Thoughts on Freelance Writing and Web Design from James Chartrand

James Chartrand offers website design and copywriting services through Men with Pens as well as a course on writing through Damn Fine words. When not producing work for clients, James shares wisdom gained through years of experience as a copywriter, problogger, business expert, published author, instructor, and entrepreneur through Men with Pens’ blog.

Below, James shares her thoughts on the relationship between copywriting and web design, insights on challenges faced by ghostwriters, and her experience with paid advertising.

Is it very common for copywriting and website design services to go hand in hand these days?

James ChartrandYou’d think so, but it’s been our experience that clients typically have copywriting or website design in mind… but don’t really link the importance of both together!

Website design and copywriting absolutely go hand in hand. Together, they provide a full experience of psychological impact to help build credibility and reassurance with potential customers.

What visitors perceive from website design AND copywriting, as a whole, works to engage, influence and persuade them that they’re dealing with a trustworthy business – and they’re far more likely to become clients if their entire website experience is cohesive.

Are there any elements of working as a ghostwriter that are not very apparent to aspiring ghostwriters?

Absolutely. There are plenty other elements of ghostwriting that aren’t apparent in the beginning, both on the pro and con side. Every person has a different experience, of course, but one interesting situation is the question of money or fame.

For example, many ghostwriters eventually come to struggle over whether income or author credit is of more importance to them – there’ll be that one project where they would’ve loved to say, “I wrote that! And my name is on the work,” but can’t because of their client contract.

Some ghostwriters never have qualms over this, of course. Paying the bills and having a lucrative career is more important to them than whether they receive public attribution for the work. But I’ve definitely seen many ghostwriters arrive at mental conflict when they realize they’ll always be the hero… but only behind the scenes.

What services are presently in vogue, and what do you think will be in high demand over the coming years?

I’d love to have a crystal ball and be able to answer that question, but no one can predict the future. We try to be first to spot trends and increasing demand that suggests a shift, but today’s world shifts, changes and evolves so rapidly that it’s nearly impossible to do so – and it takes a lot of energy to keep a finger on all the shifts happening on any given day!

I do think business owners and consumers have finally come to realize the value of well-written content and copy – and by ‘well-written’, I mean crafted from a consumer behavior and psychology aspect and including elements of sales, marketing, influence and persuasion.

We’ve seen a shift in our particular service offerings as well – whereas a few years back brilliant website design was in demand, it’s now evened out and become balanced with both demand for excellent content and better education on how to write content for marketing purposes.

At Men with Pens, we’ve definitely seen increased demand for copy and content over the past year, with website designs holding strong and steady. Demand has also sharply increased for my writing course, Damn Fine Words, and many business owners have understood the value of improving their personal skill set in content generation.

Have you ever experimented with paid ads to promote your business? If not, why not? If so, were you pleased with the results?

Once. I lost $200 in 20 minutes and quickly realized that my experimental whim would rapidly drain the company coffers. And since we already have a great reputation, a strong track record and hundreds of happy clients who spread the good word, I stopped the game there!