As humans we’re all fallible and can frequently make mistakes, it’s only natural. When looking at web content, there’s a vast number of errors which can and do occur naturally, and these could be the difference between that illusive ‘like’ or share, or even a conversion.
Take a look at the list below to check you’ve got the basics covered:
Spelling is the first point of call when proofreading any type of content. A good knowledge of spelling is always helpful, so make sure you know your ‘ps’ from your ‘qs’. Using a comprehensive and up to date spell checker is even more effective as it picks up misspelled words and can highlight if a sentence doesn’t make grammatical sense. Spell check covers the basics but watch out for improper use of words such ‘their/there/they’re,’ as they’re easily misused!
As for punctuation, there are those who never want to use it and must get out of breath from not pausing once despite the sentence being really long. Phew! Then there are those who are constantly ponderous, pausing, left, right, and centre; it can go from one extreme to the other! A key thing to remember is not only the use of full stops and capital letters, but the correct use of the trusty comma. Pop a comma at the end of every clause, so the reader not only knows when to take a breath, but it also helps to break up a points within a complex sentence. For more dramatic pauses there’s the hyphen which warrants a long steely pause, similar to that experienced when awaiting the winner of The X Factor. The old hyphen should be reserved only for an impactful statement, so be sparing with its use.
We could be here all day when discussing grammar, and as nice as that would be, there’s a lot to discuss! Remember your English teacher’s constant droning on about how important good grammar is? As much as it pains me to say, they were right. If your memory on grammar is a little rusty then there’s nothing better than to delve your nose into a good book and note how the paragraphs are broken down and the sentences are structured. This will brush away the cobwebs and refresh your memory on grammar and how to use it.
We all know how important it is to gets your facts right. Inability to do this can mislead, confuse and misinform people, as well as making you look very silly. When researching, it is crucial to check your facts and there source. Is it reliable? The truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth so help you God? Well maybe not that far, we won’t try you if it’s not gospel, but ensure your facts are well informed and if in doubt then leave them out. There’s nothing worse than faulty facts.
Genuine insight or a reliable knowledge of a topic is paramount. No one likes a Billy Liar, so if you don’t have the foggiest about a certain subject, then don’t pretend you do. Pretending, like lying, will only lead to one thing; you get found out. Pinocchio will tell you that this is no walk in the park. Attempting ‘filler’ copy, whereby a writer states the obvious yet skirts around the subject is not advised. Like a Swiss cheese it is painfully obvious if your copy has gaping holes in it due to a lack of knowledge, so it’s best not to include any dud information, should your nose double in size.
For web content, sub headings are a useful way to break down the myriad of information you can often be bombarded with. No one wants to read reams and reams of untitled content on the web, it will most likely turn your eyes square and your brain to mush. Make it easy for the reader and break it down with a few sub headings to ensure it is easy to read at a glance.
If you follow these basic proofreading steps then you should be well of your way to achieving an accurate, informed and grammatically gleaming copy.
About the author
Stephanie Bell is a final year Arts student from Lancaster University who has recently joined us on a 3 week internship where she has been looking after proofreading and writer management.