Copy – the Overlooked Element of Web Design

There’s one element of designing a website I find constantly overlooked – the copy, or text, or to put it more simply the words on the page. Even when I go to great pains to explain that a website needs compelling, easy to read text it takes ages to get little, if any copy to add to the site.

I think one of the reasons for this is for most small businesses a website is the first time they’re marketing their business in a medium that allows you to add lots of copy. Think about it – most traditional advertising mediums charge by the column centimeter (or similar) so for much of their advertising there is only a small space to work with. A website changes that, and with unique compelling content (eg copy) helping your search engine rankings suddenly copy is really important. Not that it wasn’t before but you get my drift.

In initial discussions many prospective clients say they’re happy to provide the copy. But when it comes to the crunch it is often easier said than done. Which I understand. Most of them are busy enough running their businesses without having to sit down and put together pages of copy. It’s also not something they usually have a lot of experience with.

These days I find the easiest solution is to write the copy ourselves. As we usually optimise the website as well as build it it works out well. We’re able to write keyword rich, compelling copy that is beneficial to both visitors and search engines. It makes our lives easier and our clients can get on with the job of running their business. Which is what they do best.

One thought on “Copy – the Overlooked Element of Web Design”

  1. Hi Sophie,
    I can relate to this 100%. Your post here comes at a neat time for us, because we’ve just decided to make content writing an ‘official’ service our company will be providing.

    Over the years, I would say that we have ended up writing at least 80% of the content on our clients’ sites because, as you say, they can’t seem to make the time to do it, and the agony of sitting around for 3 weeks waiting for a single article is enough to drive even a nice web designer to distraction.

    What I have learned is that just because someone is a great business owner, it doesn’t follow that they are a great writer and business owners are smart to be concerned that the written content of their website is presenting their company in a professional way. Enter the web copywriter!:)

    The more I thought about it, the more I realized that writing is actually a unique service that could be of value to business owners in and of itself. I realized that I could pool together a little team of web content writers who would be good at this due to special skills they each have with the English language. One of them is my sister, who writes for Wisegeek. We’ll see how it goes.

    Your post makes me think that this is something you might be considering doing, too, if you aren’t already. I have been reading a lot about how undervalued content writing continues to be on the web, but this is beginning to change and I’m excited.

    Your post really hit home, Sophie. Wish me luck!

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