Website copy - one of my favourite things

First posted on Wordpress 23 October, 2015 byGillian

Website copy – it’s like being a detective

Providing web content is one of the most satisfying jobs I do, and it’s something I really enjoy. It’s great to provide content for pre-existing websites for a business, and to give it a fresh look. Sometimes the client will simply want you to re write it, edit it, and proofread it, so there’s not much new content from you. This can still be quite satisfying and really interesting too. You’re learning about a new business and how it works, you get to know the client, even if only for a short time, and how important their business is to them. This in turns makes you try all the harder, you take pride in the work as much as they do.

Necessity… the mother of invention

But what I really enjoy is rewriting the content from scratch. Perhaps the current web copy is tired and needs a complete rewrite. The client wants to go in a different direction, or he/she simply wants something better, the client wants to attract more customers, he/she wants carefully chosen keywords to help them climb up the search engines, and they want clever words to set their business alight. They want a new perspective on how they do business and to show what they can do to the potential customer in a fresh and interesting way.

Like a boss…

Dick Tracy, eat your heart out

It’s a bit like being a detective, or perhaps an interrogator. You have to ask questions and they have to be the right questions. What’s great about this is that the client may even be surprised by his/her own answers. Perhaps they haven’t really thought about it that deeply for a while, perhaps it helps to inspire them, to feel excited again about what they do. It can be a useful exercise for both of you.

Heart to heart with a pen – web copy creator

You provide a questionnaire and you wait for the answers. Then you take a blank piece of paper and you write, scribble, jot a few things down. You take a look at their rivals, the slogans, the taglines. Can you do it better? You’re not sure. Perhaps a little more research, a little more thought, a few scribbled words.

And then, slowly you feel it coming together. And it feels good, a growing sense of satisfaction. You start writing, crossing it out, deleting, and reprocessing the same words, rearrange them, jostle them about a bit. Then maybe a few completely new sentences. You can see it coming together now. You finish it eventually and you reread it again and again.

D day is client day

You send your work to the client, you hope they’re going to be happy with it. You’re full of a heightened sense of excitement and yes, this can quickly dissipate if the client responds with questions marks and it turns out he/she didn’t really get what you were trying to say to them.

And then you move on to the next client…

But 9 times out of 10, they like it. They may want a few words here and there altered, rearranged, taken out, or sometimes they want more added. Then the website goes live and you’re left with this really good feeling. There’s a bit of you out there, on a website somewhere, you were part of this business once, rooting for them, playing with words and creating something that would change things for them. You have to walk away now, because the next client is on the horizon and you can’t stop and look back, but you know, it was fun while it lasted…