It’s no secret that in today’s digital world, businesses need a website.
In case you need any convincing, remember that 70 to 80% of customers research a business online before making a purchase – or even visiting a store.
Simply having a website is only half of the equation.
It’s the same way that owning a guitar doesn’t make you the next Brian May. You need to learn how to play first.
With a wide option of website platforms available, it’s easy to make a website – even if you don’t have any past experience. All you need to do is drag and drop the elements you want in place and you’re good to go.
But as we outlined before, just having a website isn’t the same as having a high-performing one. There are lots of different elements that make a website work. Your copy is one of them.
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What is a website copywriter?
A website copywriter is someone that writes copy for your website. Yeah, sorry if you were expecting an answer a little more complex than that.
Now, don’t misunderstand that a copywriter is someone that just writes. Like any other profession, they spent years honing their skill.
Everyone can write, but that doesn’t mean everyone can write copy.
Think of it this way, everyone has the capability to draw. But that doesn’t mean everyone is a professional artist. If you’re wanting a new logo, you’d rather ask a graphic designer than a 5-year-old with a Crayola collection.
To understand a website copywriter, you need to understand copy.
Why website copy is important
Some people have a shop mentality around websites, in which they think that people will simply arrive, see an item and take it to the checkout. There are no questions asked or hesitations to buying.
In a store, you can see and feel the item. You’re not relying on an image, you know exactly what it is that you’re buying and don’t have any concerns about receiving it. It’s not like the cashier will take the item away from you and never hand it back.
It’s not like that online.
Although you might get people buying small, impulse purchases, it generally doesn’t work like this.
You need to picture your website more like a car showroom than a store. When people walk into car showrooms, they do not point at a car and buy it no questions asked.
Instead, you’ll talk to a car dealer. They’ll show you the cars, giving you the details inside and out. They’ll answer all your questions and put aside any worries you might have. They’ll even convince men with fragile egos that buying that car won’t make it look like they’re going through a midlife crisis. Eventually, they’ll get you to sign on the dotted line.
This is what you want your website copy to do.
Your copy acts as a salesperson for your company. It’s there to ease any worries, give valuable information and ultimately – turn your visitors into customers.
Websites are full of snap judgements
I’m going to be honest with you and admit that no one has time to read every single word of your website’s copy.
Life is short and we all have better things to be doing. That’s why most visitors will make an instant, snap decision about whether to stay or leave your website.
If they don’t like what they see, they’ll leave. And to make matters worse, 88% of online consumers won’t return to a website if they have a bad experience there. You’ve basically got one shot to make an impression. No pressure.
On average, visitors spend just 5.59 seconds looking at a website’s written content.
This doesn’t mean that you should skimp out on the copy. It just means that you have less time to make an impression, which is all the more reason that the words you use should be the right ones.
Benefits of hiring a website copywriter
I could list many reasons why hiring a copywriter is good for your business. But to make things simple, I’m just going to focus on one.
The biggest benefit of hiring a copywriter is that they know exactly what they’re doing. Which means you get professional high-performing copy the first time around.
Let’s say you want to redecorate a room and after watching a lot of interior design shows you don’t want to go for plain walls. You want to paint an abstract shape onto the wall to really make the room pop.
You’re no Picasso, but you decide to give it a go. It takes you a long time, a lot of effort and ultimately, you’re left with something that’s a little rough around the edges. It’s not exactly what you envisioned it to be.
Or you could hire a professional painter who will get it right straight away. There’s no touching up the edges or re-doing bits you’re not happy with. It’s done, exactly how you pictured it.
That’s the benefit of hiring a website copywriter.
How much does copywriting cost?
The slightly rubbish but true answer is that it depends.
The cost of website copywriters is varied, depending on their skill and experience. You might find one person who will charge under £50, and someone else who’s price goes into the thousands.
There’s no industry standard way of charging either. A Procopywriters survey revealed that:
- 50% of copywriters charge a project fee;
- 7% of copywriters charge by the hour;
- 6% charge per word.
It all depends on the copywriter.
The important thing is to find someone who works in your industry and your budget. Just be careful not to veer too much towards the cheap side. We all love a good bargain, but when it comes to freelancers, you often get what you pay for.
DIY copywriting: how to write your own copy
Thinking of giving your own copy a go? Here are 3 top tips from our own team of professional copywriters.
1. Get the headline right
Headlines are difficult. I’m not going to sugarcoat that fact.
But they are so important to get right, as 80% of users don’t make it past your headline.
That means it might be the only thing your visitors read. Ask yourself what is the single most important thing you want to tell them? Now put that in your headline.
Never, ever go with something like ‘Welcome To Bob’s Building Company!’. It might be polite, but it means nothing. If that’s all your visitors read, they won’t take anything away.
But if you went with something like ‘The most reliable building company in Lincolnshire’ or ‘We’ll beat any price on brand new conservatories!’ you’re telling your visitors something important. And hopefully, you’re then encouraging them to read on, slowly bringing them closer to the finish line.
2. Tell them what’s in it for them
Humans are selfish creatures. We don’t read websites for fun. We do it to answer a single common question:
“Why should I care?”.
It’s a question that gets straight to the point. Why should your customers care about your business? Why should they buy from you and no one else?
If you’re struggling here, there’s one bit of advice to remember. Don’t list features, tell them the benefits.
Let’s use an example here and say that you’re selling a selection of art pens. This is the list of features and the benefits that they offer to the audience:
- Feature: ultra-fine tip. Benefit: Easier to create fine details for detailing.
- Feature: 50+ different shades. Benefit: Find the exact colour for what you need without having to colour match.
- Feature: Come with a storage case. Benefit: Keep all the pens neatly together in one place that’s easy to transport.
You get the picture?
Benefits are a great way to tell your visitors why they should care and what exactly they are getting from your business.
3. Include a Call To Action
For those that are unaware, a Call To Action (CTA) is where you tell your visitors what you want them to do. Whether it’s buying your product, phoning your company, or downloading a free trial – there’s something that you want your visitors to do.
But your visitors aren’t physic. They won’t do this unless you tell them, which is why a CTA is essential for any website.
Surprisingly though, 70% of small business websites don’t have a CTA on their homepage. That’s bad.
Imagine it. You’ve got a visitor on your site. They’ve read through your copy and they’re interested… but! They don’t know what to do. There’s no button for them to click or visible number to call. They haven’t got time to go through your entire website – so they leave.
That’s how you lose potential customers.
It may sound condescending, but you really need to hold their hands every step of the way. If you don’t guide them, they’ll leave.
A CTA isn’t just needed on your homepage either. It’s needed on every single page. If there’s an action you need your visitors to take, tell them.
And don’t waste your time being polite about it either. No ‘Please’ or ‘Thank yous’ are allowed here. Be direct, be short and be upfront. If you want them to call your business, a simple “Call Now On XXX” will do.
Get successful copy on your website today
Now you’ve read this guide, you will have a better understanding of why the copy on your website is so important as it helps turn your visitors into customers.
You’ll also see that a website copywriter is a professional writer equipped with the skills to provide a high converting copy. The cost of hiring a copywriter depends on each person, but there will always be someone within your budget and industry that can help.
If you want to save money, you can write the copy yourself. Just remember these top 3 tips:
- Create an engaging headline that states the most important fact – and entices your visitor to read more.
- Be upfront and clearly show your visitor what’s in it for them. Don’t list the features, tell them the benefits.
- Get your visitors to act with a direct and effective Call To Action.
Do these right, and you’ll be converting visitors to customers in no time.
Need an extra hand? Check out our guide on how to convert website visitors here for more tips and advice.