I recently read Letting Go of the Words: Writing Web Content that Works, by Ginny Redish. It’s a good book full of great ideas on how to improve your web writing.
Here are a couple of ideas that really stood out to me:
1. Give people only what they need. (pg 126-127). Write from your site visitor’s perspective. “Do they really care about the entire history of your project? Probably not.” “Do they want to hear how much you welcome them before you show them what you have to offer at what price? Probably not.”
Really good point, and most library websites are guilty of that! If it isn’t important to your customers, cut the extraneous content, put it at the bottom of the page, or include it as a link to a separate page with all the gory details.
2. Focus on the essential message. A similar idea (on page 132) talks about how to cut down to essential messages. Redish includes 6 points. Point #3 is awesome – “focus on your site visitors and what they want to know.” “Cut out words that talk about you or your organization – unless your site visitors want or need that information.”
Great, simple pointers on how to improve that web writing … yet so hard to do. Read the book for more tips and pointers on writing for the web.