Before hiring someone to write content for your website, get their credentials: i.e., current and past clients, awards, portfolio, published work, publications that paid for writing services.
Facebook, Twitter, Personal Blogs Don’t Count
Everyone can write comments on Facebook. That doesn’t count as writing professionally.
Posting comments on New York Times articles doesn’t qualify.
Tweeting or retweeting articles don’t count.
Liking an article, tagging, sharing through Tumblr, Stumble Upon, Delicious…doesn’t qualify writing samples.
Listing your own website blog as your published work doesn’t count either.
Published work is printed or posted or broadcast by an established newspaper, magazine, television or radio station.
Published and sold books count , but not white papers, research papers, thesis papers, class work, or internships: all are informal and do not apply to writing experience.
The homeowners association, weekly subdivision newsletter, school paper or PTA doesn’t count either. Site newsletters sent to e-mail lists don’t count.
If a writer hasn’t been paid to write for business, they lack experience. Still think you should hire them?
The Proof is in the Publishing
When people proclaim they can write content for your website, they start by telling you that they are an IT expert and that they write searchable content.
They buy Key Words. They can get you on the first page of Google.
Make them prove it: they should have a list of clients on their website for whom they have actually provided and written content for.When you look their clients up, they should be on Google and other search engines.
Remember, Google is one of many, many search engines. Others have to find the content too.
A client list will contain e-mail addresses and phone numbers that you can speak to on your terms. Testimonials and case studies don’t tell you if the copy came in on time, correctly, posted when it was supposed to post.
You Get What You Pay For
Showing some copy on a landing page, or a blog post on a website, or a web page created on a generic, free template on GoDaddy.com: Not professional.
Hire a writer with training, education and published, professional experience.
It shouldn’t be cheap. If your website is going to generate business for you, quick, fast and easy content is not the way to go.
If low cost is the price you will get what you pay for.