I have a question about what to charge for writing

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  1. Dorsi profile image89
    Dorsiposted 15 years ago

    I'm in a career transition now, hopefully about to sell our business, and have been approached by a couple companies about writing content for their sites. Has anyone else here got experience on web writing and what to charge?
    I think what I will do since there is obviously a market for this is to go the whole nine yards with my writing- get the business cards, re-join the chamber and reconnect with other business owners I know, I could probably get alot of jobs helping them with their websites and other marketing efforts that require writing.
    Any advice?
    Or good links for pursuing this avenue- as a freelance content writer?

  2. Misha profile image63
    Mishaposted 15 years ago

    All that I can say that there is a huge market for this.

    I will not go into prices cause I got fried on this forums already for paying "ridiculously low" prices to my writers smile

    1. Dorsi profile image89
      Dorsiposted 15 years agoin reply to this

      OK well thanks- do you have any good resources for me?
      I was starting to realize the great potential for this in the last few weeks, and I'm positive that if I come up with a fair amount that I will get alot of work. The thing that will make my writing more valuable is that I already know alot about some of the businesses that will hire me- so that gives me an edge- and here in the San Fran Bay Area, rates will be higher simply because of the area, and I will be accessible to more of my clients- for one on ones.
      Plus I write pretty fast, once I have the concept it doesn't take long for me crank out content.

  3. Inspirepub profile image74
    Inspirepubposted 15 years ago


    Make sure you distinguish between "marketing writing" and "article/content writing".

    The going rate for the former is $100 to $300 per page (which works out at 33c to $1 per word), while the going rate for the latter is 1c-5c per word.

    Don't get tricked into doing marketing writing at content prices!


    1. Dorsi profile image89
      Dorsiposted 15 years agoin reply to this

      This will be a stretch for me, I'm so used to doing marketing at the same time I am writing ( a follow over from making signs for so long...lol) and helping customers brand their product.
      What sort of guidlelines would you say would distinguish the two? What things to look out for when securing work?
      Ummm... I can see contracts in the future too...to make it clear when the job is taken on! I can't say how many times I've taken a sign order and it being way different when the finished product goes out- more words, more logos, we usually catch people up on this but it's a hard call sometimes!

    2. Mark Knowles profile image59
      Mark Knowlesposted 15 years agoin reply to this

      There needs also to be some differentiation between content writing and article writing.

      Dorsi -

      You need to charge these companies an amount of money that leaves you comfortable and able to feel you are being well compensated for your efforts.

      How you measure that should give you an idea of what to charge.

      I wrote a hub a while back entitled, Making Money Online in which I detailed some of my experiences writing online for a living. You wouldn't believe some of the insane rewards being offered. big_smile

      There are also some resources as to where to find jobs in that hub. I also think hubpages is not the best place to have this discussion. Freelance Writing Jobs is a good place to start.

      Some other things I take into consideration when deciding what to charge are:

      Is it a subject I am familiar with or will I need to do a lot of research?

      Will I get any exposure? i.e Are you writing under your own name, with a link back to you and does anyone actually read the website you are writing for?

      Is there a revenue sharing scheme in place?

      I have written for as little as $25 for things like this:

      Foreclosure Listing Sites

      But that includes the usual hub pages 60/40 revenue split.

      Then there are blog posts. These can be quite lucrative if you are familiar with the subject and are not expected to write a set number of words. There is a lot of pressure in writing 700 words on something like, "Antique furniture restoration in Virginia," if you have no ideas about the subject LOL

      But there is a big difference between a blog post like this:

      Luxury Interiors
      and this:

      Mace captures contract worth $450 million

      So the short answer is "It depends."

      With blog posts, it also depends what other promo work you are expected to do outside the site and whether any of your pay is determined by the amount of traffic you can generate.

      I will not take 1 cent a word for content, and I have seen them advertised for as little as 0.05 cents a word big_smile but there are better paying content jobs available. You just have to find them. big_smile

  4. Inspirepub profile image74
    Inspirepubposted 15 years ago

    If you are used to doing marketing writing, just always quote marketing rates.

    Otherwise, you end up giving away your marketing expertise because you can't stand to do the sort of lousy job that content writers do on articles (which are really marketing pieces and should be written with marketing in mind, actually).

    If you ever get anyone who haggles with you on price for content-only stuff, just say to them "Pay someone else the cheap rate to draft something, and when you aren't happy with the result, I will edit it into shape for you for 1/3 of what I would charge to write it from scratch".

    They will save some amount of money, and you will get an easy editing job instead of a boring underpaid writing job - everyone wins.

    And if they can't be bothered going somewhere else for the content, you'll get to write it well and be paid at a good rate for doing so.


    1. Dorsi profile image89
      Dorsiposted 15 years agoin reply to this

      Very good advice- best to just start out from the very start with a solid pricing structure- and yes, it will be marketing for me because that's the most natural way I write, and these 14 years in the sign business have to account for something!

  5. Misha profile image63
    Mishaposted 15 years ago

    Aren't you just hopping from one business to another?

    1. Marisa Wright profile image88
      Marisa Wrightposted 15 years agoin reply to this

      The same thought crossed my mind.  The consensus, having discussed the topic of making a living online several times on these forums, is that making a living online is like any other business - you have to be ready to burn the midnight oil for the first 2 years.  That sounds like exactly what you've been trying to get away from!

      Having said that, most people are talking about content writing or building sites for passive income.  Jenny (Inspirepub) and Tiffany are the first people I've seen quoting what I'd call "respectable" rates for writing online.  Everyone else is, as Misha said, quoting a few cents per word - which is never going to be enough to live on, unless you work all the hours God sends.

      I'm intrigued that Jenny is able to market her work at those rates as I still don't fully understand the distinction between what she does and content writing. I'll be interested to see her reply!

      1. Inspirepub profile image74
        Inspirepubposted 15 years agoin reply to this

        OK, I'll give you an example.

        Let's say the client is a financial planner, and wants an article for an email newsletter or a website page.

        Content writer writes:

        Trained marketing copywriter writes:

        There are five emotional triggers in those two marketing paragraphs which make it more likely that the reader will ask the financial planner to help them at some time in the future.

        There is nothing in the content paragraphs which will advance the financial planner's business, other than some vaguely technical-sounding general information that might just possibly convey to the reader that this financial stuff is gobbledegook to them and therefore make them feel like they need help. But that's not a winning marketing strategy - people buy from people they understand, not people who confuse them.

        Does that help to clarify the difference, Marisa?

        Personally, I can't write down to the level of the 5c per word content writers. I find it physically impossible. So I just charge for what I know I will deliver anyway, and those who don't want to pay that are better off going somewhere else, because they wouldn't appreciate what I do anyway, and I would feel underpaid and under-appreciated if I did that work.

        The lowest I have ever gone is journalism-level writing at 90c per word. But only as a favour to a marketing writing client who needed some editorial articles written to go in a couple of magazines. Since they normally pay me $200 a pop to write press releases, I did it as a bit of a value-add relationship-building exercise.


  6. Misha profile image63
    Mishaposted 15 years ago


    This is what people are paying serious money for: http://www.virtualsmartagent.com/

    Such thing from a reputable master costs several thousand dollars. It is called sales page, and its purpose is to lure you into purchasing.

    Disclaimer: I neither endorse the product or prevent you from buying it, and I'm not affiliated with them in any sense. I just found this on the internet to illustrate my answer smile

  7. embitca profile image85
    embitcaposted 15 years ago

    Nearly any of the sales pages online cost a couple of grand each for the work. It is a completely different world from article writing. When I hire out articles, I don't pay much, but I expect I'll be tweaking it considerably and occasionally breaking them up for different uses.

    If I was buying a sales page from someone though, I'd be buying that person's expertise, which is worth a lot more to me than scut work I simply don't feel like doing myself. I can write articles myself, I just get bored doing it. I don't think I could write a sales page to save my life.

  8. Mark Knowles profile image59
    Mark Knowlesposted 15 years ago

    Dorsi - Also, I am looking at it from the opposite end of the subject than either embitca or Misha.

    When I pay for content, I pay well based on the quality of the writing and research. When I am talking about content, it is something that people will want to read and draw them back to the site for more or cause the reader to bookmark the page because there was something interesting and well written.

    When they are talking about "content," it is just words on a page. I think it's fair to say both Misha and embitca view content as something to fill the page up and attract search engine traffic. And they do not seem to value it the same way I do. embitca calls it "scut work." In my experience, employers with that attitude are best avoided.

    No offense guys big_smile  Horses for courses.

    1. Misha profile image63
      Mishaposted 15 years agoin reply to this

      While mostly you are right in my case, too - it is slightly different. Because of my ESL I cannot just write web content on my own. Even if I do, I still have to have it edited by a native speaker. So for me it makes more sense to pay one cent a word for writing than one cent a word for editing - except for special cases smile

  9. Marisa Wright profile image88
    Marisa Wrightposted 15 years ago

    I am so reassured to find there are people out there who are still willing to pay for good writing!  Not so much for myself, as I'm not planning to make a career at it any time soon - but simply because I think good writing SHOULD be rewarded.   Good writing takes talent and training, it's not something just anyone can do, so it deserves to be rewarded accordingly.  It seems crazy that someone with a skill should earn less than the average cleaner, but that seems to be the reality for a lot of people who are writing online.

    1. Misha profile image63
      Mishaposted 15 years agoin reply to this

      Isn't this applicable to any good work? wink

  10. embitca profile image85
    embitcaposted 15 years ago

    No offense taken, Mark. As far as it goes, you are right. When I hire out articles, I am basically hiring out the content I need to build backlinks and traffic. I don't use any of that stuff on my own sites or here on Hubpages.

    I have tested and find that while I definitely get more backlinks and click-thrus on stuff I've written myself, I can more than make up for the shortfall with volume, and it frees me up to write 2000+ words on post-apocalyptic movies big_smile

    I (mostly) don't submit garbage  though and I think I help the writers who work with me to improve their work so they can go and work for someone else for more money. I don't like keyword filler and I don't use it and I find it counterproductive. If I were doing that I could just do some Markov scripts and stuff. But let's face it, 50 articles on weight loss or ringtones or Forex or "insert hot niche here" is scut work, especially when you have a short attention span like I do smile

  11. gamergirl profile image89
    gamergirlposted 15 years ago

    So how do you know when the right time to start charging to write content would be?  When do you know that you're ready for that kind of thing?  If you've never charged for writing before, what should you charge?

    I'm curious!

    1. amy jane profile image75
      amy janeposted 15 years agoin reply to this

      Take a look at Guru or Elance.com to see what people are looking for as far as content and what they are paying. I think you will be surpirsed at some of the extremely underqualified candidates out and about.  I think it is really hard to determine what to charge when you are just starting out, so I can't really answer that.
      As far a being ready to charge for your work - don't underestimate your skill and talent! smile

    2. Misha profile image63
      Mishaposted 15 years agoin reply to this

      What some (smart!) people do - they go to the forums where clients are hanging out - like warrior forum or digital point. They offer to write for established members of the community free of charge - but ask for a feedback to be posted publicly. And when they build some reputation, they start writing for money. Also, while you are hanging there for a while, you get a good idea of how you can price your work.

      1. Dorsi profile image89
        Dorsiposted 15 years agoin reply to this

        Great advice Misha:
        When I was writing a column for the paper, I did alot of "name dropping", not necessarily on purpose but sometimes it was very deliberate. Since I was writing a column for the community this was an easy thing to do. I would suppose the same things apply here- I write and help another company and in turn they help promote me-
        I was never point blank asked to do this but you know what I mean.
        Restaurants would comp us, and if the service and food was good there was no reason for me not to mention them in my column- and it provided valuable feedback to the community on local spots to go eat- and play-
        So it was a win win for everyone- and I just realized in my subliminal marketing way that's what I've been doing in my hubs- writing and dropping helpful links - which could be used by those linked companies as positive reviews and free marketing for them to use.
        And in the end- it all comes down to who you know, and helping one another, just like we do here at HubPages. Be a positive influence, be helpful, kind and write engaging helpful content.

  12. Dorsi profile image89
    Dorsiposted 15 years ago

    Well this is a great conversation we are having here- One of the things I've learned as an "artist" is that sometimes it's very hard to put a price on creative work- and writing definitely would fall into that same craft.
    And yes, I am wanting to get out of a "brick and mortar" business, and going home to write will be much less stressful than what I am doing now, which is having to deal with a partner that argues every point with me, walk in tire kickers which drain my energy, and constant fires dealing with sign issues- city permits, blah blah blah.
    Being in my office at home with the kitties curled up on my lap and a view of the backyard garden has alot of appeal to me- and knowing how I am, being out with clients will also satisfy my need to be out in society. So I know I will have to spend alot of time on a learning curve but that's OK, because in the long run it will be far better than what I am dealing with now-
    And I am actively trying to build residual income at the same time.... in whatever online businesses work for me with that goal in mind.

  13. profile image0
    pgrundyposted 15 years ago

    I pick up content projects at Elance and have been paid as much as $500 and as little as $65. I only pay attention to whether I can do it and whether I want to do it, and I only take on escrowed work because I hate to get stiffed. I always read about the buyer and check the feedback to make sure I'm not missing something. Even with all that, I have gotten bitten twice, but I think that's not too bad out of all the projects I've taken on. One person stiffed me, one underpaid me by a lot, but everyone else has been super to work with. Very few bad experiences there.

    I have a regular finance blog that will be starting up soon that I got hired to write from bidding on Elance--I'm a bit nervous as I've heard you can work yourself to death on those. Once it starts I get a weekly amount plus a percentage of ad revenue.

    The nice thing about Elance is that if it doesn't work out you can always talk to the buyer and bow out. I had to do that once and it was ok both ways.


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