freelance copywriter, ghost writer, lawyer marketing, lawyer advertising, web content writer, white papers

I read Jonothan Leger’s blog,, every day and always find new and useful information on his pages. His advice ranges from how to get more traffic to your website, how to improve your Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and how to make more money with adsense ads.

Recently, he wrote an article called, Should You Hire People To Write Your Articles For You? on his experience hiring a ghostwriter to write online articles to get more traffic to one of his websites. He placed a project on eLance and got three bids for the five article project.

The lowest bid, was for a mere $10 per article and that is the one he chose. Not that Jonathan was being cheap, but the other two bidders neglected to provide any feedback or ratings to justify their higher prices. (This should be a lesson for any freelancer, provide credibility information when you solicit new work)

The ghostwriter got the work done quickly and emailed the five finished articles back to Jonathan within 48 hours.

Problems With Cheap Ghostwriting Work

But, it didn’t come without a few bumps in the road. As Jonathan puts it:
”But the articles were clearly written by somebody who did not speak and write English as a first language, and so there were little grammatical issues that I would have to go in and fix. Having to go in and fix these grammatical errors takes time, and the whole purpose of hiring a ghost writer is to save time, so this extra step took away some of the value of hiring out for the job. However, as the saying goes, you get what you pay for, and I hired the cheapest group to write the articles.”

Hiring a ghostwriter is a viable way to publish online articles that will drive traffic to your site if you do not have the time or skill set to write them yourself. But as Jonathan Leger’s experience shows, hiring the cheapest writer may cause problems. You do not expect to have to rewrite something you have already paid for.

Moreover, as I mentioned the other day in my article, 10 Tips For Choosing A Ghostwriter For Your Online Articles, it takes a certain skill set be able to write a good article AND write HTML code AND know how to include your target keywords in order to produce online articles that drive traffic to your website.

I’m curious to know if any of you has had experience either doing ghostwriting work for others or hiring ghostwriters to get a project done on your behalf. Send me your feedback and comments.

COPYRIGHT © 2007, Charles Brown


I am getting sick of people from India underbidding and undercutting Americans. They can't write worth anything. I don't understand why people hire them. If you want something written write stay away from a poor, poverty-stricken country that only begs for work to help get them out of their sorry state.

6:54 PM

While there are a lot of foreigners who place bids on sites like Elance there are a number of Americans who are willing to do work for next to no pay.

This is a two-fold problem as I see it. In the first place you have a lot of people who want to write, but probably don’t really have the skills or aren’t ready for professional work who really have no idea what kind of rates they should be charging for their work. They get on these bidding sites with hundreds of other people vying for the same job and that drives the price down.

The second problem is that, because of the people willing to do work on the cheap, many businesses are beginning to treat content like it’s something that can be gotten from a gumball machine.

So what’s the answer? I don’t know. I don’t really see things getting much better as competition increases from people who are willing to do work for low pay.

7:23 AM

I certainly would not ever want to hinder anyone from making a living, especially a fellow writer, regardless of what country the writer is from.

The unfortunate fact is, there is a market for cheap, poorly written articles. The clients for this market are those who merely want the inbound links to their sites. But I think they will pay for the poor quality of these articles in the long run.

However, there is also a market for quality writing. Especially ghostwritten work on which the client wants to put his or her own byline.

This type of client wants to build a brand name online as an expert in a certain field. These clients will always seek out quality writers and will be willing to pay for that quality.

I have seen the work of many Indian writers who had very good writing skills and produced very good work, so I do not want to label all of them as sub-par. This site is not the place to bash an entire nationality.

But I think sites like eLance are beginning to sour their own reputations by becoming a marketplace for poor writing.

Here's my solution: I have submitted hundreds of articles in my own name on sites like and anyone who is considering hiring me can check out my work.

I am listed on that site as an "Expert Author" and have achieved their Platinum level. This, and my blog, give me two platforms to show off my work and attract clients.

Potential clients can see that I know html, understand how to integrate keywords into an article and can see that I am a native English speaker. They can also judge for themselves whether the quality of my work suits their needs.

I do not bid on work through eLance or its like because I will not work for $10 per article. I can't make a living that way and I think clients understand that good writing costs a decent amount.

What do the rest of you think about this? I am very interested in learning more about your opinions.

Charles Brown

1:54 PM

I agree with Charles. As much as we like to describe our country as democratic, it is indeed founded on a market economy whereby the lowest price gets the job. The market will always find an equilibrium and if that is brought down by foreign workers or underqualified writers, then so be it. They will wash out at some point in the future.

To counteract this seemingly unfair situation, people like Charles have gone about his marketing another way. He has worked essentially for no pay whatsoever, in order to hone his craft, and get his name and product out there. When people buy Charles, they are getting a known entity. This will serve him in the long run.

I do much the same thing. I write my own blog, I contribute to others. I write e-books. I have additional skills (HTML, CSS, Javascript, Java, Flash, etc.) which I use to bring in more business. I use focused marketing tools (Artemis Pro, for example), which submits my blogs and my work to as many people as possible.

We can all whine about foreigners and people accepting low wages, but we have to counteract it by working harder and eventually reaping the benefits.

2:30 PM

I totally agree with Charles' comments. Great content is king. The problem with what the black hatters do - spew out rubbishy articles stuffed full of keywords - is that they add no value to humans. They're purely designed for search engines. In today's web 2.0 world, that is so yesterday.

There's another aspect to this too. What's the point in submitting a great article to multiple sites if Google hammers you for duplicate content? Out of 300 sites you might only get recognition for 20. I personally solve this problem with Artemis Pro (, an article submission program created by James Brausch. It creates multiple versions of the article so you get credit for ALL those 300 sites. But the absolute first thing is to provide great content that provides value to real live humans. Cheap $10 articles from mass-producers who don't have English as a first language don't usually cut the mustard in this respect. Yes, you really do get what you pay for.

10:59 PM

Hi Charles,

The question I can't seem to find a satisfactory answer to is

"If content is King then why are writers paupers?"

I think the answer may lie in the fact we tend to sell ourselves short.

On the other hand many book publishers are so swamped with submissions they refuse anything not represented by an agent. And getting reresentation is no walk in park either.

Like any other manufacturer - writers need to learn good marketing of their product is a must. As a matter of fact - good marketing tends to be a bigger factor for success than good writing. Sad but true.

The good news is demand is strong and those who stick to their guns and offer only the best products while demanding decent compensation for said products should be able to get it.

All the best,


10:56 AM

Back again,

Just happened across another blog with a similar topic. She posted this excellent short video by one of my favorite authors Harlan Ellison.

Harlan can be crude but he's right on the money.


11:06 AM

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