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65 of 70 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent resource for all online communication
My company is a consultancy that creates interactive learning programs for large corporations. I am especially interested in blending the best practices of instructional design/performance support, technical communication, and web site design. For the latter, this book is an indispensible resource!

I shared the book with our Content Director, who, at first, was...
Published on September 12, 2007 by Chris F. Willis

versus
102 of 114 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Impractical for Business Websites & Google
[Update at bottom] Letting Go of the Words is a terrific book with respect to site structure and usability, but is extremely inadequate in regards to Search Engine Optimization and content that actually sells.

Dr. Redish's experience with web content is largely related to government agencies. In that respect, I couldn't ask for a better book on the basics of...
Published on January 30, 2010 by Compay


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65 of 70 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent resource for all online communication, September 12, 2007
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This review is from: Letting Go of the Words: Writing Web Content that Works (Interactive Technologies) (Paperback)
My company is a consultancy that creates interactive learning programs for large corporations. I am especially interested in blending the best practices of instructional design/performance support, technical communication, and web site design. For the latter, this book is an indispensible resource!

I shared the book with our Content Director, who, at first, was too busy to really pay any attention to it. Once he cracked the cover, he immediately wrote me back and raved! The book compiles so many of the basic concepts that he and I desire our entire writing team to incorporate into their projects.

We purchased multiple copies and assigned one chapter to each of our team to present to the team as a whole. These weekly presentations have been refresher for some, but new material for others, and now we are finally all level-set on basic writing/presentation concepts for online delivery. Hooray!

Only negative feedback I can give is that I did hear a bit of grumbling that the author broke her own rules in a couple places - using a few headings that were too long, for example, when there is a chapter specifically on writing good headings. I should probably have docked the rating a bit for that stuff, but overall we got so much good from this little book that I feel I must give it full praise!
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102 of 114 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Impractical for Business Websites & Google, January 30, 2010
By 
Compay (New Orleans, LA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Letting Go of the Words: Writing Web Content that Works (Interactive Technologies) (Paperback)
[Update at bottom] Letting Go of the Words is a terrific book with respect to site structure and usability, but is extremely inadequate in regards to Search Engine Optimization and content that actually sells.

Dr. Redish's experience with web content is largely related to government agencies. In that respect, I couldn't ask for a better book on the basics of site structure and usability. The author presents a solid primer on helping your visitors find the information they seek as easily as possible.

The book, however, largely ignores issues that are important to business websites that wish to rank well on Google and other search engines. As an SEO guru, I was surprised that a book on writing web content completely ignores the fact that Google absolutely loves keyword-rich content. While some web purists believe in designing sites as though search engines never existed, it's impractical to cut short the very content that would ultimately deliver visitors to your site.

Government sites will generally rank well by virtue of their number of (quality) inbound links. Business owners aren't looking to simply provide information, they're looking to get traffic and motivate visitors to perform an action (purchase, contact, subscribe). Some of her tips ("don't embed links" - chapter 12) are in opposition to what designers should do to encourage Google to "spider" relevant pages and categorize them better in its results.

If this book teaches you the architectural skills of constructing a physical store that's easy to get around, it does so without mentioning how to encourage walk-ins to buy your products, nor how to get them from the street into your business. Brilliant from a usability standpoint, but often contradictory to what can help sites generate search engine traffic and drive sales.

[8/8/10 Update: While it doesn't emphasize SEO or sales copy, this is still the best book on usability that I have ever read. It's a must-own for designers, though I suggest you supplement Dr. Redish's techniques with other books on optimization and writing copy]
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75 of 84 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great for info sites, less useful for marketing content, October 3, 2007
This review is from: Letting Go of the Words: Writing Web Content that Works (Interactive Technologies) (Paperback)
Everyone who writes web content will benefit from reading this book with its clear guidelines and extensive examples. The book is well organized and its format makes it easy to find specific ideas.

However, this book will be most useful for writers working on information sites. The book presents only limited discussion and examples for e-commerce sites and does not address important issues for those sites, such as guiding customers to a sale or writing for search engine optimization.
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26 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars the best book on writing for the web, October 23, 2007
By 
nolafilm (new orleans, la) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Letting Go of the Words: Writing Web Content that Works (Interactive Technologies) (Paperback)
i've read several books and countless articles on how to write well for the web. Ginny Redish nails it perfectly. This is hands-down the best book on writing for the web out there. The book is beautifully laid-out, with easy to grasp, common sense advice - all backed up by solid research data and straightforward examples.

If you're a fan of usability, good user-centered design, and easy-to-read helpful books, and you'd like to improve your site's performance with better writing, definitely get this book. I'm already reworking the content on my sites with many of Ginny's suggestions, and I have no doubt my readers will be happy.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Primer on Writing for the Web, January 29, 2008
By 
V. Beck (Grand Prairie, TX United States) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Letting Go of the Words: Writing Web Content that Works (Interactive Technologies) (Paperback)
Writing for the Web is not like writing a college term paper -- or even print ads. It takes understanding what your audience is seeking when they come to your website and presenting it in a manner that allows them to find it easily. Letting Go of the Words is a brilliant, easy-to-read book that explains how you can write usable copy for projects of any size.

Redish writes about the difference between the three major types of pages and what should be on them (and what shouldn't).

1. Home pages
2. Pathway pages
3. Information pages

She also gives useful advice on
* Focusing on your essential message
* Making your design easy to use
* Using lists and tables
* Using headings and illustrations effectively
* Writing links that get clicked, and perhaps most importantly,
* Fitting this all into a process that allows you to set expectations and meet deadlines.

Anyone involved with building websites (or writing blogs) can find value in this book. I learned a lot from it, and I think you would, too. I strongly recommend it.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A book that will raise the quality of Web sites, October 14, 2007
By 
J. M. Bellis (Silver Spring, MD USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Letting Go of the Words: Writing Web Content that Works (Interactive Technologies) (Paperback)
Ginny Redish's book, Letting Go of the Words, is a book long overdue. Until now, I've never found a book on writing content for the Web that had anything of substance to say. What ever they said, we already knew intuitively.

This is not the case with Redish's book. The book is filled from cover to cover with very important ideas and messages for writers. Moreover, the ideas are presented very effectively. In each chapter, Redish presents principles dealing with the topic at hand. She then discusses each principle and deomonstrates the use of each with excellent examples -- both the results when the principle is used and when it is violated. In this format it also makes for a very handy reference document.

After I read the book, I bought two more copies to circulate amongst our Web development team. It is a must read for our writers/editors, but all members of the team, I believe, will stand to benefit from it.

This book is sure to become a classic in its field. As a result, it will, I believe, have a major effect of raising the quality of Web sites everywhere.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Readable and usable, March 17, 2008
By 
Thea Teich (Southwestern Ohio) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Letting Go of the Words: Writing Web Content that Works (Interactive Technologies) (Paperback)
Here's the ultimate compliment: I need to buy at least three copies, one for me and two for clients--who will love it, too!
Years ago, a professor of mine told a story about his being informed that his work was so easy and fun to read, it could not possibly be scholarly enough for a particular publication(!) This book might receive a few of those sorts of comments, too. On first glance, people with a fair amount of experience in this field might say it's too basic--but they would be wrong. This book is thorough, in depth, and deals with a wide range of issues--and explains why certain alternatives are better than others, instead of just saying, "here is how things should be." It is a thorough presentation of highly useful and relevant information in a enjoyable, understandable, and audience-aware and audience-friendly way.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding!, July 20, 2007
This review is from: Letting Go of the Words: Writing Web Content that Works (Interactive Technologies) (Paperback)
This excellent book is an invaluable, comprehensive resource for anyone planning to create, revise, critique or contribute to a web site. Janice Redish has done an amazing job of looking at all aspects of what makes web sites clear and easy to use. I'm impressed by the level of detail in the book, and the sheer amount of useful information. If you follow Ms. Redish's suggestions you can't go wrong.
The book is a pleasure to read; it's easy to navigate, and the chapter summaries are great. Letting Go of the Words goes straight to the top of my "most valuable books about web sites" list, sharing first place with Steve Krug's Don't Make Me Think!
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing book on its own even better with..., December 28, 2009
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This review is from: Letting Go of the Words: Writing Web Content that Works (Interactive Technologies) (Paperback)
This is an excellent book on how to: structure a page, write content and generally make your site more professional.

Letting go of the words is a very practical, easy to read book. In our organization it is the foundation of the best practice guidelines for writing for the web.

Once you have read Ginny's book you will be eager to put her suggestions into practice. And, that's when the creative block sets in. You can easily fix the glaring errors on your own website and this is a great place to start. But to create truly remarkable content go and get yourself Inbound Marketing: Get Found Using Google, Social Media, and Blogs (The New Rules of Social Media). This book will make you think about what you are writing or have written.

With 'Inbound Marketing' in hand your content style will change for the better and by applying Ginny's principles you will have an amazing site.

For me, much of this new style of electronic marketing has come together with the books I mentioned. But when you add another thought provoking book like Presentation Zen: Simple Ideas on Presentation Design and Delivery, not only will your presentations take a new twist, but when you extend the principles of imagery to your website, the images you select will truly enhance the written content.

At our next conference, our presenters will present using the Zen techniques and no longer be giving out handouts, instead content will be written as blogs on our website for all to share and easily access. These books nurture creative thinking and pragmatic solutions!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best books in the field, April 4, 2008
This review is from: Letting Go of the Words: Writing Web Content that Works (Interactive Technologies) (Paperback)
I'm a big fan of technical communication texts. This book is exceptional, and stands apart from others in many ways:

- Many technical communication texts repeat the same rote guidelines. Although this book does not ignore the "classic" rules (e.g., "Write in inverted pyramid style"; "Use space effectively"), many of the rules are unexpected or even contrarian (e.g., "Use a sans-serif font"; "Long lists are o.k. for familiar items"). All rules are backed by examples that demonstrate their effectiveness.
- The book provides clear examples of real-world Web content, including many "before" and "after" images that demonstrate the book's principles.
- The production of the book is excellent. The color printing and rich layout help to make the book attractive and approachable.

Although the focus of this book is Web communication, the rules, principles, and guidelines are relevant to any form of written communication. The number of examples and diversity of the book's guidelines make this an ideal text for technical communicators and Web content developers of all levels of experience and proficiency.
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