About Writing (for the web)

The web is a very shiny place. There are lots of beautiful photographs, flashing lights, dazzling sound effects, and other sensory bombardment that can make you wonder whether you are really in front of a computer screen or if you walking through Stephenson's Metaverse, or down Gibson's Ninsei street.

All of this makes us forget at times that the foundation of the web is text. Hypertext, specifically. Websites offering beautiful designs but no meaningful content have multiplied, but still get few visits. Content is the main attraction of the web and despite all of the colorful animated graphics that make us think otherwise, that content usually takes the form of text.

In this section, I will talk about writing — the conventional way to produce content for your site. I will give a few tips about writing in general, talk about creative versus analytical writing, and conclude by talking about what makes writing hypertext different than scribbling in a notebook.

This is not intended to teach you everything there is to know about writing, or even to teach you the basics. My focus is merely on how to avoid a few common pitfalls. If you are already a brilliant writer then you probably know what to do and what to avoid, and when you can break the rules successfully. In this case, I suggest you skip to the section on hypertext, or to the next chapter on web standards.

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