About the author:

Alysson Troffer is a graduate student in English at Northern Arizona University.


Index to this feature:

1. Introduction

2. New skills and strategies

3. The role of the online editor

4. Editing nonsequential content

5. Editing structure and navigation

6. Editing links

7. Editing online writing style

8. Copyediting
(with sidebar on special characters)

Editing Online Documents: Strategies and Tips

By Alysson Troffer
August 6, 1999

Part 1: Introduction

(Intro by Amy Gahran

In online media, good editors are as important — often even more important — than good writers.

Online audiences generally are very demanding. Attracting and keeping them requires great care and effort. The almost infinite amount of content on the Net is, for the most part, equally and instantaneously accessible to all users — so online content creators and publishers always face stiff competition for readers' attention.

In addition, online readers quickly scan material before deciding whether to invest their full attention. If what they see doesn't immediately appeal to them, they'll click right on by. Online audiences also face barriers to reading: they often encounter content out of sequence, the readability of text on a computer screen is relatively poor, etc.

If you want your online content to succeed, you must engage your readers while delivering the "goods" (information, entertainment, opinion, etc.) quickly and efficiently. For this, working with (or being) a good online editor is essential.

Good online editors must understand this new medium, and how it differs from print and broadcast. They know which principles of editing to carry over from traditional media, and which to discard or modify. They grasp the opportunities and pitfalls of hypertext. They understand the tools of this medium, and at least the basics of how to use them.

In this feature, graduate student Alysson Troffer explains the basics of online editing: the issues, the skills, the strategies, the processes, and so on. She focuses on practical tips, and offers concise advice.

Many thanks to Alysson for her hard work on this valuable feature.

...Amy Gahran, Editor, CONTENTIOUS

(Top of this page)

Index to this feature:

  1. Introduction
  2. New skills and strategies
  3. The role of the online editor
  4. Editing nonsequential content
  5. Editing structure and navigation
  6. Editing links
  7. Editing online writing style
  8. Copyediting (with sidebar on special characters)

Introduction (c)1999 by Amy Gahran. All rights reserved. Published in CONTENTIOUS with permission. Do not reproduce or redistribute any material from this page, in whole or in part, without written permission from Amy Gahran. All other parts of this feature (c)1999 by Alysson Troffer.

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