The only thing that is constant in the world is change, and this applies to everything, including the Internet. If you wanted to be found on Google 10 years ago, you would have used keywords, meta tags, or SEO ‘black hat’ methods that would drive traffic to your website. Now, years after the dot com boom fizzled out, webmasters know that there is only one true method for acquiring unique visitors to your personal, business, or blog website: Quality Content.
Although no one really knows what Google bases their search algorithm on, we do know that the popular search engine will reward a constant output of unique content with high page rankings. Because of this, a new type of writer has emerged from the ranks of Professors, Journalism majors, and reporters that previously dominated the Internet. I like to call this type of writer a “content provider” and you can find them producing page after page of search engine friendly articles in a quick, timely fashion. Even more advantageous for those who use content providers? You can often obtain a 500 word article for $5 or less. Great, right? But as your Father might have told you when you were growing up, you often get what you pay for.
How do you find the right type of content writer for you? You can focus on what you need from a content writer by answering the following questions:
What type of writing do you need?
People search for writers based on need. No matter what you are looking for, there are many websites available online that can help. It truly depends on what type of writing you are looking for:
- Filler content for a website: The term “Content Mill” applies to websites like Demand Studios. You would can purchase bulk amounts of website filler such as “How To” articles from these types of websites, all for an extremely low price. Demand Studios is not a site you would use to search out someone to provide you with custom writing.
- Original content, but you aren’t that interested in high quality: Textbroker has thousands of contractors available, and can provide you with content rewriting or original articles. You choose what type of content you want, whether it is two stars (low quality) or 5 stars (high quality). This type of service is great if you need a 10,000 product catalog rewritten or you want low quality filler content, because you can get what you want cheaply and easily. However, high quality writers will not sign up for Textbroker due to the fact that you have to work your way through payment scales from 2 stars to 5 stars.
- High quality writing: Odesk.com & Elance.com have providers located in both Canada and the USA, and are the sites to find higher quality content writers. If you need press releases, original articles, or even short novels, you can find a contractor that will provide you with what you are looking for. Often writers employed on Odesk have degrees or are journalists seeking side contracts, so the quality of writing can exceed your expectations. Even better, Odesk protects both the contractor and the employer by tracking the contractor’s work time.
How much are you willing to spend on your website content?
How large your writing budget is will often dictate the type of writer you find. As stated, if you only want to spend the bare minimum, you can find a writer on any of the above listed websites that will provide you with an article for less than a penny per word. I’ve seen contractors bid .45 cents for a 1000 word article, but I can only imagine that the end result was riddled with spelling errors or could have potentially been copied from another article. Writing a decent article takes time and research, and the price goes up accordingly.
How quickly do you need your project completed?
The Web is a great place if you need something done quickly, but quick doesn’t always mean quality. Writers can often churn out 5 or more 500-word articles per day if there is no research required. In fact, I’ve seen contractors on Odesk pull 10-hour shifts when doing an hourly job, submitting page after page of low quality content.
Many high quality writers will not give you a same day turn around, as it can be very difficult to write well about a topic you may know nothing about. Research is always key to sounding knowledgeable and providing a interesting and easy to read article.
Be clear with your content provider and you will be happy with the result
Once you have selected a content provider, it is important to be clear about your objectives. Let the writer know what type of tone you would like the article to take, whether it is casual, formal, or even funny. If you want keywords placed in the article, be sure to provide those up front as well as specifications as to how you want the keywords used. As well, set your word count up front. If your writer has no idea that you wanted 1000 words, they may only produce 500.
As you may never meet your freelance writer face to face, it is important that you protect yourself from possible scams or plagiarized content. Always pass your articles through Copyscape. You will ensure that the article you purchased is original, and not have to worry someone will ask you to remove it from your site due to plagiarism.
It is getting more tricky to drive traffic to your website, but with a constant flow of quality content, you will definitely be ahead of the game. The number one piece of advice that I can offer when choosing a content provider? Don’t be afraid to pay for quality. There is a reason that high quality writers get paid per word, and although you may feel as though you can get a better deal somewhere else, you may end up losing money in the long run.