Businesses are increasingly wise to the fact that a website is a shop window, a digital display that shows off your wares in the best possible light. In the case of high street retailers, great care and attention is devoted to the design and look of their physical shop window. However, when it comes to online business, whilst companies appreciate the need for a shop window, they seem less concerned about its contents. In effect, they’ve got the shop window, and they’ve filled it with tat.
And contents… or more particularly in the case of online, content – is the absolute key. In this brave new world of Web 2.0, a website is just the starting point – your website may indeed draw people to your business, but to keep them there, and to convert casual interest into actual sales, you will need engaging content that explains clearly and precisely what you do, what you have to offer, and what the customer will need to do to get hold of it.
Creating professional website content is a very particular skill and it’s one companies find they are sometimes unable, or unwilling, to do themselves. Understandably they might be too busy with the nuts and bolts of actually running the business to have the time to devote to this side of things; alternatively, they may feel they lack the necessary writing skills to effectively put across your point. And that’s where we meet the copywriter, who is in place precisely to manage the transfer of the knowledge and expertise of a business into clear, concise English that, along with the website design, will bring your business to life online.
Again, to bring things back to more traditional forms of marketing – an analogy might be our friend Mr Kellogg, who didn’t sit at his desk writing the copy for the sides of his cereal boxes, but rather employed copywriters to communicate his message in the correct manner. The same remains true of the online world – much better to trust your business to communications professionals who can translate your dedication and understanding into simple, effective, customer-facing language.
It doesn’t end there. In the early days of web-based marketing, a website might be static, its website content permanent. A particular innovation of web 2.0 has been the need for continually updated, professional content – to stay fresh, websites need to refresh. Blogs… news updates… along with other updated website content help maintain and build on Google rankings, and give customers a reason to come back to the site. The display in the shop window needs to rotate.
To accommodate the need for this waterfall flow of words an industry has grown up around website copywriting. Because the industry has grown at such a pace, it has also opened up great divides in price and quality. Overseas, there are indeed businesses that will regurgitate an astonishing amount of web copy, at an alarming rate, for a staggeringly low price. Then again, an infinite number of monkeys, given an infinite number of typewriters and an infinite amount of time, may well at some stage write the complete works of Shakespeare. But probably best not to pin your hope on that.
This only brings us round to the original point. Do you want to stack your shop window with cheaply-made, shoddily-assembled garments, or bespoke, tailored pieces? The choice, of course, remains with you, the business. But content is King, and the Emperor may need new clothes…