March 13, 2010 in Copywriting For The Web, Misc

Copywriting for the Web: Proof of the Pudding

copywriter-puddingYou’ve spent hours, days, perhaps even weeks slaving over a project. At long last your content is locked down. You breathe a sigh of relief as peace and harmony descend upon your person.

Could this be the happiest day of your life?

Let’s hope not…

So what’s next: time to publish? Whoa Nelly. Time out. Stop the bike! One common star drifting through the universe of good copywriters is a solid system of proofing.

How each writer goes about editing their work differs, but like Eskimos and mountain climbers, even the best writers become snow-blind at some point.

Perched in front of an unforgiving computer screen for hours can impair one’s judgement. This is a reality all writers face so if possible leave your project to simmer for a while before returning to it. It’s amazing how different things look through a fresh pair of eyes. Subsequently you’ll be better placed to catch more errors in the editorial net.

Among the proofing tools of the web writer resides spell checker.

While this is a useful tool remember it won’t pick up expressions such as ‘we’ when you actually meant ‘we’ve’. It may also recommend alterations that perversely change the sense of your content – so be careful.

What’s next…?

No matter how confident you are that all the creases have been ironed out it’s admittedly hard to be objective when you’re attached to a project.

Take Toyota as a case in point.

The Japanese giant is currently grappling with a massive vehicle recall after it rolled cars off the line devoid of proper quality control.

Against a backdrop of dented consumer confidence, the automobile-maker now faces a potential criminal investigation into its handling of safety issues.

Better safe than sorry…

With that in mind, ask a third-party to cast an eye over your work – friends and family are often the most honest critics.

And in the case of commercial writing it could be worthwhile filtering your web copy through a professional proof reader. While this can be an expensive, it may be worth incurring as a website exists as an organisation’s public face.

Don’t blow a fuse…

My hairdryer died last night. Within five minutes it was disassembled on the desk as I rummaged through a stack of parts in search of the failure. Half an hour later, things weren’t looking good. With that my girlfriend walks in and says: ‘have you checked the fuse?’…..

Sure enough, it was the fuse.

So even though it may seem simple, daft even, check the basics when it comes to your copy.

Try creating a check list and only submit or publish work once each box has been ticked.

And remember when it comes to grammar, spelling, style, content, numbers and percentages – whatever it may be – always check the fuse first.

About Anthony

Anthony Brewitt is Design Bit, has been for years - he's an experienced WordPress Designer, and Muggle-born Marketing Philosopher. Let’s talk about your website; your marketing, blog design, and that cool new mobile web thingy. Contact Anthony

5 Responses to Copywriting for the Web: Proof of the Pudding

  1. I have never had the thought that copywriting needs to be user tested, but it makes perfect sense. When I make a website I at least get my wife, friends and relatives to check it makes sense.

  2. Good advice! Its easy to write a sentence and think you’ve spelt everything correctly only to find when you’re showing your site to friends that they pick up on three or four spellings which make you feel really stupid that you missed.

  3. My business partner writes the content for the business website, I initially thought it would be a simple task, but quickly realised that getting it down perfectly was a much harder task than I first thought! Great Article!

  4. Never depend solely on the spell-checker. One should follow the old school proof-reading and read every word.

  5. This is some great advice. I know personally that I can become too involved in a project and have too narrow of a vision. Better safe than sorry.

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