Are you thinking of using 1&1’s My Website service?my website - The dangers of using off the shelf web copy

A recent TV advertising campaign by major web hosting company 1&1 has been heavily promoting their sector specific off the peg website creation tool My Website

Now I’m not a web designer so I cannot comment on how good the templates actually look or how “search engine friendly” they really are.   I am a word-smith and there was one bit of the advert that set the alarm bells ringing for me.  I wonder if you can guess what it was?

Yes , it was the idea that your shiny new “my website” template site would come complete with text (web copy) appropriate to your chosen business type.

For a low monthly sum it seems that you can quickly create a good-looking website that you can update yourself.  With a huge range of templates to choose from and even pre-filled,  sector specific web copy provided they make it look like a no-brainer to cash strapped small business start-ups.  But before you go reaching for your credit card, stop and think.  There are significant dangers to using any solution that offers you ready-made web copy.

So what are the dangers of using pre-filled web copy for my website?

    1. Think about it, these are template based sites so every plumber will get the same “plumbers copy” and every solicitor will get the same “solicitors copy”.   In a crowded marketplace where businesses need to stand out from their competition, using the “standard text” isn’t too smart.   Just think about it for a moment.   Ask yourself who are your “ideal customers”   then write unique copy that is specifically for them.   Generic copy tries to talk to everybody and often ends up speaking to nobody.   Business is hard enough without making life difficult for yourself.
    2. Another risk of using standard text is that search engine giant Google actually penalises sites that have duplicate content. “Google tries hard to index and show pages with distinct information.”   Blocks of duplicate content may result in your site rankings being adjusted downwards.  If you want your site to rank well in Google, then you should seriously consider replacing or re-writing the standard text in these templates.
    3. Does the “standard text” accurately reflect you and your business?   How can a load of words, deliberately written to be generic enough to apply to any business sector,  capture who you are and what you do?   I know it’s not right for my website. Please either re-write the text yourself or hire a freelance professional copy writer to create if for you.  A good copy writer will ask you lots of questions before writing anything.  They want to  find out about you, your personality, your business, your approach and how you do what you do before they craft words that accurately represent you and your business on the screen.

Don’t get me wrong, I am not saying that you need to spend a fortune on a custom designed, all singing all dancing website.   A low-cost solution can be a great way to go, particularly when you are starting up, but don’t rely on the “off the shelf copy” – write your own or get a freelance professional to do it for you.   If you want some more tips and guidance bookmark this blog or better still subscribe and get updates by email.

If you found this post about the pitfalls with off the shelf text in “my website” useful please share it with your network by clicking on the share buttons below.
Help us spread the word

Leave a Comment