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Why in-depth proofreading is as important as content

By: Pam Deyerle

ProofreadingThe more blogs and websites I read, the more I realize that content seems to trump proofreading. Am I the only person who still thinks issues such as typos and improper grammar call into question the professionalism of the writer? If I needed to hire a virtual assistant, for example, I would definitely skip over the ones who can’t post an article or have a website without multiple mistakes.

Thankfully, a quick Google search allayed my fears, as I found many others who are concerned about this trend as well. An article at BBC News states that “sales figures suggest misspellings put off consumers who could have concerns about a website’s credibility.” Spelling and Grammar Errors that Can Ruin Your Site mentions that “many people will leave a website, never to return if they find too many spelling or grammar errors.” And although nothing beats reading over your website many times and having another person read it also, there are some great tools that can be helpful with the process. 7 Amazing Tools to Proofread Your Website Content, has some good ones and, as they state: “One of the most important steps toward creating brilliant website content and offering it for your audience is proofreading.” This, in my opinion, also extends to any post or article where your business is represented (forums, social media, blog articles, etc.).

Although I definitely strive to have error-free writing, I am by no means perfect. But I proofread my work for what seems like a million times, and then I also have a friend look it over. (She’s fantastic!) This helps tremendously in reducing or eliminating mistakes. And when someone tells me of an error in something I’ve written, I am quick to fix it and quick to thank the person who told me. (And I say “when,” because it’s already happened, and I know it will again.)

Recently, I found a few typographical errors in a blog post and pointed them out to the author. The response was something along the lines of, “I hope a few typos won’t distract you from the excellent content.” Well, yeah, it did, especially since this individual is a virtual assistant! To this day that person has never corrected the typos. This sends the message that the writer doesn’t care. Articles and websites filled with typos and grammatical errors distract from the integrity of your content, your brand, and you.

This is especially disheartening in blog posts or websites produced by people whose businesses deal with the written word, such as virtual assistants, copy editors, ghost writers, and transcription services. If this is your type of work, writing well and not having mistakes is part of your business; it’s a reflection on what you’re trying to sell and the message you’re trying to bring to your audience. Proof your writing well and use a second pair of eyes. And after posting, if someone points out a few mistakes to you or you find some yourself…fix them!

If you’d like a little “test” to check out your proofreading skills, take a look at Typos (or Why You Should Have Your VA Proofread for You). This great article includes twenty sentences with common typos for you to find, and then the answers are listed as well. Something good to keep in mind, though, is when you’re proofing YOUR work, it’s easier to miss mistakes than if you’re proofing something you’ve never read.

I think this fast-paced world we work in causes some of us to post too quickly, believing if the content is good enough, mistakes in spelling and grammar shouldn’t matter. But they do. Sometimes it's difficult to take the time needed to thoroughly proofread our work, but please slow down a bit, and really go over your writing so it’s the best it can be for your audience. Your blog, website, social media venues, and even posts on a professional forum are the face of your business, and you never know who is looking.

Other articles you might find helpful:
How to Proofread Effectively, ThoughtCo
Typos and Grammatical Errors: Bad for Brands, Bad for Business, Spot-On Branding
Do Typos Really Matter?, Inc.

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