by Lisa Russell, a Blogmutt writer who has been providing web content since 2008. She graduates from Western Governor's University in 2014 with her BS in Business Marketing Management.
Sometimes, it's hard to tell whom to trust online. Anyone can drum up a website with a fake portfolio and false promises. It's not like the old days, when you could ask your neighbor for a recommendation. Luckily, it's easy to spot a high quality content writing service, once you know what you're looking for.
Look for High Quality Web Content
It should go without saying that when you're in the business of procuring web content, your own website should be free from grammatical and spelling errors. Sadly, this is not the case. If it weren't unethical to offer a link that says "Check out their horrid spelling," I would totally give you something to click on here. This is me having good manners.
Let's just say that you should never hire a personal trainer who is out of shape. You should never hire a mechanic whose car doesn't work, and you should never hire content writing services if their own web content isn't top notch.
Look for Honest, Simple Pricing
You shouldn't have to fill out a form to get a price quote. You shouldn't have to join a bidding website in order to secure their rate. You shouldn't have to answer a million questions without seeing a price structure.
Freelance web writers get paid per word or per article, not by the hour. If a company can't figure in their overhead costs (i.e., editing, IT, infrastructure) in order to set up a simple pricing structure that you can see on their website, then something might be fishy.
Maybe they don't really have a team of writers. Maybe they're planning to reach out to a substandard network of ESL writers as soon as they reel you in. Either way, you wouldn't buy anything else in life without knowing the price and web content should be no different. Sure, there are variables, and most reputable companies are well-equipped to handle your variables.
Look for Native Language Writers
While I'm not about to tackle all international business negotiations, or criticize anyone for their language skills, let's be perfectly clear that native speakers in any language communicate differently from people who have been trained in the language. It's not an insult to anyone's intelligence, it's a matter of intuitive understanding of the workings of the written word.
We've all opened up an instruction manual only to find silly phrases like "Check to adhere the solid press part securely" and cocked our heads at the inaccurate (but largely understandable) translation. That might be fine for assembling furniture, especially when you've already bought it. But that's no way to address future and current clients.
The overall quality of your website will decline if you're populating it with articles that are poorly or awkwardly written. You don't want that.
Look for References
References can come in a couple different formats. Quotes from current or past clients are a good reference, especially when you can verify that they're legitimate. One way to verify that a reference is legitimate is to check the company's LinkedIN Profile. There's an endorsement system in place there that lets businesses toot the horns of companies they like doing business with. Facebook has a similar system in place for consumer level reviews. If you're browsing through online forums and review sites, you might expect to find some unhappy people every now and then because you can't please everyone all of the time. A reputable company will have more happy people defending the company in comments than complaining about them.
Look for Added Value
Let's be honest here, if this was your area of expertise you'd be doing it yourself. There's no shame in asking for help. But there are two kinds of help. There's one that says "I will do this for you," and another that says "Yeah, I'm going to do this and here's something for you to think about." What good is it to hire an expert if you're not taking advantage of their expertise? You don't go to the dentist for a filling and not expect him to examine your overall oral health. A good content writing service will provide added value by allowing you the option of their helping you choose keywords, monitoring the quality of your work, and even helping with image selection.
If you're still not sure about hiring a web content provider, contact us to see if our services are right for you.
Editor’s note: This blog is an example of the kind of writing you can get for your blog. The only thing that’s different is that it has the name of the writer. For your blog, you can say you wrote it. That’s fine with us. We’re happy mutts. Click here for more explanation of this series of posts. — Scott