This is a guest post by Linda Jay Geldens
You may be losing business or hurting your professional reputation by sending out unedited Web site copy. Text that is riddled with errors will distract present or potential clients. The reader will think: Do I really want to buy a product or service from someone whose copy is sloppy?
One way to ensure that your Web site message will be as perfect as possible is to invest in the services of a professional copyeditor/proofreader. In the twinkling of a well-trained eye, a topnotch editor can clean up your Web site copy so it sparkles in the sunlight.
Misplaced modifiers, dangling participles, its/it’s, to/too, and other hair-raising/hare-raising errors will melt away. Skilled editors say that mistakes “leap off the page” at them. And potential clients will leap off the couch to contact you because of your magnetic Web site copy.
Horror Stories about Unedited Copy
A glossy magazine placed an advertisement on its Web site, targeting the publication’s upscale subscribers. The expensive ad emphasized how perfect the tiniest detail would be for guests who experienced a stay at a certain very fancy hotel. There was only one small problem in the ad, yet it was glaring enough to undermine the hotel’s claim to perfection. The headline read: When Everything Has to Just Right [where was the "Be" before the "Just Right"?].
If Web content is launched into the stratosphere without being edited, unfortunate things happen:
- A national eNewsletter is sent out with the headline “For Pubic School Educators.”
- A scholarly article proclaims, “We will stand on the toes of those who have gone before us.”
- A document that says $25,000. instead of $250,000. might cause a legal nightmare.
- An international company’s brochure states, “We’d like to pedal your ideas.”
How Working with a Copyeditor Helps Your Business in Practical Ways
Maybe you believe that copyediting and proofreading would be luxury items in your publications budget. Or that no readers would notice if a few mistakes slip through in your copy. Think again!
There are many ways in which a professional copyeditor can benefit your business:
- An editor writes zingy headlines to draw potential clients to your company Web site.
- An editor breaks up dense paragraphs in the text into smaller, easily readable sections.
- An editor makes sure the grammar in your copy is correct and the punctuation is right.
- An editor has good ideas about when to italicize or boldface certain words or phrases, to call attention to them and to make the text more interesting.
- An editor can point out places where the facts could be clearer, or more accurate.
- An editor can tighten text, or make suggestions for expanding ideas in the text.
Web site text is far different from magazine article copy and other promotional material because the pages are shorter, the paragraphs are smaller, and the selling points have to be made faster. Web site visitors are assumed to have a short attention span; your company has only a few minutes to make a lasting impression.
Hiring a Copyeditor
Copyeditors can be found through professional organizations such as BAIPA and WIC, through consulting and marketing organizations, through directories that list editorial professionals, through ads in magazines targeted toward writers, and through looking up “copyeditor” on search engines.
Employing the services of a good copyeditor to make your Web site text shipshape is a great investment in your company’s future. Your message will be conveyed beautifully — and that’s not editorial spin!