…. it looks easy, but try it yourself and you’ll struggle to get a perfect finish.
You’re looking at your website and thinking …it’s time it had a makeover, so you happily hire a web designer to do the design and development work for your new site. You quickly realise that web design work is expensive so you try and reduce the project cost by writing the copy for the new website yourself.
Does this sound like you? Happy to spend lots of money on web design because you can’t do it yourself, but keen to write the copy because that’s the easy part, right?
The uncomfortable truth is that too many business websites fail to meet the basic expectations of their customers and it’s often poor writing that’s to blame. If the information on a website is poorly written, badly organised or just hard to find this is a sure-fire way to drive potential customers away.
Writing website copy is best left to a web copywriting specialist because it requires creativity, structure and considerable care and attention to detail. There are also a quite a few tricks of the trade, just as there are with plastering.
Here are 5 reasons why you should hire a web copywriter:
1. Writing for the web isn’t like writing for print
People don’t read web pages in the same way as they read pages in a book or a magazine. Reading a screen is harder on your eyes, so rather than reading word-for-word website visitors scan the page content looking for the key information. Good web content has to be written based on the likelihood that the page will be scan-read.
For this reason a web copywriter may use around 50% fewer words than he might do in print. Key words will be highlighted in bold type and there will be extensive use of page summaries, bulleted lists and meaningful headings and sub-headings.
2. If a website isn’t easily found it’s a bit pointless having it
Most people know that a high proportion of the traffic to most websites comes from search engines such as Google. They also know that most people don’t look beyond Page 1 of search engine results. It’s pretty clear then that you need to be on Page 1 for those key search terms which you expect potential clients to type in a search box in order to find your business or service.
Helping your website to gain visibility doesn’t just happen by magic though – you need the text on your website to be Search Engine Optimised. SEO-enhanced website content gives your site greater visibility, and this means more targeted traffic, hence quality leads and higher sales.
Customers aren’t the only audience for your content though – search engine spiders and directory editors are looking at it too. They’re checking the copy on your website for relevance in search engine results.
A web copywriter will identify the most important keywords and phrases before he starts writing your content. He won’t stuff your content full of keywords, as this can be awful for your readers, but he’ll ensure that your keywords and phrases appear in the right places.
It’s not an easy balance to achieve.
3. Get it wrong and customers won’t come back
When people come to a website they’re usually there for a reason – usually it’s to buy something, to find information or to be entertained. Well-crafted page content laid out in a logical manner will help site visitors to find what they want with minimal effort.
Get this wrong and you’ll frustrate them, and perhaps even annoy them. They’ll quickly leave your site and will probably never come back.
If your website wastes people’s time you’ll damage the value of your brand and lose business.
4. Good web copy complements good web design
It’s hard to over-emphasise the importance of good web copy. You can spend a small fortune on great website design but if the words you put on the pages don’t get your key messages across you may well have wasted your money.
There are millions of websites out there – many are badly written, poorly laid out and full of marketing-speak, clichés and bad grammar.
High quality writing is the best way to complement great web design and make sure that your site stands out.
5. Do you actually have time to write the web copy yourself?
Writing great website copy takes time, and a considerable amount of effort. If you try and do it yourself chances are you’ll quickly get frustrated at how long it takes to get the words the way you want them….and anyway, shouldn’t you be running your business?
Half-baked, amateurish copy sticks out like a sore thumb. A web copywriter, who does this stuff every day, will always produce better quality, better structured, SEO-friendly web content than you can. He’ll also do it more quickly.
Steve Shaw, Bishopsgate Copywriting
We’re based in Sevenoaks, just outside London, and specialise in financial and business copywriting and editing for websites and print media.