I’m a copywriter. When I’m not writing I do a fair amount of networking, both through Twitter and Facebook, and also the old-fashioned way where you go out and chat face-to-face with people over a glass of wine or a cup of coffee. In the local area there are networking events of one kind or another happening almost every day.
One thing I’ve noticed is the sheer number of people who are doing website design, either as their mainstream business, or as a sideline to earn some extra cash. This is great – with so many people in this sector, as well as the wide array of website design packages available, people can now get a new website built and hosted for a very reasonable price.
There seems to be a downside to this era of cheap websites though. Nearly everybody thinks that they can write good web copy and so every day thousands of new websites go live which have been put together by a web-designer and the client. I see lots of posts on Twitter which say “please have a look at my new website,”, so I do…and I see this….
……lots of websites with great graphics, dazzling imagery and fancy things happening when you click on a tab, but let down by poor quality copy which ensures the site will never be found in Google searches. In all the excitement of launching a new website it seems that design is king and the words don’t matter so much.
I think there is a solution though. Instead of the two party relationship between client and web designer, overall website quality would improve dramatically if a third party was brought into the relationship – a copywriter.
It’s not a state secret that great web designers generally don’t make great copywriters (any more than a great carpenter makes a great electrician) and many clients choose to provide their own copy in order to bring down costs. Not involving a copywriter when you’re working on a new website really can be a false economy though unless the client happens to be among the fairly small group of people who are highly skilled at writing web copy.
Of course I would say these things as a copywriter, wouldn’t I? Well yes, but if you’re paying several hundred pounds for a new website just stop and think about what you’re doing for a moment – surely it’s just plain common sense to devote as much time and effort on ensuring that you have quality SEO-optimised web copy as you would on achieving great site design. After all, when you have a new website you want potential customers to find it, and once they’re on it you want this to be a positive experience for them.
Steve Shaw, Bishopsgate Copywriting
Bishopsgate Copywriting are based in Sevenoaks, England and specialise in financial and business copywriting and copyediting for websites and print media.