Purchasing content for your site is one of those chores most webmasters do with a big dose of heartburn. Part of it comes from some webmasters feeling like anything they pay is too much because they assume they can do it them self, but just don’t have time. In other cases, the webmaster may have been burned a few times, usually going with those copywriters promising quality content for some ridiculous price like $5/page. There are also times when inexperienced webmasters purchase limited rights granting the ability to repost a piece of content from an aggregate site thinking it is the perfect solution to their needs when in reality it is just the start of another problem. What is a webmaster to do?
Purchasing content from aggregate sites is not the solution. The problem with purchases of this nature is that the content has already been published online. The search engines know it isn’t original and all you have is filler that does nothing for search rankings. It just takes up space. The second problem is that you cannot edit the content to meet your specific needs – basically put, you get what you get. A third problem is you need to attribute the content to the site and/or author you purchased it from which can create a negative credibility image for your site. Would you want content from a mill like Yahoo Voices or helium on your site – and then have to bleed link juice to them as insult to injury? Most would strongly prefer not to.
Purchasing custom content is ideal, but good custom content can be expensive. While it is true that there are copywriters offering their services for cut-rate fees, usually these are people that lack industry specific knowledge and strong SEO/SMO skills. You get something that meets word count and has a certain keyword density, but may not be very readable. There is after all a reason they are willing to work so cheap.
The second problem is that there are copywriters who do what is called “spinning articles” which is the practice of changing existing content just enough to pass Copyscape or similar plagiarism checking services to be considered original. Although those programs may be fooled, the SERPs usually are not and you leave yourself open to DMCA (Digital Millennium Copyright Act) claims which can force to remove the content from your site rendering it useless leaving you without content and the money you shelled out for it. It is also does no good for your reputation. Going cheap doesn’t work.
The solution is that you choose copywriters that are known entities. They have a respectable track record you can verify. If you don’t like that option, there are only two other ways to go. You take the time to write all your own content or you hire a copywriter fulltime. While it may cost more to go with proved copywriters, it sure beats buying content that is not delivered in a finished state requiring editorial work, is already in one or more locations on the web, or may very well be plagiarized. Quality isn’t cheap, but it does pay for itself by being durable, original, and delivering what you actually want.