Think back about fifteen years or so, and you'll probably see yourself slowly (very slowly) browsing the internet on your dial-up connection, looking at websites and thinking 'I've gotta get myself one of those'. If you're a designer or art director, the impulse was quite natural. All that work, crammed into a big old leather portfolio could now be transported on line - what a perfect way to show off your flair with colours and shapes. Heck, you might even get some work out of it.
However for the copywriter, the solution was a bit less obvious. Sure, there was the same impetus to broadcast your skills to the world, but the format was a harder thing to decide. Should you copy and paste everything you've written into HTML pages? And if so, wouldn't that be a bit dull? Like a very long novel, whose chapters bear no relation to one another? Or perhaps it would be wiser to stick to your conceptual work. But wouldn't that leave visitors looking at all the nifty art direction, and somewhat missing the point?
It was certainly a quandary. It still is.
As you may have noticed, I'm a copywriter. And, since the turn of the millennium, I've published many iterations of my website. It's always been at magnusshaw.co.uk, but has taken a variety of forms. Fortunately for me, I'm also a blogger, so these days my site focuses on that - after all, blogging by definition is online writing. Nevertheless, for the pure copywriter, the problem of the ideal website remains unsolved. Or at least it did.
At the weekend, somebody pointed me to the site of London-based copywriter, Jon Ryder - and impressively, I think he may have cracked it. Brilliantly, he's focused on bad copy; and by allowing the visitor to see just how terrible copy can be, he's extolling the virtues of the good stuff. Even more brilliantly, he's built the whole shebang in an interactive format, so the user can see the trash develop into something much more palatable.
"Immediately we know this fellow is about the writing, and nothing but the writing."
Thanks to the developers 'She Was Only', there are other advantages too. Across the entire site, there is nothing but words. No clumsy pictures of quills or fountain pens, just bold, lovely words. Immediately we know this fellow is about the writing, and nothing but the writing. The interactivity is no gimmick either. Jon has captured the genuine editing process perfectly, giving a splendid insight into the copywriter's process and method. On top of all this, it's actually really fun to play with the pages.
He doesn't neglect to sell himself though (that would be a foolish oversight, considering the purpose of advertising copy). Very quickly, we see his phone number and credentials. He's even hit on a smashing domain name.
You can see Jon's site here. Perhaps you can hire him too. I hope so, because his website leaves nobody in any doubt that he knows what he's doing.
There is just one drawback. Now Jon Ryder has perfected the copywriter's website, what's everyone else going to do?
Magnus Shaw is a copywriter and blogger