“How Do I Get Started as a Web Writer?” Try These 10 Projects
When’s the last time you searched for information online? 5 seconds, 10 minutes, an hour ago?
Well, you’re certainly not alone. Google processes over 63,000 searches per second!
If a business isn’t online, then it might as well close the doors and go home. They have to be online, they really don’t have a choice. And … they need web writers.
“I Need the Answer NOW!”
We demand instant information at our fingertips. Search, click on a link, quickly scan the content. We’ve grown impatient, we need the answer NOW! (Cue sound of stamping foot.)
Is the information right here in front of me? Nope. Close site, back to the Google search, click on the next link, repeat until satisfied.
What are we looking for? Information, answers, instruction, education, entertainment … and on it goes.
63,000 demands for instant gratification every second of every minute of every hour of every day.
Now, imagine what would happen if the internet disappeared today. Can you even imagine a world without the internet? We rely on it every second of every day.
Messaging, social media, banking, shopping, booking appointments. It’s part of our life, our main source of interaction and communication with the outside world.
Phew! Let’s take a breath for a second. What does this all mean?
Massive demand for online content = Massive demand for web writers
That’s good news for you! Someone has to write these impossibly large mountains of online content. Web writers are in big demand.
Even better, you can easily get started as a web writer.
But how? Where do you start? And where do you find prospects? Let’s find out!
How to Get Started as a Web Writer
Let’s get something out of the way up front. You won’t be expected to design websites from scratch, learn code, or write entire websites … unless you want to, of course!
The best part about web writing is you can start with the smallest projects then progressively work your way up.
The best way to get started? Update existing content. Many websites are outdated or poorly written, crying out for some love.
Here are 10 project ideas to get you started, even if you’re a beginner.
1. Update Old Pages with New Content
Update old content to give it a boost in the search engine rankings. You update the copy to reflect the latest information, add videos, infographics, and/or new images.
What to offer prospects: Update their 10 most popular pages with new content.
Potential fees: $100-$200 per page, depending on how many changes are needed.
2. Update SEO on Current Pages
Update current pages with SEO (Search Engine Optimization), so they can be more easily found by the search engines. This involves researching relevant keywords then seeding them naturally into the copy.
What to offer prospects: Update their 10 most popular pages for SEO. Or offer to update for SEO and update the content.
Potential fees: $100-$400 per page (or more, depending on how many changes are needed).
3. Update FAQs
Many websites have an FAQ page. These are the questions prospects and customers regularly ask.
You might have to talk to the Customer Service department to better understand the most popular questions. You may also have to contact others within the business, to make sure your answers are correct.
What to offer prospects: Update the FAQ page. Charge at the higher end if you need to liaise with stakeholders inside the business. Or offer to update their FAQs and optimize for SEO.
Potential fees: $500-$1,000 to update FAQs and optimize for SEO (pricing depends on how large the FAQ page is).
4. Update the About Us Page
About Us pages often miss the mark. They focus on the business story, rather than describing the benefits of products or services to the customer.
You’ll need to research the business to better understand what makes them unique, then tease out the benefits.
What to offer prospects: Update their About Us page. Explain the approach you’re taking (the benefits rather than focusing on the company history) and why this is so important.
Potential fees: $500-$750 to rewrite a benefit-focused About page from scratch.
5. Update or Add Popups
Popups are super-short copy projects. You have to hit the target audience with minimal words. They’re fun!
You should always A/B test popups. This involves running two slightly different popups at the same time (with maybe a different button or background color) and monitoring which one converts better. Then you take the best performer, create another similar but different popup, A/B test them, and so on.
This process is ongoing.
You’ll discover many popups are poorly written. This is a great way to get your foot in the door.
What to offer prospects: Create a new popup and A/B test it against their existing one. Then offer to continue A/B testing to find the best performing popup.
Potential fees: $500 for new popup. $250 per A/B test.
6. Update Product Pages
What are product pages? They’re the pages you land on when you’re buying online. Each product page has a detailed description of the product, often with specifications. Think Amazon or eBay … they’re all product pages.
When manufacturers modify their products, the corresponding product pages need to be updated as well. This is quick and easy work, something you can do in your spare time.
What to offer prospects: Update their product pages to reflect latest product specs. Or offer to update their product pages and add SEO.
Potential fees: $100 per page for updates. $250 per page for updates and SEO.
7. Updating Content for Better User Experience (UX)
A good website keeps the user on the site. To achieve this, the website must be user-friendly … it needs to present a positive user experience (UX).
UX-optimized web pages are intuitive and easy to use. For example, a homepage might have 10 links to 10 different pages. Users will be overwhelmed, unlikely to click on any links.
Your job is to simplify … in our example, you might group the 10 links into two logical categories. Then each category will open a new page with the sub-categories listed. Now the user has clear choices. Much better!
We’ve just touched on UX here. It’s a whole industry in itself. You’ll discover loads of opportunities for web writers who understand UX.
What to offer prospects: Update the top tier pages (those on the Navigation Bar) for UX. Generally, the homepage is the most difficult to optimize. So, charge more for the homepage.
Potential fees: $500 for the homepage and $250-$450 for the other pages.
8. Writing Blog Posts
Companies love blog posts! So does Google. So do writers. These are easy to write and vary from 300–1,200 words. Target companies with active blogs, who are consistently adding new blog posts.
And companies are always looking for new blog topics or a new angle on an old topic. Generate ideas for them … offer to submit a list of ideas for new blog posts.
What to offer prospects: Offer to write a blog post as regularly as you are comfortable with. This could be weekly, monthly, or even daily. And offer to optimize your posts for SEO.
Potential fees: $150-$800 per post, depending on the level of research needed, length of post, and whether it’s optimized for SEO.
9. Writing Landing Pages
When you click on an ad or link, you’ll normally arrive at a landing page.
These pages are tightly focused. They have one objective … to get a user to take an action.
For example, the user might arrive at a landing page promoting a free report (lead magnet). In exchange, the user submits their name and email address. The one objective of this landing page? To attract new email subscribers.
Marketers often run multiple ad campaigns. This means they need multiple landing pages. Good news if you’re writing the landing pages!
What to offer prospects: Offer to write a landing page for one ad campaign. If they hesitate, suggest they A/B test your landing page against theirs. If yours performs better, then you’ll be in demand.
Potential fees: $500-$750 to write a landing page for A/B test. Up to $1,500 for new landing pages.
10. Planning and Creating New Content
So … you’ve proven yourself with one or more of the nine projects listed above. Now you’re ready to move up a level.
Content marketers and copy editors are busy people. Become their ideas person. After a while, you’ll form a healthy working relationship with some of these people. Ask if they need help planning new content, filling gaps in their Editorial Calendar.
If so, suggest new content. Come up with a list of content ideas. Chances are, you’ll be the one writing this new content.
You’ll likely become a valuable part of their team. Busy people need help, even if they don’t realize it! Make their life easier and you’ll be rewarded with projects well into the future.
What to offer prospects: Content ideas and help with filling their Editorial Calendars. Emphasis on providing content ideas on an ongoing basis … “What’s in it for them.”
Potential fees: Depends on the type and scope of projects they need help with.
Remember I said earlier you won’t be expected to design new websites? What if you do want to design new websites? Well, this definitely falls into the “planning and creating new content” category!
First, you design the structure of a new website. You work with the business to decide which pages they need and how they’ll appear on the website.
For example, you decide which pages should appear along the navigation bar, which sub-pages sit under these main pages, and so on.
Then you write the copy for each page, optimized for SEO. Suggest they add a blog, some popups, and a lead magnet to attract email subscribers … whatever suits their company’s “voice.” If they accept, then you’ll have more work!
What to offer prospects: A complete proposal including website structure and an outline of the copy on each top-level page.
Potential fees: $1,000-$1,500 for website structure. $500-$750 per page, including SEO.
Where to Find Prospects
Start with online research and look in your very own email inbox.
Say you’re interested in web writing for plumbing suppliers. Compile a list of plumbing suppliers and check out their websites.
- Is the content outdated?
- Are web pages optimized for SEO?
- Do they have an FAQ page? If so, what are the gaps?
- Does their About Us page need improving?
- Are they using popups?
- Are their product pages relevant and up-to-date?
- Is the user experience (UX) good or could it be improved?
- Do they have a blog?
- When you click on an ad, do you arrive at a landing page? Is it well written?
Do they have an email newsletter? If so, subscribe and take note of what they send you. This is an easy way to get to know them better. Did they send you a Welcome Email message? If not, there’s an easy foot-in-the-door opportunity for you.
Click through their e-newsletter or emails to promotions, product pages, and blog posts. Could they be better?
Next step? Go to their Contact Us page and call or email them. Tell them you’re a web writer specializing in their niche and would love to discuss ways to work together.
If they ask for writing samples, don’t panic! Suggest you re-write their About page or whatever needs improving as a sample of your style.
Web writers are in demand. You already have more copywriting skills than most people who are web writers … even if you’re just starting your copywriting journey.
You’re an expert, compared to 99.9% of the people who are adding online content. Seriously? Yep!
Most content is written by people who have no clue about persuasive writing. The receptionist who always wanted to be a writer … the web designer who detests writing, but knows she needs to add some copy to every page … the content coordinator who dreads every Friday because he needs to write the next blog post.
Even if you have zero experience as a web writer, you understand the concepts of persuasive writing, many of the techniques and why persuasive copy is crucial in any sales process (or funnel).
Now you know what projects to target and how to target the right companies. So get out there and get started today!
The demand is huge … businesses need your expertise.
Need more information? Watch this free Inside AWAI webinar: Inside the Online Copywriting Opportunity.
If you have any questions about getting started as a web writer, please ask in the comments.
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