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Net Words: Creating High-Impact Online Copy [Paperback]

Nick Usborne
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Nov. 26 2001

A guide to creating copy that connects with customers­­and makes the sale

Advertising and promotion professionals have long known that, while bells and whistles may grab a customer's attention, words make the sale. Yet, nearly a decade into the Web revolution, E-commerce professionals are just now waking up to the fact that the usual high-tech, graphics-heavy approach to site design is bad for business.

Net Words explores the reasons why and makes a strong case for a revolutionary new approach to copywriting tailored to the unique demands of a powerful new medium. With the help of dozens of examples of successful and unsuccessful on-line writing, author Nick Usborne shows readers how to harness the power of the written word for the Web. Readers learn how to imbue a business with a distinctive on-line "voice" and use it to forge lasting bonds with customers, increase market share, and close sales.

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From the Back Cover

Bells and whistles may grab a customer's attention, but words make the sale

"The ancients rightly distrusted rhetoric that made 'the worse argument appear the better'­­an underhanded trick that business has often been guilty of. But rhetoric is also the craft of clear and persuasive communication, which online business needs desperately today. Nick Usborne's insight into this craft fills a surprising gap in the online marketing toolbox."­­Christopher Locke, author of Gonzo Marketing: Winning Through Worst

Practices, and co-author of The Cluetrain Manifesto.

"The best book I've seen on writing for the Web."­­Dr. Ralph F. Wilson, Web Marketing Today

"Nick Usborne, shows us how to write powerful and compelling copy that fully leverages the communications power of the Net. Nick knows the Internet ­­and Nick knows copy."

­­John Audette Founder & Publisher, The Adventive Knowledge Exchange

In Net Words, emarketing guru Nick Usborne introduces you to a revolutionary copy-centered approach to online marketing. He explains what works and what doesn't and shows you how to create copy for websites, enewsletters, and email campaigns guaranteed to:

  • attract customers and hold their attention
  • differentiate your business from its competitors online
  • dramatically increase sales from your site
  • build customer loyalty
  • breathe new life into your customer services

Net Words offers corporate decision makers an inexpensive, proven, low-tech cure for their ecommerce blues. It is also a how-to guide for copywriters thinking about taking the leap into online marketing, as well as for Web professionals who want to increase their sites' usability and appeal.

About the Author

Nick Usborne has written hundreds of articles on the subject of marketing and online writing. Many of these can be found by searching the archives of and Business 2.0. Nick is also a highly respected consultant and much-requested speaker for conferences and corporate meetings and seminars. More details are available through his site at

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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Without great copy, commerce would be dead on its feet. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Words are the answer Feb. 2 2003
Being the lead creative at a web consulting company in Japan I've noticed a lot of the problems the author mentioned about putting appropriate importance on good copywriting for the web. His advice has helped me a lot to keep my copy human, energetic, and infuse it with unique attitude. Avoid the corporate speak! Most importantly his advice about getting to know the user's voice in order to communicate in a convincing way. The same kind of book should be written for design! This is a great book for any designers, management and copywriters alike.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Don't leave home without this book! June 22 2004
By A Customer
This book is a definite MUST HAVE for any website designer, newbie to web design and anyone and everyone who has an online business. Simple, easy to understand visuals compliment the text, which is written in a very simplistic manner. This book is wonderful - magnificent - excellent, and will help you greatly understand the elements of successful web design. I've used it to consistently update my own website, at:
If you don't have this book, you're missing out on your single-most-important investment in your professional life!
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4.0 out of 5 stars worth a read Oct. 27 2003
This broadly covers online copywriting. Nick does his best by speaking to "you" much the same way as your copy should.
He also does a great job of showing you examples of good vs bad in the different writing attributes he teaches througout the book. The only part of the book which looses focus in my eyes is when he speaks of why the copywriter needs to write the copy. I felt like he was making a sales pitch for all copywriters. Other than that it was one of the best internet books I have read.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Personal Copy Sells Online Sept. 11 2003
This book takes an idea that should be perfectly obvious to online copywriters, but is so often overlooked, and shows how and why personal copy sells better online than in your face marketing. Usborne contends that online is different than print, but sees how training in one medium can prepare you for assignments in the other. A definite must read--and it goes by so fast.
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1.0 out of 5 stars Not much of value Jan. 6 2003
This is more of a survey of copywriter's woes and the general state of online copywriting for Web sites and newsletters and for email. Not much meat and not much that can be of any real value to anyone short of those with very limited experience on the net.
If you're an experienced copywriter or someone who knows their way around, don't waste your money on this book.
I found it amusing how Usborne said that hyperlinks on the web page distract the visitor and should not be used while the author of Persuasive Online Copywriting by Bryan Eisenberg, Jeffrey Eisenberg, Lisa T. Davis is all for it.
In fact, there are no hard and fast rules and we copywriters are not at all sure which way works. My personal belief is that each site is different and that hyperlinks can and do work if you write your scan words just right. But neither book addresses this issue.
A novice would be, I think, better served by reading Bob Bly.
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As an owner of an Internet business, this book has become our BEST REFERENCE that we have ever come across. Superbly written with the most helpful ideas and advice in 'plain English' that everyone can understand. Nick conveys his knowledge and expertise about writing online copy that WORKS in such an easy to understand way, that it can actually DOES WORK. This book is a MUST HAVE for anyone that owns a web-based business. Out of the several books we have read regarding online copy, especially SUCCESSFUL online copy, NET WORDS is the only one we've found to be the most comprehensive, offering such valid examples. Thank you Nick for writing such a valuable resource for everyone. A definite AWARD-WINNER!
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2.0 out of 5 stars Bad for Business Aug. 24 2002
By A Customer
Usborne says the whole heavy graphics thing is bad for business. Has he seen a movie lately? Star Wars had more graphics than an B-2 Bomber! Special effects are everything. There's this guy, Michael Levine, who argues that you gotta connect with the customer in Guerilla PR: Wired. And I agree!
Okay, Usborne, yeah, the customer's eyes might roll up when he sees my latest web designs, but you know what? They'll remember what site! That means they'll remember the product!
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3.0 out of 5 stars good book Aug. 13 2002
By A Customer
Working in PR you learn that words can be everything so it is important that you not only use the right ones but in the right way. This book is a good working tool for anyone who works with words. If one is in PR or advertising, this book, along with Guerrilla PR Wired, is a must have.
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