Judging by the popularity of our recent blog about how much social media marketing costs, people are really interested in the rates of online PR services. Since we're really interested in increasing our website traffic, we figured we'd write a similar post about how much professional web content writing costs. Win/win!
There are many different types of web content writing, each with different price points. Most of our web content writing services involve one of the following:
- Landing pages – Involves writing content like you see on our home, about and services pages. They should have distinct calls to action, include the SEO keywords you're trying to target and be somewhere in the range of 250-450 words long (depending on the design of the site). The purpose of landing pages is to convert browsers to buyers, and having amazing content can make a huge difference in your conversion rates. Poorly written content can seriously affect your sales. Landing pages are the most difficult to write out of all the web content, which is why they're so expensive.
- SEO Blogs — SEO blogs (also known as SEO articles) are one of the easiest ways to increase your website traffic. They drive SEO, fuel social media marketing campaigns and are a good way to introduce people to your brand. Blogs give people a reason to visit your website, and once readers are there they tend to click around a little. In a directly indirect way, blogs drive sales.
- Mini blogs — These are the same as regular blogs, only e-mailed to the client as a Word file. Most of our clients have us post the blogs directly to their websites (we include relevant tags/categorization, social bookmarking and other extras), which saves them time and costs them more money. Choosing the mini blog option takes the client a little more time, but saves them some cash. Toe-may-toe, toe-mah-toe.
- Linkbait articles — These are like standard SEO blogs, only twice the length and hyped up on awesome. Designed to go viral, linkbait articles tend to be provocative in one way or another. There's a huge amount of effort and talent involved in writing linkbait articles, but the traffic payoff is often worth the per-word rate. For instance, we once wrote a political linkbait article bashing Christine O'Donnell…from the viewpoint of a Real Sex Doll named MargauxElise (we created the Margaux campaign to drive traffic to ParisIntimates, our adult e-tail client). Not surprisingly — I mean, who doesn't want to follow a witty sex doll on Twitter — it was a huge hit. Fark picked up the article, and more than 10,000 people saw the page on our client's website. Even though it was written last November, the linkbait continues to send traffic.
So, how much does all this web content writing cost? It's hard to say, because most companies don't advertise their prices. Here's what we were able to find out, though:
How much do landing pages cost?
Landing page content is where you want to drop your money, since it acts as your website's salesman. If your web content is coming off like a sweaty and desperate used car salesman, it's not going to convert and your sales are going to suffer. So, how many Benjamins should you expect to throw at your website copy?
This is one instance where it's difficult to tell what companies really charge for landing pages. For example, at The Content Factory, we only write landing page copy. We don't develop or design websites — instead, we specialize in writing the words that go on the pages. Many web design businesses roll the cost of the content writing into their design fees, and then scratch together the content themselves. This is why so many websites have such crappy landing page copy.
There was a really interesting forum discussion about it, though — and some professional landing page writers quoted $1,500-$25,000 per page of content.
From the forum:
John (in response to somebody who said that landing pages cost ~$100 per): "The missing part of that sentence '…and earns about that much per month.'"
And that's because the clueless know the price of everything and the value of nothing. So they think low price equals a good bet the way a lotto player with a flimsy grasp of odds does. You have about the same chances of winning either way.
Cherilyn: "I like your thinking. A landing page for under $100 – that's a fantastic idea.
Hey, while we're at it, cars take a lot of effort to build and provide a lot of value – lets start selling those for $500. You're sure to get a reliable vehicle for that price!
Another day as a copywriter, and yet another unrealistic pricing expectation from a potential client…"
Plainwords: "I'd have to agree with John. If your client is serious about a landing page that converts and makes money, you'd be looking at $3000 to $4000 all up. There's a huge amount of time involved in creating a successful landing page."
Now, I'm not going to argue that there isn't a ton of time involved with creating landing pages that convert. I had to write the content for two websites yesterday, and it was a pretty big pain in the ass — the two took me all day, and that doesn't include the research I had to do earlier in the week. But $3,000-$4,000 per page still seems a bit excessive. When you consider that you're looking at five or more pages per website, the actual cost of content comes to $15,000-$20,000 — about the cost of a new compact car (somebody should tell Cherilyn!).
Here's the argument these (and other) people use to justify such expensive fees: if you pay more for content, you'll get a better conversion rate and the extra sales will make up for the obscene per-piece rate. That may hold true for a luxury car dealership, plastic surgeon's office or home remodeling company, but only because they make so much money on each transaction — and the truth of the matter is that most businesses don't. The majority of the people who come to us for web content writing services make less than $500 profit on each sale, or are fresh startups that don't have that kind of capital. For them, that argument just doesn't work (especially not in the short term).
At The Content Factory, we bill for landing pages by the word — 50 cents per (with a project minimum of $250), depending on the complexity of the subject and research involved. Our landing pages are usually around 250-500 words and most clients need five pages of content written, which means that the average 5-7 page website content project costs between $1250 and $1750, including all edits. For that price, you get pretty sweet copy — you can take a look around our website and see for yourself, if you're interested.
How much do SEO blogs cost?
For our regular SEO blogs, we charge between $80 and $125 each, depending on the length and how many you want (we give bulk discounts). That includes posting the blog to the your website, using proper tags/categories, social bookmarking and promotion on Twitter. If we have access to your analytics, we'll even target our topics based on the popularity of past posts. If you're looking to save some money and know how to publish the blogs yourself, we'll e-mail the Word docs and let you take care of the posting and promotion. We call these "mini blogs" and charge $60 per. Plus, we give bulk discounts for orders of 10 or more.
How much do linkbait articles cost?
Linkbait articles take much more time and talent to write than a standard blog, although some of our blogs turn out to be linkbait anyway (we can't help it, sometimes our writers submit incredible work). The whole point of writing linkbait articles is to get as many sites to link back to you as possible, which boils down to getting more site traffic.
Linkbait takes a lot of time to write and even more time to edit — but it won't cost you as much as a new Honda Civic. We weren't really able to find too many prices for linkbait articles, which I'm guessing is an indication that other content writing companies aren't as hip and with it as we are. Christopher Angus, alleged SEO expert (he has a very nice haircut and a black and white headshot, which makes me trust him immediately), seems to think they cost $2,000 each.
Our linkbait costs around $500 each. Do we guarantee that each one will get you hundreds of backlinks? No…but nobody else can, either.
Other writing services:
There are a couple of other writing assignments that we get in on a regular basis:
- Press releases — A professional press release writer knows how to format the damn thing correctly, which is the hardest part. Well, at least the second hardest part, since coming up with a catchy headline isn't as easy as you'd think. Press releases should be written from a semi-objective viewpoint, so that journalists can copy/paste it into their articles and blogs.
- E-mail newsletters — A good e-mail newsletter writer knows how to create a subject title that boosts open rates. Once the readers are in, it's up to the writer to hold their attention and get them to click through to the website (or some other action). Great e-mail newsletters are hard to come by, which is why so many end up in the spam folder.
There are all kinds of BS prices listed online for e-mail newsletter and press release writing. You can find somebody on Craigslist to write either for less than $15, or you could pay $2,500 with a fancy online PR agency. Obviously, we're somewhere in the middle. We charge a flat rate of $1500 per press release, which includes writing, editing, distribution and promotion.
Our clients have been featured in places like the Wall Street Journal, CNN and the Today show (to name a few).You can write the best press release in the world, but there's no guarantee top journalists are going to see it. Our press releases include reaching out to 300 – 1500 reporters directly, because over the years we've developed a network of connections and tools that give us the direct contact info of just about any journalist, producer and editor you can think of.
Interested in learning more about our professional web content writing services? Feel free to shoot us an e-mail, and let us know what kind of wordsmithery you're looking for. You can also learn how to DIY with our web content writing tips and SEO article writing guide.