A few people have already contacted me to ask an obvious question in response to my earlier post (and newsletter) about how to write your own business website.
As one person put it,
“What are you — off your meds, Tom? Aren’t you going to put yourself out of business?”
Naw. Actually, I’m just showing off, demonstrating how smart and clever I am. That way you’ll be impressed and throw more money at me. Right?
No, seriously. I’ve got two good reasons for doing this. First, I’m a communicator. This is what I do. I love learning, and I love sharing what I’ve learned. That’s also why I’ve started teaching again. (FYI, I used to be a computer trainer. Now I’m teaching a couple of writing courses at USM in Portland, Maine.)
But here’s the biggest reason. In 2010, I’m shifting the main focus of my business. More teaching and consulting, and less client work. I’ll be doing more writing (including here) but less copywriting. I’m already working on several e-books and e-courses, maybe some audio and video projects too. (Join my mailing list for advance notice and early-bird discounts.)
OK, there’s one other reason, too.
Writers, including copywriters, don’t get nearly enough credit for the skill and effort it takes to do what they do. To paraphrase Samuel Johnson, “What is written without effort is read without pleasure.” In other words, if something is easy to write, it’s usually tough to read. And prospective customers won’t bother. They’ll just go elsewhere.
Many people hold graphic designers in high regard, because most of us can’t do what they do. It’s a mystery. But writing? No mystery there. Hell, we’ve all been writing since second grade. What’s so hard about that?
Familiarity breeds contempt, and all that.
People who are clueless about the difficulty of copywriting often figure the words on their site don’t matter all that much. So why spend a lot? Words are cheap, right?
“Writing is easy. All you do is stare at the keyboard until little drops of blood form on your forehead.” (Gene Fowler)
Writing well is the hardest work I’ve ever done. You will soon see how many factors you need to juggle when writing — especially website copy. Then you might have a little more sympathy for the ink-stained wordsmiths, sweating blood all over their keyboards.
Whether you decide to write it yourself or outsource it, what you’ll learn in this course will make you a far more discerning client. You will not only have a greater appreciation for how difficult writing a website is, you’ll also know great copy when you see it.
Or write it.