This book is curious - there is much in it that is good. But there are some glaring problems with it too.
First up: It is not a "handbook" as the title suggests - a handbook to me is a reference tool that you can dip in and out of more easily than this book.
Secondly: Bly is a marketing specialist - and seems to see the web almost entirely as a marketing tool. This is naive.
Thirdly: Bly needs to get a passport. The book is so American in tone, it isn't true! How about this from the opening chapter: "Prospects speak and read English (or their native language if they live outside of the United States)". It might surprise Bly that English comes from... England!
Fourthly: (And more seriously) Bly is inaccurate on some usability and technology points. He claims that Flash is merely an animation tool to be used "like a PowerPoint slide show". Flash when well used is an extremely dynamic interactive tool. He also claims it is good practice to underline text to make it stand out. Many usability experts would disagree.
These (quite serious) points aside, there is some good content in this book. But I think others say it better. Bly maybe a good marketer, but I don't think he's the best online marketer. Sorry.
on 1 June 2010
Bob Bly's 'Online Copywriter's Handbook' is an excellent resource. I've bought other books by Bly before, and his information is always solid and readily applicable.
As an web copywriter I have studied a wide variety of material for my ongoing education.
Bob's stuff is as good as anything I've seen.
Some people have a problem with his 'Americanisms' but I suggest you look past where he comes from (and is therefore naturally influenced by) and enjoy the excellent information in the book.
If you're putting together your own website this is a good place to start.
on 2 July 2002
An excellent book.
This book will make you think about the entire purpose of your website. It will focus your writing and of all the books I've read about the Internet this one will teach you the most important lessons yet.
It's all very well to say that content is king but there is plenty content out there that sucks.
This book will teach you the secret of selling stuff without a salesperson. It will open your eyes to the power of well written copy and in case you didn't get it already, it will demonstrate why good content really is the most important aspect of online sales.
Sales isn't just about money its about turning ideas into action.
This book does just that, so go buy it!