Tag Archives: website writing

How to get quality content written on a tight budget?

How to get quality content written on a tight budget

How to get quality content written on a tight budget.

Many clients approach me with a tight budget. Even yesterday someone called me who wanted content for a single page website. When I told him how much I would charge, he was taken aback. To be frank, even I was taken aback at the way he was taken aback. After all, I needed to charge for the time I was going to spend writing his content. I hadn’t even quoted a very high rate.

When people think of getting content written for their websites, they think in terms of long-term writing requirements. Something like, “If I’m paying this much for one web page, over a period how much am I going to have to pay for 25 pages?”

This is a valid question. Everyone needs to plan. One must know what is the cost of writing content for the complete website and then plan accordingly.

The written content on your website is one of your biggest assets, or in fact, THE biggest asset. Does your website have a meaning without the text? Are you going to have empty boxes? Or are you going to fill those boxes with content full of spelling and grammar mistakes or uninspiring sentences and paragraphs? Don’t you want to motivate your visitors into becoming your customers and clients? It is the written text that is going to achieve that for you.

Although I believe in most of the cases clients talk about having a budget constraint simply because they don’t want to pay enough to a content writer (the only service they want to save the maximum on), some cases a genuine. How do you get quality content written for your website if you don’t have enough budget? You can do the following…

Get content written for a selected few pages

Some pages are important, for example your homepage, the services page and the about us page. These pages are business getters. Although other pages matter too, these are the pages that must look professionally written. If you don’t have enough money to pay for content for all the pages, just get your content written for a selected few pages.

Get the content written incrementally

There is no need to get the entire thing done in one go. You can get your content written incrementally. In the beginning, get the barebones content. Have enough content that your visitors get the needed information, and you can launch the website. It is far better than launching a website with inferior or unprofessional content. Then, next month, you can pay some more money to your content writer to expand upon the existing content.

Repurpose existing content

If you already have some content on your blog or website, perhaps you can consider repurposing it.  For example, if I wanted to repurpose some content from this blog post, I could write a quick blog post on “How to write quality content incrementally”. This way your content writer won’t have to spend lots of time searching for new ideas and he or she can simply build upon your existing content, costing you less in the process.

Write the content yourself and then get it revised by a professional content writer

This may seem daunting, but if you really want to save some money, prepare the draft yourself. A content writer spends a lot of time preparing the first draft because most of the clients don’t give enough information pertaining to their businesses. Since you yourself will be writing the content, you will be sharing the information first-hand. Then, afterwards, your content writer can make it look professional.

Go for shorter blog posts

Thin content – blog posts and web pages less than 400 words – is often discouraged by Google, but there is no hard and fast rule. My philosophy in this regard is, having some content is better than having no content. There is no need to publish blog posts that are more than 1000 words. Just publish something around 300-400 words. The idea is to convey to Google that you are constantly updating your blog and the Google crawler should crawl and index the updated content from your website. I myself publish small blog posts when I don’t have enough time to work on comprehensive content pieces.

This may not help you improve your SEO compared to other businesses that are publishing bigger blog posts, at least the Google crawler will start crawling your website with greater frequency and once you can afford to publish bigger blog posts, they will be crawled and indexed faster.

There are many websites with less content. Although most of the business owners want as much content as possible to improve their search engine rankings and cover all the necessary keywords, your customers and clients don’t know that. So, even if you have less content, they may think that it is just your approach or design need. But make sure that whatever content you have, it is professionally written, looks well, and communicates to your visitors convincingly. That’s what that matters the most.

 

Writing is not a commodity, writing is an emotional connection

Writing is not a commodity it is an emotional connection

Writing is not a commodity, it is an emotional connection

I just had a conversation with a person who wanted to hire my content writing services. I thought I will just publish a few words regarding that.

Pricing is normally a big issue when it comes to deciding how much you want to pay your writer.

It is understandable.

When you are paying for something, in an ideal world, you want to get the highest quality at the lowest possible rate.

Do we live in an ideal world? No.

Just as you want to pay the minimum possible rate, the writer needs to charge the maximum possible rate the client can give. A writer earns his or her living writing.

There must be a common meeting ground between the lowest the client wants to pay and the maximum the writer needs to charge.

So, this person was quite upset about the minimum rate I had offered him, and what seems to be more offending to him is the fact that I’m charging the rate for Hindi writing, not even English.

Yup, native English speakers in the UK and the USA don’t have any problem paying for my English content writing services despite English not being my native language, but native Hindi speakers in India don’t want to pay for my Hindi content writing services despite Hindi being my native language, such is their attitude towards their own language.

But that’s a different topic I would like to write about some day.

The argument that writing is writing whether in Hindi or English, didn’t cut much ice.

There was a time when I didn’t use to have such discussions with prospective clients. I would simply say, “Great, look for another writer who will work on your rate.”

But these days sometimes I have conversations with them and try to explain to them that writing is not about paying for words. It is about paying for value.

Yes, I do tell my clients how much I’m going to charge per word or per page (depending on their preference) but this is just to give them an idea of the pricing. It is not to be taken literally. It is not like one is buying bananas and apples.

I told him that when clients hire me, they don’t hire me because I will charge a certain amount (yes, it is a factor, but not the only factor). They hire me because they want me to write for them the way I write for myself.

Most of my clients contact me after reading my blog posts and webpages on my website. They are looking for the writing skill I can offer.

Even among these clients, if some mention that, “Oh, XYZ is ready to work for 70% less of what you are charging,” I immediately understand that they’re not much bothered about the writing skill.

This also means that it doesn’t matter to them what type of writing they get. They simply want to fill up their webpages and blog posts and for that, any writer would do.

This is a clear message to me that I don’t want to get involved. Why would I get myself involved in a project where quality of writing does not matter?

Even if they’re getting better quality at a very low rate, good for them. Then also, why would I inconvenience myself and also deprive them of the quality that they may get from somewhere else?

Anyway, he said that it will be too costly for him because he wants to publish at least 5 updates every day.

I could totally understand his problem. Paying for 5 updates would be expensive for a person who is trying to build a new business while doing a job.

But then, the rate that he is ready to offer is not practical.

I mean, not at all.

I had offered him a minimum of Rs. 800 for a 450-500-word document. In dollars it is a little less than $11.

He said that the other writer he was talking to was ready to charge $2.

My first instinct, as it usually is, was to tell him what was he waiting for? He shouldn’t let such a writer go.

Contrary to what I usually do, I started a conversation with him.

“Look,” I said, “how much is $2? Around Rs. 144? How much time does it take to write a 500-word blog post? After all, it is not simply typing. You think about the topic, you form sentences, you rearrange them, you do research to find the right information, then you express that in your own words to create unique content and on top of everything, it should be well written, engaging and conversational. Including revisions, it takes more than an hour to write a good piece of 500 words, and that too when the needed information is easily available. Can you imagine what the quality of the writing must be if someone is charging Rs. 144 for working more than an hour? Even a plumber or a carpenter charges three times more than this. At least I’m charging like a plumber.”

He didn’t get the plumber joke.

My advice to him was: “If you cannot afford 5 updates per day, just go with 1-2 updates. I give this advice to all the clients who don’t have much money to spend but want to publish quality content. Ultimately, it is not the quantity that is going to build your presence, but the quality. Unless you make an emotional connection, your writing is not going to have an impact.”

He understood the quality part. He also understood the making an emotional connection part. He simply couldn’t get over the fact that he needed to pay almost $11 when he wants to pay $2.

I said all the best to him.

Writing is not a product, it is not a commodity, it is an emotional connection

Hiring a content writers is not like buying bananas and apples

Hiring a content writers is not like buying bananas and apples

Sure, by the end of the day all that matters is how much you pay and how much you get.

Having said that, I continuously say that writing is not a commodity. It is not something that you purchase off-the-shelf.

Just as your business website is unique, so is my writing.

Of course, when I’m charging, I need to be realistic. I must know how far my clients can stretch themselves while feeling happy about what they are paying for.

I also understand that once you are paying, you need to commodify because you need to pay per unit. This is why there are hourly rates, per page rates and per word rates. One needs to get an idea of how much he or she will be paying for these many pages, these many blog posts and these many words.

What I don’t understand is, expecting me to charge $2.

This is insulting, insensitive, and also self-defeating.

In what Lala land do these individuals exist and operate?

Would they ever spend more than an hour on a job that pays Rs. 144? If nothing else, at least have some self-respect.

Do you really want to publish such low-quality content on your website or blog?

And then they wonder why so few people want to do business with them.

When you are getting content written for your website remember that your prospective customers and clients are going to read that content and then decide whether they want to do business with you or not.

In a matter of a couple of seconds.

Your writing can make or break your business.

How your website looks may not affect your overall business, but your writing certainly does.

How your website looks has zilch effect on your SEO, but your writing certainly does.

The writing underpins your entire online existence.

If you underestimate the power of writing, I wonder how you’re going to succeed in your business.

Irrespective of how much you pay, the moment you stop, commodifying writing and start looking at it as an immensely important business asset, you will take the most important step towards creating a successful online business.