Pricing is one of the most difficult and controversial topics for any service-based business owner. And I don’t think anyone struggles more than a web designer to get pricing right.
Every website professional that I’ve encountered over my time in the industry has cared deeply about doing a good job for a fair price, and I really believe it’s the big, faceless corporate companies that mess things up for us.
Recently, I was on a call with a potential client, a very well-off London solicitor. He told me he couldn’t get his head around why he was paying “all this money” for a website when he was seeing adverts for free websites all over the internet.
And this is the problem. People who are outside of the web design industry have no idea what is involved in the planning, designing and building of an entire website—and it’s really not their fault either. But it is down to us to explain the value of hiring website professionals.
However, sadly, this is difficult. So what usually happens is we doubt ourselves, end up underestimating the workload, are negatively influenced by “too expensive” comments and end up undercharging.
With that in mind, I want to give you some tips to guide you through the process of determining “how much a web designer should charge”.
Tip 1) Cost is subjective, so stop worrying what other people think
One person's expensive is another person's cheap. Cost is very subjective, and it’s impossible to know what someone else is thinking, so never set your price based on what you think the other person can or can’t afford. It just doesn’t work.
When you’re working with clients around the world, as many online businesses do, it’s even harder to know what would be deemed expensive or cheap. The only option you have is to set your prices based on what you feel comfortable with and stop worrying what other people think. I know this is easier said than done, but setting your price based on worry or the ‘race to the bottom’ mentality is absolute nonsense. Be confident in your price and your customers will feel confident too.
Tip 2) Set your price based on what you want to earn over the year and how much time you want to spend working
Tip number two is for the start-up that forgot to do their maths!
It’s such a common newbie mistake to make and, I’ll admit, I’ve been there myself. When I first set out in business, I was hanging around with the wrong business owners, people that didn’t value the work I was doing. I’m no accountant and, at that time, I set my price based on what others around me were charging. BUT there was a big problem with this strategy—I was doing a lot more work than my competitors. This meant, unless I worked a hundred hours per week, I’d never reach my yearly income goal. Rookie error!
Instead of looking at what others are charging, set your prices based on what you want to earn and work backwards, considering how many hours you want to work. This might be obvious to most of you, but for those who struggle (as I did) remember this—your calculator is your friend! Start working out what you need to charge in order to get to where you want to be financially.
Tips 3) Your price point should be just stretched enough, but not so much that you can’t say it out loud.
Bear with me here; I’m about to go all metaphysical.
You need to find just the right balance between a price that stretches you, and a price that you’re actually comfortable telling your potential customers. It’s no good setting a price that you’re not able to say out loud because it doesn’t feel right. Equally, if you have that niggling worry that you’re undercharging, you probably are.
So what can you do? Well, human beings have their own internal guidance system that has the amazing ability to weigh up all of the outside influencing factors and make the best possible decision for their circumstances. It’s called your intuition. Yet humans seem to bypass this guidance system and look for outside validation to questions only they know. What I’m saying here is, set your price based on your gut instinct. It works!
Tip 4) Find a target audience that can afford your services
Yes, I did go all hippy woowoo in the last tip, so here’s some concrete advice. After taking into consideration tips 1 to 3 (which all pretty much come back to the fact that the answer to your pricing woes lie inside of you), there is still one major outside factor to consider here—your target audience.
While it’s a myth that all start-ups are poor, there are some target markets that can afford your services, some that can’t, and some that think you’re too cheap. When you’ve decided what you’re going to charge, you then need to think about who can afford it. But remember not to make too many unfounded assumptions here (see tip 1).
Deciding which target audience is right for your price point is pretty much trial and error and, if you’re a new business, it’s going to take some time to get this right. My biggest piece of advice is to make sure you don’t choose an industry you hate working with just to make more money; that usually doesn’t work out well. Again, you need to strike the right balance between who you enjoy working with and who can afford your services—trial and error.
OK, that’s all for now. I hope you found those pricing tips useful. If you want to explore this conversation more, and get feedback on your pricing questions, I have a free Facebook group for web designers—“Brilliant Boundaries: Community For Web Designers”—which is a safe place for website professionals to discuss common boundary-setting topics such as pricing, packaging, client communication, business processes and more. Join the Facebook group.
Hannah Gibson, PhD
Owner at Gibson Copy Ltd.
The struggle is real!
Whether you’re a web designer or any other creative business owner, writing your own website copy is tough.
I currently have four unfinished website drafts for www.hannah-gibson.co.uk sitting in my Google Drive — I really need to join some kind of support group for overthinkers anonymous, haha.
(Update: You can read the copy I actually finished here Gibson Copy)
Anyway, back to the topic.
Website copy is different from any other business writing. It has a very specific job to do. It’s there to lead the reader through the different web pages until they finally click ‘call’ ‘contact’ or ‘buy now’. That’s why I call my writing ‘clickable copy’ — it’s targeted and gets the job done.
There are some ‘rules’ for website copywriting you can learn. Like where the features and benefits should be discussed and how to hook the reader — to name a couple. In the main, it all comes down to clarity.
Why all this fuss over website copy Hannah?
Because your website is the ‘hub’ that all roads lead back to (from social media, Google and advertising), if you get it wrong, you’re literally losing money. All of that hard-earned traffic lost at the final hurdle.
That’s is why it’s so important to get it right, but at the same time, the pressure of getting it right seems to make people literally lose their mind (me included).
Writing for someone else’s business, for me, is no problem. The clarity that comes with a fresh perspective and new eyes is a wonderful thing.
Yet when I write my own web copy, I doubt my ability to be clear because it’s impossible to see my own business with fresh eyes. I’m looking at it every day.
We need someone who’s experienced in writing ‘clickable copy’ to LISTEN to our goals, REVIEW our website copy and TEACH us exactly how and where to improve it.
Just imagine for a second how great that would be. You write the copy yourself, then get an experienced copywriter to tell you if it’s good enough AND show you how to improve it.
How do I get that Hannah?
Well, that’s exactly what I deliver during my 1-2-1 website copy review & consultation sessions. During a 60-minute call, you get over seven years of website copywriting knowledge right there in front of you — not just fresh eyes, but trained website copywriter eyes.
Plus you can ask me anything. This is personalised support, and I pack as much value into 60-min as possible, so you’ll leave with everything you need to write ‘clickable’ website copy yourself —
And clickable copy means more leads and sales for you.
This is INVALUABLE to anyone who doubts the quality of their website copy. Because the clarity and confidence I bring will seep into all of your copy, not just your website.
Dr Hannah Gibson
Lead Copywriter & Founder of Gibson Copy
Learn more about what we do by visiting Gibson Copy
You’ve probably heard this before.
You might even have dabbled in it yourself without realising it’s full potential.
Does it really work? Is it really worth your time?
These are the questions you will ask yourself when you see ‘yet another’ marketing post telling you you need it.
What is this mysterious method for getting people onto your website and spending money — you ask?
I’m almost too frightened to type the word now. I’ve built up too much suspense, and the last thing I want to do is let you down. You’ve probably heard it a million times— the secret elixir to getting more website visitors sitting right under your nose.
What is it?
It’s blogging — a bit of an anti-climax I know, but hopefully, I got your attention.
And maybe in a clever, roundabout way, showed you that blog posts don’t have to be stuffy, boring business newsletters talking about how your company has taken on two new cleaners this week.
Nope. No one cares about that. People care about how you can help them solve a problem. And if you can do that in an entertaining way, they’re more likely to buy from you.
So what’s the point in this post?
I want to show you, how, and why, blogging is still the number one method for getting people onto your website and spending money. Because it is. And the beauty of writing blog posts is that you can share them across your social media and draw people onto your website where they will find their way to click ‘call/buy/contact now’.
You see, I don’t just talk the talk, I walk the walk too. Showing you how something is done is always going to work better than just telling you. Right?
Anyway back to blogging.
Getting a shiny new website with high-quality sales copy on it is a giant leap up from the website you had before. But have you thought about how you’re going to get more people onto your website to read it? Maybe not.
If you haven’t, I’ll tell you. It’s through sharing interesting and engaging content, consistently across social media and Google (for SEO purposes).
Not an easy task for a small to medium-sized business like you.
Content takes time to write — and it takes ideas. You probably don’t have either of those if you're a busy business owner. So, if I know what works, but I also know it’s hard for you to actually follow through, how am I helping?
Realistically, how many times will you post before you give up? I can’t leave you to struggle with a blog.
So, *drumroll please* that's why I’ve launched a monthly content marketing package. Or in other words, a monthly blog post package. But not just any old blog posts —which is why I’m calling it a content marketing package.
All of my blog posts are driven by strategy, just like this one.
There’s a clear purpose to each post. I don’t just pick a random topic and post about it. No. There’s a purpose to everything I write.
I know my audience. I know what they want. I know what they need. I’m giving value. And I’m giving a compelling call-to-action —a reason to click a link at the bottom of this page.
And I can do the same for you.
Help you give your audience value.
I’m also going to take away your blog post writing headache, and replace it with targeted posts that bring people onto your site where they will buy from you. Posts delivered to you every month so all you need to do is upload them to your site.
This package is perfect for anyone who has a blog on their website but never gets around to sharing a post. It’s also perfect for any company who shares blog posts in a half-hearted way and can't really see the point — you need a strategy!
Book a call now with me Hannah, to find out how my monthly blog package will get more people onto your website and spending money. It’s just a call, what have you got to lose.
But one last thing. If you doubt the quality of the sales copy on your website, the last thing you should do is waste your time driving more visitors there. Instead, use the same link above to book a call, and find out how I can help you with that first!
I would never recommend sending people to a poor quality website, sort that out and come back to me for a monthly blogging package when you have somewhere decent to send people. Agree?
“Copy or design, which comes first when creating a website?”
When I asked my audience this question a few months ago, I was pretty confident in my answer. However, having a scientific background means I love to research everything to the tenth degree! So, off I went to LinkedIn to collect some data.
The results were interesting - almost all web designers agreed with me, copy first. There were a few copywriters who felt the need for a magical dance backward and forward between the web designer and the copywriter.
And some said neither copy or design should come first but instead the message - a point I agree with. However, surely the copywriter is responsible for clarifying that message?
Anyway, over the last few months, I’ve been thinking about this more and more, and now I’m in a position where I can categorically say, copy first.
Here are my five reasons why.
The copywriter will clarify the message
For a website to deliver genuine results, we must first define a clear, focused message. Mixed messages will leave Google and any potential visitors confused - resulting in poor SEO and low conversion rates.
A good copywriter will ask questions that dig very deep to understand the client’s business model, target audience, unique selling proposition, and overall message.
Yes, a good designer will also ask questions that help position the brand - however, a copywriter needs to dig even further if they are to write on behalf of someone else. Therefore it would make sense for the copywriter to work with the client first.
Good copy will help the designer design
I have a handful of core web designers who regularly refer work to me. Recently, one of those designers said that my copy was helping him create better designs. And this isn’t an isolated case; I frequently get similar feedback because, well, it makes sense, doesn’t it?
It can be tricky to pull out the right information from a client, especially when there are so many other aspects involved in creating a website. Having someone on your team, working on your behalf to dig deep into the client’s business, target audience, and USP takes the pressure off you - helping you create a better design.
Web designers can edit the text to fit the design
Web designers are 100% capable of chopping up/switching around copy to fit their design. Yes, you heard me right, I’m absolutely fine with designers using my copy however they wish.
My job is to define the client’s message, dig deep to understand the problems, solutions, and outcomes, and pull it all together into a believable story that will sell their services.
If the designer feels some of my copy would be better positioned somewhere else on the page, great. I’m happy for the designer to do what it takes to deliver the best website possible. I’m not precious over my copy, and I think it’s the designer’s call to make.
Going backward and forward tweaking the copy isn’t a realistic approach
Ok, so in some utopian fantasy where we all have a million hours in a day, and there’s no pressure from the client, maybe going backward and forward tweaking the copy might work. But, let’s get real.
So why not have all of the copy in one document at the start of the project?
You won’t get the most from a good copywriter if the design is restricting them
Web designers do occasionally come to me looking for someone to fill space in their design. While I do take on work like this (some situations are better than others), it feels restricting. And after the hundreds of conversations with web designers, I’m yet to find one who says having the copy first has restricted their creativity.
Therefore, to sum up, I’m a firm believer that copy should come first - certainly for the small to medium size services-based businesses I deal with anyway.
It just makes sense logically, and from past experience designing websites, I know having the copy in one document at the start of the design process is the most productive way to go. Plus, working this way will deliver better results for you and your clients. It’s a win-win.
Drop me a message now if you want to schedule a call and find out more about my copywriting process and how I can help you deliver your next website efficiently and without any hassle.
Hannah Gibson, PhD
Weak CTA's (calls-to-action) form impenetrable barriers between you and your customers. Barriers that not only block enquiries but sadly will leave your website nothing more than a dead-end.
On the other hand, when added to a well-designed website with clear content, a strong website CTA will 'seal the deal'. In this post, I'm going to show you how to create a strong CTA for your service-based business website. Follow my CTA advice and ensure your beautiful website generates the return on investment you need.
Know your target audience
First things first, just like proper design and copywriting, you need to really know your target audience before you work on your CTA. In fact, knowing, and deeply understanding your target audience, comes before everything, the design, branding, copy, content and marketing.
But it's always good to remember to go over your target audience again when you come to write your CTA's. You can never go over this too much! Things to think about are; what does your target audience want? What are they looking for? How did they arrive on your website? What tone of voice and vocabulary are they using?
Keeping your language consistent across all of your marketing is essential!
Understand how your business works best
For small to medium service-based businesses, it's crucial that you not only understand your audience but also how your business operates best. This will ensure you create a strong CTA that's well suited for your company.
I have a great story that demonstrates this really well.
When I first started my business back in January 2015, I had two prominent CTA's on my website. I gave my visitors the option to either call me or leave a message via a contact form. On the surface, this makes perfect sense.
However, I hate unarranged phone calls.
I'm busy. I don't like to be disturbed when I'm working. I don't always work during daytime hours. Sometimes I'm in the supermarket during office hours then I work late in the evening to catch up.
Sometimes I play with my kids after school, then pick up messages when they're in bed. The point is, it was a really silly idea to add a direct link to my mobile on my website - I don't answer calls from numbers I don't know!
When I took my telephone number off my website, leaving one CTA - directing visitors to leave a message, I spoke to more potential customers. I now have a link to book a FREE 15 min call because I know my potential customers have questions and booking a call works best for my business.
Use confident, clear and proactive language
For a service-based business, you need to keep things simple and stick to CTAs centred around getting your visitors to contact you and make some sort of initial enquiry. Arriving on your website for the first time, they probably aren't ready to buy your service straight away.
Using strong, proactive language such as "Call us now" "Fill out the contact form" "Book your free session" "Schedule a free call today" "Find out more" will show you're confident in the action you want them to take.
Use exactly the same words for every call to action
I often see websites with variations of the same CTA, but you really need to be consistent here. Your CTA will appear weak if you don't repeat it over and over in the same way.
Similar to when you have too many different CTA's on the same page, I believe when your audience read variations of the same CTA they subconsciously know you're not sure what you want them to do. You appear weak.
Being consistently bold in your request for them to take action will reinforce in their mind that you're a confident business owner who can be relied upon.
The key to a strong CTA that seals the deal for your audience is clarity, confidence and consistency.
Dr Hannah Gibson
Lead Copywriter & Founder of Gibson Copy.
Visit Gibson Copy to learn more about what we do.
If you have any questions about this, or if you would like some one-to-one support with your copy, book a £149 copy consultation.
There's one question that I love asking my clients. I love it because, without fail, when my client answers, their whole mood changes.
It's like throwing a grenade in the room.
It opens up the real raw passion they have for their business, their customers and their core beliefs. It gives me my first glimpse of what makes them different. Special. Unique.
Before I write website copy for any other business, I MUST speak with the business owner. Surprisingly, not all copywriters do this. Some send questionnaires for the client to fill in. I don't.
I have a questionnaire, but I go through the questions, one by one, in detail, with the business owner over a video or regular call.
I do this for two reasons.
Firstly, busy business owners don't have the time or inclination to go through laborious questionnaires. They're likely to skip questions or give brief fluffy, surface-level answers.
And secondly, speaking with the client gives me a deeper level of connection. I can tease out more profound answers while we talk things through. And this way, I will thoroughly understand their tone of voice.
Speaking with the client, listening to their voice is non-negotiable for me.
I have a questionnaire which takes approximately 45-60 mins to work through on a call, but I'm flexible with the pace and order of the questions.
Because I'm asking the questions, I can use my intuition to dig deeper in certain areas depending on the type of business I'm speaking with, and where the conversation is leading.
We work through simple questions at first, usually relating to how the business got started, what the business goals are, and what services they provide.
My favourite question pops up.
It's to the end of my questionnaire - an unintentional position as I didn't know it would be my favourite question until I'd been through this process several times.
Now, when I get to the question "what frustrates you?" everything is clear.
The mood changes.
I've uncovered something special.
The PASSION behind the thing that makes them unique.
Sometimes the outburst comes from a tradesman sick of seeing the aftermath of shoddy workmanship, poor quality services, and customers who have been let down.
He loves his customers, and he will do everything he can to rise above the companies who give his industry a bad name.
Often, it's the small company that picks up the pieces when the corporates do a bad job. Their company offers a more personalised, compassionate service helping local clients dramatically improve their circumstances.
They are disappointed when they see good, honest people being treat like commodities.
They are different.
When I get to my question "what frustrates you?" it ALWAYS shows me the passion that the business owner has for helping people.
And that is the key to supercharging their web copy — understanding why they’re different, why their audience should choose them over their competitors.
So, what frustrates you?
What makes you sad, angry, or disappointed in your industry?
Your competitors might not feel the same.
Once you've identified what really gets you frustrated, you'll know how to drive passion and empathy through your copy.
But beware, NEVER complain directly about your competitors, this isn't about pointing fingers. It's about identifying why you're unique and empathising with your target audience.
What frustrates you in your industry? Let me know in the comments.
Enjoy this article?
Visit Gibson Copy to learn more about what we do.
Dr Hannah Gibson
Lead Copywriter & Founder of Gibson Copy
If you would like some one-to-one support to get clear on what makes you unique and how you can use this knowledge throughout your copy, book a £149 copy consultation now.
Why? Because your website is the 'hub' that your audience travels back to. If your website content falls flat, fails to engage the reader, or even worse, turns them off, you'll lose sales.
To find out how you can write persuasive web copy that sells, take a look at my top five tips…
Proper research is crucial to the success of your web copy. If you're not specific with your aims or who you're writing for, your website content will fall flat.
Before you begin, identify the number one goal you want to achieve and your target audience.
Use the following questions to help you identify your aim/goal:
Use the following questions to help you identify your target audience:
Once you know exactly who your audience is and what your aims are, you can begin to create your content. Because knowing who you're writing for and what problems you solve is essential, particularly if you want to motivate them to act.
As an experienced website content writer, I always use a range of headings, subheadings and bullet points to break up my text.
Headings should spark something in your reader that compels them to read on - a good tip is to brainstorm a list of ten and pick the best one.
Headings are also an excellent opportunity to put your creativity into action. And if you put enough effort in, you can come up with something that not only engages your reader but also improves your SEO strategy too!
Similarly, the use of short paragraphs, sentences and bullet points ensure your web copy is readable, engaging, and most of all, persuasive. I mean that's what it's all about, isn't it? Persuading your reader to take action.
No lengthy boring text here, please!
Don't use twenty words to deliver your content if you can make do with five. Keeping the reader's interest is critical, you'll notice an increase in bounce rates if you fill your website content with waffle.
Instead, keep things short and sweet, and engage with users in a way that resonates with them. Think about the words your target audience use - you don't want to sound like you've swallowed a dictionary for breakfast, do you?
When you're writing any copy, it's important to emphasise the benefits and results your customers will receive. If you're writing copy for a new product launch, for example, be explicit about the benefits and outcomes to your reader.
Use these questions to help you understand the benefits and outcomes of your product/service:
Every page of website copy should have one, clear aim.
Attempting to achieve numerous objectives on one page can lead to confusing content and perplexed readers. Instead, use different pages to deliver unique CTAs. With the opportunity to add as many webpages to your site as you need to, there's no need to cram your content into one area.
Producing top-quality content can be time-consuming and tricky, but it's also highly effective when it comes to selling your products or services. To learn more about the benefits of working with a professional website copywriter, contact me, Hannah Gibson, today at email@example.com
Now, when I speak to my copywriting clients, I ask questions that uncover the information I need to write copy that sells. In this post, I'm going to share the three big questions I ask, and give you some juicy tips for finding the answers.
If you're writing your own website content, read on to find out exactly what you need to know before you start.
Arguably the most important thing you need to understand before you start writing is who you're writing for. Getting the right tone and language is very important, but what's more important is understanding the problems your potential client faces.
If you want to write website content that strikes a chord with your reader, you need to know what makes them tick. But how can you know that if you don't understand who your audience is?
I know it can be difficult to pin down your target audience, especially if you're still in the mindset of selling all of the things to all of the people. But if you don't decide on who you're speaking to, your writing will not resonate with anyone.
Here are some questions to ask yourself:
Once you know the answers to these questions, you're well on your way to understanding who your target audience is - and therefore who you're speaking to.
We know how important it is to understand the aim of a website from a design and development perspective, but sometimes we forget, this is also the key to great website content.
If you want to write copy that achieves just about anything, you need to start with the end goal. What do you want your website to achieve? What's your number one goal?
Forget about all of the things you would like it to do and focus on one thing.
Do you want to:
You might want to do all of the above, but if you try to do too many things, your audience will get confused and not do anything!
It's possible to have more than one call to action (CTA) per website, but you need to be careful. It's a tricky balancing act, and you definitely need to stick to one CTA per page.
Once you have your CTA, your content should naturally lead your reader to follow this action.
You're a web designer creating amazing websites, but what makes you better than other web designers? Why should people choose to work with you?
This is all relevant. You can use your circumstances to connect with your audience, stand out and be proud. The things that make you unique are your selling point.
Once you have the answers to the questions above, you'll have just about everything you need to write amazing high-quality website content. Content that speaks to your reader and compels them to take action.
But it's not always easy to get clear on these things; you probably have lots of thoughts and ideas rushing around your head. Sometimes it can be helpful to speak to someone who has been through the process, someone to bounce ideas off.
That's why I offer one-to-one copy consultations via video call.
For more info email me at firstname.lastname@example.org