A website is often the first way a potential client encounters your company. In the past, they may have turned to the Yellow Pages, but now the fastest way to get the products and services you need is by doing a web search. But what happens after they land on your web page? Do they take a risk and give you a call, or do they click away and move on to the next site?
The decision they make relies heavily on how effective your web copy is. That’s why it’s so important to put your best foot forward with professionally written copy — yet many companies make the mistake of trying to take the task on themselves. After all, you did well in high school English, right? Or maybe Jane in HR really enjoys writing. But if you want copy that will get potential clients to pick up the phone and order, you want to hire a professional for the job. The money you invest will be well worth it.
A good web writer…
…provides objectivity. You know your business inside and out. You understand the state of the industry, and you know exactly what your customers want. So why shouldn’t you just write the copy yourself? Often being too close to a topic makes it harder for you to explain. Things that may seem obvious to you aren’t for a layman. You may inadvertently forget to get basic information across because you’re too busy focusing on what makes you unique. A good copywriter will take the expertise and information you share and incorporate that into the copy, but he or she will also provide an outside prospective. What might be missing? What might be unclear?
…will take the time to do it right. If you take the task on yourself, it’s unlikely you’ll be able to simply drop all your other responsibilities to focus on the project. The same is true if you give the project to someone else at the company. A professional writer has the time to thoroughly research and think through each word and idea that will appear on your site.
…is a grammar nerd. One of the surefire ways to lose a potential customer is to come across as unprofessional, and spelling and grammar errors on your site will do just that. Even if you decide to tackle a first draft of the copy yourself, it’s a good idea to hire a professional editor to clean it up for you.
…can help you organize your ideas. You’ve got a lot you want to say, but you’re not sure where to start. Or maybe you don’t have any clue what your website should cover. No problem! Professional writers deal with this all the time, helping their clients to develop their ideas and turn them into polished copy.
…will get to the point. Good web copy is short. People often don’t read every word on a page; instead, they skim. That’s why it’s important to make every word count, something a good copywriter is adept at doing.
…is reasonably priced. You don’t have to pay an arm and a leg to get professionally written copy. Most writers have low overhead costs. After all, they usually just need a laptop, an internet connection, and a desk to get their job done. But beware of writers that charge very low prices. They may spend very little time on your project, and that’s not what you want. Your goal is to find a professional who has the experience and knowledge needed to make your company look good.
Before hiring a professional, ask to see writing samples. Do they have specific experience in your field? This can be an advantage, but it isn’t always a necessary requirement. A good web writer is a quick study and able to write about many fields. When evaluating their portfolio, look for someone who has a lot of experience in your field or who has a wide breadth of experience writing about many topics effectively. Evaluate their style. Are they able to adapt it to each client’s needs, or is it consistent and exactly what you are looking for?