New Site? Writing Content for New Sites

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New Site? Writing Content for New Sites

If you are working on a new site, the scope of your work will likely fit into two possible scenarios. Either you are developing the entire content, including what pages will be on the site, the keyword strategy and the marketing writing. Or someone else has decided what is going to be included on the site and you are assigned pages or articles to write and are usually given a keyword list.

If you are developing the entire content for a site, there is a lot involved. But here are some questions you can ask your client to get you started.

Questions to Ask a New Client

1. What is the purpose of your site? Believe it or not, many people don’t know. Is the site just for information, is it an eCommerce site?

2. What is the level of quality you desire? Some people are only interested in creating a temporary, junk SEO site, others want a site with high quality, researched articles.

3. What style do you desire? Ask them how they want the information presented do they want it upbeat, serious, casual, quirky, scholarly?

4. What is your time frame? When do you expect the site to be ready to launch?

5. How much maintenance is expected? Does your content need to be updated often? Do you want new content to be added often? Or will the site stay about the same once it is live.

Questions to Ask Yourself

After this first interview, you likely will have a good idea if the clients expectations are reasonable. You should also know whether you want to pursue the project at all. For example, I do not do junk, SEO writing, while other writers enjoy writing repetitive product descriptions and are fast at it. It is also important that the time frame and pay matches what you feel good about. Good clients pay not just for the completed product, but also for the research and development time. If you are doing junk SEO writing you will likely get paid much less, but they usually do the research and development for you.

So how much do you charge your client?

This depends on the area you live in, where I live, Utah, the wages are quite low compared to SF or New York. But I charge out at about $17 to $25 an hour, I pay my editor $40/hr. If I am doing the site development it is easy to get $20 an hour or more, but I can find writers here to do the low exposure page content for around $12-14/hour. For marketing writing I charge more, for example logo writing, high exposure pages, grant writing and other demanding, creative work could creep up to $40/hr, but it is more likely to be charged by the piece. If you live in a higher wage area, you will want to increase over my rates. Keep in mind, these are experienced writing rates (with a degree) in Utah. If you do not have experience, you may be expected to build up your portfolio before you demand a nice salary. Also, full-time employee rates are usually lower, but the trade off is steady work and benefits.

Should you Hire an Editor?

Yes, everyone should have an editor. It does not matter what kind of work you do, a second opinion is always a good idea. If you cannot afford an editor, you might be able to find another writer who you can trade edits with. Although editors cost a bit, they should be able to get through your work fast and provide good feedback. For example, my editor can edit about five to seven web pages in less than an hour. Hand in your work polished, so your editor can get through your work fast and in a cost effective manner. If you are a self employed writer, you can write off your editor as a business expense.

Once you get through all of this and start your new project, your next obstacles will be staying on task and figuring out the psychology of how to provide your client a web site that meets their expectations.

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