Web copywriting is more than just putting words on a page. That’s why not everyone can do it.

I had an interesting conversation with a prospective client recently. They’re fairly new to the process of building a website and our discussion got me thinking about how much value a good copywriter actually offers.

As I explained what my copywriting service includes, I realised that much of what I take for granted hadn’t occurred to this client at all. That’s not unusual, and not a criticism – after all, my clients aren’t generally writers. That’s why they need my help.

However, there’s a common misconception that copywriting is just chucking words on a page and that anyone with a half-decent grasp of the written word can do it. Well, it isn’t. And they can’t. So here are six things of real value that should get when you commission a good web copywriter:

  • Someone who understands that writing for the web is different to writing for other media – and then puts that knowledge into practice. Pasting a company brochure onto your website just isn’t going to cut it.
  • An expert who takes time to understand what your website’s about, what your brand represents and what you’re trying to achieve. Everything they write should reflect these things.
  • A willingness to challenge. You’re buying the expertise of a copywriter – a good one will say if they think your approach is wrong. (And then follow it anyway, if you can’t be convinced.)
  • A bit of flexibility. When you build a website, things change as they come to life. And that usually means the copy needs changing too. It happens a lot. Because of this, you should get some flexibility when your site build doesn’t quite stick to the plan.
  • Basic search engine optimisation, so your site has the foundations for a good ranking on Google. Generally, it means supplying good metadata (hidden information at the top of web pages), logical link text and keyword-rich content as standard.
  • Attention to detail. Your copywriter should be happy to tweak titles so they fit on one line, edit paragraphs so they wrap nicely, and make sure terminology and capitalisation is consistent. These things really make a difference overall.

So you see, when you commission a copywriter, you really should expect more than a slapdash bit of writing on the page. They should take the time to understand where you’re coming from, then work to get you where to want to go – all the while applying their considerable knowledge and expertise to the task at hand.

That’s what makes good web copywriting worth paying for. And why it takes experience to be able to do it well.

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