I'm sure that I have more than one pet peeve so I'm declaring this to be my first entry on the subject.
This is a sample of a URL that seems ridiculously long:
Is this problem created by FileNet?
I could see repeating onestop if they were trying to get ranked higher for that keyword by search engines, but that can't be their need. It looks like someone created at site and then needed to recreate the site so just put it all under a new directory.
I think there are many who forget that URLs frequently make it into print. And having this long a URL practically guarantees that it will break if sent via e-mail. (Not to mention that's it's hard to read out loud over the phone or to copy down.) I always skip the long URL and create a shorter one with tinyurl.com or similar service if I need to send someone the link. I dont' feel like I should suggest that solution for people creating University documents that refer to the URL.
Bonus pet peeve: underscores in filenames. You put these URLs in print and they get underlined and no one knows if you used spaces or underscores. I think both are poor form.
I have another example: I just had to fix a broken link and the only change was for the directory: jobs to employment. Why make such a change? People use the word jobs more often than employment don't they? Isn't it easier to type? And shorter and therefore less likely to break in an e-mail?
From Internetnews.com, May 6, 2005
Tips From the Search Crowd
Yahoo's Tomi Poutanen, director of international search operations, said Yahoo! is the only search engine that currently makes use of Meta keyword information. But Meta keywords, which were once a standard tool for search engine optimization, can be abused, he said. As a result, Yahoo considers Meta keywords only if they actually appear on the page content and should be not be used as a way to fool the engine in any way.
Nick Usborne, has just published a free 35-page guide to copywriting for the web, Writing For the Web #1, which he'll allow you to download if you sign up for his Excess Voice newsletter.
Lots of articles on writing for the Web and for e-mail. For example, “Repurposing Print Documents for the Web: Five Questions to Answer Before You Repurpose”
Crawford Kilian was one of the first big names in the now defunct Online Writers List. He now posts mostly about blogs.
Used to be much more focused on writing. Now Amy Gahran is obsessed with podcasting. Lots of older articles of interest, however. Plus she’s just a good writer and interesting.
A site in New Zealand so they speak and spell a little funny, but still have great advice.
John S. Rhodes’ blog that typically focuses on usability but sometimes strays into online content.
A few good articles under “Techniques”
Kairos is a refereed online journal exploring the intersections of rhetoric, technology, and pedagogy. It sometimes has some interesting reading.
Quality Web Content: www.qwc.co.n
Recent issue was “Eyes top left – lessons fro Eyetrack III”
Copywriter’s Roundtable: www.jackforde.com
Recent issue was “What’s Your Margin Mantra?” regarding having a core idea you can return to, repeat, and re-emphasize.
New Thinking: www.gerrymcgovern.com
Gerry wrote Content Critical. He’s very supportive of our profession.
I received this description of a Web writer recently and thought I'd share.
Web Writer will have responsibility for the following:
The experienced Web Writer must have the following attributes:
The question came up at the web writing salon today about whether or not to capitalize the term "master's degree." The answer from the University style manual
is as follows:
Capitalize abbreviations of degrees and use periods; do not capitalize spelled-out names of degrees.
bachelor of arts degree
Great meeting! Thanks.
We're on for meeting in 101 Walter Library from noon - 1:30 p.m. on the following dates:
No agendas have been set. This is a pretty open group. Please bring whatever you'd like to share. We can critique, brainstorm, share stories, and share resources. If there's something you'd like others to look at first, you can post it here. Or let me know and I'll send out an e-mail.
I'd be interested in hearing what Joyce's experience has been so far using the portal, if Evelyn has found a source for content, and what the rest of you are up to. I also think it would be interesting to share something we've had to re-write for the Web.
I'm quoting him again: Gerry McGovern's latest New Thinking:
"Quantity is generally a dangerous thing to pursue on the Web. Even if you can maintain the quality of the content, if you increase the quantity, you inevitably make it more difficult for people to quickly find what they need."
I certainly have that problem. Especially now as more people are interested in seeing their own interests reflected on our site. I can easily give everyone a page if they produce the content. But is it a good idea? If we want the site to primarily serve three audiences, then should we be putting up information for a sixth and seventh? Should we consider other ways of reaching that audience?
"Most people I meet who have created overly large websites have done so because they want to help as many people as possible. They publish content because they think that somebody might be interested in reading it at some time. These are noble objectives but they nearly always lead to hugely inefficient websites."
Is this an issue for us as editors? If you see that viewers are getting distracted by too much information and too many choices, what do you do? If you see that you can't keep up with updates or that contributers (who you once begged to publish) aren't keeping up, what do you guys do? Do you leave that up to someone else? Does your CMS bug people electronically? Does that work?
I once took an entire program's site and placed it elsewhere on the server (the impound lot) so it was no longer publicly available because their content was so old. They didn't seem to mind. Probably because no one had responsibility for that content in their job description. Eventually new content was produced and several pages just dropped.
We have a statement in our policies that applies: "Pages or sections containing inaccurate or outdated material may be removed by the college Web communication manager. Removals will be preceded by notification to the publisher." Do you have policies in place to handle this?
If you want to share the URLs for your sites, I can list them in the navigation. Just leave a comment here.
Gerry McGovern published a good article yesterday on why Web managers need to be out on the road talking to their readers. Do any of you have the time to do that? Would any of your managers even allow it?
I try to talk with students when I have the chance and to my friends who are considering returning to college or who have children who will soon graduate. I learn something useful from every conversation but have never set up any kind of schedule. And I very rarely talk to alumni or administrators or even other staff who I know have to use our site. Kind of depressing.
I was particularly struck by his comment "in many organizations there isn't anybody who can differentiate between killer content and filler content." We've spoken about filler content. That's easy to obtain. We don't have to write it. And people believe in it. But what exactly is killer content?
Is anything on my site killer content? Probably the most popular page in terms of search results in an essay "The Purpose of Education" which was written by a student and published in our alumni magazine. I assume that the readers are people who have to write a similar essay. So it gets lots of hits but I doubt that it encourages anyone to read further in the site or to improve their opinion of our college or the U.
Killer content would be what? Something that answers a person's question so they don't have to make a phone call or a visit? Something they like enough to forward the URL to a friend? A page that makes a prospective student excited about the prospect of attending the U? A page that informs a legislator's aid about the resources we offer the state? A page that gets an employee to the correct and updated form?