A directory of resources inthe field of technical communication.

Usborne, Nick

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The Art of Being Human

Site visitors crave the sense that someone is there, within and behind your Web pages, your emails and newsletters.

Usborne, Nick. ClickZ (2001). Articles>Web Design>Writing


Avoid the Use of Familiar Phrases and Messages in Your Emails

Sometimes copywriters and content writers write in clichés. To a reader, the line has barely any meaning, and certainly no impact. Why not? Because it is too familiar. Because he or she has read the same phrase so many times before, in too many other places.

Usborne, Nick. Excess Voice (2006). Articles>Business Communication>Correspondence>Email


Being a Trusted Expert

Find out how to become a trusted expert on your website and watch your online credibility soar!

Usborne, Nick. Webcredible (2006). Design>Web Design>Usability


Being Personal isn't About Being Their "Buddy"

I have written often about the value of writing online in a personal voice. In particular, emails and newsletters lend themselves to a genuine, personal tone.

Usborne, Nick. Excess Voice (2004). Articles>Collaboration>Writing>Technical Writing


Branding Copy and Web Sites: A Bad Fit

The trouble with using text as a branding tool on web pages is that it gets in the way of what visitors are looking for. Visitors want and expect text to be useful and information. They are in 'active' and 'engaged' mode. They are searching. They want something. Text that isn't useful is disappointing.

Usborne, Nick. Excess Voice (2004). Articles>Web Design>Writing>Marketing


The Cautious Writer, 2005: Protect Your Income

I'm no expert on the economy, but I don’t see a lot of signs of growth and smiling faces in 2005. As writers, we are in the fortunate position of being able to protect ourselves against fluctuations in the economy, to some degree. To protect your own income over the next year, here are some suggestions.

Usborne, Nick. Excess Voice (2004). Articles>Web Design>Writing


Design Choices Can Cripple a Website

However compelling the message, however great the copy, however strong the sales argument… the way a page is designed will have a dramatic impact on conversion rates, for better or for worse.

Usborne, Nick. List Apart, A (2005). Design>Web Design


Discovering That Writing for the Web is Different...Every Day, for the First Time

Every self-appointed pundit on the planet is saying that users are the new 'owners' of the online medium.

Usborne, Nick. Excess Voice (2007). Articles>Web Design>Writing


Do Internet Users Want Deep Content or Immediate Gratification?

For a long time I have been an advocate of quality content on web sites. And now I am conducting an experiment that pitches quality content against immediate gratification.

Usborne, Nick. Excess Voice (2006). Articles>Information Design>Web Design>Writing


Do Too Many Graphics Reduce Sales Page Conversion Rates?

Optimizing an offer page to maximize the number of people who make a purchase or pay for a subscription is a delicate process. You need to get the balance just right.

Usborne, Nick. Excess Voice (2006). Design>Web Design>Graphic Design>E Commerce


Don't Distract Readers From What They Are Doing

You’ll be on a second or third-level page, well on your way towards achieving the task you have in mind, and suddenly you’ll find your attention being distracted by links, ads and offers unrelated to that task.

Usborne, Nick. Excess Voice (2004). Design>Web Design>Usability


The Emotional Potential of The Web

The Internet can connect people who are continents apart, in a way that is genuinely one-on-one and filled with emotion.

Usborne, Nick. Excess Voice (2002). Articles>Cyberculture>Online>Emotions


Every Email You Send is a Customer Service Email

If you do business online, there are times when you send your customers, prospects and subscribers an email or two. The emails you send tend to fall within one of three categories. Each of these three types of emails requires a slightly different approach. Their purposes are different, and each should be optimized to perform their respective tasks.

Usborne, Nick. Excess Voice (2007). Articles>Business Communication>Correspondence>Email


Expand your Skills in 2004

A sure way to find new work opportunities is to expand the range of skills you offer your employer or clients.

Usborne, Nick. Excess Voice (2004). Careers>Advice>TC


A Fairy, a Low-Fat Bagel, and a Sack of Hammers

One bright, sunny day, the Bad Internet Fairy closed down every company and organization site on the web. But even though all those company and organization sites had closed down, the internet was still ablaze with activity.

Usborne, Nick. List Apart, A (2003). Articles>Web Design>Writing


Five Reasons Why I Write for a Living

This article isn’t so much about copywriting itself, but about the reasons why I choose to write for a living.

Usborne, Nick. Excess Voice (2004). Careers>Writing


Flywheels, Kinetic Energy, and Friction

Whatever the purpose of the sites you work on, their success depends on visitors doing something. We want our visitors to sign up, or buy, or donate, or download, or apply, or post opinions, or pick up the phone and call us. One way or another if we are to judge our sites as being successful, they have to result in some kind of action on the reader's part.

Usborne, Nick. List Apart, A (2006). Design>Web Design>User Experience


Focus On WHAT You Are Going To Say

Focus all your energy on figuring out WHAT to say. Get that right and everything else will fall into place.

Usborne, Nick. ClickZ (2002). Articles>Web Design>Writing


Focus on What You're Trying to Say

Deciding on WHAT to say sounds easy, but rarely is. When you concentrate on the 'what' of the message, it makes you start asking a lot of the right questions.

Usborne, Nick. Excess Voice (2002). Articles>Writing


Four Things Every Web Site Headline Must Achieve

Here are four things you need to keep in mind, four elements that demand your attention, four separate ‘audiences’ you need to satisfy.

Usborne, Nick. Excess Voice (2003). Articles>Web Design>Writing


Four Tips on Writing a Web Site Home Page

Home pages can be tricky, simply because your page not only has its own job to do, but also has to support a group of second level pages. Here's how I approach writing home pages...whether a site has a total of ten pages or a thousand pages.

Usborne, Nick. Excess Voice (2006). Articles>Web Design>Writing


The Freelance Copywriter's Six-Pack   (members only)

This 24-page e-book is a compilation of six articles, all focused on starting and growing a successful freelance copywriting business. In addition to the articles, there is also a resource page with suggestions for courses and further reading.

Usborne, Nick. FreeIQ (2007). Careers>Freelance>Writing>Business Communication


Freelance Copywriters: Double Your Income

Freelance copywriters are a strange group of people when it comes to running their own businesses.

Usborne, Nick. Excess Voice (2005). Careers>Web Design>Writing


The Future Belongs to the Trusted Few

Find out how to avoid sneaky marketing practices that users can see through. Instead, provide honest and useful content and watch the number of repeat site visitors soar.

Usborne, Nick. Webcredible (2006). Design>Web Design>User Centered Design>Marketing


Get That "One Thing" Into Your Web Page Headline

If you are presenting a risk-free trial of something...get that message into your headline. This may sound obvious, but while we were testing various offer pages, it became clear that the winning pages all had headlines which were focused on the offer, and were very much reader and benefit centered.

Usborne, Nick. Excess Voice (2006). Articles>Web Design>Writing



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