8 Reasons to Hire a Copywriter For Your Website Content

Website content establishes the tone and message of your brand – and carries its value proposition across campaigns and other online marketing efforts. For website content to successfully convert prospects to customers it must be compelling, persuasive and show your value upfront.

Businesses sometimes have the misconception that because they are so passionate about what they do, developing website copy will come naturally and will deliver authenticity. The reality is that business owners and managers are usually too close to day-to-day operations to see that they don’t have a sense of what their customer is thinking while searching. The big take-away? Your brand is not about you.

On a website in particular, content should be foremost about meeting the needs of your customer and guiding them to take action in as few steps as possible.

A brand new website or overhaul of an existing site is the perfect time to reevaluate your content and messaging – because you’ll want the content to be as fresh and functional as the design concept.

Here are eight questions to ask yourself before agreeing to provide your own copy during the web design process:

1. Do you have the time?
Copywriting is time consuming and there are at least 4 stages: draft, revisions, optimization for search engines, and final review. Consider how many pages your new website contains; Smaller businesses may have at minimum 10-12 pages, while large brands and ecommerce sites may have hundreds if not thousands of pages to accommodate an extensive list of products or services. And all of these pages need original copy. “Duplicate copy”– Google’s term for copy that is borrowed from another site, or for copy that is repeated verbatim throughout a domain – are practices that are penalized by Google and can negatively impact your site’s visibility, trust and rank in search engines.

2. Do you have the money?
Copywriting is an investment to the same degree as hiring a web design, SEO or social media management firm. Some businesses can afford to hire professional service providers – even as a start-up – because they see the long-term value of compelling copy. If you absolutely cannot afford a copywriter, at the very least you should assign a qualified staff member the project with clear guidelines from your website design firm, and provide him/her ample time to research and write. Research would encompass looking at best practices for website content development, researching competitor’s content and industry keywords and phrases, as well as researching your own company to determine what your customers are looking for when they land on your site.

3. Do you have the internal resources?

Business owners simply do not have the time to research and write all new website content. Likewise, an intern who does not yet know the company well enough to convey the appropriate tone and sentiment is not the best person to serve as the “voice” of your business. If you have a strong writer or communications director on your team, that person may be a viable option – so long as they are able to dedicate the time and also serve as a point person for the content portion of the web project.

4. Is your business re-branding?
A rebrand demands professional copywriting so that your new brand identity is articulated across your website. Businesses prioritize design – new logos and other brand materials, sometime at great cost – but rebranding a business isn’t just a freshening up of your visual identity. Not rebranding your web copy with the aid of a professional copywriter is a missed opportunity that dilutes the overall brand message. Are you capable of putting into words exactly how you’ve shifted your business offerings, delivery, or the customer experience? While you own your new visual brand, remember that you don’t own your relationship with customers. A copywriter can help you find the balance in what your business hopes to project in a rebrand vs. how your customer will digest the changes.

5. Do you know who your ideal customer is?

Effective website copy must speak to the buyer, which requires knowing exactly who your ideal customer really is. You must be able to define and understand your target market to ensure relevance – and to develop a “marketing concept” so you can clearly communicate what is being offered and why it is valuable. Do you have a buyer persona? Have you conducted research to build a buyer profile? If you can’t identify your buyer in a clear and concise statement, you won’t be able to hold their attention on-site and convince them to purchase your product or service. Copywriters understand that customers buy based on emotion – something that is difficult for people in the business and service sector to articulate.

6. Can you communicate what differentiates your product or service?

Believe it or not, many businesses cannot communicate the essence of their products or services. Sure, they know what they sell or offer and why they do it, but they are not tapped into their brand narrative. New businesses may still be toying with their identities and business models. A copywriter can help tease these ideas using a number of strategies including personal interviews.

7. Do you have experience with search engine optimization (SEO)?
Even talented copywriters are typically not trained in SEO copyediting, which transforms content so that it can be “read” and indexed by search engines like Google, Yahoo and Bing. SEO copyediting includes strategic use of keywords, inbound and outbound links, page titles, meta descriptions, alt and title text for image descriptions, overall readability and more.

8. Do you have a bigger content marketing strategy?

Website copy is the starting point for a big-picture content marketing strategy. Have you thought about how your copy will be used in campaigns and promotions? How will you drive people to the different parts of your website? If prospects are presented with one kind of brand image in promotional materials and then encounter different visuals and messaging on your website, they will be confused and unlikely to buy. The copy on one web page should integrate with the next and not seem like and individual piece. You may find that you need to hold off on writing until you have a content marketing strategy in place.