Without content your site can seem dry, boring and can even rank lower in search engines.
Providing fresh and engaging content accomplishes several things for your site. First, visitors will return to your site to see what new advice is available. Also, search engines will typically find your site more beneficial, assuming your content is high quality, and rank your site higher than if it has not been updated in a year. Finally, content can be used to entice customers to try something new or make a purchase. For example, if you sell home alarm systems, a timely article about the decrease in home burglary rates for homes that have an alarm system can encourage visitors to purchase one of their own.
Content might be king, but what if you simply don’t have time to write content for your website? Fortunately, there are some options that can be beneficial to your site and don’t cost an arm and a leg. Keep in mind that the more specialized your website topic is, the harder it will be to find quality content. You may need an expert for some information and that can cost a bit more than a more general website. Also, some search engine algorithms penalize sites that use duplicate content. So, while it might be tempting to take that free article and post it on your site, think twice about whether it is worth taking a hit in the search engine rankings.
Hire a Blogger
If you need specialized content, but don’t have time to write it yourself, or need an expert, hire a blogger. Bloggers typically make about $50 for a 600-word article, but this rate can vary. Remember that you get what you pay for. Yes, you can find someone in a third-world country to write articles for $3 each, but will the articles be readable and will the English be clear enough for your readers to understand? Having no content is better than having substandard content. If you want to hire a blogger in a particular field, advertise on sites like Craigslist (in their writing jobs section) or on sites like Monster and Simply Hired.
Also, decide if you want to hire a blogger that can telecommute from anywhere or you’d prefer someone local who will come into your office and write the articles. Also, post a jobs area on your website. Chances are that one of your visitors already has the expertise to write articles your readers will love.
Popular sites that focus on a hobby or a broad topic like fashion or parenting can sometimes enlist guest bloggers to post material for them. Typically, a guest blogger is not paid for their article, but receives a link back to their own blog. Some website owners work out a trade where they write an article for another person’s blog and the other person writes one for theirs. This is a good solution if you both have plenty of time, but if you’re limited on time, it really doesn’t behoove you to spend it writing for another blog when you could just as easily write something for your own website.
You can also advertise for guest bloggers on Craigslist or on the forums of sites with similar topics. MyBlogGuest is another good place to find guest bloggers. However, be certain that you make it clear that it is an unpaid position.
When you need expert input, interviewing someone with vast knowledge of a topic can save a lot of research time. Simply set the interview up in a Q&A format. While it will take you little time to come up with the questions, it won’t take nearly as long as researching and writing the article yourself. With the Q&A format, you’ll only have to write a short introduction and then paste in the questions and the interviewee’s responses.
To gain interviews, post on sites like PR Newswire’s Profnet site. You simply list what you’re looking for in the way of an interviewee and public relations firms will pull that information and let you know if they have a client who matches your interest.
Book authors are always looking for ways to get the word out about their titles. If there is a book that is about your website’s topic, contact the author and see if you can secure permission for a short excerpt from the book. Keep in mind that duplicate content can harm you, so ask for a short section from the middle of the book, which isn’t as likely to be listed on the author’s or publisher’s website. Book excerpts can usually be had for the cost of a link back to the author’s website and a short byline. You are doing the author a favor by sending new readers to him and he is doing you a favor by offering free content. It’s a win-win situation for everyone.
Use Content Service Providers
If you need to add massive amounts of content and don’t have time to oversee a team of writers, then use one of the content service providers to organize the project for you. Some of the better known content providers include:
Rates vary from a few cents per word to a few dollars per word. Remember that you usually get what you pay for.
Private Label Rights Articles
Private Label Rights Articles (PLR) allow you purchase packaged content for very low fees. You then are allowed to rewrite, repackage and repost the content without attribution. Some people debate the ethics of this type of article. After all, you are taking someone else’s content, changing it a bit and not giving them credit. However, ghost writers have written for hire in this way for many years. The Internet is just changing how they sell their writing. Instead of writing for a single client, although they still offer that option as well, they offer a package of articles that can be edited and changed, charge a lower fee, but charge it over and over again.
The drawback to using PLR articles is that the same or similar wording might be found on other sites. While the article may be unique in spots, it is unlikely that the entire article will be unique only to your site.
PLR articles are packaged in various ways. Some are part of a package of thousands of articles and you may also be granted the rights to resell the articles to others. Others are offered by individual authors on a specific topic. Still other PLR articles are offered on shopping sites, where you can pick and choose only those topics that you need for your site. There are dozens and dozens of sites offering PLR. Here are just a few:
If after going through your other options, you decide to go ahead and take your chances with duplicate content, there are several places you can get free articles to post on your site. A better use of free articles can be in e-mailed newsletters, where your site ranking won’t take a hit.
The truth is that most website owners use a combination of the above methods to get enough content for their websites. Even free articles have their place in the scheme of running a website and specialized articles written by experts can be the crowning jewel in your website designer’s crown.
Article by Lori Soard
Lori Soard has been working as a freelance writer and editor since 1996. She has a bachelor's in English Education and a PhD in Journalism. Her articles have appeared in newspapers, magazines, online and she's had several books published. Since 1997, she has worked as a web designer and promoter for authors and small businesses. She even worked for a short time ranking websites for a popular search engine and studying in-depth SEO tactics for a number of clients. She enjoys hearing from her readers.