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Content Strategy for the Web [Paperback]

Kristina Halvorson
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
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Content Strategy for the Web (2nd Edition) Content Strategy for the Web (2nd Edition) 4.7 out of 5 stars (3)
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Book Description

Aug. 12 2009 0321620062 978-0321620064 1
If your website content is out of date, off-brand, and out of control, you're missing a huge opportunity to engage, convert, and retain customers online. Redesigning your home page won't help. Investing in a new content management system won't fix it, either. So, where do you start?
 
Without meaningful content, your website isn't worth much to your key audiences. But creating (and caring for) "meaningful" content is far more complicated than we're often willing to acknowledge. Content Strategy for the Web explains how to create and deliver useful, usable content for your online audiences, when and where they need it most. It also shares content best practices so you can get your next website redesign right, on time and on budget. For the first time, you'll:
 
  • See content strategy (and its business value) explained in plain language
  •  Find out why so many web projects implode in the content development phase ... and how to avoid the associated, unnecessary costs and delays  
  • Learn how to audit and analyze your content
  • Make smarter, achievable decisions about which content to create and how
  • Find out how to maintain consistent, accurate, compelling content over time
  • Get solid, practical advice on staffing for content-related roles and responsibilities
 

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Product Description

About the Author

Kristina Halvorson is the founder and president of Brain Traffic, a nationally-renowned agency specializing in content strategy and writing for the web.

Widely recognized as one of the country’s leading content strategists, Kristina speaks regularly to audiences around the world about how to deliver useful, usable content online, where and when your customers need it most. She has led content projects for hundreds of websites across dozens of industries. Her presentations about web content are consistently given top ratings at conferences and by clients alike.

In 2009, Kristina curated the first Content Strategy Consortium to facilitate a national dialogue about this emerging discipline. She lives in St. Paul, Minnesota with her husband and two children.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Most helpful customer reviews
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars An Enterprise Prescription Nov. 17 2009
By Drew M.
Format:Paperback
A very prescriptive and structured approached to writing content for the web. Those seeking to learn new practices may be disappointed as the majority of the book is focused on tools like audits and content inventory that would likely not be of much interest to a copy-writer. Halvorson makes a case for the emerging practice of content strategy specialists as a discipline separate from design and development, of which she is undoubtedly a pioneer.

The key advice seems to be that less text is better, and Halvorson rightly identifies the problem of content bloat. One could easily argue that this, and many of the other suggestions in the book, may be common sense for anyone who builds or develops web sites. The book though is very accessible and perhaps perfect for those who don't build web sites for a living - but are responsible for its content. That however may limit its appeal to middle management and enterprise organizations. Targeting this audience may have been by design since larger organizations are the most likely to see the value in hiring a web content specialist firm like the one Halvorson leads. This book an excellent source to point to when justifying billable hours.

This book is a left brained approach to content that creative types may find tiring to sift through. It is an absolute treasure for anyone who enjoys reading organizational manuals or business strategy papers. To its credit the author outlines at the start that readers should expect this experience.

If you have a content problem this book may help you understand it, but isn't likely to be a very good guide to actually solving it.
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0 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Much recommended! April 26 2010
Format:Paperback
Excellent, easy to read step by step process to improve the content on your website.
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Amazon.com: 4.4 out of 5 stars  51 reviews
81 of 87 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A solid book for content strategy NOT content creation Feb. 25 2010
By Roland King - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
First, while it may sound obvious, let me state that this book is primarily about content strategy; it is not a user's guide to developing quality Web content. I believe a few other reviews have misrepresented this book, so please consider this before purchasing.

With that said, the book gives a very effective in-depth look at content strategy (or the lack thereof) for large corporations. However, there is quite a bit of repetition throughout the book, particularly in the beginning of each chapter. Halvorson also gives off a bit of a condescending tone in some of her writing, which can be a distraction.

The book is really aimed toward an audience that is already aware of how to develop good Web content but needs assistance building a strategic plan to implement it. By far, the best chapter is Audit (4) which goes into great detail on how to audit your site's current content.

The book is worth reading -- especially if you are in a large corporate setting -- but will not be completely useful if you are not adequately educated on how to create quality content. Before purchasing this, I recommend reading Janice (Ginny) Redish's "Letting Go of the Words."
21 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A remarkably compact and effective overview Oct. 17 2009
By James - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
As a content strategist with 15 years of experience, for multinationals and smaller, national clients, I can say that every word in this compact, straightfoward guide rings true with my professional practice. Ms. Halvorson's ability to break the horribly messy world of global web content into its component parts, to present it in a concise, and yet personal and pleasant way, is nothing short of remarkable. If you are an editor, strategist, or another kind of content specialist, you can quickly gain an understanding of which processes, tools and knowledge are needed in every phase of planning, creating and governing content. If you are an executive or other person in charge of a web presence, this book will enable you to start gaining control of your content and making sure it's the best it can be. It will also give you the basis to make a case for content within your organization. Most organizations today are dominated by IT and visual design, with little or no expertise in the area of large-scale content development for interactive products like websites. I use this book to teach at the University of Rotterdam, to sharpen my own process, and to explain to clients what this business of international web content is all about. Where I go, it goes! Thanks, Ms. Halvorson!!!
17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Content Strategy? Look no further. Nov. 10 2010
By Vivek V. Chandran - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This book is concise and has meat. I read the entire book in one sitting. A total eye opener.
I always knew Content was God, but this book puts a lot of structure and process around content, its creation and management. The author keeps the focus on strategy and doesn't deviate.

If I had to abbreviate the learnings in this book, it would be:

Content strategy process
1. Audit :
Content Inventory: Title, URL, content
What content do you have? (Text, PDF, Video, Audio, Forms)
How is the content organized? (break it into sections, what does each section have)
Who creates the content?
Where does the content live?
Qualitative audit : Is content accurate, useful, well written, user friendly, used by audience

2. Creation:
What content to be created,
Why
Where will it come from
How will it be structured
Who will write it

3. Delivery:
Who will review, edit, approve, load
How will you deliver content (vehicles: website, blog, social media).
Which tools will users use to get to the content?

4. Governance:
Plans to add, update, archive

The Editorial Strategy is also part of the mix. This involve values, voice, tone, legal and regulatory concerns.
27 of 32 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Find yourself replacing "lorem ipsum" at the 11th hour. Read this! Oct. 29 2009
By Nicole Netland - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
As enjoyable to read as it is valuable. Halvorson puts the spotlight on the current state of content on today's websites and it's not pretty. Thankfully, she offers a digestable process for getting back on track and changing the game - completely. Only, however, if you are brave enough to get into the content details - because that's where the battle between killer and total suckage is decided. Not on the "pedestal" of user experience design.

As a manager of an Information Architect team at a large multi-national retailer, I have already started to circulate other copies around the team. I personally appreciated the spot on description and differentiation Halvorson makes about hiring a copywriter at the last minute to take orders and replace the "lorem ipsum" on a wireframe versus engaging a content strategist and web writer who have an entirely different perspective and value to offer.
12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book but not for killing house flies. Sept. 24 2010
By Dennis P. Kardys - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
This book should be essential reading for anyone who is a web designer, project manager, or involved in their organization's web (re)design process at all. Before you start a project, or pick a CMS, or hire a designer, or do anything, you need to read this book. I have seen so many projects flop because content is treated as an afterthought, or because the amount of work it takes to get your content in order is underestimated. This book made me so miserable, because I knew that every page of it was true, and I didn't want it to be. I liked living in the naive world where you just invent a cool, functional design, and expect everything to magically come together after that. Content will just fall into the nice little placeholders you've set up. Then when things go awry, you get to say, "Oh, the client messed up the site once I handed it over to them."

This book is like going to the dentist. You HAVE to go to the dentist, or your teeth will fall out. Do you want that to happen to your website? If you have been coasting along with no content strategy, then yes, it will be painful to pull together an inventory, and get people to assume responsibility for each piece of content that exists. But once you crack the whip and get things in order, well just think about how bright your smile will be. This has been one of the most important books I have read in the last year. It is packed with useful and practical ideas.

Today there was a huge fly buzzing around in my house. He landed near me and I totally could have whacked him, but the only thing around was a copy of Content Strategy for the Web. I had the perfect opportunity to swat him, and let me tell you, this book is totally a perfect size and weight for smacking things with. But I couldn't bring myself to tarnish this book with fly guts. Not just because it is an attractive book, but because I felt it was too valuable of a resource to be used for insect smashing. That's what jQuery books are for.
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