273 – How do we get our website copy?

‘WordPress Business Bootcamp’ with Nathan Wrigley and David Waumsley

These show notes are best used in conjunction with the podcast audio.

Episode intro: The Problem

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Our lawyer client has no previous content. How do we get words on her site in an effective way?

  • Tell her to write it and we will sort it out?
  • Give her a structure (copy template) for it and hope for the best?
  • Work together with her around templates and follow a copywriter’s process?
  • Send her to a copywriter first?
  • Bring in a copywriter who works to our brief?
  • Steal it from competitors.
  • Let AI do it.

Our role 

In a previous episode of season 2  “What does a web design process look like?” we roughly tried to layer our process so it might start with our online strategy: 

  • How we are getting our traffic and conversions?
  • How some SEO/Competitor research might impact the structure of the site?
  • What we expect it to do compared with social media and offline marketing. 

You could think of this as the market research bit before UX starts!

With a new site we probably should be talking about branding before copy, but there is a huge overlap here depending on how we go about it and what the client wants and is capable of. It can be nice if the client is quite a character with a naturally strong personal brand.

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Copywriters, SEOs, brand experts, logo makers, web designers and developers (we have interaction designers now), all end up learning other parts of the greater User Experience – UX.

Somehow, if working together, we have to decide who is responsible for what part of it, and who is going to guide the overall strategy (or create an intuitive delightful experience).

The copywriter is called in first and could set the structure, SEO, and much of the branding and our job could end up being illustrating that.

I think the danger always is with skipping getting an understanding of potential users needs, goals and motivation (unconscious to users) and focusing on preferences and opinions (conscious to them).


I think my default these days would be to work with the client around templates and copy writers process, but call in a copywriter as needed if the budget is there.

Mostly I imagine calling one in to see if they could improve what was there.

I like an ongoing relationship so I want to be at the centre of the strategy making. It can be fun trying to turn the client conversations into copy.

Also a copywriter’s job is to research the thing they are representing. I have the same need, so it would be sensible to not make the client do it twice (so probably best as teamwork – agile again!).

There was one site I did where the client really struggled with the copy. I tried to give them a structure, but they struggled over the difference between benefits and features and a value proposition, and basically I couldn’t do a few summary paragraphs that repeated the same thing.

But, they could talk about the product and what it meant to them for ages. There was some gold in that so I could use that to do it myself.

I used to consume loads of stuff on copy.

I found these books in a folder:

  • 5 Copy Hacker books – Joanna Wiebe
  • Ogilvy on Advertising – David Ogilvy
  • The Copywriting Sourcebook –  Andy Maslen.
  • Words that Sell – Richard Bayan.
  • How to write a good advertisement – Victor O. Schwab.
  • Kick-Ass Copywriting Secrets Of A Marketing Rebel – John Carlton.
  • The Adweek copywriting handbook – Joseph Sugarman.
  • Hey, Whipple, squeeze this – Luke Sillivan (about classic ads).
  • Then all the webinars at https://unbounce.com/.

 Where to find the words and tone

  • Conversations with clients.
  • What customers of the client says (stealing words from reviews).
  • Industry articles and blog posts – AI.
  • Competitors sites (or perhaps more what competitors fail on).
  • Setting some grammatical rules and where we break with them.
  • Does the legal page need to be the same tone? The blog too?
  • Consistency not flipping from 3rd to 1st person (think the aim mostly is to avoid “we” and “I” and provide the information more directly).

A lawyer site could be interesting. I think we have an expectation in the UK that could be different in the US (which I imagine to be more bold and salesy).

Do you go all formal and establishment sounding or entirely flip it and go for approachable. 

I love this:

I’ve started doing a copy interview as part of my discovery process. I record the interview and run it through Descript.

If client pays for copy writing I get it structured and send to editor, otherwise they need to clean it up but at least it’s a good start.

Anchen le Roux


I think that the language that you use is really dependent upon the industry that you’re in. Selling surfboards is not the same as selling law related products. Selling football products is not the same as golf even.

I expect that this client would want something to be highly readable and convey an air of authority and professionalism – nothing wacky or funky.

That said, I have a lawyer friend who works for a company in Hull (they’re going really, really well) and they had the first ever, all-you-can-eat lawyer product. Think Spotify, but with lawyers. Their website was very cool and funky as they were trying to attract new businesses who liked the idea of the subscription economy! I can’t remember the name of it?

Yep this is really interesting stuff. The main rule of good UX is that it works as users expect.

There is a lot of (about me) blah blah on sites. Local trade sites are almost all… “we are a family run business in Xxxx / established in xxx who provide a high quality / professional service, we specialise in… very long list. No job too big or small”.

I would not be surprised if lawyers have mostly blah blah too. The blah blah is mostly keyword stuff.

I think that the best possible outcome is that you can get a good copywriter if there is the budget. Good writing is effective. Imagine that I’d written the exact same story ‘Lord of the Rings’! Would it have been any good, NO, that’s because I just don’t have that talent. Let the people who do, do the work. There’s the rub –  l suspect finding a good copywriter is a tricky as finding a good web designer.

I guess that you really need to have a great understanding of psychology. Failing that, I think that the client should at least have a go at writing the content. In this case, I suspect that the client is highly literate and knows the business that they want to build, conveyancing, divorse law etc, and will know the wording they want to put out.

My next best solution would be to go out and scrape the content of other rival sites in the local / wider area to see what they’ve done – like the SEO things we mentioned in previous podcasts.

I had a lawyer client (they had about 50 staff I think) and they charged someone with writing a blog post every week. It worked really well for them, but as soon as that staff member was put on other duties, the posting stalled and so, I suspect, did the SERPs.

I can write text, but this is really NOT something that I would ideally be involved in.

I guess that you need to get this process ironed out right from the start, ie, who is going to be creating the copy? How long are the different sections of the main pages? Is Lorem okay when the site is handed over (if they’ve been taught how to use WordPress)?

Is a copywriter and SEO person the same person these days? – Yeah, SEOs are too busy testing the speed of page builders.

Evaluating copy

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Transcript (if available)

These transcripts are created using software, so apologies if there are errors in them.

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[00:00:00] Nathan Wrigley: Welcome to the WP Builds podcast, bringing you the latest news from the WordPress community. Welcome your hosts, David Waumsley and Nathan Wrigley.

Hello there. And welcome once again to the WP Builds podcast, you've reached episode number 273, which is entitled. How do we get our website? Copy. It was published on Thursday, the 7th of March, 2022. My name is Nathan Wrigley and I'll be joined in a little while by my good friend David Waumsley, so that we can have our podcast episode.

But just before then, a little bit of housekeeping. If you like the things that we produce over at WP Builds, please share it. Go to any social channel. You'd like our website is WP Builds.com. Our Twitter channel is at WP Builds and just share the fact that you enjoy the episodes. I'd really appreciate. It also helps if you give us some sort of five-star rating, something like that over on platforms like apple podcasts and so on.

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So WP Builds.com forward slash subscribe. Also, don't forget, we've got a deals page. Is there 365 days of the year searchable, filterable, and you can get a ton of cash off lots and lots of WordPress products that could be blocks or themes or plugins, all of that kind of stuff. So that's WP build stock com forward slash deals.

Okay, let's get into the main event. I'm chatting this week with David Waumsley, episode number 273. It's entitled. How do we get our website? Copy? This is a pretty thorny issue, isn't it? And it's pretty likely that if you've been doing WordPress website building for any length of time, you've probably run into this problem where.

You just don't know what to put on the site. Should you write what goes on the site? Should you get an SEO or perhaps a copywriter, should you put in dummy Lauren, just to fill the thing up? And of course the design and the size of the font and the positioning of the words are crucial to the layout and let's not forget.

Google really wants to know what your website is about. So it's a really important potent topic. And that's what we're talking about today on the podcast. I hope that you enjoy.

[00:02:50] David Waumsley: Hello, welcome to another in the business boot camp series, where we relearn everything we know about building WordPress sites and running a web design business from start to finish.

We're on season two, where we're looking at the design process and today we're going to be discussing how well, how do we get our website? Copy.

[00:03:11] Nathan Wrigley: Well done. I got through the introduction. I should add that very frequently. When we do these, we have to be any many times. It's quite funny. That bit that you just said is hard to get through.

Isn't it? It

[00:03:22] David Waumsley: is. It is. Do we need to recap anymore or do we just say, go and listen to the,

[00:03:28] Nathan Wrigley: just do a very quick recap. See, should I take this? So the intention here is that we are imagining that we're right back at the beginning of our. Web design, web business journey. And we're trying to figure out how it is that we would get clients work with clients, decide on pricing and all of that stuff.

And so we're taking it topic by topic and we're working on the assumption that we have got a client, a new client whose name is miss a, she is a lawyer. But other than that, we don't really, we didn't really, we are obviously as time goes on, we will get to know the client and what their needs are. But at the beginning we didn't really have.

Any knowledge of what they needed or all of that, but we know that they're a lawyer and that's about it. And then David's taking a different approach to me. I'm going for. Traditional, you may call it waterfall approach where I do a presentation of a proposal, get a contract signed, get all of those ducks in a row, and then basically set off, do the work, disappear for a few weeks and then come back and say, there you go, have a look at that, but your approach is agile and you can explain

[00:04:31] David Waumsley: that.

Yeah, the kind of new agile approaches where you try not to set in advance. And I guess we're moving more towards that generally. The world has been in the idea that you might wander build up, take baby steps with everything you do and learn from it. So it's so intuitive for approach and it's a collaborative approach with clients.

So it's really, from my point of view, it's actually a very real thing I'm trying to. Rebuild my business to think how I might be able to distinguish myself on selling websites as a commodity, which I used to do to this kind of new collaborative approach, where it's based a lot more on data and evidence and we build the long-term solution over time.

[00:05:17] Nathan Wrigley: Yeah, it's nice. And so today we're trying to talk about copy website copy and how we get it. So do you want to just highlight what the problem is that we're trying to solve? Yeah

[00:05:28] David Waumsley: We actually discussed this a little bit in the WTP builds Facebook group. I asked the kind of question about what people did with their copy and stuff.

And people brought in copywriters and we know with our lawyers site, she has no previous content. So we need to decide how we're going to get the words for her site in an effective way. And we've got a few options haven't we, which is tell her to write it and we'll sort it out. We've got.

Give us some kind of structure, maybe a copywriter's template and hand that over. So she's got some structure based on what we think we're going to do with the site. And then we've got, we can work together, which is my kind of favorite approach, as best as I can around some templates and follow a copywriter's process to build up that sender to a copywriter first, which some people do or bring in a copywriter who will work to our.

Sorry. There's

[00:06:26] Nathan Wrigley: just a couple of others on there as well, but we're not going to mention should we go through those one at a time and just either rule them out in your workflow or rule them there. The first one then is to tell Ms a to go and write it herself. And then we'll sort it out once she's written it.

That, that seems to me to be.

[00:06:51] David Waumsley: Yeah. I don't know what people do. Maybe when I started, I thought, just give me a copy. I bet it just never, it's never worked. If you did get it, you don't want it. And it's, they've got no idea about how to do that. So I, yeah it doesn't work.

Does it?

[00:07:08] Nathan Wrigley: I think in this particular case, it works, it doesn't work for a couple of reasons. Number one, because like you said, it will probably be really not what you want. They might have. Gleefully. And you'll probably look at it and think, okay, that's different because bear in mind, this is a lawyer they're probably very good at writing a particular style of writing, but probably not the style of writing that we're going to need in order to sell their products or services.

And the other reason is because there are lawyer and. Time I suspect is going to be consumed elsewhere. And I would imagine it. And this is very specifically in the case of a lawyer, I would imagine that the intention here really is to hand it over to you and you find somebody for me, I could be wrong.

Maybe they want to be more hands-on and obviously your agile approach would encourage that, but it feels you might be better off buying in the time of somebody who's slightly better.

[00:08:05] David Waumsley: The only thing I could say about that, it's not quite tell them to write it, but we could be asking them to send us stuff.

That's already been written. Maybe they publish some articles or they've got, I don't know, just even the business card or something that might give you some idea about words they've used already, but that's it. I think. That one goes out. I think totally. I think it's too much to try and sort out. And they've no idea how to structure a copy in a way that's readable for the web.

[00:08:32] Nathan Wrigley: So the next one I was just going to say, but obviously in certain cases it might be that's the exact right approach. I don't know. Let's say somebody comes to you and they have. Advertise themselves as a poet, then, it might be okay, great. Go for it. Go for it. Perfect. You're the exact candidate, but in this page, think though the second one was, give the client a structure, like some sort of copy template and see what they can do with that.

So in other words, it's a little bit like the first one, but you've given them some guidance and by template, I guess you mean a copy template that is to say. Here's how the words could be constructed. This is how other people do it. This is how copywriters might go about it. As opposed to a page template.

We're not giving them a design and saying, fit things into these little boxes. It's more, here's the kind of words you should be approaching when you're designing your homepage and whatever.

[00:09:25] David Waumsley: If following on from the last chat we have, when we were talking about structure of the pages, in some ways we might follow that anyway, we might be.

Yeah. Subconsciously I think in my case, I've read a lot books on copywriters and they sent a follow the same format of a page, a home page, having the value proposition at the top, which tells people what's in it for them here, moving on to the problems they solve, moving on to the benefits, moving on to the the kind of social proof stuff.

So there might be, and I think a lot of the copy writers templates are like that, but what's handy about them is sometimes they will give you an idea. Format, how you might be able to write a value proposition. We do this because of this blah, blah, blah. And you fill in the gaps,

[00:10:07] Nathan Wrigley: to be honest with you, I would imagine that those kinds of.

Tropes, we do this because of this and so on and so forth that not necessarily the kind of thing that they would instinctively do. So it is, it's more helpful, isn't it? There's definitely some merit. Yeah. I'm still thinking it's not the best way of doing it, but it's not it's a better way if time and budget limited, it feels like this is certainly better than just saying, go on gallon with it. Bring it back when it's finished. This is an improvement. Okay. So that was number two. Number three was work together with her around templates and follow a copywriters process. I'm going to put my thoughts onto this one quickly. First I, in this particular case, as I said earlier, I think this one's dead in the water, just because of the fact that it's a lawyer.

And I would imagine that the lawyers time is going to be more valuable. I think I would struggle to have that conversation. Can you please give me, let's have a conversation for a couple of hours we'll nail the copy. In that time, they probably could have learnt five times more than I'll be earning if you know what to mean.

So I think that's going to be a real struggle, but only for miss a, probably not for the vast majority of the work that I've done in the.

[00:11:28] David Waumsley: Yeah. There could be two ways of looking at that. We've assumed we've got this solo client, but she might have stuff that she's employed in. And they, she might if we wanted to go a true agile approach, my, my take on agile, this as a small, as a freelancer or a small agency working with my wife.

But if they did, you would form a little team and she was. If you liked allocate them to make these decisions with me. So you could work in an agile system as they do in big organizations, they work in a team. It may not be the head boss. Who's making a lot of money. What's done is then sent to them before you go on the next iteration of work.

So it could be possible that she might have somebody that she could dedicate, who didn't cost as much by the hour. But also in my own mind for rebuilding my business is that I like this approach and I'm trying to do it, but what's actually happened in its reality is I'm making a Google document with all this stuff and I'm writing a few ideas and stuff on that.

And then I say, go, and I will look at it. And if they see something, can they add something, then that's great. If they don't, then I just have to say. Okay we'll put a deadline. Otherwise, I'm going to assume you're happy with what I've put in there just to move it over. Yeah. I quite liked

[00:12:43] Nathan Wrigley: that approach, the sort of time constraint approach, because you really could be waiting a long time.

If you said here's some copy, here's a Google doc. Go and have a look at it. It may be weeks before they get a chance to look at that again. And so the whole thing is stalled, but if you say. 48 hours. If I'll just work on the assumption that if you've got nothing to say within 48 hours, I'll press on and put this text in.

And of course the nature of your new design of your businesses, that, that can all be corrected later on anyway, because the whole thing can be iterative. And what have you, so working together around templates and follow a copywriters process seems like an interesting.

[00:13:25] David Waumsley: Yep. Or we can S I think some people do send them to a copywriter first.

[00:13:31] Nathan Wrigley: This is quite interesting, isn't it? Because in my scenario is much more like a closed box. They come to me and I described what want to do, and then I close the box and go off and make the website, and then finally reveal everything that you gave in. That's what it is. And this kind of steps out of the boundaries of that.

I let go of a bit of the project. The, yeah. Perhaps I don't want to let go of, because all of a sudden I'm into having to work with some other person that I might not know. Of course, if it's a copywriter that I've got on my books and we've worked together before that could be a completely different relationship.

But if they've got their own copywriter, And their own copywriter is going to make insistent, sorry, he's going to insist that certain things are done in certain ways. And I disagree. That could be a point of conflict, but in terms of getting the text, at least you'd get something, but it's whether or not they would see themselves as a sort of proxy design.

And come back and say this has got to go here. And this has got to go here and it's got to be in this sort of size and font, and I'm already, I'm thinking, oh, really? Do we have to have this conversation? So I think there's good and bad to this. Certainly it's going to get the copyrighting. Don hooray might be that there's a conflict in design.

And what have you learned?

[00:14:50] David Waumsley: Yeah. I spoke to someone, it was for one of my videos and they walked me through the building of their site and they had a copywriter in from the vape beginning. The client had them first before they asked them to do the design and the copywriter, which a lock, professional copywriters will do that.

Done the really part of the branding they've defined, what is the character of this business and who their user is. And they've gone further as structured the pages. They've put on where things are going to be, where that content is going to be on the pages. So by the time all the kind of work that should have been done, all the UX work that you would do the deep understanding about what this business is trying to convey is all done by the copywriter.

And then the only job you've got as a designer, if it comes to you after that point is to. Really illustrate the words which may be is what we should be doing, but, it sounds wonderful, but the only problem is I want to do that stuff. Yeah.

[00:15:57] Nathan Wrigley: It's quite nice. Actually, I'm warming to this idea, suddenly the idea that somebody else is responsible for the way that the site is and all I've done really.

Paint by numbers. I've just been told, fill in this blank with an image, put, make that bit over there, red and so on. Yeah, it's interesting, but a possible potent of conflict. Okay. So that's getting a copywriter to do it. There's definitely benefits there. And then the next one bring in a copywriter to work to our brief it am I right in saying this is.

This in an ideal world, this is how you want to do it. You want to be working iteratively with a copywriter with the client on the call at the same time. That would be lovely.

[00:16:37] David Waumsley: Wouldn't it? If there's a budget for that, my two favorites are working together around some templates and if there's a budget for it, then we get somebody who's really good with words and all working together.

That would be fantastic round a brief, but I still cause. Rebuilding, thinking fresh again on how we might come into this business. You and I both pretty much just built websites. Cause that's what we grew up, that nobody in the brochure site was the thing. Wasn't it just owning in your space.

And now I think as everyone can build a website so easily, the only way to distinguish ourselves as businesses is perhaps to say were more data led that we are more looking at the UX. What. Business, what brings traffic? What brings conversions? So I'd be, I'm keen to be that's my job. So that's why I want the copywriter to come in, because I want to do that early work where we're defining what the keywords are going to be.

Cause again, copywriters, as you pointed out in the notes here, where does the copywriter the SEO expert begin, They're both dealing with words. Yeah. I want to do that stuff. Yeah. So I would probably set out my page layout and then just say, can you make these words better?

They would listen to the client as well. So that would be an ideal for

[00:17:56] Nathan Wrigley: me as well. My thoughts are, that's probably the most likely scenario that any of us are going to face is that the client is going to have some thoughts on what they want, but they're going to want staring because they're going to stare at.

The blank page and not be sure how to write the kind of copy that would be more successful on a website and there's going to be that kind of collaborative approach. Yeah, I think the one that strikes me as the easiest in my scenario is to do the giving, giving them some sort of copyright template, if they wish to do it, if they're willing to do it and see what comes out of that.

And obviously just directly hiring a copywriter to take the. All of that. Yeah, so this there's all sorts of different ways to do that. So that's our problem anyway.

[00:18:45] David Waumsley: Yeah. And I think, that's the hard bit about re how do you go about doing design? The first episode we did, when we said, what does a design process look like?

And I was very keen on this idea that I've got these kind of layers. So it starts with this. Big question how it, it's the kind of business stuff, the market research, how are we going to get our traffic and conversions what's going to sell, in there. And that would lead on to a certain degree doing what a copywriter does.

Some of them do anyway, at least in terms of structure and the layout of the information on the pages that, we might favor pages on certain things because they're going to do. In SEO or they're not being covered by our competitors. So we've got a little gap in the market that we could use.

So I want to start that process from that, but it does strike me if you were in this business, starting a new business, what an ideal to team up with a copywriter who does all of that early stuff for you, and then you just come in and do the website, yeah. How

[00:19:51] Nathan Wrigley: easy do you think is it to convince somebody.

In the year 20, 22, a copywriter is something that is actually required. And what I mean by that is most people can read and write. Yeah. See, everybody has some sort of spectrum there. Some people are excellent at it and other people are not so good, but most people can do it. And probably. I would imagine they would imagine that writing for a website is just a fairly trivial thing to do.

And there's not a lot of thought. You just need to get some key words in there, get it out, get Googled, discovering it. And we're off to the races. Everybody's going to be in the website. Little discussion about whether or not it's going to be any easy thing to sell. I think because I never really did try and sell copywriting as a thing.

I think it is, it's quite a hard thing because most people can achieve the words on the page, but getting them to realize that actually, if we could have a different set of words on the page, you might double, triple whatever your visits or engagement or whatever the metric might be. But I think that conversation is going to be hard, especially for a new lawyer, Ms.

A who maybe is watching the purse strings very carefully.

[00:21:07] David Waumsley: Yeah, I think so. And I think it's, I think clients could be misled by the same idea that they might think about web designers. We're all going to be different on this. And some people are going to be very artistic and that's what they brought in for.

That's not you and I is there. And what we would argue our role in the world is the fact that, actually, Provide information in a way that, good user experience, isn't rarely been delighted by all the flavors and stuff like that. It's actually things working as expected and often the simplest sites, when they're thought out, laid out correctly, work as expected and know it doesn't need a lot of beauty.

It just needs to. Not cause friction for the person who's going, they're trying to achieve a goal. So I think it's with copy as well with that, we not, they might think we're hiring somebody to be a copywriter in order to give them wonderful flowery language, which we couldn't come up with, but probably they see their job as how are they going to create that great user experience.

So where, They get the words, they need to be able to complete their task and they may be very simple words, so I think it's that problem. Isn't it. If you say a copywriter, I think everybody's got some idea of a writer,

[00:22:30] Nathan Wrigley: Yes. Yes. That all makes perfect sense. So we had our, we introduced, so we spent the first 20 minutes basically outlining the problem.

What's the. The next section we've got is what our role is. Should we delve into that a bit? Yeah,

[00:22:44] David Waumsley: absolutely. I'm just finding it.


[00:22:48] Nathan Wrigley: Okay, so we've got things here. What does the design process look like? We tackled that in a previous episode. So how exactly are we going to sell this?

What is the position that we're putting ourselves in? Are we basically saying, look, we're the expert. You absolutely have to have a copywriter. Nobody in the year 2020. Dream of building a website unless there was a copywriter involved or are we just suggesting these range of things? Would you go to the client and suggest, let's say three of the different things that we outlined as the problem earlier and give them the option to pick one?

Or are you just going to go in and say, look, this is the way we're doing it. You're going to get a copywriter. That's part of the deal. Off we go,

[00:23:29] David Waumsley: I've become a fan. Last time I said that, I think now this early looking at the traffic would lead to some conclusions a little bit, and that actually might dictate whether a copywriter was in one bit.

We've put in our notes. We'll go completely out of order on this is that let's say we've looked at our competitors for. And they all, they got lots of blah-blah-blah that we expect to see, and it looks in a certain way. They've all got Royal blue and they've all got gold on their sites. So red fonts and lots of, stuff that's legal and sounds very professional, but we might just say it might be a gap in the market here for.

Just, as you mentioned in a previous episode with your experience or ordering a Indian takeaway online, they went cut through all of that. I went straight with the call to action button. You want food, click this button, pick your food. It'll come right and get rid of that. That could be the same. And I think we might decide that early on in that early process about how we might go with.

Against the traffic that we might get and the gates, the, what we might be able to, how we might be able to compete with others. We might find that we miss a doesn't really need a copywriter because we might just say, okay, let's have a go at this idea. You'll do a free initial consultation, big button for that.

You can do it through zoom call, phone email. Here it is. And the rest is just blah, blah, aimed at getting. Keywords in for your SEO and the copywriter, I think goes out the window for the moment. They might want to look over it and see if you've, if your call to action button, the microcopy and things like that, just got.

Words that they wouldn't use that might work against you or things like that. But otherwise their role has got really reduced in that.

[00:25:24] Nathan Wrigley: I think the most likely outcome for me is that the, my role would look like this, that I would go to the client, have the meeting and I would raise it as a possibility.

It would be something like, look, obviously it's words and pictures. Maybe there's a few videos, but basically it's words and pictures and. The words make a big difference. They're going to have a huge impact. Here's some options I can do it. And you can basically, I'll just fill it up with some, something that is probably well scraped as the wrong word, but I'll go and look at competitors and I'll match that style.

I will put it on the website. Obviously it's a CMS. You can go in and change that at any time, or I might say, or if you want to, take it to the next level and really do a fabulous job and give yourself the best possible chance we'll hire in copywriter. And I think at that point I would be taking all that on.

I don't think the best outcome for me would be that the copywriter. Speaks at any great length with miss a, I think I would like to be the conduit there in between. And so I would ask all the questions of Ms. Say, look, what are we trying to achieve? What does the website need to do? What are we trying to get people to do?

As soon as they arrive in solar, what are the outcomes that you want to achieve? And then I'd go to the copywriter and say, look, it's a little. This is our area of geographical interest. We need to do this, and this. This is what the client wants to happen. Please. Will you supply me with that? And here's what the website looks like right now go.

And that would then I would feel more comfortable intermediary. And maybe the copywriter literally never even speaks to the client. I just think that's instinctively how I would have.

[00:27:14] David Waumsley: Yeah, I think I, I. Be interested to hear what copywriters say. I did watch a video from another channel where they were talking to a copywriter and they were seeing their own experience of working with clients, web designers and stuff like that.

And they accommodate what they get, but it's going to vary very much some clients who've worked with them for a long time. Come with exactly what they're taking responsibility to say, we've got these pages, it's going to look like this. We've got these sections in here. We want you to fill in these and what it needs to do, where others will be a bit more like open.

And I, I've got blank pages here for about, can you come on? The whole copy. In which case, then they're going to have to assume the role of laying out your page for you. And I think, that it's all about responsibilities, so I'm quite keen to remark it. Mind you. As this kind of more data driven web design thing.

I take the responsibility for this ongoing relationship. So yeah, they're going to have to sort it. I'm going to have done that thinking before the copywriter can come in. I guess

[00:28:23] Nathan Wrigley: there's a part of me which has a concern that if there's an X, if there's an external. For everything. So yeah, we need to get the SEO done by an SEO person.

The brand branding needs to be done by a designer. And so do the logos. And what have you, at some point I'm going to be faced with. What are you doing? What exactly are you doing here? I seem to be paying all this money out to these different people and what are you, just the person that puts the jigsaw together.

And so there is a bit of that. And so that leads to the conversation. What would be either. The remit, what are we looking for in a copywriter? Are we looking for somebody who is a psychologist who can sort pull the heart strings and get you to convert? Are we looking for, would we want to roll into that?

An SEO is copywriting SEO. Are they the same thing? I don't really know.

[00:29:16] David Waumsley: Yeah. I think to be honest, they just like us, they can cover a multitude of these kinds of different skills within that. Why. That user experience? Some will and some won't. And I guess this is one of the difficulties you're going to have to find out what their background is and what they expect to do, but I've consumed quite a lot of content by copywriters years back.

All books and stuff that I've read, but, just strike they've influenced what I do. But when you go and look, if you just do a Google search on processes for copywriters, you'll see that they're the almost become the designer, the design in all the pages for you. So you're right. And I think we have to find the person we can work with to make up for.

Lack of skills. There might be certain areas where I don't think you can, I would have the time to write on it or would want to do you know what I mean? There might be something that wouldn't be passionate with, but otherwise I'd have a stab with the client in the first place. And then if the budget's there, I would say let's have a copywriter look at it for their perspective.


[00:30:25] Nathan Wrigley: Yeah. I think it's totally clear that if you've got the budget or rather let's rephrase that in an ideal world. Every single website will be scrutinized heavily by a team of copywriters. As I said, really imagine that we've got the million dollar website and you can employ a team of copywriters to go through it.

Because one of the things that I've noticed when I have been given this. Of writing the copy, even if that was just a placeholder kind of copy, is that there's the staring at a blank page is really challenging to get over. I know that sounds like hyperbole, but it's very hard to come up with the right language and I made a sort of slightly stupid comment that I could have written Lord of the rings.

It is within me to have written an a thousand page book. I could do it. Would anybody. No, nobody would want to read that drivel. It would be awful. And so what I'm trying to say there is that I am clearly not as good with language as especially the written language as other people are. And so getting this in front of other people who really know what they're doing would matter, but I feel that in the case of the lawyer, You're going to be fairly constrained in what that means.

I would imagine it'll be I could be wrong. We'll maybe discuss that a bit, but I'm imagining that. The requirements are going to be fairly straight-laced, there's not going to be much in the way of funky vernacular, w we're not trying to like, get the new kids to go with your lawyer service.

It's going to be a professional thing. Lots of archaic language, really emphasizing. The history of your business or the, your capacity to carry things out in a professional and timely and cost-effective way. And in many ways it's probably the most uninteresting copywriting that you could actually wish.

[00:32:30] David Waumsley: Yeah. I don't know how you'd go about a lawyer site now. If you put the user experience first, if there's the money again, for that to be able to, anything will be better than nothing. Just ask people what they, somebody who could potentially be a customer for a lawyer, what they're looking for.

From a lawyer site might give you some indication or what puts them off. But again, in terms of the UX scale of things, you're right at the top end in the very sort of what they're conscious of. And when you ask people their opinions, they give you something which is not necessarily how they will behave, It was trying to get to the motivations of your users, always with all sites.

And I just wonder where the lawyer site, cause one, one hand you could be right with all of that. It needs to, what they're looking for is this kind of very established authoritarian looks like they mean business to protect you kind of site or their priority might be their goals, which is the easiest way to not feel intimidated to get somebody who's got those.

And that leads you into an example. You put down on the notes there and somebody, about who went the completely opposite way with the Lowe's

[00:33:49] Nathan Wrigley: site. Yeah. Th this has nothing to do with me in that, that I didn't have any interactions. It's just a friend who happens to be a lawyer. And they came up with this new kind of way of buying.

I won't go into it, but essentially they had something new, a new way to interact between clients and lawyers. And so their first iteration of the website, and again, I didn't have anything to do with, it was really funky, it looked at how to describe it. They had a really. Really unusual logo.

The spelling of the law firm's name is really unusual. I won't give it away, but it's got like multiple letters that don't belong. Like they've missed smelt word, the word deliberately. And it worked, it really worked because they're now an incredibly successful company. Seems like they've reigned that in a little bit, just went to their website just recently and it looks much more formulaic now.

Now that they've got their funky clients and their funky clients, who've got successful businesses and they no longer wish to be cutting edge. They just want to get a professional legal person. And, but they did it and it worked. So yeah, maybe that discussion needs to be had, what's the tenor of this miss a D are you trying to attract a different crowd?

Are you trying to emphasize that you're different or are you just trying to do what everybody else does and hope that you'll be found in that needle, in that.

[00:35:12] David Waumsley: And I think that's where all that kind of early research comes into it. Obviously you might not get a time to get into it and you might not be able to really do any kind of testing proper research on real users, but at least everything with this, I think with the whole idea of iterative approach Adderall approaches, the idea is that you don't know you.

You set out a hypothesis, which you will go to test. But the thing is to try and get this process going forward. Just say, look, we got two routes here. All of your competitors in your town are stiffer like this. This is a bit of a gamble. Let's say our users are going to, they're not really worried about your credentials or stuff.

They're just worried about being able to find somebody who's skilled in your, and they want the easiest way and the most approach. Way for them, shall we go that route? And if we are, let's be consistent with everything we do in the design and the copy with that, and I think that's the thing, isn't it getting that early established that we're always, that's my fear with the copywriters that they, if they didn't do somebody, who's got to do that early.

Deciding which route you're going to go, which hypothesis you've got to test. Are you just getting. This type of business, or you're going to be another Walnut and everybody needs to be signed up. Also, otherwise you get this friction with everybody pull in and taboo compromises.

[00:36:32] Nathan Wrigley: Yeah. I think also the quirky thing about this particular client is that they will know what effect, what good writing looks like.

So they'll, it might be a case of I'll know it when I say. You might go through five or six different variations. Okay. How does this look on, they're going to have that ability to read something and say, yeah, that cops through. That's what I, that's what I want to say. So in a way, this miss a is our worst possible client, but I do like your I do like your idea of split testing.

In fact, you wrote that in the show notes and it feels to me as if, especially the stuff on the homepage. The split testing of that could be really crucial. If you just change out a couple of words and see how that goes, that could be really useful, especially as a way of saying, actually, look, we were both wrong.

This variant worked and we assumed it would be the opposite, but let's try going in this direction.

[00:37:34] David Waumsley: It's really interesting because I have this going back years now. I think there were the books I've read work now, 11 years old. They're Joanna Wiebe, copy Harper, hacker books. And she, since, I've followed her a little bit, not recently, but she was big with Unbounced who do all this AB split testing on landing pages and stuff.

She was in with that crowd. Very much. Her role as a copywriter is testing. Copy what works and what doesn't work for individual sites. And, they really go quite extreme on their testing. They set up works the best. It's not just changing a few words here and there. And I think you could do that on the lawyer site, if there's a commitment to that idea.

So you could shove, like I was saying, we can go with that, stick it right at the top, how you can contact them straight away. There and another version with that buried down on the bottom of the page and all the bloody blah. And it would be really interesting to see what's hap happening. And then that might, if you've got that out and you've got enough data in, that might actually change the design of your site generally,

[00:38:41] Nathan Wrigley: let's, should we explore like how you would even get a copywriter?

In my case, I am going to be cold calling. I don't have any contact with anybody, so it literally is going to be a. I'm going to phone up a few people and have a chat with them and see what their rates are and see how I get on with them and examples of what they've done and so on. But but that would be my approach.

Or I might go online and look for, I dunno, look for some kind of website, which aggregates these kinds of.

[00:39:09] David Waumsley: Yeah, it's interesting because they come in different forms. Don't they are just looking at one site there where it's you see a lot of these design sites now where you can, I don't know, get them a month.

They assigned a designer, they've got similar kind of things going on for copy. I've seen, there's a certain price per word and it's just. To be honest, I'll be put off by that. But unless it was for articles, because if I want sales copies, it really is going to be the process that I'm going to be interested in.

The fact that they understand, it's not, could have been, less words might be better. So yeah. I don't think I would be inclined to do that. So if I was looking for a copywriter, I guess I'd be looking for somebody who shares the same approach to build in a

[00:39:58] Nathan Wrigley: website. Yeah, I think I would be asking those same sort of questions as well, is it okay?

Essentially you would want to figure out how to get them the information that they need and how to get that information back off, off them, back onto the website. And it might be interesting. Okay into the conversation of, have you used WordPress before? If so, how do you feel about interacting in the page builder and saving things over there and you doing that?

And if they're not comfortable with that, okay. We're going to use Google docs to share this. What's your timeframes. How quickly do you turn things around? And yeah, I would want that one-to-one relationship. I'm always into the, can I call you on the phone or get on a zoom call or whatever, as opposed to buying something from.

From the luck at Fiverr style website where you just so buying a small amount of somebodies attention for a little bit of time. I think I'd rather that I could know their first name and who they are and all of that kind of stuff.

[00:40:52] David Waumsley: Interestingly, I think I would be more attracted to the copywriter.

Who's a bit like me, so I've got no natural design skills at all, but what I realize is that. Most of the time. If I learned the rules, the kind of rough color theory rules, the idea of setting out space in a consistent way, aligning things correctly on the page, I'm going to reduce the friction for a person, looking at a site, and it's going to look to them more beautiful.

It's going to behave as expected, which is the main job, but I'm never going to, design beautiful, outstanding logos or. Some of the, incredibly talented designers out there, they're just blow you away, but they may not actually help their clients, particularly,

[00:41:41] Nathan Wrigley: we we had a conversation before we pressed record and we w we ended up talking a little bit about one of my clients who took this on board really wholesale.

This is going back years. I no longer work with them, but the. Everything that we've talked about so far, it felt, feels like it's been about the home page more or less, what does that landing page look like? How do you convert people at that first hit? They took the approach that they were going to really invest in a blog and they found their own copywriter.

Coincidentally, they were a law firm, so there's some sort of coincidence there, but they had a very big staff and so they could afford to dip their pocket. And essentially they decided that they were going to have a copywriter who literally has no experience with. But each week they would give them a subject and say, go off research, write as a piece.

And after the first four or five were published, they said, yeah, this is all working out fine. Now you have access to the website. You can just go and publish them. We don't even need to check anymore. We'll trust that you're doing the same standard of work that you've done so far. It was really effective.

The copywriter clearly. How to work with Google. So there was a bit of SEO without a doubt in there. The company knew which bits of the business they wanted to grow. So they were just giving her, okay, we want a piece about this. I don't know, divorce law, give us three pieces about divorce, law or whatever it may have been.

And it was really successful. I could absolutely see the. On the analytics that all stopped prior to me losing them as a client that all stopped and, somebody got moved internally and that was the end of that, but it worked. And so it's not just about the home page and the copy on the homepage and all of that.

Sometimes I think. The long game, the blog.

[00:43:32] David Waumsley: Yeah. And I think there must be some people who are better at some things than others. Article writing must take a, it's a kind of different skill. Isn't it to coming up with good sales copy. There's a kind of formula, isn't it? I see something which I borrowed from copywriters.

I use quite a lot. Use a lot of subheadings so they can pay more in short spaces of time, something that you wouldn't be doing with natural writing. One of the interesting things. I think about the whole copywriting is how much consistency you need to have. So you, if you get a copywriter in and they do your sales page or something for that, and then somebody else is going to do the blog, somebody else is doing the terms and the legal stuff on your pages.

Is whatever you bring your copy. If you decide that this needs to be consistent throughout your whole site for your brand, then when you bring in a copywriter, you really need to be left. Don't you with some rules to work to. So someone else can take on that.

[00:44:37] Nathan Wrigley: So are you, does that make sense? Yeah. You describing the situation that I just did where you need to give them a a real brief of, okay, it's got to be 1200 words.

It's got to have these many subheadings. Is that what you're talking about? Yes,

[00:44:52] David Waumsley: But just the terminology, I think I mentioned before, you might, whether you cut certain words, Down we are to where or whatever, whether you do that consistently throughout all of your site or whether it does I saw the personality in your tone.

So you do use, it's not going to be probably unlikely to be the case in our lawyer where we're using funky terminology that needs to be built into the tone of everything. Or maybe it to be the blog to

[00:45:23] Nathan Wrigley: stand separately. Yeah, I think I understand more now. So yeah, I guess in the same way that we would have discussions about design and okay.

We want it really toned down. Like you said, it might be classic blue collar with a gold logo or whatever for a lawyer typically. Or it might be, we're selling a brand new pair of trainers. Let's make it really funky and I've lots of movement on there and bright colors and it's really this completely wild I guess the same as.

For the written language, the copyright would need to know, okay, this is the tone. And in our case, the lawyer thing, I guess it's going to be fairly, SOMBA fairly professional, but depending on the client, you might want to say no, you go to town. We want it to be really jazzy. We want it to have all the latest language that the kids are using and so on because they're our target market.

Yeah. You really would have to have that conversation. I think.

[00:46:11] David Waumsley: I just think the copywriter and copy comes into part of the branding thing. I remember watching something years back on Ben and Jerry's, they've got very distinctive that ice cream

[00:46:22] Nathan Wrigley: really distinctive brand, isn't it?

[00:46:24] David Waumsley: Yeah. And they've got a certain language, but what someone was, they were looking at the site and saying, you go down certain avenues.

I think for buying stuff, all the legal stuff on various different pages where it completely goes into a different language. And there was just saying. How they did get it, so right. But also get it so wrong in places because they just don't follow through the brand and consistency. They've may be altered.

That sense is, yeah.

[00:46:50] Nathan Wrigley: Yeah. That was always one of the questions I asked, just in terms of the design, at the beginning, that was always one of the things on the form. What kind of, I can't remember what my categories are, but I had five or six different options for what's the feel of the website, professional yeah. Classic or do you want it to be funky, brand new, all of that. And I think, yeah, those would be really important things to do. Hey, just one we're getting fairly close to the time. I don't know if we've covered off everything. One thing that we totally missed out, I think we missed out deliberately.


[00:47:24] David Waumsley: knew you going to say, I know. Yeah, we're just right here. All with AI.

[00:47:28] Nathan Wrigley: It's an interesting point because this increasingly feels like something which people are just handing over to AI robots. And you can imagine, page builders come along and all of a sudden everybody's thinking, oh, we're at work.

You can do it all with the page builder. Any non-technical person can now build a website. You must be happy. Same conversation within the copyright in groups. Oh no, the copywriting AI is coming out and it's going to take our work away. And I don't know. Would you ever trust a.

[00:48:01] David Waumsley: No, but essentially I have got one of the tools.

I don't know if it's one of the best ones called writer. And I, interestingly I've had just made a couple of temporary blog posts for this job that I'm doing using it. Now it. It was really just to have another blog post, which could be linked to in the page that was talking about a particular thing that this person does the therapy and it speeds things up, no one's going to read that flipping thing, but it was good to get the sort of key words in there, but it did give me, and it didn't work that well, you couldn't really. Long-form content wasn't going to work. But if you wanted a quick summary of what these people did, that was that wouldn't violate any kind of copying rules, because you can test them with the kind of copy scrape scrapers.

It called that tool. I don't think there are lots of tools that test whether it's unique. Copy. Yeah, it was quite good for that, but yeah, the headlines when I've tried. Four blog posts right in. I can't imagine them being very good sales and I don't think, I don't think copywriters will be threatened by it any more than.

We are all threatened by anything more than we are as web designers. The fact that now someone can click a button and get a full site right there with something like cadence or Astro. And so I think it's the same thing. It's what we sell to the client. Isn't it. It's what we bring.

I'm big on this idea that, we just say, anybody can get this stuff now, but this is what we do.

[00:49:32] Nathan Wrigley: Chicken little common is not appropriately. If you're a copywriter, the sky is most definitely not. Falling interest at the moment. I think we've made a good case for always employing a copywriter.

I think this conversation is straight around the boundaries. Doesn't it? And usually it'll be a matter of budget in an ideal world. If there's money, get a copywriter, if you can't afford it, you might have to think of some of those.

[00:49:59] David Waumsley: Yeah, I agree completely. There's the room for one. I think that's it.

But I think, with as been, most people listening to this are in similar situations to us with having to do it mostly as a freelancer. You probably just need to have a system in place when you haven't got one or the system in place. Should you get the budget for it?

[00:50:21] Nathan Wrigley: Yeah. Good point. You don't suddenly want to be on the back foot.

You never use a copywriter and then somebody suddenly. Could we have a couple of minutes, maybe you don't know. Yeah, probably a good idea to get in touch with one before you need them and strike up the relationship. Haven't we covered what we wrote in the extensive show notes. I think we have, I think maybe there's a few bits that we missed out, but on the whole, I think we managed to cover it.

So there we go. That was a, yeah, we got our website. Yeah, where are we going next?

[00:50:50] David Waumsley: What can we do to Brandon next? Which probably should have come first, but as this overlap, but we'll talk a bit about

[00:50:57] Nathan Wrigley: branding. Okay. So that'll be in a fortnight's time. Thank you very much, David. I enjoyed that. Yeah, me


[00:51:03] Nathan Wrigley: Cheers. I hope that you enjoyed that episode. If you're curious to find the episode on the website, go to WB belts.com and search for episode number 273. There's obviously a whole archive of 272 other podcast episodes there for your delectation. There's also. An archive of all this weekend WordPress show, which we do every Monday, 2:00 PM, UK time, it's live, join in the commentary over there.

We do enjoy it when people come and join us, but that's it for this week. If you've got any comments, let us know otherwise safe. I hope that you have a nice week, cheesy music fading in bye-bye for now.

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Nathan Wrigley
Nathan Wrigley

Nathan writes posts and creates audio about WordPress on WP Builds and WP Tavern. He can also be found in the WP Builds Facebook group, and on Mastodon at wpbuilds.social. Feel free to donate to WP Builds to keep the lights on as well!

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