Our research shows that external links enhance the credibility of a site, so here are links to some other good sites about how to write for the Web :-)
- GoodDocuments.com: a site affiliated with the Trellix site authoring tool (but their advice applies even if you use other tools). Focus on writing for intranets and other utility-oriented sites.
- Article on Web Writing for Many Interest Levels.
- Most practical book: The Yahoo! Style Guide — The Ultimate Sourcebook for Writing, Editing, and Creating Content For The Digital World, by Chris Barr (Europeans: order from Amazon.co.uk).
- Most thorough book: Letting Go of the Words: Writing Web Content that Works, 2nd edition, by Janice (Ginny) Redish (Europeans: order from Amazon.co.uk).
- Faster read: Writing for the Web (4th edition), by Crawford Kilian (Europeans: order from Amazon.co.uk).
- Best summary : Writing for the Web (Chambers Desktop Guides) by Susannah Ross (only available in the U.K., but it's worth the extra shipping charges to get this book mailed to you from Amazon.co.uk, even if you're in the U.S. or otherwise far away from London.) Ross manages to cover all the most important issues in less space than anybody else, mainly because she focuses on writing , whereas Redish wanders all over many other issues in Web usability (that are important, but covered elsewhere).
- Specialized; about online news: Producing Online News: Digital Skills, Stronger Stories, by Ryan Thornburg (Europeans: order from Amazon.co.uk ). Not just for newspaper sites and the like, but also relevant if you're writing the news area for a corporate site.
I am still looking for the perfect book, so if you do publish a book about Web-writing, send me a review copy and I may list it here if I find it better than these recommendations.
Much is known about how to write help text, online documentation, and other technical writing, and a good deal of the advice from these fields does transfer to writing for the Web. The main difference is that Web readers are much less motivated than readers of online docs since they can't know whether the site is relevant to their goals (in contrast, the docs are always relevant to using a product, even when the writing stinks).
Here are some good references on writing help and online documentation:
Dynamics in Document Design: Creating Texts for Readers, by Karen A. Schriver. (Europeans: order from Amazon.co.uk)
A great book about utilitarian writing, based on observations of people using a large variety of documents.
Read Me First! A Style Guide for the Computer Industry (2nd edition, by Sun Microsystems' tech pubs group) (Europeans: order from Amazon.co.uk)
Microsoft Manual of Style for Technical Publications (3rd edition, by Microsoft's tech pubs group) (Europeans: order from Amazon.co.uk).
The official writing guidelines used by folks who write a lot of online docs.
Designing Usable Electronic Text: Ergonomic Aspects of Human Information Usage, second edition, by Andrew Dillon. (Europeans: order from Amazon.co.uk)
Not for the faint of heart: this is not a popular book; nor is it a how-to. It is a review of the research literature on online text and will save you weeks of time in the library (assuming that you want to know these basic research results in the first place).