How to Write ‘Sticky’ Web Content

Why do technical writers struggle to write web content? Maybe it’s because writing for the web requires a different approach to the writing process. Here are some ways to stop thinking like a technical writer and more like a web writer. How to Write Web Content Before you start writing web content, invest some time […]

Should Programmers Write Technical Documentation?

Before you make your programmers write the next user guide, think again. Should they really be doing this? Or would you be saving money by giving it to trained technical writers? Developers are: Not trained writers Write documentation slowly and often incorrectly Have other things to focus on Technical writers: Are trained to write documentation Write […]

How To Get a Budget For Technical Documentation

One of the dilemmas for technical writers is getting a budget for the next set of technical documents. The problem is usually down to ROI. Can you prove that more documents are worth the investment? If not, why are we writing them? Documentation Plan for only $3.99   Getting A Budget For Technical Documentation Surveys […]

9 Ways Freelancer Technical Writers Can Increase Rates

I moved into contracting when I moved to the US so I could juggle different projects at the same time. Sometimes I was working – and billing – three clients in the same week. This was at the height of the dotcom boom when freelancing made you big bucks. Oddly enough, now that the economy is tanking, many Technical Writer are moving into freelancing to supplement their incomes. Here are some ways to determine you daily rates if you decide to go freelance.

7 Skills Technical Writers Need

When you think of technical writing, what comes to mind?
Do you think of someone sitting all alone in a cubicle, glued to a computer screen, diligently documenting complex software?

Why Adobe FrameMaker Sucks – A Slight Rant

Ok, let’s start this product comparison between Microsoft Word (in the red corner) and Adobe FrameMaker (in the blue corner). Before we get into the actual review, I’d like to share how I first encountered FrameMaker and, more importantly, why its roots in an obscure DTP package are the reason why it is the strange beast we love and hate.

Is Adobe FrameMaker Worth the Money?

If you’ve been given a budget for a technical writing dept (tech comms), then you looking for value for money when it comes to buying new tech writing software. We all understand that. The problem I have at the moment is deciding how to use the budget I have. And Adobe FrameMaker is giving me a real headache. For writing long docs, it’s fine. But the cost is a real problem. Is it worth the money?

How to Fix Corrupt MS Word Documents

Last week we showed you how Bullet Lists can crash MS Word. We outlined some techniques to reduce the file size, mostly by creating pre-formatted bullet lists in advance. But what happens if you’re given a User Guide that’s already bloated to massive proportions. It’s too late to create new styles at this stage.

Using LinkedIn To Find Technical Writing Contract Work

I’ve had some reservations about LinkedIn (http://www.linkedin.com/in/ivanwalsh) and didn’t join up until last year. Most of the technical writers I spoke to didn’t seem to get much return on the site and looked elsewhere. I should add that most of these were job-hunting and looking to make quick connections. For them it didn’t work.

37 Ways To Be a More Productive Writer

Working in China means more business writing and less technical writing, especially proposal development, web marketing case studies and white papers. As a few of the folks I hang out with on LinkedIn are also moving into business writing, I thought I’d add a few tips for business writing. While there is some overlap with technical writing, it does require a different mindset, for example, to understand the emotional drivers that persuade customers to accept or reject business proposals.