Editing Made Easy: Tips for Well-Written Web Content
Good Grammar is just a (Human) Spellcheck Away
Are you scaring people away from your website without even realizing it? Lifeless content, atrocious spelling errors, and poor grammar will definitely cause people to steer clear of your site, thus decreasing brand awareness and revenue. They will also detract from your image as a legitimate and respectable company.
A 2013 study conducted by Global Lingo found that fifty-nine percent of people would not use a company with poor grammar on its website, and even more said they wouldn’t trust that company. Time to take those statistics to heart and follow these tips to edit and produce well-written content for your business blog and website.
Use Human Spellcheckers
Using spellcheck should be a no-brainer, especially when you start writing your drafts in Microsoft Word. If you are using a program that doesn’t have an automatic spellcheck function, there are plenty of other online tools you can use like Grammarly, which will catch any common spelling or grammar errors.
That said, spellcheck alone isn’t enough, as it won’t catch everything. Their vs. There, Your, vs. You’re, and to vs. too are all common errors that indicate a piece of content wasn’t reviewed by another set of human eyes.
Human editors can help not only with grammar but also with the flow. First, read your content to yourself aloud. This grammar school trick (Thank you, Mrs. Manning!) will help identify places in your content that may need punctuation, word re-arrangement for clarity, or any other tweaks. Next, get a trusted colleague or two to carefully proofread your work. Take a look at Henry Ford’s quote in this image. Can you spot the error? However powerful the chapter is, the author’s work is derailed by a silly misplaced apostrophe that could have easily been caught by a quality human editor.
Analyze Every Possible Meaning
Know that there may be hidden meanings behind your words, especially if you try to use slang or emoji. For example, the popular news site GVL Today posted an article about architecture in Greenville. They used emoji symbols to represent “What’s hot and what’s not," but because the particular symbols they chose could be interpreted in different ways, the content ruffled a few feathers. To avoid possible offense, try to analyze every possible meaning of your text, and ask your human proofreaders to do the same.
Make a Proofreading Checklist
When you publish frequently on a blog and have several writers or editors, you may start noticing the same questions being repeated. Should the call to action be a hyperlink or a button? Should the content be second or third person? Are parentheses acceptable? Take note of all these questions and make a proofreading checklist so all editors know what to look for and how to answer basic styling questions. These guidelines will also keep your content consistent and on brand.
If you are not a trained writer, there are plenty of books to help with the basics. Quick reads like The Elements of Style and On Writing Well provide the building blocks for better writing.
Not a writer but don’t have time to read that book or hone your craft? Hiring an expert will help you avoid misspelled, grammatically incorrect content. Our company is equipped with the experience and knowledge to create solid pieces of writing and take all of the guesswork and editing off your hands.