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Writing for the Web Keidra Chaney May 31, 2009
Overview <ul><li>Print writing vs. Web writing </li></ul><ul><li>What Journalists should know </li></ul><ul><li>How Web us...
Print writing vs. Web writing What’s similar: <ul><li>Basic skills are still required. </li></ul><ul><li>Research/attribut...
Print writing vs. Web writing What’s different: <ul><li>It’s harder for people to read text on a computer screen. </li></u...
What Journalists Should know <ul><li>You’re at a professional advantage!  </li></ul><ul><li>Inverted Pyramid </li></ul><ul...
What Journalists Should Know <ul><li>You will need new skills:  </li></ul><ul><li>HTML/CSS </li></ul><ul><li>Social Media ...
How web users read <ul><li>Web users read  25% slower </li></ul><ul><li>Web users  scan text , not read </li></ul><ul><li>...
How web users read <ul><li>When confronted with lots of text, web users often: </li></ul><ul><li>Get eye strain </li></ul>...
Web writing: Content and Style <ul><li>Simplicity saves attention! </li></ul><ul><li>Put key terms first. </li></ul><ul><l...
Web writing: Formatting <ul><li>Write in Layers </li></ul><ul><li>Break long form writing in sections. </li></ul><ul><li>U...
Web writing: Headlines Web and print headlines should differ considerably. Why? <ul><li>Web headlines are often viewed out...
Web writing: Headlines Write to be found by people using search engines! <ul><li>Avoid puns, don’t try to be clever; it ma...
SEO & keywords <ul><li>A final thought: </li></ul>Write for people, not search engines!
SEO & keywords <ul><li>SEO – Search Engine Optimization </li></ul><ul><li>It’s about making it easier for people to find y...
Popular Blogs <ul><li>CTA Tattler (news) </li></ul><ul><li>HuffPo (politics) </li></ul><ul><li>Mashable (tech) </li></ul>G...
What makes a blog work? <ul><li>They’ve got personality and “voice.” </li></ul><ul><li>They speak to their audience. (not ...
**Writing with “personality.”  A caveat: <ul><li>Some critics conflate blogging with being crude, sophomoric or offensive....
Before you start blogging, first ask yourself: <ul><li>Who’s my audience? (hint: it’s not “everyone”) </li></ul><ul><li>Wh...
Your audience is your best friend! Know them, love them. <ul><li>Blogging is a niche medium by its nature. </li></ul><ul><...
Measurement Analytics! A great way to get to know your audience! Where they come from, what they like to read. Google Anal...
Final Thoughts <ul><li>Writing for the web isn’t so much about technology but about how people use it. </li></ul><ul><li>N...
Questions? Keidra Chaney [email_address] @kdc (twitter) keidrachaney.com Thelearnedfangirl.com 2chicksblogging.com
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Writing For The Web

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Transcript of "Writing For The Web"

  1. 1. Writing for the Web Keidra Chaney May 31, 2009
  2. 2. Overview <ul><li>Print writing vs. Web writing </li></ul><ul><li>What Journalists should know </li></ul><ul><li>How Web users read </li></ul><ul><li>Content and Style </li></ul><ul><li>Formatting </li></ul><ul><li>Headlines </li></ul><ul><li>SEO and Keywords </li></ul><ul><li>Blogs </li></ul><ul><li>Measurement </li></ul><ul><li>Questions </li></ul>
  3. 3. Print writing vs. Web writing What’s similar: <ul><li>Basic skills are still required. </li></ul><ul><li>Research/attribution is still crucial. </li></ul><ul><li> You must still grab and hold a reader’s attention. </li></ul><ul><li> Great writing is still valued! </li></ul>
  4. 4. Print writing vs. Web writing What’s different: <ul><li>It’s harder for people to read text on a computer screen. </li></ul><ul><li>Web audiences are global and more diverse. </li></ul><ul><li> Web audiences tend to expect more than just text (i.e, multimedia/interactivity.) </li></ul>
  5. 5. What Journalists Should know <ul><li>You’re at a professional advantage! </li></ul><ul><li>Inverted Pyramid </li></ul><ul><li>Research/interview skills </li></ul><ul><li>Fact-checking </li></ul>
  6. 6. What Journalists Should Know <ul><li>You will need new skills: </li></ul><ul><li>HTML/CSS </li></ul><ul><li>Social Media </li></ul><ul><li>Video/audio production </li></ul><ul><li>SEO (Search Engine Optimization) </li></ul><ul><li>Web usability </li></ul>
  7. 7. How web users read <ul><li>Web users read 25% slower </li></ul><ul><li>Web users scan text , not read </li></ul><ul><li>Web readers are selfish ; they want to get to the point quick. </li></ul><ul><li>Web readers are restless , they tend to multitask online. </li></ul>from Jakob Nielsen the “guru of Web usability ”
  8. 8. How web users read <ul><li>When confronted with lots of text, web users often: </li></ul><ul><li>Get eye strain </li></ul><ul><li>Become intimidated </li></ul><ul><li>Lose their place </li></ul>
  9. 9. Web writing: Content and Style <ul><li>Simplicity saves attention! </li></ul><ul><li>Put key terms first. </li></ul><ul><li>Be specific: avoid jargon and in-jokes. (mostly for headline/news) </li></ul><ul><li>Don’t overload with fluff words. </li></ul><ul><li>Provide context by attributing sources. </li></ul><ul><li>Link! Link! Link! </li></ul>Since readers scan, make your copy scannable!
  10. 10. Web writing: Formatting <ul><li>Write in Layers </li></ul><ul><li>Break long form writing in sections. </li></ul><ul><li>Use headings and subheadings. </li></ul><ul><li>Highlight key text </li></ul><ul><li>block quotes </li></ul><ul><li>lists with bullet points </li></ul><ul><li>use italics (NOT ALL CAPS) for emphasis </li></ul>
  11. 11. Web writing: Headlines Web and print headlines should differ considerably. Why? <ul><li>Web headlines are often viewed out of context </li></ul><ul><li>They are read by a variety of people - and non people (search engines) </li></ul><ul><li>Not as much space constraint </li></ul>
  12. 12. Web writing: Headlines Write to be found by people using search engines! <ul><li>Avoid puns, don’t try to be clever; it may not translate for readers </li></ul><ul><li>Include appropriate keywords at front of the headline (what would readers search for?) </li></ul><ul><li>Be clear and concise. People browse/scan quickly. Make it easy to digest. </li></ul><ul><li>Keep it short. Under 65 characters for RSS, Google search results. </li></ul><ul><li>Don’t abbreviate. Spell out keywords that reflect how people search. </li></ul>
  13. 13. SEO & keywords <ul><li>A final thought: </li></ul>Write for people, not search engines!
  14. 14. SEO & keywords <ul><li>SEO – Search Engine Optimization </li></ul><ul><li>It’s about making it easier for people to find you via search engines. </li></ul><ul><li>Find out what keywords people use to find content like yours. </li></ul><ul><li>Google Search-Based keyword tool: </li></ul><ul><li>http://www.google.com/sktool/# </li></ul>
  15. 15. Popular Blogs <ul><li>CTA Tattler (news) </li></ul><ul><li>HuffPo (politics) </li></ul><ul><li>Mashable (tech) </li></ul>Gawker Media (Gawker, Lifehacker, Jezebel, Idolator) The –ists (Gothamist, Chicagoist, LAist, etc.)
  16. 16. What makes a blog work? <ul><li>They’ve got personality and “voice.” </li></ul><ul><li>They speak to their audience. (not afraid of in-jokes or slang, when it works) </li></ul><ul><li>They’re informational and entertaining. </li></ul><ul><li>They’re relevant and current. </li></ul>
  17. 17. **Writing with “personality.” A caveat: <ul><li>Some critics conflate blogging with being crude, sophomoric or offensive. </li></ul><ul><li>You don’t have to be a jerk about it! </li></ul><ul><li>. </li></ul>
  18. 18. Before you start blogging, first ask yourself: <ul><li>Who’s my audience? (hint: it’s not “everyone”) </li></ul><ul><li>What’s my focus? </li></ul><ul><li>Is anyone else offering this kind of news/information online? </li></ul><ul><li>What unique perspective and insight can my blog offer than no one else can? </li></ul>
  19. 19. Your audience is your best friend! Know them, love them. <ul><li>Blogging is a niche medium by its nature. </li></ul><ul><li>Speak to your audience in their language (academic, tech-geek, snarky, earnest) </li></ul><ul><li>Find out what content they want to read - and keep giving it to them. </li></ul>
  20. 20. Measurement Analytics! A great way to get to know your audience! Where they come from, what they like to read. Google Analytics Can use for blogger, wordpress.org, others
  21. 21. Final Thoughts <ul><li>Writing for the web isn’t so much about technology but about how people use it. </li></ul><ul><li>New ways of doing the same old stuff. </li></ul><ul><li>Don’t be fearful, be thoughtful! </li></ul><ul><li>Thanks! </li></ul>
  22. 22. Questions? Keidra Chaney [email_address] @kdc (twitter) keidrachaney.com Thelearnedfangirl.com 2chicksblogging.com
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