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Online/digital media / Editing and production

Rates vary enormously. On the one hand, simple sub-editing on a stable production system may pay little more than magazine sub-editing, even though more technical knowledge is required and mathematically rigid style constraints may be essential to the production working at all.

In the middle, design work that involves the use of authoring and styling languages (HTML and CSS at a minimum, increasingly often XML and Flash scripting and so forth) can pay in the scale of computer programming work rather than sub-editing.

On the far other hand, some jobs are in effect business consultancy - what the client needs to know is how a website can change the way they make their living. Rates of £425 per hour were on offer for this in January 2006.

The suggested rates

* Read me first!  Online/digital media / Editing and production: advice

* See also: notes on negotiating rates for this work

* See also: reported rates, to compare: Online/digital media / Editing and production

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Please note that the suggested rates below are minima; that rates for copyright works are for limited licences; and that VAT is not included.

RATES: Sub-editing
Editing and production
Sub-editing with HTML coding: per day GBP 250.00
Sub-editing, per day GBP 180.00


  • Allegedly simple sub-editing for the web and other database-like media is almost always more demanding than for print media. Whether the freelance is striving to write headlines that meet some obscure "Search Engine Optimisation" requirement but are also human-readable, or is tagging articles with keywords selected from a "controlled vocabulary", they're doing things that sub-editors of normal language do not have to do.
  • If the work involves markup - whether the <em>simple codes</em> that determine the appearance of the run of text or <div class="abstract">structural markup</div> - it should attract a higher fee.
RATES: Website design and production
Editing and production
Consultancy and information architecture for complex corporate sites: per day from GBP 1500.00
Design and code complex sites: per day from GBP 500.00
Design basic brochure site, corporate: per day GBP 400.00
Design basic brochure site, non-profit: per day GBP 350.00


  • The fees assume the freelance is working with supplied content. Creating words, and finding pictures and sounds will add to the amount charged - as will any necessary copyright clearance.
  • The work to be done on larger sites varies enormously. Some clients may already have templates. Others may want something which looks original but in some way fits within a house style - for example a "micro-site" for one of a broadcaster's programmes. Or they may have a blank screen and a need for what is in effect business consultancy... in which case they should be prepared to pay business consultancy rates.
  • Many "content management systems" are available but none actually work "out of the box" in the real world: in order to tailor them to any sane client's requirements, they require almost enough understanding of the programming to be able to write them from scratch.
  • Doing database coding and writing user content at the same time is not a good idea - as with any conversation held in three languages at once, the quality of all will suffer. As, you may conclude, you see here.
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Text © Mike Holderness & previous contributors; Moral rights asserted. The collection (database right) © National Union of Journalists. Comments to please. You may find the glossary helpful.

The National Union of Journalists must not, can not and would not wish to dictate rates or terms of engagement to members or to editors. The information presented here is for guidance and as an aid to equitable negotiation only.

Suggestions apply to contracts governed by UK law only. In any event, nothing here should be construed as legal advice.