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 stayed at a certain, very fancy hotel.
There was only one small problem in the ad, but it was big enough to undermine the credibility of the hotel’s claim to perfection. The headline blared, When Everything Has to Just Right.
Uh-oh. What happened to the “Be” before the “Just Right”?
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, your’s/yours, two/to, 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 e-mail or call you because of your magnetic Web site copy.
Horror Stories about Unedited Copy
A national eNewsletter goes out with the headline “For Pubic School Educators” (the “l” is often left out of that pesky word Public)
“And as we stand on the toes of those who have gone before us…” appears in a scholarly piece (should be “stand on the shoulders”)
A financial consultant offers a complimentary phone call (which would only have favorable news the word here would be complementary)
$25,000. instead of $250,000. in a document might cause a legal nightmare
The non-word its’ (an apostrophe never follows its) works its way into an otherwise excellent story
“We’d like to pedal your ideas” is sent worldwide in a magazine ad, and not just to bicycle owners (peddle is the operative word here)
How Working with an Editor Helps Your Business
An editor writes “zingier” headlines – so potential customers will be drawn into your Web site by the zing
An editor breaks up dense paragraphs – so potential customers will actually read your copy because it is easy to read
An editor introduces correct punctuation and good grammar – so potential customers will be convinced that your product or service is high quality, since the copy that advertises it is high quality
An editor has ideas about when to italicize or boldface words or phrases – so potential customers will be interested in reading the text
Web site text is different from magazine articles and book chapters. The pages are smaller, the paragraphs are shorter, graphics or photographs often accompany the text. Web site “visitors” are assumed to have a shorter attention span than book or magazine readers.
This means that a reader spends just a few minutes reading the text at your Web site. It makes sense that you will want to present your company or services in as professional a light as possible.
How to Hire a Copyeditor
About The Author
Linda Jay Geldens is an experienced, versatile, lightning-fast copyeditor/proofreader/copywriter based in Marin County, near San Francisco.