Struggling to Get that Copy Written for Your New Website?

Have you been intending to set up a website (or to improve your current website), but you just can’t get around to it? Maybe you’re busy, or you’re not sure how to do it, so you keep putting it off.

Only around 63% of Irish small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) have a website, even though having your own website is now essential if you run a business or organisation. It’s the biggest shop window you can have, and opens you up to large audience in an incredibly cost-effective way.

If you’ve been planning to set up a website but haven’t got around to it yet, it’s time to get cracking!

Lovely website, no copy …

I’m often contacted by website developers who tell me that they’re designing a site for a client who has difficulty in producing the copy for the various webpages. The client may be busy or may simply be unsure of what kind of text is needed. Some developers have a website copywriter on their team, some don’t, while others think only of design and the technical aspects of the site, and will add whatever text they’re given, no matter how poor it is.

Before you approach a website developer, it’s best to have a list of pages, a brief description of their function, and the copy for each page. (Nothing needs to be set in stone, though; it’s best to be flexible in case the designer comes up with some good ideas.)

If you haven’t planned, you may end up with a lovely-looking site that doesn’t do what you want it to do. Many fine websites don’t convert because they do not adequately communicate the value of the service or product, or they don’t take account of the target audience.

Most designers like to get the website copy up front, since they can then design customised page layouts based on the actual content.

If the site is designed without considering the content, the copy will have to fit a layout structure designed in advance, which may be totally unsuitable. Imagine being told: “Right, there are four boxes here, with space for a maximum of 70 words.”

Choosing a website developer

When choosing a website designer, be prepared to spend a reasonable amount if you want an effective site. For example, a business gets an e-commerce site developed for a couple of thousand euro, but it fails to convert. The business then goes to another developer, who recreates the site from scratch. This developer charges a lot more, but the site proves extremely effective, achieving ten times as many sales.

In other words, a website may pay for itself in a very short time, so make sure it’s a good one. It’s a relatively long-term investment. Having a good site will pay for itself many times over.

Planning your website

When a client asks me to help with or to write the copy for their site, I usually ask them questions along the lines of:

  • What is your business? What products or services do you provide?
  • Who is your target audience? What kind of problems do you solve for them?
  • How exactly does your product or service help to solve their problems?
  • Who are your major competitors? How are you different? (As well as finding out the client’s unique selling proposition, I often ask them to give me three to five words or phrases that define the values they’d like me to convey about their company.)
  • What is the purpose of your website? How will it serve your overall business strategy? What do you want visitors to feel when they visit your site? What actions do you want them to take?
  • What webpages do you think you need?

I also ask for any material that might help me to write the copy, such as the text on an existing website, brochures, or rough notes that the client has prepared (eg, about their services). I can then write a first draft of the website copy.

A professional website copywriter will take care to understand your business and what’s special about it, as well as your website’s target audience or market, and then write compelling copy that prompts visitors to your site to take the action you want them to take.

See also:

Planning Your New Website: A Quick Guide

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If you want to set up a new website, SwiftWrite can advise you about the structure of the site and the webpages needed, and then write effective copy for each page.

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