Putting together a great website requires three skills. The need for technical skill is obvious. Building a website requires a good level of computer savvy, and the knowledge of how to use the various tools involved. Graphic design skill is also required. Good use of layout, colors and fonts, empty space, and many other factors play a part. And an effective website should not only appeal to the eye; it should be functional. People should be able to find what they are looking for without any trouble. All this is found in good graphic design.
Neither of these two elements is the barrier it used to be. With content management systems (CMS) such as WordPress, knowing code and the ins and outs of HTML and CSS is no longer a requirement for someone constructing a site. WordPress also has thousands of themes available that will enable a newcomer to easily have a well-laid-out site suitable for its purpose.
The skill that people don’t think about regarding websites is copywriting. Good writing–even great writing–is not what is needed. Genuine web copywriting, however, is crucial.
For one thing, people do not read web pages the same way they read printed material. So it is not enough to put up the contents of your company brochure, a press release, a flyer.
Also, on a web page, you want your visitor to do something. Order a product, schedule an appointment, sign up for your e-mail, or even “click here to read more.”
Copywriting means using language in a way that persuades a person to take action in a particular way. It can be learned by any competent writer, but it is a very distinct skill and does take training.
If you hire someone to do your website, make sure that the person or company has every skill needed: technical, design, and copywriting. A company may have one person do the layout of the site (graphic designer), another to write the text for the site (copywriter), and another to actually create the pages (developer). Or there may be one person who either does it all, or does most of it.
Just make sure that copywriting is not neglected. Some website builders never think about the text, just putting up whatever you provide, or possibly writing something themselves, but without the specific copywriting skills needed. It’s easy to overlook copywriting, but it is vital to an effective site.