If you’ve recently decided to revamp your website, (or even develop one from scratch), you’re probably feeling pretty excited. After all a web project is a pretty big deal
I’m guessing you’ve already got some ideas bubbling around in your head, and an idea of what you want it to look like. You may have even contracted a graphic designer to build your site. How exciting!
And if you plan on this website being really, super awesome, you may have even set aside some budget to engage a copywriter to write your web copy. Even better!
So, it’s all systems go, right?
Well, not quite. Here are 5 things you should consider BEFORE you get too carried away.
1. What’s your purpose?
It’s an obvious question, but why are you developing a website? Are you selling product? Selling services? Want to position yourself better in the market? Want to build credibility as a provider? There are many reasons why businesses invest in websites. Make sure you know what the purpose behind yours is, or you could be spending a whole lot of money, for very little return.
2. Have you got your blueprint?
Before you build a house, you get an architect to draw up the plans. Building a website isn’t that different. Often referred to as information architecture, this process involves working out what content you’re going to include on your site and where it will all sit. Avoid working it out as you go, or adding new pages ‘here and there’ as you need them. Spending some time early on in the web project — before writing or design has begun, can save you a lot of money in the long-term.
3. Design: more than graphics
Speaking of design, I know it’s pretty important, but determining your purpose for a website, and the kind of content you’re going to include on your site needs to come first. Don’t get caught up in the dazzle of design, colours and fancy-schmancy effects until you’re clear on what you need your website to do. If you don’t have a clear brief to give your designer, then you run the risk of your web project blowing out the budget big time, and still not getting what you really need.
4. How will you say…what you need to say?
The way you say something is just as important as what you say. Knowing your tone of voice (TOV) is vital. TOV is also known as your business branding and should form the basis of all your communications and marketing materials — including your website. The way you present your company and your message should be consistent, across all media. Are you authoritative? Friendly? Hipster? Your TOV not only determines your written copy, but may also have some impact upon the design brief you provide your web designer. Take the time to develop one. If you don’t know how, engage a copywriter who knows how to do it.
5. Copy: the last piece of the puzzle?
Ah yes, the copy. Ironically, copy is often the last piece of the puzzle that business owners focus on when developing their websites. However, without the right copy, your website may not even get noticed. Don’t be fooled into thinking that your web guy (or gal), will sort out the SEO for you. SEO is more than just design. By weaving key SEO words throughout your web copy, and writing smart meta tags, you vastly increase your chances of being found on google. Not sure how to do this? Then hire a copywriter for your web project.
SEO aside, plain good content on a website is just better. If your clients do find your website and it’s full of clunky copy with typos and spelling mistakes, or sentences that ramble and never makes a point, guess what they’re going to do? Yep. Click out of your website.The most successful web projects are those that combine great design with awesome copywriting Click To Tweet
The winning formula
When it comes to successful web projects, I think there’s a winning formula. And it involves three key people.
You + a web designer + a copywriter = SUCCESS!
It pays to invest in a fabulous web designer and a great copywriter. But that’s not the real secret.
The secret is for your web designer to work with your copywriter for the duration of the project, if possible. And the best part – if you can develop a really clear client brief for both parties, you can pretty much leave your designer and copywriter to it, and simply be there to answer questions, and be available for approvals.
How to turn the formula into success
From my experience, a successful web project results from following these simple steps:
- You deliver a very clear brief to your designer and copywriter (this should include your TOV document).
- You instigate the introductions between these two creative geniuses.
- The designer and copywriter have a chat about how they will work together on the project.
- The designer comes up with a design, which you approve. This gives the copywriter an idea of word-length for each section. A good copywriter will be able to write to specification and word-limit. Simply asking your copywriter to write, while the designer starts designing, isn’t smart. It means you’ll end up spending more money than you have to, because every edit or re-write of copy, will cost you money. And with every design change, the scope of the copywriting changes, meaning extra charges again.
- The copywriter writes the copy (perhaps with some interaction with the designer) which you approve.
- The designer adds the copy into the design, and identifies areas that need tweaking. This could be copy, or design. You obviously have the final say over recommendations.
- You approve the project, and your website goes live!
Where to from here?
If you’re about to embark on a web project, seriously think about spending some money upfront to ensure you’re clear on what your aims are. This might involve hiring a business coach, marketing expert, or branding consultant.A Tone of Voice document could be one of the best investments you'll make in your business. Click To Tweet
Develop your TOV document. Any great copywriter can help you with that. Believe me, it will make your life (and the life of any design contractors) a lot easier. We currently have 10% off the cost of writing a TOV document for you, so please contact me to claim your discount.
Source a web designer. Make sure they have a clear understanding of what you want, and that they listen to you. They should also understand that copy and design go hand-in-hand, and therefore be willing to work alongside a copywriter. Most importantly, make sure you like them. You’ll be spending lots of time with them.
Find a great copywriter. (I’m ready and waiting for your call!) Your copywriter should have experience writing SEO copy and working on website copy. They should ask you to fill in a copywriting brief, to ensure they’re clear on what you require. They should also be happy to work with a web designer, and see their collaboration as key to the success of the project.
Developing a website can be a lot of hard work. But having the right team working with you can make all the difference.