Website copywriting explained: What is it? And does it work?

Lewis Folkard

Lewis Folkard

Suffolk-based conversion copywriter.

website copywriting explained

Content writers. Copywriters. Freelance. In-house. Agency. They all write words for websites… just in different places. Let’s explore where.

What is website copywriting?

In its most basic sense, website copywriting is the process of writing “words” (or copy) for a website. These words are to ultimately drive action. The person who writes them is known as a website copywriter. 

But within that persona sits two types of writers. 

Content writers: those who write blog posts (copy)

Conversion copywriters: those who write web pages (e.g. home pages, service pages and contact pages)

And some copywriters do both. If you’re hiring a copywriter, be clear on what they write.

Both types of website copy drive action, but some modes are faster than others. Blog content educates and nurtures a target audience. Whereas conversion copywriting uses direct response principles to get action immediately. Often through attention-grabbing headlines and subheadlines, persuasive product descriptions and compelling body copy.

The rest of this article will focus on “conversion” website copywriting.

Does website copywriting work?

Do sales teams work? Persuasion – and altering ways of thinking – is part of human behaviour. It’s ingrained into who we are.

Conversion copywriters are specialists in using their words to win your website visitors to a decided way of thinking, so they take a decided way of acting. 

Their copy still has to be search engine friendly. But it prioritises turning potential customers into loyal ones as fast as possible.

So, just as much as in-person sales work, website copywriting does too. Maybe even better.

How much does website copywriting cost?

There are a lot of variables that go into the cost of website copywriting. Rates vary from copywriter to copywriter (based on their experience level and area of speciality) and the amount of work necessary. 

Most freelance copywriters in the UK charge on a project-by-project basis – and not by hour. Their rates can be anywhere from £1000 – £10,000+ per project, or £200+ per day, depending on the factors above. 

Should you hire a website copywriter?

A website copywriting project is an investment and generally speaking you get what you pay for. But because it’s an investment, you should also see returns. So, if you want to increase sales, profit, leads and/or action from your website, then yes you should.

But practically every business owner wants that. So a better question to ask would be: “When should you hire a copywriter?”

To help, consider these factors:

Do you have a product that works?

If you’re launching a website with just a product concept and haven’t sold to anyone yet, you’ll waste your investment. Copywriters are best at channelling and improving communications – not figuring out what your product is.

Do you feel limited by time?

Writing a website is not a small – or quick – task. If you’re already missing the minutes of the day, you probably don’t have the capacity to write your own website. Instead, looking for external help can be a wise move.

Do you have enough money?

Hiring a copywriter costs money. You should pick a copywriter with a level of experience (and respective cost) that suits your budget and investment level. Letting your financial pressures rub off on a copywriter can impact their work.

Have you hired a designer or web developer already?

Website copy has to communicate clearly to persuade. Copywriters will take what the research shows, all the customer data, pain points and desires, and structure your website and each web page in a way that compels your target audience to act. If you already have a designer/developer who’s structured your pages, you might have something that looks great but doesn’t drive action. Copywriters aren’t there to “fill in the gaps” of a design.

What are the advantages of hiring a website copywriter?

If you’re going to invest in a copywriter, here’s what you’re going to gain. 

Persuasion pros

Copywriters are specialists in persuasion and understanding what makes people tick. Hiring one means you reap the rewards of that skill. You’ll profit from extra sales, a bigger audience, a smoother sales process, more leads and/or an increase in your chosen behaviour from your website.

Fresh perspective

When you’re busy working inside your business, you sometimes lose sight of the bigger picture. It clouds your vision. Naturally. So, having a fresh set of eyes on your business can help you spot opportunities you might otherwise be missing. A website copywriter might find new (and more profitable) use cases, turns of phrase or persona types. You can use these findings in other areas of your marketing.

Free up your time

A fully-fledged conversion-optimised website takes the pressure off you and your sales team. Your website does the hard graft of selling for you. That way, you gain more time to think about the more strategic decisions.

And what are the potential risks?

Familiarising yourself with the risks of hiring a copywriter can help you minimise their impact.

Multiple iterations

Whilst all conversion copywriters should do their best to increase the probability of a high-flying response, it doesn’t always happen on the first go. No copywriter can guarantee results. That’s why testing is so important; you can keep making iterations to keep improving results. If your website doesn’t generate results immediately, any copywriter worth their salt will know what needs testing to try to smoothen out the results curve.

Time

In the same breath, writing a website takes time. There’s a lot of research, customer analysis, wireframing, and preparation that goes into maximising the probability of a high-flyer. Don’t expect a new website in a few days. 

Investment

The payback on your investment will vary depending on your business and level of copy. Factors like product price, traffic levels and audience awareness levels all play a role. So you might see a return quickly, or it might take some time to hone the messaging. You need to be prepared to wait for that positive ROI and manage your expectations. 

Turn your website into a sales machine

There you have it. Website copywriting explained. So, what’s next for you? 

Are you going to write your website yourself? Avoid these mistakes.

Are you going to hire a freelance website copywriter? Here are some tips for hiring. And here’s some guidance on what to expect.

Alternatively, my inbox is always open. Message me for help here. Or if you’d prefer, discover more about my website copywriting services first.

You might also like...

Persil ad showing empty oven dish with a dish description as the copy
Copywriting Examples

Ad Breakdown: Persil’s “and a hint of”

The ways of influencing behaviour supersede the advertising medium. You can be writing a 50+ page financial promo or a 1-page newspaper print ad, and