Watch Out for Scams!
Every industry has its scam artists, and writing is no different. There are a number of “writing services” out there promising fast, cheap content for your website. Unfortunately, the content these scammers offer is not original– it’s often a series of template articles with keywords plugged in.
You can avoid hiring scam writers by knowing what to look for in a writing service. Often, the price itself is a giveaway: “Articles for just $1/piece!” With a price that low, it’s most likely a scam. Few writers will work for so little; if they are, it usually means they’re not working … just filling in a template.
Another tip-off is turnaround time. If the writing service promises dozens of articles in twenty-four hours, it’s unlikely that they could generate that much original content in such a short time frame.
To avoid scam artists, follow the advice you’ll find in these section of article.
Evaluating Writers and Their Services
Paying for professional content is fast but it’s not necessarily cheap. Since you’re going to be paying a fair amount for it you should make sure you get your money’s worth. It’s important to evaluate a writing service or individual freelance writer before you decide to enter a business relationship with them. In this section, you’ll learn what to look for and what to avoid in a professional writer or writing service.
Check Out Their Website
Almost no one is going to be doing this kind of business without a nice website. For writing services and freelancers, this is more the rule than the exception. This holds particularly true for writers and services that specialize in web content– it would almost be hypocritical for them not to have a website.
Looks are everything
Look for professionalism and good presentation when you’re checking out a writing website. Do they seem reasonable, coherent and well-informed? A professional writing services website should contain:
- At least one valid contact method (physical address or phone number) outside of an e-mail address
- A general pricing range or schedule or an invitation to contact the writer or service for a free quote
- Easy-to-read, error-free copy and clean page design
- Information about the writer or writers’ experience, past or current clients, and/or writing samples
- A list of services provided and/or areas of expertise
If the writer or writing service has taken the time to put together a website that demonstrates professionalism and knowledge, they are likely to put the same effort into the work you commission through them. Sloppy websites can indicate sloppy writing quality– something you want to avoid.
Samples and Examples
It’s never an idea to jump into something blindly, especially when you generally can’t get a refund or that many revisions. Never hire any writer who doesn’t provide samples of their work. Most will have samples posted on their websites. If they don’t, and you still want to consider working with them, e-mail and ask for a sample. If the sample is riddled with spelling and grammar errors and poorly constructed sentences, you should look for another writer.
In most cases, writers who don’t have posted samples are new to freelancing. However, they should still be able to demonstrate their abilities. Working with new writers is not necessarily something you should avoid, but it’s important to make sure they can actually provide a finished, coherent piece.
Less Money isn’t Always Better
You really do get what you pay for and often times a writer will charge a meager fee because he or she will do meager work for you. As with many other products or services, when it comes to commissioned writing, you get what you pay for. You should expect to pay the going rate for quality writing. This varies according to the type of writing provided, but for SEO articles and web content, it is fairly consistent. Usually, the writer’s fee is per word or a flat rate per article according to a word count range (250 to 400 words, 500 to 700 words, and so on).
There are two common reasons for writers offering their services for substantially less than every other writer in that field: either the writer is new or inexperienced, or there is a scam afoot. In either case, investigate the writer or company, check out their samples, and use caution when paying dirt-cheap fees for content.
Be Aware of Plagiarism and Copyright Infringement
If you suspect a writer or writing service is using a template or recycling material they claim is “original,” there are a few ways to find out whether your suspicions are correct:
Copy and paste two or three sentences from the sample text into a search engine such as Google or Yahoo. Chances are if it’s a scam you will come up with several links leading to the exact same article on different websites with different bylines.
Look up websites that deal with the subject of the article and question and check out their article archives to see if they have the same title.
Go to www.findarticles.com and search for the title or unusual phrases within the text of the sample article.
Enter the URL of the page containing the suspicious writing sample at www.copyscape.com to view other pages that contain the exact same content.