What is website copywriting, and why is it important?
Not to make a big fuss about the term itself. Website copywriting is the activity of writing copy for a website. I will explain the difference between website copywriting and web content writing later in this post. Before reading, visit my previous blog post if you want to brush up on your website copywriting skills. It remains to explain why is website copywriting important, and that’s the purpose of this article. That explains why it’s not the same thing when a copywriter writes a copy for a website and someone else does it.
First, to explain it in short:
A website should fulfil a purpose. Whether that purpose is to get your visitors to contact you, make them buy something from your webshop, or press a specific CTA button, a good copywriter knows how to achieve that. Of course, it gets tricky when your website is multi-purpose. But that’s still achievable.
And now for the extended version:
Website copywriting vs Website content writing
Before continuing, I need to explain the difference between website copywriting and website content writing, as I named it for this article. I said “as I named it” because there isn’t a universal terminology for many digital marketing concepts.
So, the difference is primarily in the purpose. While content writing should entertain or educate, copywriting should persuade a user to take action and, with the help of design and UX, navigate him (or her) through your website. Writing this blog post is an example of content writing. Some time ago, I was writing copy for our website and writing it with a goal.
So, what might happen if you choose to write the copy yourself?
#1 Your website copy might be dull
Don’t take this personally. Understandably, not everyone can write well, just as I can’t do maths. Or programming, for that matter. We’re not all fit for everything, and that’s perfectly fine. If, for instance, you’re in the construction business, and you’re pretty amazing at it, it’s more than expected that you haven’t also mastered the skill of hooking one to your text. But copywriters have. Copywriters enhance their text with a slippery slope (or slide), which I explained in my previous blog. Just look for the second part called #2 Primary text.
#2 You can poorly explain some complex topics
That goes for simple topics as well, of course. But a risk of an unclear explanation is even greater if the issue you’re writing about is somewhat complicated. I like to call it a “good professional, bad teacher” situation. That refers to a situation in which a person knows their material perfectly but is also the worst teacher and doesn’t know how to transfer their knowledge. It’s the same with text; if the text on your website is too complex, your audience won’t understand it. Know what that means? They’ll leave your website and, even worse, run off to the competition.
#3 Longevity is vital for home appliances, but not for reading the sentences
One of the most common mistakes of non-professional writers is excessively long sentences. When I was in college, all my teachers told me I have to make my sentences shorter. A couple of years forward, I finally learned how, but it took time, trust me. Also, each sentence should contain a single thought. Not two, not three, one. Similar to that, on websites, each paragraph should lead to straightforward action. Something like, let’s say, taping a CTA button.
#4 Don’t make the basic mistakes
Picture this: You are about to put up a billboard. And what happens? You decide to write the text for yourself, and you make a grammatical mistake. Suddenly, your brand doesn’t look so professional anymore. Well, I guess you don’t want that, do you? When it comes to writing a website, the situation is similar. A renowned brand can’t afford to have grammatical errors. Typo is one thing, but the text should overall be grammatically correct.
#5 Cliches, Cliches everywhere
Another obstacle in your goal of writing well is cliches. You can most often see cliches in titles but the other parts of the text as well. Most frequently, cliches come up when you don’t know what exactly to write, but you want to sound smart at the same time. So what do you do? You use an old saying that’s actually a cliche. “Kiss and make up”, “Just a matter of time”, “Brave as a lion”, “Opposites attract”. Are your eyes rolling toward the back of your head already, or should I continue? These could all be headlines for all sorts of different websites. I believe I don’t have to explain why you don’t want cliches in your website titles.
#6 Well, that’s just plain wrong
During website copywriting, there are several mistakes you can make. But, one of the worst things you can do, most likely by trying to be witty or funny, is sounding wrong. Some things are just not appropriate. I know. That bugs me sometimes as well. But, you should also imagine text on your website as your PR officer; As someone who’s representing your brand. What that means is that person should also be a professional communicator. Each text, either said or written, is imbued by something called intertextuality. In other words, your text can mean different things to different people. Their understanding of the text depends on their past experiences, age and even education. But how are you supposed to know how your audience will understand your text? Well, a copywriter does. How? Let’s move to the next chapter to find out.
What are you getting by hiring a copywriter?
So, after we’ve established what can go wrong if you decide to venture on a website copywriting quest yourself, here are some pros of actually hiring one.
A copywriter understands your audience
And by understanding it, he can modify hers/his writing to them. So, the first thing any good copywriter does before (s)he starts writing is research. You can’t create a well-written text without proper research. So, first of all, copywriters will get to know your brand and immediately after your audience. How are they communicating? What are their problems? Which interests do they have? All these things will significantly influence how your website copy looks in the end.
Building a website is a team sport, and the team plays better if it trains together
If you decide to hire an agency to create your website, a minimum of one project manager, one web designer, and one developer will work on the project. Those three people are used to collaborating with their in-house copywriter. They speak the same language and can react much faster if some correction is needed. The more complex a website project is, the higher are the chances for corrections.
Selling with words is a fundamental skill
The most valuable skill a good copywriter has is selling through words. When I say “selling”, I don’t necessarily mean selling but instead inducing a conversion. Now, your conversion might be the download of an ebook, getting your visitor to contact your company or if your website is a webshop, a sale of your product. With a unique set of skills and a deep understanding of a buyer’s journey, a copywriter will achieve your website to convert. If the goal of your website is something simple, like showcasing your products, a copywriter will make sure your website visitors remain interested in what you have to say.
Someone to vouch for the quality of the website copy and to save your time along the way
I wouldn’t repair my own car. Not just because I don’t know how (YouTube tutorials FTW!), but because I want it to drive properly after the repair’s done. Sure, you might save money at the beginning. But, in the long run, a poorly written copy will cost you much more, so if you decide to hire a copywriter for website copywriting, not only will it save you time, it will also be a guarantee everything is delivered on time. Unfortunately, in my experience, this is usually the first point where a website project gets stuck.
The development team, along with a project manager, scheduled their time and resources to start working on your website, and you’ve promised to deliver the content (texts) until that point in time. Unfortunately, on your side, you got caught up in work and haven’t managed to write all the texts. As a result, the development team can’t start the project, and immediately, everything is delayed. Pretty soon, you’re paying your hired agency just for waiting. All this can be avoided by reconsidering who does website copywriting for you.
You won’t know what you’re missing until you try hiring a copywriter for your website
“I couldn’t write this if I took ten years to do so.”, “I can already see how delighted my users will be with these texts”. “Everything’s perfect, but that title on my about page swept me off my feet”.
These are just some of the messages I received from our satisfied clients over the years. But, all my talk’s in vain if you aren’t ready to try it yourself. Remember, website copywriting is quite a challenge, even for skilled copywriters. So, try hiring a professional, and I’m sure you will be satisfied with the final result.