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

What does a copywriter do? How long does it take to write a website? Here are my answers, learnt from more than 25 years of writing for digital platforms:

What does a copywriter do?

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

Sowing words for websites and social media to attract customers is my specialism. I write pages such as Home, About, your services/products and the often unseen elements to entice Google.

Can I just write the website words myself?

Absolutely. Many businesses do. However, as the phrase goes, “It’s hard to read the label of the jar we’re in”.

We are not our customers. We already know all about the services or products we offer. A copywriter pretends to be your potential customer and makes sure your website makes sense to them.

Can a website answer all my customers’ questions?

No. But if a website answers 80% of them, you have more time to answer the trickier 20%.

A website is also open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to the world. Don’t miss out on that big order from Australia because you weren’t awake to answer a simple question!

Does copywriting come before or after the web design stage?

Usually after. Most web designers use dummy content to kick off the design process. A standard navigation structure is:

  • Home
  • About
  • Services/Products
  • Testimonials
  • Blog
  • Contact
  • Footer – with links to Terms and Conditions and your Privacy Policy

Sub-pages lie beneath these section headers.

Is your navigation structure more complicated? I can help organise pages into logical sections and write example content for your web developer.

For the Durham Cathedral website overhaul of 150-plus pages I wrote example Home, lead section and sub pages first.

What does a copywriter do – coding and graphic design skills

I’m not a web developer or graphic designer. But in 1997 I learned HTML, the coding language for websites. This means I understand basic coding structure and how to present information to your web designer.

I created all the graphics on this website manipulating off-the-peg images. I can also resize images using Photoshop and Canva. So if an image needs altering during a web content migration project, I can do it without bothering you.

Need a recommendation for a web developer or graphic designer? I know some great freelancers.

Rather than talking, can we just send you our marketing plan?

Yes, but only if you updated it yesterday.

My copywriting holds up a mirror to you. I repackage your words in the most appealing way to customers. Plus add a few more of course!

Talking, be that in person, on the phone or on a video call, accesses what’s bubbling at the top of your mind right now.

I promise it’s not an inquisition! It’s 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 /phrases you use to give a flavour of what your brand or company is all about

Vocalising your thoughts can be a powerful tool. Clients often find it therapeutic, even energising.

What does a copywriter do versus 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. This can involve Intellectual Property rights.

How long does it take to write a website?

It depends on the size of your website and how quickly you give feedback on the first draft.

For my most popular Window Box package of up to 8 pages, it usually takes about a month from kick-off to final draft sign-off.

I’m usually writing on three or four projects at a time. This is to your benefit, as it gives me space to reflect, tweak and polish.

Need it more urgently?

Depending on availability, rush orders may be possible. I follow the industry standard rush fee of 25% extra.

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

Absolutely! After final payment, I transfer the copyright of the work I’ve created to you. You can then do with it what you wish.

Treat it as your content library and recycle it 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 often step in as a professional associate or ghostwriter for individual projects.

Marketing agency copywriting projects include:

  • course descriptions for one of the UK’s leading universities
  • a hotel website
  • a private hospital website
  • a major transport project including route and destination descriptions
  • a luxury lighting company’s e-commerce descriptions

I’m happy to sign NDAs (Non-Disclosure Agreements).

How much do you charge?

As you’re getting the benefit of 25 years’ experience, I’m not the cheapest copywriter. But as I live in York I’m not as expensive as London-based copywriters and those in the south-east of the UK. Plus I include Search Engine Optimisation in all the web content I write.

How do you charge?

I have package prices and usually quote per project.

Check out my most popular web content packages, pre-written social media posts and training workshop rates.

Do your prices include VAT?

Yes, my prices include VAT.

Can you provide a free sample of copywriting?

No. This web page showcases my professional but friendly writing style. For more examples, please take a look at my portfolio of past projects.

Would you prefer a more formal, traditional tone? Then I’m probably not the right copywriter for you.

Do you offer any free advice or tips?

Yes, I’ve written lots of blogs packed with practical tips and advice. Popular ones include my free social media and blog calendar and How to become a freelance copywriter in the UK.

When should we approach you?

I write content based on what you tell me. So you need to be crystal clear about your service, project or charity goal.

If you’re not quite ready, you can reserve your place in advance. Just start collecting as many testimonials as possible in the meantime!

How can I get in contact?

I offer a free 30 minute no-obligation chat. Just email to arrange a quick chat or call me on 07929 948 743.

If I don’t pick up or reply immediately, I’m probably concentrating on client work. But please leave a message and I’ll get back to you.

Check out my wheelbarrow of web content skills:

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