Web Site Construction: Hire the Writer First!

I spoke with a business associate not too long ago. He mentioned that he was rebuilding his Web site and then said, “I’m working with the Web designer right now. I’m not ready for the writer, yet.”

That’s crazy. The writer of your Web content is of critical importance. Web sites designed to sell products and services are word-content driven. Your Web designer can’t possibly know how to build the architecture of your site if he doesn’t know its content.

Consider the following:

  • Will your Web designer help you decide your unique value proposition?
  • Will he come up with your product benefits list?
  • Will he know how a page is going to be developed with appealing words to keep the visitor interested and moving on to other pages on your site?
  • Will he know what pop-ups will be needed?
  • Will he know what side bars will be needed?
  • Will he know the best layout for lead generation?

Without an online copywriter working with your Web designer, you are shooting yourself in the foot.

All too often, I meet with clients who have spent a ton of money on their sites, which have essentially been loaded up with print-style materials. Although print materials are great aids to your online copywriter, they simply cannot be effective when thrown onto Web site pages.

One reason is that print copy (brochure, magazine, etc.) is designed for more leisurely reads. When folks come to a Web site they are on a mission. The pace is fast. Web visitors want to scan and find exactly what they are looking for quickly or they will be off to another site.

A good Internet copywriter can save you tons of money.

  • She will prevent you from making mistakes that will cost you in lost sales.
  • She will ensure that every page is useful and geared toward your selling and reputation building goals.
  • She will ensure that every page ends with action items for the visitor.
  • She will ensure that your pages aren’t over-designed. An over-designed page may look great, but it may also be impossible to read and distract from your sales message. Look at the major Web sites: Google, Yahoo, Amazon. They are all clean-looking with no fancy-schmancy design elements. That’s not to say design isn’t important. It is. But the words are more important. Remember, search engines don’t “search” for design or even images.
  • She will ensure that your Web site copy is written with keyword phrases that will attract customers to your site. She will also ensure that the copy is still natural and appealing. Text with keywords artificially included will numb the mind of the reader and might even get you punished by the search engines, resulting in lower rankings.

Ideally, the Web designer and writer should work together. But, if I had to err, I would hire the writer first.

(© 2011 Katherine Andes)

Katherine Andes, our SEO consultant, is a web specialist who focuses on copywriting for SEO (search engine optimization) for websites. She is the co-author with Matt Pinto of the best selling Catholic apologetic flash cards, Friendly Defenders. Ramp up your company's online impact with her weekly Easy Web Tips.