The abilities of good web writers are often undervalued. That’s why so many websites — as good as they might look — don’t generate leads and sales. The web content doesn’t attract traffic nor does it convert.
This week, for example, a business owner wrote us:
“I spent on webcopy 3 times and not happy so looking for one more time before I give up. Your rate $500 is high though so if you are not flexible/negotiable, it is OK if you don’t respond.”
We did respond, suggesting he try Craig’s List. The referred to $500 is our minimum charge, which basically gets clients a keyword analysis. His project, which comprised up to 20 pages, would cost several times that.
Meanwhile, say he was looking at spending about $300 for the 20 pages of web writing. That’s $15 per page. And that’s supposed to include planning, interviews, research, copywriting, tags and revisions?
What does a good web writer cost? A lot more than $15 per page. No skilled writer would agree to — or be able to — deliver quality goods at that rate.
Chances are this business owner will find someone who lacks the skills to produce effective web writing for the fourth consecutive time. The small sum of money he’s spending each time is being wasted on empty marketing hype that will continue to thwart and damage his business.
The fact that so many people want to or love to write does not make writers a commodity. As is the case with designers, musicians and athletes, the good ones get results, and must be compensated accordingly.
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I once foolishly hired a “copywriter” for $30 per page. The incapable fool just cut and pasted 90% of the web content from my competitors. You get what you pay for. If you’re not going to pay to get it done right, save your money and do it yourself.
I don’t know…I still think copywriters are a dime a dozen. I suppose the good one’s get paid more for a reason, but I’d consider hiring three mediocre ones and use the best copy. That way you’d have three versions to chose from.
SH you’ll get three versions of crap to choose from. If you’re looking for a sweet ride, do you pick up a porche or three Pintos? The same goes for web content services, whether your talking web writing, programming, design or whatever! Like Graham says you get what you pay for.
I’ve been writing content for the Web for many years and would never accept a contract based on a set fee or price per page or word. I work at an hourly rate and bill for research, correspondence, writing a first draft, and updating the draft until it is final and approved. The best writers and editors I know work for an hourly fee.
I’m interested in the choice you would make under the following circumstances:
say you have a budget of $2000 to spend on your website. Would you consider hiring a mediocre copywriter (or designer) or wait for an increase in the budget so you could get a skilled one?
I would always choose the second option, I’m curious though whether i make the right choice since it costs me more and there are (mostly) delays.
Please advise :) Thx
Dejan, I’d save up personally.
As a professional web writing firm, we see some entrepreneurs and small businesses owners decide our fees exceed their budgets. They subsequently spend money on the $15 per page special or go fishing in local classifieds. Several months later, they realize their websites don’t attract many visitors, and of the few that arrive, few convert and become customers or clients. Some of these businesses then hire us to revamp the web copy. While they finally get results, they paid two service providers, and wasted many months where they could have been building their image and generating leads and sales.
I’d suggest if you’re going to hire a web writer or designer, get it done right the first time. A website that performs can help you thrive, so you can avoid joining the 90 per cent of businesses that fail within five years. And if you just can’t afford it, consider scaling your project down, i.e. invest in a seven-page website versus 30 pages. When your website helps you make a few sales, you can use the funds to expand it.
I’m pretty much straight out of university and have since landed my first writing gig. I write general content for a national website that sells advertisement space. I basically charge on a per-page basis and I never know if I’m undercharging/overcharging.
I started with $15 per half-page (I was only writing half a page for each write-up) and I now charge about $25 per-page. The content isn’t extremely important as it’s mainly for the general web-surfer, as opposed to the content you were talking about earlier (enabling company growth etc).
Any idea if I’m on the right track? Like I said, I’m totally new and not overly experienced so any help would be much appreciated!!
The market rules! You can get $5 per page or $5,000, depending on how good you are. As experience increases so will your fees.
Website copywriters or copywriters in general need to stop whoring themselves out. But at the end of the day, a good copywriter will make what he or she is worth, and the other less capable copywriters, too, will get what they’re worth.
Some really great comments and thoughts here. And, as always, a great post by Rick.
I’d like to second the hourly rate concept and the minimum charge Rick mentions. I charge an hourly rate for my services and have a set minimum project cost.
If anyone questions it my answer is always “I work hard, I bill honestly and you will always get what you pay for.”
A copywriter who writes for the web isn’t worth his weight if he doesn’t know SEO.
Sry for writing offtopic but which WP template do you use? It looks awesome!!