Writing for the Web: Writers' Edition

Writing for the Web: Writers' Edition

by Crawford Kilian
     
 

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Publishing on the Web is a very simple task. Publishing content that works well in the online medium and communicates effectively is quite another matter. In Writing for the Web, author and freelance writer Crawford Kilian shares his insights about producing just the right type and amount of content for your target sites. Kilian acknowledges early on his bias toward…  See more details below

Overview

Publishing on the Web is a very simple task. Publishing content that works well in the online medium and communicates effectively is quite another matter. In Writing for the Web, author and freelance writer Crawford Kilian shares his insights about producing just the right type and amount of content for your target sites. Kilian acknowledges early on his bias toward print publishing, but his viewpoint offers a particularly relevant discussion for other writers moving traditional content to the Web. Throughout the book, he emphasizes his three principles of Web text: orientation, information, and action. These principles wisely expand the reader's view from content and grammar to the special interactivity and technical-viewing aspects of reading online. The book is quite brief at only 140 pages, but contains some useful traditional style tips, such as using active tense, strong verbs, and precise word choices. Ironically, the book doesn't include any screen shots to illustrate formatting guidelines in action on real Web sites. This lack of visual connection to the presented techniques detracts from the book's effectiveness. Nothing ruins the first impression of your Web site than poorly designed content or documents haphazardly ported to electronic form. This book isn't an end-all reference to Web-content presentation, but it certainly offers some useful tips for writing effectively for cyberspace. —Stephen W. Plain Topics covered:

  • On-screen text
  • Web-site structure
  • Content organization
  • Writing style guidelines
  • Web text editing
  • Corporate content
  • Resumes
  • Personal pages
  • Marketing

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Editorial Reviews

Marc Duane Anderson
Crawford Kilian's book on writing for the Internet benefits from his refreshing approach: Rather than coming across as an expert, Kilian aims to spark ideas and open dialogue. If what he has to offer helps, he's pleased, but he also hopes to be "rebutted and superseded."

With dot-coms folding like a cheap deck of cards these days, the subject is more timely than ever, because quality content can mean the difference between life and death for a Web site.

The book is a carefully crafted and well-written dissertation on how and what to write for the World Wide Web. The increasingly competitive and crowded Web's users demand text that will grab them and hold their attention, or they'll simply click and surf away.

Kilian sums up the task at hand well when he says, "Your role as a Web author is to make your reader's job effortless." He endorses text that looks "invitingly brief," but at the same time, lures readers with some kind of hook so they'll keep reading.

The book is loaded with useful tips and strategies, including how to use white space effectively; "chunk" information (present it in small, digestible chunks); make sure graphics enhance, rather than distract from the message; maintain a "you" (the reader) focus; appreciate the value of minimalism, coherency, and consistency; and avoid the use of extended metaphors, because they don't work in hypertext.

And, of course, there are the old standbys that need to be heard again and again: Know your audience; make sure text is clear, brief and useful; understand the importance of proofreading; and so on.

In other practical advice, Kilian recommends that if you're using all caps you scale down the font size to avoid the pretension of overkill that might annoy readers and drive them away; while other suggestions include selecting a readable font and a line length that is both user- and printer-friendly.

Perhaps most valuable is the strategic planning Kilian prescribes since, "Web writing, like chess, means you have to think several moves ahead-and put yourself in your readers' shoes."

The book also contains many "links" to other valuable resources and is a must-read for anyone thinking of plying the writing trade in cyberspace. My only regret is the book isn't available in a downloadable PDF format!
Marc Duane Anderson reviews books for American Book Review, Canadian Literature and The Writer.
Writing For The Web: Geeks' Edition is specifically designed for those who aspire to utilize the Internet as an outlet for their writing. Internet veteran Crawford Kilian draws upon his years of experience and expertise to provide the reader with a convenient, easy-to-use Webwriter's style guide that will prove invaluable for dealing with the rules governing abbreviations, biased terms, capitalization, compound words, and cliches. The proffered exercises will develop webwriting techniques and a wealth of practical advice will enable the aspiring webwriter to adapt content from print to Webtext; avoid common grammar and usage errors; develop content for corporate websites; even edit material for an international audience. Whether writing for a personal or corporate website, or writing for an on-line publication, Writing For The Web will enable anyone to be an effective Internet wordsmith.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781551802077
Publisher:
Self-Counsel Press, Inc.
Publication date:
02/28/1999
Edition description:
Second edition
Pages:
160
Product dimensions:
8.30(w) x 9.75(h) x 0.39(d)

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