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.