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21 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A remarkably compact and effective overview
As a content strategist with 15 years of experience, for multinationals and smaller, national clients, I can say that every word in this compact, straightfoward guide rings true with my professional practice. Ms. Halvorson's ability to break the horribly messy world of global web content into its component parts, to present it in a concise, and yet personal and pleasant...
Published on October 17, 2009 by James

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81 of 87 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A solid book for content strategy NOT content creation
First, while it may sound obvious, let me state that this book is primarily about content strategy; it is not a user's guide to developing quality Web content. I believe a few other reviews have misrepresented this book, so please consider this before purchasing.

With that said, the book gives a very effective in-depth look at content strategy (or the lack...
Published on February 25, 2010 by Roland King


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81 of 87 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A solid book for content strategy NOT content creation, February 25, 2010
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This review is from: Content Strategy for the Web (Paperback)
First, while it may sound obvious, let me state that this book is primarily about content strategy; it is not a user's guide to developing quality Web content. I believe a few other reviews have misrepresented this book, so please consider this before purchasing.

With that said, the book gives a very effective in-depth look at content strategy (or the lack thereof) for large corporations. However, there is quite a bit of repetition throughout the book, particularly in the beginning of each chapter. Halvorson also gives off a bit of a condescending tone in some of her writing, which can be a distraction.

The book is really aimed toward an audience that is already aware of how to develop good Web content but needs assistance building a strategic plan to implement it. By far, the best chapter is Audit (4) which goes into great detail on how to audit your site's current content.

The book is worth reading -- especially if you are in a large corporate setting -- but will not be completely useful if you are not adequately educated on how to create quality content. Before purchasing this, I recommend reading Janice (Ginny) Redish's "Letting Go of the Words."
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21 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A remarkably compact and effective overview, October 17, 2009
By 
James "James" (Amsterdam, Netherlands) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Content Strategy for the Web (Paperback)
As a content strategist with 15 years of experience, for multinationals and smaller, national clients, I can say that every word in this compact, straightfoward guide rings true with my professional practice. Ms. Halvorson's ability to break the horribly messy world of global web content into its component parts, to present it in a concise, and yet personal and pleasant way, is nothing short of remarkable. If you are an editor, strategist, or another kind of content specialist, you can quickly gain an understanding of which processes, tools and knowledge are needed in every phase of planning, creating and governing content. If you are an executive or other person in charge of a web presence, this book will enable you to start gaining control of your content and making sure it's the best it can be. It will also give you the basis to make a case for content within your organization. Most organizations today are dominated by IT and visual design, with little or no expertise in the area of large-scale content development for interactive products like websites. I use this book to teach at the University of Rotterdam, to sharpen my own process, and to explain to clients what this business of international web content is all about. Where I go, it goes! Thanks, Ms. Halvorson!!!
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Content Strategy? Look no further., November 10, 2010
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This book is concise and has meat. I read the entire book in one sitting. A total eye opener.
I always knew Content was God, but this book puts a lot of structure and process around content, its creation and management. The author keeps the focus on strategy and doesn't deviate.

If I had to abbreviate the learnings in this book, it would be:

Content strategy process
1. Audit :
Content Inventory: Title, URL, content
What content do you have? (Text, PDF, Video, Audio, Forms)
How is the content organized? (break it into sections, what does each section have)
Who creates the content?
Where does the content live?
Qualitative audit : Is content accurate, useful, well written, user friendly, used by audience

2. Creation:
What content to be created,
Why
Where will it come from
How will it be structured
Who will write it

3. Delivery:
Who will review, edit, approve, load
How will you deliver content (vehicles: website, blog, social media).
Which tools will users use to get to the content?

4. Governance:
Plans to add, update, archive

The Editorial Strategy is also part of the mix. This involve values, voice, tone, legal and regulatory concerns.
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27 of 32 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Find yourself replacing "lorem ipsum" at the 11th hour. Read this!, October 29, 2009
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This review is from: Content Strategy for the Web (Paperback)
As enjoyable to read as it is valuable. Halvorson puts the spotlight on the current state of content on today's websites and it's not pretty. Thankfully, she offers a digestable process for getting back on track and changing the game - completely. Only, however, if you are brave enough to get into the content details - because that's where the battle between killer and total suckage is decided. Not on the "pedestal" of user experience design.

As a manager of an Information Architect team at a large multi-national retailer, I have already started to circulate other copies around the team. I personally appreciated the spot on description and differentiation Halvorson makes about hiring a copywriter at the last minute to take orders and replace the "lorem ipsum" on a wireframe versus engaging a content strategist and web writer who have an entirely different perspective and value to offer.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book but not for killing house flies., September 24, 2010
This review is from: Content Strategy for the Web (Paperback)
This book should be essential reading for anyone who is a web designer, project manager, or involved in their organization's web (re)design process at all. Before you start a project, or pick a CMS, or hire a designer, or do anything, you need to read this book. I have seen so many projects flop because content is treated as an afterthought, or because the amount of work it takes to get your content in order is underestimated. This book made me so miserable, because I knew that every page of it was true, and I didn't want it to be. I liked living in the naive world where you just invent a cool, functional design, and expect everything to magically come together after that. Content will just fall into the nice little placeholders you've set up. Then when things go awry, you get to say, "Oh, the client messed up the site once I handed it over to them."

This book is like going to the dentist. You HAVE to go to the dentist, or your teeth will fall out. Do you want that to happen to your website? If you have been coasting along with no content strategy, then yes, it will be painful to pull together an inventory, and get people to assume responsibility for each piece of content that exists. But once you crack the whip and get things in order, well just think about how bright your smile will be. This has been one of the most important books I have read in the last year. It is packed with useful and practical ideas.

Today there was a huge fly buzzing around in my house. He landed near me and I totally could have whacked him, but the only thing around was a copy of Content Strategy for the Web. I had the perfect opportunity to swat him, and let me tell you, this book is totally a perfect size and weight for smacking things with. But I couldn't bring myself to tarnish this book with fly guts. Not just because it is an attractive book, but because I felt it was too valuable of a resource to be used for insect smashing. That's what jQuery books are for.
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14 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Web Content Confidential, November 9, 2009
By 
Havi Hoffman (California, USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
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This review is from: Content Strategy for the Web (Paperback)
If this slim and attractive volume wasn't so dead-on accurate, and so walk-the-talk useful, usable, and easy to absorb, one might be inclined to accuse the author of glibness or sleight-of-hand. But I can't, and I don't.

On the contrary, Kristina Halvorsen proves the breadth and depth of her professional credibility in under 200 pages. She has the wisdom of battle-hardened experience on her side, along with a genuine, if at times breathless, enthusiasm. She rallies the rest of us content-handlers to fight (and document!) the good fight for thoughtful, well-planned, well-crafted, and well-resourced content strategy. And she makes content strategy (in all its aspects) not so much easy as the no-brainer right thing to do for any professional website or web development project.

I'm awed by Halvorson's concise, likeable distillation of principles, process, and proof-points for doing website content effectively. She clearly defines key roles and responsibilities, increases her credibility by acknowledging her influences and predecessors, and palpably demonstrates her recommendations via the voice, structure, and execution of this delightful book.

Kudos too to the book designer -- on first thumb-through I didn't think I'd appreciate the tomato red interior pages, but by the end of weekend, as I finished the read, I was completely won over by the robust cheeriness of the layout and the findability it supported.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This book taught me that. . ., April 1, 2010
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This review is from: Content Strategy for the Web (Paperback)
Content defines a website, period.

Without content there literally is no purpose to having a website, yet it is constantly treated like an afterthought in many website design projects. I smacked my head at the obvious wisdom of gathering content and establishing a content strategy before designing a site.

The book outlines a clear path through the often murky, unorganized, and difficult process of defining what content exists for a website, how that content is organized, and how that content is managed and updated pre- and post-launch.

It's an easy read, but every page is packed with good information. I've learned something new each time I re-read a section.

The only downside to this book is that the methods described are time-consuming and expensive. Also, it's not set up in a way that you can skip steps and expect a good result. Fortunately, you'll receive distinct benefits from each step as they're implemented.

I recommend it to anyone with any level of involvement with web design: developers and business professionals alike will gain huge rewards from a thorough study of this book. Keep this one on your often-read shelf, it won't disappoint.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A good, if idealistic overview of content management for large corporate sites, January 25, 2010
This review is from: Content Strategy for the Web (Paperback)
Geared for communications managers who work on large corporate web sites, this book provides a good overview of the processes and issues for content management. The author's business perspective will help readers who need ideas for advocating a content management strategy within their own organizations. But the book left me with a feeling that Halvorson is discussing an ideal world, not the reality for most communicators of limited budgets, staff, and schedules. More evidence to support her claims, and interviews or case studies to show what works (instead of a few screen shots showing mistakes), would strengthen her arguments and the reader's interest.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "Stop thinking 'Launch', start thinking 'lifecycle' of your online content., November 9, 2010
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This review is from: Content Strategy for the Web (Paperback)
A perfect companion read to Steve Krug's, "Dont Make Me Think".
Author, Halvorson, restates the importance of strategic planning for your online efforts.
I think the most important take-away here is Halvorson's statement, "Stop thinking "Launch", Start thinking "Lifecycle".
Content is king, but it must be relevant to your target users, and really no one else.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Sole Proprietor & Content Professional: I loved it, October 21, 2010
By 
Gigi Griffis "Gigi Griffis" (Denver, CO United States) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Content Strategy for the Web (Paperback)
Wow, lots of negative reviews here.

Just wanted to chime in and say that I thought the book was well-written, I loved how concise it was and I loved the format. In particular, if you are trying to write a content strategy, the outline provided by the book's chapters can be very useful.

In particular, I will say that I hadn't seen anything quite as good as the page table format on page 96. I've made a number of adjustments in my own work, but this provided a number of ideas and jumping off points.

Don't expect any book to solve all of your content problems. But if you are looking for an outline, a foundation, a reasoning for how your content will be planned, executed and maintained, I think it's a useful book.
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Content Strategy for the Web
Content Strategy for the Web by Kristina Halvorson (Paperback - August 22, 2009)
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