E write - loc advanced writing for the web 23 may2011

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  • http://www.charlescounty.org/hr/
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  • http://www.irs.gov/privacy/article/0,,id=183505,00.html
  • http://www.sec.gov/answers/publicdocs.htm
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  • http://www.baltimorecountymd.gov/Agencies/publicworks/solid_waste/trash.html
  • http://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/living/recycling/
  • http://www.ala.org/ala/mgrps/divs/alcts/confevents/upcoming/webcourse/fpres/ol_templ.cfm
  • http://shop.delaware.gov/index.php?cPath=124_136
  • http://www.doh.wa.gov/cfh/heart_stroke/ http://www.doh.wa.gov/cfh/heart_stroke/
  • http://www.google.com/#sclient=psy&hl=en&source=hp&q=linkto:+http%3A%2F%2Fwww.doh.wa.gov%2Fcfh%2Fheart_stroke%2F&aq=f&aqi=&aql=f&oq=&pbx=1&bav=on.2,or.r_gc.r_pw.&fp=e4d813b43c7d221c
  • http://tonto.eia.doe.gov/ask/faq.asp
  • http://www.gortonsfreshseafood.com/CustomerCare/FAQS/General.aspx
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  • http://emergency.cdc.gov/agent/anthrax/faq/
  • http://emergency.cdc.gov/agent/anthrax/faq/
  • http://www.gortonsfreshseafood.com/CustomerCare/FAQS.aspx
  • http://www.health.iupui.edu/faq.html http://www.advancedptc.com/faq
  • http://www.irs.gov/faqs/index.html
  • http://www.uscourts.gov/faq.html http://www.grants.gov/help/faq.jsp
  • http://www.uspto.gov/faq/trademarks.jsp
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  • http://tonto.eia.doe.gov/ask/Renewables_FAQs.asp#vehicles_for_highway
  • http://www.loc.gov/aba/about/catfaq.html
  • http://wilawlibrary.gov/learn/faq.html#coll
  • http://www.library.ilstu.edu/page/244
  • http://library.illinoisstate.edu/library-materials/subject-guides/
  • http://www1.umn.edu/humanrts/bibliog/biblios.htm
  • http://www.loc.gov/rr/main/bibguide.html
  • http://www.loc.gov/preservation/
  • http://preserve.harvard.edu/
  • http://library.nyu.edu/preservation/
  • http://www.usa.gov/webcontent/analytics/analyzing-web-logs.shtml
  • E write - loc advanced writing for the web 23 may2011

    1. 1. Advanced Writing for the Web Leslie O’Flahavan, E-WRITE Library of Congress May 23, 2011
    2. 2. Course overview <ul><li>How to write web content that offers a high return on investment </li></ul><ul><li>How to write specific types of content: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>FAQs </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Pages that list bibliographies and guides </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Home pages for your department or program </li></ul></ul><ul><li>How (and why) to do a content inventory </li></ul><ul><li>Strategies for explaining to management why you need to spend time on your content </li></ul>
    3. 3. The traits of high-ROI web content <ul><li>It reduces the workload of the people who write or maintain it </li></ul><ul><li>Users can act on it </li></ul><ul><li>Search engines can find it (SEO) </li></ul><ul><li>It brings in “revenue” </li></ul>
    4. 4. High-ROI content reduces the workload of the people who write or maintain it <ul><li>It answers questions: fewer phone calls or e-mails </li></ul><ul><li>It teaches users; it shapes their behavior for the future </li></ul><ul><li>It enables users to do things online </li></ul>
    5. 5. How well will this content reduce the workload for staff in the Department Human Resources?
    6. 6. Is this page better at reducing workload for staff?
    7. 7. High-ROI web content is transactional; users can act on it <ul><li>Enables users to do , not merely know </li></ul><ul><li>Driven by verbs: download, submit, apply, schedule </li></ul><ul><li>Content drives a task </li></ul>
    8. 8. Provide a birds-eye view of the task before the detailed steps
    9. 9. Make the task scannable
    10. 10. Make the task easy to scan
    11. 11. Clear name; useful sample
    12. 12. Clear overview, link to background
    13. 13. Look for opportunities to use links to shorten tasks
    14. 14. Put some task substance into the web content; don’t lock everything in the PDF
    15. 15. Good balance between web content and PDF
    16. 16. High-ROI web content can be found by search engines <ul><li>URL – keywords separated by hyphens </li></ul><ul><li>Browser window title </li></ul><ul><li>H1 heading, and the other page headings </li></ul><ul><li>Keyword-rich content </li></ul><ul><li>Enough content: 250 words per page </li></ul><ul><li>Ample keyword-rich links (inbound and outbound) </li></ul>
    17. 17. How well can the search engine find this county Trash page?
    18. 18. How well can the search engine find this county Trash page?
    19. 19. Revise this Trash page to make it easier for search engines to find
    20. 20. High-ROI web content brings in “revenue” <ul><li>You get a high return on your investment if you content actually brings in $$$ </li></ul><ul><li>Other types of revenue? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Web traffic </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Having your content republished elsewhere </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Inbound links </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Reputation </li></ul></ul>
    21. 21. Web content that brings in revenue
    22. 22. Pay online for exhibit space = $$$
    23. 23. Other types of revenue: Who links to me?
    24. 24. Who links to me?
    25. 25. Enough links? The right ones?
    26. 26. How to write specific types of web pages <ul><li>FAQs </li></ul><ul><li>Pages that list bibliographies and guides </li></ul><ul><li>Home pages for your department or program </li></ul>
    27. 27. Two E-WRITE FAQs projects <ul><li>Helped Travel Advantage Network launch FAQs page which reduce customer service e-mail volume by 50% </li></ul><ul><li>Revised the Energy Information Administration’s FAQs page and developed an EIA Frequently Asked Questions Style Guide </li></ul>
    28. 28. T.A.N.’s help content before FAQs
    29. 29. T.A.N.’s first FAQs page
    30. 30. T.A.N. FAQs reduced e-mail volume
    31. 31. T.A.N. FAQs today
    32. 32. “Old” EIA FAQs
    33. 33. EIA FAQs today
    34. 34. Problem: Too many FAQs
    35. 35. Problem: Chaotic FAQs
    36. 36. Problem: Unanswered questions <ul><li>At CitiFinancial Mortgage , the FAQ “Will you send me confirmation that my taxes have been paid?” gets this answer: “Escrow transactions appear on your monthly statement.” </li></ul><ul><li>At the Gastric bypass FAQs page, the question “ How Long is the Average Hospital Stay?“ gets a complete answer: “ Usually three to five days, depending on the patient's recovery.” </li></ul>
    37. 37. Problem: Vague questions <ul><li>WINE-STAT : “What about humidity?” </li></ul><ul><li>U-Line : “What is the relative humidity inside Wine Captain® units?” </li></ul>
    38. 38. Problem: Dead-end answers <ul><li>Sandy Spring Bank : “Can I prevent my information from being shared with other companies in your family of companies?” The dead-end answer: “Yes. You can choose to opt out of affiliate information sharing, except for information about your specific transactions and experience.” </li></ul><ul><li>Lucent Technologies enables action: “ What should I do if I discover a mistake in my online resume after I've submitted it?” The answer: “You may edit or update your profile at any time through the Edit Profile page .” </li></ul>
    39. 39. Standards for writing FAQs <ul><li>Choose the appropriate question word </li></ul><ul><li>Organize FAQs in a way that’s easy for the user to grasp </li></ul><ul><li>Position the FAQs section near other kinds of help </li></ul><ul><li>Integrate user questions into page text throughout the site </li></ul><ul><li>Deep link answers to other relevant information at the site </li></ul>
    40. 40. Choose the appropriate question word <ul><li>Amazon’s Electronic Banking FAQs: </li></ul><ul><li>“ How will I know that I've been paid?” has a procedure answer: “The bank that Amazon.com uses to send payments will send you a paper direct deposit notification by mail...&quot; </li></ul><ul><li>“ Why must my financial institution be in the United States?” has a reason answer: “Amazon.com can only disburse payments using U.S. dollars, and the systems we use are only set up to handle payments within the U.S...” </li></ul>
    41. 41. Review the question words for CDC’s Anthrax FAQs
    42. 42. CDCs Anthrax FAQs today
    43. 43. Organize FAQs in a way that’s easy for the user to grasp <ul><li>“ In the order they were received” is not an organizational structure </li></ul><ul><li>Topic </li></ul><ul><li>User </li></ul><ul><li>Product </li></ul><ul><li>Other ways to organize FAQs? </li></ul>
    44. 44. Organized FAQs?
    45. 45. FAQs organized by user
    46. 46. FAQs organized by category and keyword
    47. 47. Label FAQ categories clearly
    48. 48. Improve these FAQ categories
    49. 49. Trademark FAQs today
    50. 50. Position the FAQs section near other kinds of help
    51. 51. Integrate user questions into page content throughout the site
    52. 52. Deep link answers to other relevant information at the site <ul><li>New York Times : </li></ul><ul><li>“ Q: Is it possible to publish a New York Times article on my website, intranet or in other electronic environments?” </li></ul><ul><li>A: Yes, it is possible to use New York Times articles in electronic formats. Most electronic (world wide web) uses are limited to a maximum posting period of one year. You may use our on-line permission request form or mail…” </li></ul>
    53. 53. Write concisely: Answer first, then link to detail
    54. 54. Discuss this FAQs page
    55. 55. Grouped FAQs
    56. 56. Pages that list bibliographies and guides <ul><li>Balance detail with navigability </li></ul><ul><li>Group items </li></ul><ul><li>Find a place for “old” stuff </li></ul>
    57. 57. How is this Guides page difficult to use?
    58. 58. Is the new Subject Guides page better?
    59. 59. Improve this Bibliographies and Guides page
    60. 60. Steps to making this page easier to use?
    61. 61. Home page for your department or program <ul><li>Exercise vigilant maintenance! (Keep it current) </li></ul><ul><li>Chunk “lobby” pages clearly and give the chunks meaningful names </li></ul><ul><li>Limit the amount of content </li></ul><ul><li>Help different types of users identify the content they need </li></ul>
    62. 62. What works at this Program home page? What doesn’t?
    63. 63. Is this a better Preservation home page?
    64. 64. Improve this Preservation program page
    65. 65. How (and why) to do a content inventory
    66. 66. Why do a content inventory or audit? <ul><li>To find out what you have </li></ul><ul><li>To assign ownership or responsibility for content </li></ul><ul><li>To eliminate content </li></ul><ul><li>To see how content is linked </li></ul><ul><li>Why not to do a content inventory… </li></ul>
    67. 67. Once you know what you have, think about what your content costs you <ul><li>Meeting and planning </li></ul><ul><li>Writing and reviewing </li></ul><ul><li>Training on content management or other software </li></ul><ul><li>Maintaining </li></ul><ul><li>Answering questions about </li></ul>
    68. 68. What does your web content “pay” you? Can you measure what you get? <ul><li>Fulfills an internal mandate or obligation </li></ul><ul><li>Participation in a program </li></ul><ul><li>Compliance with rules </li></ul><ul><li>Attention to your initiatives </li></ul><ul><li>Revenue </li></ul><ul><li>Dissemination of your message </li></ul><ul><li>Consumption of your content (downloads, etc.) </li></ul>
    69. 69. Identify, and stop publishing, content that lacks “I” - investment <ul><li>If no one wants to own the content, it’s not likely to have a high return </li></ul><ul><li>If no one will maintain or update the content … </li></ul><ul><li>If content owners consider the content difficult to use, but won’t change it … </li></ul><ul><li>If content owners don’t even know about the content … </li></ul>
    70. 70. How to identify content that’s likely to have a low ROI… <ul><li>Outdated </li></ul><ul><li>Hard to find at your site </li></ul><ul><li>Not optimized for search engines </li></ul><ul><li>Poorly maintained </li></ul><ul><li>Broken </li></ul><ul><li>Not transactional </li></ul><ul><li>Hard to read </li></ul><ul><li>Not targeted to its intended audience </li></ul>
    71. 71. Use metrics to identify content with a low ROI <ul><li>Analyze web logs and visitor traffic Customer service queries that prove content is not doing its job </li></ul>
    72. 72. Advice from Webcontent.gov <ul><li>Log analysis can help you determine: </li></ul><ul><li>Number of visitors who come to your website </li></ul><ul><li>Number of pages viewed </li></ul><ul><li>Average amount of time spent on your website </li></ul><ul><li>Most frequently viewed pages </li></ul><ul><li>Terms visitors type into commercial search engines to find your site </li></ul><ul><li>Terms visitors type into your search box to find information on your site </li></ul><ul><li>Top entry websites (where your visitors came from) </li></ul><ul><li>Top exit sites (where your visitors went when they left your site) </li></ul><ul><li>Most popular browsers used by your visitors </li></ul>
    73. 73. Web log data from 2005: HHS’s Frequently Asked Questions
    74. 74. Strategies for explaining to management why you need to spend time on your content
    75. 75. Contact information <ul><li>Leslie O’Flahavan </li></ul><ul><li>E-WRITE </li></ul><ul><li>[email_address] </li></ul><ul><li>Tel. 301-989-9853 </li></ul><ul><li>www.ewriteonline.com </li></ul><ul><li>Writing Matters blog at http://writingmatters.typepad.com/ </li></ul>

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