I wrote 60 articles in one month for Associated content. I made $300 writing about whatever I wanted.
Thing is... I wasn't writing for myself.
I was writing for them; and although they do offer a profit sharing program (an extra dollar for every 1,000 page views) it dosen't come close to what can happen if one of your articles on your own blog hits it big.
HERE'S THE PROOF:
My last article was about how FreeCreditReport.com screwed me over. I thought it was a fair piece; alittle life lesson and experience that can help hopefully a few people not get jipped like I did. This article blew up; as I'm writing this, that article has more than 1,000 diggs. It was on the main page for quite a bit and is currently on the TOP 10 list.
Sure, I got ALOT of flames for being foolish enough to fall for it - but what does that matter. If we cant laugh at our own mistakes then we're screwed. You have to be able to laugh at oneself once in a while.
It suffices to say that by writing that article for myself, at my own no-name, free-hosted blog - I made more then I would have with associated content.
If you want to hone your craft and start drawing an audience, perhaps pay-per-article sites like Associated Content and Helium can help you out. However, the real money is in having your own blog. I could have made so much more money if those 60 or so articles I wrote for them - were instead on my own blog. However; sometimes having a blog dosen't provide consisten income - in fact, often blogs lack consistency in their monetization. In those cases It can be beneficial to continue to sell to sites like Associated Content on non-exclusive deals so you can still publish them on your blog while drawing a growing audience from AC to your blog from links on your profile.