So You’re a Website Copywriter – I Can Do That, It’s Easy!

Website copywriting is just a piece of cakeRunning your own website copywriting business sure beats working 9–5. It can be fun and, yes, it can be rewarding. But one thing it definitely ain’t and that is easy.

Yet, for some reason, many of the people I know assume that it’s all just a piece of cake. I mean, virtually everyone knows how to write, don’t they?

If only it were really that simple.

Writing for Websites Is Different

The first thing most people fail to realise is that writing content for a website is a million miles from all that stuff you once learnt in those English lessons at high school.

The point is that prospective clients aren’t really interested in your literary skills and neither are their customers. The same goes for search engines too.

What they want is lots of useful and meaningful content about your products and services. That way, they will have far more to go on when deciding what your website is about and will have all the information they need to help people find you in search.

On the other hand, what website visitors want is, on the surface, something entirely different.

They are impatient and want you to the cut to the chase as soon as possible, but at the same time still giving them all the information they need to make a decision to buy.

Combining these two elements can be difficult and takes a lot of time-consuming research and planning.

And so the mark of a truly accomplished website copywriter is perhaps NOT so much their ability to write BUT more their ability to arrange information – in other words, how they organise and structure what they write.

Writing a Blog Is Also Different

Let’s face it, a commercial blog is pretty pointless if it doesn’t drive traffic to your or your customer’s website.

So if you want to make a real go at blog writing as a means to making a living then first you’ll need to understand how to market your posts so that people can find them.

Then you have the issue of consistently finding something interesting to write about so that people actually read your blog.

And even then your job isn’t finished, as you still need to fulfil your ultimate objective – that is to get a regular flow of readers clicking away from your blog and through to your website.

But this is all for another time and we’ll be tackling this in detail in future blog updates.

Being Freelance Means Being a Business

Finally, no matter how good a copywriter you are, if you’re going to be a freelance, you’ll still need the business skills to back it up.

All of us are surely aware by now that most businesses fail within the first two years. So why should you think that your new website copywriting venture will be any different from any other business?

In my experience, one of the most difficult aspects to running a business is pricing your services.

But, as free online business resource The Start Up Donut discussed in an article earlier this year, there are many other pitfalls to starting up a new business and many different reasons why they fail.

So there you have it. Although I’ve barely scratched the surface here, you should at least have a better idea as to why being a website copywriter isn’t as easy as it first appears.

But if you still think you have what it takes to be a website content writer, then in my next post I’ll be introducing you to several brilliant online resources that no website copywriter should ever be without.

In our next post:  Check out our list of 5 world-class blogs that every content writer should read.

Blogger ProfileAbout the Author

Kevin Carlton of Write Online is a freelance SEO copywriter and blogger based in Stafford in the UK. He is owner of website copywriting service Write Online, which helps others get the most out of their online presence.

You can follow him on Twitter or connect with him on LinkedIn.

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8 comments on “So You’re a Website Copywriter – I Can Do That, It’s Easy!

  1. I truly agree with you that being a great copywriter does not automatically make you a successful freelancer. If you don’t have the entrepreneurial skills it is better if you find a content writing company and work for them. Thanks for sharing.

    • Many thanks for your comment Chadrack. You’ve helped no end to underline my point about having those all-important business skills.

  2. Kevin…this post couldn’t get any truer.

    Pricing my services was and still IS one of my biggest hurdles; sticking to my guns and refusing to lower my rates for some clients is still tough–but necessary.

    I also learned the hard way how challenging it can be to actually market your freelance writing business to clients, and how most of the “difficulty” lies in our own fear of marketing!

    I suppose being able to create effective copy that gets results for clients is precluded by successfully marketing your own services!

    • From what you’re saying, Jarvis, it’s seems then that I’m far from being alone in having had a ‘fear of marketing’.

      I guess one would best describe this as a combination of fear of rejection and anxiety about whether you’re up to the task should you succeed in getting the work.

  3. I know that I am definitely one who was once guilty of underestimating the time and effort it takes into being a website copywriter. What most people don’t realize that it’s not just sit down, write the piece, and you’re done. It is working with the client to figure out what they need.. pricing.. lots and lots of research (which can take huge chunks of time).. and finally, arranging all of this information effectively. It really takes a lot of time and patience to be a ‘professional’ website copywriter.

    • I totally agree, Julia, with your point that just so much of your time goes in to researching what goes into your copy.

      Yet when you’re finished and ready to present the content to your client, it can almost look incredibly easy.

      Still, as your web copywriting business develops and you attract better clients, the more they tend to understand what’s involved.

  4. You’re absolutely right. There is so much that goes into writing good copy than most people realize. Most clients think that you just need to type something out and that’s it. I guess that’s why many people try negotiate rates based on “how long it would take to write 500 words” for instance.

    • Yeah, Bill, you can spot those types of prospect when they say things like I’d write the copy myself, but I haven’t got time.

      These people just want someone to fill in the blanks with any old crap and think that’s all what copywriters do.

      This is also why I’m no longer just a general-purpose copywriter. Instead I’ve decided to specialise in cloud computing – as you’re perceived as having some level of expertise and get paid better accordingly.

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