Setting your blogging rate is something that many freelance writers and bloggers have difficulty setting, particularly when they first start writing on the web.
We have touched upon the subject many times here at Blogging Tips. More recently, Yuwanda Black wrote about the subject in her posts ‘Freelance Writing Rates: How to Stick to Your Pricing Guns‘ and ‘Blogging Jobs: How Much Should You Charge to Blog?‘.
Yesterday saw the end of a series of articles on Mens With Pens entitled ‘Why Bloggers Should Be Paid More’. I recommend reading all the articles before moving on
I really enjoyed this series of articles. There was some great points raised however I disagreed with some of the advice so I thought I would go through each article and give my opinion on the points raised – Aren’t you guys lucky!!
In the first article Taylor talks about how writing 30 blogs posts at $50 a post is more mentally draining than writing a website with content worth $1,500.
I do agree that blogging is mentally draining however I don’t believe that it is any more draining that writing copy for a website. Writing content for a static content website still requires thought, research and proofreading, much like a blog post. Perhaps some people find blogging harder but if that is the case then in my opinion, they are blogging about a subject they are not passionate about.
I know this from experience. I stay up to date with the latest mobile phone, laptop and gadget news frequently and I find writing about the subject a breeze because I enjoy talking about it. However, I have written about some other subjects in the past which didn’t interest me as much and it took much longer to write because of it.
I also think it’s not very realistic to assume that a website with 30 pages of content will sell for $1,500. I know that there’s a lot of splogs out which means that original content is valued much more but that won’t affect the value of a site greatly. Bottom line, if a website isn’t making money then it’s doubtful anyone will pay a lot for it. Buyers couldn’t care less how much time you spent writing the content or much value you put on your time, they don’t just spend cash on websites which aren’t going to make them money.
Taylor does raise some good points though. It is hard to mentally switch off sometimes if you have a lot of blog posts to write. Perhaps some people do find blogging more difficult in this respect though in my experience, the pressure is the same from writing content for websites too.
I really enjoyed the 2nd article. Taylor was 100% correct in saying that bloggers should get paid the average value for all posts. As someone who hires bloggers on a regular basis, I have to agree with this. You simply cannot get mad at someone for doing a short post if their previous post was incredibly long, you need to give a little bit of leeway.
Though it’s worth pointing out that many bloggers take advantage of this. Many bloggers who have written for me start off with long detailed posts. They then write much shorter posts and because I give them a little leeway, they take that as a sign that thats all they need to do. Same old story, give someone an inch and they take a mile!
Generally speaking most authors do not do this and usually follow up a short post with a longer post the next time. However, I have had to part ways with a lot of writers because, to put it bluntly, they started taking the piss. A blog owner has to look at all of a bloggers posts and judge them on that collectively rather than singling out a single article.
Taylor also points out that whilst one blog post might take 15 minutes to write, 10 posts might take much longer than 3 hours. Put simply, the longer you are sitting down writing, the more tired you get and the harder you will find it to concentrate. This is why it’s important to frequently take breaks people!
Not Everyone Blogs Right
In the last article of the series Taylor talks about the difference in quality that you will get from a professional blogger compared to an amateur. This is something that most blog owners are aware of. It’s simple common sense. Generally speaking, you’re going to get a much better article from someone who charges $25 per post than someone who charges $5.
At the end of the article Taylor wrote something which really surprised me, something which spurred me on to write about all of this in the first place :
Everyone is out there blogging, but most of them are telling bad jokes and bad stories. Most of them are boring the pants off people. When you find someone who can actually blog with real power and insight and intelligence, you want to pay that writer whatever he wants to represent you.
If that means paying him $100 a post, do it anyway. He’ll be worth it. Because it’s worth it to you not to look dumb.
I completely disagree with this last comment. Infact, I would go further and say that it is incredibly bad advice!
Be realistic about your Blogging Rates
The majority of bloggers reading this will never get the blogging rate they deserve or the blogging rate they think they deserve, they will get the rate which the blog owner can afford to pay. That is a cold hard fact which I believe a lot of bloggers need to realise.
It doesn’t matter what a blogger writes about, the fact is the blog owner needs to get a return for his money.
In speciality niches, such as medicine, law etc, bloggers can charge a lot more for their content. This is because only certain experienced people within the industry can write about certain subjects. A bigger factor is the product which is being sold. If, for example, the website is selling a product which costs in excess of $5,000, then clearly it’s worth spending good money on bloggers and copywriters to promote your product.
When you find someone who can actually blog with real power and insight and intelligence, you want to pay that writer whatever he wants to represent you. If that means paying him $100 a post, do it anyway. He’ll be worth it. Because it’s worth it to you not to look dumb.
Most bloggers aren’t writing for websites which sell products though, they are writing for content based websites and blogs whose primary source of income is advertising. These sites cannot afford to pay very high rates. Seriously, you would be surprised how little some of the top bloggers earn.
This does not reflect on the quality of the blogger and it should not reflect badly on the blog owner either. It is simply because the blog owner cannot afford to pay out high rates to their writers. Simply paying someone $100 a post because they are apparently worth it is a one way ticket to going broke!
Think about it from the blog owners point of view. Say you ask someone to write 10 articles for your current blog and agree to pay them $100 a post. How are you going to turn a profit on this $1,000 expense? Do you think that adding 10 really great articles to your blog is worth $1,000?
I would personally love to pay my writers more than they are getting paid just now. I would love to be in a position to pay them $100 a post but unfortunately, that would cost me over $6,000 a month in staff wages. I would love to be in a position to pay that out, I really would. I wouldn’t grudge it if this blog was making $15,000 a month, but it’s not. And, just like everyone else, I have to live within my means.
I don’t mind spending money at the start of a project however if a website is costing you time and money month after month, you need to either rectify that quickly or sell the website on. And paying people any rate they think they deserve could definately put you in that situation.
Now, I have jumped upon Taylors statement about paying $100 a post to illustrate my point (it may have just been a throw away comment).
And my point is this : A blog owner doesn’t care if you took 15 minutes to write a post or 2 hours. All they care about is the end product i.e. good content. They also don’t care if some other website is paying you $xx a post or $xx an hour, they can only pay you what they can afford to pay you and what they think you are worth.
You all need to be realistic about your blogging rates. Blogging is not a high paying job, I hope you all realise this. There are some people who make good money from writing for others but they really are few and far between. I don’t want to discourage people from blogging as it’s something which I personally enjoy however most people, particularly those in the west (i.e. USA, Canada, Europe, Australia etc), would make more money by working at a minimum wage job.
The industry is very competitive as well. I usually get dozens of applications when I advertise just one blogging position. Without a doubt, the quality of the writer is very important to someone hiring, but price is a bigger factor. 9 times out of ten I would personally hire a good writer at $15 a blog post than a great writer who charges $50 a post as I know that the benefit from hiring the great writer is minimal when compared to the added expense of hiring them.
Finding your blogging rate
I won’t go into specifics about how much you should charge for writing. It depends on so many factors including experience of writer, quality of content, length of post, content topic etc. After applying for several jobs within your chosen niche, you will undoubtedly get an idea of the average rate which is paid.
I don’t want to talk too much about how you set your blogging rates in this article either as it’s something which I have spoke about before. What I would recommend you to do is be realistic.
If someone contacts you directly about a blogging position then you will probably be able to charge a little more than you normally do because the blog owner has shown a clear interest in you. It’s different from applying for a publicly advertised position as the blog owner will have dozens of writers applying for the job. Even if you are contacted directly about a position, you still need to be realistic about your blogging rate, as you can very easily price yourself out of a job.
If the quality of your posts are better than the average then you can charge more than the average. If you are well known within the industry then you can charge a little more too because writing for them will raise the blogs profile.
But you need to remember, the blog owner still needs to get value from your posts. You can’t just take it easy because you have built up a reputation and do the bare minimum, particularly if you are charging more than everyone else.
I once hired a very well known writer and paid the person more than my other writers but it was a big mistake. They had relied on their reputation to get the job but they never put in the effort and we quickly went our seperate ways. So be warned. Reputation and experience only gets you so far i.e. if you are charging more than everyone else then you need to illustrate why you do so through your posts.
You will rarely get paid the rate you want from blogging as most blog owners are trying to keep their writing expenses down. Usually, everyone meets in the middle with the blog owner paying a little more than they wanted to and the blogger taking slightly less than they wanted to.
I appreciate those of you who will not blog for a certain amount of money. If something isn’t worth your while then don’t do it. However, if you are trying to make a living from blogging on the web you need to be aware of the opportunity cost of not accepting a blogging gig – A job may pay slightly less than you would like but if the alternative is not getting any writing gig at all then it may be worth considering.
It would be great if bloggers were paid more but I don’t believe this is going to happen until blog owners start making more money. Therefore, I think it’s important that bloggers are realistic about their blogging rates and are aware of all the factors that will determine why some writing gigs pay more than others.
As always, your feedback is more than welcome
* Note, I just want to clarify to everyone that I’m a big fan of Men With Pens. It’s one of the best freelancing blogs around and I read it regularly. On this ocassion though, I just happened to disagree with them on a few things
Kevin Muldoon is a professional blogger with a love of travel. He writes regularly about topics such as WordPress, Blogging, Productivity and Social Media on his personal blog and provides support to bloggers at Rise Forums. He can also be found on Twitter @KevinMuldoon and Google+.