Web Writing

Mining for (Source) Content Gold

Amy Little

As a writer or editor, it’s ideal to get solid content strategy and background information before you start creating content. But sometimes you need to fend for yourself.

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Style Guide Pep Talk: Rah! Rah! Rah!

Angie Halama

Style guides are a necessity, but updating them can be a hassle. So we want to cheer you on with some helpful tips and style guide spirit!

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Don’t Use That Language With Me

Angie Halama

If your writing is filled with jargon, your audience might not be getting your message.

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Serial Killer: The Dissing of the Oxford Comma

Meghan Casey

Around the world, and at Brain Traffic, opinions vary about whether to use the controversial serial, or Oxford, comma. Most of us are right. Two of us are wrong.

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The Value of Content, Part 2: Nobody’s Perfect

Melissa Rach

Get 7 tips for making your content measurement plan perfectly … imperfect.

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When Words Fail

Tenessa Gemelke

What exactly are you trying to say? How unintended meaning undermines good content.

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Avoid This Common Error

Meghan Casey

Guess what? Error messages are content. That means they require the same attention as any other words on your site.

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Personal pronouns: It's okay to own your web copy

Angie King

If you want your users to feel connected to your brand, it’s important they know you stand behind your content.

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Anatomy of a web content document

Amy Wallace

Knowing how to format a web content document—or simply how to read it—is a crucial step in successful content creation.

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Sorting through the digital debris

Christine Anameier

Treatments or a cure for the common cold could be out there, but it would be hard to tell from a Google search.

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Members vs. guests: how to label users on authenticated sites

Angie King

They say it's best to call a spade a spade. So why not call your members by name?

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Don’t Gamble with Automatic Feedback Copy

Angie King

Think users won’t be affected by bad automatic feedback copy? Don’t bet on it.

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A Little Label Love Goes a Long Way

Christine Benson

Remember: content (rather than design) can show brand and personality.

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Email Etiquette: You are what you send.

Elizabeth Saloka

Email can be a tricky medium. Don’t let it trip you up—personally or professionally.

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Let Me Be Clear: Take Time with Your Words

Erin Anderson

We agonize over stuff like error messages, links, and headlines every day. Here's why.

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Rupert Murdoch vs. the "Content Kleptomaniacs" and "Plagiarists" (See: Google)

Kristina Halvorson

When the religion of the Web is that you can find anything you want, from anywhere, at any time, Murdoch's plan is straight-up blasphemous.

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Be your own content expert

Amy Little

Want to create better web content? Take a lesson from someone who knows about good user experience—you.

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What vs. How

Julie Vollenweider

It’s not what you do that sets you apart, but how you do it.

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Warning: This is a Fake Warning!

Angie Halama

Don't fall victim to scareware this Halloween season.

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Content User Experience

Christine Benson

Check out this example of content user experience. You know, content. Like, in the happy sense.

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Just fill in the blank?

Meghan Casey

Content strategy--thinking done by real, live humans--makes sure your content hits the mark.

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The Value of Content, Part 1: Adam Smith never expected this

Melissa Rach

Brace yourselves, content folks. We're going to talk economics. I promise there will be no math involved.

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Speed-dating your source content in 4 easy steps

Angie King

Learn how to weed out the duds (filler information) from the studs (meaty content that addresses users' needs) with our handy-dandy speed-dating tips.

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5 Tips on Working with a Style Guide

Elizabeth Saloka

Don't let your style guide derail your sane train. Bone up on these tried-and-true tips.

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Put a Lid on Canned Copy

Meghan Casey

Canned content is low on nutritional value.

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Attention information architects: That IS your job

Christine Benson

For a really great website, give your web writers a roadmap.

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Advice from the pros: Telling it like it is

Katie Dohman

You have less than four seconds to get your user the information he or she needs. GO!

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You’re So Not Welcome.

Erin Anderson

How do you help your user feel at home on your site without actually telling her to, uh, feel at home on your site?

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"About Us" doesn't have to be all "Ugh."

Julie Vollenweider

Rather than using the "About Us" section of a site like a congratulatory press release, consider approaching it like a magazine’s Editor's Letter. And a little like a middle schooler.

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Useful copy in the real world

Christine Benson

On the web or out in the world, clearly communicating your message is always important.

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Web writing for dummies, smarties, oldies and newbies

Elizabeth Saloka

Tack this handy list of web-writing techniques to your wall.

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Web Writing Is a Risqué Business

Angie King

Let's all take a lesson from this dirty little mistake, and start writing exactly what we mean.

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Know Thy User

Meghan Casey

"I always open your emails because I know they'll contain something I can actually use." Ahh, music to our ears. How can we make that happen for every website and e-mail?

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Dunk Your Splash Page

Beth Johnson

What value does a flashy splash page have if you know ahead of time that users will most likely not be interested in viewing it?

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This Just In: The New York Times is Way Smart!

Elizabeth Saloka

The best interactive graphics are the simplest. No bells and whistles, please.

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Contact Us: Great and Gross Examples

Julie Vollenweider

A little TLC for online “contact” can make a huge difference in customer experience.

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How Not to Write (or, dwell Loses a Customer)

Kristina Halvorson

Whether or not the coming year of dwell magazine actually would "thrill, inspire, and dazzle" us as its editor-in-chief guarantees, we'll never know.

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When All of Your Content Is Video Content

Angie Halama

Some nytimes.com readers aren't so happy with the video content on the website.

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Web Content Style Guides that Don't Suck

Kristina Halvorson

The style guide is a long-overlooked tool in good content strategy. But style guides are a great investment for creating useful, usable content. Get some pointers here.

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Making the Transaction

Katie Dohman

Writing and designing for the mobile web—it’s about being pithy on an even smaller scale. It's all about making transactions and none of the so-called filler.

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Your Web Content Is Out of (Your) Control

Kristina Halvorson

Most of us are still struggling with how to effectively plan, create, and manage content for our own company's website(s). Now we have to worry about social media, too.

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Cut!

Elizabeth Saloka

The first rule of good web writing is the first rule of all good writing: cut the fat. So, what should you do when the power of Victorian diction compels you?

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Every Doc(ument) Has Its Day

Jason Kleckner

Documentation rarely takes the spotlight. Much like good user experience, if it’s doing its job properly, you don’t even notice it.

Also like bad user experience, bad documentation will make the process painfully inefficient.

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Error, Error on the Wall …

Erin Anderson

When errors occur on websites, the consequences are (usually) fairly unremarkable. Too bad the alarmists who write the error messages still haven’t gotten the memo.

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Bangalore, we have a problem.

Elizabeth Saloka

I’ve just stumbled on a site that offers web content for $4. Four. Dollars. That’s like, a sandwich. A gas station sandwich. Since when did web content become such a cheap commodity?

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Get to the Exclamation Point Online

Angie King

Feel the excitement! An exclamation point changes the tone. Just like that! Why, then, are we encouraged to steer clear of this titillating punctuation mark? The exclamation point—known on the street as the screamer and the bang—has a bad rap.

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By "Them" I Mean "Him" or "Her"

Angie Halama

Here's a transcript of a recent grammar conversation we had via an all-staff e-mail that was jumpstarted by Angie King (Angie 2.0). It includes such unrelated subjects as manbabies and Vitamin Water.

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The Pitfalls of Placeholder Copy

Christine Benson

If you're trying to educate, influence, or inform, it's important to not look like you just slapped some text up on a page.

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For the Dogs

Meghan Casey

Ever struggle with creating web content that gives your audience exactly what they want? We all do.

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You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.

Angie King

Think no one will notice or care about your little grammatical misstep? Inconceivable!

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Best Practices for Mobile Web Writing

Angie King

Writing for the mobile web is a newish discipline. But this noob draws on an old standby: the inverted pyramid.

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Worried About Content "Below the Fold"? Don't Be.

David Bowen

Good news: There's no need to cram everything above The Mythical Line Below Which No Reader Ever Goes.

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How To Fix (and Evolve) Your Corporate Website

Kristina Halvorson

Fixing your corporate website requires planning, creating, publishing, and overseeing web content. So how do you support that process?

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