Letting Go of the Words
Writing Web Content that WorksBy
- Janice (Ginny) Redish
Web site design and development continues to become more sophisticated. An important part of this maturity originates with well-laid-out and well-written content. Ginny Redish is a world-renowned expert on information design and how to produce clear writing in plain language for the web. All of the invaluable information that she shared in the first edition is included with numerous new examples. New information on content strategy for web sites, search engine optimization (SEO), and social media make this once again the only book you need to own to optimize your writing for the web.
For anyone who writes for the web or does usability testing on web sites, including web designers, information designers, information architects, content managers, technical writers, usability engineers, web application and forms designers.
Paperback, 368 Pages
Published: August 2012
Imprint: Morgan Kaufmann
"This is a must-have book for anyone associated with preparing web copyâ¦ It is not a web developerâs technical manual, but rather assists users in preparing an effective message for website visitorsâ¦ I recommend this truly complete and informative book."--ComputingReviews.com, May 23, 2013 "This comprehensive volume on the language of web design provides practical advice for developers on the effective use of text and language in the creation of highly usable websites."--Reference and Research Book News, February 2013Praise from the first edition: "Redish has done her homework and created a thorough overview of the issues in writing for the Web. Ironically, I must recommend that you read her every word so that you can find out why your customers won't read very many words on your website -- and what to do about it."--Jakob Nielsen, Principal, Nielsen Norman Group
âThere are at least twelve billion web pages out there. Twelve billion voices talking, but saying mostly nothing. If just 1% of those pages followed Ginnyâs practical, clear advice, the world would be a better place. Fortunately, you can follow her advice for 100% of your own siteâs pages, so pick up a copy of Letting Go of the Words and start communicating effectively today.â--Lou Rosenfeld, co-author, Information Architecture for the World Wide Web
"If youâre looking for a concise, comprehensive, and visual guide containing hundreds of practical online writing tips for personal branding success will give you everything needed to take your writing to the next level in Ginny Redishâs Letting Go of the Wordsâ¦This could be the most important Holiday Gift book you give-or receive-this year."--Personal Branding Blog, November 2012 "If you only read one book about online writing and design, get Ginny Redishâs Letting Go of the Words: Writing Web Content that Works. Itâs a book that can do more good for more websites than any other book I can recommend at this timeâ¦You read, then you look. You read a little more, and you look again. Suddenly, it all makes sense!"--Published and Profitable, December 2012
Chapter 1 Content! Content! Content!
People come for the content
Content = conversation
Web = phone, not file cabinet
Online, people skim and scan
People do read online - sometimes
People don't read more because...
Writing well = having successful conversations
Three case studies
Case Study 1-1 Conversing well with words
Case Study 1-2 Conversing well with few words
Case Study 1-3 Revising web words
Summarizing Chapter 1
Chapter 2 Planning: Purposes, Personas, Conversations
Why? Know what you want the site to achieve
Who? What's the conversation?
Breathing life into your data with personas
Breathing life into your data with scenarios
Summarizing Chapter 2
Interlude 1: Content Strategy
Why is content strategy so important?
What is content strategy?
What does content strategy cover?
Who does content strategy?
Seven steps to carry out a content strategy
Chapter 3 Designing for Easy Use
Who should read this chapter - and why?
Integrate content and design from the beginning
Build in flexibility for universal usability
Putting it all together: A case study
Case Study 3-1 Revising a poorly designed web page
Summarizing Chapter 3
Chapter 4 Starting Well: Home Pages
Home pages - content-rich with few words
1. Be findable through search engines
2. Identify the site
3. Set the site's tone and personality
4. Help people get a sense of what the site is all about
5. Continue the conversation quickly
6. Send each person on the right way
Summarizing Chapter 4
Chapter 5 Getting There: Pathway Pages
1. Site visitors hunt first
2. People don't want to read while hunting
3. A pathway page is like a table of contents
4. Sometimes, short descriptions help
5. Three clicks is a myth
6. Many people choose the first option
Summarizing Chapter 5
Chapter 6 Breaking up and Organizing Content
1. Think "information," not "document"
2. Divide your content thoughtfully
3. Consider how much to put on one web page
4. Use PDFs sparingly and only for good reasons
Summarizing Chapter 6
Chapter 7 Focusing on Conversations and Key Messages
Seven guidelines for focusing on conversations and key messages
1. Give people only what they need
2. Cut! Cut! Cut! And cut again!
3. Think "bite, snack, meal"
4. Start with your key message
5. Layer information
6. Break down walls of words
7. Plan to share and engage through social media
Summarizing Chapter 7
Interlude 2: Finding Marketing Moments
Marketing on the web is different: Pull not push
Join the site visitorâs conversation
Find the right marketing moments
Don't miss good marketing moments
Never stop the conversation
Chapter 8 Announcing Your Topic With a Clear Headline
Seven guidelines for headlines that work well
Summarizing Chapter 8
Chapter 9 Including Useful Headings
Good headings help readers in many ways
Thinking about headings also helps authors
Eleven guidelines for writing useful headings
Summarizing Chapter 9
Interlude 3 The New Life of Press Releases
The old life of press releases
The new life of press releases
How do people use press releases on the web?
What should we do?
Does it make a difference?
Chapter 10 Tuning up Your Sentences
Ten guidelines for tuning up your sentences
Summarizing Chapter 10
Chapter 11 Using Lists and Tables
Six guidelines for useful lists
Lists and tables: What's the difference?
Six guidelines for useful tables
Summarizing Chapter 11
Interlude 4 Legal Information Can Be Clear
Accurate, sufficient, clear - You can have all three
Avoid archaic legal language
Avoid technical jargon
Use site visitorsâ words in headings
Follow the rest of this book, too
Case Study 4-1 Putting it all together
Chapter 12 Writing Meaningful Links
Seven guidelines for writing meaningful links
Summarizing Chapter 12
Chapter 13 Using Illustrations Effectively
Five purposes that illustrations can serve
Seven guidelines for using illustrations effectively
Summarizing Chapter 13
Chapter 14 Getting from Draft to Final
Read, edit, revise, proofread your own work
Share drafts with colleagues
Walk your personas through their conversations
Let editors help you
Negotiate successful reviews (and edits)
Summarizing Chapter 14
Interlude 5 Creating an Organic Style Guide
Use a style guide for consistency
Use a style guide to remind people
Appoint an owner
Get management support
Make it easy to create, to find, and to use
Chapter 15 Test! Test! Test!
Why do usability testing?
Whatâs needed for usability testing
Whatâs not needed for usability testing
How do we do a usability test?
What variations might we consider?
Why not just do focus groups?
A final point: Test the content!!