Website Copywriting

Website copywriting: When to use ‘I’ vs ‘We’ to talk about your business

If you’re about to start writing your small business website copywriting and you’re stuck on whether you should talk about your business as an ‘I’ or a ‘we’ – stick around, let’s solve this problem.

In this post, I’m explaining why ‘I’ is more appropriate in your business website copy when there is only an ‘I’ (AKA you) running the show. 

Why we lean towards using ‘we’ in our website copywriting

As a solo business owner or freelancer, it can be tempting to include ‘we’ throughout your website copy. After all, it makes you sound (and let’s be honest – feel) more professional.

I mean, if you use ‘we’ no one’s going to believe that you’re sitting at home in your PJ’s with a messy bun running your small biz as your kids fight in the next room, right?

You’re probably also asking yourself:

  • What sounds better and is more appealing to my prospective clients?
  • Would they feel more comfortable believing that as a ‘we’ I’m established and have a team backing me? 
  • If I do use ‘I’ are people going to doubt my capabilities and skills?
Website Copywriting - When to use 'I' vs 'We' - image of a lady thinking about her website copywriting. She's sitting cross legged with laptop in her lap

It’s this exact scenario that I faced when I started my business. I agonised over it. I looked at what other people in my industry were using. I wrote and rewrote my website copywriting. So, let me save you the time and hassle.

Option 1 – Using ‘We’ in your website copywriting

I see ‘We’ splashed throughout the website copy of many small business websites. 

‘We design bespoke logo’s.’

‘We’d love to help you.’

‘We’re waiting for your call.’

‘We know our {insert service here} is just what you need.’

But if you’re the only person in your business, should you be using ‘We’ in your website copy? Honestly, it makes me cringe when I know that there’s only one person in that business – there’s 100%, not a ‘we’. 

I get the temptation – I’ve been there! 

‘We’ is comforting and friendly. It strikes a nice balance between professionalism and warmth. ‘We’ is a team of people working together – it’s reputable. It feels established.

‘We’ makes you sound like you’ve got your shit together. 

Website Copywriting - Using 'I' for a solo business owner - image of a computer and lady about to type.

But before you decide to use ‘We’ instead of ‘I’ consider the following points.

  • How would your potential client feel if they found out that you’re not a ‘We’? 
  • Would it harm your business or brand if they thought it was bigger than what it really is? 
  • Does ‘we’ misrepresent your capacity? I’m not talking skills and capabilities here, but the ability to deliver on larger projects where you’d need a team to support you?
  • What are you comfortable with? Does using ‘we’ make you feel icky inside? Does it feel like a misrepresentation?

The truth is, I’ve never used ‘We’ in a client’s website copywriting if they’re a solo business owner. And, if a client specifically asked me to use ‘We’, I’d do my best to dissuade them. 

‘We’ is not the safety net that you might think it is. If your business is YOU and you don’t have a team (or don’t plan on having a team for the immediate future), don’t use ‘We’. It’s not worth that uncomfortable feeling when you try to hide the fact that you don’t have a team. It’s awkward, and it could damage your reputation and your brand.

Related: The Easy Guide to Finding Your Brand Voice

Option 2 – And the ‘I’s’ have it 

Whatever industry you’re in, if you’re providing services to clients remember this little gem. 

“All things being equal, people do business with and refer business to those people they know, like, and trust.” –Bob Burg

If people are hiring YOU – choose ‘I’.

If you’re a solo business owner, and you plan on using ‘We’ on your website, what do you think will happen if a potential or existing client finds out that it’s just you – not a team of trusted experts?

Now, you might be thinking ‘this will never happen’ – but it can. Perhaps you have a deadline looming, and you’re not going to make it. What do you say when your client asks if anyone else on your non-existent team can step in and help? 

Do you:

(a) make up a lie that everyone else on the team is also busy

(b) tell the truth and reveal that you don’t have a team, and it’s just you.

Either way, it’s not a good look and is likely to impact the relationship you have with your client, which in turn – damages the trust you’ve built and will reduce the chances of a referral to your business. And, we all know that referrals are the backbone of a service-based business. 

Instead of using ‘We’ in website copy, here are the advantages of using ‘I’:

  • “I” is more human and personal; it helps prospective clients start to connect with you. They’ll begin to ‘like, know and trust you’ which are crucial elements you need to convert a lead to a client.  
  • You’re presenting yourself authentically, transparently and honestly, not misrepresenting your business.
  • You won’t feel icky about lying to prospective clients, and you won’t get caught out!
  • “I” lets you take credit for the work that you’re doing! Let’s be real here – it’s your business, it’s your work, and it’s your success. Be confident and proud to claim it! 

Related: The Know Like Trust Principal

Extra considerations

What if my name isn’t my business name, should I still use ‘I’.

If you don’t have a permanent team supporting you – use ‘I’ for the reasons I’ve outlined above. You’ve got the opportunity to help your potential clients form a personal connection with you – use this to your advantage.

What if I subcontract work to other service providers?

You can still use ‘I” in your website copy. Nothing is stopping you from using this personal approach to connect with prospective clients and on the same hand, admitting that you call upon other experts from time to time. 

If it’s regularly and you are indeed planning to set yourself up as an agency shortly, you could use “We” if you feel more comfortable. 

What if I have a VA? Should I count them as my team?

If you are dead set on selling your business as a ‘We’, and you’ve got a VA – sure, you can go down this path. But, my question to you is this:

Is your VA contributing directly to (or leaving an impact on) the services you deliver to clients? 

Or, is that person mainly doing administrative tasks that help you get shit done? If it’s the latter, I recommend sticking with ‘I’.

Final thoughts

Choosing “I” or “We” in your website copywriting boils down to personal choice and what you feel comfortable with.

If you’re a solo business owner and you’re not looking to build a team within the next 12-24 months, I recommend using “I”. This approach ensures that you’re dealing with your customers with integrity. It gives you an advantage over companies that find it more challenging to establish personal connections with their ideal clients. 

On the other hand, you will be expanding your business and you’re comfortable using “We” for the time being, do it – especially if you’re hiring a copywriter to write your website content. It’s a significant investment, and you want to get bang for your buck by having it last.

Writing your website copy can be a daunting and time-consuming task for business owners. So, why not let someone else take care of it for you? I offer website copywriting services, and copywriting and WordPress website design packages. I’ll do all the hard work, so you can get back to business. Get in touch today!

Brisbane Copywriter - Leeha Debnam - sitting at her desk

Hi! I'm Leeha Debnam

I help service-based businesses connect with customers with my affordable, all-inclusive digital marketing support packages. Having one point of contact means I get a deeper understanding of your business. The result? On-brand and authentic digital marketing that connects you with clients and helps you build the business you desire. From brand strategy, copywriting and content, to websites and social media - I'll tailor a package to your needs.

If you're a business owner looking to stand out from the crowd and connect with clients, book your free 30-minute consultation call today.

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