Fifty-nine per cent of people would not use a company with poor grammar on its website1.
Studies have shown that people are put off from making buying decisions by poor grammar or spelling. A few mistakes or even little inconsistencies may be all it takes before your customers come away with the impression of an organisation that can’t be trusted. Don’t let it happen to you.
Assessing your needs
What do you need: a proofreader, an editor, a subeditor, a copywriter, or maybe someone who can repurpose print material and optimise it for online reading? You might need some combination of these things, which is where an all-rounder can come in useful.
You may find these services particularly useful if you’ve got content written by multiple authors or by people using English as a second language. But any content, whoever’s written it, can benefit from a second pair of eyes. Too often we don’t see our own typos.
Send us a link to your website, or your offline documents. We’ll be happy to suggest a scope of work and quote you for it. You can then decide whether you want to go ahead.
The editing process
We can start from live web pages, internal documents, or new drafts in Microsoft Word, or a combination. We’ll copy it all into Microsoft Word before working on it, because that way we can use change tracking and comments to make it easy for you to see what we’re doing.
We’ll start by submitting a small sample – a page or two – for your feedback. This way we can make sure we’re all in agreement as to the extent and nature of the edits before going on to do the rest of the work.
Editing, rewriting, or writing new content?
It’s often a mixture. You may have some content that’s near-perfect, some that needs revision, and some that exists only in rough notes or has yet to be drafted. Writing from scratch or from rough notes will take longer, but the process is much the same: we start with a sample, rework it until you’re happy with it, and then apply the same treatment to the rest of the content.
Editorial style guide
You’ll need an editorial style guide. This is a document that sets out, as a minimum, the rules for things like capitalisation, hyphenation, how to write numbers and dates, and the spellings of all those words in the English language that have more than one correct spelling which occur in your site’s copy. (There are lots of such words: email/e-mail, organisation/organization, adviser/advisor to give a few random examples.)
Your site visitors do notice little inconsistencies in these matters – or at least some of them do – even if only subliminally. And if they see too many of these little inconsistencies, they’ll probably form a vaguely negative impression about your organisation and be less inclined to trust you. An editorial style guide brings consistency and thus credibility to your content. It also makes the editor’s job objective rather than subjective.
If you already have an editorial style guide, that’s great. If not we’ll help you to produce one. It’s always time well spent.