Web Wealth from the Written Word

Wuebben’s book might prove useful if you are building your own website.

Billed as the “complete SEO copywriting guide for search engine rankings and sales conversion,” Jon Wuebben’s book, Content Rich: Writing Your Way to Wealth on the Web, promises to teach you the secrets to online traffic and offers what Hypnotic Writing author Joe Vitale calls “a non-stop turbo boost in sales.” Even before opening the book, you can feel the enthusiasm with which Wuebben approaches his subject. This unbridled enthusiasm is, oddly enough, one of the book’s greatest strengths as well as one of its greatest weaknesses.

From the outset, it should be understood that Content Rich does, in fact, give you the tools you need to write excellent copy for the Internet, which alone makes it worthwhile. It gives the reader an excellent introduction to the subject in a personal, one-on-one way. You can picture Wuebben standing before a whiteboard, his tie loosened and his sleeves rolled up, teaching the copywriting concepts and skills that he discusses in the book—that is the feel of the presentation. Things that can be presented objectively, such as the components of general website copy, are; while those topics that are more subjective in nature, like competitive force, are discussed in greater detail. The feeling is that Wuebben does what is necessary to get his point across and his points come across clearly and they are easily understood.

This is where Wuebben’s enthusiasm begins to get under foot. There are some sections where he is considerably less objective that he ought to be. The reader is sometimes led to wonder if the book is here to help them with their copywriting or to market Wuebben’s company, since it keeps coming up. A look at the introduction and the story that Wuebben tells of his visit to a spiritual medium named Brian Hurst and how that visit confirmed to him that SEO writing was his “destiny” shows him to be a true believer, but so does the way he treats certain concepts, giving them a certainty that they do not deserve.

One example of this is a section on how SEO content fosters comparison shopping in the section entitled “Why Does SEO Content Work?” The point of the section is that SEO content works “because it provides easy comparisons between companies, products and services.” Does it? The section talks about how nice it is when you have reviews for the products you want on sites like Epinions.com and Pricegrabber.com, and presumably this nicety comes from the reviews on these websites being written in good SEO form, but it does not take much to see the conditional nature inherent to all this. Yes, SEO fosters comparison shopping if it is properly used on these comparison websites, if the product you want has been reviewed, if you even use such sites to compare products and prices. Those are a lot of ifs and we have not even scratched the surface yet, but they all arise from the same issue: There is nothing inherent in SEO copywriting itself that leads inexorably to comparison shopping. What it does depends on how it is used.

The fact is that SEO copywriting is a tool, a means to an end, rather than the end itself, a fact that—in his enthusiasm for the subject—seems to be lost to the author from time to time. You can use it to help people find your site. You can use it to help your products and services stand out, which will certainly help your bottom line. If you run a comparison website for consumers, you can use it to great advantage. You can use it for all sorts of things, but only as a tool—a means to an end rather than an end in and of itself.

What is very interesting, aside from the useful technical material, is that Wuebben goes into the business of being an SEO Copywriter. Here, of course, the material is drawn from his own experience in the business and the path he took from start-up, where he might have earned $500 one month and nothing the next, to the success he enjoys today. Wuebben gives an honest portrayal of the life of a new writer and some of the tricks he learned over the years, and while the section is geared toward those who are interested in being SEO copywriters, the material presented, such as his recipe for dealing with that eternal bugaboo, Writer’s Block, is useful and relevant to any kind of writer.

Overall, Content Rich: Writing Your Way to Wealth on the Web should have a place on the shelf of any professional writer who works on the Internet. As for those non-writers who want to take care of their own website content, the book is worth the few dollars it costs, but you may have to work a little bit to draw the information you want out of the text. Go at it with highlighter and pencil, make notes in the margins and mine it for what you need. It will be worth the effort and your website will thank you.

Content Rich: Writing Your Way to Wealth on the Web is by Jon Wuebben and published by Encore Publishing, San Diego, CA. Visit www.contentrichbook.com or www.encorepublishers.com for more information.

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