Conversations with Parrots and the
Dangers of a Swipe File


Ever try talking with a parrot?

It seems like any time anyone comes across a parrot, they try to strike up a conversation to see if the bird will talk back. And it can be quite amusing when they do.

For a bit.

The problem with conversing with a parrot is that the bird has no idea what its actually saying, or why its saying it. Parrots have no clue about context, and therefore make for bad conversation. The truth is, no one really wants to speak with a parrot.

But you knew that.

What does this have to do with copywriting, you ask?

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Two Techniques That Help You
Embrace Brevity

Embrace Brevity

Editor’s Note: Last week, Muhammad Saleem submitted an article to Copyblogger on how to incorporate brevity into your writing. I decided to break up the article into two parts, and demonstrate that with the use of:

(1) a descriptive headline;
(2) a short anecdote,
(3) a famous quote from Strunk and White, and
(4) a link to another article about Steven King

you can communicate a salient point in only 59 words and still provide additional information via links.

What follows are Muhammad’s techniques and examples of how to say more with fewer words. Enjoy. – Brian

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IKEA Content: How to Lose Your Readers in Two Minutes or Less


I clearly remember that first day I wandered into an IKEA megastore.

A line from that famous Eagles song came to mind: “Welcome to the Hotel California… You can check out any time you like, but you can never leave.”

The Selfish Path

IKEA, a Swedish-based retail chain that specializes in low-cost household items, designs its stores with only one way in and one way out. The path to freedom mazes shoppers through the entire store, most of which is completely irrelevant to the shopper.

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The SEOmoz Landing Page Contest:
Entries Judged by Live Multivariate Testing


Last week, quite a few people wondered if they’d get to see any real-life results based on Roberta’s critique of the SEOmoz Premium Membership landing page. We already knew the answer, because Rand, Roberta and I had cooked up a more elaborate plan weeks ago. We had to keep quiet until today, but now I can reveal the scoop.

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How Successful is Your Landing Page?
The 3 Key Metrics You Need to Know

Image of Landing Page graphic

We’ve spent a lot of time exploring the copy and design techniques that drive successful landing pages. But do you know how to best measure your success?

That’s the focus of a most excellent article I read in Practical Ecommerce, Measuring Conversion Success: What are the key areas to watch when trying to keep visitors’ attention?

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Link Karma

Link Karma

Jakob Nielsen says to write articles, not blog postings. Good, forward-thinking advice Jakob! I’ll start doing that, and recommending that others do the same, a year-and-a-half ago.

John Place tells you how to disagree and persuade without offending. Good advice for dealing with critical comments.

Questions about dating, relationships, love and sex, or just want to see how to use blogging and online video in one of the most lucrative niches around? Check out Dan and Jennifer.

The Three Little Blogs: A Cautionary Tale – Nice story telling, thanks for not making me one of the pigs… err, blogs.

Can you draw a better Googlebot than Rand Fiskin? Enter this contest and win some absolutely fabulous prizes. OK, win a prize… let’s not oversell it.

Did you know that Perfomancing Metrics blog statistics is back? They have both a free and low cost paid service. Check it out.

Any other interesting links I’ve missed? Drop them in the comments.

Which Words Can You Live Without?

Editing Your Writing

On November 19th, 1863, popular orator Edward Everett gave a two-hour speech that nobody remembers. Following Everett, President Abraham Lincoln stood up, delivered 269 words now known as the Gettysburg Address, and sat down. Lincoln’s two-minute speech is regarded as one of the greatest in American history.

Omit needless words.

How to Become a Heroic Business Blogger


Ready to add more to your bottom line from business blogging?

What you need is a hero.

You likely already know that business blogging is not about blatantly self-promotional posts. Your focus should be building your authority and credibility with compelling content that provides true value. Over the long term, this strategy will easily convert a good percentage of readers into paying customers.

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Landing Page Makeover Clinic #1:

Landing Page Makeover

This is another addition to our ongoing series of tutorials and case studies on landing pages that work.

At long last, after much thinking, the day has arrived. I’m thrilled to announce that Rand Fishkin of SEOmoz agreed to step up and subject his landing page to scrutiny as my official makeover candidate. I’ve outlined the basic background information below. The 10-point critique and bonus recommendations follow.

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How to be a Rock Star in Your Niche

Jim Morrison

Want to be a celebrity?

You can be.

I’m not talking about being famous like Tom Cruise. You’re likely too tall to pass for Tom Cruise, even if you’re female.

What I’m talking about is being the name that pops in a person’s head when a certain area of expertise is mentioned. You want to be the go-to individual for that particular niche, especially when a citation, quote, or interview is necessary for the media (social and traditional).

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