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Writing for the Web


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This presentation will present insights into web user psychology, how to think about and write for the web, how to identify common content mistakes and how writing for the web will improve your search …

This presentation will present insights into web user psychology, how to think about and write for the web, how to identify common content mistakes and how writing for the web will improve your search engine rankings.

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  • 1. northwoodsoft.comLearnAtNorthwoods.comPresented by: Patrick Bieser, PresidentWritingV3hfor the Web
  • 2. Summary of Today’s Presentation• About Northwoods• Part 1: Principles of Usability• Part 2: Content For Users• Part 3: Content For Search Engines• How they work together• Lots of Examples
  • 3. The Story of NorthwoodsNorthwoods Founded12 Employees1997 1999 2001 2003 2005 2007 2009 2011Inc. 500AwardTitan CMSV1.0Best Place toWork AwardInc. 500AwardFuture 50AwardNew Location33,000 Sq Ft50 EmployeesTitan CMSV3.0Top 25MilwaukeeSoftwareCompaniesTitan CMSV4.0Titan CMSV5.0Largest SoftwareEngineering WebMarketing Firm inWisconsin400 Intranets, Extranets,Public Websites on TitanCMS1,000,000 UniqueVisitors to TitanSites DailyTitan User’s GroupFirst Meeting5,000 Editors /Authors in TitanWeekly FreeWorkshopsTitan CMSV5.92012
  • 4. IDENTIFYAudience ProfileSEOAnalyticsAsset InventoryUsability TestingHeatmap StudyCompetitive AnalysisEDUCATEContent StrategyFeaturesApplicationsDesign StrategyIA & Site MapWireframesCompositesUsabilitySpecificationsPRODUCEContentDigital AssetsCMSFront End DevelopmentBack End DevelopmentMobileHostingMEASUREAnalyticsA/B TestingSEOUsability TestingLanding PagesMARKETeNewsletterBlogsRSS FeedsSocial MediaAdvertisingSEMCampaignsPlanning Your Website RedesignWriting for the WebSocial Media – Doing it RightNorthwoods Digital Strategy FrameworkRetainGrowResearch Engage Inform ConvertRetainGrowMobile Website Best PracticesEmerging Trends in Web DesignSuccessful Online CatalogsWorkshopsSEO Best PracticesAdvanced Google Analytics
  • 5. Part 1 –Principles ofUsability
  • 6. 98% of Websites Try To….• Generate Traffic• Keep Visitors Engaged• Drive Conversions– Awareness– Affinity– List Building• Signup for an Event / Demo• Download a Paper / Subscribe– Customer Acquisition• Sale• Appointment– Customer Retention– Evangelist Building• This Workshop is not aimed at the 2%– Branding/PR Websites (Most Agencies, McDonalds, etc.)Principles of Usability
  • 7. 52 Million Visitors / Month9.6% Conversion RatePrinciples of Usability
  • 8. Someone at Amazon is payingattention to search results ….Results give essentials neededto make a quick decision.Principles of Usability
  • 9. Principles of Usability
  • 10. Principles of Usability
  • 11. Principles of Usability
  • 12. Amazon’s Focus on Usability1. Powerful Search2. Exhaustive and Useful Information3. One Page for Information4. Clean and Simple Layout5. Simple ConversionPrinciples of Usability
  • 13. Web users scan. They don’t read!ScanPrinciples of Usability
  • 14. Where’s the Beef?Principles of Usability
  • 15. 232 users. Three websitesSource: Jakob Nielsen Alertbox, April 17, of Usability
  • 16. Why Scan?• Goal oriented• Content gatherers• In a hurry• Web sites are active. “Click Something”Principles of Usability
  • 17. Principles of Usability
  • 18. Conversions 101• Four Types of Visitors– Browsers: Not sure. Unmet need.– Evaluators: Compare. Detailed information.– Transactors: Ready to buy or convert– Customers: Sustain satisfaction so they buy again.• “Do you have what I need?”• “Should I get it from you?”• When solution is good enough, users stoplooking.Principles of Usability
  • 19. Usability 101• If a user can’t find something easily, itdoesn’t exist• Users get frustrated easily• If you emphasize too many items in oneview frame, all lose importanceA wealth of information creates a poverty of attention– Herbert SimonPrinciples of Usability
  • 20. Usability 101• Users want information• Users are annoyed by– Marketing blah, blah, blah– Flash, too much movement, unnecessary graphics– Pages slow to load– Pages short on substance– Content that is hard to scan– Too many choices (too much thinking)– Small fonts, frames, inline scrolling, pull downs,and much morePrinciples of Usability
  • 21. Scan Study – Banner BlindnessPrinciples of Usability
  • 22. Scan StudyPutting the answer to a typical users main question in big red type at the top of yourhomepage would guarantee high usability, right? Wrong — at least for the U.S. CensusBureaus homepage, where 86% of users failed to find the countrys current population whenit was presented in large red numbers.Principles of Usability
  • 23. Aoccdrnig to a rscheearch at CmabrigdeUinervtisy, it deosnt mttaer in waht oredr theltteers in a wrod are, the olny iprmoatnt tihngis taht the frist and lsat ltteer be at the rghitpclae. Tihs is bcuseae the huamn mnid deosnot raed ervey lteter by istlef, but the wrod asa wlohe.Principles of Usability
  • 24. Principles of Usability
  • 25. Principles of Usability
  • 26. Long TailLow home page entrancePrinciples of Usability
  • 27. Principles of Usability
  • 28. Writing Tips• No marketing lingo or brands in navigation• No “happy talk,” welcome messages, orinstructionsPrinciples of Usability
  • 29. Home Page - I• Magic 7 for Main Navigation• Group Corporate Stuff and Utilities– stock price, contact us, search, site map, login, etc.• User will ignore anything that looks, reads orsmells like marketing or ads.• 80% of users only read headlinesPrinciples of Usability
  • 30. Task: Buy a Baby Girl GiftPrinciples of Usability
  • 31. Task: Buy a Baby Girl GiftPrinciples of Usability
  • 32. Home Page - II• Use conventions of popular sites– search– site map– breadcrumbs– logo click takes you to Home PagePrinciples of Usability
  • 33. Principles of Usability
  • 34. Principles of Usability
  • 35. Principles of Usability
  • 36. Principles of Usability
  • 37. Principles of Usability
  • 38. Principles of Usability
  • 39. Marketing vs. Selling• The purpose marketing– Grab eyeballs– Create an impression– Build brand awareness– Drive traffic• The purpose of a website– Offer intuitive and useful information,without annoying or confusing your visitor,so they will reach a goal page and convert.Principles of Usability
  • 40. Part 2 –Usability Testing& Your Team
  • 41. Group Usability StudyCan you find…Usability Testing & Your Team
  • 42. October 16, 2006Usability Testing & Your Team
  • 43. Usability Testing• Informal• As few as 3-5 users• Low cost and effectiveUsability Testing & Your Team
  • 44. Usability Methods• Paper Prototype:– What would you click on?• Card Sorting:– Index cards of all navigation items– Group top and second level navigation– Name the groups• Current Site:– Ten tasks– Tape it– Talk out loud– Watch the tapeUsability Testing & Your Team
  • 45. WebDesignersExecutives IT MarketingUsability Testing & Your Team
  • 46. Stereotypes of Key InfluencersWeb Designers• Are not normal• They are power users• Don’t think / behave like our audiences• Went to school to learn: visual design, brandingor marketing for print, TV, radio.• Not taught about usability, designing for theweb, writing for the web• Hire to be creative and clever, not to followconventions• Need to sit through usability tests of theirdesigns• Need to attend this workshopUsability Testing & Your Team
  • 47. Stereotypes of Key InfluencersDirectors / Executives• Have a skewed list of favorite web sites• Want more “Sizzle” and “Wow”• Are uninformed on complexities of digitalstrategies• Reluctant to fund what they don’t understand• Listen to well meaning people they trust who are(too often) equally uninformed• Need to be patiently educated by credible sourcesUsability Testing & Your Team
  • 48. Stereotypes of Key InfluencersIT Professionals• Web is a technology• Branding? Usability? Whatever….• Tools, certifications, platforms, and integrationneeds• The IT solution? Better tools and newest versions• (Tools only solve 1/3 of the problem)• Fail to calculate importance of staff skills• Need to have their web sensitivity patientlyincreased by credible sourcesUsability Testing & Your Team
  • 49. Stereotypes of Key InfluencersMarketing Types• Too much emphasis on look and feel• Web is extension of branding initiatives• Assume print and web copy are mostly thesame• Too much time on home page• Not enough time on content & conversionstrategy• Need to read ‘Don’t Make Me Think’Usability Testing & Your Team
  • 50. A Complete SolutionToolsTeamDigital StrategyUsability Testing & Your Team
  • 51. Web Team Structure for SuccessNewBusinessDeveloperProject /AccountManagerFront EndDeveloperWebDesignerContentStrategistInformationArchitectUserExperienceArchitectWebUsabilitySpecialistBack EndDeveloperCMSContentSupportCMSTechnicalSupportEditor inChief(Webmaster)WebWriter(Journalist)SEOSpecialistAnalyticsSpecialistServerAdminBusinessAnalystDatabaseAdminExecutiveSponsorGovernanceGroupCMSVendorConsultantEcommerce/ MobileSpecialistsSecuritySpecialistSocialMediaSpecialistDigitalStrategistSteeringCommitteeProductionAssistantsUsability Testing & Your Team
  • 52. Skills and Roles From NorthwoodsNewBusinessDeveloperProject /AccountManagerFront EndDeveloperWebDesignerContentStrategistInformationArchitectUserExperienceArchitectWebUsabilitySpecialistBack EndDeveloperCMSContentSupportCMSTechnicalSupportEditor inChief(Webmaster)WebWriter(Journalist)SEOSpecialistAnalyticsSpecialistServerAdminBusinessAnalystDatabaseAdminExecutiveSponsorGovernanceGroupCMSVendorConsultantSecuritySpecialistSocialMediaSpecialistDigitalStrategistSteeringCommitteeProductionAssistantEcommerce/ MobileSpecialistsUsability Testing & Your Team
  • 53. Solutions• Content strategy• Design inside out• Include executives in early meetings• Usability testing• CMS based on vendor skill / resourceavailability• Invite Northwoods to tailor this seminar foryour team and stakeholdersUsability Testing & Your Team
  • 54. Part 3 –Content for Users
  • 55. See, Scan, Sell (Convert)• Usability• Relevance and Credibility• Webanized Content• Content Voice and Style• ConversionsContent for Users
  • 56. Critical Seconds…• First 2 Seconds: Credibility– Emotion, Impression, Brand• Next 3 Seconds: Relevance– Content• Next 2 Seconds: Decision– Stay or Go?Content for Users
  • 57. Offline vs. Online ContentContent for Users
  • 58. Content for Users
  • 59. VisualOrganizationBulletedListsHeaders thataremeaningfulBold TextWhite SpaceShortParagraphsContent for Users
  • 60. Destination Page Scan PatternsContent for Users
  • 61. Voice and StyleContent for Users
  • 62. Five Web Sites• Task Time• Errors• Memory• Time to Draw the Site Map• Subjective SatisfactionContent for Users
  • 63. Typical Promotional TextNebraska is filled with internationally recognized attractions thatdraw large crowds of people every year, without fail. In 1996,some of the most popular places were Fort Robinson State Park(355,000 visitors), Scotts Bluff National Monument (132,166),Arbor Lodge State Historical Park & Museum (100,000), Carhenge(86,598), Stuhr Museum of the Prairie Pioneer (60,002), andBuffalo Bill Ranch State Historical Park (28,446).Scanability Score: 0 (Assumed)*Source: NNGroup.comContent for Users
  • 64. Objective LanguageNebraska has several attractions. In 1996, some of the most-visited places were Fort Robinson State Park (355,000 visitors),Scotts Bluff National Monument (132,166), Arbor Lodge StateHistorical Park & Museum (100,000), Carhenge (86,598), StuhrMuseum of the Prairie Pioneer (60,002), and Buffalo Bill RanchState Historical Park (28,446).Scanability Score: 27%*Source: NNGroup.comContent for Users
  • 65. More Scanable LayoutNebraska is filled with internationally recognized attractions thatdraw large crowds of people every year, without fail. In 1996,some of the most popular places were:• Fort Robinson State Park (355,000 visitors)• Scotts Bluff National Monument (132,166)• Arbor Lodge State Historical Park & Museum (100,000)• Carhenge (86,598)• Stuhr Museum of the Prairie Pioneer (60,002)• Buffalo Bill Ranch State Historical Park (28,446).Scanability Score: 47%*Source: NNGroup.comContent for Users
  • 66. Made More ConciseIn 1996, six of the best-attended attractions in Nebraska wereFort Robinson State Park, Scotts Bluff National Monument, ArborLodge State Historical Park & Museum, Carhenge, Stuhr Museumof the Prairie Pioneer, and Buffalo Bill Ranch State Historical Park.Scanability Score: 58%*Source: NNGroup.comContent for Users
  • 67. All of the AboveIn 1996, six of the most-visited places in Nebraska were:• Fort Robinson State Park• Scotts Bluff National Monument• Arbor Lodge State Historical Park & Museum• Carhenge• Stuhr Museum of the Prairie Pioneer• Buffalo Bill Ranch State Historical ParkScanability Score: 124%*Source: NNGroup.comContent for Users
  • 68. Conversion Rate Increase of 189%Content for Users
  • 69. Use Specific LanguageExample 1Original: “…we provide reliable services…”Optimized: “All our solutions are backed by Service LevelGuarantees with cash rebates for under-performance: 1)99.99% uptime guarantee 2) guaranteed response time 3)guaranteed time to repair”Example 2Original: “Fully managed dedicated services by the hostingexperts…. Backed by proven accreditations”Optimized: “We are the only data center to hold ISO27001,SunTone, RedHat and DSD certifications”Content for Users
  • 70. Scanability Tips• Never Center or Right Justify Text• Bold Selectively• Never Underline unless it’s a link• Always remember to Lead with Keywords• -as in-• Keywords should Lead• Be Consistent with Layouts, Fonts, Colors,etc.• Attend to Details on Alignment and SpacingContent for Users
  • 71. How Would You Fix….Content for Users
  • 72. Content for Users
  • 73. Content for Users
  • 74. Content for Users
  • 75. How Would You Fix….Content for Users
  • 76. Meaningless Headline(Cute Marketing)No TaglineMeaningless FirstSentence. Hard to ScanText. No Keywords. Toomuch textNo Clues inNavigation. Non-StandardWhat?What?Content for Users
  • 77. Content for Users
  • 78. Flytrap Your ContentContent for Users
  • 79. Fly TrappingNavigation Embedded in TextGoogle LOVESLinksDon’t Over FlytrapContent for Users
  • 80. Writing Link Tips – Link TextLinks• Worst: The service committee has many excellent resources on their website.• Bad: The service committee has many excellent resources on their website.• Best: Find many excellent resources on the service committee’s website.Content for Users
  • 81. Part 4 –Content forSearch Engines
  • 82. What Search Engines Care About• Search Engine Spiders Care About– Title Tags– Meta Descriptions– H1, H2, H3, etc.– Page Content Keywords– Content Position– Links• Search Engine Spiders Don’t CareAbout:– Sizzle, Emotion, Credibility, Brand or FlashContent for Search Engines
  • 83. Title TagMetaDescriptionContent for Search Engines
  • 84. Title TagH2H1H2H2Content for Search Engines
  • 85. TitleMetaDescriptionContent for Search Engines
  • 86. TitleMetaDescriptionContent for Search Engines
  • 87. Spider SimulatorContent for Search Engines
  • 88. Content for Search Engines
  • 89. Content for Search Engines
  • 90. Content for Search Engines
  • 91. A Few ClientsContent for Search Engines
  • 92. Content for Search Engines
  • 93. Content for Search Engines
  • 94. Content for Search Engines
  • 95. Which Test Won?Content for Search Engines
  • 96. Version BContent for Search Engines
  • 97. Which Test Won?Content for Search Engines
  • 98. Version BContent for Search Engines
  • 99. Which Test Won?Content for Search Engines
  • 100. Version AContent for Search Engines
  • 101. Which Test Won?Content for Search Engines
  • 102. Version AContent for Search Engines
  • 103. “It’s not the number of’s how hard each click is!”- Steve KrugContent for Search Engines
  • 104. About NorthwoodsWEBSITE DESIGNSOFTWAREDEVELOPMENT SOLUTIONS LEARNINGSince1998 Websites Mobile Intranets ExtranetsAwards Web Apps Mobile Apps Custom BackendIntegration Digital Strategy Verticals CMS Our team Our clients CommunityStrategic Web Solutions Inc. 500 Fastest Growing Companies MMAC Future 50 Best Place to Work Largest Software Engineering Firm Top 25 Software Companies Enterprise Content Management Data Management & Display Document Management & Display Enterprise Security Uncannily Easy to Use
  • 105. • Writing for the Web• Planning Your Website Redesign• Social Media – Doing it Right• SEO Analysis – Getting Started• Google Analytics – An Introduction• Emerging Trends in Web• The ABC’s of SEO• Enhanced SEO in 10 Minutes• Better Non-Profit Websites• Responsive Web Design Strategies• Titan CMS Overview• Intranet Best Practices• Better Websites in 10 Minutes• Successful Online Product CatalogsLearn More at Northwoods
  • 106. Connect with us.STRATEGIC WEB