Ink Gardener's Question Time

What does a copywriter do? How long does it take to write a website?


What does a copywriter do? How long does it take to write a website?

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Ink Gardener's Question Time

I’ve been a professional business writer in the UK for more than 20 years. Our Britishness can sometimes make it hard to ask questions. Here are my answers to a few that have come up in the past:

What does a copywriter do?

A copywriter writes copy. Copy means words or text. In advertising this could be a strapline such as “Naughty but nice”. It could be a description of a museum on a flyer. Or a catalogue description of a product.

I specialise in web content. I write pages such as About us, your Services or Products and the metadata to make it Google-friendly.

Can’t I just write the website words myself?

Absolutely. Many businesses do. But many businesses are then disappointed to find their beautiful website is languishing in Google rankings. Or that customers are confused by it.

“We are not our customers” is wise advice. We already know all about the service or product we offer. I ask the questions your customers would and make sure your website answers them.

Can a website answer all my customers’ questions?

No, but if a website can answer 80% of them, that gives you more time to answer the trickier 20%. Also a website is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to the world. Do you want to miss out on a big order from Australia because you’re not there to answer a simple question?

Can I just send you our marketing plan rather than meeting?

My copywriting holds up a mirror to you and repackages your words in the most appealing way to customers. Talking, be that in person, on the phone or on Skype, allows me to discover what’s bubbling at the top of your mind.

It’s not an inquisition, just a chat to find out:

  • what you want the website to do
  • who your ideal customer is
  • how you want to present your business
  • the words and phrases you like to use to give a flavour of what your brand or company is all about

Do you offer coding or graphic design skills?

I am not a web developer or graphic designer. However I can manipulate images in Photoshop. For example I’ve created all the graphics on this website using off-the-peg botanical images and stock images. So if an image needs resizing during a web content migration project, I can do this.

I can also handcode HTML which means I understand basic coding structure. This helps me describe bugs in a way a web developer understands. If needs be, it also means I can change the nuts and bolts of structure in older content management systems, for example during the Hadrian’s Wall website project.

I know some excellent professional coders and designers here in York and further afield whom I can recommend.

Is copywriting anything to do with copyright?

A copywriter – with an W – writes copy, as in text. Copyright – with an R – refers to the legal right of someone to use something. However copywriters have to be aware of plagiarism. Sometimes our work overlaps with adding images and avoiding using photos illegally. Read more about this in my article on How to legally use photos on the web.

Can you provide a free sample of copywriting?

I’m afraid not. This web page shows my writing style – succinct and conversational, peppered with questions. Also please take a look at my portfolio of past projects for more of a taster.

How long does it take to write a website?

It depends on its complexity. For my most popular Window Box package of up to 8 pages, I work on it over 4 weeks. But this depends on how quickly we can communicate. I’m not writing constantly but dealing with other projects and clients.

Need it more urgently?

Depending on my schedule, rush orders may be possible.

Can I use the web copy you’ve written for us elsewhere?

Absolutely! I will transfer the copyright of the work I’ve created after final payment. Past clients have adapted my words for:

  • Social media content
  • Pitches and proposals
  • Leaflets and flyers
  • Adverts
  • Background information for journalists and trade fair directories

Do you work with marketing agencies?

Yes, I can step in as an extra pair of hands for agencies across the UK. I have been the confidential ghostwriter for many projects. These include course descriptions for one of the UK’s leading universities, SEO keyword research for a software company and hotel websites.

How much do you charge?

I’m not the cheapest copywriter, but nor am I the most expensive. As well as words, I write metadata and tick as many checkboxes as possible to make your website as attractive to Google as possible. Plus I bring two decades’ worth of experience to the table.

I’m cheaper than a part-time member of staff as you don’t pay my tax, sickness allowance, National Insurance contributions, holiday allowance or pension contribution.

Check out my most popular web content package rates.

How do you charge?

I usually quote per project. The fewer the words, the harder it is to write which is why I don’t provide a per word rate.

Does copywriting come before the web design stage?

If your navigation structure is obvious, then no. If you need my help structuring pages into logical sections, then yes.

Most web designers just use dummy content to kick off the design process. More complicated projects such as the Durham Cathedral overhaul needed me to write example pages of Home, section pages and sub pages first. It depends on your project.

When should we approach you?

I write content based on what you tell me. So make sure you’re clear what your service, project or charity goal is first. However I’m happy to take advanced bookings. Just start collecting as many testimonials as you can in the meantime!

How can I get in contact?

Just email me at or call me on 07929 948 743.

Check out my wheelbarrow brimming with useful skills:

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