Have you ever asked someone a question and their response was “how long is a piece of string?”
It’s annoying because you know it means there’s no clear answer.
How are you supposed to know how long a piece of string is without seeing it or asking questions first?
Website copywriting rates are similar.
Copywriters come with different levels of experience, values, and pricing methods. In the same way, you’re likely to have a set of requirements for the copy on your site.
So in this article, I’ll do my best to guide you on the best website copywriting rates based on your business and requirements.
Factors to consider before comparing rates
Before reviewing the rates, it’s important to know what your requirements are.
Like any good project, it starts with the end goal in mind.
You wouldn’t let a hairdresser start cutting your hair without giving them some direction. So don’t pick a copywriter purely on their rates without knowing what you need.
Here are four important factors to consider before comparing website copywriting rates:
1. The primary purpose of your website
It’s important to first understand the purpose of your site.
An eCommerce website is totally different from a Law Firm’s website.
When it comes to eCommerce stores, the goal is to make the visitors buy a product before they leave. There’s a page for every single product that requires optimization to make this happen. A Law Firm’s website carries much less weight in the client's decision. The practicing lawyers, previous clients, pricing, and location are more important factors.
So you should start by asking these questions before engaging a copywriter:
- Are you spending money to acquire traffic to your website?
- Is your website the primary driver of sales for your business?
- Do you know your conversion rates? If not, work it out.
- Have you worked with a copywriter in the past? If yes then why are you looking for someone else?
An easy rule of thumb is if you send paid traffic to your site then you’ll be paying a premium for copywriting services. You need to convert as many customers as possible. After all, your business's success relies on it. This is particularly important for small businesses, their copywriting efforts have more impact on their bottom line.
2. The estimated return on investment (ROI)
This is most important for businesses spending money on acquiring traffic. They usually include:
- eCommerce businesses
- B2B SAAS companies
- Course businesses
If you know your conversion rate then this is an easy task. Here’s a quick example.
- 10,000 visitors land on your website each month
- 2% of them purchase a product
- Your products are priced at $100
- You earn $20,000 per month
If a copywriter can get your website conversion rate from 2% to 3% you’ll earn an additional $10,000 per month.
Therefore, an expert-level copywriter charging $15,000 for a website overhaul is pretty insignificant.
The return on this investment is huge.
Calculate your ROI first so you can find yourself the best deal.
3. Customer Research
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again.
The best copy often comes straight from a customer's mouth.
An expert copywriter will know this. Which means they’re likely going to conduct customer interviews on your behalf.
It’s hard to put a price on customer interviews since it’s a specialized task. It’s not as simple as asking “what do you like about our product?”. There’s a lot of thought and skill that goes into structuring the questions and conducting the interview. It’s even harder to synthesize the results and extract enough meaning to write copy based on it.
Copywriters will always charge a premium for this.
If you can’t easily show a copywriter your customer's problems, needs, and wants then be prepared to pay for this.
4. Turnaround time
This is fairly simple.
If you're expecting the copy to be ready in less than one week you'll be paying a premium for it.
Most copywriters will have a turnaround time of 4-8 weeks for website copy depending on how busy they are and the scope of work. If you require more than 10 pages with in-depth customer interviews and UX considerations then it could be longer.
How do copywriters typically charge?
You’ve worked out the essentials.
Now it’s time to figure out which rates are most relevant to your requirements.
Copywriters come with different levels of experience and specialties. Like anything, referencing a copywriter's experience is the easiest way to justify the pricing. However, you should judge a copywriter's experience based on their results, not the number of years they’ve been working.
Here are the most common ways copywriters determine their rates:
Cents per word
As you can tell by the name, this pricing method is based on the number of words written. It’s not typical for a website copywriter to charge this way. It’s more common for blog posts or long-form sales letters. Most writers on sites like Upwork or Fiverr will charge cents per word.
Personally, I would stay away from anyone charging cents per word for this type of work. The focus tends to be on the output and cost. There's much less focus on quality content.
This is the most common pricing method for website copy.
Copywriters will usually set a fixed project cost based on the requirements. The process is straightforward forward and you’ll know exactly what to expect. Value-based pricing allows the copywriter to factor in additional tasks such as customer interviews and brand messaging.
This allows the more experienced copywriters to charge a premium. If your copywriter understands Product Management and SEO best practices the pricing will reflect this.
It’s also important to know that if a Project Manager or UX Designer is involved the price will be much higher. Agencies need to factor in all the middlemen involved with delivering the end result. If you want to avoid this then hire a freelancer instead.
Charing by the hour is common for agencies. They tend to charge their full-time writers at a rate higher than what they pay them.
Retainer clients can also be charged by the hour. You might pay a retainer of $2,500 a month where you get 10 hours of work on various content. It could include landing page tests, blog posts, or new email campaigns.
The more urgent the work is the higher the hourly rate will be to factor in the delivery time.
Like all experts, they usually have some skin in the game. Copywriters are no different. If they’re confident in their work they’ll want to collect some of the profit they help you generate.
It won’t be as common for website copywriting jobs. Copywriters will usually request a profit share arrangement on email campaigns, landing pages, or ads they write.
Website Copywriting Rates Table
|Copywriter Level||Cents Per Word||Hourly||Project / Value-Based||Profit Share|
|Expert / Agency||>$0.20||>$250||>$10,000||Sometimes|
Examples of website copywriting rates
Below are six different rates I could find for website copywriting services. Most experts charge a hefty fee for a website project with over 8 pages.
- Copywriter 1 (Expert): $16,000 for 10 pages
- Copywriter 2 (Expert): $12,500 for 5 pages
- Copywriter 3 (Expert): $10,000+ for any project
- Copywriter 4 (Mid-level): $1,600 for 10 pages
- Copywriter 5 (Mid-level): $5,495 for 8 pages
- Agency 1 (Low-Tier): $0.20c Per Word for less than 10,000 words
When it comes to website copywriting, freelancers usually charge per project on a value-based method. Always make sure you know which additional tasks the copywriter is including so you get the best value for money.
You might also be wondering what the difference is between the levels of copywriters.
Note: Experts have results to justify their pricing, everyone else doesn’t. It’s as simple as that.
Having the end goal in mind will help you navigate this task. It’s much easier to choose a copywriter and justify their price when you know the return you’re expecting to make.
The bottom line is you should hire an expert copywriter if you spend money acquiring traffic to your site. This means you could be paying $250+hr or $10,000+ per project.
If your site isn’t a major revenue driver then you don’t need to hire an expert. You can easily get away with spending under $100hr or $5,000 per project.
The middle ground is no man's land when it comes to pricing. Stay clear. You’ll overpay for below-average work.