Is Your Web Content Worth Less Than Horse Poop? — A SPN Exclusive

Like most little kids, I was fascinated with Disney World growing up. I used to make my parents set up shop on Main Street in the Magic Kingdom, an hour before the afternoon parade started so that we would have the very best view.

During all of those parades, I saw Mickey, Minnie, Goofy, and the rest of the gang. I also saw a man — a very happy-looking man — walking behind them all with a giant shovel and a rolling metal trash can.

His job? To scoop up the horse poop left behind by the magical Clydesdales that towed along Mickey’s caravan. (Bet you didn’t read about THAT in the brochures your travel agent gave you!)

Every time I saw this man, people cheered for him. Not in a sarcastic “sucks-to-be-you” way, but in a genuine “thanks-for-working-so-that-we-don’t-have-to-dodge-horse-poop-when-this-is-over” way.

Now, I can’t imagine this man was paid a whole lot for this job. Today, the man doing that job probably makes close to minimum wage — which, as of mid-2012, is $7.67 per hour in Florida.

My point in all of this?

If you’re one of those business owners who thinks he can get quality web content for $5 or $10, you’ve set the value for your content at a lower value than the value the Magic Kingdom has set for its horse poop.

Here’s how:

If you go out and order a 500 word article from a professional content writer, you’ve just given them a lot to do. After all, they have to email you to confirm your payment, research the topic, write an interesting and informative article, make sure your target keywords flow naturally through it, proofread the article, and email a finished product to you.

For the sake of argument, let’s say all of that takes two hours. That’s actually a low estimate, since most writers can’t work that fast. But, we’ll go with two hours for this example.

If you’ve paid your content writer $5, their hourly rate is a whopping $2.50. That’s about one-third the hourly rate of the Magic Kingdom’s horse poop scooper.

If you’ve paid your content writer $10, their hourly rate is $5. The horse poop scooper is still making 1.5 times what your writer is making.

OK, so your content writer is surviving off Ramen Noodles and living with 12 roommates. Why is any of that your problem?

Because your content writer isn’t going to settle for a steady diet of Ramen Noodles and share a bathroom with 12 other people! Instead, he’s going to do whatever he can to turn your payment into a livable hourly rate.


By cutting down on the amount of time it takes to write your 500 word article. When your payment comes in, here’s how he’s going to approach your order:

– Email you to confirm the payment? Eh, that’s no biggie. You sent the money, so he probably got it. It’s not like PayPal eats money, so why does he need to confirm anything with you?

– Research? That’s not really necessary, is it? I mean, you want him to write about mining tires. Your content writer has driven a car before, and cars have tires. Therefore, your writer can skip all of that time-consuming research and just write something off the top of his head.

– Writing something that will engage your readers from start to finish? That takes a lot of time, and your writer simply doesn’t have time for it. Remember, he wants to go out for dinner, not microwave some Ramen Noodles. So, your article is going to be written very quickly, in a very bare-bones way. Don’t count on seeing any personality in it. But, hey, it will have 500 words in it, and that’s what you’ve paid for.

– Making sure your keywords flow naturally? Whatever. Shove ’em in wherever you can.

– Proofreading? That’s for suckers. After all, your content writer uses Microsoft Word, and it’s nice enough to put a squiggly red line under each misspelled word. He can fix some of those as he’s typing, so that eliminates any reason to go back over his work later to make sure it’s perfect. I mean, you don’t actually expect his work to be perfect, right? No one’s perfect!

By the time all is said and done, your content writer was able to shave a ton of time off your order and give himself a better hourly wage. Unfortunately, you’re the one who has to put your name on the article he wrote. Your link is going to be at the bottom of it. Your target audience is going to see it.

Is that article really what you want to show off to the world? Something that cost less to create than shoveling horse poop off the streets of the Magic Kingdom — and smells just as bad?

Do you really think horse poop is worth more time and money than your business’ reputation?!

Nicole BeckettGoogle+ takes as much pride in your business’ reputation as you do. If you want web content that makes your business smell as fresh as a daisy, visit Nicole and the team at Premier Content Source.

About the author


Nicole Beckett

Nicole Beckett knows that content marketing will always play a huge role on the web.  That's why she spends her time helping business owners come up with the very best strategies.  Find out how she can take your web content to the next level by visiting Nicole and the team of journalists at Premier Content Source.


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  • Gosh, I really hope this is an exaggeration and there aren’t companies paying $2.50/hr for content writing for their websites.

    We do a lot of content writing and our clients seem to be OK with what we charge, which is certainly higher than that. As part of the process, not mentioned in the article above, we brainstorm with our clients for relevant topics and then we interview them for the articles to learn more about their businesses and pull out details that differentiate them from their competitors.

    It helps to work with folks who have experience as business writers. All of our content writers were experienced business journalists previously.

  • Pilot, I *wish* it was an exaggeration!

    I’ve gotten cries for help from plenty of people who paid a couple bucks for their content — only to discover that it was spun or just written so poorly that they don’t dare use it anywhere. Unfortunately, those people spend money (and time, of course) on the 1st writer, then they pay me to clean up the mess left behind (which takes up even more time).

    It’s a mistake that smart marketers only make once, though! 🙂

  • Nicole,
    Well, your title is worth more than that, to be sure. But seriously, one of the things many business owners still don’t see is the need to create quality content. If you can’t have a newspaper or magazine spread created for that amount, why would you believe it’s possible to create quality content for your marketing that way? Thanks for sharing the post!

  • Nicole,

    It really is sad to see people wanting quality content at such shameful rates. But eventually they do realize their mistake.

    Good quality content not only helps with better search results, it creates a reputation and a voice for the business. Any potential client or a visitor won’t feel comfortable buying your product if the site is full of spun/poorly written content with typos and errors.

    Then there’s the obvious issue of Google penalizing sites for copied content. I have had so many clients who initially went with low quality, cheap stuff, and later had to get their entire content rewritten from scratch after Penguin.

    Thanks for this post, I really hope people do realize that they get what they pay for, and content bought at $5 a piece is not worth to serve as their business voice!

  • As a consultant and editor with over ten years in this business, I’m still amazed at how few companies understand the importance of having quality, well-written content on their websites.

  • Brilliant article – well written and totally correct, there are people out there who want quality work but don’t budget for it – you know the old adage about paying ‘peanuts’!!