Designing a new website is terribly exciting. It involves all sorts of pictures and coding and technical things most of us don’t understand. But more often than not, one critical part of the web design project gets short shrift–the part that everyone will see and notice.

The words.

It’s great to have a beautiful site, but ultimately, people are coming to your online home to find information. It might be a list of services, a contact number or just a better idea of who you are. The design of the site should support and accent the copy on your site, adding to the overall experience. Design is not the main attraction–it’s a backdrop.

But time and time again, people will obsess over the most minor detail of the design, lovingly tweaking every color, line, and blip on the site, but leaving the web copy to a low-level employee, often with no writing experience to speak of who slaps something together in an hour or two with no regard for voice, SEO or even good writing. So they wind up with a website that’s like a beautiful woman with a dirty face–and spending thousands of dollars for a site that doesn’t fulfill its main purpose.

Writing good web copy is not easy. It’s about striking a balance between writing for humans and for web-crawling robots, between giving information without being boring and showing your voice yet being professional. That’s a lot of balls to keep up in the air. Make sure  whoever is writing your web copy, whether it be an employee or an outside writer, is intimately familiar with your brand, your voice and the basic principles of good writing and web optimization. Your web copy is too important to leave to chance. Give it equal time with your design, and watch your site come to life.

Allison Carter is the Director of Communication at Roundpeg, an Indianapolis web design firm.