To what level would you typically involve a client in the production of the copy for the home page when you are optimizing their site?
I assume they would at least typically have review authority to approve what could be considered a first impression of their business? I’m curious how any past experiences you’ve had would have panned out.
I typically ask the client to provide several pages of copy – either that which is already used online or perhaps in offline brochures etc. and then I rework that copy into several logical web pages.
Copy for the home page starts with the most important target keywords and expands from there, using the most appropriate parts of the copy that was provided by the client. Then I usually have a professional copywriter re-write the copy, integrating the target keywords seamlessly, while implementing call-to-actions and guiding the site visitors to the goal the client wants them to achieve (e.g. sign up, purchase, bookmark etc).
Sometimes I hit a brick wall with the marketing staff of larger clients or sometimes with their advertising agencies during the copywriting stage, but once they’re educated about the process and the end-goal, they generally allow me to have final say over the copy content.
You have to find a happy medium between searchability and convincing copy, but you also have to satisfy a range of stakeholders. It’s always a balancing act! No matter what, don’t be tempted to hijack the project. Make sure your client feels an integral part of the journey.