Difference between copywriting for the web and article writing

14 replies
Hi fellow copywriters,

I have a client who hired me to write a series of articles for their website. No problem.

In addition, the client wants copy written for the home page of the site.

I have separate pricing for web copy than I do for article writing because it's essentially marketing copy without the hard sell. For starters, I spend more time crafting the language for web copy because it needs to be high impact and especially tight.

Before I spend too much time explaining the differences to the client, I'd be interested in knowing how you folks (professional copywriters) would handle this.

I've already discussed article rates and negotiated a price that is below my normal rate because this was person who helped me get going in my business. At the time of accepting the gig, I had no idea that home page web copy would be expected.

As I write this, I realize I'm going to have to re-approach the client.

I was just going to bite the bullet and go ahead and write web copy for the negotiated price of the article per word price... but thought I'd come here first for you guys to slap my upside down the head and call me crazy.

Feel free.
#article #copywriting #difference #web #web copywriter #writing
  • Profile picture of the author AdwordsMogul
    Well, part of it depends on your skill level. You should have complete confidence, that assume your client does everything right, and no strange circumstances occur, your copy will bring profit.

    Having set that, you already have a tricky relationship with your client - it sounds like you feel indebted to him.

    If you don't have a good portfolio, don't be to keen on the money - use it to gain more experience.

    In the long run though you may need to change this relationship, or completely drop the client after this project. It's been my experience that such relationship tend to lead to resentment at some point.
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  • Profile picture of the author Jake Gray
    Here's how I'd handle it:

    If I had no prior experience with copywriting, I would do good for the client and direct them to a copywriter that can provide numbers. You cannot read a book and all of a sudden write converting sales pages. You NEED to become a student of copywriting and religiously study it. Unfortunately that takes time.

    If I had to recommend a Warrior, It'd be Pete Walker.

    Jake
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    • Profile picture of the author cynthea
      Thanks for suggestions. AdswordsMogul, you're absolutely right. I do feel indebted to him. Even though I had 15 years of professional writing experience with corporations and high-tech start-ups, when I launched my business writing for Internet Marketers (so that I could work from a home office), I didn't have samples that targeted that market.

      So, in my ways, I was starting over. I initially wrote for rates so low it was almost humiliating. But I knew I needed to develop a reputation in the Web 2.0 world.

      Becoming a recognized writer on the Internet has only taken me five months. I'm now seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. I've quickly been gaining clients, have a complete digital portfolio and have more than tripled my rates.

      So it is with some sadness that I'm realizing that even though I am indebted to my first clients, I will need to sever ties, strictly because it's business and my rates are what they are.

      I guess I was curious more than anything if any other copywriters had experienced a client who wanted them to write copy for the web at the same rate as article writing.

      For me, those are two separate categories of writing.
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      • Profile picture of the author lometogo
        Damn, Cynthea, even NM cowgirls get the blues?

        Most of my work used to be article writing, and I was quite happy at the time with the rates I could charge.

        However, when I made the transition a few years back to copywriting exclusively, I made a new website, went after new clients and, in effect, took on a whole new persona.

        And adjusted my rates.

        But I did tell all my article-writing clients of my switch to copywriting and solicited their business.

        Upshot? Some gave me a chance and never questioned my rates.

        Probably because they knew I delivered quality, dependability and a 100% satisfaction guarantee.

        And you know the funny thing? I still get some of them asking me to do articles.

        If I'm not too busy, I occasionally take on an assignment --- at much higher rates than they ever paid me when I was an article writer...and they're happy to pay.

        Hope that helps.

        Lometogo



        Originally Posted by cynthea View Post

        Thanks for suggestions. AdswordsMogul, you're absolutely right. I do feel indebted to him. Even though I had 15 years of professional writing experience with corporations and high-tech start-ups, when I launched my business writing for Internet Marketers (so that I could work from a home office), I didn't have samples that targeted that market.

        So, in my ways, I was starting over. I initially wrote for rates so low it was almost humiliating. But I knew I needed to develop a reputation in the Web 2.0 world.

        Becoming a recognized writer on the Internet has only taken me five months. I'm now seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. I've quickly been gaining clients, have a complete digital portfolio and have more than tripled my rates.

        So it is with some sadness that I'm realizing even, that even though I am indebted to my first clients, I will need to sever ties, strictly because it's business and my rates are what they are.

        I guess I was curious more than anything if any other copywriters had experienced a client who wanted them to write copy for the web at the same rate as article writing.

        For me, those are two separate categories of writing.
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        • Profile picture of the author cynthea
          Originally Posted by lometogo View Post

          Damn, Cynthea, even NM cowgirls get the blues?

          Most of my work used to be article writing, and I was quite happy at the time with the rates I could charge.

          However, when I made the transition a few years back to copywriting exclusively, I made a new website, went after new clients and, in effect, took on a whole new persona.

          And adjusted my rates.

          But I did tell all my article-writing clients of my switch to copywriting and solicited their business.

          Upshot? Some gave me a chance and never questioned my rates.

          Probably because they knew I delivered quality, dependability and a 100% satisfaction guarantee.

          And you know the funny thing? I still get some of them asking me to do articles.

          If I'm not too busy, I occasionally take on an assignment --- at much higher rates than they ever paid me when I was an article writer...and they're happy to pay.

          Hope that helps.

          Lometogo
          Lometogo, everything that you have written above resonates w/ me.

          I really appreciate your sharing this, because it's quite parallel to what I am experiencing.

          And yes, though it doesn't happen often for this cowgirl, even NM Cowgirls get the blues.
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          > Former Fortune 100 and Fortune 500 Writer Available to Work for You <
          Ghostwriting |Copywriting for the Web | Information Architecture
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      • Profile picture of the author cyberdenizen
        I learned a tip on raising rates from Tiffany Dow, who was a successful ghostwriter before she became an Internet marketer. She says that if you plan to raise your fee, you can tell your client that you've raised your rates but you're giving him a chance to hire you at your old rate for a limited time. That way, it will seem like you're doing him a favor because you value him as a client. It will also give him some time to get used to the idea that he's going to have to pay more if he wants you to write for him.
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        • Profile picture of the author cynthea
          Originally Posted by cyberdenizen View Post

          I learned a tip on raising rates from Tiffany Dow, who was a successful ghostwriter before she became an Internet marketer. She says that if you plan to raise your fee, you can tell your client that you've raised your rates but you're giving him a chance to hire you at your old rate for a limited time. That way, it will seem like you're doing him a favor because you value him as a client. It will also give him some time to get used to the idea that he's going to have to pay more if he wants you to write for him.
          cyberdenizen, I follow TD -- thanks for the reminder tip on communicating to the client.
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  • Profile picture of the author annabelle07
    There most definitely has to be a difference in rates between writing copy and articles. Copy requires so much more work. Not to mention the number of iterations that follow - this is probably what you need to charge for the most! However, with regard to your old clients, I like cyberdenizen 's tip a lot. I think that could really work.
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    • Profile picture of the author ParadiseDocuments
      First, let me say hello! I'm new to WF and am just checking everything out. I agree about the price difference. This has happened to me twice and both times were with regulars. What it boiled down to was that they just didn't understand that there was a difference. To them, content is content. Once I explained the difference they gladly agreed to the price difference. After all, that's why they hire us; we have information and skills that they don't. Good luck!
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      • Profile picture of the author Alexa Smith
        Banned
        I always quoted on the basis of my own estimation (after understanding clearly the job requirements) of how long it would take me.

        I had my "hourly rate" in mind (I think it was about $60 when I started, and kind of crept up to $75). I didn't charge more for copywriting "because it was copywriting" but because it was necessarily going to take me much longer.

        I think it's fair to say that clients (and especially clients outsourcing copywriting for the first time) almost always significantly underestimate the amount of time that "copywriting" will take (which, of course, one can try - with varying degrees of success - to clarify for them), and I don't doubt that there's a widespread perception that copywriters are charging more "because they're copywriters", but I'm far from convinced that that's necessarily so ... or at least I strongly suspect that it's actually a lot more complicated than that, and that that's often quite a small part of the "pricing model", really.

        Clients often have little perception that something like a 3,000-word sales page can take 40 - 50 hours of actual work and that an experienced copywriter charging $4,000/$5,000 for it may, realistically, not necessarily be earning a lot more than $100 per hour, which certainly isn't an exorbitant rate of pay, given their professional skills and ability to "produce the goods".
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  • Profile picture of the author Rose Anderson
    Cynthea,
    I'm trying to make a similiar shift. After reading, studying, and actually writing "copywriting" for the last two years I'm planning to make a switch from articles and ebooks.

    Based on advise I've received on this forum I think I'm going to set up a completely different webpage and new company name. I'm unsure yet whether I'm going to include things like web content and press releases, too.

    This was an informative thread. Glad you started it
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  • Profile picture of the author humaira
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  • Profile picture of the author jacobadam
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    • Profile picture of the author Mark Andrews
      Banned
      Originally Posted by cynthea View Post

      I'd be interested in knowing how you folks (professional copywriters) would handle this.
      Originally Posted by jacobadam View Post

      Copywriting is the act of writing advertisements with the goal of making a sale a particular product or service. It includes headlines, slogans, brochures, direct mail packages and even websites.
      Jacob... would you kindly stop spamming the Copywriting Forum just to get your signature link seen.

      This is the second post where you've posted something up completely unrelated to the OP's question.

      The OP stated quite clearly who she wants help from.
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