What is the most difficult part of web design?

Web design is skilful.

It is at times a frustrating process, from initial set up of domain, to pointing nameservers, arranging hosting, to propagation to installing themes and plugins.

Naively, I used to think it was about buying a domain, installing WordPress, buying a theme and oof the website is done.

If only.

It’s a process, a skilled one, but a procedure I’ve now mastered where I can get a domain to Coming Soon page in double quick time.

Once the theme is installed, the design begins and this is where the most difficult part emerges. It’s not the building of pages, the menu, the customisation of the footer, the embedding of social media links – no, it’s the content.

Themes have a handy way of adding lorem ipsum dolor placeholder text to an element and that’s often where designers and clients’ toes start curling.

Not mine though – stretched out in Birkenstocks – because I am a copywriter who’s evolved into web designer as I realised, in a Homer Simpson epiphany moment, that the content is the most difficult part to complete well  and I should do both. Which I now do.

The setting up of the website is relatively easy, but words, sentences, unique copy, calls to action are where the real work kicks in.

Look.

That dummy Call to Action box with subscription comes pre-loaded with lorem ipsum – the web designer wants the client to add copy here in two lines. The client asks web designer if they could do it.

Result?

Often inertia.

 

Now this is where Get Pro Copy differs.

Not only do I not have to call on a web designer to build the website scaffolding so I can add the bricks. I erect the scaffolding, add the bricks, the internal features and leave you with a website that is not a compromise, a new build shell. It’s there with optimised content, social media links in headers and footers and a commitment from me to support your website so you achieve a good ROI.

You get copy that is optimised for search, written by a graduate in English, a responsive website design and maintenance that is standard.

Websites start from £300 up to £1000, with all that included and more.

That’s my USP: content and design at prices you’ll like.

Want to know more?

Get in touch.

From Poundworld to House of Fraser, retail is in meltdown

%name BMW

I’m not a business analyst and would never claim to be though I do read the news and follow events on social media, and so couldn’t miss the announcements that Poundworld and House of Fraser are in financial trouble and are doing a Jessops / HMV / Game and going on a financial diet with store closures.

What this tells me is that the top end and bottom end of retail is struggling, along with those in between, and I think to survive economic downturn, you have to offer something new – and that does not mean cheaper necessarily.

It’s the same with the service industry – banks are closing because footfall is low and consumer behaviour patterns have changed; estate agents are liquidating because the costs of running that business are too high on the main road through town and returns are diminishing because online agents sell houses not for a percentage fee but for a fixed fee, but the race to the bottom from high street agents has put another nail in their coffin.

To differentiate yourself, you have to offer something more than simply a product or service that you can pick anywhere online – you’ve got to offer a better service and make sure you charge accordingly.

Example: hand car washes.

Great Yarmouth and Norwich are dotted with car washes on every corner with prices varying at each one.

I can get my whip washed (pretending I’m some hip-hop distant relative of Drake’s) at any one and pay either £1.99 or £17 depending on where I pull up and what level of valet I have.

You’d think that the £17 one would struggle and the sub £2 one have queues round the block but they don’t.

These two are the most popular ones locally and the ones, that always seem to be empty, pitch themselves somewhere in between – like the ones charging £12 for a full interior and exterior clean.

Poundworld and House of Fraser car wash businesses are doing best.

This is why.

The £2 one does a basic job on your car through a machine that used to leave me in paroxysms of fear when car aerials protruded from wings and roofs. There’s no human interaction here but always a steady queue. £2 is handed over, you drive in and are waved on to the moving rail and you are dragged through the canopied machinery.

Your car drips at the end, is smeared and the inside remains untouched but it will do, you think, this week.

The £17 one takes your shopping trolley back for you, gives you a dangly air freshener and here’s their USP – they use Autoglym products inside and out to valet your car in 15 minutes. £17 does seem steep until you watch and realise 6 people are cleaning your car expertly whilst you collect half frozen salad leaves on a meander round Tesco.

The car is smear free, smells wonderful inside and looks like new after you part with the dosh.

This is what I think they do right – they differentiate themselves not by price but by quality of service and quality of cleaning products. You pay more, but you get more for your money. They are helpful too and customer focused.

So if you’re reading this and thinking physical business is dying, by all means go online and improve your digital presence, but be customer-centric, set yourself apart from rivals by charging more but doing more for them in return.

I used to think, naively, when I first became self-employed that helping others was noble, but helping rival copywriters and web designers would be like shooting myself in the foot.

It’s not.

People like helpers and just as that car wash will continue to get my £17 per month as I drive past the £12 ones, you have got to set yourself apart from others by offering more, doing more and being helpful.

Here endeth the sermon.

 

 

Rolling back the years with a weekend away

%name Manchester bee

We’ve been in Norfolk for 10 years this summer – tempus fugit and all that – and when we occasionally hitch up the camels to make the trek out of this remote corner of England, I feel frustrated with the isolation and accompanying journey times.

Amsterdam is closer to us than London, believe it or not (and probably quicker to get to) but this weekend, I went on a missionary trip to the north of England, bearing bottled water and delusions of grandeur to Manchester, no less.

The trip was business-related, but, as it was the north, business quickly became pleasure.

Read moreRolling back the years with a weekend away

Possible opening chapter to a gluten-filled autobiography?

%name gluten

Please indulge me; this autobiographical tome has been a long time coming. It’s self-centred, as it’s about me, about my life, my family, my career. It may strike you as indulgent and self-obsessed and I apologise, but what it isn’t is a niche piece for diagnosed and undiagnosed coeliacs.

Hopefully humour and personality will shine through, even in its darker moments and there’s a few of those along the way.

Read morePossible opening chapter to a gluten-filled autobiography?

Estate agent fees – how to survive and not die.

%name estate agent fees

All about estate agent fees – how to survive and not die, my thoughts.

I live in Bradwell, a bungalowed suburb of Great Yarmouth, nice place, but permanently riddled with roadworks and delays along the A143, Beccles Road.

A 1.5 mile school run can take 20 minutes to do by car and I’ve tried all sorts of devious routes to bypass the interminable traffic lights that seem to be a fixture since we moved here in 2016.

What I do notice though, as I meander along the torturous route daily is how many houses are for sale and how there’s no pattern.

Zero brand loyalty, it seems to me.

Read moreEstate agent fees – how to survive and not die.

The art of awesome writing in just 300 words

%name Mercedes 300

I find writing comes easy to me, not because Shakespeare was a distant relative or I had a marvellous public school education, but because I taught.

If you had 5 one hour slots a day, five days a week, with a demanding teenage audience motivating them with a love of English and Literature, you’d grow to know how to write.

Read moreThe art of awesome writing in just 300 words

Haircut takes 15 minutes for £10 so what should I charge?

%name barber's

I keep my Facebook personal account separate from my public profile and it’s so locked down that when people try to add me, they can’t. It’s not because I’m anti-social, far from it, but I do like to voice on my personal platform views and opinions that may make a bricklayer blush.

Not pottymouth stuff, but banter and views I don’t want to share with thousands, just a select few.

Read moreHaircut takes 15 minutes for £10 so what should I charge?

Terminally self-employed with a dog lead in my hand

%name dog

I’ve watched Sean Penn in “Dead Man Walking”, I’ve seen “The Green Mile” and witnessed first hand the reaction to Tom Robinson’s demise when teaching Harper Lee’s classic. Carlson shooting Candy’s dog though in “Of Mice and Men” made little emotional impact on me, until last weekend.

You see, like any major decision: buying a car, choosing a holiday, selling and purchasing a home, last weekend I ended months of googling and adopted a dog.

Read moreTerminally self-employed with a dog lead in my hand

Have Friday or Sunday seven days a week

%name Good Friday

I’m no fan of Morrissey to be honest, even though “This Charming Man” is a key song of my university soundtrack from the early 80s, but he is on to something with his “Every day is like Sunday” tune.

I prefer an analogy to Friday to be honest.

That’s what self-employment is like.

Sunday (or Friday) every day.

Read moreHave Friday or Sunday seven days a week

Cut to the chase, give me a copywriting definition

%NAME copywriting definition

Copywriting? Give me a copywriting definition now, you pretentious wannabe.

Following the 10 commandments of email copywriting, here I go for some broader brush strokes and give you a copywriting definition, in terms of what I do and what I can do for you and your business.

Read moreCut to the chase, give me a copywriting definition