Articles

Clean up your web content with these handy household products

Would you believe that washing machines can help you clean up your content? They can. Not literally, of course. But metaphorically, they’re a great help. Washing machines come in two basic types: top-loaders and front-loaders. This can present a dilemma for washing machine buyers, who have to make a choice. But for web writers, it’s a bonus. We can—and should—use both to clean up our content. Let me explain.

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Managing distributed publishing, part 2: Some solutions

Some common problems arise when organisations use a distributed publishing model for their website or intranet. In this article, I outline 9 ways you can start managing these problems.

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Managing distributed publishing, part 1: The challenges

Distributed publishing can pose significant challenges that affect the quality of your content. In this article, we’ll look at some of these challenges.

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Implementing a PDF reduction strategy

PDF is rarely chosen because it’s been assessed as the best format for the content. We need to reduce the amount we’re publishing.

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Better science writing for the web

Many organisations publish scientific information online—particularly in the government and higher education sectors. Scientists often write this content, but the target audience can be fairly broad and often includes people with non-science backgrounds. Sometimes web writers or communications staff need to work with scientists to make the content more readable. This can be challenging. Resistance to change […]

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User story cards for web writers

Categories: Articles, Planning

Do you or your colleagues have problems knowing where to start when writing for your organisation’s website? Or do you find it hard dealing with different opinions about what you should write or who you’re writing it for? User story cards can help. They’re an easy way to do a little planning to help guide your writing.

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Beyond the content audit

Categories: Articles, Content strategy

If you want quality online content, you need to do more than a content audit. You need to understand the people and political issues and how to deal with them.

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5 tips for writing better microcontent

Microcontent is small-scale content that acts as a label for content that isn’t yet visible on the screen. We provide 5 tips for web writers.

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Accessibility evaluation for web writers

Web writers should know how to check if their content is accessible. It’s not a difficult skill to learn, and a few simple tools will help. In this article, I discuss evaluating content against the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.0.

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Text alternatives for images with captions

Categories: Accessibility, Articles

Web writers must provide a text alternative for informative or functional images they use in their content. But what should you do when the image also needs a caption? Three methods are commonly used, but none is ideal. In this article I’ll explain why and suggest an alternative.

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A-Z of better web writing

If you want to write better web content, here’s an A-Z that should help. It covers attributes of quality content and issues you should be aware of as a web writer.

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3 idioms reveal the truth about university websites

I’ve worked on Australian university websites for the past 18 years, in internal roles and as a consultant. I’ve met some great people and seen the potential to do great work. But I’ve also seen some problems again and again. They are aptly explained using three simple idioms.

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Print to web: 10 tips for repurposing documents

Categories: Articles, Usability

The content strategy world is abuzz with talk of adaptive content—content that is chunked and structured for use across a range of devices. However many organisations, particularly large government departments, are still firmly stuck in the world of print. They create brochures, fact sheets, reports and so on, and then republish these online as documents. Often, this content gets no more attention than the time it takes to upload as PDF files to the web. If your organisation still takes a print-first approach to content, here are some tips to help you repurpose it for the web.

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Don’t let your CMS wreck your content, part 2

A CMS can create problems for your content if you let it generate file names or text alternatives for images. This article discusses system behaviour to watch out for.

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Don’t let your CMS wreck your content, part 1

Content management systems aim to make publishing and managing web content easier. But some systems have limiting features, or are set up in ways that don’t help your search engine rankings or your users. In this article, we look at how content management systems create the page title. It’s best if your system generates an interim title and then lets you edit it.

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