Copywriting 101: How a Website Redesign Can Take You Backwards

July 13, 2006

I love Rackspace. We have been with them since day one. I have a good relationship with their founder Pat Condon and have to credit Pat with convincing us to rename our service to FreshBooks.

Earlier this year, Rackspace redesigned their web site. Cautiously I wrote Pat and hinted that I thought the redesign was a step backwards.

Why is This Website Redesign a Step Backwards?

The focus of the site has become RACKSPACE, not Rackspace’s customers. How do I know?  The copy is all about THEM.  It is navel-gazing. I’m willing to bet their internal marketing department prepared the content.  It’s a classic mistake.

Prospective customers care about themselves – not about YOU or your company.  Your web copy should use the word YOU to connect with the visitor, and you should avoid the words “we” / “me” /”us” / “I”.   To learn more about persuasive copywriting for I recommend this book – an essential read before you undertake a website redesign.

At Rackspace they have a great concept they call “paper cuts”.  It’s not one mistake that causes a client to leave them, it is a series of paper cuts.  Their goal is not to die by papercuts. I sincerely hope that this redesign at RackSpace is not a sign of things to come…because death by paper cuts sounds like a pretty awful way to go.

about the author

Co-Founder & CEO, FreshBooks Mike is the co-founder and CEO of FreshBooks, the world’s #1 cloud accounting software for self-employed professionals. Built in 2003 after he accidentally saved over an invoice, Mike spent 3.5 years growing FreshBooks from his parents’ basement. Since then, over 10 million people have used FreshBooks to save time billing, and collect billions of dollars. A lover of the outdoors, Mike has been bitten so many times it’s rumored he’s the first human to have developed immunity to mosquitoes.