Monday, 23 May 2011

FREE website content - Is it worth the money you pay for it?

 One of the major stumbling blocks I regularly experience when talking to potential clients is that of money...  filthy lucre,  dough, dosh... even folding greens – Call it what you will, the love of it may be the root of all evil but it often blinds people to a very important point:

Often you get what you pay for

 Of course, this is a flexible statement (otherwise no-one would bother spending 3 nights in a sleeping bag outside Debenhams waiting for the January sales to start!!) but by-and-large it holds true for so many things.
 To use a recent example I was contacted by an online business who wanted to know what, as a professional writer & copywriter, I would charge to write 3 x 500 word articles for their website? I gave it some thought and duly replied with a reasonable cost for their consideration.

 Shortly afterward I received an email telling me that they were currently obtaining 500 word articles for half of my charge and therefore felt that they could not use my services...

 Curious as to how they were getting professionally written material for their website at such a cheap rate I had a quick look at just the first two articles... Yes, you’ve guessed it: both of them contained quite a few examples of simple mistakes in spelling, grammar and language which even a simple word-processing package would have spotted.

 Needless to say I wrote back to the company and gently highlighted how, despite the cut-price cost of their web copy, it might well be costing them in terms of lost business... 

 The truth is that Joe Public is NOT stupid – not by a long chalk – and despite the increasing encroachment of ‘txt speak’ into the written language, business is one area where the vast majority of people still expect good writing. This becomes increasingly true the higher your customer demographic but that’s not to say ‘budget’ services can get away with sloppy English...

 So there are two fundamental truths that I have discovered which I try to put across to people. Let’s call them Woolley’s Cardinal Rules:

Cardinal Rule No.1 – Nothing sends customer confidence in your business plummeting faster than poor spelling or bad grammar. It doesn’t matter if it’s in a printed brochure, a flyer or a webpage: If your writing is bad then it will undermine customer confidence in your services/products &/or professionalism

Cardinal Rule No. 2 - FREE website content is only worth the money you pay for it. In the same way as you wouldn’t try to repair your own gas boiler (unless of course you were a CORGI certified boiler repair person!) if you want good, professional looking website content – then get a professional copywriter in to do it for you.  Admittedly, failing to do this won’t result in a gigantic explosion but it might just save you from learning an expensive lesson...

 For more information on a range of affordable copywriting services visit my website at: