This is a subject which often causes a stir on the forums. There are of course two sides to this coin, buyers don’t want to spend more than they have to and writers need to make a living. I know you are thinking that I am going to be biased here, but let me explain the benefits of paying more for good quality content.
From the point of view of the writer, they need to make a living, a starving writer does not a happy writer make. Imagine having to work constantly for more than 12 hours a day just to pay the bills and put food on the table (not that you have time to eat it!). For many writers, working for long hours becomes counterproductive. The more you work long hours the more mistakes you are likely to make which then costs you a client or two.
I have often come across prospective clients who consider $5 for 500 words a good and fair price, but in England a writer would lose about a third of that due to currency conversion. This is obviously not a concern for the client and is something us writers will have to put up with. It’s just the way it is and we just have to write harder and longer.
From the point of view of the client/buyer, I know they are in business to make money. Every client wants to keep their costs as low as possible to keep their profits up. That is the way that business works, but here is the thing, many buyers will only pay a low rate for the reasons above but (yes there is always a ‘but’) the content they are getting tends to be substandard. The content then doesn’t do what it should, drive traffic. If the client doesn’t see a return on his (or her) investment they could decide to add more content at the same rate from the same writer and get the same quality. The client might then have a website full of information, but if nobody is reading it what is the point? If nobody is reading the content, the site is not going to show up in the search engines.
So how much should quality content cost?
There is no right or wrong answer to this as each writer will charge a different rate. I have been told that the ‘Industry standard’ is £30+ per hour, sounds a lot right? If you break it down into what a writer actually does for that £30 per hour it can start to make more sense. For some writers things can flow naturally if they are familiar with the subject, in which case they can make some good money. There are times, however, when research is needed and this takes time. I know that the internet has everything anyone could possibly want to know about everything, but facts also need to be checked and double checked. Then comes the slightly more tricky part. The actual writing of the piece has to be just right, the tone needs to be a good fit for the website and the right keywords have to be in the right places. Then the whole piece needs to be proofread and edited. I know there are proof-readers out there who are trying to make a living but most writers will do this themselves. What the buyer gets is a piece of writing which is SEO optimized and ready to go straight on their site, job done, no faffing! The only thing left to do is to copy and paste it onto the site (there are some writers who will do this as well).
I suppose the thing to remember is: Pay a little more in the first place to get good quality. Good quality content pays for itself in the long term.