Content Buying MistakesRunning a small business takes up so much of your time and attention that even though you know you should be adding fresh, relevant content to your website, you just don’t have the time or the staff to handle it. And if you’re not convinced that you need to be building fresh content on your site, read this.

Buying Links = Bad, Buying Content = Good

Having other websites link to your website is so important that an entire industry has sprung up to sell links to websites that haven’t been gaining them organically. This is bad. It can hurt your site’s rankings and, in many cases, can end up getting your site dropped out of search results altogether. Fortunately this is NOT the case with buying content. If you and your staff don’t have the time to crank out great content for your website, you can confidently outsource that job as long as you keep these things in mind:

Don’t buy copied content. The search engines know when you’re copying content from another site. They know the original site and date that the content first appeared on. And they essentially disregard it when it shows up on other sites. Here’s more info about the dangers of copying content. Some content providers plagiarize word-for-word and others will tweak it a little, but the search engines can tell when it’s copied.

Make sure you own your content. Some bloggers will be happy to provide content for your website, but they publish it on their own blog first. This is great for them, but not for you. If you’re going to pay for a blog post, make sure your website gets the credit for being the original source. You may want to sign an agreement that clearly states that you own the content you are paying for and you don’t give permission for it to be republished elsewhere.

You get what you pay for. Be sure that the writers who provide content for your site are representing your company well. Obviously their work needs to be error-free. But it also needs to be engaging, informative and highly relevant to your target audience. To get high quality content, you can’t pay bargain-basement prices.

Put some skin in the game. Don’t just pay for content. Establish a relationship with your content provider so they can focus on the things that matter to you. The more insight you give them into your business, your audience, your goals and your priorities, the better their writing will be.

Quality trumps quantity. If your budget is $1,500, it’s better to buy 10 excellent articles or blog posts at $150 each than it is to buy 100 poor-quality, spammy, uninteresting posts at $15 each. Bad content actually drives people away, giving them a negative impression of your company. And the search engines can identify thin, spammy, irrelevant content too. It’s a waste of your money.

Keep it up. Don’t think that you can make a one-time investment in buying content. Frequency and quantity are important, along with quality, so plan on this being an ongoing expense. There’s no magic formula for determining how much content is enough or how frequently you should add new content. Just be consistent. If all you can afford is one really high-quality article or blog post a month, be sure to keep it up. It’s better than not adding fresh content at all. Once a week is better. More often than that is ideal.