Yesterday afternoon, I discussed the importance of having good content on your websites. It will drive traffic to your site via search engine, and it will bring visitors back if your site is a good source of information to them. After all, people primarily visit a particular website to learn something or to get information, and if the information proves to be faulty, there is no incentive to return.
When building a website, one of the most challenging things is writing all of the content, as there can be dozens or even thousands of pages of unique content that’s needed. To do this, I’ve used copywriters in the past, I’ve written my own content, and I’ve also hired an expert for something that required current expertise. Depending on the website, you need to determine who should write your content.
To find a good copywriter, you can start with a Google search for “copywriter” and contact some of the leading companies that offer copywriting. It’s better to get a quote for all of your articles at once, as you will get a better price break for more articles. You can also search sites like Guru.com and eLance.com to find professional writers. I found a couple of writers simply by posting in DN Forum, and I was satisfied with most of the work.
You might also look around the industry/community in which you are writing the content to find an expert. Some people will charge a considerable sum of money to write articles, but there are also people who are willing to write articles in exchange for advertising, and some will do it for a link back to their website. It’s important to negotiate everything beforehand and make sure you are getting unique content that’s free to use and distribute on your site. If information is very technical or is difficult to come by online because of frequent changes, you may be better off working with an expert in the field.
Choosing whether you should write the articles or not is a personal decision based on the amount of time you have to do research and write the articles. If you don’t think you can write quality articles – especially if you need a significant number of articles – it’s best to outsource them. Hypothetically, if you are paying $20 per article that takes you 2 hours to write, isn’t it worth paying someone else $10/hour so you can do other things? You can always revise the copywriter’s work if necessary.
One concern that people have (myself included) is that the content is passed off as being unique but is really copied from another source. Copyscape is a service that allows people to search the Internet for copies of text. You can also search Google for random “quoted snippets” of the article to make sure that it wasn’t lifted from elsewhere.
Here are a few tips to getting good content for your websites:
- Ask for samples of work and references. Ask the owners of the websites where the samples are from if they would be willing to provide a good word for the writer.
- Have the copywriter write the first article at no cost to make sure the work is up to your standards. Address any grammar or colloquial issues ASAP to avoid disappointment.
- Ensure that the copywriter has the capacity to do all of the articles you need in the time you need them. There’s nothing worse than getting a great article and moving forward, only to find out that the writer can’t do them all and starts to take shortcuts on the rest.
- Don’t ask for all of the articles at once to make sure the writer doesn’t get off track. It’s easier for the writer to correct the issue on the first few articles than to go back once theyre all done.
- Make sure the copywriter provides the source of information for all articles for your records.
I think you’re not going to get a nice response when you ask somebody to do the first article at no cost :.)
If the copywriter knows who you are and knows you have a big project, they are usually more than happy to do the first one for free. I wouldn’t ask for a freebie if I wanted 5 articles, but if you’re going to get 50, I want a to see how they’ll look before committing.
I just pay them for the first article in that scenario.
These days there are a TON of writers out there. Put an ad on craiglist in one of the non-paying cities and you’ll have 50 emails within a day.
That’s a good point… for a few dollars extra, you won’t get off on the wrong foot with a copywriter who thinks you’re a cheap bastard!
The problem with Craigslist is that when you do get 50 responses, it’s difficult to look at each response and check out everyone.
Before I was actively developing sites, I put out a search for a web developer (for a cheap product) and I got a TON of responses – all with different prices ranging from a few hundred dollars to several thousand for the same project outline.
That is why I always recommend an online portfolio. However…
I agree with you.
I wouldn’t do the first article for free, but I would offer it on an approval basis. If you like it, use it and pay me. If you don’t like it, don’t use it and we’ll forget the fee.
Coincidentally, I won a client today on that basis. They liked the copy, but wanted two small tweaks. I made them, they loved the stuff and the job was done.
Great post! I definitely agree with Ben. Companies or individuals that offer web content writing services should always provide the first sample as a freebee. If clients like it, then they should pay for it since they like it for their sites. A portfolio is also a must.
Everyone in the entire world should offer everyone a freebie.
Then we won’t need money!
What service are you going to spend your time doing for free Philip?
If I am going to pay you $5,000 for a large project with dozens of articles, you better believe I expect a free first article to make sure you are a competent writer. This will also allow me to determine that you didn’t plagiarize your referenced articles and make sure I like your writing style before making a long term – and expensive commitment.
If I am going to trust someone with a $2,500 downpayment/deposit, they will need to trust that I am not working them for a free article.
If a writer isn’t willing to do this, I don’t want to start a relationship with him because I will feel like I am going to be nickeled and dimed, and that is something I won’t have.