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One of the most important decisions you have to make when you take on a new client to blog for is how you want to bill the work you do for them. You don’t have to choose one and stay with it forever. Instead, you can choose whatever method works best for each assignment and generate different styles of bills for each. It’s one of the most important aspects of being a successful blogger.

Billing by the Word

When you bill by the word, you charge a set price for each word or group of words – whether the word is “a” or “subdermatoglyphic”. You can choose to ask for 5 cents per word or $100 per 2500 words, whatever works best for you. Some people offer discounts for large pieces, like offering rates of $25 per thousand up to 5000 words and then $20 per thousand after that.

One thing to keep in mind when you bill by the word is that certain blogging projects aren’t suited for it. If a blog requires hours of research, your per word rate might not reflect that extra time. Adjust your prices as needed for different types of projects if you’ve decided to stick with billing by the word.

Billing by the Project

When you bill by the project, you assign a certain value to completing an entire piece of work. People who bill by the project sometimes assign different rates to different tasks – research, writing, photography, website work. Sometimes a client will want you to take on additional work beyond just writing for their blog. At that time, project billing might make the most sense.

When you bill by the project, you need to determine the exact scope of the project before you begin. If your client wants you to include photos in the blog, taking photographs might be more time consuming, while purchasing them from stock photo websites is more expensive. Reflect this in your quote.

Billing by the Hour

Billing by the hour means that you set a certain price for each hour of your time and your client pays that on a schedule you both determine. It’s a good way to bill if neither of the other methods works for you. Billing by the hour also makes sure that every activity you do as part of the work – even administrative things like phone calls – are covered financially. This only makes sense if there’s a lot to do outside of blogging and you aren’t sure how much time each aspect will take. That way your time is paid for.

One thing to consider is that you need a way to track your time when you bill by the hour. There are plenty of productivity programs you can use to keep a list of what you’re doing and when. It’s a good way to stay accountable to both your clients and yourself.

Choosing a Billing Method

Ultimately, all three methods have their benefits. It’s about finding one that works for you and then deciding what rates you want to set.

Look at the blogging project you’re accepting and then decide what works best for you. If you’re sprucing up someone’s blog rather than just writing, for example, it might make sense to charge for the entire project. You probably have an idea of how long the web design, graphics work, and writing will take you to achieve what the client wants.

If, on the other hand, you’re blogging about a topic you already know something about, consider charging by the word. You have an idea of how long it will take you to write, which can help you determine what a fair rate would be for your time.

Finally, doing a project that has multiple parts that will take an unknown amount of time might work best if you charge it by the hour. If it takes four hours to interview someone when you expected three, you’ll still be compensated for that time. Conducting interviews for a blog might take more time than you expect – especially when you consider just how long transcription can take.

Don’t forget that some clients will already have a preferred method of billing. You may find that theirs works for you, too. For example, many corporate clients pay by the hour.

Offering Value

Everyone appreciates value. Showing yours is one of the ways you land clients. When you’ve decided on a billing method and rate, think about how you’re going to expose your value to the people you blog for Showing them your skills, abilities, or other positive qualities can help offset what may be sticker shock against a high initial rate.

Invoice Home writes that: “Before making the payment, customers would – either explicitly or not – look to know the substance of the bill they need to pay for.” This is something important to keep in mind when you remember that showing the value of your blogging skills is important. It’s never good to present a bill that doesn’t seem like a good deal to both the person sending it and the person paying it.

If you’re billing by the word, you should still keep track of how many separate projects you did. If you bill by the hour, consider showing how those hours were spent. Your client may be appreciative to know that three of the five hours were spent doing research or interviewing sources. If you bill by the project, you can break down the time you spent on each section to give your client an idea of what they’re paying for. Make it clear which blogs you’ve written for and how much time was spent on each if you’re doing billable hours or project billing for different blogs for a single client.

Choosing a billing strategy is about knowing your capabilities and understanding the blogging projects you’re accepting. The most important thing is to offer value and make sure that you’re being compensated for your time. Don’t feel like you can only have one billing strategy – you can use multiple ones for different clients and projects.

Guest post by:

David Jones. David has been working in the online media industry for over 7 years. He writes about technical SEO for bloggers and is also a Python coding enthusiast. He also blogs at Bloggingtips.com and Spyrestudios.com and you can follow him on Twitter @davejonesbkk

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