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on 13 November 2016
All good - many thanks
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This is a well written, short book that covers the basics of copywriting for websites by an author based in Manchester, UK.

There are six chapters:
1 How are you writing for?
2 Benefits and problems
3 Your value proposition
4 How to write persuasive website content
5 How to edit your text
6 How to optimize your web copy for search engines

That last chapter is the shortest and the one I felt most uneasy about. Google in continually changing its algorithm and after the Panda, Penguin and Hummingbird updates, tactics that worked in the past are now penalised if done too much.

Elsewhere, I'd have liked to have seen more emphasis on testimonials and proof elements. They are mentioned but it's a common area of weakness in copy. I don't recall seeing any advice on risk reversal and guarantees.

The author wants you to focus on the benefits of what you sell. That's fairly standard with the emphasis of moving from features to advantages and finally to benefits. I've seen that advice lead to superficial copy so beware of ignoring the features. They can give credibility to your benefits and may be a criteria the buyer is using to narrow search selection. For example, this fancy computer will help you to get more done (benefit) because it is very quick (advantage). That's because it includes Intel's latest chip, the super-fancy-widget (feature).

The author downplays the idea of a unique selling proposition. I think you need to be careful.

Yes it's virtually impossible to be unique in the world but is that really what is needed? Most buyers are usually much more constrained in choice because of practical issues like location.

You need to know your ABCD. You need an Advantage that's Better, Cheaper or Different.

The entire point of a search engine is that it groups like items together. It's like the Yellow Pages on the strongest steroids in the world. Concentrating on benefits can make your copy very similar to your competitors and your business disappears into a sea of sameness.

Look at your list of benefits. Look at your closest competitors benefits and be honest. Is there much difference? I've encouraged clients to play a game of marketing bingo (or Yellow Pages bingo) to emphasise this point. If customers can't see a difference, then they are usually guided by price and convenience.

I like the book and recommend it to business owners and marketing specialists who don't have a deep knowledge of copy and who want a short guide. If you're a copywriter, there's next to nothing that you won't have read before.

If you are prepared to read more deeply, I highly recommend The Brain Audit: Why Customers Buy (And Why They Don't). It's astonishing value as a Kindle book at the moment at just £3.70.

About my book reviews - I aim to be a tough reviewer because the main cost of a book is not the money to buy it but the time needed to read it and absorb the key messages. 4 stars means this is a good to very good book.

Paul Simister, business coach
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on 9 July 2013
This book is like an espresso, very concentrated and once you are done with it you're all buzzing. I have read many marketing books and books on copy writing (being a lousy writer myself). A lot of them are a waste of my precious time. This book on the other hand is full of useful information and has none of the pointless stuff about how CocaCola or Nike would do it. I would highly recommend it to anyone.
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on 7 May 2014
I was looking for a quick overview of writing content for a first website, and almost didn't buy this, as the title didn't appeal to me. I'm delighted I risked it. I've read a couple of dozen similar books and this is one of only two I'd recommend. If you're starting your own website, you're a graphic designer or developer without a copywriter, or you need to brief someone else who will be writing content for you, then this short book and the downloadable worksheets may be the best initial investment you make. Highly recommended.
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on 6 July 2017
Easy to follow advice, a step by step guide to writing and optimising your web copy. I learned a lot from this book.
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on 29 June 2013
This is quite a short book, but well worth the read. It gives clear, common sense advice on how to put yourself in the place of a prospective customer and write accordingly. As a web surfer, I found myself nodding along with a lot of points, and fully intend to use the supplied free worksheets to improve my own web copy.

I thoroughly recommend this book.
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on 27 June 2013
Ah! Henneke, how you get into my mind and make me laugh, smile and THINK. This gem of a book contains every aspect of copywriting that makes the craft so fascinating, from psychological triggers to the art of getting over yourself and writing for your customer. I look forward to reading it through again and again and focussing on some of the exercises that you suggest - like John Carlton said, 'you are your own worst client' so I will be applying what you teach to my own site too.

I love the easy tone of voice that belies just how much great stuff there is here. No wonder Copyblogger and Jon Morrow love your work. This book is all kinds of helpful and instructive. A great read and uber useful! (Like your blog posts too.)

Thanks Henneke
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on 19 May 2016
The reason why I gave it 5 star's, is because I found the book easy to read and understand, this book brings you up to date, regarding how to write your web pages, to engage the reader to buy your product or service, I wanted to understand why my visitors have not bought any products yet and now I know why in depth as I have a better understanding.

Buy this book, to be more persuasive and more engaging to readers.
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on 28 October 2013
Buy this if you just want a straightforward guide with no fluff. I hate fluff, (unless it is attached to a small furry animal.) No place in a book.
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on 30 April 2014
Average.

Yes, it was short and concise. But its brevity was its problem. It felt like it was deliberately trying to be `to the point` to illustrate the point of good copy. But for me, that missed the point. It made it seem far to brief and lacking in any real sense of expertise.

I got about 40% through it and packed up. It didn't really tell me anything I didn't already know that any basic 101 of sales would tell you. And what I really wanted from each section of, "This is how you do it..." is a concrete example of something that's been done. Something that works. Something that was truly `seductive`. The examples had a hint of, "Here's something that was quickly knocked up..."

And the worksheets felt like they were designed to make the book last longer. I'm not a fast reader. I sub-vocalise and take my time. But I would've had this done in an hour...if I saw any benefit in reading it all.

All in all, if you're brand new - and I mean know nothing about sales or copywriting whatsoever - it's a quick read that gives you an introduction of the types of things you need to learn about. For anyone who's actually done any copywriting at all, or anyone of a basic grasp of sales, there are more beneficial books out there.
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