Copy Renovation for Website Flip Artists

abandoned house courtesy danette peppersRenovating the suburban sprawl of internet web copy one page at a time.

When the internet was new (and domain real estate was as easily squatted upon as the acreage of arid land loosed to the unwitting during the Homestead Act days), fresh page copy was plenty lousy, like a bad window dressing. Now that the web is turning over a bumper crop of dilapidated domain real estate properties (again, remember the Homestead fallout), the bigger need is copy renovation.

I can overlook the NY Times tardy article on the “new” business of website flipping, because it’s clearly snagged enough tech readers to land it among today’s Most Emailed.

Newsflash: Latecomers to the Domain Territory Ball better catch up!

Plenty of the copywriting projects I’ve worked on over the last 3 years and counting involve renovating or rewriting old and awful web page copy, STAT! for new owners of “undervalued” online “assets.”

The bigger bump: not only were so many of the first gen websites slapped with word vomit, but today’s retooled web copy needs to be:

  • search engine friendly
  • written for the intended audience
  • stoked with strategic internal and external links
  • packaged in quickly crawled page designs
  • carefully given the right page titles, description and h1/h2 tags
  • conversion-fueled
  • aggressively promoted

Copy renovation, much like house renovation, can be satisfying (Miller-time satisfying), but it’s messy and dirty work, in some cases more intensive and challenging than building copy from a blank page.

First time web flippers, insider tips for your page copy:

  • hire a copy specialist with a well-stocked SEO/SEM skills-kit (yeah, that’s my pitch)
  • hire a copy writer who speaks English
  • Be realistic in your copy renovation budget. If you’re willing to pay a web designer a few thousand dollars to rebuild a website then why would you hire a copywriter for a slumlord rate of 3 bucks for 500 words? (Do you work that cheaply?) (The ads trolling for such “writers” paper Craigslist like fringe band flyers stapled to a street corner telephone pole, one on top of dozens of others, until there’s nothing left to see but a fat-waisted telephone pole).
  • Find out what your new competitors (keeping up with the Joneses) are doing right and follow suit. (blogging, direct marketing, drawing traffic with newsletters, netting fans with free eBooks and white papers, etc?)
  • Realize flexibility. That means that you’re entering a market that fluctuates just like the real world real estate market. Search engines change, online markets change, marketing strategies are fickle and you’ll actually have to put in some sweat equity to turn a big dime.

Think about it: when you manipulate on-page copy, Search is affected. When SE bots are fed a steady diet of broad and niche keywords, easily find plenty of link streams to deeper site pages where even more niche-targeted keywords work their magic, and when page title and heading tags are optimized for keywords and grabbing high ranking spots in the SERPs, everything changes. For badly designed and under-performing websites you expect that SE results and traffic increase as these quality components are constructed, but it could take time.

I’m glad the NY Times article made the business of web renovation sound so simple–maybe if there are enough failures, the online real estate biz won’t follow in the tracks of the current real estate debacle.

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One Comment on “Copy Renovation for Website Flip Artists”

  1. Kate Says:

    I’ve worked for a few sites that have tried to do this, not for 3 dollars mind you, but only a few of them have managed to sell the sites at any profit. You really have to be willing to build up the site and sustain it before you sell it, which can be hard.


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