The First Step in Website Design: Copywriting

So you’re designing a new website, and you’re excited about choosing your colors and taking new photos and all those very visible things…

But then your web designer says… so where’s the content for the site?

screeeeeech

What content? You didn’t know writing 20 pages of text was part of this process.

So, of course, you say you’ll work on it. And you throw a few headlines on the page. Your service area… years in business…. list of services or products.

But the designer is like, well, this isn’t enough content.

And you’re stuck because you don’t have time to write another word. Doesn’t this person understand you have a business to run???

And the designer says, well, we can hire a copywriter or refer someone you can hire yourself.

Usually, that’s when you would meet me 😊

But today, let’s back up and explain why they possibly could need content before they can design your website.

What is Copywriting?

Copywriting is the written content on your website with the goal of selling something. It has a strategy for every word on the page, and often how the page is laid out, to guide the reader through the journey and make a purchase.

Copywriters use various strategies to write the website copy, typically interviewing past end-users, compiling reviews and testimonials, and then determining the pain points this product solves. Many small business owners start the search for a copywriter because they are working with a web designer and suddenly realize they need content for this new website.

While you, as a business owner, might feel like you are the only one who can write for your business… you might find you’re too close to the product to discover and bring out the most compelling points.

Of course, some business owners get too busy to write their own copy, or they’re concerned about search engine optimization and choose to outsource the project to a copywriter.

But did you know this is actually the first step in the process??

Website Design: Copywriting Comes First

When business owners think about website design, copywriting may not even cross their minds. But here are the primary reasons the copy drives the design process.

Logistics

The designer needs to know how much text you have before they create a text box… maybe you discover your process actually has four steps instead of three… or the amazing client testimonial needs a larger bubble on the page. If you start with copywriting, your website designer will know what to do.

Keeps it interesting

Your copy should be interesting enough in a plain ol’ Word doc that the design polishes it off.

Good copy compels visitors to keep scrolling.

Works anywhere!

Good copy isn’t just for your website! You can (and should!) use your new copy for social media posts, sales calls, email campaigns… Copywriters spend a lot of time researching your buyers: use this information anywhere!

Some of the biggest sales happen on a plain sales page with lots of text (in fact, most marketers argue high prices require more copy). So, your website design isn’t complete without copywriting.

What happens when you fill in content later:

I mentioned a few examples under the Logistics point above, and we’ve all done it before, but you really can’t just fill in the content later.

This is SO TEMPTING.

Maybe you bought a beautiful theme, and you can replace Lorem ipsum boxes… that can’t be bad, right??

But you’re limiting your messaging. You don’t get to tell your story the way you need to, and you’re relying on the design to do the selling instead of creating compelling copy that drives sales.

You may also get stuck forcing a circle into the square for the sake of the website design. Copywriting says what needs to be said in as few or as many words as necessary, so you might have a short paragraph you don’t love or a headline that throws off the whole header.

Start with the copy first, and find a customizable website theme (affiliate link) to go from there (or work with a designer, which is a much better way to go!).

Good Copywriters Support Website Design

If you hire a good copywriter, they will seamlessly work with the website designer. We give the H1, H2, H3 so your designer knows exactly what to do, and sometimes, we even submit wireframes—practically doing their job for them. That’s how important the copy is to the website design.

We tell them, here’s a great spot for a photo. This is where the introduction video goes. Find a stock photo of happy customers here or someone doing yoga over here.

The word doc you receive may not be the prettiest, but it should show the obvious next steps.

Have you ever worked with a copywriter on the website design process? Were you surprised to hear that copywriting is the first step towards great website design?

If you’re ready to start the copywriting process for your new website design, click here to learn more about working with me!

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