Identifying Uses for Good AND Bad Web Copy: Writer’s Perspective

quality-puzzle-XSmallThere are uses for so-so web copy. That’s hard for me to say, but given the state of the Internet and the various markets and strategies PLUS the demographics of users, I have to say pretty poor writing doesn’t even seem to matter in some cases.

However, the biggest problem for online business owners and entrepreneurs may be in separating bad from good copywriting and identifying the uses and appropriate budget for both.

Quality in the world of arts is completely unlike “quality” in manufacturing or industrial applications, though we try to bend it to those purposes– ie SEO copy or landing page copy or sales letter copy–text hewn for “industrial” uses, attached to web metrics, rate and value of conversions, clicks, and money earned. Entrepreneurs have cobbled definitions of “quality” in these instances. Surprisingly the copy doesn’t always have to be very well-written to succeed. Which begs the question, what if it were excellently written as well?

I’ve worked for some very good Internet Marketers and Affiliate Marketers who have had the savvy to identify the projects that must be fitted with Grade A web copy of one form or another. How do I know when a client requires better than average, very good, REAL “high-quality” copy?

  • “Make it better than anyone else’s”
  • “100%”
  • “I need your ‘all’ on this”
  • “Take as much time as you need on this project…”
  • “For this project we are building reputation with clients–they must believe and trust that we can do the work…”

While those directions may all seem subjective, they also clearly express the need  for excellent writing, writing a cut above the norm, with more brain power and energy put into the task. These are examples of directions I’ve received from clients that learned first-hand simply shopping for “high-quality” copy online doesn’t necessarily net the most pleasant result.

How Do You Measure or Describe Quality Writing?

Many industries have professionals that specialize in Quality Control. When it comes to the copy you put on your business’s website or populate your 1000 page niche site with, how do you measure quality for the web copy? Does it matter?

Clearly in more than a few cases the Grade of copy does matter:

  • Corporate sites
  • Branding and reputation-building
  • Sites that must stand out above others like them

Subjectivity of “Quality”

Possibly the biggest wrench in the works when you’re trying to build quality into something is defining exactly what that means. In cases where multiple stakeholders are responsible for defining quality or level of excellence the process can be tortuous. And the state of the Internet hasn’t helped the matter. Many, many, many sites and online applications that beg for Grade A content are stuck in the same muck with the rest of the bad.

The biggest problem is knowing when you must have excellent copy and when so-so is absolutely fine. Be clear: for many online applications, particularly in Internet Marketing, there are plenty of opportunities to save your bucks and go for so-so copy (I’ll never see a need for bad copy no matter how dirt cheap), but you’re missing the boat if you can’t identify the projects or web sites where good or excellent web copy is a given and can set your business apart from the herd.


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