and get paid AU$40. At the time when I joined, this payment was more than the cost of buying my domain and hosting. So right from the start I was in the black with only a very minimal initial investment.
Am I guaranteed more work after my first article?
Honestly, it took almost two months before I received my first offer for more work through Writers.Academy. Since then I get offers rather inconsistently, but at least I still do get them. Although there is never any guarantee, especially as a freelancer, if you follow the training, you should be able to get at least few offers for additional paid writing jobs.
How Writers.Academy ranks writers
To improve your chances of getting work, you need to rise up the ranks. Thankfully, Writers
Here is a breakdown of how Writers.Academy grades writers’ blogs:
A = a fully developed portfolio based on the training
B = a partially developed portfolio
C = a barely touched portfolio with little content
D = the portfolio is offline or has errors
With just a few blog posts, all of which followed Writers.Academy’s suggested format, my website quickly got an A grade. However, my average number of readers is still considered low. I must admit, that’s my own fault for not better marketing my articles.
Here is a breakdown of how Writers.Academy ranks
~2000 Readers – Excellent performance
~1000 Readers – Good performance
~500 Readers – Average performance
~200 Readers – Low performance
If you can couple an A grade blog with a high readership, in theory, you should be able to get a fair amount of work. (I say “in theory” because I haven’t achieved this yet, so I can’t confirm it in practice.)
What’s the catch?
Despite my positive experience, I still have a few reservations about Writers.Academy. My main issues have to do with their business model and the legitimacy of the writing assignments.
Writers.Academy is NOT a freelance writing agent
After signing up and processing a lot of information, I discovered that Writers
This should have come as no surprise. After re-reading much of the information accessible only after signing up, I realised Writers
Although, I am not so sure there are very many external clients using Writers.Agency to find freelance writers, if any. As stated by Writers
Why does Writers.Academy hire writers?
To sum up their business, Writers
The reason behind developing this enormous series of intricately linked blogs, known as a Private Blog Network (PBN), is that the Writers.Academy websites gain credibility. With more content and direct links being added daily, these sites can consequently move up Google’s rankings and drive more traffic.
Monetising the Private Blog Network
From how I understand it, in a traditional PBN, this would return a profit through views of paid advertisements on the websites. And the higher up on Google searches a website is, the more visits it gets. However, Writers.Academy doesn’t put adverts on its websites. Instead, they aim to make their websites profitable through affiliate marketing. I guess they get commission every time someone clicks through to the page of the product or service being reviewed, or maybe they get paid if someone buys it.
Super cheap marketing
Writers are also encouraged to share their published articles as widely as possible to increase their average number of readers, improve their ranking on Writers.Agency and thereby gain more work. Having the writers do the majority of the marketing work as they spam their friends, family and forums with their promotional articles drastically
Expanding the PBN
This is also how Writers
Moreover, writers are actively encouraged to recruit additional writers to the network. Full disclosure: we get a few dollars if you sign up via our referral links. I assume Writers
What’s the problem?
As a freelance writer, it’s my job to make content that is engaging and that creates a return for whoever has hired me to write. Of course, I must expect whatever I produce to be used commercially, which includes affiliate marketing. This is perfectly acceptable. The real issue is that the website I have paid for – Written in Paradise – is now part of the Writers
Personal Blog Networks are penalised by Google
Google tries to stop PBNs because they consider them to be “thin content”, meaning they are “low quality or shallow pages which do not provide users with much added value.” These sites are then labelled as “search spam” and are penalised in Google searches. Consequently, any site that is part of a known PBN will struggle to make any kind of ranking, even if the content is legitimate. And this may include my website.
I think Writers
More pertinent to my current situation, I am using these paid gigs from Writers
Should I sign up?
If you want to start freelance writing but have no idea where to begin, definitely yes. You get a very cheap domain and a detailed guide on how to set up your blog and start your writing business. Plus, you can instantly make back your initial investment if you choose to take on their very first 1000-word writing assignment.
If you want to build a portfolio of published work to show to potential clients, I would only say perhaps you should sign up. While you do get published, the fact that it appears to be part of a Private Blog Network reduces its credibility. It may also negatively impact the ranking of your own website as Google tries to stop these kinds of networks from operating.
If you are an experienced freelance writer who already has a decent portfolio and established
Where to sign up
Below is the promised list of websites anyone can use to sign up to Writers
iPhone Topic – Apple products writing
Nupathe Health & Medical Solutions – Health and Medicine writing
Style Plus – Fashion and Style writing
Tech WTF – Technology writing
Travelista Club – Travel writing
Twisted Fitness – Fitness writing
Did you find my review helpful? Any questions? Leave a comment below.