(Last updated on May 4, 2021)
Running your own copywriting business sure beats working 9–5. It can be fun and it can be rewarding. But one thing it definitely isn’t and that is easy.
Yet, for some reason, many of the people I know assume that it’s all just a piece of cake. After all, virtually everyone knows how to write, don’t they?
If only it were really that simple.
With so much content now created by freelance writers and so much of it published online, this post focuses specifically on website copywriting. So let’s see why it isn’t as easy as you might think.
Writing for Websites Is Different
The first thing most people fail to realise is that writing content for a website is a million miles from all that fluff you learnt in English at high school.
Because prospective clients aren’t really interested in your literary skills and neither are their customers.
The same goes for search engines too. What they want is lots of useful and meaningful content. That way, they’ll have far more to go on when deciding what your website is about and all the information they need to help people find you in search.
But you also have to balance this with the needs of your visitors.
They’re impatient and want you to cut to the chase as soon as possible. At the same time, they still want all the information they need to make a properly informed purchasing decision.
Combining these two elements can be difficult, requiring good logical, analytical and problem-solving skills and a lot of time-consuming research and planning.
So often the mark of an accomplished website copywriter isn’t so much their ability to write but more their ability to arrange information. In other words, how they organise and structure what they write.
Writing a Blog Is Also Different
A company blog offers huge potential for building relationships, trust and engagement, boosting your search rankings and driving traffic to your website. Yet very few of them get a decent return on their investment.
That’s because you can’t simply build a blog, publish some homespun content and expect visitors to come.
A good copywriter, on the other hand, will write posts people actually want to read.
For example, they’ll understand the writing techniques that attract readers to your content and keep them glued to the page.
They’ll also consistently come up with new content ideas to ensure your blog remains fresh and interesting. And they’ll become a subject matter expert that understands your business and the needs of your readers.
What’s more, they’ll know how best to market your posts so people are both able to find them and keep coming back for more.
Being Freelance Means Being a Business
The best copywriters aren’t necessarily the most successful. Because, as a freelance, you also need a whole host of other soft and hard skills, such as self-discipline, diplomacy, business acumen and marketing know-how.
Most new businesses fail. Around half of these do so within the first five years. So why should you think your new copywriting venture will be any different from any other business?
In my experience, one of the most difficult aspects to running a business is pricing your services. But there are many other pitfalls to starting up a new business and many different reasons why they fail.
So there you have it. I’ve barely scratched the surface here. But, by now, you should have a better idea of what it means to be a website copywriter. And that it isn’t as easy as it first appears.
Have Your Say
Do you still think you have what it takes to be a freelance copywriter? Do you already run a successful copywriting business? Tell us your thoughts and experiences in the comment section below.
In our next post: I’ll be introducing you to several brilliant online resources that no website copywriter should ever be without.
About the Author
Kevin Carlton is an IT copywriter and blogger based in Stafford in the UK. He is owner of freelance copywriting service Write Online, which helps technology companies get the most out of their online presence.
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