How much is a 500 word article really worth?

by 100 comments
I feel like I've been beating my head against a wall lately, trying to make a living writing quality content for people all over the world.

It's not that the competition is fierce or there is a lack of work by any means, there is such a wild swing in pricing.

I see services offered as low as $1 or $2 for 500 words. I've bought a couple just to see what they look like and Jeeesus Christ, they are terrible. I mean ostentatious grammar mistakes, mixed up verbs and just a horrible level of piss poor content. I can't imagine any intelligent online marketer that would put that on their page.

Then you move up to the $5 for 500 words game, and the quality gets a little better but IMHO to write a good article it takes research, writing, formatting, editing, proofreading, proofreading, proofreading (I wrote that 3x on purpose) then finally submission to the client.

So what is worth to you, the website owner that wants valuable, quality, unique content?

And what is it worth to you, the writer that slaves in front of her laptop to passionately create an awesome article?

Please share your thoughts.....
#internet marketing #500 #article #word #worth

  • Profile picture of the author YasirYar
    Hi Griffin,

    Unfortunately, your observations are one hundred percent correct. Most website owners are simply unwilling to pay more than $1 per 100 words, from what I have seen.

    Do you really expect people to write properly worded 500 word articles for $1? I would never, and I doubt most other people would, anywhere in the world.

    If you are lucky, you can find website owners who actually care about the quality of content. They might be willing to pay a little bit more. But as for earning a good income online via writing, you must be able to write quick (and be able to compromise on the quality slightly).
  • Profile picture of the author SumikoW
    Great question: Time is money. If you have time and you can write good quality and no money then do it yourself. If you don't have time and you have money and can't write good content pay someone to do it for you.

    It's a process of finding a good writer. Not so much as it is the price, just like anything you can pay alot for bad quality as you can spend the same amount for good quality...try Article it, good resource, been around for years.
  • Profile picture of the author Kay King
    So what is worth to you, the website owner that wants valuable, quality, unique content?

    And what is it worth to you, the writer that slaves in front of her laptop to passionately create an awesome article?
    You are asking the wrong questions. There is no "right price" as different buyers need articles for differing purposes. How hard you "slave away" is not the buyer's problem.

    You don't need to compete with $1, $2 and $5 writers unless you choose to (and why would you?). There's plenty of buyers in that price range - but also many buyers in higher price ranges.

    The "500 words" is an IM length that many site owners want - and usually want cheaply. Top buyers today are asking for 800+ words. Truth is - they are also much better to work with than low end buyers. They know what they want, they recognize quality when they see it - and they are willing to pay for it.

    The only person who sets your pay you. Position yourself to attract better buyers.

  • Profile picture of the author TiffLee
    Go read this post from John Coutts:

    Then read it again. And then again.

    If you want to find high-paying customers, there may be no better outline to follow.
  • Profile picture of the author Martin Avis
    How much is a 500 word article really worth?
    The only answer that makes any sense is ... it depends.

    It depends on the writer, the article and the buyer.

    A crap article from an unskilled writer being sold to an uncaring buyer might be 'worth' $1 for 500 words.

    A great article from an experienced writer being sold to a motivated buyer who knows how to profit from it could easily be 'worth' $1 per word.

    The article writing services like iwriter, seogenerals and textbroker are training the market to think that $5-$10 is the norm. They perform a service and often the stuff you can buy at that price can be above average. But really good writers and the people they write for know that real quality costs more than that.

  • Profile picture of the author laurenceh

    I feel like I've been beating my head against a wall lately, trying to make a living writing quality content for people all over the world.
    I urge you to grab yourself a tea/coffee, a note pad and pen, and read the following thread whilst taking notes furiously!

    I'd also strongly suggest you download the free report Dr Mani kindly offered.

    It's full of gold, and should steer you from the murky waters of $5 article writing!

    In regards to how much an article is worth?

    It depends on how the buyer is going to use it. If it's SEO Keyword stuffed fodder they want, probably not very much.

    A marketer who knows how much revenue a well crafted article can bring them, sometimes $100's
  • Profile picture of the author Frank Donovan
    How much is a 500 word article really worth?
    How much is a 36" x 24" painting really worth?

    If it seems absurd to value a painting by the size of its canvas, why would you similarly commoditize your writing? You'll only be likely to attract the online equivalent of a buyer with a stain to cover.

  • Profile picture of the author Alexa Smith
    ^^^^ What Tiff said (post #5).

    Also, see if any of this stuff helps?

    First, if you read through the following recent threads, you'll find many helpful observations and suggestions.

    Secondly, if you want to think a little more about "the markets in which ones chooses to compete, as a writer", you might find some of these resources helpful/interesting (and most of the recommendations in them for "further reading" will also be pretty reliable ones, I think), and very relevant both to your express question of "how much people will pay" and to your implicit one of "how to find people who will pay more" ...

    Jennifer Mattern's blog

    Carol Tice's blog

    Freelance writing jobs (minmum payment requirement of $50 per article to be listed there)

    Free report on how to attract new freelance writing clients during a recession

    The Renegade Writer Blog

    The "Irreverent Freelancer" blog

    The Well-Fed Writer: Lucrative Commercial Freelance Writing - Land Lucrative Freelance Writing Jobs

    Words on the Page.
  • Profile picture of the author Griffin Smith
    Thank you everyone...I really appreciate your Input
  • Profile picture of the author Asante
    Originally Posted by Kay King View Post

    The only person who sets your pay you. Position yourself to attract better buyers.

    I really appreciate this mindset. I've recently launched into independent freelance writing after working for several article mills. Upon reading a number of posts on WF about setting fair prices, I decided not to be the cheapest around.

    I completed my first assignment today, and I charged my client $35 for a 850 word article. That's a bit of a bargain, because I want to get testimonials from satisfied customers for my site, but it's still not rock-bottom pricing. Although my client said it's almost twice what he's use to paying for an article of comparable length, he was willing to give my services a try.

    After accepting my article, my first client gave me a glowing review stating that my work was well worth the money! Now I feel more confident to charge a fair price for my great work.

    I hope this helps you as you navigate pricing your work.
  • Profile picture of the author rob1123
    PLR content tends to be cheaper for a higher quality... of course it isn't unique
  • Profile picture of the author kindsvater
    It depends on the purpose of the writing.

    Much article writing, especially sought in places like this forum, is likely worth nothing. Yes - zero. That is why you see prices keep dropping and dropping.

    You are not going to be happy reading that, but much of this is throw-away content for SEO purposes. Or the buyer only wants something cheap and generic for what is already piss-poor website experience.

    On the other hand, I have informative articles that have brought in six-figures over the years. You, however, are not qualified to write them, and I would never dream of asking you to write them.

    But I will hire someone to write "content" if I am looking to add emotional impact or a different perspective.

    For example, I would write the article about non-compete agreements, their legality, how to use them, etc.

    You could write an article about the devastating effect a non-compete agreement would have on your life.

    For a buck I would hire someone to write whatever comes to mind, not worrying about grammar (if anything, that can show authenticity) and using it for SEO.

    As you can see, the "value" and potential pricing for content varies wildly depending on its purpose.

    My suggestion is to locate buyers who are likely wanting something other than SEO-type content. This forum is probably not the best hunting ground for those people.

  • Profile picture of the author TopClass
    There exists different markets, the $1 articles are for those people who are looking for only backlinks while the hire $10 market is for those who really want quality content.
    There is no point in slogging it out by writing quality content for peanuts.
    There are lots of people out there who are really looking for quality content, you just need to find them.
  • Profile picture of the author Griffin Smith
    "My suggestion is to locate buyers who are likely wanting something other than SEO-type content. This forum is probably not the best hunting ground for those people."

    Great Idea...What are other types of content that are in demand besides SEO?
    I guess we can exclude legal
  • Profile picture of the author cjbmeb14
    As you have probably seen I offer an article writing service.

    I am in the area 500 words for $5 and yes; I would love to charge more, but that is impossible! People just will not pay more or can't.

    We see writers offering writing services for $1 or $2 for 500 words. However, to charge this, for us is not worth the time, and we could not afford to do it.
  • Profile picture of the author LindseyRainwater
    I'm sorry to hear you're dealing with this. I know it sucks.

    And if you stay in freelance writing, you will ALWAYS have the occasional day where you hate almost every other writer and client in the whole world. I used to write as a freelancer, and I thought that was just me - but I've got friends who still freelance (writing, photography, graphic design, etc.) and they have those days too.

    So you're not alone there.

    When I was at my "peak" with writing, right before I headed off to become an IMer, I was working with Need and Article, which was my low-paying-but-easy work, and I had a couple private clients. But I was also on and

    I had many people respond to my bids (both on the bidding sites and in personal referrals) who told me that 5 cents a word was too much - that I needed to lower my prices. I politely but firmly told them that wasn't going to happen, and that when they actually wanted quality content, to let me know.

    About 2 out of 3 got pissy and walked away. Oh darn. (You don't want to work with them anyway.) The other third . . . well, they decided they wanted someone who had more than a couple blog posts and a piece of paper saying they could write on their resume. At that time I had almost four years experience writing for the web, and had started at .20 a post on forums.

    My friends who freelance have all been through this. One of them, a highly talented artist, almost threw in the towel a year or so ago because she had one too many people try to grind her quote down to nothing. I stood behind her, as did many of our friends, and now she's selling prints of her work, and has almost more commissioned projects than she can handle!

    I know this may not be EXACTLY what you were looking for, but I say hang in there, and stick to your guns as far as your prices go. People are quick to tell you what your work is worth, but you are the one who controls that - not them. You can still get plenty of writing jobs that pay really well. Keep looking, you'll find them.

    Good luck with everything!
  • Profile picture of the author affhelper
    You need to choose who you work with. I actually paid today my writer
    $30 for a 520 word press release.

    I paid as much as $150 for a 1300-1600 word blog posts.
  • Profile picture of the author celente
    I think the price is irrelevant.

    Its about getting the right results.

    Would you pay $50 for an article that goes viral and puts in 1000 extra subscribers or makes you $500 in sales.

    I think the answers are clear there.
  • Profile picture of the author perfectlovehere
    I guess it would depend on a lot of factors like how much traffic you could generate, how popular the topic is, and if the funnel is setup properly etc.
  • Profile picture of the author John Coutts
    I think we are poised to witness an interesting development in article writing.

    I have watched prices drop lower and lower over the past few years, to a point where some writers are practically giving them away.

    I heard the other day that someone on Fiverr was offering 25 articles of 500 words each for - yes, $5.

    The trend seems obvious to me. Soon the value of articles will dip into negative value, and writers charging mere pennies for 500 word articles will start paying buyers to take them off their hands.

    Give it another few years and you will be able to get paid $5 or $10 per article you order.

    We are set for great times! All you will need to do each day is make an order of say, 100 articles every morning, and by lunch time you will have $500 in your PayPal account.

    Of course, there's always the chance I could be wrong. Maybe common sense will prevail, and writers will be valued once again. Unexpected things do happen sometimes ...

    Oh look! There goes a flying pig!


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