One of my favorite books on web content writing is Gerry McGovern and Rob Norton’s Content Critical: Gaining Competitive Advantage Through High-Quality Web Content. Although it was published back in 2001, it’s still an excellent survey of some of the bigger issues facing the content development world.
Twelve years later, one of the key issues the authors address, information overload, is obviously worse than ever. And you might well wonder how more content can possibly help this situation.
Yet as the authors argue, “content is critical to the success of the modern organization and individual.”
People can’t stop reading just because there’s too much information.
Effective web content development
That’s why I consider this book must-reading for understanding effective content development. Some key points:
- The Web is above all a publishing medium—a place where people come to communicate and gather useful information. It’s not a place for geeks to lord it over the rest of us (although talented geeks remain critical to the Web, of course!).
- The same high standards applied to quality print publication should be applied to web content. But because so much web content is poorly edited, web readers tend to have low expectations. When they do come across quality content, they notice!
- Your site’s navigation—what the authors refer to as the “brain” of the website (content being its “heart”)—is critical, because if readers can’t find your content, all the work you’ve done developing quality content may be wasted.
There’s lots more in this intelligent book, including how to staff an effective web content team, how to plan your publishing strategy, how to promote your website, and more. Information overload at its best!
Want more insights on information overload? Here’s a post on classic books on writing that can help.