New write-minded blog launched

September 10, 2009

This blog has served me well as I tested the waters in blog land. So well, that I’ve integrated a new one into my new site.

So for my latest posts, please go to:

See you there!


I can’t believe it’s that time of the year again but I must say, I love NSW Small Business Month (and that’s not just because I get to go to Byron Bay this year).

Why I love it:

  • Heaps of free workshops for SMEs.
  • Always a chance to pick up new information.
  • Chance to meet others facing similar issues.
  • Usually free cake and yummy tit bits.

If you live in Northern NSW please come to my Recession-proof your website workshop.

Book your free spot here


Giving old content zing

August 10, 2009

Just back from a much needed break in the bush which has given me lots of time to not think! (Highly recommended).

Before I left I was madly working on a huge client project and also my own new website launch (strangely, I always seem to do these things at the same time.)

Both jobs required looking at old website content and deciding what was going to come over to the new site and what wasn’t.

5 quick content audit tips:

  • When you read the old page, does it make your want to read more or do you quickly zone out?
  • What’s changed that could affect the way your reader interprets the information on the page. The economic mood? Market trends? Client expectations?
  • Is there too much information on the page? Chances are, YES! Try and work to the 300 words or less per page rule. Hard I know but still worth aiming for.
  • Are you writing for the reader or for the organisation? Remember, it’s all about YOU not WE.
  • Will your reader care about this page? Be honest. Kill your darlings.

My new site will have a new built-in blog so will be redirecting you soon. I can’t wait to show it to you.


If you’ve been pondering whether to invite me along to run a web writing workshop at your workplace this year, I’m currently taking bookings for September and October 2009 in Sydney. Now, forgive  me but  I’m going to use that great steak-knives line: HURRY, DON’T DELAY.

Why the rush?

I’m having a baby in November.

Oh right… so how can I get more info about a web writing workshop?

Email Libby at or give me a call on 02 9300 8866.

Would love to hear from you

Nothing is original

July 6, 2009

Quote by Jim Jarmusch

Quote by Jim Jarmusch

Cool! Thanks for this Adam Jones of Spirit Level Designs. Kind of makes me feel original afterall.

I finally got the party started on my new much-needed website. And while this is something I do for a living, the task has been no easier!

I’m working with the lovely and very talented small team at WEBO in particular their senior designer Vivi Fei who I’ve known for many years.

I love Vivi’s design style – she is truly a creative gem and best of all she is putting up with my rather whimsical abstract brief to create a 40s inspired, super modern, low-tech website. Sounds strange, hey. Will share more with you as the story unfolds.

But in a nutshell, here are some pointers for preparing the concept for your site:

Be clear about exactly what you want the site to do. Focus on the core specifics. For example: Get more companies to book in-house web writing workshops.

Start a visual scrapbook of images, websites, video clips that inspire you. These are very helpful to show your designer. You could even start a little wordpress blog to make it easy.

Think about colours and how they affect users psychologically. For example: black means power and authority; purple signifies wealth and luxury; green is calming and refreshing (my current choice).

Mock up some homepage copy. You will probably end up changing it once the rest of the site is done but I find it more powerful to see your real words (as opposed to good old lorem ipsum) paired to the new design so you can see how the marriage looks.

Here’s a little peep at my scrapbook. Stay tuned!

Visual inspiration for my new site

I had the pleasure last week of travelling to Northern NSW to work with the very interesting team at Clarence Valley Council on their web copy. These guys do great work in the community across a range of fields from the arts to social services.

One of the interesting things I learned on the day is that the computer at the local community centre has experienced a surge in popularity – from people who wouldn’t normally go near it.

Why? Good old social media.

It seems that people with lower literacy skills are also engaging with the new web, in their own way, which I think is really fascinating.

As someone who’s not naturally attracted to social media but definitely interested in it enough to participate (I think this is a Gen X thing) I’m always looking for clues as to why some people take to it like ducks to water, while others run a mile.

Age of course has a lot to do with it. But so does personality, communication style and probably 100 other things I’m yet to work out.

Any clues? I’d love to hear them.

How many emails do you send a day? 10? 20? 50? When you think about it, that’s a lot of conversations your organisation is having. Especially when you add on all the mails your colleagues or staff are also sending.

I recently came across this great article that recommends putting together an email style guide which I think is an excellent idea! Some of the suggested inclusions include:

  • The importance of a clear subject line and examples of these.
  • Whether emoticons are allowed.
  • How to use the cc and bcc fields effectively.
  • When to send e-mail vs when to call or visit in person.
  • As a freelancer, I rely heavily on email contact with my clients as I don’t often see them face to face. It’s always interesting how each client differs to the next in their approach to email – even when they work in the same team.

    Some are highly responsive and always answer the asked question properly. Others give obscure answers that  leave me feeling unsure. Wouldn’t it be great if everyone was on the same page and able to utilise the superb communications tool that email really is. A style guide sounds like a great idea to me. What do you think?

    Feeling worried?

    May 13, 2009

    My budget thought of the day. You can tell I’m no economist.

    The most successful people are those who are good at plan B. James Yorke.

    My parents are in their late 70s. They live in the city. Drive a car. Interact with their local community. Pay their bills on time. All the normal stuff.

    Mum is quite good on email and Dad likes Google Earth. They check their computer most days and enjoy the fact that it makes them feel relevant.

    Or does it?

    Lately, I’ve been getting quite a few service calls from Mum (I’m her IT guy) asking that I pop down and give her a hand with some techie thing she’s having trouble with. The last request was regarding her Optus account. She really likes Optus but she’d received a notice saying she was going to be charged $2.20 for every print bill. She was determined to avoid this fee and asked me to help.

    So, off I go. IT savvy me. Surely setting up her online billing would take a second, right? Nope. 50 minutes later I finally worked it out (she had 3 Optus services and I needed to link them all together which took a lot of time and effort as they were all categorised differently by the system).

    She was delighted when the task was done but we were both left wondering how on earth she would have done this on her own. Even if she had have called Optus and been talked through the process, she really wouldn’t have had the skills to cope. As Dad said, they speak another language.

    I’m a bit troubled by this. As more and more essential services go online and we are all asked to become self-servers, what happens to those who just can’t keep up? I suspect that they will be penalised as Mum would have been by her print bill charges. Or just totally left behind.

    It’s important to remember that even young guns will be old one day.