Let’s be honest about online freelance writing sites. More than a quarter of working people in the United States are now participating in the Gig Economy. These temporary, freelance positions will continue to grow in popularity, as projections suggest that by 2024, half of all US adults will somehow be working independently. They will do so either as a primary or secondary source of income. Independent gig growth is big on the web, too, with the boom in online freelance writing sites.

Working as a freelance writer is one thing, but should businesses really depend on them for written content? Here are a few of the pros and cons.

The Pros of Hiring from Freelance Sites

Inexpensive.

People looking to hire on freelance sites can essentially name their price. For instance, they can decide they need two 600-word blog posts, and they want them written for $35 apiece. There are sure to be a number of applicants who will accept that offer without negotiation.

Potential hirers can also peruse profiles and find a lot of writers who seem experienced, yet are not charging high rates for work. Freelancers usually decide their own going rate. Good writers who reside in areas with a low cost of living will offer their services for a price that seems too good to be true for a firm in New York City – but really isn’t.

Easy access to experts.

Being that so many people freelance in addition to their day jobs, there are some very experienced people online offering extra work. It’s not uncommon to see someone who is highly educated and employed in an industry on one of these sites.

For example, a website wants to host a blog series on healthy diets. A certified nutritionist moonlighting as a freelance writer can fill the position. The website gains credibility and can publish content with higher authority due to this.

Hiring choices.

Those who want to hire from online freelance writing sites can have their pick from thousands and thousands of available writers. Clients can look at factors like native language, geographical location, education, past projects, ratings, and more to help them decide.

They also have the flexibility of making a short commitment. If they would only like to use a freelancer for one piece of content, or for a short period of time, this is normal and acceptable. Hiring in-house would mean keeping someone on the payroll.

The Cons of Hiring from Online Freelance Writing Sites

Time consuming.

Having a deep pool of writers to draw from is not always a great thing, especially when one needs content quickly. It can be difficult to compare and narrow down to a shortlist of desirable candidates. From there, they need to be interviewed.

Additionally, the client will have to manage the project. They are responsible for making sure the freelancer understands their needs and adheres to the guidelines and deadlines. Despite the fact that they are outsourcing, hiring a freelance writer is still a hands-on task.

Risky.

The biggest drawback of online freelance writing sites is the risk associated with the quality of the completed work. A freelancer may have good feedback, may have listed a great deal of experience, may claim to speak the desired language, but none of that is guaranteed. The site itself does not spend time or resources on vetting someone’s skills and fact checking their experience.

Furthermore, what kind of recourse one has if the work is poor varies. If the work comes back and needs revision, it is not a guarantee that the freelancer is beholden to fix it, particularly if that was not made clear in the agreement. Therefore, the client will then have to hire another freelancer to edit the work.

Divided attention.

As shared here, much of the growth seen in freelancing is due to people looking for ways to make extra money. Freelancers often have day jobs, or are at-home caregivers.

This does not mean they cannot successfully complete a project. Freelancers with multiple jobs and responsibilities complete assignments every day. But every client should be honest about what level of dedication they would like for their project, as well as how quickly they would want it submitted.

Limited project scale.

At the end of the day, a freelancer is just one person. Clients who need large blog post orders with ongoing work would struggle to find a team of freelancers who are working at similar skill levels and paces.

Typically, this type of arrangement requires a person working full-time to manage the team of freelancers. Coordinating a large-scale order with a group of independents is not the avenue for a business who wants to submit an order, and simply have it filled.

Key Takeaways

There is a solution available for anyone who needs written content. It just is not always freelance sites. Freelance writing sites are good for:

  • Clients who have one or two projects.
  • Businesses that are not working with very tight deadlines.
  • Companies who have the time to locate the best candidate.
  • Clients who prioritize cost over quality.
  • Brands that are willing to cut their losses if the freelancer does not make good on the agreement.

Freelancing sites are NOT the best choice for:

  • Clients who have no time to perform oversight themselves.
  • Businesses that do not want to gamble or compromise on top-quality work.
  • Managers who do not have the time to manage the hiring/interview process.
  • Clients who need large orders fulfilled quickly.
  • Staff that cannot edit or revise completed work should the project require further attention.

For those clients, writing agencies are a better fit. Content writing agencies have entire teams of tested, verified professional copywriters. Therefore, they can fill large orders in a smaller timeframe. This is also made possible through oversight provisions, as the top writing agencies provide account managers to run the project.

For a small team with a long-range project, such as someone to intermittently fill in with content, online freelance writing sites can be a real savior. That is, assuming they take their time choosing the right candidate. For everything else, an agency is a safer bet than the freelance marketplace.