Attention, Web writers! This book will show you how to craft prose that grabs your guests' attention, changes their attitudes, and convinces them to act. You'll learn how to make your style fast, tight, and scannable. You'll cook up links that people love to click, menus that mean something, and pages of text that search engines rank high. You'll learn how to write great Web help, FAQs, responses to customers, marketing copy, press releases, news articles, e-mail newsletters, Webzine raves, or your own Web resume. Case studies show real-life examples you can follow. No matter what you write on the Web, you'll see how to personalize, build communities, and burst out of the conventional with your own honest style.
Table of Contents
- About the Authors
- To Teachers
- A Message from New Riders
- Home Page
1. Catch the Net Spirit
1. Who Am I Writing for, and Incidentally, Who Am I?
- Get to Know the Audience of One
- Make Sense Out of What You Learn about Your Audiences
- Personalize, Honestly
- Develop an Attitude
2. What Kind of Thing Am I Creating?
- Goodbye Documents, Hello Objects
Building Informative Objects
- 1. Each object starts life as a category of content.
- 2. The class has a standard structure.
- 3. Each type of object has a job to do.
- 4. Objects talk to each other.
- 5. The same object can be reused in many different locations and media.
- 6. Searches can turn up individual objects, thanks to attributes.
- 7. Objects can be assembled quickly, creating personalized content.
- Taking an object-oriented approach to structure cuts through the noise
- Express your own idea on:
3. What Will the Web Do to My Text?
- Your Words Are Virtually There
- Web Text = Content + Interface
- Warm, Warmer, Hot!
- 4. Attention!
- 1. Who Am I Writing for, and Incidentally, Who Am I?
2. Write Like a Human Being
5. Idea #1: Shorten That Text!
- Cut Any Paper-Based Text by 50%
- Make Each Paragraph Short
- Delete Marketing Fluff
- Move Vital but Tangential or Supplemental Material
- Move Repeating Categories of Information into Tables, Charts, or Graphs
- Beware of Cutting So Far That You Make the Text Ambiguous
6. Idea #2: Make Text Scannable!
Create a Meaningful Title
- Make a title that can survive out of context
- Test the first few words as a rollover
- Use the same title everywhere
- Make a title that gives advance notice of the contents of the page
- Make the title echo what users already know, with a twist
- Recheck your title in its context
- Insert Meaningful Headlines and Subheads
- Highlight Key Words, Phrases, and Links
- Turn Any Series into a Bulleted or Numbered List
- Create a Meaningful Title
7. Idea #3: Cook Up Hot Links!
- Make Clear What the User Will Get from a Link
- Within a Sentence, Make the Link the Emphatic Element
- Shift Focus from the Links or the Linked-to Documents to the Subject
- Provide Depth and Breadth through Plentiful Links to Related Information within Your Site
- Establish Credibility by Offering Outbound Links
- Show Where We Are
- Make Meta Information Public
- Write URLs That Humans Can Read
- Make Links Accessible
- Tell People about a Media Object Before They Download It
- Announce the New with Special Links
Write So Your Pages Will Be Found
- Do you want to be linked to?
- Make those keywords visible in ordinary text
- Focus your title
- Add a description
- Use the Meta keyword tag
- Got images? Write alternate text
- Make link text key
- Get out the thesaurus
- Don't stray too far from the topic
- Invite the spiders to come back
- Express your own idea on:
8. Idea #4: Build Chunky Paragraphs!
Design Each Paragraph Around One Main Idea
- Make each paragraph distinct
- Answer a particular question
- Create one sentence that sums up the paragraph's point
- Make all the sentences coherent
- Proceed from familiar to unfamiliar topics
- Look at your paragraph as a structure
- Simplify by throwing out other ideas
- Put the Idea of the Paragraph First
- If You Must Include the Context, Put That First
- Put Your Conclusion or News Lead in the First Paragraph of the Article
- Design Each Paragraph Around One Main Idea
9. Idea #5: Reduce Cognitive Burdens!
- Reduce the Number of Clauses Per Sentence
- Blow Up Nominalizations and Noun Trains
- Watch Out for Ambiguous Phrases a Reader Must Puzzle Over
- Surface the Agent and Action, so Users Don't Have to Guess Who Does What
- Make a Positive Statement, so People Understand Right Away—without Having to Unpack a Nest of Negatives
- Reduce Scrolling
- Let Users Print or Save the Entire Document at Once, to Avoid Reading Any More On-screen
10. Idea #6: Write Menus That Mean Something!
- Write a Heading as an Object You Will Reuse Many Times
- Write Each Menu So It Offers a Meaningful Structure
- Offer Multiple Routes to the Same Information
- Write and Display Several Levels at Once
- When Users Arrive at the Target, Make Success Obvious
- Confirm the Location by Showing the Position of This Informative Object in the Hierarchy
- 5. Idea #1: Shorten That Text!
3. Fine-tune Your Style for the Genres
11. Writing in a Genre
Why Genres Matter
- A genre is born as a response to an audience's questions, needs, wishes, fantasies
- A genre has a conventional structure
- A genre has an agreed-upon tone
- A genre demands that you take on a conventional persona
- Adapt the genre to the forum
- Go gonzo once in a while
- Express your own idea on:
- Why Genres Matter
12. Creating Customer Assistance That Actually Helps
- Where Can I Get the Answers to My Questions?
- Embedded Assistance—Labels, Tips, and Clues
- Case Study: Embedded Assistance at Shop.Microsoft.com
- Answers to Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
- Case Study: FAQs at AltaVista
- Case Study: Help at eBay
E-mail Responses to Customers
- Provide detailed contacts with names and pictures, not faceless forms
- Set up guidelines for responses
- Make the subject line mean something
- Start off recognizing what they said
- Deliberately express sympathy and interest
- Encourage your feminine side
- Drop in boilerplate answers to common questions
- Add a signature block
- Iron out the wrinkles
- Don't send attachments
- Case Study: E-mail Responses from Amazon.com
13. Persuading Niche Markets, Individuals, and the Press
- Web Marketing Copy
- Case Study: Web Marketing Copy at mySimon
- News Releases
- Case Study:News Center and Releases at Reflect.com
14. Making News That Fits
- News Articles
- Case Study: News Articles at Wired News
- E-mail Newsletters
- Case Study: E-mail Newsletter from the Titanic Deck Chair Rearrangement Corporation
- Case Study: Weblog by Dave Winer
15. Entertaining People Who Like to Read
- Webzines often violate reasonable rules
- Get intense, expressing yourself
- Reveal your anger, lust, envy, greed, gluttony, jealousy, and zits
- Provoke argument and discussion
- Organize strenuously and intellectually with subheads
- Provide links that add to the story
- Fit within the word count, or die
- Follow the template, so the editor doesn't have to clean up after you
- Pitching a Webzine
- Case Study: Webzine Articles at Slate
- Webzine Articles
16. Getting a Job
- Web Resume
- E-mail Resume
- 11. Writing in a Genre
4. Become a Pro
17. So You Wannabe a Web Writer or Editor
- Where Web Writers and Editors Come From
- Web Editing—The Basics
- The Debate: Freelance Gigs vs a Staff Job
- Freelance Markets for Web Writers and Editors
- 17. So You Wannabe a Web Writer or Editor
- 5. Backup
- Title: Hot Text: Web Writing That Works
- Release date: January 2002
- Publisher(s): New Riders
- ISBN: None