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Grammar Counts: Tips for writing clean content for the web

As internet speeds increase and people begin to communicate more and more via abbreviated methods such as text message and Twitter, I’ve noticed a decline in attention to grammatical correctness. In the arena of web development, I’ve also noted that, all too often, there is an attitude that correct grammar is not of great importance anymore. When “selfie” is the word of the year, I suppose I can understand where this comes from; however, I know employers who have refused to interview applicants due to resume typos, and vendors who didn’t get my business because of poorly written proposals. I’d like to remind my readers that there are still plenty of grammar sticklers like myself out in the world. It is essential to have clean, correct writing on your website, in your marketing, and in all communications related to your brand.

So what if you are a small business person who wears many hats, including that of copywriter, but you don’t hold an English degree or don’t feel you’ve mastered the rules of grammar and punctuation? There are plenty of things you can do to help clean up your writing. Here are some ideas:

  1. Read your writing out loud. Yes, I know, this can be awkward, especially if you share office space. However, often you will be able to hear poorly phrased sentences when you read them out loud that you might not catch just looking at your screen.
  2. Read your writing backward. What? How will that help, you ask? It will help you read what is actually on the page, rather than what you think you wrote. It will also make it easier to look at each word separately, rather than as a part of your whole idea, so that you can catch typos. Read each sentence in the standard left to right pattern, but start with your last sentence then read the one before it, and so on until you have read your entire draft.
  3. Leave enough time. If possible, it is best to proof and edit your work after you have had some time away from it. Leave enough time that you can shift gears for a time and then return to your writing with fresh eyes. This might not always be possible with things like correspondence, but is of critical importance with efforts such as proposal writing and marketing outreach.
  4. Be willing to recruit readers. While it might not always be possible, having another person read your writing is particularly helpful in catching typos, misspellings, and other small errors that are difficult to find in one’s own writing. If that person is a strong writer, they might also be able to assist you with reworking your sentences while still maintaining your ideas. It could be someone else in your office who checks things over for you, or, you can often hire a proofreader at a fraction of the cost of hiring someone to write a full draft.

Take the time to write well for your business. Or, if you can’t, consider outsourcing your writing needs to an agency like Champ that will do the writing, editing and proofing for you. The quality of your content will impact the success of your business. Take the opportunity to make the best impression possible.