Susannah’s blog about writing and websites

Can an adjective be dangerous?

Almost certainly yes, when it comes to matters of life and death. Following the Grenfell Tower fire, building regulations have come under scrutiny, especially where they deal with combustible materials. Until recently, materials were described as combustible or non-combustible, according to the Fire Protection Association’s managing director, Jonathan O’Neill. In other words, they either burned […]

Take Ed Sheeran’s advice

Write as much as you can and keep writing. You’ll get better. In his interview on the BBC’s Desert Island Discs, Ed Sheeran was talking about songs, but the advice applies to any kind of writing. Too many people think they’re not writers. When faced with a report or an important letter to produce, they […]

Reduce choice to increase revenue

How have charities increased donations made through their websites? Well, most made a start by putting a donate button on the home page and encouraging people to give by telling them what would be done with the money. But many have gone further and adopted a simple technique to make it easier for people to […]

Why consistency is vital on a website

I recently got lost on the website of a big company. Nothing new in that, you may say, but the irony is that this company hosts one of my websites. I was trying to do some work on the database behind the website, and the website that was supposed to take me there was so […]

What a difference “editorial” can make!

Of the three types of work that go to make a website – editorial, design and coding – editorial must come first. I would say that, wouldn’t I? But here’s a case study to show what I mean: A small charity website had grown rather haphazardly. No-one had had much time to think about it […]

How to give feedback on someone else’s writing

(Also posted in the Clarity blog) Helpful criticism is one of the best ways of improving someone’s writing, but how to be critical without offending? The answer for some is not to give feedback at all, which is a lost opportunity for the writer. We all tend to feel that our writing represents us and […]

Why wouldn’t you want to be clear?

(Also posted in the Clarity blog) The obvious answer is – if you want to mislead. A fascinating study published in the US Journal of Language and Social Psychology suggests that when scientists’ research turns out to be fraudulent, the language is often a giveaway. Two researchers at Stanford University, California, studied more than 250 […]

Wogan’s words

(Also posted in the Clarity blog) Tributes to the much-loved broadcaster, Terry Wogan, speak of his ability to communicate with millions as if they were his friends. Many also mention his skilful use of the English language. When the BBC was taken to task some years ago for failing to police its presenters’ and reporters’ […]

Another basic mistake websites make

Why do so many websites fail to tell me what I want to know? A friend recommended we meet at a certain restaurant, so I looked it up. The website had an attractive design and friendly information about who runs it and what they serve. But I needed to know whether I could get there […]