Judging by the popularity of our blog post about how much social media marketing costs, people are very interested in how much agencies and freelancers charge to manage social media. In fact, that post is currently ranking #1 in Google's search engine results pages (SERPs) for a variety of keywords associated with that phrase. So, we decided to write a post about how much professional web content writing costs. This pricing guide has been updated for 2015, and will tell you how much it costs to outsource landing pages, blog posts, press releases and other web content – both for our agency and in general. We did quite a bit of research, so you won't have to!
Side note: if you just want to know about The Content Factory's web content rates, click here to review our generic proposal that outlines everything we do and how much it all costs. PR, social media marketing and content marketing is also included in our larger packages.
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 blog posts — SEO blog posts (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 blog posts — These are the same as regular blog posts, only e-mailed to the client as a Word file. Most of our clients have us post the posts 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 post option takes the client a little more time, but saves them some cash. Toe-may-toe, toe-mah-toe.
- Link bait and "in-depth" articles — These are like standard SEO blog posts, only twice the length and hyped up on awesome. Designed to go viral, link bait articles tend to be provocative in one way or another. There's a huge amount of effort and talent involved in writing link bait articles, but the traffic payoff is often worth the per-word rate.
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 silent 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. Who cares if you're getting a ton of traffic if none of it is converting into actual sales? With that said, 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 and outsource the design aspect to one of our agency partners who (surprise!) specializes only in designing amazing and functional websites. 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 and skilled labor involved with creating landing pages that convert. But $3,000-$4,000 per page still seems a 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.
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 — $1 per, with a project minimum of $1,000. On rare cases it may cost slightly more, 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 around $2,000 – $4,000, including all edits.
For that price, you get pretty sweet copy — the copy on our site features a certain tone that we find preferable, but when we write for clients we do so with their preferred tone. We've written content for large law firms, real estate agents, adult e-tail sites, startups and everything in between. Everyone wants something a little different, and we can modify our writing style to deliver exactly what the client wants.
How much do SEO blogs cost?
For our regular SEO blog posts, we charge between $80 and $950 each, depending on the length and how many you want (we give bulk discounts). If you want a 2,000+ word in-depth article that features interviews from industry experts and thought leaders, it's going to be on the higher end of the spectrum. Our rates include posting the content to the your website, using proper tags/categories, formatting, etc. 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.
Another thing that isn't really outlined is the most important: content strategy. Before you can execute a successful content marketing plan, you need to know:
- Everything about your target audience
- Which keywords to target, to target the target audience (is that enough targeting?)
- How difficut the keywords will be to rank for
- Which keywords your site currently ranking for
- Which keywords the competition is ranking for
- Which keywords are more likely to convert
- If your site needs any tweaks on the back end for better optimization (we use SEOsiteCheckup – it's free, fast and VERY easy to understand, even if you know nothing about SEO)
It all starts with SEO keyword research and competitive analysis (check out our comprehensive how-to guide for SEO keyword research, if you want to DIY). This all takes quite a bit of time, knowledge and experience – along with a dash of A/B testing. The guide to SEO keyword research we wrote is over 4,000 words and covers a half dozen very important SEO tools. Take a gander at it, and you'll see that this SEO research and writing stuff is neither fast nor easy.
It's unclear if strategy is included in these rates quoted above, but at TCF we complete comprehensive keyword research and competitive analysis for $2,000. This also includes coming up with a content strategy to target keywords, while also appealing to your target audience in a way that will get the keywords searchers to convert into paying clients or customers. It's something we've done with great success for our website, and we've helped clients achieve similar goals.
How much do link bait articles cost?
Link bait blog posts take much more time and talent to write than a standard blog post, although some of our posts turn out to be link bait anyway (we can't help it, sometimes our writers submit incredible work). The whole point of writing link bait articles is to get as many sites to link back to you as possible, which boils down to getting more site traffic.
Link bait 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 link bait articles, but Christopher Angus says they cost $2,000 each.
Our link bait costs around $750 each. Do we guarantee that each one will get you hundreds of backlinks? No…but nobody else can, either. What we can do is employ content strategies that we know work well, such as quoting experts and linking back to their sites in the articles. More often than not, the experts share the content that you feature them in, which can be a great way to leverage larger networks to increase the size of your own.
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 – Kari DePhillips, co-owner of TCF has been quoted everywhere from the New York Times and Forbes to PRDaily and Social Media Today).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 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. We've built relationships and earned trust, and it hasn't come easily or quickly.
Furthermore, website content can be fairly tricky to write and format in a way that resonates with both readers and search engines. Chances are, if you're reading this right now it's because you found us via search engine – this wasn't by accident on our part, it was by hard work. And now, our site works for us – we receive around $250k per year in organic search traffic alone (via SEMrush). Our website is one of our highest producing employees, and that's how it should be!
We've been able to achieve similar results for clients, which is something you should always check for when looking at agencies or freelancers you may want to outsource your content writing to. The web content writing cost isn't the only thing you should be considering when it comes to outsourcing, you also want to consider the previous record of success that the agency or freelancer has been able to deliver in the past.
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. We have a simple, straightforward process and a 15-day turnaround or less for most content.