Writing web content that works
User level – Intermediate
Jakob Nielsen recommends this as the most thorough book on writing for the web
Heavily illustrated with colour screenshots and cartoons, the book covers a broad range of topics in addition to the usual advice on writing for impatient, goal-directed web users (breaking material into chunks, using the inverted pyramid style and so on).
It’s a book on information design rather than writing, so is about ‘planning, selecting, organising, writing, illustrating, reviewing and testing content that meets people’s needs … [it] is about strategy and tactics, not about tools.’
Chapters cover home-pages, the new life of press releases, using illustrations effectively and writing meaningful links, with new chapters for the 2012 edition on SEO, social media and content strategy, and more emphasis on tablets and smartphones.
- Avoid the term ‘user’ in your content
- Put any forms people want right away on the homepage
- Put a search box near the top – where people expect it
- A good mantra for a site is ‘less is more’ – so cut, cut, cut!
- Write in the ‘inverted pyramid’ journalistic style, with the most important information at the top
- Break ‘walls of words’ into chunks
- Don’t centre text or WRITE IN CAPITALS
- Make all links meaningful – not Click here or More
- Use a style guide to keep the site consistent
- Think about your site visitors when choosing colours
This is a sophisticated book for the experienced marketer.