Free Web Content

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Does Free Web Content Pay Off?

As ways of making money online continue to grow, so does the number of web masters looking to take advantage of the boom. Many are in a rush to get a website up and running and want to take as many short cuts as possible, from grabbing free web content to sending out hundreds of requests for directory links.

If you haven’t got the time or the skills to write compelling copy for your site, there are plenty of sites online that can cater for your needs. Content providers, freelance sites and article directories all propose to help, but what’s best for your needs?

The appeal of free web content is clear to see. With so much copy and so many articles freely available online, where’s the sense in paying for it? What many web masters soon find out, however, is that by going for free content they end up paying for it later through poor conversions or low search engine rankings.

Scraper and Duplicate Content

True, it’s possible to scrape information from other websites. This, however, is unlikely to help your site. While it will populate your pages with words, Google will soon pick up on the fact that you’re duplicating copy from elsewhere on the web and may refuse to index your site as a result.

Article directories offer free content for site owners to use, but again there are issues with duplicate content. Another problem from these sites is the quality of writing that goes on to them. While some articles may be properly written and well edited, others may be quickly knocked together with the aim of getting a link or two from directories and any site foolhardy enough to take the work. If you do see a well written article on such a site, the best thing to do is contact the author and see if they’re available to write bespoke content for you. If a writer creates copy with your site, brand and products in mind, it’s always going to be much better than a piece of generic content that you’re taking because it closely matches what you want.

Buying Web Content

Rather than searching for the best writer you can through directories, there are many freelance sites available where you can put up your desires and have writers bid for each project. You’re sure to find a capable writer through these bidding sites, but you’re also likely to find a crowd of wannabes who hope to make a quick buck by providing substandard services. Some sites will offer rating systems to help you sort the good from the bad, but these can be easily manipulated by users.

Another option is going to a content marketplace. These work in much the same way as freelancer sites but have two distinct advantages for businesses. The first is that these sites have experience with what does and doesn’t work so they can guide you towards what will be best for your site. Remember, these sites make their living in this area so it’s wise to heed their advice rather than follow your hunch on something. The other advantage to using this site is that you know all the writers are professionals who pride themselves on giving the best work possible – no cowboys and no one with pidgin English trying to pull a swift one.

As appealing as free web content may seem, it’s often a gamble that doesn’t pay off. There are many options online that make it easier than ever to find a copy writer who can fulfil all your needs and the prices may not be as extravagant as you fear.

Shawn Manaher

Shawn Manaher is the founder and CEO of The Content Authority. He's one part content manager, one part writing ninja organizer, and two parts leader of top content creators. You don't even want to know what he calls pancakes.

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