How’s your content? Do your website visitors actually want to read it?

I was interested in a job advertisement for a freelance writer I came across recently. I could almost feel the advertiser’s frustration in the text of his ad. He wanted someone to write 2 – 4 posts a month for his blog. Sounds straightforward enough, right? Well, it would seem not.

The following words formed part of his freelancing ad (paraphrased) “I just want someone who can write posts that my visitors actually want to read!” I don’t have the ad to hand right now, but I’m sure there was at LEAST one exclamation point in there. This guy’s desperation was palpable.

Now, you may well be asking what was so interesting about all of this and that would be a fair question. The point I’m getting to is a straightforward one but critically important nonetheless. You see many website owners are finally realizing how essential it is to post regular content on their website both to optimize their position in organic search and to effectively engage website visitors.

That said, posting any old content up there can do more harm than good.

It’s imperative to search out a freelance writer who can actually write engaging content; the kind of website content that real people want to read.

The mistake I see time and time again is websites padded out with collections of words that are just that, no real flow, no real storytelling and containing absolutely nothing to encourage a reader to become engaged in the piece, far less stay on the site. And without any of these things your website visitors are never going to trust your website or the message it’s trying to deliver.

What I’m saying might seem blindingly obvious. So, why is it that we keep seeing the same mistake repeated on so many websites? We can put it down to a couple of reasons I think:

PENNY PINCHING – there’s a lot to be said for paying a freelance writer a fair wage for a fair day’s work.

Unfortunately, some clients seem to take pleasure in beating the poor old freelancer into the ground and extracting the maximum words they can for the absolute minimum cost. They take pride in extracting 1000 words for less than it costs for a decent cup of coffee.

This strategy (if you can call it that) is fatally flawed right from the start. What writer worth his salt is going to take the time to write top-notch content for a pittance? Is he or she going to be creative, write with conviction or even carefully proofread their work?

Freelancers have families to look after and have to earn a decent living wage to get by. They’re no different to anyone else in this respect. So remember “the bitterness of poor quality remains long after the sweetness of a low price is forgotten”.

IGNORANCE OF SEO – unfortunately, many website owners still think that all you have to do is throw a few keywords into a bunch of crappy content and the search gods will love you and reward your website accordingly. Nothing could be further from the truth. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, just give Google search what it wants; well-written content that people actually want to read. Hang on, that sounds familiar…

It amazes me how much time and effort misguided website owners will spend trying to game the system with badly written (read cheap) content that will eventually be their demise. A crazy waste of time and money, even if you are a penny-pincher.

Remember, the content you put on your website will be there for years to come and will be benefiting you or harming you (you choose) for just as long. So, doesn’t it make sense to get it right first time and save all the pain and heartache that follows surely as night follows day?

Remember the desperate advertiser we encountered at the start of this article? The solution to his tale of woe is fairly simple and goes something like this.

  • Spend some time and effort to find a decent freelance writer and be prepared to have them write a test article or two. PAY them for this, it takes time and effort.
  • Once you find a good freelancer, treat him fairly. Aim to form a good working relationship with him and give clear direction. Don’t be afraid to tell him immediately if something is not working for you. Your writer will be far happier to alter his content or style early in the process than after he has written several books worth of content.

Finally, remember freelancers are human beings too. We all have good and bad days. A good writer that writes content that your visitors actually want to read does not suddenly become a bad writer.

Be prepared to work as a team, with a little give and take and everyone will benefit, you, your freelance writer and your website visitors.