I think that good quality, regular, content is essential to keep people (and Google) interested in your website. Ideally, you should write that content yourself – your voice will come through in the content and you’ll get more proficient (quicker) and more knowledgeable about your niche.
But there are times when you don’t have the time or inclination to write content for your website.
It’s at times like those where you need to find a good article writer to help you.
Ideally the content you get written for you should be unique to your site – the search engine algorithms have more than enough data to know when you’re re-using content that’s been out “in the wild” for a long time.
There’s a world of difference between a press release, which gets replicated in tens or hundreds of places in a few days, and a re-used article which gets replicated in a similar quantity of sites but spread over months or even years.
Search engine algorithms know that and treat them differently.
Which means you need someone to write articles specifically for you.
iWriter is one place I turn to when I want an article written for me.
The articles are by no means perfect. The quality varies enormously but you can reject articles if they’re sub-standard.
There are a few tricks with iWriter:
- Make your instructions as specific as possible. I give them several bullet pointed things that I want them to cover and once I got those worked out, the quality of the articles I get back has generally improved.
- Realise that you will probably have to edit the articles once you get them back. I usually spend a few minutes tidying up the articles before I use them on one of my niche sites. Yes, it takes a bit of time but that’s a lot less time than it would take me to write the article from scratch.
- Stop being a perfectionist! At this pricing level you’re not going to get the kind of quality writing that would appear in a newspaper or magazine or somewhere like Huffington Post. So lower your expectations from “absolutely perfect” to “good enough to get the point across without seeming spammy”.
Those tips apply to most other article writing options as well.
The more direction a writer has, the more they know what you expect.
Remember that the printed media you’ve been using to reading most of your life doesn’t just have writers, they usually have editors and maybe even sub editors. Magazines often have “house styles” that are a set of guidelines that articles have to adhere to.
Books are subject to a long editorial process – J K Rowling was rejected lots of times before Harry Potter finally got to be printed.
Other freelance sites are worth investigating
Whilst I personally like using iWriter – they’re quick, the quality is acceptable as a first draft, they’re reasonably priced – there are other places that you can get your content written.
Some people turn to sites like Fiverr but that’s not something I’d recommend.
At least with iWriter you get the option to reject an article and not pay for it. With Fiverr that process is still available under their dispute procedure but it’s nowhere near as easy and could potentially affect your own rating as a buyer. Don’t hold me to that but I’m fairly certain that if I disputed 25% of gigs I bought – which is roughly my reject rate on iWriter – then alarm bells would start ringing in the Fiverr computer algorithm.
General freelance sites such as Freelancer are another good option.
Again, they can be “buyer beware” as it’s not unheard of for the sample articles to be written by a different person to the one who ends up writing your article.
Start small – get them to write one article for you with the promise of more if it’s good quality.
And be prepared to go through quite a few chat sessions whilst you interview your potential article writers.
You need to figure out whether the person you’re chatting with is the article writer or whether they’re handling a team.
Sometimes that will be stated.
Other times you should be able to work it out from the number of reviews they’ve got – hundreds of articles in quick succession would suggest that they’re not the only person tapping away at a keyboard on your behalf.
Sometimes it’s just gut instinct.
You also need to know what their policy is regarding re-writes and articles that you don’t think are good enough quality.
Quality is a nebulous concept. You only have to wander round your local supermarket to know that there is a difference in quality between almost every line on the shelves: orange juice that’s been made from concentrate, that’s long life or chilled, or that’s freshly squeezed in front of your eyes. They’re all nominally orange juice but they’re all different quality.
The same applies to articles.
They range from appalling through to adequate through to absolutely superb.
Only you will know where on that range you’ll accept.
If it’s the article you put below a YouTube video maybe it’s at the lower end of the acceptability scale. I say maybe because it’s still a reflection of you, even if most people just watch the video.
If the article is on a site you care more about and maybe you’ve written quite a lot of the content on that site yourself then your standards will most likely be higher.
And if it’s on a site like this one (where my name is on the domain) then maybe you only use content you’ve written yourself plus possibly the occasional guest post. But those guest posts would most likely be subject to the same kind of rejection rates as J K Rowling had in her early days as an author.
Then there’s articles for feeder sites
Feeder sites – often referred to as second tier sites – are ones where you have influence over the content of a page of the site but the objective is for them to feed either traffic or extra trust in the search engines.
They might be on sites like EzineArticles (which used to be a power house but is now a shadow of its former self), Tumblr, Weebly, Blogger and lots of other sites that accept user generated content.
Done properly, those can be a good addition to your site’s profile.
But if you’re expecting people to click through from them, it’s still worth getting decent quality content created for them.
If you’re just using them for the link, keep in mind that Google’s algorithm knows the difference between the different article qualities. And if people are using their Chrome browser it also knows a lot more detail about what happens when someone reaches the page. So if their reaction is “eek” and they press the back button almost immediately because the article quality is too low, that won’t help you.
It is possible to find a good article writer but it can take time and, over time, they can change, Some of the writers I used in the past, before iWriter came on the scene, moved on.
Maybe they finished college, maybe they got fed up with writing content about all sorts of subjects they weren’t necessarily interested in, maybe they just moved on in life.
Which is a long way of saying that these relationships aren’t permanent. So keep a Plan B close to mind if you’re using freelance sites.
I stil prefer to write most of my own content.
But there are times when that’s not possible which is when I’ll usually turn to a freelance site such as iWriter. It’s not a perfect solution but it’s often a good enough solution, especially with a small amount of editing once the article has come back.