From: "Gordon Graham" <gordon -at- gordonandgordon -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 20 Feb 2002 09:33:58 -0500

At last year's STC Conference in Chicago, my partner and I presented "the
top 10 best practices for Web sites for technical communication firms."

You can download a one-page summary of our results, with 10 sample Web sites
that we thought exemplified each of these best practices from this link:

One interesting debate that emerged from the audience was that Americans
seemed to feel much more hesitant about posting their pictures and any
personal information that we do (we're from Canada). We still recommend
showing your face because it makes your Web site much more personal.

Gordon Graham, partner
Gordon & Gordon
(514) 488-1875

-----Original Message-----
From: bounce-techwr-l-62169 -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com
[mailto:bounce-techwr-l-62169 -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com]On Behalf Of Thomas
Sent: February 20, 2002 12:45 AM
Cc: 'The Black Pen'; 'Murray James-Bosch'; Andrew_Brooke -at- i2 -dot- com;
David_Slonosky -at- i2 -dot- com

Without further ado, here are the questions:

1) Do you have a Web site to promote your tech writing
consulting/contracting (or other) business?


2) Do you have personal info (hobbies, family, etc) on your Web site?
If not, is it because you think it is unprofessional to do so?

We have bios of both of our partners. We believe this is essential. And if
someone includes something light or personal (hobbies, children, etc.) in
their bio, we like it. The key is to show who is really behind your company,
and not act like you are some major Fortune 500 company if you're a one-man

3) Do you think it is unprofessional to offer advice to other tech
writers on your site?

No. We have tips for beginning technical writers (and prospective clients)
on our site. But don't put too many links to other sites: otherwise you risk
driving away the visitors you worked so hard to attract.

4) Do you think it unprofessional/inadvisable to use frames?
Javascript? Java? ActiveX?

We don't like frames. Can't bookmark a page.

OK to include fancy special effects if you do them yourself, and offer that
kind of programming as one of your services. Otherwise, they are a
distraction that can construed as false advertising. Every technical writer
should be able to put together their own Web site. If you hire someone else
to do it, you are saying that you don't know enough about coding to do it
yourself. Our Web site is totally text-driven because that is what we sell:

5) Do you think it unprofessional to have a few cutesy, animated images
on your site to lighten things up?

We had an animated image that we removed because it bugged people so much.
Use special effects only where appropriate to help convey your message.

6) Do you mention how much you charge for your services on your site?
Give details about your fees? Disclaimers, legal or copyright notices?

Thnk about how your Web site fits into your sales cycle. We use ours to
remove the need to "send us something about your company..." So we direct a
prospect to our Web site before our first face-to-face meeting. That way
they have a good idea what we can do before we sit down with them, in effect
they are pre-sold. Then we enter the negotiation phase, where we find out
what they want and dicker back and forth about what we will charge. No fees
on the site.

We have a copyright notice on every Web page in mouse print.

7) Do you have samples from your portfolio on your site?

No, but we would like to add them as scans or PDFs.

8) Do you list references on your site? Quotes from the references?

We have a client list. Recommended. We have quotes from people who have been
to our workshops.

9) How often do you update your site? Do you NEED to frequently change
things on your site to keep it fresh?

Maintenance is a huge issue for anyone with a Web site. We need to change
the home page AT LEAST once a month. Don't forget to budget some time for
this. This is a huge issue for all companies.

10) Do you provide a lot of linking and menuing, or do you keep it short
and sweet with most Web actions/behaviours available from the first page?

Links and menus are fine as long as they are easy to navigate. Build your
site with a view to expanding it.


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our special pricing offers and promotions for RoboHelp 2002.

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See and check it out.

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