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If you work as an independent consultant, whether as a writer or a designer or an IT expert, you know that one of the biggest challenges is figuring out pricing. This issue becomes even more challenging in freelancing websites such as Elance, ODesk and VWorker because we are all in one big global market place. There are many websites that advice freelancers to bid low to build a profile; this is seen as a competitive strategy. I believe that this is foolish in the short-term and counter-productive in the long-term.

Why is it foolish? If you bid at $5.00 an article, you will have to write an article every 1/2 hours (including research) to cross minimum wage. A teenager, yet to gain a qualification, makes more than that at the local fast food place. It is counter-productive in the long-run because once buyers think you are available for that amount, they are very unlikely to transition to higher rates. You will have to go after a different client base anyway and so it may be better to target that brand of buyers from the get go.

I think it is best to fix your price by calculating your costs and adding at least a nominal profit margin. When calculating cost, remember to factor in the time you spend in looking for jobs and in communicating with clients. The value a good freelance writer provides is intelligent research, analysis and good writing. The education and experience of a writer will always influence the quality of their output and it is best to remember that this is part of what you are offering as an article writer, ghost writer or SEO writer.

Now that Google has switched its algorithm for the search engine, many websites that have spun content and articles from content farms have fallen off the search engine ranks. A quality client will appreciate the value of an original and creative thinker and understand that in the long-term this is the only kind of writer who can provide content that will add value to his or her website. So, instead of competing on price and falling into the trap of .01 cents per word kind-of-thinking, approach projects in terms of what you can offer your client. Specify what you have to offer and serious clients will understand and appreciate that you are more than an article “writter” that copies and pastes from enough websites to pass plagiarism checkers.

Content drives the Interweb and it is important for writers to understand that they are a big part of what makes this world go around.