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Writing for the Web [Paperback]

Crawford Kilian
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)

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Book Description

30 Sep 1999 Writing for the Web
Whether you''re creating a personal home page, developing a business Web site, or publishing an e-zine, this book offers practical advice on how to lead readers to your site, inform readers effectively and prompt readers to take action.'

Product details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Roundhouse Publishing Ltd; Writers' ed edition (30 Sep 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1551802074
  • ISBN-13: 978-1551802077
  • Product Dimensions: 24.8 x 21.1 x 1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,841,178 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Amazon Review

Publishing on the Web is a very simple task. Publishing content that works well in the online medium and truly 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 emphasises time and time again 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 though, 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 more than poorly designed content or documents haphazardly ported to electronic form. This book isn't an end-all reference to Web content presentation, but certainly offers some useful tips for writing effectively for cyberspace. --Stephen W Plain, Amazon.com

Topics covered:

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

Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
When early computer users and researchers began to see how they could navigate through electronic information and link one item to another using something called hypertext, they realized that it would offer readers an amazing power and freedom. Read the first page
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Browse Sample Pages
Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
This book is more for those who are just beginning the transition of writing for the Web from more traditional media. Interesting and valid points are made that may not originally be thought about. Some chapters cover obvious topics for those who already have experience with on-line writing but it still makes a good refresher.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
Crawford Killian's book is packed with tips on how to structure information for a web page - how to format, how to edit for clarity and brevity - how to use navigation cues and hold reader interest. The section on grammar reviews the basics from a web perspective. He also covers persuasion, editing and marketing your writing, and offers lots of links to illustrate good writing.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 3.5 out of 5 stars  10 reviews
97 of 100 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Signs of life for Web writing 27 Sep 2000
By David Walker - Published on Amazon.com
This thin and flatly-written volume will disappoint anyone hoping for a Web writing manifesto. Kilian brings no new research and an unimpressive bunch of case studies. But by making the case once again for caring about Web text, Kilian's book serves a useful purpose.
Many pages of the book are taken up with advice applicable to writing for any medium: understand your reader's viewpoint, use the "active voice", avoid relying on your spell checker. Devotees of that classic writers' how-to manual, Strunk and White's The Elements of Style, will find a startling amount of familiar material. So will devotees of Web usability expert Jakob Nielsen and his Alertbox site. A substantial slice of Kilian's book could well have been gathered off a handful of well-known Web sites.
But Kilian also makes a series of points that have been missed or underemphasised in discussions of Web writing to date:
* The Web demands your writing deliver "joltage". A former chief executive of the Fairfax newspaper group liked to compare the newspaper-reading experience to a warm bath. Web reading, by comparison, is a 30-second shower - get in, get the job done, wake you up, don't hang around. As Kilian puts it: "Computers condition us for high joltage. A 'jolt' is an emotional reward that follows a prescribed action ... We feel deprived if we don't get some sort of jolt at regular intervals, so we go where we hope to find more stimulation which, on the Web, means web sites."
* Beware old-style marketers who see the Web as another opportunity to pump a message at a commercial audience. In most media, the marketer hunts the customer down and delivers a broadcast or printed spiel that can be hard to avoid. On the Web, the customer comes looking for the transaction, with a million other sites a single mouse-click away. Research shows Web users are uncommonly likely to bolt at the sight of an old-style marketing pitch. A very few good Web marketers, on the other hand, already understand that the message of a commercial Web site must rely on a more subtle link with a brand's values.
* The Web suits "response" writing which prompts the user to carry out an activity. In the offline commercial world an entire marketing discipline - direct response copywriting - has evolved to offer users spcific benefits if they carry out particular actions. Indeed, the long-established rules of direct response advertising copywriting often look remarkably like Web writers need to import these direct response lessons, in just the same way that Web interface designers need to understand how to convince users to click on the appropriate screen buttons. "The Web is a culture of impatience," writes Kilian. "Effective appeals offer quick and painlesss ways to respond".
Killian could and should have given his readers more insights on issues like these, rather than recycling better-known guidelines. His book does not deserve whole-hearted recommendation. But it's nice to see Web writing getting some of the attention it deserves.
94 of 102 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great resource - Read it before you start your web page 25 July 1999
By gsombke@home.com - Published on Amazon.com
Crawford Killian's book is packed with tips on how to structure information for a web page - how to format, how to edit for clarity and brevity - how to use navigation cues and hold reader interest. The section on grammar reviews the basics from a web perspective. He also covers persuasion, editing and marketing your writing, and offers lots of links to illustrate good writing.
35 of 36 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars OK for beginners. Experienced writers: look elsewhere. 2 Sep 2000
By Lee Kessler - Published on Amazon.com
If you're new to Web writing, or to writing generally, you may find Crawford Killian's Writing for the Web useful. Beginners will appreciate the discussion of the major differences between how readers process information online versus in print. And novice writers will benefit from the book's middle section, which focuses on essentials of good writing ("Opt for Strong Verbs over Weak Ones"; "Avoid Cliches"; "Use Simple Sentences"; "Subject-verb disagreements"; etc.). This discussion of writing and editing fundamentals represents more than a third of the book's 137 pages.
As useful as these general writing tips are, they're nothing new to anyone who has read Strunk and White's The Elements of Style or William Zinnser's On Writing Well. Similarly, I think I've learned much more about Web writing by reading non-Web-specific copywriting books. What I was looking for--and didn't get more than a surface treatment of--is a discussion about organizing information on the Web, taking full advantage of the power of hypertext to provide information, and learning more about ways to grab people's attention online.
If you want to write your first Web site and have limited writing experience, this book is a good place to start. You'll get a good overview of the many decisions a Web writer faces, and you'll also pick up a number of good writing tips. But if you're looking to move beyond the basics and develop a dynamically written, marketing-savvy site, look elsewhere for more detailed information.
20 of 22 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Too late for this to be helpful 26 Mar 2001
By E. Gollihar - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
If you can cram yourself into a time machine and magically go back to 1994, then this book will be a big help. If you're with the rest of us here in 2001, then find another source of help. The badly outdated information about the nature of the Web is only topped by the author's annoying choices of "catchwords" to use throughout the book. "Chunks," for example, apparently means blocks of text containing fewer than 100 words (it's also the author's recommended maximum page length). Not so bad by itself, but when used repeatedly, and with variation (chunk it, chunking), the practice gets a bit annoying. In the preface, the author reveals a bias to print media, which is unnecessary if you read the introduction. I'd suggest taking tips from someone who's worked regularly on the Web and finds it an engaging medium--instead of someone with a limited understanding of the Web's potential who works on it only as a sideline.
30 of 36 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Learn to Craft More Effective Web Communication 14 Jun 2000
By Jim Moran - Published on Amazon.com
Writing for the Web written by Crawford Kilian will assist Web developers and Website content providers to craft better Web communication that will attract the attention of the Websurfing public and increase the likelihood of producing more favorable results.
Readers will learn that the Internet has produced different demands in publishing. While cool Web graphics, video clips, sounds, and creative HTML programming may have their place in Web development, Kilian believes that the content of HTML - plain text, has been geatly overlooked. He points out that the real purpose of publishing on the Web is to publish text to communicate. Other elements of Website design serve primarily as decorations and have clouded the true purpose of Web publishing. They can also become distracting and actually inhibit Web content comprehension.
Kilian encourages his readers to use the Web for a variety of purposes such as publishing e-zines and finding employment and he shows readers how they can create Web content that will get attention. His emphasis is clearly placed on composing and displaying text. Readers will learn the importance of targeting their specific audiences, how to determine content subject matter, how to structure and display content for maximum visual impact, how to compose effective sentences, choosing the right wording, and selecting appropriate font styles.
This book is a concise guide to Web writing that will provide readers with ideas and encouragement to advance their own literary pursuits. Sample content, writing resources, and the focus on textual content make this book a good choice to jumpstart a Web-writing career - perhaps yours! Highly recommended!
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