A directory of resources inthe field of technical communication.


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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


Corporate Blogs: Measure Their Value!

To date, ROI hasn't been applied to blogs. This is partly due to blogging recent introduction to the marketing mix. Many blogging experts have suggested calculating a blog ROI is impossible. As a professor, I teach students how to tie marketing to the bottom line. Calculating ROI for a blog should be no harder than calculating it for other marketing components. To place ROI measurements in context, you must first understand how blogs fulfill different business objectives.

Cohen, Heidi. ClickZ (2005). Articles>Business Communication>Blogging>Assessment


Correlating Web-User Data

Everything served to a visitor -- from the first page through marketing, sales, and product fulfillment -- generates data about the customer. Web marketers can tap into this 'free' source of profile data for just the cost of converting existing data into a format that can be used by a data-analysis program.

Allen, Cliff. ClickZ (2001). Articles>Usability>Web Design>Log Analysis


Data Mining and Predictive Analytics, Part 1

The cluster analysis process looks for groups of visitors in the data, where the people within the groups have something in common but the commonality is different from group to group.

Mason, Neil. ClickZ (2007). Articles>Web Design>Research>Log Analysis


Data Mining and Predictive Analytics, Part 2

In part one of this series, I examined visitor segmentation, a data-mining technique. Now, let's look at how data mining can be used to understand important visitor behavior over time.

Mason, Neil. ClickZ (2007). Articles>Web Design>Research>Log Analysis


Death of a Meta Tag

The value of adding meta keywords tags to pages seems little worth the time. In my opinion, the meta keywords tag is dead, dead, dead. Like Andrew, I say good riddance!

Sullivan, Danny. ClickZ (2002). Articles>Web Design>HTML>Metadata


Engagement: The Definition Debate

I know what engagement is (everyone does), but I don't know what it means or how to explain it, let alone how to measure it. In a digital marketing context, I think it's one of those words that everyone understands but can't define.

Mason, Neil. ClickZ (2007). Articles>Web Design>User Centered Design


The Five Issues that Persuade Visitors

Whenever visitors land on your web site, they consciously or subconsciously deal with five issues until they're satisfied, or better yet, delighted. These five issues will either induce the visitor to take the action you want them to take, or a lack of satisfaction may push them to find a competitor. None of these five issues is easy to measure. None has objective factors that are easily influenced. But all are nonetheless key to converting visitors.

Eisenberg, Bryan. ClickZ (2004). Articles>Web Design>User Centered Design>Persuasive Design


The Five Most Important Words on Your Web Site

Some words really can make a difference on your site. They are not 'powerful' in isolation but, in the right context, can make an important difference.

ClickZ (2001). Design>Web Design>Writing


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


Fruit Flies Like a Banana: Writing Unambiguously

Ambiguity has a way of creeping into your writing without your noticing it. Here are five of the biggest culprits.

Henning, Kathy. ClickZ (2001). Articles>Writing>Web Design


The Fundamentals of Quality Search

Explores how a web site can improve the way it allows its readers to search and provides nine guidelines for designing a search feature.

McGovern, Gerry. ClickZ (2001). Design>Web Design>Search


It's Time to Invest in the Message

Business online has invested billions of dollars in the technology that delivers its messages. The trouble is, it has invested almost nothing in the messages themselves.

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


Just Say No to Dead Fragments

A dead fragment of text is what's left after a usability expert has had his or her way with some perfectly good copy. The process works a little like this... First, take some great text that engages the reader on a number of levels. Here are a few words from Martin Luther King, Jr.: 'I have a dream that my four children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.' Now cut that back to make it more 'usable': 'Have sons judged by character and not color.' What are you left with? A brief, but dead, fragment. The substance of the communication remains, but the soul has been ripped out of it.

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


Long or Short Copy? Part 1

I've alternatively praised both long and short copy. In some columns, I have extolled the personal touch you can achieve through longer, more conversational text. In others I have pointed out that short, active text is your best bet for directing readers and maximizing conversion rates. There's no real contradiction here. Sometimes long copy will do the best job for you; other times you'll be better off using short copy.

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


Long or Short Copy? Part 2

Why doesn't everyone determine copy length based on the needs and expectations of his site visitors?

Usborne, Nick. ClickZ (2001). Articles>Writing>Business Communication


Online SEO Information: Trick or Treat?

People come to SEO from other disciplines, such as development and design. Many think there are some magic tags you stick in pages to make them fly up search engines' results pages. They ask me about coding: can search engines read it, and where's the best place to put this or that tag for better ranking? They appear at a loss when I explain coding's just not that important, as long as a crawler can get to the pages and parse the text out of them.

Grehan, Mike. ClickZ (2005). Design>Web Design>Search


The Power of Showing You are Human

Here's a tip on how to achieve that in a way that grabs attention and builds credibility. Illustrate it. Don't tell it.

Usborne, Nick. ClickZ (2002). Articles>Writing>Business Communication


Respect: Last Word of Advice for Online Copywriters

I'd urge you to treat your readers with respect. Respect for site users or e-mail and newsletter recipients is not a way of writing, it's a state of mind. It's the belief everyone should be treated decently, be told the truth. It's a genuine discomfort with even the idea of treating people as if they were suckers to be taken advantage of. Writing with respect is about being honest, with both your audience and yourself.

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


Search Engine Optimizing for Europe

There's actually quite a lot to take into account when targeting a new geographic territory. I asked my two experts to share just two or three of the most important tips they would give to someone launching in the German marketplace.

Grehan, Mike. ClickZ (2006). Articles>Web Design>Search>Search Engine Optimization


The Seven Qualities of Highly Successful Web Writing

A description of the seven qualities of highly successful web writing. In future articles I'll write about each one separately, but here's the list in brief.

Henning, Kathy. ClickZ (2000). Articles>Web Design>Writing


Show a Little Character

There's a small problem online. An over-abundance of boring writing. Boring writing in emails. Boring writing on Web sites. Excruciatingly self- indulgent and boring writing in Web logs. Boring newsletters. But does it have to be this way? And do commercial emails and newsletters in particular have to be so boring?

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


Social Media Is Not Free: Here's Why

Social media-based marketing costs real money. While it may not be millions of dollars for 30 seconds of air time, making sense of the social Web and really getting it right takes planning, creative insight, product management, and other internal resources, all of which have costs associated with them that you may not see at the outset.

Evans, Dave. ClickZ (2010). Articles>Social Networking>Assessment


Tell Site Visitors What To Do

Being sensitive to the fact that the user is in control, many sites simply present as many options as possible on their home pages. The thinking apparently being that the more choices you show on page one, the more likely you are to present something that connects with as many visitors as possible.

Usborne, Nick. ClickZ (2003). Design>Web Design>Usability>User Centered Design


Three Steps to Great Copy

There are some simple steps you can take which, when taken in the right sequence, can improve your copy.

Usborne, Nick. ClickZ (2001). Articles>Writing>Rhetoric



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