The reason? I want to provide the best possible website for you, one that’s going to actually start pulling in enquiries from your dream clients, rather than just sitting there looking pretty.
If great visual design attracts, it’s the copy that sells. And in 99% of web design projects, client-written copy is never going to sell your services as well as professional copywriting.
I still often get clients wanting to provide their own website copy, and I want to address some of the common concerns and questions asked when I explain that they’ll be working with a website copywriter instead:
What are the benefits of working with a website copywriter?
Working with a website copywriter (and by this I mean a writer who is experienced and trained in writing for websites, not a general writer) will almost certainly get you a better return on your web design investment.
A website copywriter knows how to craft persuasive, concise copy that’s written with your ideal client in mind. They understand how website audiences interact with a website, how to structure and prioritise information effectively, and how to grab a reader’s attention and keep them on your website.
Alice Rowan, website copywriter from Cheltenham, UK, says:
“Website copy is a lot more complicated than many people realise (and why would you, if you haven’t done it before or trained in it). It’s so much more than just eye catching headlines and an explanation of what you do/sell and who you do it for.
Bringing in a professional copywriter will improve the outcome of your site, make the designer’s job 10x easier, speed up the project, and make sure that everything is covered in a way that pushes towards the right goals.”
Alice makes a great point here about speed and ease: Even if you feel up for writing your website copy yourself, your website project will be easier and faster if you hire a professional. Your time as a business owner is valuable, and may be better spent elsewhere.
If you do decide to write your own website copy, as a founder or business owner, it’s tempting to want to write all about your business, when in fact, you need to be writing from the perspective of your target audience.
Stacy Eleczko, website and sales copywriter from North Carolina, US, makes the point:
“We’re too close to our own businesses, it’s hard to not to write about everything we think our clients should know. Your website isn’t the place for this.”
A good website copywriter brings the perspective you need to really sell the benefits of your service, rather than just writing all about your company.
How can you prepare for the initial meeting with a website copywriter?
You’ll probably have at least one main meeting with your website copywriter, so that they can ask you all the questions they need to write the copy for each page of your website.
To avoid wasting their time and yours (and potentially paying for more time than you need), make sure you have the following sorted out before you go into the initial meeting:
✅ Which pages are going to be included on your site, and how will they be arranged? Which of those pages will your copywriter be writing for you?
✅ Who is your main target audience – the people your website copy is going to be written for? This is really important to define.
✅ Which services will you be offering? How will they be presented? Will you include your pricing on your website?
✅ What’s the main action you want people to take after they’ve visited your website? Do you want them to fill in your contact form? Sign up to your online course? Book a free discovery call?
Some website copywriters include this kind of strategy in their service, but many will expect you to have this figured out before they get to work.
Stacey Eleczko, website copywriter from North Carolina, US, says:
“In my opinion, it falls on the copywriter to let the client know how to prepare. I send a really extensive onboarding questionnaire. It’s up to the client to take the time to thoughtfully respond and provide the needed information. The more completely they fill it out, the better I can prepare for our kick off call.
I ask for information about a range of things from mission, vision, values, to website URLs for direct and indirect competitors. Helpful documents from clients include: brand messaging guidelines if they already have them, reviews/testimonials and previous sales copy and content…”
Some website design agencies or studios (like mine) include website copywriting as part of the website design service.
When working on a website redesign or a custom built website with me, you and I will have an initial strategy session to get clear on all the topics above, and I’ll then pass this information on to the website copywriter before your initial meeting with them.
How do website copywriters and web designers work together?
If you’re working with a website copywriter and a web designer separately, the most important thing to figure out is timeframes and responsibilities.
Rachel Ciervo, website copywriter from Texas, US, makes this key point:
“It’s important for everyone (client, designer, and writer) to be on the same page about the timeline and work process from the start. Some designers like the copy to lay out the page and guide design, and others want to work with a writer who will fill in a wireframe with words.
Either way, someone’s going to be waiting on somebody else to finish ‘their part’ before they can get going themselves. So when there are different elements at play, there should be a timeline laid out and commitment from everybody to adhere to it.”
Personally, I believe that the copywriting should come before the design of the pages themselves. My website redesigns typically take 8 weeks in total, and the first four weeks of that is spent developing the website copy, after the initial website strategy session.
Only after you’ve signed off on your website copy do I start building out your website pages, designed around that all important website copy.
As with all projects involving multiple people, communication is key.
Natalie Gates, website copywriter from British Colombia, Canada, suggests:
“An important question to ask on your discovery calls (with designers and copywriters) is ‘Will you manage the project and coordinate with my writer/designer, or do I need to play the middle person?'”
Even if you (as the client) are going to act as ‘project manager’ then it’s probably still worth introducing your website copywriter and your web designer, if they’re up for collaborating.
How much does SEO come into website copywriting?
If you’ve looked into Search Engine Optimisation at all, you’ll probably know that incorporating keywords into your website content is a good approach to increasing the likelihood of your website appearing in search results.
So when your web pages are written by a website copywriter, are they going to incorporate those keywords? Do website copywriters also need to be SEO specialists? How important are keywords in your main web pages anyway?
Alice Rowan, SEO copywriter from Cheltenham, UK, suggests that we don’t need to be focusing too much on keywords for the main web pages:
“Where I’ve found success is actually in reducing the volume of keywords in the website copy itself and instead focusing on the technical SEO, background stuff like meta data and page titles, as well as internal linking.”
The technical SEO Alice mentions is more of a job for your web designer/developer, not for the website copywriter.
She goes on to remind us that blogs are where we should be focusing on good use of keywords for SEO, rather than main web pages:
“Most of the good content SEO comes in from the regularly updated and added to compilations of content, usually in the form of blogs and case studies. Keywords can be more consistently used here.”
(I’ve written at length about the advantages of blogging, both in terms of SEO and a variety of other business-boosting benefits.)
Although we don’t need to worry too much about keywords on our main website pages, Polly Clover, another SEO focused copywriter, recommends best practice of using a ‘broad keyword’ for each main web page.
“Blogs are where the keywords really come in, but I do think it’s important to have a ‘broad keyword’ in mind for other web pages (homepage, about page, service pages, etc.). They give Google a better idea of the purpose of your website.“
Choosing this ‘broad keyword’ is something you can do yourself, or talk to your website designer to discuss the best keywords for you. Either way, it’s a good idea to feed back to your website copywriter, so that they can include your broad keyword in the copy for each website page.
What happens if you want to add to, or edit your website, after you’ve had your copy written professionally?
This is one of the main concerns I hear when I suggest a client works with a website copywriter. And it’s completely understandable. Businesses change and evolve, and websites need to reflect those changes.
If you invest in professionally written, high converting website copy, do you have to go back to the website copywriter every time you need some changes making?
If you make the changes yourself, will you risk messing up the hard work of the copywriter and jeopardising the effectiveness of the words?
Lakshmi Puthanveedu, copywriter and content strategist from Aberdeen, Scotland, suggests working with a copyeditor if you want to make the changes yourself. Getting a copyeditor to check over your website every couple of months (especially if you’re regularly making changes) is a great way of keeping an appropriate tone of voice and making sure everything flows smoothly and makes sense.
Another thing to remember when updating your professionally written website copy is that some of the words in headings, subheadings and body copy may have been strategically used for search engine optimisation reasons.
“Before the official website hand off, it’s important to relay to clients any keywords that should remain.” says Hannah Conrad, copywriter and marketing strategist from Texas, US.
If you know which keywords and phrases need to stay, you can usually safely tweak the rest of the copy without negatively affecting your website traffic.
Hannah also recommends looking at your website analytics before making big changes, such as taking down a page. If you have an old or out of date page, but it’s getting a lot of website traffic, speak to your web designer about the best way to edit or remove that page without losing traffic.
In fact, my recommendation would be to maintain a good relationship with your web designer post-launch, and either have them make changes for you, or discuss the changes you’re planning to make.
If you’d like your own, dedicated website person to discuss strategy with you and take care of your website changes, my WordPress Care Plan is a great option for businesses with a WordPress website who need a little support.
If you were on the fence about working with a website copywriter, hopefully you have enough information now to know whether it’s the right decision or not.
I have one final piece of advice. If you’re going to invest in a professional website redesign, don’t undermine that investment by trying to write your own website copy. It’s worth paying that bit extra to get a professional to do it for you, I promise!