A question I am asked often, and had to deal with constantly as I both get paid for blogging and pay others is how much does a writer deserve to earn for blogging? Should it be per post, per word or per hour? Should it be based on the performance of each post? Or should it be based on advertising revenue?
The whole thing is very complex, and while each writer on each topic warrants a different amount, I’d like to go through and open up the discussion starting with my opinions on the whole thing.
I have to start by reminding you all that I get paid for writing, much like bloggers on Weblogs Inc and whatnot. I currently write for two networks, as well as for myself. I get paid salary for one company, and per post on another.
With being paid salary, I find myself wanting to create longer and more thought out articles, trying to get the most bang per post because I know that if I make five great articles in a day, they can do much better than doing twenty shorter articles. This also means that I include the time that I take researching a post as part of my billable time.
When it comes to being paid per post, I tried to make sure that what I was getting paid was worth my time. I did not really include research time into my fee, and have been suffering for it, and really so have the blogs I have been writing on. It is hard to push out great content, when you know that you are getting what amounts to a bit more than the local minimum wage. This leads to shorter posts, and less consideration. I see this happening all the time on pay per post models, except where the pay for the post is very high.
Base Plus Percentage of Ads
I have seen the effect that doing a base pay plus advertising revenue has had on many blogs. For some bloggers, they find themselves not reaping what they consider to be reasonable rewards for their effort and quit, while others find it to be a very sustainable way to blog, and push themselves harder so that they see larger advertising revenue, which goes into their pocket.
Paying per word seems to be a decent way to judge how much content is being put onto the blog, but many pay per word people seem to be from the traditional media and think that getting five or even ten cents a word is cheap, but really, in the blogging world, this is a good medium to upper wage, as much of the content on most blogs is opinion based rather than fact based, and with steep competition due to a low barrier to enter the web and start a blog, paying per word is only effective if you can get a blogger that is both inexpensive and good at what they do.
Lastly, there is paying per hour. This is difficult to deal with from the site owner side, as you don’t really know if they are putting in the correct amount of time. You could ask them to break down each post into time, allowing you to get a reasonable idea, but they could pad their times and basically get paid for not doing anything.
Other Tips and Thoughts
Really, it all comes down to finding a passionate blogger that won’t break the bank, or run the site into the ground. I have found that I enjoy writing on salary the most, and getting paid per post is frustrating. Making sure your writers, especially part time writers know that the salary can be fine tuned based on how much time, and effort they put into the site is also a good idea, as there are many people out there looking for money without putting in the time and effort.
Also, another big tip that I have for anyone thinking of hiring a blogger or being hired as a blogger is to make sure the people you work with understand that you will be billing them for your work in advertising the content you create. If you spend around ten minutes to half an hour on your best stories promoting them on social bookmarking or social news sites, they can go much farther for the site, and you should be rewarded for that, either by being paid as part of the post, or as a bonus.
I like to give bonuses for getting content on the front page of popular social news sites, and so do my employers. It just seems to be a great way to make sure that content is not just hiding away on the blog.
What do you think is fair, and what works best for you? Post it on your blog, and link here, or leave a comment. I am really curious.
Update: If you are dying for figures for each type of payment system, please check out my second post called How Much Per Post: The Figures