Rewrite a website?
Yep. It pays well and it isn’t too hard. Even if you’re used to writing for magazines, your skills are transferable to this type of work. And, there’s plenty of it available. Think how many badly-written websites you’ve encountered in the last few weeks. Some of those were business websites, and many of those businesses know their website copy isn’t doing them any favors.
They need a rewrite. Some will advertise for a copywriter. Others will simply struggle on with their crummy web copy until you reach out a rescuing hand to them and say, “You know, I can rework this into something special. Something that makes your website visitors’ hearts sing and their wallets open.”
To Find Website Rewriting Work, Find Websites That Need Rewriting
It sounds obvious but many writers don’t think to identify a problem, and offer the solution. When you’re working with magazine editors, you come up with a story idea, and try to find it a good home. This works the other way around: find a home that needs work, then come up with the story of how your rewriting skill will improve it, and pitch that thought to the website’s owner.
It’s not only poorly-written copy for small businesses that needs rewriting. Big-budget businesses rewrite web pages all year ’round. For example, the launch of a new flagship product often leads to a copy revamp across a brand’s other web pages. So, keep an eye out for product announcements, and consider pitching your rewriting service to those businesses.
Show Them You Care About Their Success
When you approach someone about the possibility of rewriting their web copy, you don’t want to offend them by criticizing their existing website too harshly. But, at the same time, you need to make it clear that you can make improvements worth paying for.
The best way I’ve found to get through to potential clients is a demonstration of my interest in their company.
Start by explaining why you were on their website, or how you noticed the news of their new product line (unless you were purposely hunting for clients; “I was looking for people who might pay me and I found you” isn’t going to make your prospects feel good). Then, explain the two or three most obvious ways you could improve their web copy. Focus on what you can do for them rather than what’s wrong with their existing copy, and they won’t be offended. If you’ve done copywriting or editing work of any kind before, be sure to mention that. If you’ve never worked on web copy, mention what writing or editing work you have done; journalism, a published book, or a successful blog will impress potential clients, too.
Get Clients Coming to You
Set up routes for new website rewriting clients to discover you so you won’t have to spend as much time on outbound marketing. Your LinkedIn profile is a good place to start by adding web copy rewriting into your professional headline and summary section. Search engines love LinkedIn so now you’ll be more likely to show up in relevant organic search results.
If you’ve got a website of your own, add website rewriting to your service list there, too. The main difference between bringing in copy rewriting clients and bringing in magazine or copywriting clients is that your inbound leads have a different problem: they don’t need content, they need improvements.
There’s usually a specific measurement they’re hoping to change so they may be searching for “landing page optimization” or “reader engagement” rather than “website copywriting”. If you use typical phrases like these in your own copy when you describe your services, you’ll make it easier for people to find you.
Always ask for a testimonial at the end of each project, ideally via LinkedIn; these happy customer stories help bring new clients to your door. Word-of-mouth referrals are the best source of big-budget new clients so let your existing clients know you’d be delighted if they suggest you to anyone they know who might want a rewrite.
Ask Plenty of Questions
Before you quote a rate or begin work on a web copy rewriting project, find out exactly what your potential client wants and expects. Here are a few questions to get you started:
- What are they trying to achieve with these web pagesósales, subscriptions, or clicks to another page?
- What do they like and dislike about their existing web copy?
- Who will be your point of contact: the Web Developer? Marketing manager? CEO?
- Will you be given a detailed brief and resources to work from, or simply handed a URL and asked to “rewrite this”?
- How fast do they need the work completed?
Once you have all the information, you’ll be able to give a realistic quote, and plan your workload productively. On large jobs, you should consider charging an hourly rate.
Don’t get stuck in your writing niche. Breaking in to web copy rewriting will give you something to fall back on when other assignments are in short supply. If you don’t feel confident enough, read some books and websites on copywriting to pick up the jargon and basic principles.
You’re a writer. You know how to forge a psychological connection out of words. That’s all it takes to become a web copy rewriter, so give it a shot!