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How to get website copy from your clients

One of the biggest hold-ups to website design and build projects is waiting for the content to be provided by clients.

In fact, I know of many web designers who won’t book a project until they have all the copy ready and waiting for them in a file, ready to go.

There are four main ways web designers get copy for their website projects. 

  1. Ask the client to provide it for them.

  2. Give their clients a template to help guide them through writing copy.

  3. Write the copy as well as design the website.

  4. Refer their clients to a copywriter.

Asking clients to provide website copy for you.

This is the most common option and where many projects stall. 

Your client is a business owner, not a copywriter. They have no idea what needs to go on a website to make it connect, engage and convert. All they think of is what they want to tell their clients. 

Because they’re often trying to cut costs, they opt to provide their own copy. Or roll over the copy from an old, outdated website. 

But they’re not copywriters, so they often feel overwhelmed when asked for content for their website. They’re busy with work and don’t have the time. 

The result?

Their website sits there half-designed and unfinished because they’re not giving you the words to put on the site. Your project timeline blows out. You can’t invoice the finished product. And their business doesn’t get the benefit of a new website. 

Give your clients a website copy template.

This option can be more helpful to your clients because templates give them some guidance on what to write. 

It also means that you know you’re going to get words in some format that you can work with a bit more easily than giving clients free rein. 

Website copy templates can be as little as brief bullet points about what should be included on each page or as much as extensive brand discovery and guided website copy. 

Here are links to templates your client can purchase for service-based business website copy and e-commerce website copy. All they need to do is hand over the workbook of finalised copy to you to copy and paste into their new website!

Writing and designing the website yourself.

Website designers often try to overcome the delays that waiting for copy brings to projects by including it in the website design project. It’s a bit of an obvious way to solve the problem! 

I did this in reverse for several years - as a website copywriter, I also designed and built websites on Rocketspark and Squarespace for clients. (This is how I know how to write to the constraints of website platforms!)

However, what I came to understand was that writing was my happy place, not designing. And many website designers have told me the same thing. Design is their zone of genius, and writing just doesn’t light their fire. 

So, while you can write, it’s not what you want to be doing. And so your joy for projects starts to fade. 

This leads us to option four - collaborate with a copywriter.

Now, you know I’m going to say this is the best option! 

Being a specialist website copywriter, I’m kind of biased towards this option. After all, it lets us both work in our happy places - I write, you design. 

By working with a copywriter, you allow your clients to get the best results from their website updates. 

They’ve made an investment in their website to help them achieve business goals. And the combination of a specialist designer and website copywriter means they will get the best returns on their investment. 

As a web designer, you’re often sitting on the back end of their website, reporting results to them monthly or quarterly. Think of how thankful your clients will be when they get amazing results. And how many people they’ll tell about your services. 

Working with a website copywriter means

  • Staying in your zone of genius.

  • Finding more joy in projects (because you’re focusing on what you love to do the most).

  • The SEO, headings and words are all taken care of.

  • Your clients get the best return on their investment.

  • You get to collaborate with a fellow website nerd!

So, maybe it’s time we talked about combining our skills and providing the best experience for your clients.