Writing For The Web

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Making the transition towards writing better for the Web. Presentation to be seen from a UCAN perspective.

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  • Design: system, components, look and feel, structure,

    As I begin, it may well be that I’m wrong, but I’m never in doubt.
  • Design: system, components, look and feel, structure,

    As I begin, it may well be that I’m wrong, but I’m never in doubt.
  • Design: system, components, look and feel, structure,

    As I begin, it may well be that I’m wrong, but I’m never in doubt.
  • Design: system, components, look and feel, structure,

    As I begin, it may well be that I’m wrong, but I’m never in doubt.
  • Design: system, components, look and feel, structure,

    As I begin, it may well be that I’m wrong, but I’m never in doubt.
  • Design: system, components, look and feel, structure,

    As I begin, it may well be that I’m wrong, but I’m never in doubt.
  • Industrial / Scientific age - thumbprint

    We live in an Information Age.

    Today we have a digital thumbprint. Wherever we go, whatever we do.

    Industrial age: Burn paper, rip letter up.

    Heard said: This information is top security, when you’ve read it, destroy yourself.
  • Industrial / Scientific age - thumbprint

    We live in an Information Age.

    Today we have a digital thumbprint. Wherever we go, whatever we do.

    Industrial age: Burn paper, rip letter up.

    Heard said: This information is top security, when you’ve read it, destroy yourself.
  • We live in a different age.

    What’s the caption?

    - Groups

    The hell of it is those punks pump over fifteen million dollars into the economy every year. (1970)
  • It’s not that I don’t like current events, it’s just that there’s so many of them.

    It used to be that the news came each day in one newspaper.

    Now it’s a constant stream.
  • Information Theory
    The Shannon–Weaver model of communication has been called the "mother of all models”
    Mathematical in essence.

    Focussed on the certainty of the message being delivered.

    Lossless audio is an application of Shannon’s Information Theory.

    As is the Church which is concerned by getting its message across.

    Feedback - Participation
  • When we talk about writing for the Web, what is it that we exactly mean?

    Each of these channels has strengths and weaknesses.
    When writing for them, it is important to embrace the strengths and a weakesses.
  • Vince - road rules...driving rule look ahead. Don’t hit what is in front of you.

    While tomorrow is our permanent address, Marshall McLuhan said: when faced with a totally new situation, we tend always to attach ourselves to the objects, to the flavour of the most recent past. We look at the present through a rear-view mirror.

    We march backwards into the future.

    Suburbia lives imaginatively in Bonanza-land.

    How does what McLuhan has to say relate to us?

    Australia and the Cricket team. - Ban on eating at McDonalds.
  • Lets address our attention to Reading on the Web.

    Customer focus.

    Not about us, rather our readers.

    So looking forward, how do people read Web pages?

    In essence.... they don’t.

    Relying here for these next few slides on Jakob Neilson’s Usability studies.
  • Inverted pyramid

    Inverted pyramid - inverted!

    Again and again

    Subheads

    Bullets
  • Inverted pyramid

    Inverted pyramid - inverted!

    Again and again

    Subheads

    Bullets
  • Inverted pyramid

    Inverted pyramid - inverted!

    Again and again

    Subheads

    Bullets
  • Talking about writing on the web.

    How people read - beginning point.

    28% is the “at most” figure. More likely 20%.
  • Eye-tracking “heatmap” that shows how much users look at different parts of a Web page.

    Areas most looked at are “red”.

    F pattern

    Impact of bullet lists.

    Notice anything else?

    Interestingly little attention to the promotions in the right column - little attention
  • 25 seconds per page and 4.4 seconds for each 100 words.

    500 word limit mark.
  • Maximum amount of text users could read during an average visit to pages with different word counts. (Based on previous graph - hypothetical.)

    Rapidly declining curve.

    On average visit, users read half of the information on those pages with 111 words or less.

    Question:
    Looking at the graph - at what point however is it not really worth writing any more?

    450 - 500 words.
  • And you’re telling me people read on the Web?
  • Distribute newspapers - one among three. 10 minutes.

    Identify behaviours - 2 watching.

    Break for Morning Tea, or a stretch.

    Feedback.
  • When faced with a totally new situation, we tend always to attach ourselves to the objects, to the flavour of the most recent past.

    We look at the present through a rear-view mirror.

    We march backwards into the future. Suburbia lives imaginatively in Bonanza-land.

    Newspapers are replicating content online.

    Yet to see the Web as a different medium.
  • Linear content generally consumed in more relaxing circumstances.

    Linear info readers of e.g. TV or Newspaper, expect the writer to construct the experience for them. Web readers, via hypertext links, google searches, Twitter, Facebook and other social media products, allow readers to piece together content from multiple sources.

    CathNews Asia - good product - aggregates.

    Web is an active medium.

    1st 3 words have no information content

    Left hand scan

    Lacks key words like “Airline seat” or “Hotel bed”. (SEO)
  • When you think about it,

    writing on stone - time, vital (scarce resource and time it takes.)

    writing on walls - Abby Rd????

    Writing in newspaper - reasonably well read. Established.

    Authority behind it.

    Paper lasts, well for a little while.
  • When you think about it,

    writing on stone - time, vital (scarce resource and time it takes.)

    writing on walls - Abby Rd????

    Writing in newspaper - reasonably well read. Established.

    Authority behind it.

    Paper lasts, well for a little while.
  • When you think about it,

    writing on stone - time, vital (scarce resource and time it takes.)

    writing on walls - Abby Rd????

    Writing in newspaper - reasonably well read. Established.

    Authority behind it.

    Paper lasts, well for a little while.
  • When you think about it,

    writing on stone - time, vital (scarce resource and time it takes.)

    writing on walls - Abby Rd????

    Writing in newspaper - reasonably well read. Established.

    Authority behind it.

    Paper lasts, well for a little while.
  • When you think about it,

    writing on stone - time, vital (scarce resource and time it takes.)

    writing on walls - Abby Rd????

    Writing in newspaper - reasonably well read. Established.

    Authority behind it.

    Paper lasts, well for a little while.
  • When you think about it,

    writing on stone - time, vital (scarce resource and time it takes.)

    writing on walls - Abby Rd????

    Writing in newspaper - reasonably well read. Established.

    Authority behind it.

    Paper lasts, well for a little while.
  • CathNews Asia

    Fundamental disagreement - Internet is about. Establishes credibility.

    Closed systems die.

    Good writing: appear to know what you’r talking about. Grammar. Punctuation. Well written story.
    Basically being a good journalist

    It’s your name. Your reputation. Publish the Journalist’s name.

    Discussion on your article, you participate.

    Discssion on your article in Social Media forums, once again, you participate.
  • CathNews Asia

    Fundamental disagreement - Internet is about. Establishes credibility.

    Closed systems die.

    Good writing: appear to know what you’r talking about. Grammar. Punctuation. Well written story.
    Basically being a good journalist

    It’s your name. Your reputation. Publish the Journalist’s name.

    Discussion on your article, you participate.

    Discssion on your article in Social Media forums, once again, you participate.
  • CathNews Asia

    Fundamental disagreement - Internet is about. Establishes credibility.

    Closed systems die.

    Good writing: appear to know what you’r talking about. Grammar. Punctuation. Well written story.
    Basically being a good journalist

    It’s your name. Your reputation. Publish the Journalist’s name.

    Discussion on your article, you participate.

    Discssion on your article in Social Media forums, once again, you participate.
  • CathNews Asia

    Fundamental disagreement - Internet is about. Establishes credibility.

    Closed systems die.

    Good writing: appear to know what you’r talking about. Grammar. Punctuation. Well written story.
    Basically being a good journalist

    It’s your name. Your reputation. Publish the Journalist’s name.

    Discussion on your article, you participate.

    Discssion on your article in Social Media forums, once again, you participate.
  • CathNews Asia

    Fundamental disagreement - Internet is about. Establishes credibility.

    Closed systems die.

    Good writing: appear to know what you’r talking about. Grammar. Punctuation. Well written story.
    Basically being a good journalist

    It’s your name. Your reputation. Publish the Journalist’s name.

    Discussion on your article, you participate.

    Discssion on your article in Social Media forums, once again, you participate.
  • CathNews Asia

    Fundamental disagreement - Internet is about. Establishes credibility.

    Closed systems die.

    Good writing: appear to know what you’r talking about. Grammar. Punctuation. Well written story.
    Basically being a good journalist

    It’s your name. Your reputation. Publish the Journalist’s name.

    Discussion on your article, you participate.

    Discssion on your article in Social Media forums, once again, you participate.
  • CathNews Asia

    Fundamental disagreement - Internet is about. Establishes credibility.

    Closed systems die.

    Good writing: appear to know what you’r talking about. Grammar. Punctuation. Well written story.
    Basically being a good journalist

    It’s your name. Your reputation. Publish the Journalist’s name.

    Discussion on your article, you participate.

    Discssion on your article in Social Media forums, once again, you participate.
  • What are three things that have you heard that you can take away to make you write better?

    Write them down.

    Team up in groups of three - if possible with people you know.

    6 minutes.

    Feedback.
  • If you’ve not told me your story in the headline and the first paragraph, I probably wont read more.

    ObjectiveApplies to any copywriting. Unless you have a clear picture of the end result, your writing won’t be as clear as you might think.

    Know your audience: there are stats available. Ask your editor for them.

    Writing for Twitter is different than writing for a website, it’s also different from writing an email, which is different from writing for Facebook etc.

    Figure out who you are speaking to and what channels you’re wanting to use.

    UCAN products are very targeted products. Niche

    Keep it Short
    The more words you add to your page, the less time people spend reading it.
    Concise writing.
    Perhaps get two stories from the one event?

    Make it Scannable
    Large block of text are your enemy.
    Make it easy to pull out the central topic
  • If you’ve not told me your story in the headline and the first paragraph, I probably wont read more.

    ObjectiveApplies to any copywriting. Unless you have a clear picture of the end result, your writing won’t be as clear as you might think.

    Know your audience: there are stats available. Ask your editor for them.

    Writing for Twitter is different than writing for a website, it’s also different from writing an email, which is different from writing for Facebook etc.

    Figure out who you are speaking to and what channels you’re wanting to use.

    UCAN products are very targeted products. Niche

    Keep it Short
    The more words you add to your page, the less time people spend reading it.
    Concise writing.
    Perhaps get two stories from the one event?

    Make it Scannable
    Large block of text are your enemy.
    Make it easy to pull out the central topic
  • If you’ve not told me your story in the headline and the first paragraph, I probably wont read more.

    ObjectiveApplies to any copywriting. Unless you have a clear picture of the end result, your writing won’t be as clear as you might think.

    Know your audience: there are stats available. Ask your editor for them.

    Writing for Twitter is different than writing for a website, it’s also different from writing an email, which is different from writing for Facebook etc.

    Figure out who you are speaking to and what channels you’re wanting to use.

    UCAN products are very targeted products. Niche

    Keep it Short
    The more words you add to your page, the less time people spend reading it.
    Concise writing.
    Perhaps get two stories from the one event?

    Make it Scannable
    Large block of text are your enemy.
    Make it easy to pull out the central topic
  • If you’ve not told me your story in the headline and the first paragraph, I probably wont read more.

    ObjectiveApplies to any copywriting. Unless you have a clear picture of the end result, your writing won’t be as clear as you might think.

    Know your audience: there are stats available. Ask your editor for them.

    Writing for Twitter is different than writing for a website, it’s also different from writing an email, which is different from writing for Facebook etc.

    Figure out who you are speaking to and what channels you’re wanting to use.

    UCAN products are very targeted products. Niche

    Keep it Short
    The more words you add to your page, the less time people spend reading it.
    Concise writing.
    Perhaps get two stories from the one event?

    Make it Scannable
    Large block of text are your enemy.
    Make it easy to pull out the central topic
  • If you’ve not told me your story in the headline and the first paragraph, I probably wont read more.

    ObjectiveApplies to any copywriting. Unless you have a clear picture of the end result, your writing won’t be as clear as you might think.

    Know your audience: there are stats available. Ask your editor for them.

    Writing for Twitter is different than writing for a website, it’s also different from writing an email, which is different from writing for Facebook etc.

    Figure out who you are speaking to and what channels you’re wanting to use.

    UCAN products are very targeted products. Niche

    Keep it Short
    The more words you add to your page, the less time people spend reading it.
    Concise writing.
    Perhaps get two stories from the one event?

    Make it Scannable
    Large block of text are your enemy.
    Make it easy to pull out the central topic
  • Get attention by using formatting

    There are two goals,

    Catch the reader’s eye
    Encourage them to read more.
  • Get attention by using formatting

    There are two goals,

    Catch the reader’s eye
    Encourage them to read more.
  • Get attention by using formatting

    There are two goals,

    Catch the reader’s eye
    Encourage them to read more.
  • Get attention by using formatting

    There are two goals,

    Catch the reader’s eye
    Encourage them to read more.
  • Get attention by using formatting

    There are two goals,

    Catch the reader’s eye
    Encourage them to read more.
  • When come back, going to share with the group, what you’ve done and why you did it.

    Now if you don’t have an article, find others online. Use them.
  • If it bleeds, it leads.
    Punchy , Catchy, Attention-getting, Insightful, Instructive, Incentive, Luring, Fishing, Bait, Hook Headlines.

    Every article should be related to the content without requiring the reading of the article.

    Research: Users decide to stay or leave your site in 8 seconds or less. Headlines are the one piece of copy that users will actually scan in that short amount of time.

    Writing for Google: Which is not known for its cultural sensitivity, wit, irony, humour or stylish writing.

    Google is know for being blazingly fast and mind-numbingly literal-minded.
  • Around the world in 38 words

    Average headline 5 words and 34 characters

    Gist of story

    Why so good?

    Ceefax (videotest services) on low definition TV with horrible resolution allows for minute word count.

    To this day the BBC maintains their excellent headline writing.

    Visit for today’s headlines.
  • Writing For The Web

    1. 1. WRITING FOR THE WEB
    2. 2. Teacher
    3. 3. Teacher Head of Accounting and Computing
    4. 4. Teacher Head of Accounting and Computing Master of Communications
    5. 5. Teacher Head of Accounting and Computing Master of Communications Theoretical
    6. 6. Teacher Head of Accounting and Computing Master of Communications Theoretical Design
    7. 7. Teacher Head of Accounting and Computing Master of Communications Theoretical Design Thesis: “Adapting the New Zealand Religious Curriculum to the Internet in the Information Society”
    8. 8. NEW TIMES
    9. 9. NEW TIMES
    10. 10. NEW TIMES
    11. 11. INFORMATION THEORY Signal Signal Received Information Transmitter Channel Receiver Destination Source Noise source
    12. 12. INFORMATION THEORY Signal Signal Received Information Transmitter Channel Receiver Destination Source Noise source
    13. 13. FUNDAMENTALS Who says what To whom In what channel With what effect
    14. 14. FUNDAMENTALS Who says what To whom In what channel With what effect
    15. 15. FUNDAMENTALS Who says what To whom In what channel With what effect
    16. 16. FUNDAMENTALS Who says what To whom In what channel With what effect
    17. 17. FUNDAMENTALS Who says what To whom In what channel With what effect
    18. 18. WRITING FOR WHAT?
    19. 19. WRITING FOR WHAT? Website Newsletter Search on Website Twitter Delicious YouTube
    20. 20. TALKING ABOUT WHAT?
    21. 21. TALKING ABOUT WHAT? Google Bing Content Aggregators Facebook Other social networks Digg .....
    22. 22. THE REAR-VIEW MIRROR
    23. 23. HOW DO USERS READ ON THE WEB? THEY DONT
    24. 24. THEY SCAN
    25. 25. THEY SCAN Rare to read 79% always scan Only 16% read word by word
    26. 26. NEWSLETTERS Read newsletters even more abruptly than websites.
    27. 27. NEWSLETTERS Read newsletters even more abruptly than websites.
    28. 28. SCANNABLE TEXT Highlighted words Some links Meaningful sub-headings Bullet lists One idea paragraphs Half the word count
    29. 29. SCANNABLE TEXT Highlighted words Some links Meaningful sub-headings Bullet lists One idea paragraphs Half the word count
    30. 30. SCANNABLE TEXT Highlighted words Some links Meaningful sub-headings Bullet lists One idea paragraphs Half the word count
    31. 31. MORE LIKELY TO READ IF...
    32. 32. MORE LIKELY TO READ IF... Promotional writing = control or base condition if Concise text + 58% if Scannable layout + 47% if Objective language + 27% if Combined version + 124%
    33. 33. WRITING ON THE WEB
    34. 34. WRITING ON THE WEB User-centred focus Reading on the Web 28% of words Readers don’t read - they look
    35. 35. F F F F F F F F
    36. 36. TIME SPENT ON A PAGE
    37. 37. AMOUNT READ
    38. 38. UCAN STATS MAY 1 - OCT 20
    39. 39. UCAN STATS MAY 1 - OCT 20 Average time spent on site: 2.48 minutes Average pages viewed per visit: 2.22 minutes Returning visitors average time: 2.88 minutes New visitors average time: 1.68 minutes
    40. 40. TIME TO DO SOME READING
    41. 41. NEWSPAPERS
    42. 42. THE REAR VIEW MIRROR
    43. 43. SOME DIFFERENCES
    44. 44. SOME DIFFERENCES Opening page via Google Web users more in control Web less linear Headlines more very important
    45. 45. CREDIBILITY
    46. 46. CREDIBILITY
    47. 47. CREDIBILITY
    48. 48. CREDIBILITY
    49. 49. CREDIBILITY
    50. 50. CREDIBILITY ONLINE
    51. 51. CREDIBILITY ONLINE Brand
    52. 52. CREDIBILITY ONLINE Brand Outbound Links
    53. 53. CREDIBILITY ONLINE Brand Outbound Links Good writing
    54. 54. CREDIBILITY ONLINE Brand Outbound Links Good writing Author’s name
    55. 55. CREDIBILITY ONLINE Brand Outbound Links Good writing Author’s name Contact / Discussion
    56. 56. CREDIBILITY ONLINE Brand Outbound Links Good writing Author’s name Contact / Discussion Join social media
    57. 57. YOU CAN NOW WRITE BETTER
    58. 58. RE-CAPPING - THE EXPERTS
    59. 59. RE-CAPPING - THE EXPERTS Web a different medium - write for the Web
    60. 60. RE-CAPPING - THE EXPERTS Web a different medium - write for the Web Know your objective.
    61. 61. RE-CAPPING - THE EXPERTS Web a different medium - write for the Web Know your objective. Keep articles short.
    62. 62. RE-CAPPING - THE EXPERTS Web a different medium - write for the Web Know your objective. Keep articles short. One idea per sentence.
    63. 63. RE-CAPPING - THE EXPERTS Web a different medium - write for the Web Know your objective. Keep articles short. One idea per sentence. Make it scannable.
    64. 64. EXPERTS STILL SAYING...
    65. 65. EXPERTS STILL SAYING... Get attention by using formatting
    66. 66. EXPERTS STILL SAYING... Get attention by using formatting • Use bulleted lists
    67. 67. EXPERTS STILL SAYING... Get attention by using formatting • Use bulleted lists • occasional bold
    68. 68. EXPERTS STILL SAYING... Get attention by using formatting • Use bulleted lists • occasional bold • short sentences
    69. 69. EXPERTS STILL SAYING... Get attention by using formatting • Use bulleted lists • occasional bold • short sentences • explanatory sub-headings.
    70. 70. TASK Use one article you have written. Use three “tips”. Re-write it. 1st paragraph 1st 100 words Sub-heads Possibility of bullets
    71. 71. HEADLINES
    72. 72. DOES THE HEADLINE
    73. 73. DOES THE HEADLINE express the main idea match the lead focus? of the story? use short, common, effectively label the colourful, powerful, story’s content? and specific words? create reader interest work for Google? move readers into the mean you’ll read the story? story?
    74. 74. IF IT BLEEDS IT LEADS
    75. 75. IF IT BLEEDS IT LEADS Don’t have to read article 8 seconds Google
    76. 76. BBC
    77. 77. BBC Italy buries first quake victims Romania blamed over Moldova riots Ten arrested in UK anti-terrorism raids Villagers hurt in West Bank clash Mass Thai protest over leadership Iran accuses journalist of spying

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