I got a call the other day from a freelance writer friend of mine.
“Anne,” she asked, “what’s a fair price for writing on the web?”
I’m sure my sigh was loud and frustrating sounding. Without much grace I responded, “how long is a piece of string?”
Back in my real estate days the definition of fair market value was simply the price arrived at by a willing seller and a willing buyer.
That definition also works for freelance writing, on the web or off. We all know there are buyers out there who will buy as many articles as you’re willing to write for a buck or two each. What isn’t as obvious is that there are writers getting $75, $100, $500 and even $1,000 or more for every article they write.
Sure, the higher paying articles tend to be longer than the cheap ones. Typical SEO articles run 400-500 words.
But if a joke you submit to Reader’s Digest gets published you’ll get $100. Google magazines paying $1 a word and you’ll find an amazing amount of information – some of it quite current. Or join the 5 Buck Forum where Lori posts markets that pay a dollar a word or more almost every week.
Then there’s the phenomenon of the 6 and 7 figure bloggers – not many, but it keeps happening. What’s an article worth on one of those sites? You do the math.
The point, of course, is that it’s impossible to answer a question that is as open ended as “how much is a web article worth?” It depends on the context, the purpose of the article, and who is writing it. It depends on what the writer is willing to charge for writing the article and what the employer or publisher is willing to pay for it.
Sure, there are some general norms, maybe. With the internet you can hire writers from non-English speaking countries for what most Americans consider pennies. You can also work to find writers whose work you love and pay them accordingly. There really aren’t any rules.
As a writer you get to set your rate; if you’re hiring writers you too get to choose how much you’ll pay.
How would you answer the question “how much is web writing worth?”