When we begin a website project, one of the first questions looming is where the content will come from.
This question is part of our onboarding process, but even still, as the client you may not know what to expect or what we are even looking for.
In this post, we’re going to describe what website copywriting is, why your business needs it, and a rough idea of what it should cost you to have it done.
A Different Take on Website Copywriting
Before we dive in, there is a caveat that you must understand when it comes to working with us. Most web design companies do not do copywriting. And in fact, most of them do not even facilitate the connection between you and a copywriter.
We have a different take on this.
If your business is quite niche, or you’re a good writer with a good sense of what you’d like your site to say, we’re quite happy for you to provide the content.
Many we work with are not in this situation, however.
For that reason, we like to make the copywriting for the website just as much a part of the process as the design itself.
If needed, we will build copywriting costs into our arrangement with you, to make sure you have a well-performing site that reads clearly and presents well to your target audience.
Website Copywriting: It’s More than “Just Words”
Website copy is, just as much as anything else, marketing copy.
It is language that has been carefully crafted to explain the value your business provides to the person who is most likely to become a customer, client, student, etc.
Some have the idea that this type of copywriting is unnecessarily “hype-y” and would not resonate with their audience.
The truth is that, most people are motivated by the same ideas.
While your website should use conversational language (not that nasty “corporate lingo”), it should also be persuasive in nature.
Have you noticed that the structure and language of infomercials has not changed very much during your lifetime?
It’s fascinating that, despite the technological advances, new platforms, new tools and resources, when it comes to the triggers that cause people to take action, very little has changed.
And one of the biggest mistakes any business can make is to allow new platforms to dictate the way in which you speak to your customers.
Marketing is not about platforms. These are just delivery mechanisms that help us spread the message further and wider.
At the end of the day, the same things get customers and clients to spend with you today as they did yesterday. These items include:
- Using emotion over logic
- Using urgency and scarcity
- Injecting curiosity into your headlines
- Leading prospects to the right decision
- Personality and authenticity, with a few timeless principles in mind
- Actively pursuing a purchase rather than passive suggestion
- Giving people lots of benefits to becoming a customer or client
- Providing a guarantee that makes it a no-brainer to say “yes!”
- And lots more…
The point is that the copy on your website is not simply words that describe who you are and what you do.
They do this, yes, but with an emphasis on ensuring the prospect knows what to do with your message in order to move to the next phase of the relationship.
The Single Biggest Website Copywriting Mistake That is Costing You Thousands Every Year
I am going to share this mistake with you—but first, I want to get “meta” and analyze this headline for a moment.
Are you curious to learn more about what the biggest mistake is? I said things like:
- It is the SINGLE biggest — what could that be?
- I said it’s a mistake. You want to learn how to avoid mistakes, right?
- It’s costing you thousands?! What on earth could be such a big deal that it’s costing thousands of dollars?
- And it does this every year? Ok, there’s no way. Don’t you want to know what it is?
That headline triggers an emotional curiosity in you. And that’s the point. There was nothing unethical or hype-y about that headline. I’m going to deliver!
But if I want you to keep reading, I can’t be boring.
I could have written the headline: “Why You Should Use Emotion In Your Website Copywriting”
And you know what, that headline might be okay. But it’s just okay. It doesn’t give you a real reason to keep reading.
So, spoiler alert, your website copywriting should be full of emotional language.
Please don’t ever forget this very simple principle: People buy on emotion and justify with logic.
Nobody has ever rationalized their way into a Ferrari. It just doesn’t happen.
If a dude wants a Ferrari, he wants it because of those sleek lines, the gorgeous red color, the Lambo style doors, etc. It’s all emotional.
Now, he may quickly switch to logic and rationalization when he explains his “need” for this vehicle to his wife. “It will help me make more sales. I’ll only drive it on the weekends, so it won’t use much gas.” And on and on and on.
But he didn’t buy for any of those reasons. He wanted to feel the emotion of owning the car. That’s the only reason, period.
Therefore, most of your website copy should speak to the customer’s needs, wants, desires, and how your products, services, or programs can help fulfill those.
When Should the Website Copywriting Be Completed?
Recall from our process that we like to have the content in hand before we start designing your website, if at all possible.
The reason for this is twofold:
- Frankly, it is much easier to design a website around content than to create a design and force the content to fit into it.
- More importantly, the website should be designed around content. The content comes first, and the design is there to support it.
So we always recommend completing all market research and content writing before design work starts.
The one possible exception to this is your homepage.
Oftentimes, the information you provide in our onboarding questionnaire will be sufficient for us to begin work designing the homepage of your website.
It won’t be complete until the final copy is written, but it gives us a head start so that the project can move ahead and stay on schedule.
The Website Copywriting Process
I would encourage you to keep an open mind throughout this process, as we may suggest things that stretch your current mindset.
We will always strive to stay within any boundaries you set, and it’s ultimately your website, but if we can stretch those in a way that will stay true to your brand but provide better results, that’s what we’ll aim to do.
Website Copywriting Step 1. Market Research
Assuming we are going to write the content for your website, the first thing we’ll do is conduct research into your business, your market category, and your clients.
Simply put, the better we understand your business, the better we can write about it.
The market research we do may include interviewing you, a few of your clients (with your permission), and general Internet research around your business and business model.
Website Copywriting Step 2. Copy Proposal & Review
After we feel confident in your business and market, we’ll proceed to write suggested copy for the pages that need it.
Once we have that copy in place, we’ll send it to you and ask for any potential changes you’d like to see.
You’ll provide us with any suggested revisions, and we will go back to the copy to make sure it’s in line with your expectations.
(Remember, though, to keep your mind open to the possibilities! We work with expert copywriters who know how to make website visitors take action, so usually our first draft is going to be on point from that perspective.)
Website Copywriting Step 3. Copy Finalization
Then, finally, we’ll finalize that copy and our designers will begin to apply it to the website itself.
We think you’ll find this to be a smooth process that is unique from any you’ve experienced before.
How Much Should You Expect to Pay for Website Copywriting?
This is a fantastic question. And the answer, as you might imagine, is “it depends.”
Never fear—we’ll explain why and give you some ballpark ranges to think about.
Website Copywriting Rates During an Existing Build
As you may know, our company operates on a largely subscription-based model.
This means that our website design services are not paid for in draws or lump payments. Instead, you pay a monthly fee for our ongoing services. (You can learn more about that here.)
Sometimes, we do require setup fees, depending on the needs of the project. If you’d like us to do the website copywriting for you, there will be a setup fee involved.
The average website would incur a setup fee between $900-$1500 to complete the copywriting. (Not bad to make sure your website is professionally written and speaking to your intended audience.)
One-Off Website Copywriting Jobs
What if you’re not in an active website build with us, but still need some website copywriting work?
No worries! Even though we always prefer working together for a while via the subscription web design model, we’re open to some one-off collaboration to give you the best service possible.
Since there’s no way to guess your exact needs in a blog post like this, however, it is much harder to give you an idea of final price.
On average, we end up somewhere around $300-$500 per page for general website copy. Content-based writing ends up a bit cheaper than that, and sales-based writing comes in a bit more expensive.
How Do Your Rates Compare to Other Options?
We are not the right fit for everyone, and we completely understand that.
In fact—we understand that even our content may not be the right fit to answer every question, including this one.
Although we can truthfully say that nothing we’ve read to this point has caused us to alter our pricing (we are confident in our value and methodology), we did some preparation prior to writing this article and came across some excellent resources which answered this question.
A quick skim through those posts show the average rates you might pay for different word counts, across different kinds of pages, from writers with varying levels of experience.
We encourage you to check them out and see if feel our pricing is competitive.
Other Considerations for Website Copywriting
Of course, it’s not all about pricing. (In my opinion, copywriting is a service on which you should spare no expense—it’s that important.)
There are some additional considerations you should think about.
Resources & Experience
I grouped resources and experience together because you may be surprised to know that copywriting is not creative writing.
In fact, I have met people who took up copywriting pretty quickly once they learned how to put the “building blocks” together.
Great copy is not about creativity or experience, necessarily. It’s much more about resources.
If your copywriting team has creativity, experience, and resources, all the better!
You may request to see previous work from your copywriting team, and they should be willing and able to show you some examples.
We do not make our projects publicly available, but we’d be happy to show examples of our work upon request.
This is the biggie. In fact, it’s what we’ve staked our entire reputation on.
No amount of experience, previous work, or resources can make up for a lack in communication skills and staying in touch throughout a project.
You should count on your copywriting team to have a process, regular touch points throughout that process, and the ability for you to get in contact whenever needed.
If you don’t have that, you don’t have a good team. During your assessment of the available options, make sure to vet the communication style of the team you’re working with.
If you get a bad vibe, drop ‘em and move on to the next option. This is too important for you to cut corners or sacrifice communication.
Once again, the question of website copywriting is probably one of the most common ones we receive.
A professional should handle the copywriting on your website. At the very least, if you write your own copy, a professional should copyedit it to make sure it will be effective.
If you’d like to request more information about copywriting or copyediting services (both of which we provide), please fill out this form to request a quote.
We’ll be in touch ASAP and can answer any questions you might have.
If you’d like to learn about what else goes into building a brand new website, please visit this resource that explains our process, or this one that covers how much you should expect to pay for a new website.
Disclaimer: All prices mentioned are current as of October 2022. Rates are subject to change at any time.