Copywriting: A Great Place To Start

    June 17, 2003

If you’re new to website building or just getting started, one question may haunt you. With so many different things to be learned, where is the best place to start?

I always suggest copywriting as a great way to begin. At this point, your eyebrows may be raised. But take a closer look.

Decisions Made Before Starting
Hopefully before turning to the task of building a site, you have at least sufficient answers to fundamental questions such as what you plan to sell, who you plan to sell to, and so forth.

And you probably have at least a semblance of a business plan to guide you along the way. You may have included notions for expanding the business from a simple beginning.

Getting even this far is a struggle for many. By the time you have put together workable answers, you may already be tired of the whole thing. You may have quit a time or two, only to return grimly and determinedly to the task. At some point you may throw your arms at the sky and shout out loud, “Enough, already!”

But You Still Need A Website
In the rush to get a business up and running, some simply throw up a few pages and hope things go well. Which is not a good idea. But even if you take such a minimal path, there is still much to learn.

You’ll need to know something about HTML. And you’ll need to learn how to use some kind of editor to put your web pages together.

Then you need to learn how to use an FTP (File Transfer Protocol) program to manage site pages. It’s not difficult to do. Actually, you’ll be doing fine within half an hour or so.

But there are several dozen other “little” things you need to learn to do that only take half an hour or so.

At some point, you may well throw your arms again at the sky and shout, “That’s darned well enough!”

So You Go
You upload your pages, relax a bit, then kick back and admire your handiwork. “Yeah, I’ve got ‘groww.’ I’ll catch it later.” “Wonder how you spell, ‘spacius?’ Guess I forgot to spell check the thing.”

Hey, but there’s only a couple of little things like that. Right? So what if that background doesn’t quite make it. It looks pretty good to me. Right?”

“How about the copy?” that quiet small voice within you cries out.

“What copy?” you scream out loud.

“You couldn’t give away hundred dollars bills with that stuff.”

“You sure?”

“Of course you are.”

Okay, Enough Of That
I hope you get the idea. At this point you are tired. Even exhausted maybe. And you’ve a right to be. You’ve poured tons of time into this project. And more than a few dollars. Won’t your visitors see this? Won’t they understand?

Nope. It won’t happen. You can’t even *give* hundred dollar bills away unless your copy sizzles. And you know it’s so.

So Take A Deep Breath And …
Come morning, start in. You know that great copy is a must. Now you’re going to make it happen.

But how far are you going to get? How long will it be before you look at your work and throw your arms once again toward the sky? And what will you say this time?

Back To Reality
If you have decent writing skills, developing those needed for copywriting makes a lot of sense. For as you work with copywriting, you also strengthen your general writing skills.

Even if you plan to hire pros to write your sales copy, you still need to be able to step in and add something to a page now and then. Or add a new one. And every word must sell.

Mastery of copywriting is not the goal; this can take a lifetime. You simply want to be able to write reasonably good copy. Until you can, you need to hire everything out, and this costs serious money.

If you wait until you launch your site before getting to this topic, your pages will be dead on arrival.

So yes, beginning with a consideration of copywriting is a dandy notion. You will then have at least a chance of having decent copy, come launch day.

Bob McElwain, author of “Your Path To Success.” How to build ANY business you want, just the way you want it, with only pocket money.
Get ANSWERS. Subscribe to “STAT News” now!

Phone: 209-742-6349