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Content, Writing and Copyright Forum

Hiring an article writer questions
writing articles

 3:47 pm on Feb 10, 2011 (gmt 0)

I have some questions about hiring someone to write articles for me for my site.

I would like to know what sorts of things I should watch for and look for in a good writer? I have read up on some of the ins and outs, and one thing I am concerned about is article spinning, is there an easy way to detect if someone does this? I would guess it to be fairly easy as the text will pretty much flow the same way, right?

Who owns the copyright to the articles? I have noticed this goes both ways, but I would like to know from the community what you think about this. What's the right way and what's the wrong way?

Who has the right to put their name on it before submitting to ezines, or is there a need to put a name on it?

If the writter publishes it, should it be under my account or theirs?

Anything else I need to watch for?

Thanks in advance!



 5:04 pm on Feb 10, 2011 (gmt 0)

If the article doesn't make sense in certain places then that should be a clue. If you are hiring someone and paying 1 cent per word or less then don't expect original content. And if it is original, it's probably crap.

The agreement determines who owns the copyright. The same for putting the name on the articles. The terms should be set in advanced.

I have no problem giving up the copyright to my pieces as long as I am paid fairly. But for SEO or branding articles, I usually do a work-for-hire contract which means the clients owns the piece and they can do what they want with it. There is no need for me to put my name on a piece that is written solely for the purpose of branding the person as an expert in their niche or for seo purposes.

You should watch out for people who agree to write insane amounts of content for a very, very low price. They are probably spinning content or farming it out to others who could be engaged in questionable practices.


 5:23 pm on Feb 10, 2011 (gmt 0)

That is very helpful Innovate, thank you. Most of the articles I need would be for SEO purposes anyway. So I will keep what you say in mind.

What should I expect to pay per word for a decent writer then?

What word length works best for ezines and stuff like that? About 400 words?


 7:50 pm on Feb 10, 2011 (gmt 0)

Well it depends on what you want.

If you just want some filler fluff for SEO purposes then you can get someone to do it for $5 an article...but the work will probably just be "ok" at best. It won't really something you'd want to put your name on, or something that people will really want to read, but it will serve its purpose I suppose. Pay any less than that and it's really not worth it unless you are doing some "questionable" stuff and you don't really care how the copy reads.

If you want articles you are actually going to put your name on to brand you or your company, and you want a decent writer, be prepared to pay at least $20 and this is on the low end.

For ezines do you mean ezinearticles website or your own ezine?


 10:07 pm on Feb 10, 2011 (gmt 0)

in the uk i pay the daily rate for a good writer which is around 250 ($375)

for this i would expect 1 original, well researched and quality article.

IMHO all those rubbish articles done for SEO are going to come back and bite the websites that use them really hard one day

... i would expect many on WebmasterWorld to disagree with me.

the truth is there is no such thing as 'an article'
there are so many variables:
quality of english (most native speakers and college kids can't write very well)
niche of subject
technical level of subject
etc. etc


 12:54 am on Feb 11, 2011 (gmt 0)

Vet the writer. Demand examples of their previous work and then research what they have done (compare in niche, also speak to sites which used their work, etc.) Read what they have written and if it doesn't quite fit, or the voice is not what is intended, look to a different writer.

Do understand that the majority of those who "write for SEO" are generally hacks of the worst sort.
Look for authors with a track record in your niche as they will provide articles that speak to your site/product. Finally, look at your budget. If 400 words (250 to 500) is all you need, take on the chore yourself for 30-100 write ups ... might be both surprise and a growing enjoyment that you, too, can spew just as well as the writers-for-hire!


 7:49 am on Feb 11, 2011 (gmt 0)

Thank you for your repies.

Some articles I need are simply for SEO stuff. But some of the articles I need are to introduce the products we are selling to help our customers understand the benefits of our products over our competition. But that does take some research, and perhaps tangor you are right, perhaps I can write them myself rather than hiring someone, the only issue for me is that I dno't have enough time to write so many articles, but I do know the differences, just not sure what I would be writing would do the company justice and and be good enough for publication and explanation because as you know those in the company who have the most expereince are the ones who often make the most mistakes. I would like to get an outsiders perspective and research for a change. But I suppose I can give it a try and see what I can come up with.

How to avoid someone stealing the content though? My competitors are relentless in stealing stuff from us rather than creating their own materials, and it is getting very old.

I am curious how the fluff articles really work in good for websites, if an article is not that well written and only for SEO purposes, I am curious how publishing it can do any good for a company... or just simply because it has their website on it as a backlink to your site?

And these would be for ezinearticles websites only, not my own enzine.


 4:34 pm on Feb 17, 2011 (gmt 0)

Hire a native English speaker - I got someone from Elance who were from the Philippines, I still get the articles out occasionally for a chuckle.

It was a shame because she had a good work ethic, just her English skills were poor.

I just slung them on Squidoo where they do ok ;)


 5:45 pm on Feb 17, 2011 (gmt 0)

Well I am a native speaker, just don't have time to write it, and not really good with that sort of thing.

And don't know other natives that do this. Elance I know, but not sure about the quality, haven't had much luck there with decent freelances for anything.


 8:38 pm on Feb 17, 2011 (gmt 0)

in the uk i pay the daily rate for a good writer which is around 250 ($375)

for this i would expect 1 original, well researched and quality article.

IMHO all those rubbish articles done for SEO are going to come back and bite the websites that use them really hard one day

... i would expect many on WebmasterWorld to disagree with me.

I'm one of those who disagree.

Paying $375 for ONE article?!?!

Unless you sell weekly 500 such articles for $380 - I don't see why you need to pay so much (unless you are the writer).


 8:41 pm on Feb 17, 2011 (gmt 0)

> Elance I know, but not sure about the quality, haven't had much luck there with decent freelances for anything.

Guru, freelancer, and elance. Try and retry. You will find what you need.

Diversify the work - until you find those that qualify.


 9:52 pm on Feb 17, 2011 (gmt 0)


i don't sell the articles, i get articles written for a site from time to time - of course i write my own articles too.

i don't buy links and i've no idea how much they cost, however i'm pretty sure that a text link in the body of an in context page, from a major media company or respected educational establishment would probably be quite expensive, even if you knew how to go about getting it ... but with a top quality article links like that come in naturally.


 11:56 pm on Feb 17, 2011 (gmt 0)

> 1 original, well researched and quality article. [+ links]

Price = $375 USD

repeat: seems too high.


 1:47 am on Feb 18, 2011 (gmt 0)

Professionalism is what I am having problems finding, not just in the work, but in attitude. Have yet to try for writing, just getting ready, thus the thread.

I already have many expired and canceled projects because I cannot find the right people to do the work. And on one of them people are commented, don't trust this buyer because I have so many unawarded projects. It is very frustrating.

You mean $375US for one article? Yeah, that seems a little high, but I guess it depends on how much research is involved or what the topic is?


 2:02 pm on Feb 19, 2011 (gmt 0)

Some additional questions for you all.

If I ask the writer to submit them to the popular ezines, I suppose I should ask them to make a new account on those with a password of my choice and my email address so that when they are confirmed as being accepted I get the email and know everything is fine, then go change the password. Or do you guys allow them to use their own accounts? I would think I should be partial in contorl of that so they can't go back later and delete the articles or change the links or whatever.

Also, any other copyright site out there other then copyscape? The last thing I would want is issues with copyright, or in this sort of SEO stuff no one cares? I would find that hard to believe... But.. I am sort of new to this..

Thanks again.


 4:17 am on Feb 20, 2011 (gmt 0)

If I ask the writer to submit them to the popular ezines, I suppose I should ask them to make a new account on those with a password of my choice and my email address so that when they are confirmed as being accepted I get the email and know everything is fine, then go change the password.

Hope I'm not reading this incorrectly... the above sounds like you want to purchase the writer's work, then ask them to seed it out to websites, too, and then require them to give you full access to THEIR WORK to submit...

Dang it, buy it, put it on your website (your own effort) and move on. Going for "cake and eat it too" is a bit much. Don't expect many authors/writers to work that way.


 8:12 am on Feb 20, 2011 (gmt 0)

Well see this is why I posted a message here to find out what is acceptable and what is not.

Basically what I was asking is who should submit the work? Because if I need to do it and it gets rejected and I have already paid, that wouldn't be good. But certainly I want the rights to the work, but if I am only paying like $5 an article for SEO purpose would that be ok or not?

What is acceptable to ask for and what is not?


 1:58 pm on Feb 25, 2011 (gmt 0)

As a writer for the web the majority of the work I do is ghost writing, I no longer own the piece I have written or have anything to do with where the article is posted. On occasions I have been asked to submit to article directories and use a pseudonym for such purposes.

If you are seeking out a writer for SEO purposes alone, then as previously stated in posts, there is a wide variety of writers to choose from and some will request virtually next to nothing for a piece, these articles will more than likely be poor examples, however if the anchor link is good and relevant to the content then it will work.

To place one on your site or to provide readers an overview on your products, then you need to pay for a content provider. You need to make sure you know the tone of voice you want to portray and a good writer can do this, writers who provide content need to be a bit like actors, they have to blend with your products voice.

Prices vary, I do agree that the price mentioned earlier is high for one article.


 2:04 pm on Feb 25, 2011 (gmt 0)

Thanks for your feedback and information Nick. Helpful. Basically it appears that I can ask the writer to pretty much do anything, but it is up to them if they want/can/agree to do it, and at what cost. A content writer is an idea, I may need to hire two different writers to get what I want, and that is ok with me too.


 11:47 am on Apr 16, 2011 (gmt 0)

Hi all I have an additional question.

If I were to write my own article,

How many keywords should I put in the article for maximum effectiveness?
How do I anchor the keywords, just use the word as a link or is there any need to do that?
Or should I just write a similar article and change the keywords? What if the keywords use S and no S, can I just sumit the same article and change a few words of grammar around?
Which directors should I summit it to?



 4:15 pm on May 14, 2011 (gmt 0)

If you want to know how to spot an article spinner, then get an article spinner and run a few articles through it. You will soon begin to recognise when one is being used.

The main things to look for, even if the person is good at spinning, are an 'odd' choice of words - spinners swap synonyms, but not always appropriately. If you read an article and find yourself wondering why the writer used a longer or less common word, where a simpler more direct one would have been more appropriate, then you may have a spun article.

But 'syntax' is the main thing to look out for. If you read an article that feels as if sentences have been stuck together, rather than flowing together as they should, then you might have a spun article.

Writers, and especially hard-worked low wage writers, will 'pour' words onto the page to get a word count up and move on to the next article. A poor writer in this cicumstance might deliver 'fluff', but not 'stuck together sentences'.

And as for finding a good writer, the only way to find one is to give them some work to do. Try them out with 3 articles.

I have tried every approach possible and found good and bad every time. There is no rule for finding a good writer.

For example, I once went to Elance to outsource some writing for a client, I had a budget of 300 per article (honestly). I therefore simply wrote to each of the top rated writers on Elance, money no object. I finally had 3 of them write sample articles and rejected all 3! Yes, they were written by a human but they were full of fluff and hyperbole. No value atall. And that's the problem with that kind of writer, they spend their time writing to a word count and to a keyword, frequently for people who can't, themselves, write - so there is no quality control.

The writer I finally went for charged me 10 an article (her price, not mine). I advertised on a classified ads site and she applied, and wrote some of the best articles I've had written for me.

On the other hand, recently I tried out some very cheap article writing services. $3 per article! 50% of what I got was undoubtedly spun. And, say 25% was adequate. But the remaining 25% was excellent and I would gladly have paid 10x as much for them.

So if you are looking for writers online you just have to put in the time to find one. And when you do, keep them happy and keep them close, although most tend to move on.

The only reliable option is to find 'real' writers. By which I mean jobbing journalists who work in print. These are the people who have been trained to write good articles, and are used to dealing with a quality control process of some kind. It's the only reliable way that I know of - but this is where you will be paying 300 per day - because that's the rate of pay!


 3:48 am on Jun 21, 2011 (gmt 0)

I write about 50% of the content for my websites because I know enough about the subjects. When I feel that my inadequacies would result in inferior work, I try to hire freelance writers.

I have used several of the popular freelancer site and gotten very mixed results. One thing I have learned is to run like the wind when I encounter a "team".

The point at which I tend to get semi-good writing seems to start at $0.02 per word. I insist on some sort of assurance that the writers are native English speakers. On a couple of sites that are specifically targeted at the UK, I insist on native UK English speakers.

I generally set very specific topics, providing titles, outlines and sub-topic headings. I am especially non-specific on article lengths. I tell prospective writer, "Tightly written content in a friendly and conversational narrative using active verbs. The articles should be as long as they need to be and not one word longer. I am buying *,000 words, spend them effectively."

Finding good content writers takes a lot of time, effort, trial and error. If they are really good, they will often price themselves out of my comfort zone .. good for them!

One of the best writers I ever had was a retired journalist from the UK who did reviews for me. They were excellent!

He experienced every location personally and even supplied photos. After a couple of reviews I doubled his quoted price. After more than 1 year and over 100 reviews he quit. I offered even more money but he really wanted to teach. If he asked to write for me again I would leap at the opportunity.

But give up one of my good content writers and have someone bid them beyond my comfort zone? Ain't going to happen!

I suspect that most publishers feel the same way.

I realize that this is probably not what you wanted to read, but it is reality as I understand it. Maybe some thing(s) in the verbose copy above will put you on the right path to finding your own writers.

SEO Professor

 6:03 pm on Jun 21, 2011 (gmt 0)

Simply put, you get what you pay for. As was mentioned above, depending on what you want, you can find all kinds of article qualities on the web. Always ask for sample writing.. and not just one, but a couple. Obviously you are looking for articles with good keyword use, so make sure you know what this should look like before you make any judgements.. be as knowledgeble, if not more so, than the authors themselves. On the internet, everyone is ready to take advantage of any visible weaknesses.


 2:03 am on Jun 22, 2011 (gmt 0)

.. you get what you pay for

I cringe every time I see a worn cliche used in a writing forum.

Any number of posts in this thread suggest that one does not necessarily get appropriate value for money spent.

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