Has someone ever told you to save the snail mail you get, critique it, and then send a letter to the advertiser telling them how you could do it better and asking for a chance to rewrite it? I’m willing to bet they have, because we all hear that advice when we first start studying to become a copywriter.
But, how does this advice apply to web writing?
You can use this same concept to find web-writing jobs that aren’t advertised — and you can have fun surfing the Internet at the same time.
I’m sure you know there are millions of absolutely awful websites out there. And, more show up every day. And, each of these websites has an owner who is completely frustrated because he has no idea what he’s doing wrong.
He’s probably a plumber, painter, or pediatrician, and he heard if he only had an online presence, people would flock to him like kids to bubbles …
So, he paid someone thousands of dollars to set up his website and so far no one even knows it’s there. He has no clue what SEO is, no one has ever explained online lead generation to him, and he’s never heard of the 5-second rule.
He would pay good money to someone who could just make the darn thing bring in people. But, he has no idea where to look …
This is where you come in.
As a web writer, you can evaluate his site, give him a critique of what he needs to change, and even change it for him. You know about SEO, lead generation, and the 5-second rule … You are his knight in shining armor.
And, I’m here to tell you, it’s easier than you think, even if you’re a beginning web writer. If you’ve studied copywriting, web writing, and marketing even a little bit, you know way more than the average business owner.
And experts, like Pam Foster, charge a flat rate of $2,500 for Site Audits. Even beginners can make $1,000 per Site Audit. Plus, when you’re hired to make the changes, you can make even more money.
But, how do you find these people and get your foot in the door?
Well, if you’re like me, you spend a lot of time on the Internet. As web writers, we work online, network online, and play online. And, as you’re browsing new websites, it can be fun — and very lucrative — to take a few moments and fire off an email to a site owner telling him what you found and how you can help him.
Here are two questions you probably ask yourself every time you visit a website. But, do you realize just by fixing the answers to these two questions, a website owner can dramatically increase the business they get from their website?
Here are the questions:
- 1. Is there something here that grabs my attention immediately?
If a website lacks the ability to grab a visitor’s attention within the first 5 seconds, they’re in trouble. They’re equally in trouble if they have 20 things competing for their visitor’s attention.
As a web writer, you know the first 5 seconds will make or break the website’s effectiveness. And, taking a few moments to send a nice email explaining the 5-second rule, how they could fix their website if they were to follow it, and what you could do to help, could easily land you a job worth several thousand dollars.
- 2. Does this website offer anything I can use? (or WIIFM? — “What’s In It For Me?”)
You want to be careful with this question. Just because you might not be interested, doesn’t mean their target market wouldn’t be. So first, you must decide if they are catering to their target market, and if so, are they doing it effectively?
If you determine they’re not, or that they have no idea who their target market is, they desperately need someone who can teach them how to effectively present their offer.
An email from you, a web writer, telling them how their offer could be enhanced and what you can do to help, would be well-received. And, would probably land you another large project.
Here are some other red flags you can look for as you’re surfing the Internet. If you find any of these, the site could use your help and it would be worth reaching out to the owner:
- The home page has too many links, confusing navigation, and there’s no clear direction for the visitor to take. A confused mind does nothing. The website should make the path to purchasing both easy and obvious.
- The website doesn’t have a way to capture the information of visitors. Most visitors leave and never return. If they are not offering something in exchange for their visitor’s contact info, they’re leaving a lot of money on the table.
- The site is missing a search bar. Website users are either searchers or browsers. Something as simple as a search bar may not seem like a big deal, but if half your visitors can’t find what they’re looking for, it’s an issue.
- The website lacks consistency. If you click on a button and you’re taken to a page that looks completely different from the first one, this is a problem. All the pages should be consistent (including the look and feel of the blog) to put people at ease and make them feel that they’re in the right place.
- The content is confusing, corporate, or contains errors. The content should be free of mistakes, it should be easy to read, and it should be friendly and sound like a real person with a real personality.
- These are just a few of the things you can look for on a website, but to learn how the pros do it, I recommend a resource I use every time I sit down to do a website audit: Site Audits Made Simple by Pam Foster.
In Site Audits Made Simple, Pam will show you how Site Audits can position you as the expert in web-content consulting and she’ll show you how to identify opportunities for your web-writing services. You’ll also get her time-proven 5 C’s of Content That WorksTM and her 35-Point Usability Checklist.
I personally enjoy performing Site Audits because knowing I can really help my clients increase their website revenue feels good. And, it’s nice to be viewed as more of a trusted consultant, instead of a person who simply pops out words for their website.
But, my favorite thing about Site Audits is job security. We could all do website audits for the rest of our lives and we would never run out of websites that need the expertise of a web writer!