No matter what kind of website you’re planning, it’s fair to say that written content will play a big part in the finished result.
Content is what informs your customers about your brand, and persuades them to buy from you rather than your competitors.
It’s what encourages them to stay on your website and engage with you there, whether by signing up to your mailing list, submitting an enquiry or reading and commenting on your blog.
Website copywriting is somewhere between a science and an art, so it’s important to find a writer who’ll do a good job.
But how much should you be spending?
It’s hard to give an exact figure, but here are some factors that can affect the price of content writing services:
The amount of content you need
More content takes more time to research and more time to write – not exactly a complicated concept, right?
If you’re enlisting the help of a copywriter on a website of 20+ unique pages, you can reasonably expect to pay more than you would for a website of 10 pages.
So, there’s a good way to assess your website copywriting costs straight away.
But, at the same time, there’s a reason no experienced copywriter charges per word: stripped back content can be just as hard and time-consuming to write as lengthy pages – after all, there’s quite an art to summing up an entire business in less than 150 words.
Very long content and very short content are the hardest to write.
The complexity of the topic
Even the simplest concepts can turn out to be quite complicated if you dig deep enough, but it’s fair to say that aluminium extrusions are likely to present your website copywriter with more of a challenge than, say, teacups.
Complex topics require added research time and careful consideration of your audience: if your copywriter needs to write for other industry experts, the content will need to be cater perfectly to their specialist knowledge; if written for non-experts, the content will need to be reframed in order to communicate the relevant information in a more accessible way.
TL;DR: complex topics take time to tackle.
Brand and Tone of Voice Work
Don’t underestimate the importance of a consistent and effective brand identity. Consumers buy from brands they know and trust, and branding plays a huge role in helping people to get to know your business.
If you’ve already developed a strong brand identity in-house and can present your website copywriter with tone of voice guidelines, and examples of on-brand content, you’ve saved them a job.
If you need your copywriter to address brand issues before they start writing, that’s going to involve more time – and higher website copywriting costs.
Just Content, or content in situ?
Website copywriting projects can vary enormously in the way they pan out. Some are smooth-sailing, others take a bit more tweaking before you get the results you want.
If you know exactly what kind of content you want, and where you want it on your new website, you can brief your copywriter at the start of the project and get them to send you the content over in a file – job done.
If you’re not sure how much content you’re going to need for each page / module on your website, and what form that content should take, find yourself a website copywriter who’s willing to consult with you about that and/or work with the text in situ.
I often send my clients website content to upload before tweaking it in situ for them to make sure it fits just right. Make no mistake, though, all that faffing (albeit productive faffing!) costs extra.
Dynamic and responsive content
Often, it’s the little things that make a website nice to navigate – loading content, witty 404 ‘Not Found’ pages, image overlay text, personalised thank you pages…
These little bits of content might not seem like much work but they take consideration, creativity and time to think up, draft, amend and position.
Collaboration with designers and developers
Following on from that last point, the best website copywriting projects involve close collaboration between all the factors involved: design, development, user experience, and content.
To make sure your website content fits perfectly with the design and navigation of your website, it’s a good idea to get your copywriter involved from the outset and, if possible, to have them liaise directly with the other creative leads on the project.
It does increase the scope (and therefore price) of the project, but it’s well worth the money.
Number of revisions
Experienced copywriters will usually specify how many rounds of revisions they’re happy to include within the price they quote you.
For example, I offer one round of amends within the original brief but am happy to increase the time spent on revising and editing content for an additional fee.
Of course, if there are mistakes in the content, or it doesn’t fit the brief you agreed on initially, the amendments should be free.
But, if you’ve decided you don’t like what you asked for after all, or you just want to try something different instead, that’ll be extra chargeable time.
Content marketing strategy
If you’re hiring a fairly experienced or senior writer for your website copywriting project, you may want to get their input on a wider content marketing strategy, advising on things like:
- Brand and tone of voice
- Blogging, SEO and social media
- Regularity and type of content
- Buyer personas and buyer journey stages
- Integrating your website, blog, and email marketing
Not all copywriters will offer these services, and you may not need all/any of them. But, if you do need input on your content marketing, it’s not a bad idea to get them from the person you’ve chosen to actually do your website copywriting for you.
Do you need a blog, case studies or an education centre?
A lot of businesses who are refreshing their website choose to add in extra ‘bits’ of content at the same time, such as a few blog articles to get them started, case studies to showcase their latest projects, or an education centre they can add to in future, featuring things like data sheets, FAQs, interviews, videos and articles.
Your website copywriter may well be happy to advise you on the kinds of additional content that will benefit your business, and to draft or commission it for you, but it’ll increase the scope of the project and, consequently, the price.
Is website copywriting worth the money?
The thing with good quality website copywriting is that it takes time. Not just to actually do it, but to learn how to do it in the first place.
An experienced writer will know how to:
- Research quickly and thoroughly
- Write informative, persuasive content
- Tailor content to the right audience
- Create and position effective calls to action
- Optimise content for Google
- Work with designers and developers
- Situate text in popular content management systems
Effective website copywriting will help you:
- Rank on Google for the terms your customers search for
- Position your business as an industry thought leader
- Funnel visitors to your site towards a desirable action
- Encourage prospects to visit your site more than once
So let’s talk prices
The cost of website content writing services will vary hugely depending on the project and the writer, so it’s hard to say exactly how much you’re likely to pay.
A three-page microsite is likely to be cheaper than a wordy 10-page website, whereas a website with 20 pages that’s mostly design-led may cost a bit less. The best way to find out is to ask.
If you’re looking to hire an experienced writer with knowledge of SEO, user experience (UX), and design, you’re unlikely to pay less than £1000 for website copywriting.
Larger websites with more content may cost £10,000+ – there really is no limit to the amount and types of content you can feature on your website, so the price can vary just as much.
How to keep your website copywriting costs down
The simplest way to keep your website copywriting costs down is to reduce the scope of your project.
But what if you don’t want to do that?
If you want the whole shebang from your website copywriter but you want to make sure you’re not paying over the odds, I’d suggest:
- Choose a website copywriter who comes recommended
An experienced website copywriter is likely to be able to point you in the direction of former and current clients who are happy to recommend them to you. A reliable writer with a back catalogue of happy customers is more likely to give you the results you want.
- Brief your copywriter as clearly and thoroughly as possible
The more you tell your copywriter at the start of the project about:
- What your aims and objectives are
- Who your customers and prospects are
- What your brand values are
- What your visual branding/design will be like
- How the website will function
…the more thoroughly they can prepare their content. Forewarned is forearmed, and all that.
- Stick to the timeframes you’ve agreed to, and let your writer know if you’re behind
Freelance copywriters have other projects to juggle and other clients to look after, so if they’ve blocked out time for you, try and have everything ready as agreed. A lot of experienced writers will include clauses in their contracts about unused time being paid for, so being slack may cost you.
- Minimise the time they need to spend researching
Gather as much useful information as you can, collate it neatly and send it over in a nice little package for your copywriter to have a look at before the project starts. This might include:
- Information on your business and brands
- Information on your customers and competitors
- Examples of visual branding and content you like/don’t like
- Data sheets, product specifications, and catalogues
- Keywords you’re targeting or would like to target
Every website copywriting project is going to involve a decent amount of Googling – if you help your copywriter minimise the time needed, they’ll thank you and your budget will thank you.
- Be available to your copywriter if they need information from you
There’s nothing worse than contacting a client for more information only to get a grumpy response – or no response. It’s a waste of time and it does nothing to help you write effective and accurate content.
Don’t make your copywriter chase you for information. If they call you, call them back; if they email, respond. Ignore your copywriter and they’ll either keep chasing you and charge you for the time, or stop chasing you and make the content up.
- Give your copywriter as much lead time as possible
Working to a rushed deadline isn’t much fun – it’s often stressful, and – for a freelance copywriter – it usually means juggling other projects around, rearranging meetings and postponing ongoing commitments.
If you want to keep your copywriter sweet and your website copywriting costs down, give your writer as much lead time as possible.
- Ask your copywriter what will make their life easier
It’s perfectly acceptable to ask your copywriter what will help keep your website copywriting costs to a minimum.
The answer will vary widely depending on the writer – some writers may offer a discount for larger projects or ongoing work, others may drop the price slightly if you pay them at the start of the project.
Your copywriter is trying to make a living, and you’re trying to get decent content for a decent price – no shame there. Making your writer’s life less stressful not only makes you a great client, it saves them time and effort – which should save you some money.