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Your Copy and the Time/Quality Conundrum

the importance of good web copywriting

Copywriting, copy and placeholder text

by Alison Macdonald, Tartan’s SEOmonger

You’ve got your new website design. It’s looking great, you’re feeling positive, bursting with excitement… but the copy you promised your designers would be in before the launch hasn’t quite materialised yet.

Sure you got some of it done; the home page, the about us page and a flurry of blog posts a day apart… but then that whole running-your-business-malarky got in the way.

 

Don’t worry it’s not just you

In fact our site’s been up for a month now and only today did I notice there’s a page still filled to bursting with mock latin.

Google’s been over and had a look at it several times. Ouch

And of course now I’m wondering how many potential clients have seen it and thought “If these tartan web design guys can’t even finish their OWN site why would we let them do ours”?

 

So how does half finished content affect you?

Badly is the honest answer.

Only today Mussleburgh based copywriter Jamie Graham reinforced what we were thinking:

I have heard of some agencies waiting for months for the client to supply the copy. In these situations it’s surely better to use a copywriter as it will get the website up and running and starting to make a return for the business. I don’t think many people will return to a site that has dummy copy displayed.

 

So with Jamie’s words ringing in my ear like some Scottish Obi Wan I looked at our unfinished page again and this time examined the web statistics from our server.

It was harrowing. Every single person who happened to venture onto this page left the site. Immediately.

We were leaking traffic like a sieve… and yet this wasn’t the worst thing.

 

No for that, lets go back to our beloved Google. Anybody wanting to rank their site highly in the search engine wants Google to like them. Google’s spiders will visit your site regularly looking for content, examining both quantity and quality.

If they come across an unfinished page they’ll make a note and come back another time to see if it’s been completed.

A few visits pass and that page is still sitting there filled with Lorem Ipsum text or the words  “under construction”? You’re going to be marked down.

And it’s official. In recent algorithm changes Google has decided that even a single low quality page on a site can bring down the site’s OVERALL quality score.

Unfinished page? You’re going down the SERPs my friend.

 

Web Copy and Time

But lets say you DO find the time to write all your website copy – is this really the best use of your skills?

Ocean Copy’s Jamie adds:

I also find it hard to understand how clients don’t appreciate their own time has a cost attached to it. For example a Marketing Manager writing the copy to save money isn’t actually saving money; it’s costing his/her company however many hours of their time, which in many cases amounts to more than a copywriter would have cost!

 

With the best will in the world it can be hard to better the content of a professional copywriter – and while this post wasn’t intended to be an advert for Jamie (!) his words do ring true. Even for us.

Mac builds our websites – he codes and plays around for hours with photoshop – but all the while he’s doing what he’s best at and brining us in revenue.

I work on search engine optimisation, and not stealing Mac’s thunder also do a bit on the design front. But copy? Copy where it matters? Clients copy?

Sure we’ll do it – and in modesty we’ll do it well. Our Emma excels at copywriting but sadly (for us) she’s fully booked on long term contracts with a few clients – so on the copy front that leaves me and Mac.

And that’s how we missed a page. We’re busy. It’s not our most super-special favourite thing in the world. We put it off.

If this is you, keep doing what you’re best at. Realise that your time is more important than the money you’re saving by writing DIY copy. Understand that an unfinished page or unfinished pages are going to harm both your reputation and your ranking in the search engines.

Get a copywriter on board.

Now maybe I’ll go ring Jamie 😉

1 Comment
  1. As this post quotes my good self, it would be foolish of me not to agree with every word!

    Seriously though, these are all valid points that more clients really need to think about. Copywriting isn’t just a cost, it’s an investment. Good copy should sell, not just sound pretty!

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