Don’t treat your website copy as an afterthought!
Writing the copy for a website is an ideal opportunity to define or redefine some of the core aspects of an organisation.
If done properly, the website copy should provide a holistic overview of the organisation with the appropriate levels of information. Smaller business owners do not always have the luxury to take a day or two out to do strategic sessions. There are constraints and can usually be summed up by two words: money and time. The question that they have to answer is: can we really afford to take the entire team out of the office and lose all the productivity, not to mention the cost of the venue? It is not difficult to imagine that the answer is no, for many. The unfortunate and unintended result is then that these core aspects remain undefined or not updated.
Websites typicaly have the following pages:
(1) About – describing the business, its mission and how it differs from competitors
(2) Services – describing what services and/or products the business offers
(3) Blog – adding regular articles that will be of interest to the target audience
(4) Contact Details – providing the various ways to make contact
The nature and size of the organisation will play a role in the structure of the website and the tone of the copy. For example, if the organisation is an educational institute the site will be structured in a formal way with an emphasis of providing prospective students with all the information to choose a particular course of studies. The look and feel again will depend on the internal culture and how it prefers engaging with online visitors. It follows then that websites should be unique. After all, organisations differ even if they are in the same industry.
The organisational vision, mission, values and a tagline are key pieces of information that provide clarity to prospective customers. The vision statement describes an ideal future state. The mission articulates the very reason why the organisation exists. Values describe how its members (would like to) behave. And a tagline is a memorable phrase that describes the business in a few words. Organisations may wish way to stipulate this separately on the website. Other times a shortened version ‘About Page’ may also suffice as long as the description incorporates these different elements. The copywriter could for instance draw from existing marketing material and make adjustments to suit the online audience. If there is no existing material then the information gathered from discussions with the business owner can be used.
The copywriter should ideally be involved when the structure (no of pages, headings) of the site is decided. The designers/developers will use it as basis and add their creative input to deliver an amazing final result.