Chapter 12

April 16, 2010 hkbarnes

While reading chapter 12 in Public Relations Writing and Media Techniques by Dennis L. Wilcox, I learned several important things about writing for the web.

  • The most important thing I learned was the difference between linear and nonlinear styles of writing.  Prior to reading the chapter I did know about linear and nonlinear writing styles.  I learned that printed material are written in linear style because “a person reads in straight line from the beginning of the article to the end of it”.  Nonlinear mean that items do not have to be read in a certain order to be understood.  Online writing is in nonlinear style.This is a relevant concept in my life because I tend to jump around more when reading material online than I do when I am reading a hard copy of something.
  • Another important idea to remember is articles written for the web should not longer than then length of the screen.  People do not like having to scroll when reading.  This makes writers have to consolidate their articles and get rid of unnecessary detail.
  • A fact that I found interesting: “it takes 50 percent longer for an individual to read material on a computer screen” according to study done by Sun Microsystems

Things I found important to remember when for the web:

  • Write the way you talk.  Adding personality to your writing will keep things interesting for the reader.
  • Use lots of bullet-points. Lists are easy for readers.
  • Avoid ‘puff” words, clichés, and exaggerations.
  • Avoid a patronizing tone by talking “with” rather than “at’ reader.  This could be difficult with websites that are issue based or opinion sites.

I didn’t realize all the details that went into creating an effective website.  A website could essentially make or break an organization.

  • Another new concept I learned from reading this chapter, was Return on Investment (ROI).  “This mean you compare the cost of  the website to how such functions would be done by other means.”  This is a way to show management and powers at be how a company’s website contributes to the bottom line.
  • I also just assumed that an organization’s website would be managed by a website manager who was familiar with web design and information technology.  However, the book suggests that a cross-functional team is best suited to mange and control the website.  A cross-functional team would consist of marketing, PR, and IT people who all can contribute to the management of the website in their areas of expertise.
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Entry Filed under: PRCA 3330-reading notes

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