- By Cathy Goodwin
- Published 10/29/2008
- Writing for the Web
“Can you give me some feedback on my website?” a life coach named “Larry” asked on a forum. “I just revised my site – -finally!” Naturally, I couldn’t resist clicking over to see what Larry had done. I knew Larry was a thoughtful life coach with a reputation for high integrity. Larry’s new site cried out for a makeover. He had paid a designer to get elaborate drop-down menus and a bit of flash. As a result, Larry admitted, “I have no budget to pay a copywriter.” Ouch. After skimming a few pages of the site, I emailed Larry. “Who is your target market? What do you offer? How are you unique?” Larry replied, “I asked for feedback. I don’t have time to answer a lot of questions. And everyone tells me the site looks professional.” Well, the site looks awfully professional. But he admits he’s in trouble. So far, he’s gotten nothing but compliments — no orders and no calls. What can we learn from Larry? (1) Copywriters can save you money. Larry didn’t need all those expensive bells and whistles. In fact, some Internet marketing gurus claim they do more harm than good.
And Larry didn’t understand HTML, let alone CSS. A copywriter might serve as go-between, translating Larry’s requirements into web d
esign language. Your web designer saves time — which translates into saving money. In fact, these days Larry could bypass several steps in the design process and go directly to WordPress. A copywriter can help you choose a theme to support your message most effectively. (2) Copywriters help you earn money. Buried deeply in the text of Larry’s site, I discovered Larry’s hidden treasures. He has developed an innovative 5-step process to help clients overcome obstacles and take charge of their lives. But Larry doesn’t realize why he’s unique, so his website reads like five thousand other life coaching sites: vague promises of “take your life to the next level,” “discover what’s important to you” and “enjoy the work you love.” Naturally I’m disguising the details of “Larry’s” story, but I really don’t have to. Hundreds (maybe thousands) of sites sound just like Larry’s. (3) Copywriting helps you develop a clearer strategy. Like Larry, my clients often think they can show me a few pages of a website and say, “Make it sell!” Copywriting requires energy and planning, whether you’re a do-it-yourselfer or a firm believer in outsourcing to a specialist.
So while you’re working with your copywriter, you might realize you’ve go a hole in your strategy that needs to be plugged. More likely you realize realize you are sitting on a gold mine.