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Writing For The Web: December 2007

Writing For The Web: December 2007



Presentation given at the National Services Te Paerangi UnConference Day.

Presentation given at the National Services Te Paerangi UnConference Day.



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    Writing For The Web: December 2007 Writing For The Web: December 2007 Presentation Transcript

    • Writing for the Web Seven key ideas for writing killer web content Courtney Johnston Web Editor National Library of New Zealand
    • The long and the short of it
      • Long page title / headline (4-10 words)
      • Long link-text
      • Short summary
      • Short words
      • Short sentences
      • Short paragraphs
      • Short pages
      • Adapted from Rachel McAlpine www.contented.com/
    • Say it after me: KEYWORDS
      • Help yourself: identifying the keywords for a page of content will help you sort and structure the information you present there.
      • Help your reader: skim readers are looking for the keywords that match the thing they’re looking for.
      • Help the search engines: search engines like Google ‘read’ the words in your URLs, page titles, headings; if your keywords appear here, they will help you page on search results.
    • Keyword tools
      • Think: what is my visitor coming to this page to find out about / do?
      • Look at server logs and web statistics if you can – what words are your visitors searching on? (e.g. ‘family history’ or ‘genealogy’?)
      • Use Google Trends to test synonymous keywords and see which is more popular with web searchers. www. google .com/trends
    • F-shaped skim readers
      • Web readers are:
      • Searching for the keywords they’re interested in
      • Reading twice as fast as they read print
      • Skimming headlines, the first words in paragraphs, link text, anything in bold or italics.
      • Image from Jakob Neilson www.useit.com/
    • Omit the extra words in your copy
      • Edit edit edit.
      • Half the length of what you’d write for print.
      • Most important information first. Committed readers will scroll.
      • Use ‘I’ and ‘you’.
      • Active sentences.
      • Look for the usual culprits: of, because, which was, who is. These usually indicate extra words that can be deleted.
    • Special offer! This week only!
      • Be specific. You never know when you’ll get around to updating a page or removing content, so let your reader know if dates and such like are still relevant to them
      • Not ‘this week’ but ‘12-16 November’. Not ‘in the central city’ but ‘in Wellington’. Not ‘last year’ but ‘2006’.
      • Date all documents, events, deadlines, and include the year.
      • Get consistent with the way you refer to your organisation, location, staff positions, how you format contact details.
    • Click here
      • Descriptive link text: tell readers where they’re going or what they’re doing. It’s also good for search engines.
      • Download the registration form
      • Go to Te Ara
      • Website standards – State Services Commission website
      • Warn readers about PDFs
      • Have consistent ways of writing link text on your site
      • A blog post on link text is available on LibraryTechNZ .
    • Formatting for success
      • White space
      • Headings and subheadings
      • Bulletted and numbered lists. [NB: up to 7 items. Remember – each item you add to the list makes the other items harder to find.]
      • Useful pictures (with alt text)
      • Avoid bold and italics – they interrupt the flow of reading, and sometiems draw undue attention to phrases.
      • Numbers as numerals (13, not thirteen) are easier to read online.
    • Ignoring the rules
      • Blog writing should be funny, punny, impassioned, informal, irate, tangential – whatever.
      • But: if you want to help people find your blog posts, use keywords in your post titles, and use descriptive text in your links.
      • And: keep spell checking.
    • Steal my ideas
      • http://ma. gnolia .com/people/best-of-3/tags
      • Tags: web writing, web content, blog writing advice, search engine optimization, user-centred design.
    • Steal other people’s ideas …
      • Rachel McAlpine www.contented.com
      • Image from Jakob Neilson www.useit.com
      • Copyblogger www. copyblogger .com
      • ProBlogger www. problogger .net
      • Skelliewag www. skelliewag .org
      • SEOmoz (search engine optimisation) www. seomoz .org/ blog
      … with a feedreader RSS and feedreader background – National Library website
    • Random bits of advice
      • Use your e-calendar to set reminders to remove content with a use-by date.
      • Use a bookmarking site to collect and annotate useful articles. See the CommonCraft Bookmarking video for an introduction. I use http://ma.gnolia. com .
      • Use the Readability Statistics in word (under ‘Spelling and Grammar’) to get a feel for the length of words, sentences, paragraphs, and number of passive sentences.
      • I blog about writing for the web and related matters on http://librarytechnz.natlib.govt.nz