How To Find Awesome Content Writers For Less Than $3 Per Article

Following my article on Building a Private Blog Network, I have been asked by a lot of people if I can reveal or even share my article writer, who I use to write content for my niche and blog network sites.

Whilst I can't share him or his writing services, what I will be showing you in this post is how to find your very own premium content writer, for less than $3 per 500 word article.

What You Will Learn

  • The Exact templates I use to get quality applicants
  • Three tips to save you hours of time
  • How to work with and manage your VA
  • Outsource tasks to an All -Round VA for just $1 per hour

Where to Find Quality Writers

Thank you for sharing and dowloading this PDF, it is much appreciated!

It wasn't until 2 years ago that I began to understand the power of outsourcing and the time and cost benefits associated with it.

I have tried a number of freelance sites that allow you to hire and outsource tasks to virtual assistants all over the world. However my go-to site for articles has always been oDesk.com

I have tried others such as Freelancer and eLance.com, however I have had much more success finding quality writers, for the right price using oDesk.

I also love the way oDesk lets you manage your team with the messaging facility and the automated billing system means I can spend less time working IN my business and more time working ON it.

As with anything online, you will get those who claim to be able to meet your requirements, however when it comes down to it, they can't. Whilst this is both frustrating and time consuming, the beauty of oDesk is you don't pay until you are 100% satisfied.

There are ways to ensure we don't waste our time and money. The steps below will put you on the fast track to hiring a quality article writer that will work their ass off to please you.

How to Write a Job Description

Probably THE most important and overlooked part of the whole process is writing the job description.

Make shortcuts here and I assure you, it will cause you headaches further down the line. (I have learnt the hard way!)

I have tried many different variations of job description and today I want to share with you the one template that has proven time after time to yield great results.


Job Title – Premium Writer Required for 1000 Word Article

Job Description


I have a article writing job that requires a minimum of 1,000 words.

I will provide you with the article title and subtitles and would like you to research and write a 1000 word article.

The article must be high quality and future work will follow for the right applicant.

– Native English
– Interested in completing this job quickly
– Interested in potential longer term writing assignment
– Article must be 100% original and pass copyscape
– Bid at or below the $6 guideline
– Include examples of you previous written articles in your application

Please start your application with the word [insert crazy work] so I can be sure you have read and understood the job description.

Ok now you've got the template we can move on to explaining why it works so well.

Weeding Out the Crap

The job description template has 3 key elements that will save you time and money.

  1. We asks for Premium Content Writers and 1,000 Words
  • The title is designed to attract writers looking for a longer term gig, these are the guys that will be proud of their work.
  • By using the words “Premium Content“, I find many of the applicants who blindly apply for all content writing jobs, actually think twice about this one. It gives off the impression that we mean business and won't accept anything below par.
  • Having “1,000 words” in the title also puts off those who want to rewrite and submit crappy 500 word PLR articles.
  1. We use the Crazy Word Filter

We will end each job description with the line below;

Please start your application with the word [INSERT CRAZY WORD] so I know you have read and understood this job description.

This may seem strange, however let me explain.

I won't lie to you, you will get LOTS of applicants whose English writing skills are…poor to say the least. Awful would be more fitting.

What you will find is that these people will see your job title, not bother reading it and send you a copy/paste application that they have stolen/borrowed/or had someone else write.

By asking them to include our “crazy word” (which could be a fruit, an animal or a colour) at the start of the application, it allows us to quickly filter out those that have not read the description and didn't include out “crazy word”.

Odesk Applicants

As you can see from the image above, using this sample of 4 applicants, 3 are using my crazy word “Tiger”. The one who didn't was rejected instantly.

Trust me you are better off without these applicants. If they can't follow simple instructions, they will be the cause of those headaches I spoke about earlier!

  1. We ask for Sample Work

This step may sound obvious, but it's a big one that will save you a lot of time.

I often reject applicants based on the sample articles they attach. If I am still not sure I run the article through a plagiarism tool to check the uniqueness (tool is given below in the “Assessing the Quality” section).

If they don't attach sample work even though we have asked for it in our job description, once again I will reject their application. This keeps the process slick and only allows those who can follow our simple instructions through.

Additional Filters

There are additional filters we can add to our job listing to further funnel our applicants.

  • Skill Required – This section comes in handy as oDesk will show you how many of the skills you list here are met by each applicant. I use article writing, content writing, article curation and internet research.
  • How would you like to pay? – Always fixed price for a writing job.
  • Budget – I use $6 for a 1,000 word article as a guideline, applicants will generally come in under this amount.
  • Estimated end date – I usually allow 4 days
  • Freelancer Type – I only work with independent freelancers as agencies can be a pain!
  • Marketplace visibility – I choose “only oDesk users can find this job”
  • Preferred Qualification – It's easier to show a screenshot for this section;

Preferred Qualifications

So that's all for the additional filters. Those should put us in a good place to get some good applicants.

N.B – There is a new section when posting a job on oDesk titled “Screening Questions”.

Whilst I haven't used it myself yet, I do think it's a great idea for other jobs such as video creation or hiring a programmer. However for article writers and VA's it will just slow us down having to read the answers to the questions.

Feel free to give it a go, however I prefer a slick process.

Screening Questions


The Interview Process

The interview process can be a big time drain. We should have filtered out the poor applicants by now, however there will still be some that have slipped through the net.

I take a different approach to most on interviewing; I prefer to pay a little upfront in order to save a lot of time.

Here's what I recommend you do;

  1. Shortlist each applicant you are interested in.
  2. Send each one a message with an article title that you can use for a niche site/private network site.

Message each applicant with the following (adding your own info between the square brackets);

Hi [VA's Name],

I am considering you for the role of [YOUR JOB TITLE] and wanted to ask if you would complete a paid test article?

Please could you write a [500] word article on the following topic, using the same for the article title;

“[insert article title]”

Please add relevant facts and figures, including tables and quotes where possible.

Content should be 100% unique and pass copyscape, I check all articles I receive.

Once I have your article I will review, make payment, and then decide if we can work together.


– [Your Name]

** Don't forget to replace the text in brackets with your own information!

The above message gets a very good response rate as the writer will get paid for the work. It also provides us with immediate content which you will be able to use in one way or another;

  1. Money site
  2. Private Blog Network site
  3. Web 2.0 site
  4. Fiverr Gig Guest Posts

Assessing the Quality

This should be fairly easy for you to gauge, as it will be your own site you are posting the content on. For money sites I run a tight ship, for PBN sites I am a little more relaxed but it's getting to the point where even those need to be top notch.

For example, on my money sites I want multiple levels of detail such as facts and figures, tables and links to resources etc.

For blog network sites I am still after quality, but I allow the writer a little more freedom to let the writing take them where it may…as long as they stay on topic of course!

If the writing is very poor then I would consider using this for web 2.0 link building.

I use just one key tool when it comes to assessing the uniqueness and quality of an article;

The Small SEO Tools Plagiarism Checkerhttp://smallseotools.com/plagiarism-checker/

Unique Content

When you find a writer that gives you 100% unique articles like this, it's worth hanging on to them 🙂

Negotiating a Price

Once you've found a good writer or two, you need to work out a price that both parties are happy with. One good tactic I use is to calculate the price per word you have paid for the initial article.

To use one of my own writers as an example. I paid $5.56 for the initial article of 1,000 words, which works out to be $0.00556 per word.

After a couple of weeks he was producing 1,400 word articles when I asked for 1,000, 800 when I asked for 500 and so on. The content was that good I thought I was under paying him and I went back and offered him more work on a per word basis.

So I now have him writing on a $0.0056 per word basis. To give you an example I now pay the following;

500 words = $2.80

1,000  words = $5.60

1,500 words = $8.40

2,000 words = $11.20

Managing Your VA

You can download my spreadsheet below which will help you manage your VA and enable you to keep track of content you have requested, received and planned.

Article Manager.xlsx

The bullets below explain each column in the sheet and why I include them. Feel free to take the sheet and modify to your own needs.

Column NameDescription
TitleThe keyword(s) the article is targeting
Exact Search VolThe Exact number of searches from the Google Keyword Planner
CPC £The Avg CPC from the Google keyword Planner
AssignedHave you have assigned the article to a VA?
Assigned DateThe date the article was assigned
VA NameThe name of the person you assigned the article too
LocationVA's location (helps with contact times etc)
Cost /word $The cost per word in USD
DeliveredHas the article been delivered?
LengthHow many words the article contained (to calculate total cost)
Article CostTotal cost of the article based on number of words contained
PublishedHas the article been published to a website?
Published SiteWhich website the article was published too
CommentsAny other comments (useful if an article is sent back for revision etc)

For each new VA,  I will assign them 5 articles and I always ask them to send the first completed article back to me before writing another. This enables me to check the style, grammar and direction and put them on the right path if need be.

Once I am happy with the quality and style, I will then send batches of 10 articles each time and ask them to get back to me once they are all completed. This is a massive time saver and one step I recently implemented, which removed the need to continuously log in to oDesk and download documents.

Extra Tips

This section covers some additional tips and tricks I have found to get the most out of oDesk and your virtual assistants.

Finding an All-Round VA

I like to have a few VA's in my team that can cover the tasks that take up a lot of my time, or for those I just plain don't want to do.

For example I had a niche site that required a huge directory containing locations throughout the UK, including names, addresses, email and telephone numbers. I wasn't looking forward to the task and as such I continually put it off for 3 weeks!

I decided enough was enough and I assigned the task to one of my VA's. Long story short, the task was done in 7 hours…whilst I was asleep! I woke up to a completed excel file containing all of the details I needed.

I then assigned the next task to another VA who had access to the backend off the website. He was to use a page I had already created as a template and created over 100 pages just like it.

So it took me all of 10 minutes to create the template and assign the tasks. Total cost to me = $15!

Here's how I find VA's for $1 Per Hour

Here's my process in a nutshell.

  1. Create a job description similar to the one above for the writer – however I make a few changes;

All Round Assistant – WordPress, PDF, Excel, Post Articles

Entry Level ($) – I am looking for freelancers with the lowest rates

Job Description

Hi, I'm looking for a great all round assistant who can do the following;

– Create posts & pages in WordPress
– Add images to posts with Alt tags and descriptions
– Web research to find images relevant to posts
– Able to create PDF documents


Other Requirements:
– Good level of English
– Great with WordPress
– Great with Excel
– Good spelling, grammar and writing skills


I am looking for a long term assistant who can find their way around WordPress without assistance.

Please start your application with the work TIGER so that I know you have read and understood what is required.

Please provide evidence of recent experience.


Notice how I repeat the sentence “IF YOU CANNOT DO THE ABOVE PLEASE DO NOT APPLY”, you will get a lot of applicants. I regularly get over 100 for such a job posting.

Also see the “Crazy Word” tip in use at the end! 🙂

The Hire or Fire Method

What I do is shortlist the standout applicants.

  • Those who include the “Crazy Word” at the beginning of the application
  • Those who have a good grasp of English
  • Those who have a reasonable hourly rate ($1-$2 per hour)

Sending The Test

The next step is to send a blanket test to your top 3 applicants.

This is a big timesaver and the reason I choose my top 3 is simple. If one of them passes the test and I am happy, I hire. That's it, no messing about waiting for 50 people to complete your test.

If none of the first 3 pass the test, send it to the next 3 and so on until you find your All Rounder VA 🙂

What Is the Test?

Here is my test template;

Hi [VA's Name],

I am considering you for the role of [YOUR JOB TITLE] and wanted to ask if you would complete a simple task so I can assess your suitability for this role?

Please can you find 1 suitable image and 1 suitable video for the article below.

You can use Google Images and YouTube or any other media source you know of.

[insert article link]

Please choose an image and video that fit the topic of the article and reply back with the URL links to both the image and the video.

Once I have your links I will review and decide if you are suitable for this role.


– [Your Name]

** Don’t forget to replace the text in brackets with your own information!

The above test does 4 things.

  1. Test the VA”s understanding of written English and their ability to associate an image and video to an article is a biggie, as I have my VA's frequently find media sources for my niche sites.
  2. Asking them to send the URL's is a simple step and anyone computer savvy should be able to do this….you would be surprised how many don't understand this step!
  3. Shows us if they can follow simple instructions, whilst also testing their research skills on both YouTube and Google Images.
  4. We also test the response speed and communication skills of the VA.

From this we can determine if we should Hire or Fire.

Be ruthless, if you didn't like something either explain and let them correct, or move on.


I hope the tips and templates in this article will help you to hire your first VA if you haven't already done so. I honestly believe the best way to grow your online business is to outsource.

By outsourcing you will free up your own time, so you can spend that time doing those things that will enhance and grow your business.

If you have any tips or best practices for hiring and working with VA's, let me know in the comments below.

– Lewis

Lewis Ogden

Lewis was able to take his hobby of building websites and turn it into a blueprint that enables him to build, rank and profit from niche websites. As a result of his niche site success, he now makes a full-time 5-figure income and even managed to quit his 9-5 job back in early 2015 all driven by his knowledge that he shares here on this blog.

Sumit Chhikara - 3 years ago

I was reading your another post about private blog network and suddenly got your tweet about this post. This is really nice info provided here. Just want to add something. Mostly you can find low price writer from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh & Philippines. But You definitely need to check their content quality. I have used freelancer and quite happy with it.

    Lewis - 3 years ago

    Yeah I have found good writers can be found in most countries. I have had most luck with Kenya, Bulgaria and India.

      Gerald - last year

      Im Kenyan and English is a national language taught in schools so most Kenyans speak English well

Chris Potter - 3 years ago

This couldn’t have come into my email box at a better time. I was just preparing to put up some listings to hire a VA and some writers. I opened up elance.com, checked my emails real quick, and saw this article. It was like you were reading my mind!

I’ve hired freelance writers from the US on craigslist in the past. I’ve paid them between 0.005 – 0.01 cents per word. The problem is, they tend to not stick around. I’m guessing doing the method above will find people that will stick around.

I recently acquired an expired domain that is literally a gold mine. I put analytics on in Saturday evening, and saw it had almost 500 visitors yesterday all from referrals going to 404’s. I need to get content up pronto. The problem is, they had so much good content on the site in the past, it would take me forever to rewrite it all. I rewrote 4 articles yesterday and one today, and I’m about to blow my head off. The articles are ranging 1000-2000 words, and I am definitely hesitant to spend 0.01 + per word. It will add up FAST.

Anyways, just wanted to drop a line to let you know this was incredibly useful!

    Lewis - 3 years ago

    Haha awesome Chris, glad I could help! I literally had a comment earlier from someone else also asking how much to pay for content and told them to wait a hour or two as I had a post about to go live!

    Sounds like you have a great exp domain there. Just a thought r.e content – can’t you just use archive.org and grab all of the old pages and content? Perhaps grab it and rewrite?

    – Lewis

      Chris Potter - 3 years ago

      The plan is to grab the old content and rewrite. The issue I potentially have is that there is a company that holds the trademark for the domain name I have, which also means they might be a little unhappy of using exact content from archive.org. I believe they went out of business as the founders of the company have moved on to other companies (after a little bit of research). I’ve contacted my IP lawyer to get some clarification on it. From what I understand, this site at one point had 1 million page views / mo. But it was mainly for the “free” service they ran. They ran a blog with amazing infographics and content to help drive traffic to the main service, so I’m recreating the blog (not the service). They have over 350 blog posts on archive.org over nearly a three year time span. It’s going to take a while just to rewrite the content.

      I get to do all this…on a $900 expired domain purchase. Rock on. Can’t wait to see what happens in google when they finally start re-indexing the site.

      As a side note, I put up two posts on odesk and elance (just to see what i get on both sites). 5 total people have applied, and only two of them apparently read the directions. Is that a typical percentage you see?

        Lewis - 3 years ago

        Geeze sounds like a lot of work but the domain sounds like a killer so keep at it, It sounds like you know exactly what your doing. Good luck and let me know how you get on (mail me if you want).

        Yeah that percentage is a little low but it’s only early doors yet, I assume you have only recently posted the job listings?

Harshajyoti Das - 3 years ago

I never had any luck with odesk. Tons of retarded providers ! Most of them will prefer to sit idle rather than taking up a work that will need them to use their brain.

    Lewis - 3 years ago

    Each to their own I guess – I have found some great writers but use what works for you.

Vukasin - 3 years ago

Great post buddy. I really enjoy reading it.

You give me great solution for cutting idiots who don’t even bother reading the description. Elance is the great place for finding the writers, I’ve been using it for a very long time!

Thank you for the great article

    Lewis - 3 years ago

    Yeah I may give eLance another try too.

    No worries, thanks for the comments!

Stew @ NinjaGorilla - 3 years ago

Hi Lewis – some great actionable advice! I’m a getting bogged down at the moment writing articles for my small PBN and I would much prefer to be writing content for my money sites.

I have given using a VA some thought over the last few months but this has inspired me to get on and do it.

By the way – did you hire Samia? “you must stay drunk on writing so reality cannot destroy you”…did that win it over for you??


    Lewis - 3 years ago

    Stew – I would get the PBN content outsourced pronto, nobody will be reading it and you can get 10x 300 words articles written for less then $20. Schedule that to post 1 article per weekfor the next 10 weeks and that will see you through to the new year.

    You can then spend your time writing quality stuff for your money sites.

    Haha I think I gave her a try for the sheer genius! I also had a guy when asked to start with the word Tiger put this “the mother protects her cub in the den from the approaching male tiger”….awesome stuff and he got an interview/test just for the creative writing! 🙂

Jorge Luis - 3 years ago

Great article Lewis. Awesome tips and advice!

One question: Do you always manage all your writers through oDesk (even after they proved to be great VA’s)?? Or at some point do you just contact them directly and continue your business relationship with them outside oDesk… Any advice on that?

P.S. by the way, my “crazy word” is gonna be CLOUD, for sure =)

    Lewis - 3 years ago

    Jorge – Thanks for your comment, to answer you question – Yes I stick with oDesk to manage my VA’s, there is a small charge to me as I am in the UK and my bank account charges for US transactions, however it’s really small and the fact that they auto bill my account means it’s worth it.

    The price I negotiate with my VA’s ALWAYS includes the oDesk fee they will incur so they price we agree is the proce I pay 🙂

    haha great choice of “crazy word”!!

Justin Cooke - 3 years ago

Very helpful post!

It’s great to think about the searching/hiring process as a funnel where you’re sifting out the weaker candidates to find the gold. It’s good to spend much less time at the entrance or beginning of the funnel where most of the candidates are, as spending individual time with each can become a huge time-suck.

Putting your time into the later candidates is definitely more fruitful. 🙂

    Lewis - 3 years ago

    Hey Justin great to have you here and thanks for your comments. Love what you’ve got going on at Empire Flippers 🙂

    I agree ^^ it’s so much easier to spend time with just a few promising candidates, than to waste time with those who show clear signs of their unsuitability!

Aaron - 3 years ago

Thanks for sharing Lewis. I have some bad experience hiring a dud thru odesk end up paying for useless work. BUt in saying that, I do have some luck finding a rockstar VA thru odesk. The problem is the filter thru all the non qualifying applicant. Your post comes in handy in regards to this process.

    Lewis - 3 years ago

    Glad you find a gem in there Aaron, the process does get easier and quicker with practice.

Charles Floate - 3 years ago

Should definitely expand on this and make a even BIGGER guide on not just content writers but hiring in general.
I hire a lot of manual link builders and I know a few others that do via oDesk, freelancer is dead and their interface is horrible to use.

    Lewis - 3 years ago

    I agree, oDesk is ahead of the game in terms of usability and functionality.

    I may very well expand the guide as I have experience hiring developers too which can be tough and costly 🙂

      Charles Floate - 3 years ago

      Get on it then man! ^.^

      Regardless, I’m linking to this guide as part of a BIG post I’m working on hehe

        Lewis - 3 years ago

        haha righto buddy I will do – needs a bit more organisation if I’m going to add to it!

        Awesome man – let me know if you need anything 🙂

Leo @Newbiesup - 3 years ago

Hi Lewis,
This is the most detailed instruction on how to find VA so far I’ve read.


    Lewis - 3 years ago

    Cheers Leo thanks for the comments, hoped it helped you out.

Mark - 3 years ago

Nice tips I especially liked the tiger part to stop people wasting your time straight away.

Brandon Bear - 3 years ago

Good stuff — once I start working on my own private network this will really come in handy. I always found it funny that there are so many people selling articles/content online… but almost none of them are quality. This will be a solid way to sort through the pack.

Thanks mate,

    Lewis - 3 years ago

    Thanks Brandon glad I could help – let me know if you need any help when you start building your network.

Adrian - 3 years ago

Great article once again – thank you.

Quick question. I posted my first job application and received two reply’s over five days. Both applicants seem very qualified and certainly not illiterate. Would you still ask them to do a test? both seem very capable from their profile and attached sample work. Are you just testing their suitability for the niche?

Thanks – Adrian

    Lewis - 3 years ago

    Hi man no problem!

    Is this on oDesk? Seems very low for applicants, did you filter anything like country? I usally get 25-50 applicants within hours so sounds like something may be wrong/different.

    I would still have them do a test if they look like they have potential. It certainly can’t hurt and like I say you can use the content for other things if it’s below par. Whats the bid price and how many words?

    – Lewis

      Adrian - 3 years ago

      Thanks for the reply.

      Yes it was on Odesk, I tweaked the wording on your template a little to give it my own voice, added the word awesome to the beginning of a 1000 word article request.

      I did put the bid price up to $7 to attract slightly better candidates as I’m looking for quality, both came back well under!

      There was no candidate filter as their on opposite sides of the world.

      The suspicious part of me wonders as I am new to Odesk whether their in some way only sending me certain freelance writers to impress me on my first application?

      Either way I’ll put them both to the test and see how they get on in my niche 🙂

        Lewis - 3 years ago

        Either that or they are wary of working for someone with a brand new profile?

        Try something that Jon Haver suggests – create a new job and in the description add “if you’re looking for some quick 5 star feedback”

        That may lure more ‘new to odesk# contractors as they will want to get their profile feedback up and they can do that by doing a quick writing gig for you. They will also put in a lot of effort initially as they want to make a goof start on oDesk.

        That has worked well for me in the past 🙂

          Adrian - 3 years ago

          Thanks, I’ll give that a go for the next job. I’m certainly curious to see how these two get on with the test though.


          Lewis - 3 years ago

          No worries, let me know how you get on buddy.

frank joseph - 3 years ago

You just saved me from doing this blindly. thanks for the blueprint. I need something like this and i will definitely apply it right away.
As always, great article!

Matt - 3 years ago

I saw this article a few weeks ago and have just used it to post my first job to odesk. This is my first time outsourcing work, your guide allowed me to get a job posted in about 5mins. I haven’t put any of my own effort into this process yet. I am looking forward to seeing what results I can get from the format you laid out. I am sure I will learn a lot from this first job posting. Might even have to document my won journey of outsourcing articles. 🙂

Thanks for an informative and helpful post!

    Lewis - 3 years ago

    Good stuff Matt, glad my guide could help. let us know how you get on.

Anna - 3 years ago

I truly think SEO in 2014 will focus even more on content and great guides like this are extremely helpful and hard to come by. Please kindly accept my utmost gratitude!


Adam Finan - 3 years ago

Hi Lewis. My experience with outsourced writers is varied.

Hired some Indians who gave terrible work and it was always late. $4 500 words

Hired Filipinos, ok.. $5 500 words

Hired a bulgarian – A work $5 500 words – Now a permanent team member

Now I have my one solid addition I am looking for another. I had a tech guy work a few projects for $4ph and jacked his price (which is his right to $10 so now its not as good value..

I find that if you can get the freelancer out of Elance or oDesk and work privately for a set price really helps this..

Ideally a part time Filipino writer working 20hours per week for $200 per month would be perfect. We can dream!

    Lewis - 3 years ago

    Yeah it’s a good idea to take your agreements outside of those platforms to come up with a more beneficial arrangement for both parties. Glad you are having some success, it does get easier the more jobs you post and it becomes almost second nature spotting those awful writers from the cream of the crop.

    p.s – have a look at Kenyan writers 😉

winner - 3 years ago

great article.. I just shared, where is the template?

    Lewis - 3 years ago

    Did the template not appear when you shared it? I will send it via email shortly.

ben hoffman - 3 years ago

I tweeted, but no template unlocked?

    Lewis - 3 years ago

    Ben – seems to be happening on a lot of sites that use this plugin, I have the latest update installed but still not working. I will look into it and send you the template by mail later today.

    – Lewis

      ben hoffman - 3 years ago

      I look forward to receiving it.
      Thanks so much.

Janis - 3 years ago

A quick note regarding the “if you’re looking for some quick 5 star feedback” promise.

I got my job posting unpublished within an hour after posting it. After the short email exchange with oDesk support I learned that “A promise of 5 star feedback is not allowed as it is feedback manipulation which is not allowed in this platform.”

    Lewis - 3 years ago

    Thanks for the heads up Janis – I have see a lot of changes recently over on oDesk and I guess they are playing catchup with eLance.

    It was nice whilst it lasted!

Mate - 3 years ago

Hi Lewis!

I’ve just used your post to help me to hire an article writer. I would like to know, does your writer knows for which website he is writing artilces, i mean the URL, like Rank Source, your niche sites, etc.? I don’t know if it’s a problem if you reveal your site.

Thanks for this tutorial/guide. 😉

    Lewis - 3 years ago

    Hi, no I just share the over all niche and target website – I don;t like to spill all my secrets!

      Mate - 3 years ago

      Ok, thanks. Btw I shared your post to get “job template” on FB and Twitter but it’s not working. Could you send it to my mail address?

        Lewis - 3 years ago

        Sorry about that, not sure why it’s not working but will check that out. I will send you a copy later today buddy.

Jenda - 3 years ago

Hey, Lewis!

Thanks for superb guide!

I’m trying to implement it right now. However, after three days I still didn’t get any offers (well, one offer, but he didn’t write my crazy words so I don’t count him).
I guess it’s because it’s my first job posting? Or should I tweak something?

Thanks! Keep it up!

    Lewis - 3 years ago

    Odesk seems to be changing and they are testing the waters with a number of trials. It could be because you have a new account, also try adjusting the rate of pay and actually inviting people to apply for your job, that does help a lot.

Daniel - 3 years ago

Hey Louis, great article. I am building my PBN with the great guide you shared. I have a question now about the articles. Do you tell your writers the topic/title of each of the articles you want published? If so, do you have any ideas for these? It can get a little hard when trying to come up with say 50 titles at once.


    Lewis - 3 years ago

    I Daniel, typically writers are a lot more creative then me so I empower them to create their own article topics and content. I do guide them, however once I am happy they understand and delivery exactly what I need I let go a bit and give them more freedom.

      Daniel - 3 years ago

      Sounds fair. Thanks Lewis!

Ante - 3 years ago

Hi Lewis,
One question. How do You pay for test article without hiring freelancer?
I’m in the situation where I have 4 writers all submitted a test article and I don’t know how to pay them without hiring them.


    Lewis - 3 years ago

    Hey Man, just hire them and set the payment as fixed price for the agreed amount. Then just fire the ones who don’t fit the bill and archive their messages etc so your control centre doesn’t get too cluttered.

    There are also great writers on forums etc which you can hire on a test basis.


Steve - 3 years ago

Great stuff! I stumbled upon your website via the private network post and I’ve been hooked ever since. Love your work! Might inquire about your Rank Source in the near future.

    Lewis - 3 years ago

    Thanks Steve, great to have you. Any questions you have just let me know buddy.

Janis - 3 years ago

I am experimenting with the process you described, and I have mixed success. I believe it is due to the fact that my profile has no star rating and no previous hires. Now I have hired couple of people for testing purpose and will ask for 5* rating to boost my profile.

I have a couple of questions:

1. Should I pay any attention to the hourly rate on applicants’ profile when looking for a writer?

2. Do you have any success with inviting the applicants instead of waiting for them to apply? I am considering 2 strategies here: a) invite applicants with 4+ star rating, and b) invite applicants who match this filter – Subcategories – Blog & Article Writing / Feedback Rating – No Feedback Yet / Last Activity – Within 2 weeks / Freelancer Type – Independent / Location – North America (again – should I pay any attention to their hourly rates) and offer them 5* rating.

3. Is it appropriate to negotiate lower rates for future gigs after getting the test articles? I have 3 applicants who were interested in my “$9 for 1000 words” gig and have completed the test task. Is it OK if I tell them that I will consider hiring them for additional tasks but only for $5.5/1000 words?


    Lewis - 3 years ago

    Hi thanks for your comment, to answer your questions;

    1 – I don’t pay attention to this as they will generally bid to wither match your fixed price or to be the best price.

    2 – If you invite them and they are not happy with your rate they can always decline. That said, obviously don’t go for people with $10+ /hour rates!

    3 – You can certainly try, although I am not sure on the success you will have. It would be better to start with the $5.5 /1000 words and see what kind of quality you are getting and then increase your offer should the quality not be up to standard.

    Going backwards on a fixed amount contract would be difficult to sell I believe. Unless there was lots of consistent work in which case you MAY be able to negotiate.

      Janis - 3 years ago

      Thanks Lewis!

      The first listing I posted on oDesk was for $6/1000 but the 3 applicants I got were using very poor English in their application emails that I did not even bother to offer the test task. I hope the applicants quality will go up when I will gain higher reputation on oDesk.

        Lewis - 3 years ago

        Try another job post offering $0.01 per word. I know thats $10 per 1k word article however the quality really goes up. You may have to try a few variations until you find just what you are looking for.

          Janis - 3 years ago

          Interesting. Will try this approach. Thanks!

Susan - 3 years ago

Wow. I had read in other places that 1000 words was anywhere from $15 to $20. And, it was said to not skimp as the problems you get are just not worth the savings. I’m (obviously, since I seem to be way overpaying) new to this and have submitted three jobs total since starting this journey. My first job I paid on the high end and had ZERO problems and great content. My second job I also paid on the high end, and it is still ongoing, I have 3 out of 11 articles written. The articles have been absolutely awesome (with some early issues that have been worked out). For my third job I paid on the low end (of my range, not yours), and am having nothing but problems. I figured it was because I underpaid (even though the author had a 5.0 rating with 50 jobs). I’m really curious if I can really get a good author that I won’t have to micro manage (like my first author) at $3 per article. But, I’m willing to give it a shot.

One funny note. With my topic being “$15 to $20 for X 1,000 word articles”, based on your post, I seem to be WAY overpaying. But, that didn’t stop one potential bidder I had sent the request to from rejecting the invitation because “the payment per article was too low”. BTW, I’ve only used Elance up to now.

The info you’ve provided is simply fantastic. I plan to use the info above for obtaining quality inexpensive writers. And, to use your PBN advice as a recipe for building my first (of 50? I can’t think that far ahead) sites.

Susan Jaggers
Jaggerware LLC

    Lewis - 3 years ago

    Hi Susan,

    elance writers ‘generally’ command higher rates and I have found in many cases the quality to be better. I have found some great writers on oDesk but they are getting rare. The merger with oDesk and eLance, combined with the number of changes oDesk are making lately means that the price is going up and up for content as more and more people realise…that is that makes the interweb-go-round!

John Kuhnemund - 3 years ago

I have been searching the web for hours looking for exactly what you have in this great article. You have been a tremendous help to me with this. I really appreciate it. Finally, someone who can write an informative post without trying to sell me everything under the kitchen sink! Thanks!

    Lewis - 3 years ago

    Thanks John appreciate your kind words and I’m glad you found what you needed!

      Kate - 3 years ago

      Wow…I stumbled upon this thread and while I guess on the client’s end it’s awesome to find writers for such low low prices, I habe to say that it shocks me! I have over a decade experience as a freelance writer and my rates are so much higher than what you’re paying your writers. I work through Odesk frequently and have never been paid less than 30 dollars for a 500 word article. However I do the Adwords legwork and try to get SEO efficiency and page one placing for my clients. Crazy the different rates that are being paid! Although I haven’t found that anyone has complained about my rates though, and usually I get invited to apply for opportunities without even searching. I guess it’s a big world with many different people paying and getting paid eh? 😉

        Lewis - 3 years ago

        Hi kate, yes there is a wide range of writers that charge different rates per word or per article. I will generally pay more for quality content from English speaking contries such as the UK, US and Canada. I guess it also depends on the topic being written about, however I do have to point out one flaw in your comment and that is “However I do the Adwords legwork and try to get SEO efficiency and page one placing for my clients.”

        The trouble is your article along cannot get “page one placing” for any page. There are so many other factors involved in a page ranking in Google, I hope you don’t “offer” this as a benefit to your clients as it’s simply not true.

        That said there is a big benefit to having a writer who understands SEO and what to do/what not to do!

Yogi - 3 years ago

I did not understand how can we use those articles on fiver gigs?

shawn - 3 years ago

I’ve had my job listed as advertised here for 11 days with not one reply. Any suggestions for improvements?

    Lewis - 3 years ago

    I would need to see your job listing to suggest improvements – however it seems that there has been an upward trend in the amount decent writers are willing to accept (call it inflation if you will). I would suggest offering more – around $0.01 per word does the trick for me.

    Janis - 3 years ago

    I believe it is all about your reputation as employer 😉 Work on this, and you will get loads of writers.
    I got 28 applications to my latest job listing with $7/1000 words rate.

      Lewis - 3 years ago

      Indeed this does help and the more you hire and the better feedback you get will help to get more applicants!

John - a couple of years ago

Hey Lewis,

When you’re using your writers for your PBNs do you show them your network and/or tell them what OBL you want them to include so they can tailor everything to your link injecting and pbn? Or do you just give them a topic and edit the article by adding a paragraph if it doesnt flow well into your link?

    Lewis Ogden - a couple of years ago

    My writers have access to the site topic and keywor/URL details but not the actual sites.

    I then have a VA I trust with access to all the sites and another who vets the articles. I used to do those 2 roles until I couldn’t handle the volume!

coco - a couple of years ago

So basically you online wanna-be gurus are cheapos. The title alone disgusts me because this is an in-your-face insult to many genuinely PREMIUM writers here in the Philippines. No thank to you!

Jane - a couple of years ago

Thanks to you I finally understand the value of and how to use virtual assistants! I posted my first job on ODesk yesterday and have four replies, two look like they might be ok. I don’t even have niche websites but I do have a lot of tasks that were overwhelming me and I can easily outsource them now I know how. Thanks!

Dejan - a couple of years ago

This is an extremely useful post, Lewis. I was searching for some job description example.

I can’t find your writer’s job description template. Was it deleted or where can I find it?

    Lewis - a couple of years ago

    Hey Dejan, I’ve installed the plugin update that controls the social sharing for the template. If you try again it should be working fine now.

John - a couple of years ago

Hi Lewis,

I’ve been reading through this article with great interest. Thank you for so much useful information. I see others have had difficulty accessing your template and I’m afraid I’m in the same boat.

For me there is just a blank space on the page where either the template or a share button should be.

Thanks in advance for any assistance.

John - a couple of years ago

Hi Lewis,

Please disregard my earlier comment. For some reason, after I submitted it all the buttons appeared and I was able to retrieve the template.

Thank you again for posting this information.

    Lewis - a couple of years ago

    No worries John, I think te plugin was playing up. They’ve released an update today so should be ok now!

Thelma McPherson - a couple of years ago

Hi Lewis, greetings thank you for the valuable information I am having an ecommerce website built and really need to find the cheapest way to do the marketing. I have heard of Odesk but you have just confirmed for me that this is the way to go great info in your whole article.

    Lewis Ogden - a couple of years ago

    Good luck Themla – just make sure you have a plan and provide specific details to make sure you get what you need!

Batas Pee - a couple of years ago

Hey Lewis, I recently found your blog via matt woodwards blog and im so impressed with your blog.
I see you both have similarity in writing style which give great value.
Thanks for this wonderful post.

    Lewis - a couple of years ago

    Hey it’s great to have you here and thank you for the kind words!

RJ Bryan - a couple of years ago

Hey Lewis,
Have you been using this same strategy lately?

I tried a few weeks make but didn’t get the same or similar results.

    Lewis - a couple of years ago

    Hey RJ, yeah sure, I posted a job on UpWork on Monday and got 18 applicants, 8 of which I shortlisted and I hired 2, possible another 2 more shortly.

    What kind of writer are you looking for?

      RJ Bryan - a couple of years ago

      I see.

      I was looking for writers who would be able to write on general topics like the auto industry and/or technology.

      When I posted my job I received two applicants, which were both poor quality. One of which didn’t even attach sample work.

      Im willing to try again. Any pointers?

        Lewis - a couple of years ago

        Yeah, if you’re looking for something specific like that try the related hobby forums. The people there will know their stuff and you will find that the younger people or those out of work or on low income will be happy for the extra income.

        Filing that, don’t out the topic in the description, just state ‘mixed articles and reviews’. Pretty much anyone will need to do research on the topic they will be writing about so best not to scare them off by being very specific!

          RJ Bryan - a couple of years ago

          I try to repost it without giving the topic. I thought it was strange that I only received a couple of applications.


          Lewis - a couple of years ago

          No worries man, I hope you get a few more applicants this time round!

loumi - last year

Hello Lewis:

I just have one question. Do you use these articles (6$ or less for one article) on your money (amazon affiliate) website ? or only on your private blog network ?

    Lewis Ogden - last year

    Hi Loumi, it depends on the quality of the content. These days I go for higher quality for my money sites, so tend to pay more. For PBN’s these are absolutely fine.

Julia Dia - last year

Awesome article! I was planning to set up a couple of blogs and started looking for writers in Philippines as I’ve heard one too many times that they have the cheapest workforce. But it couldn’t be farther from the truth. They charge more than you can pay on fiverr ($5 per 300 wds) which got me deflated as it would cost me a fortune.

I made calculations that I would need to pay no more than $3 for 1,000 words. So when I ran into your article it was exactly what I asked for.

I will try your tips and share my success or/additional info I’ll run into along the way.

Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

Tommy B - last year

Hi, seeing that odesk is now upwork, do you know if one still has a chance of getting articles for $3 – $6 for 1k words? Not that I plan on being cheap, it’s just that the writers I saw on upwork charge anywhere between $30 – $70 per hour.

Can you please advise if your information is still valid or needs an update 🙂
I don’t want to seem like a “D-bag” or low-baller asking such premium writers to write for 3 – 6 bucks.

Your input in this matter will be highly appreciated.

Kind regards,


    Lewis Ogden - last year

    You don’t pay per hour, you can pay per word. Just stipulate that in your article and offer $10 per 1,000 words and you will get people applying for your job. I have found that the quality has gotten better and therefore the price has increased. I now pay $0.01 to $0.03 per word.

      Tommy B - last year

      Oh ok, that sounds cool. I will update my posting then. Again, thank you, Lewis. You definitely Rock!

Christoffer - last year

Amazing article! In fact, I have actually paid for guides that are less detailed than this! Love the templates that you are sharing.

I have always thought that having a VA (or a team) was much more expensive than this. I got some great plans that I need help with and now I can do it without having to pay $1000s 🙂 Thank You

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Dimitri - last year

You sir are a fucking genious! 😉 Thanks a lot for those tips!

    Lewis Ogden - last year

    haha thank you kind Sir, but genius I am not…willing to put the work in…I am!

      Dimitri - last year

      Right now I am struggling a bit to find someone for that money, who will write my articles, but maybe it takes time. I’ve got only one message on it. But we will see, today I’ll start the second part (you described above) with the assistance in terms of data and WordPress blogging etc. You wouldn’t believe it how much time I have spent in the past on figuring out all on my own. Ridiculous, you saved my life 🙂

Natalie - last year

Hello Lewis! Can you recommend the writers with who you worked there and which were checked? I prefer to go by recommendations….as i didnt have good offers and must of them wasnt good…
Could you send me some recommendations for the writers which whom you was working?

Thank you

    Lewis Ogden - last year

    Many of these writers are either charging higher rates now or are no longer offering their services. However, you can still get content for $1 per 100 words from thousands of writers on UpWork. Take a look at existing jobs with plenty of applicants and use those job descriptions to form your own.

Stephen Cunningham - 11 months ago

Hi Lewis,
Just wanted to say that your information really helps when sorting through UpWork. Just submitted the two posting and already got responses back for the VA (and their using the “Crazy Word”! – nothing yet for Article Writers though but not bad for 30 mins ago. Great articles and thank you contributing your knowledge!

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