How to improve the accuracy of your online copy


Being a Virtual Assistant and having excellent attention to detail go hand-in-hand. I studied and received a proofreading and copyediting qualification in 2014, this built on a long-standing passion in the correct use of the English language that I studied at school and through a TEFL qualification in 2012.

I have experience proofreading websites, books and a plethora of documents therefore, I am unashamed to admit that I am a stickler for the details. I cannot even glance at a website / poster / leaflet / paper / blog post without noticing an error if there is one to be found.

These errors range from spelling errors, punctuation errors, formatting errors or overall sense errors. I love to spot these mistakes (I imagine it is the same adrenaline rush that a competitive word-searcher gets) but I am always extremely surprised by them. In my eyes, no error is too small to be ignored.

George was a good little monkey and always very curious

We bought a book from the charity shop for my son the other day. It was called 'Curious George at the aquarium'. I say 'was' because we have since chucked it in the recycling. On the first page there was the following sentence:

'Today George and the man with the yellow hat were visiting the aquarium.'

I cannot even believe that the book was published – the grammatical mishaps in it made it incredibly hard to read, especially out loud. Disappointing seen as it’s a children's book and made to read aloud.

So you see I am a perfectionist

Nah, my writing is not perfect, perfection is subjective; I write personally, colloquially and conversationally but it is correct. I check, check and check again. And if I am tired and have thoroughly exhausted a piece of copy, I get someone else to check it for me.

What do customers want?

We all, as customers and therefore YOUR customers, want to purchase from a person and business that they trust and resonate with. What do you do when you read a website that is littered with spelling errors and doesn't have any paragraphs? You probably leave their site, am I right?

This behaviour translates to readers of your website / blog / twitter / marketing material.

Organising and auditing your admin

As you can tell, I have extremely high standards for this sort of behaviour, so I have a few tips for you.

Blog posts and website copy

Make your copy easy for people to read. Vary the length, include paragraphs, include subheadings if it is relevant and above all, ensure that there are no spelling or punctuation errors.

Twitter

Now that there is an increased character limit on Twitter (280 characters), there is more opportunity to vary the formatting of your tweet; add a paragraph or two or create a list, if relevant.

Additionally, add your hashtags at the end. It is very hard to read the essence of a #tweet when #every other #word has a #hashtag sign #in front #of it.

Hashtags are there to categorise and point people towards content they are interested in so not everything needs to be signposted. Only the words that explain the core purpose of your message.

#twittertips

Instagram

Instagram formatting drives me mad. Sometimes no matter whether you follow the 'rules' or not, the paragraph formatting still doesn't work. And it's important! I shy away from reading posts with long paragraphs of text and I put paragraphs in for a reason.

If you are struggling with Instagram, these remedies usually work for me:

  • Delete any spaces between the end of the sentence and where a new paragraph begins. You won't be able to see it but if you go back into edit there could be one there.

  • Paragraphs do not seem to start after an emoji so put them somewhere else.

  • Write your entire post (following the space rule) in a notes app and copy it over.

Copy audit

Auditing all of your content and ensuring that any new content is thoroughly checked needn't be an onerous task. I help people organise their business so they have more time to focus on what they love.

Get in touch. Let's discuss how we can work together to ensure that your copy is up to an excellent standard.


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Email: sarah@keyboardsmash.net

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