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Hot Text: Web Writing that Works Paperback – Jan 11 2002
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From Library Journal
There is no shortage of material on web site usability (see Computer Media, LJ 3/1/02). Hot Text shines in its comprehensive coverage of online writing. One will find information on XML and writing for database-driven sites; creating FAQs, blogs and newsletters, and online r sum s; and becoming a web writer or editor. Although it does not break any new ground, Back to the User is a solid summary of current thought on the "user-centered" approach, covering both writing and design. It largely focuses on business sites, with additional information on e-commerce and branding. Both titles are appropriate for public libraries. Shaping Web Usability, while more academic, also addresses specific issues such as designing for older adults and handheld devices. Recommended for larger public and academic institutions.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Hot Text examines good writing practices and discusses their application to and implementation on the web. -- Dr. Jean A. Pratt, Business Information Systems, Utah State University
Inspiring, authoritative, fun, and personalHot Text is an instant classic. -- Rich Coulombre, Principal, The Support Group, Needham, Massachusetts
This is the best web writing book around, with excellent coverage of history, theory, and application. -- Muriel Zimmerman, Coordinator, Programs in Technical Communication, University of California, Santa Barbara
Warm, informative, conversational, inspiring, and honest, this book gave me great ideas and models without feeling like a lecture. -- Colombe Leland, Web writer, newspaper editor, Albuquerque, New Mexico
Why is online writing so bad? Probably because books like this haven't been available until now. Buy it. Read it. -- Seth Godin, Author of Survival is Not Enough, Permission Marketing, and Unleashing the Idea Virus
Top customer reviews
First, the advice on writing online text is on the mark, especially with respect to organizing your message and presenting it with impact. Much of the advice can also be effectively used in paper-based documents. I particularly liked the way the authors presented punctuation because in paper-based text a mark such as a colon is easy to spot, whereas on a monitor it's lost. I've since begun using a dash instead of a colon when developing online content and that small piece of advice works where a colon does not. Of course there are literally hundreds of other tips and advice that will combine to make your content readable and understandable.
Second, the way the authors show you how to organize your thoughts, distill them into a coherent and succinct message, and how to present that message is a strategy that anyone who develops online content needs to carefully read and heed.
Finally, this book covers much more than how to write - it also gives excellent advice on a full range of related topics, including search engine placement using meta tags, humanizing the technical nature of web pages (such as making URLs easy to read and remember for non-technical users), and how to structure your content to find items of interest. The latter extensively uses principles from Information Mapping©. One disappointment was the omission of any mention of Robert Horn, the inventor of Information Mapping©, from the extensive list of cited references and recommended reading because the authors' approach is closely aligned to much of Horn's work.
If you're developing online content you cannot afford to pass this book up. Mine is a constant deskside companion and is likely to remain so for years to come.
I do think, however, that the book is written in a style that is rather confusing and unappealing. I think this comes from the authors trying to be all things to all people.
But this book hits on topics that the lesser books such as Net Words fail to cover. In their zest to get to market and gain new clients, those authors write lots of puff and little meat.
Hot Text offers the meat. So if you only buy one book on online copywriting and usability, make it this one. It doesn't cover everything but it gives you the basic background and the knowledge to do a good job on creating a useful Web site.
This book is suited for beginners or more experienced people who write for the web or would like to. But it is better suited for those with very little experience or who want a reminder of what works and what doesn't.
Those with a lot of experience will quickly do a read-through and pick up a few good ideas and be done with it. But even that is worth the cost of the book.
I highly recommend this book to those people who need the information the most.
Susanna K. Hutcheson
Owner and Executive Copy Director
As someone who has written a great deal of material for the web I found the advice in the book to be accurate and wish that many content creators would read it and apply it. There are many before and after examples of how text should be written and edited when the target is the web. Many of them are in the category of obvious after the fact, as the before segments often seem fine before the after is read. Chapter 18 is a list of websites where you can get additional information as well as sites that publish web content.
The web is really no different than any other mass medium in that the key currency is attention sufficient to create retention. The difference on the web is that you have less time to create the attention and this book is packed with advice on how to do that. I have recommended it to others who write for the web.
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This book examines the subject of writing for the web, and how it differs from writing for hard-copy media.Read more
It features a lot about web writing you won't find anywhere else.
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