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If you’re thinking about asking someone to write your blog or your website copy for you, you’ve taken the first step to a very sensible decision.

But paying for a professional writer doesn’t mean that the words appear on the page by magic! Whether you’re overhauling an old website or starting from scratch, there are some basics that we will need to know from you before we can help you properly.

A website exists to communicate with your customers. So the written content needs to convey what you want to tell them, and what they need to know (which isn’t always the same thing).

It’s sometimes easy to forget that your customers don’t understand your business as well as you do. And neither do we!

Customer viewpoint

All the experienced writers on our team write with the customer’s viewpoint in mind. We consider what they would need to know before buying from you.

If we ask you something, it’s because we can’t work it out from the information you’ve already given us. The questions we ask will be just the kinds of things that customers might be asking themselves as they read your site. It’s a writer’s job to cover all the queries before they become customer problems.

What follows are the main areas that you need to be clear about in your own mind before we can help you with copywriting. Having this information means we can get the writing done for you more efficiently and accurately.

Some of them might seem obvious – but you’d be surprised how many business owners seem unsure!

Who are you?

As well as your business name, you might have a job description. (In fact, you ought to be able to sum up what you do in a short, snappy phrase – especially if it isn’t obvious from your trading name.)

Suppose your business name is The Sky’s the Limit. That might be memorable, but what do you offer? Your business description needs to be clear to understand, and something that customers might search for online.

In this case, it might be flying lessons, cheap flights to Europe, or perhaps wholesale skyhooks.

Once you know exactly how to describe what you do, succinctly, that is how it should appear wherever you portray your business. On Facebook, LinkedIn and other social media; on posters and leaflets; on your vehicle branding; on your T-shirt… and throughout your website.

If you describe yourself differently in different places, customers won’t be sure that it’s you.

Your target audience

Who is your ideal customer? Or, failing that, your most likely customer? This makes a big difference to the wording on your website.

Words can position your business in a particular way. Knowing your Number One customer should help you decide how you wish to present yourself – ideally, this should be connected to your personal ethos and style, so your website promotes you in a genuine way.

You might want the wording to be serious and traditional, or modern and informal, or upbeat, funny, soothing, brisk…

It’s up to you. But we need to know.

Your services or products

What do you actually provide, and how?

It might be obvious to you, but your website readers do need to be told precisely.

If you sell products, do you have a shop, market stall, occasional studio, or do you just sell online?

If you offer services, do you have an office base to receive clients, or do you work in their premises? Do you visit them, or do they visit you, or neither?

If you provide any sort of tuition or coaching, is that 1:1 or group-based?

Do you offer different packages (services or products) and are you clear about what’s included?

What do you call these packages? Customers need to be sure of what they’re getting. So the DeLuxe Super Skyhook Pack can’t appear as the Super DeLuxe Skyhook Pack elsewhere.

Your pricing

We feel that customers are happier knowing the price where possible. But even if you have been advised not to put prices on your website, you still need to be able to explain your pricing clearly if asked.

This includes special offers and packages, as well as your standard charges.

Website copywriters also need to know how you expect customers to pay (eg, upfront, deposit, payment page, invoice later) as the wording needs to lead into appropriate links on your site.

An awareness of how your prices compare with others in your field also helps us to position you and your business appropriately through the writing.

What to do if you don’t know these things

If you are unsure about any of these aspects of your business, we suggest you spend some time with a business coach or marketing specialist before getting your website copy written.

These business basics help to decide your Unique Selling Point (USP). They will also make a difference to the layout, style and eventual marketing of your site, so it’s important to get them right.

Once you know what your business is all about, you can just give us the facts as a list, in which case you may find our checklist helpful. We may have other questions, but it’s a great starting point.

One of our writing team can then turn those facts into website copy that will speak directly to your customers – to inform, persuade, and lead them to buying from you.

We look forward to hearing all about your business soon. Give us a call on 01449 740118 or drop us an email if you’d like a chat. No pressure, and no obligation.

Catherine Kendal

Catherine Kendal is a proofreader and editor who likes nothing more than sorting the good from the bad and the ugly. She takes the description 'pernickety' as a compliment. Visit Catherine's website