How To Write Effective Web Copy
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How To Write Effective Web Copy

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-What is "Effective Web Copy"?

-What is "Effective Web Copy"?
-How to plan for copy
-Substance
-Structure
-Style

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How To Write Effective Web Copy How To Write Effective Web Copy Presentation Transcript

  • How!To!Write! Effective!Web!Copy Kristina!Halvorson!!!|!!!FOWA!Miami!!!|!!!02.23.2009
  • FOWA!Miami!!|!!02.23.2009!!|!2 Yes.!Hello. • I’m!Kristina!Halvorson. • I’m!the!President!of!Brain!Traffic!(Minneapolis,!MN). • I’m!an!author.!In!theory.! – Content!Strategy!for!the!Web! (New!Riders!Voices!That!Matter,!Summer!2009) • Thanks!for!having!me!in!Miami.!In!February.
  • FOWA!Miami!!|!!02.23.2009!!|!3 And!you!are!… ? • Name • Employer/Role • Why!you’re!here • One!thing!that!someone!might!not!guess!about!you
  • FOWA!Miami!!|!!02.23.2009!!|!4 Here’s!the!deal!for!today. 1:30"1:45pm We’ll!talk!about!“effective!web!copy.” 1:45"2:30pm We’ll!talk!about!how!to!plan!for!copy. 2:30"4:30pm We’ll!discuss: ! Substance ! Structure ! Style 4:30"5:00pm We’ll!wrap!with!collaborative,!free"for"all!Q&A.
  • FOWA!Miami!!|!!02.23.2009!!|!5 Suggestions. • Use!paper,!not!your!laptop. • Get!up!when!you!need!to. • Stop!me!for!questions. • Don’t!make!fun!if!you!hear!my!Minnesotan!accent.
  • PART!ONE What exactly is “effective web copy”?
  • FOWA!Miami!!|!!02.23.2009!!|!7 Effective!web!copy!… ! DELIGHTS ! SATISFIES ! HELPS!ME!DO!SOMETHING
  • FOWA!Miami!!|!!02.23.2009!!|!8 Delight!me. • Be!personable. • Share!secrets. • Surprise!me. • Reward!me. • Entertain!me. • Make!my!life!easier,!right!now.
  • FOWA!Miami!!|!!02.23.2009!!|!9
  • FOWA!Miami!!|!!02.23.2009!!|!12 Satisfy!me. • Know!what!I!want,!and!show!me!you!do. • Make!it!easy. • Deliver!on!your!promises. • If!you!make!a!mistake,!admit!it. • Be!consistent. • Get!out!of!my!way.
  • FOWA!Miami!!|!!02.23.2009!!|!16 Help!me!do!something. • Educate!me!… quickly. • Suggest!alternatives!or!add"ons!… but!don’t!shove! them!down!my!throat. • Prompt!me!… in!context. • Warn!me!… but!don’t!freak!me!out.
  • FOWA!Miami!!|!!02.23.2009!!|!21 Effective!web!copy!… ! Communicates!SUBSTANCE!quickly!and!clearly. ! Is!communicated!in!a!STRUCTURE!that!provides!me!with!the! necessary!context!to!act!with!confidence.! ! Is!written!in!a!STYLE that’s!personable,!respectful,!and!the! embodiment!of!your!brand!values.
  • PART!TWO How To Plan for Web Copy (or, “Content Strategy”)
  • FOWA!Miami!!|!!02.23.2009!!|!23 My!favorite!web!copy!myths. • “We!can!figure!it!out!later.” • “The!copy!shouldn’t!be!that!big!of!a!deal.” • “We!already!pretty!much!know!what!we!want!to!say.” • “We!already!have!most!of!the!content.” • “I!should!be!able!to!take!care!of!most!of!this!myself.”
  • FOWA!Miami!!|!!02.23.2009!!|!24 To: Kristina Halvorson Sent: Wednesday, May 14, 2008 3:21 PM Subject: RE: hey there! … This is a very large client who is building a site using a number of different agencies. When it came to the content discussion the room just threw their hands up in the air (literally and figuratively) because no one had said they’d be responsible. The site is going to be very content heavy and they want to launch July 15. Interested?
  • FOWA!Miami!!|!!02.23.2009!!|!25 SRSLY, PPL.
  • FOWA!Miami!!|!!02.23.2009!!|!26 Writing!is!hard. Writing!for!the!web!is!a!bitch. • Write!for!online!readers • Define!requirements • Plan!workflow • Agree!on!editorial!standards:!voice,!tone,!usage,!format • Schedule!updates • Find!all!the!“other” content
  • FOWA!Miami!!|!!02.23.2009!!|!27 ORGANIZING!INFORMATION Business!strategy Content!model Information!architecture Vocabulary!control Categorization/classification Interface/interaction!design WORKFLOW!RULES Business!rules Policies/procedures Roles/responsibilities Content!owners! Editors/publishers CREATE!AND!EDIT Authoring Capture/collect Acquisition Conversion Aggregation Ingestion/DRM Editing!Tools Metadata!Tagging Library!Services COLLABORATIONS Blogs Wikis Forums Mailing!lists CRM Contact!info Access!control LDAP User!databases DATABASES!+! REPOSITORIES Content!databases File!system Native!XML Documents Records Images/multimedia Data!warehouses Legacy!systems ASSEMBLING! VERSIONS Versioning Version!control Content!types Templates Navigation Multilingual Compliance Reuse Rollback PUBLISHING!CHANNELS PUSH Static/dynamic Multichannel!delivery Print Web PDA/cell PDF Email Personalization Localization Rights!management PULL Syndication Web!services Search!enging Ecommerce ARCHIVE!+!DESTROY Retention!policy Knowledge!base CONTEXT USERS User"centered!design!!!!!!!!!!!!!User!experience!!!!!!!!!!!!!User!testing cmsreview.com/stages
  • FOWA!Miami!!|!!02.23.2009!!|!28 Writers!don’t!have!the!tools!to!deal. • Articles • Menu!items • Buttons • Link!naming • Error!messages • Task!instructions • Search!returns • Metadata
  • FOWA!Miami!!|!!02.23.2009!!|!29 Before!you!start!writing!… • Do!an!audit. • Create!a!content!inventory. • Do!a!gap!analysis. • Create!a!style!guide.
  • FOWA!Miami!!|!!02.23.2009!!|!30 The!audit • What!copy!do!I!need? • What!other!copy!do!I!need? • Speaking!of!which,!where!do!I!need!copy? • Also,!is!there!more!copy!I!need?
  • FOWA!Miami!!|!!02.23.2009!!|!31 The!content!inventory
  • FOWA!Miami!!|!!02.23.2009!!|!32 The!gap!analysis • What’s!missing? • Where!can!I!get!it? • When!do!I!need!it?
  • FOWA!Miami!!|!!02.23.2009!!|!33 The!style!guide • Brand!values • Voice!and!tone!guidelines • Usage!guidelines!(like,!“the!Web” not!“the!web”) • Recurring!textual!elements • Legal!requirements
  • FOWA!Miami!!|!!02.23.2009!!|!34 The!style!guide:!Example All!copy!should!sound:! • Clear!and!easy!to!follow:!Keep!writing!brief,!clean,!and!to"the"point.! Use!crisp!language.!Introduce!your!point!early!without!complicated! language!or!lengthy!clauses.! • Engaging!and!casual: Write!the!way!our!customers!converse!with!family! and!friends.!Use!warm!language!and!a!strong,!descriptive!style.! • Upbeat!and!encouraging:!Speak!in!terms!of!users’ interests,!goals,!and! challenges.!Use!active,!forward"looking!statements.!Present!solutions! and!ideas!in!a!positive,!informative!manner.!
  • FOWA!Miami!!|!!02.23.2009!!|!35 The!style!guide:!Example
  • PART!THREE Substance
  • FOWA!Miami!!|!!02.23.2009!!|!37 Getting!at!substance!(the!“what”) • What!do!you!NEED!to!say? ...!to!support!the!successful!attainment!of!user!goals • What!do!you!WANT!to!say? … to!meet!your!own!business!objectives
  • PART!FOUR Structure
  • FOWA!Miami!!|!!02.23.2009!!|!45 Your!mission • Get!out!of!your!user’s!way. • Two!books!that!talk!about!this!brilliantly: – Designing!the!Obvious by!Robert!Hoekman,!Jr. – Don’t!Make!Me!Think by!Steve!Krug
  • FOWA!Miami!!|!!02.23.2009!!|!46 Being!smart!about!structure!(the!“where”) • Where!should!this!copy!appear!on!the!page?
  • FOWA!Miami!!|!!02.23.2009!!|!49
  • FOWA!Miami!!|!!02.23.2009!!|!51 Being!smart!about!structure!(the!“when”) • When!should!this!copy!appear!in!the!application!design? – To!support!successful!task!completion – To!influence!behavior • How!will!this!copy!impact!the!user’s!attitude? – I!want!to!get!in,!get!this!done,!get!out – I!need!help!making!a!choice
  • FOWA!Miami!!|!!02.23.2009!!|!52
  • FOWA!Miami!!|!!02.23.2009!!|!55
  • One millllllllllllllllllllion dollars
  • PART!FIVE Style
  • FOWA!Miami!!|!!02.23.2009!!|!64 All!great!web!writing!is!… • Personable • Clear • Concise • Respectful • Customer"facing
  • FOWA!Miami!!|!!02.23.2009!!|!65 Often,!crappy!web!writing!is!… • Overwritten • Lazy!about!spelling!and!grammar • Lacking!focus • Hard!to!act!upon • All!about!you
  • FOWA!Miami!!|!!02.23.2009!!|!66 Rethink!your!approach. • NO – What!do!I!want!to!tell!you? – What!do!I!want!you!to!understand? – What!do!I!wish!you!would!do? – How!can!I!make!you!care? • YES – What!do!you!want!to!know? – What!do!you!need!to!do? – What!do!you!need!to!feel!comfortable!and!smart? – What!do!you!care!about!… really?
  • FOWA!Miami!!|!!02.23.2009!!|!70 Let’s!do!the!Top!10!List!thing. • Because!everyone!loves!a!good!top!10!list.
  • FOWA!Miami!!|!!02.23.2009!!|!71 1.!!Less!is!more • Don’t!get!in!the!way!of!your!reader!gathering!information!or! completing!a!task. • Cut!all!unnecessary!words.!Then!cut!some!more. • GET!OUT!OF!YOUR!READER’S!WAY.
  • FOWA!Miami!!|!!02.23.2009!!|!72
  • FOWA!Miami!!|!!02.23.2009!!|!73
  • FOWA!Miami!!|!!02.23.2009!!|!74 2.!Get!to!the!point! • Boredom!=!immediate!departure • Save!your!niceties!for!when!they!call. • Step!into!your!reader’s!shoes.!! – What!information!do!I!want? – What!do!I!want!to!do?
  • FOWA!Miami!!|!!02.23.2009!!|!75
  • FOWA!Miami!!|!!02.23.2009!!|!76
  • FOWA!Miami!!|!!02.23.2009!!|!77 3.!Learn!to!love!the!inverted!pyramid.! • Not!… – Problem!statement! – Related!work! – Methodology! – Results! – Conclusions! • But!… – Conclusion – Supporting!information – Background,!technical!details
  • FOWA!Miami!!|!!02.23.2009!!|!78 4.!Lead!with!active!words.! You!know!you’re!getting!a!great!deal!every!time!you!log!on!to! Target.com.!We!have!everyday!low!prices,!fabulous!money" saving!offers!and!all!your!favorite!products,!right!here!online, 24!hours!a!day. For!fabulous!savings!and!everyday!low!prices,!shop!online!24! hours!a!day!at!Target.com. Save!more!money.!!Shop!Target.com.
  • FOWA!Miami!!|!!02.23.2009!!|!79 5.!Use!simple!sentences. • Complex: Best!Buy!Co,!Inc.!is!North!America’s!leading!specialty!retailer! of!consumer!electronics!and!appliances,!operating!nearly! 700!retail!stores!in!the!United!States!and!Canada!under!the! names!Best!Buy,!Future!Shop,!Geek!Squad!and!Magnolia! Audio!Video. • Simple: Best!Buy!Co.,!Inc.!is!North!America’s!leading!specialty!retailer! of!consumer!electronics!and!appliances.!!We!operate!nearly! 700!retail!stores!in!the!United!States!and!Canada.!!Our! subsidiaries!include!Best!Buy,!Future!Shop,!Geek!Squad!and! Magnolia!Audio!Video.
  • FOWA!Miami!!|!!02.23.2009!!|!80 • Put!the!reader!in!control. • Paragraphs:!40"60!words. 6.!Break!it!up.
  • FOWA!Miami!!|!!02.23.2009!!|!81 • Bulleted!lists • Hierarchical!headings • Clean!up!your!columns • See!Luke!Wroblewski’s presentation,!Content!Page!Design! Best!Practices:!http://tr.im/gHgP 7.!Design!for!scan!readers.
  • FOWA!Miami!!|!!02.23.2009!!|!82
  • FOWA!Miami!!|!!02.23.2009!!|!84 8.!!Write!killer!headings! • I’m!not!reading.!!I’m!scanning. • Just!tell!me!what!I’m!going!to!find!on!that!page!or!in!that! paragraph. • Use!keywords. • Don’t!be!clever.
  • FOWA!Miami!!|!!02.23.2009!!|!85
  • FOWA!Miami!!|!!02.23.2009!!|!86
  • FOWA!Miami!!|!!02.23.2009!!|!87 9.!Set!expectations.! • Deliver!on!your!promises. • Tell!people!how!much,!how!long,!how!often. • Make!sure!links!match!section!(or!page)!titles.!
  • FOWA!Miami!!|!!02.23.2009!!|!88
  • FOWA!Miami!!|!!02.23.2009!!|!89
  • FOWA!Miami!!|!!02.23.2009!!|!90 9½.!!“Click!here” is!out! Click!here to!contact!us Click!here to!find!out!more Click!here to!order!now Click!here to!sign!up!for!our!e"newsletter Contact!us Learn!more Order!now Sign!up!for!our!e"newsletter
  • FOWA!Miami!!|!!02.23.2009!!|!91 10.!!Lighten!up.! • Readers!want!to!enjoy!their!visit. • Be!intimate,!friendly,!respectful. • Use!contractions,!common!language. • Make!your!reader!feel!smart,!not!stupid.
  • PART!SIX Discuss
  • Hey,!thanks! email kristina@braintraffic.com blog http://braintraffic.typepad.com twitter @halvorson Kristina!Halvorson!!!|!!!FOWA!Miami!!!|!!!02.23.2009