6 Tips for Choosing the Perfect Website Copywriter
Updated: 30 April 2019
There are thousands of copywriters in the market. They all have different levels of experience, ability, writing styles and ideas for your content. And their quotes will vary wildly and not always according to ability.
It can be confusing, especially if you’ve not hired a copywriter before (or you’ve had a bad experience and want to avoid making another mistake). But website copywriting isn’t something you can afford to leave to an amateur.
- Bad website copywriting won’t turn visitors into clients. (Actually, it might turn them into clients, but they’ll be clients for your competitors.)
- Even average website content writing means you’re leaving money on the table because you’re not converting every lead you could.
At the end of this guide, you’ll know:
- Exactly what to ask a potential copywriter to sort the great from the average
- How to be certain you’ve chosen a copywriter who will grow your business
1 . Finding a website copywriter: The most important questions of all
Of course this process is about you asking questions. But the most important questions are the ones the copywriter asks. More accurately, it’s about how many questions they ask you.
Imagine you asked two companies how much it would cost to build a road. Would you trust the one who blurted out “$100 million” or the one who said, “I don’t know yet. I need to ask you some questions first. Where do you need the road to go? How wide? What sort of vehicles will be driving on it? How often do you want to maintain it?”
Great copywriters live for persuading people, so they want to know whom they’ve got to persuade and what they’ve got to persuade them to do. Without knowing that, they can’t know what will go into writing your website. And if they don’t know what needs to go into the research and the writing, how can they put a price on it?
If a copywriter quotes you to write a website without knowing much about you, you’re in for a cookie-cutter experience. Worse, so are your potential clients. And how persuasive is a cookie cutter site going to be?
2. When it comes to copywriting, different is better than better
People won’t call you because you claim on your website to be the leading, biggest or fastest growing company in your industry. Most of your competitors are saying the same thing or a variation on that theme.
What will persuade people to call is your point of difference.
A great copywriter won’t just ask you what you want to say. They won’t just look at a couple of your competitors’ websites then write you something similar.
3. Silence is golden
To be persuasive in writing your website, a copywriter has to understand your business, your goals, your clients and your competition. It’s going to help a lot if your writer is genuinely interested in you.
You can get a good idea of a writer’s level interest if you wait a while after the first conversation. Do they follow up with a formal proposal? Do they call you to check in on the proposal?
If your prospective content writer isn’t interested in winning your business, how interested are they likely to be in you after they have the job?
4. How to choose a copywriter
Here are some questions you should ask when choosing a copywriter:
- Do they have testimonials?
- What’s their experience?
- What’s their process?
- How long will it take?
- How do they charge?
Website copywriter experience
Every copywriter has a first client. And you can always make the decision to be someone’s first, especially if you can work out a favourable price as a result.
However, weigh the experience of the writer in terms of the importance of your website to your bottom line. If your website is the first impression your potential clients will have of your business, you need it to be as professional as you are.
Your website copy could be the difference between whether someone calls you or they click away to a competitor.
Don’t get too hung up on getting examples of a copywriter’s work.
A copywriter may never have written about your particular product or service or in your particular industry, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they don’t have the skills to do the job.
Good copywriters know how to work to understand your business, your clients and your goals. They know how to bring all this research together into persuasive words. You’re employing a craftsman with the right tools, not someone who hammers out identical widgets day after day.
Even if you can find a specialist in your industry, that specialist writer might know too much about your industry. Specialists become industry experts themselves, which means they often lose sight of what non-experts don’t know. A specialist can forget what your prospects need to be told and to believe before they can be persuaded to call.
5. How copywriters decide their rates with a client
How copywriting services are priced
Copywriters can charge by the word, by the hour (or day), or by a fixed fee.
Charging by the word
The problem with paying somebody by the word is the incentive for the copywriter to write too much. You need someone who’s going to be succinct. This is especially important for any writing that will appear online.
Elegant writing uses as few words as possible. Your copywriter knows that, but if every cut is going to cost that writer a dollar or more, will they be able to make it?
If you’re paying by the word, there’s no incentive for the writer to distill their copy. The writer’s interests and yours are not aligned.
Charging by the hour
The potential downside of paying a copywriter by the hour is the lack of incentive for the copywriter to be quick or efficient.
Charging a fixed fee
Paying a fixing a fee gives the copywriter an incentive to write faster, which is good, but also to write with less care, which is bad.
That said, paying a fixed fee for copywriting is the best of the three choices. It gives you both certainty.
So how do you protect yourself from the risk that the copywriter will work too quickly to do a great job?
The trick is to protect yourself by making sure you’ve qualified the copywriter. If you’ve made the right choice, they’re not going to race because their reputation is on the line.
- Does it seem like the writer cares about you and your goals? (Have they at least asked what your goals are?)
- Do their clients say the writer pride themselves on doing a good job?
- Would those clients use the copywriter again or (better) have they used them again.
6. How much should it cost to get my website written?
Copywriting is an investment. The first question you have to answer for yourself is what is the return on investment you’re looking for from having a professional write your website copy?
Imagine your website brings in clients who spend $500 a time. If that is the case, it costs you $500 every time a good prospect isn’t impressed by your website and goes to a competitor. You lose $500 and, perhaps worse, your competitor makes $500.
When you think about the “cost” of copywriting, you’re probably thinking about the price the writer has quoted you. However, the real cost of copywriting is much more likely to be the lost business that you could have won with better copy. Those losses add up quickly.
- When hiring a copywriter for your website, decide first how you want to pay: hourly, by the word or fixed fee.
- Prepare questions to ask.
- Listen for the questions you’re asked. Does it sound like the copywriter will take the time to understand your business or are they going to stamp out something generic?
Ultimately, what you invest in copywriting for your website comes down to how effective you want your website to be in getting people to call you. The cost of a great copywriter will look insignificant next to what an average or bad copywriter will cost you in lost business.