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Excess Voice

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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 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


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


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


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


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


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


Give Your Testimonials More Credibility

I think that the people who give the testimonials do so for the additional exposure they receive for their own names, sites and businesses. I also think they do some mutual back-scratching, and hype each other's products and services. In other words, the testimonials are just additional sales text. They have no credibility as outside, third-party endorsements.

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


Google: The Ultimate Web Writer's Style Guide

Forget that Google is a search engine. Just for a moment, imagine it is a style guide. A very different kind of style guide.

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


Guerilla Upgrades: Start with Your Newsletter

Persuading your managers to allow some testing in the tone and voice of a newsletter isn’t half as hard as persuading them to make changes to your site’s homepage.

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


Guide Site Visitors Forward to the Next Page

All too often web pages, even home pages, provide readers with a variety of choices, but don't really provide a clear way forward. This is particularly true when a site has multiple products or services to sell. But this lack of direction is also evident on some sites which have just a single offering.

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


Is the Freelance Writing Life for You?

Freelancer writers tend to develop something of a superior attitude at times. Some of us feel that we are a cut above our brothers and sisters who work as employees.

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


Is Your Web Site Old and Out of Touch?

A great many changes are taking place online right now. This is particularly true when you are trying to reach and sell to potential customers who are up-to-date with new technologies and ways of using the web. I'm thinking of the people who download podcasts to their iPods.

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


Keep your Web Pages Simple

Simplicity is probably the most important underlying factor when it comes to the performance of any web page...whether it be your home page, an interior page, a sales page or a landing page. Here are six ways to keep your pages simple, and increase conversions.

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


Live or Die on the First Screen

Pick up a Sears catalog and you can flick through the pages and get pretty close to the exact product you want in less than 5 seconds. Now visit an unfamiliar e-commerce site and you'd better put aside a few minutes to figure out where to find what you want, if it's there at all.

Usborne, Nick. Excess Voice (2002). Design>Web Design>E Commerce



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