Writing for the Web by Crawford Kilian and Do The Web Write by Dan Furman

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I’ve got two reviews for books serious bloggers or bloggers for profit would enjoy along with those who run a business website.Enjoy!

Writing for the Web 4th Edition by Crawford Kilian

Stars: *****

Self-Counsel Press (2009)
Nonfiction/Writing Skills

Summary: The basics of writing for the web (portfolio, company website, blog and so forth.) Creating an effective website with content people will want to read and come back to.

This is a great resource for anyone writing for the web but very helpful for those with blogs too. This isn’t for those who are blogging just for fun. If you want to monetize your blog or even just be taken seriously in your niche then you need to write well.

Topics Include:

History, Hypertext and Interactive Communiction (how communication has changed with the internet and how reading on the computer is different from reading print materials.)

Structuring Your Website

Organizing Website Content (making it scanable, navigation, headings, style and display, bullets etc..)

Writing Good Webtext (Grammar lessons specific to web writing)

Editing Webtext (Spellcheck but also reading level, keeping in mind international readers, business speak and more)

Corporate Webwriting (challenges specific to corporate websites)

Writing for Blogs (challenges specific to blog writing)

Advocacy and Marketing on the Web (persuasion, propoganda and more)

Frequently Asked Questions (Can I make money as a freelance writer on the web?, can I create my own e-zine?, Can I copyright my webwriting?, How can I attract visitors to my site? and more.)

The book also includes exercises. After you learn a little bit, there is an exercise to try to drive the point home. They are not required of course but I did most of them and I found them fun. But then I love to read about spelling and grammar so you may not agree.

The book contains a section about being careful with biased terms that I haven’t seen in other books or websites about writing for the web:

“As a webwriter you may want to challenge your readers, but challenges shouldn’t include gratuitous pokes in the eye. Terms that seem perfectly natural to you may be deeply offensive to others. Is that because you’re OK and your readers are thin-skinned idiots? Or because you don’t have enough respect for your readers to address them in a civil manner?” – pg 101

The author talks about avoiding pointless or irrelevant personal information, faint praise, gender bias (fireman instead of firefighter), being careful when mentioning sexual orientation, ethnic terms, disabilities and age.

Some of what I read I already knew but I did learn a lot too. I think grammar and spelling is important so I cringe when I see someone write affect instead of effect or something like that. If you are blogging for yourself or for family, it doesn’t matter. However if you are blogging for others, I think it’s your duty to make it proper and readable. This book covers some commons mistakes in spelling and grammar but that’s not all it teaches. The explanations in chapter one about webtext being different  from print text and even different from what webtext was when the web came out, is very important and something I think all serious bloggers and website owners should read.

Highly Recommended

Links of Interest:  Writing for the Web Blog, Writing Fiction, Ask the English Teacher, Writing for the Web at Self Counsel Press (17 page preview),

Other Reviews:  NONE YET

Buy Writing for the Web at amazon.com and support SMS Book Reviews

Do The Web Write by Dan Furman

Stars: *****

Self-Counsel Press (2009)

Summary: Writing/marketing for business websites. Focus on writing and layout (not design) to bring in the customers and money. Comes with a CD-ROM

Did you catch the title? Do the Web Write instead of Right? It’s a play on words done purposely. It’s about web writing done right.

When I was sent this book I didn’t think I would be able to get much use or enjoyment out of it as I don’t have a business. My blog is like my business but I don’t need customers to contact me about a service nor do I sell a product of my own. However I zipped through the book cover to cover and enjoyed every minute of it. Some of it I can use in regards to my blog but even the parts that I can not use, I enjoyed reading.

I LOVE Dan Furman’s writing style. He is a copywriter which means he writes for other people’s websites. It’s no wonder he is succeeding at this, if I had the money, I’d have him help me write. With this book I can improve my writing and blog and if I ever do have my own business, I know what book I’ll be turning to again.

There is humour throughout the book and he’s funny:

“It goes without saying that ALL rules should be at least thought about for every page (hmmm … I guess since I said it, it doesn’t go without saying anymore ….)” – pg 103

While talking about analyzing your website visitor and figuring out what they want.

“So here’s my retort: Why stop there? Since we’re psychoanalyzing my web visitors, let’s dig deeper, shall we? What do we all REALLY want? Why do we get dressed? Why do we shower (well, some of, anyway?) Why go to work? Why put up with idiot bosses? Let’s address these wants in my new headline to make Mr. Hype happy.


This guy had me chuckling quite a few times which I imagine is not usual for a book on business.Check out the right side of Dan Furman Online (see below) for more giggles.

The book contains lots of topics such as: website conversion, fundamentals of a successful website, page order and information to include, 11 Rules of Effective Website Writing, Writing for your home page, Writing for your other pages (about us, why use us, products/services), all about FAQ, SEO and traffic writing (blogs, articles, press releases, pay-per-click ads), alternate landing pages/microsites
sites and more. Dan provides screen shots of (mostly) his websites to illustrate what he means which is really helpful if you don’t understand something. The topics that might be a little confusing such as SEO, Dan explains very clearly.

The book comes with a CD-ROM but my CD-ROM drive is broken so I wasn’t able to check it out. However it contains digital copies of some of his forms or samples.

Highly Recommended

Links of Interest: Dan Furman Online, Do the Web Write at Self Counsel Press (first 12 pages preview), Clear-Writing,

Other Reviews: NONE YET

Buy Do The Web Write at amazon.com and support SMS Book Reviews

*I received a copy of both of these books for review. All reviews are honest and are not affected by how I aquired them.

This post is Copyright 2001-2012 SMS Book Reviews. Do not reproduce anything without permission.
About Kathleen

I've been a nonfiction lover for as long as I can remember. I love children's nonfiction as well and love to share my knowledge and the books I gained them from, with the world. I wish more people would give nonfiction a chance.