How to choose the best copywriter for your website
Every week our website copywriters in Sydney talk to business owners who’ve had “do something about website” on their to-do list for ages. Sometimes they’ve been thinking for years about writing a better website. But they’ve been too busy; they’re confused about the options, or they don’t know where to start.
Before you push your website down your to-do list for another week, here are a few things you should think about.
Why is a good website critical?
1. Your competitors’ websites are setting customer expectations
If everyone in your field has a rubbish website, you might not be losing too much business if yours isn’t great either. But if your competitors’ websites are working properly, they’ll be siphoning off business that could be yours. In that case, you need the best website copywriter you can find.
2. You’re not making the first impression on your potential customers: your website is
Your website is often the first thing people see of your business. That’s true whether your traffic comes in cold from Google or people have heard about you and go to your website to check you out before calling.
If your website is tired, unfocused and not doing its job well, that’s how your business will come across. (The elements that make a good website are the reason many people think websites are so expensive.)
3. Your website should be a constant source of new business
A good website moves visitors along a path from browser to buyer before you’ve even met them. Your website copywriting does this by:
- Working to a plan — you know what your website can do and you’ve written it to do that efficiently
- Educating visitors — not everyone who visits your site will know enough to buy from you. You have to educate visitors so they can buy.
- Getting their details — Why do the best websites work so hard to get your email address? Because email marketing is as powerful as it gets. That’s why you need to write a brilliant lead magnet as well as a website.
Copywriters are experts in writing and persuasion. They can take your stack of marketing messages and convey them in a tone that is both appealing and convincing for prospects. They are your business’ secret weapon for persuading consumers still on the fence to take the action you desire on your website.
These three things are why choosing the right copywriter for your website is an important business decision. But the first question is actually…
Do I actually need a copywriter for my business?
As copywriters, you’d expect us to shout YES, you DO need a professional copywriter for your business but…
Some businesses need a copywriter. Others don’t. So a better answer is that whether you need a copywriter depends on what your business is looking to achieve and where it is along the road. There are many factors that make up a good website; copywriting is just one of them (albeit the most important).
Sometimes a business doesn’t need a copywriter
A copywriter has one job: to persuade your ideal client to do something. For instance, a copywriter can encourage prospects to buy your product or service. So doesn’t every business need a copywriter, then?
Not if the website doesn’t have traffic.
A copywriter can only persuade prospects who exist. If your website, landing page or other marketing material isn’t getting any visitors, there’s no one for the copywriter to persuade.
You can solve the problem of zero visitors to your website in many ways. You could improve your SEO, run Google or Facebook ads, send direct mail, run an email campaign, or strike out on LinkedIn and any number of other channels.
But if your business doesn’t have any plan to distribute your copywriting, you don’t need a copywriter because you won’t have an audience for what they write.
Is it worth it to hire a copywriter to write an article?
Whether you should hire an expert to write an article depends on what you want from that article. You should consider a professional writer if it’s important for your target audience to:
- Read all or most of your article or blog post
- Believe that you’re knowledgeable in your field
- Contact you, read more on your website or otherwise take a specific action
Should I hire an SEO copywriter?
SEO copywriting is the art of writing articles that convince Google that your site has good answers to the questions people are typing into Google. If you’re taking SEO seriously, it’s probably worth hiring an SEO copywriter who understands how to write for Google and humans, especially if you need many blog posts or articles that you don’t have time to write yourself.
Is it okay to get SEO copywriting done overseas?
SEO copywriting on its own might be something you can leave safely in the hands of a writer outside Australia. However, you might consider looking for a Sydney website copywriter, or if not a copywriter where you are then one who will most easily tune into your readers. That’s if you need your copy to go to the next level — convincing the humans that Google sends to your website.
Should your copywriter be objective or subjective?
A good copywriter should be objective at the beginning of the engagement. That’s because it’s your copywriter’s job to stand in for your most skeptical prospect. That’s why a good copywriter will ask you difficult questions. Many of those questions will start with “why”.
When your copywriter is asking those difficult questions, it might feel like your copywriter is challenging the quality of your business. However, a copywriter who knows where your weaknesses are can counter them in your direct response marketing.
Your copywriter needs to be truly objective about your competition, too. What are they good at? What are they bad at? In what ways might they be better than you?
The more your copywriter knows about your strengths and your weaknesses, the better they can craft persuasive copywriting. It’s why research is the most important principle of copywriting.
When does your copywriter stop being objective?
Once your copywriter has absorbed all the research, the strong and the not-so-strong, that’s when your copywriter becomes much less objective. Now, your copywriter will shift to a more evangelical stance about your product or service.
To write a persuasive website, at the writing stage your copywriter must believe fervently that you are better than your competition. That’s because any doubt that exists in the copywriter will creep into the copy. And you need your copywriter to have no doubt that you are the obvious best answer for your prospects, whether they’re writing a services page or writing your About Us page.
6 tips for choosing the perfect website copywriter
There are thousands of copywriters in the market. They have different levels of experience, ability, writing styles and ideas for your website. And their quotes will vary wildly (and not always according to ability).
Looking for the right website copywriter 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. That’s because:
- Bad website copywriting won’t turn visitors into clients. (Actually, bad copywriting on your website might turn visitors 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.
These six tips will show you:
- 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 . The most important questions when looking for a copywriter
Of course the process of looking for a copywriter involves you asking questions. But the most important questions are the ones the copywriter asks you. 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 that blurted out “$100 million”? Or would you be drawn to the one that said, “We don’t know yet. We 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 great copywriters need to know whom they’ve got to persuade and what they’ve got to persuade them to do. Without knowing those things, a copywriter 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 playing a variation on that tune.
What will persuade people to take action is your point of difference. The right web copywriter will have proven copywriting processes in place to work with you to identify your difference, the one that matters to your ideal clients.
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. A great copywriter will dive into your product or service to understand what makes it different. They will then use that knowledge to create engaging copy that communicates that unique selling point to your prospects.
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 copywriter isn’t interested in winning your business, how interested are they likely to be in you after they have the job?
4. Questions to ask a copywriter before choosing one
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 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 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 those prospects can be persuaded to call.
5. How copywriters charge
Copywriters can charge by the word, by the hour (or day), or by a fixed fee for a projecxt.
Charging by the word for copywriting
If you’re paying by the word, the writer’s interests and yours are not aligned. The incentive is for the copywriter to write too much. Elegant writing uses no more words than is necessary Your copywriter knows that. However, if every word cut is going to cost that writer a dollar or more, will they be able to chop the text?
Charging by the hour for copywriting
Similar to the problem with charging by the word for copywriting, the potential downside of paying a copywriter by the hour is the lack of incentive for the copywriter to be efficient.
Charging a fixed project fee for a copywriting project
Paying a fixing a fee gives the copywriter an incentive to write faster, which is good. However, they also have an incentive 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 certainty to both client and copywriter.
So how do you protect yourself from the risk that the copywriter will work too quickly and not do a great job as a result?
The trick is to protect yourself by making sure you’ve qualified the copywriter. If you’ve made the right choice, the copywriter isn’t going to race because their reputation is on the line. When you’re deciding which copywriter you want to work with, ask yourself this:
- 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 in an asset the delivers returns day after day. That being the case, the first question you have to answer for yourself is what is the return on investment you’re looking for from having an expert write your website copy?
Imagine your website brings in clients who spend $500 a time. If that’s the case, it costs you $500 in lost revenue every time a good prospect isn’t impressed by your website and goes to a competitor. You lose $500 and your competitor makes $500, all because your website wasn’t good enough to keep the prospect.
This is another way of looking at the “cost” of your copywriting. The real cost of a website will never be what you pay the copywriter; it will be the business you lose if you didn’t get the right copywriter. The cost of a great copywriter will look insignificant next to what an average or bad copywriter will cost you in lost business.
How can Taleist help ?
One of our clients gave us the phrase “an unreasonable friend”. An unreasonable friend is someone who asks the tough questions and holds you accountable. That’s part of what a great copywriter is, an unreasonable friend. We help our clients to see exactly where they are better than the competition — often in ways our clients hadn’t seen for themselves.
As Sydney web copywriters, not only do we give our clients persuasive websites and high-converting landing pages, we give them an articulation of their unique selling proposition — the thing that makes them the obvious answer for their ideal clients.
Our clients take the language we shape for them everywhere from their sales meetings to the copywriting on their LinkedIn profiles. (Clients also take our online course on writing winning LinkedIn profiles and posts.)
If you’re looking for a copywriter to make your website work hard for you, we’d love to know more and see if we can help.