Writing for the Web

This full-day workshop presents best practices for writing for the web within the context of academic and public library websites.  The format is lecture style, followed by critique sessions that examine how successful sites implement best practices.  Participants will revise web copy and receive feedback on their work during the workshop. 

Participants will leave the workshop with quick-fixes they can apply to their site immediately as well as strategies for tackling long range projects that will enhance the quality of their library website. 

An overview of best practices will include:

  • Writing for findability
  • Writing for reading
  • Style guidelines for quality control


Outline of major topics covered during the program:

  • Writing style: word count in sentences and paragraphs; using words that have value to users; conveying emotion
  • Graphical elements of text: font, size, color, shape of text block, layout
  • Choosing words for link text, headings, page titles, and error messages. 
  • Choosing words for forms and other brief system messages or instruction.
  • Using fewer words.
  • Hands-on exercises: critique sites (group); revise text and write new text (individual).

In this workshop, participants will learn how to:

  • Critique current web content for immediate improvement.
  • Write quality web copy from scratch.
  • Identify content areas that require significant revision.
  • Assess the “findability” of important features or important library content.
  • Create a style guide so that content is uniform and meets standards across the site.

Target audience:

  • Reference librarians / subject librarians. 
  • Web designers. 
  • Public relations/marketing/development. 

The intended audience should be familiar with publishing content on library websites, either as a web designer or as a writer. 

Brenda Reeb is director of the Business & Government Information Library at the University of Rochester, River Campus Libraries. In addition to her work as a business subject librarian, she began practicing usability testing methods in 2001 at the University of Rochester. Her usability experience includes developing web applications for academic and public libraries, commercial vendors, and nonprofit organizations. She has worked with undergraduate students, adults, and children. She speaks regionally and nationally on user-centered design and usability testing on library digital projects. She received a Master of Science degree from Simmons College in 1991. 

Would you like to host an institute at a site near you?

LITA licenses an institute to an organization. The organization pays LITA a licensing fee for a one-time presentation of the institute. The organization sets its own registration fee and is responsible for all planning, logistics, and publicity. LITA pays the speaker's honorarium, travel, and hotel expenses. LITA would like to hear from potential hosts. Please contact  LITA if you would like more information.