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Thread: How much should I be paying my writers?

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    Default How much should I be paying my writers?

    I hire writers/freelancers on a fairly regular basis and I am wondering what I should be paying them? What is fair compensation for a quality writer?

    Some articles are very technical while others require only a little bit of research. I usually pay per word and give a range of how long the article should be.

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    Quote Originally Posted by trunker View Post
    I hire writers/freelancers on a fairly regular basis and I am wondering what I should be paying them? What is fair compensation for a quality writer?

    Some articles are very technical while others require only a little bit of research. I usually pay per word and give a range of how long the article should be.
    That's really up to you. I know there's an entire industry of cheap writers out there who will spin out quick articles for a few bucks. If that works for you, I guess you pay what they charge. Are you hiring people that don't have set rates and you're just giving them what you give them, or are you asking if you should be paying cheaper or higher rates?

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    More than what you're paying now. I say that because if you thought the writers you're hiring now were "quality writers" you probably wouldn't be asking the question of how much to pay them. I making an assumption, but your question suggests you're not happy with the level of quality you're currently getting, which suggests you're not paying enough.

    Out of curiosity, how much are you paying per word now?
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    Fair compensation for a quality writer may vary a bit by area and by the complexity of the job. A good freelance writer will know the value of their work and skill and charge accordingly. Unfortunately, as Harold points out, there are writers out there who are willing to work for a very small wage, and that tends to skew the market a bit.

    Payment by the word is fairly standard.

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    Good feedback everyone, thank you! I should have just stated how much I pay from the start. On average I am paying .05 cents per word..

    Harold
    I am wondering if I am overpaying or underpaying. I use Upwork a lot and I offer jobs to people rather than posting my jobs for all to see. I do this for several reasons including the privacy/security of keywords/Niches I am in. As my business grows I can afford to spend more on content creation rather than doing everything myself.


    Vangogh
    Good assumption. The first couple of freelancers I hired were terrible, cheap writers like Harold said. I ended up paying more for a better writer and he has been doing great work for me at .05 CPW. I have been using him a lot since he produces great content.


    KristineS
    Up till this point I have been stating what I will pay for an article to be written. Most of my material is fairly technical that requires knowledge about a particular subject rather than research alone. The majority of my sites are informational in nature. As an example an article could be titled "25 Time Saving Tips for Installing Overhead Track Lighting."

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    One thing you have to know, when you're paying so little to just have people write articles..they aren't doing a bunch of research and learning to become experts about a particular subject for .05 cents a word. They're going on Google, finding other people's articles and "re-purposing" them for you.

    Some even use free or open source article spinners that just move a bunch of stuff around so that it appears differently. That's really about all of the labor you're going to get for such a low rate no matter what country they live in.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Harold Mansfield View Post
    One thing you have to know, when you're paying so little to just have people write articles..they aren't doing a bunch of research and learning to experts about a particular subject for .05 cents a word. They're going on Google, finding other people's articles and "re-purposing" them for you.

    Some even use free or open source article spinners that just move a bunch of stuff around so that it appears differently. That's really about all of the labor you're going to get for such a low rate no matter what country they live in.

    Ok good to know, thank you for the advice Harold! I have been really lucky with the guy I have been using. He just started freelancing and has been using me to build his portfolio. I did research him online and found his LinkedIn so I knew he had the knowledge of the subject. I also worked in the same field for a couple of years.

    I do not want to get caught up in a spun article or hit with a duplicate content penalty by google. The first writer I hired gave me a spun article and I just ended up trashing it.

    I have been doing well so far without contracting out much so maybe I should just keep grinding out my own original content. I am working on launching a 200+ page site and the amount of hours it is requiring is daunting.

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    Sounds like you're doing your homework and are getting what you need for the right price.

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    5 cents per word isn't a lot. I've been writing articles for other sites for years, mainly web design and development articles so there's quite a bit of research involved along with technical writing and usually code and a demo thrown in. I don't get paid per word. It's always per article. Some sites will pay a range of rates based on article length, but not to the level of the exact number of words. It might be one price for an article 450-550 words, another price for an article 750 words, and a third price for articles over a 1,000 words. The numbers will vary.

    Based on offers that have been presented to me, I'd say the low end for a good article is about $100 with the high end approaching $500. There's also an observable difference in quality based on the price. I read content on the sites that hire me so I'm familiar with their content. Granted this is subjective, but the sites that pay more do end up with a much higher quality of writing.

    That said, you can find quality writing at the price you're currently paying. You found someone building a portfolio who's fine working at your rate. What you'll probably find is the better writers you hire won't work long at that rate. If they're good they're going to receive offers that pay more and they're going to take the higher paying jobs.

    It also sounds like you're trying to do this right and doing your homework like Harold said. Hang on to your current writer, since you're happy with his work. You could give him a bump in pay. I know whenever someone gave me a raise without asking, I felt more loyal to the person and put more effort into doing better work. My guess is your writer would feel similar and probably work for you longer than he needs to. Even 6 cents a word would be great for him and probably not a huge burden on your budget.

    One other idea for you. If you can get through all those articles on your own, you could hire someone to edit the articles. I'm not sure what the difference in price might be, but it's another thought.

    Ultimately writing is going to be something that the more you're willing to pay, the better quality you'll likely get in return. You'll find there are distinct levels of quality that will work for different prices. Your best bet is to vary how much you're willing to spend and compare what you get back in return. Then find the balance between quality and cost that works for you. You can always build the site with whatever quality you can afford right now and then reinvest later and hire someone else to improve on what you have.
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    Quote Originally Posted by vangogh View Post
    5 cents per word isn't a lot. I've been writing articles for other sites for years, mainly web design and development articles so there's quite a bit of research involved along with technical writing and usually code and a demo thrown in. I don't get paid per word. It's always per article. Some sites will pay a range of rates based on article length, but not to the level of the exact number of words. It might be one price for an article 450-550 words, another price for an article 750 words, and a third price for articles over a 1,000 words. The numbers will vary.

    Based on offers that have been presented to me, I'd say the low end for a good article is about $100 with the high end approaching $500. There's also an observable difference in quality based on the price. I read content on the sites that hire me so I'm familiar with their content. Granted this is subjective, but the sites that pay more do end up with a much higher quality of writing.

    That said, you can find quality writing at the price you're currently paying. You found someone building a portfolio who's fine working at your rate. What you'll probably find is the better writers you hire won't work long at that rate. If they're good they're going to receive offers that pay more and they're going to take the higher paying jobs.

    It also sounds like you're trying to do this right and doing your homework like Harold said. Hang on to your current writer, since you're happy with his work. You could give him a bump in pay. I know whenever someone gave me a raise without asking, I felt more loyal to the person and put more effort into doing better work. My guess is your writer would feel similar and probably work for you longer than he needs to. Even 6 cents a word would be great for him and probably not a huge burden on your budget.

    One other idea for you. If you can get through all those articles on your own, you could hire someone to edit the articles. I'm not sure what the difference in price might be, but it's another thought.

    Ultimately writing is going to be something that the more you're willing to pay, the better quality you'll likely get in return. You'll find there are distinct levels of quality that will work for different prices. Your best bet is to vary how much you're willing to spend and compare what you get back in return. Then find the balance between quality and cost that works for you. You can always build the site with whatever quality you can afford right now and then reinvest later and hire someone else to improve on what you have.
    Great thoughts and I think that you are right that I should bump up my writers pay or bonus him after the completion of an article. Honestly he is becoming an asset to me and I also don't want him to feel like I do not value his work. He has also supplied me with original pictures that he took on his own in addition to the articles at no cost.

    Hiring an editor is something else for me to explore. I really like that idea and I will explore the editor vs writer costs.

    Thank you for the thoughts and information! All of it is very helpful.

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