Writing web copy is the most time consuming part of a website project; however, many of my clients do it themselves successfully. I don’t think I’ll be psyching anyone out unnecessarily if I say most everyone finds it challenging.
Here’s what makes this a challenging project:
* It takes time. Say you want to start with a 5 page site. Then budget 5-15 hours to write the copy.
* It’s your business. It can be hard to know what needs to be explained and what is obvious. People are understandably invested in their business and the success of their website; however some people tend to get perfectionistic about what they say and it bogs down the process.
Here is the writing advice I give my clients:
1. Outline the site. I help all my website clients plan their site. Examples of sections to include are: home, services, mission or philosophy, what to expect, etc.
2. Write your draft all the way through. That means don’t write multiple drafts of one section until it’s perfect. Instead, write a rough draft or first draft of the whole site.
When you are done you can look at all the pieces and better decide what goes where, what to add, and what to delete. You’ll also be all warmed up which will make the second or third draft easier.
3. Start with the most concrete part. Usually that’s the services page.
4. Follow these basic rules of web copy writing: Short sentences. Short paragraphs. No jargon. If you have to use an unusual word, explain it right away.
5. Reflect on what pace is right for you. Some people set regular writing time once a day or once a week. Other people sit down and do it all at once over 2-3 days or a week. Most of my clients write one section a week for 5-8 weeks and then move into the second or final draft.
Below are some tips to get it done if you get stuck:
1. Look for emotional baggage. Write about why you think you are stuck. Is it something about writing or your business? Do you have big questions about how you are doing business? Who can help you answer those questions?
2. Do you have enough time and how can you make time to do the writing?
3. Use tricks. Promise yourself a reward. Focus on how the Website is going to help you grow your business. Write down your goal or map it out as a step-by-step process and post it on your desk.
4. Write some interview questions. Interview yourself, tape yourself and then type up your Website draft.
5. You’ve probably heard of exercise buddies. Find a writing buddy–someone you know who is also writing Website content or has a similar writing project. Work together to plan your writing assignments and check in with each other at the end of the week.
Many people discover that doing it themselves helps them articulate the benefits of their service better. They become better at talking about their business. ??On the other hand, if you don’t want to do it yourself or don’t have time, hire a copywriter (like me) to write it or coach you through writing it.
Whatever you do, get your website up quickly, so your business starts taking advantage of the marketing leverage.
Karen Nierlich is a partner at Full Orbit Web and Marketing (FOW), marketing expert and web copy writer. Her San Francisco Bay Area internet marketing firm FOW helps small and medium business succeed online with services that include web design, web programming, SEO expertise and social media consulting and implementation.