I love DIY copy on small business websites.
That might be sacrilege for me to say as a messaging strategist / copywriter / website designer, but it’s true. It’s a fantastic starting point for a pro copywriter to extrapolate from (if that’s what you want), and it’s almost essential for ensuring your voice is what shines through.
(That’s not to say you have to have a starting point for a copywriter! Any good copywriter will have a thorough interview process in place to make sure that voice of yours shines through, no matter what they’ve got to start with.)
In a lot of cases, I would say that some small businesses who have DIY’ed their website copy, have probably overdone it though. In fact, I wrote a whole blog post on why less is more in DIY web copy. You can catch up on that post here >
While I still thoroughly believe in this, I wanted to add a few caveats to this idea.
I want to talk about when it’s time to verbose.
As I’ve mentioned ad nauseam in recent blog posts, I have recently completed the Feminist Copywriting Certification Program with Kelly Diels. During this program, the topic of using “all the words” came up many times, and for good reason.
Kelly has identified the rags to riches story that has infiltrated digital entrepreneurship. You’ve probably seen this: “I used to be stuck in a dead-end job and then I woke up one day / changed my mindset / completed a course, and now I’m having consistent 5 figure months! You could be just like me!”.
And look, that’s great. I’m a big supporter of conscious creatives and entrepreneurs making bank without apology. But where’s the meat of the story?
Even before I listened to Kelly describe why this is problematic, it never really sat well with me. It seems fundamentally out of touch and really doesn’t include the most interesting part. Because just like how your educational value is far from the most interesting thing about you, so is how much money you do or don’t earn.
Here’s the thing: Money does not equal wisdom or authority.
I’ve always wanted to know the in-between. I want to know where you’ve been and what you’ve learnt, even if it doesn’t seem relevant. This certainly doesn’t mean revealing parts of yourself you’re uncomfortable sharing (the commodification of trauma on social media is another conversation), but it does mean paying tribute to where you’ve come from.
Because your history is what equals wisdom and authority.
So yes, your web copy should be snappy and succinct where it matters (home page and landing pages), but verbose and chatty where it’s important (about page and individual service pages).
Think about where you need to get your point across quickly so you can drive people to the pages that convert, where you should be a bit more chatty.
Another part of avoiding Buyer’s Remorse (which I talked about here >) is giving potential clients all the facts. Give them the opportunity to really get to know you, what you believe in, what makes you an authority (hint: it’s not your bank statement), and what they’d be in for if they worked with you.
That’s when it’s time to be verbose.
Until next time, be kind to yourself and create something remarkable!