10 Things You Should Expect From Your Website CopywriterWritten by Glenn Murray
As websites and electronic commerce are becoming more and more common, business owners and marketing managers are realising that quality web copy is every bit as important as impressive design. And with ever increasing importance of search engine presence, role of web copy has never been more critical.
But in such a relatively new field, customers are still coming to grips with what they can expect of their website copywriter. The question a lot of people are asking is, “How do I know I’ll get what I pay for?”
Before engaging a website copywriter for your next project, ask them whether they’re able to provide you with following ten essentials…
1) Fixed Quote A lot of website copywriters will tell you they only work on an hourly rate. They’ll cite varying requirements, rapidly changing technologies, greater incentive, risk of customer indecision, and a host of other reasons why they can’t provide a fixed quote. But don’t be fooled. You have a right to know what job is going to cost you. If a website copywriter won’t give you a fixed quote, think twice…
2) Contract of Works to be Completed Just as important as a fixed quote is a signed contract. It may not be drawn up by a lawyer, but a written and signed document outlining works to be carried out, and cost of those works is essential. If a website copywriter is reluctant to provide a written, itemised quote including estimated number of words, you have to ask yourself why.
3) Timeframe Always ask how long your job is going to take. If you’ve already had a go at writing your own web copy, you’ll know how time consuming it is. Never make mistake of thinking job will be done in a day. Granted, a professional website copywriter will be very efficient in crafting your copy, but no matter who writer, a quality product requires time. And on top of writing time, remember that you’ll have to review and provide feedback on everything they write. In a lot of cases, it’s review phase that takes most time, so make sure you try to set some time aside, otherwise you’ll find yourself bottleneck!
4) Plan of Attack Try to get some idea from your website copywriter about how they plan to approach your project. Don’t be fooled into believing you have to hand over dollars before they’ll reveal their plan of attack. You have a right to be comfortable with their approach before you engage their services. Will you receive individual drafts of every page, or a single draft of entire site? What format will you receive finished product in? How many review iterations do they anticipate?
5) Samples A lot of ambitious web service providers of all types are calling themselves writers these days. They offer copywriting as a specialist service, but don’t engage a specialist to complete work. Always ask to see samples of their previous copy. Read it thoroughly and ask yourself, “Does this copy convey benefits?”. Pretend you’re intended audience and ask “Does this copy answer questions I need answered before I’ll buy?”
6) CV Most copywriters’ websites will give you a very high-level overview of their business and services they offer. Some even offer samples. But very few offer a professional biography of their writers. If you’re not happy relying on their website as your sole source of information, ask for a copy of their CV. The things you’re looking for are a professional history in writing, and preferably some tertiary education in same.
Writing SEO Copy – 8 Steps to SuccessWritten by Glenn Murray
We all know that lion’s share of web traffic comes through search engines. We also know that keywords and links to your site are two things that affect your ranking in search engines. Your keywords tell search engines what you do, and inbound links tell them how important you are. This combination is what determines your relevance. And relevance is what search engines are after.
There’s a lot of information around about how to incorporate keyword phrases into your HTML meta tags. But that’s only half battle. You need to think of these tags as street-signs. That’s how search engines view them. They look at your tags and then at your copy. If keywords you use in your tags aren’t used in your copy, your site won’t be indexed for those keywords.
But search engines don’t stop there. They also consider how often keyword phrase is used on page.
To put it simply, if you don’t pepper your site with your primary keywords, you won’t appear in search results when a potential customer searches for those keywords.
But how do you write keyword-rich copy without compromising readability?
Readability is all-important to visitors. And after all, it’s visitors that buy your product or service, not search engines.
By following these 8 simple guidelines, you’ll be able to overhaul copy on your website ensuring it’s agreeable to both search engines and visitors.
1) Categorise your pages Before writing, think about structure of your site. If you haven’t built your site yet, try to create your pages around key offerings or benefits. For example, divide your Second Hand Computers site into separate pages for Macs, and PCs, and then segment again into Notebooks, Desktops, etc. This way, you’ll be able to incorporate very specific keyword phrases into your copy, thereby capturing a very targeted market. If you’re working on an existing site, print out each page and label it with its key point, offering, or benefit.
2) Find out what keywords your customers are searching for Go to www.wordtracker.com and subscribe for a day (this will only cost you about AUD$10). Type in key points, offerings, and benefits you identified for each page, and spend some time analysing what words customers use when they’re searching for these things. These are words you’ll want to use to describe your product or service. (Make sure you read WordTracker’s explanation of their results.)
3) Use phrases, not single words Although this advice isn’t specific to web copy, it’s so important that it’s worth repeating here. Why? Well firstly, there’s too much competition for single keywords. If you’re in computer sales, don’t choose “computers” as your primary keyword. Go to Google and search for “computers” and you’ll see why… Secondly, research shows that customers are becoming more search-savvy – they’re searching for more and more specific strings. They’re learning that by being more specific, they find what they’re looking for much faster. Ask yourself what’s unique about your business? Perhaps you sell cheap second hand computers? Then why not use “cheap second hand computers” as your primary keyword phrase. This way, you’ll not only stand a chance in rankings, you’ll also display in much more targeted searches. In other words, a higher percentage of your site’s visitors will be people after cheap second hand computers. (WordTracker’s results will help you choose most appropriate phrases.)