There’s no doubt that content creation is a messy process. Thank God drafts exist, right? There are times when after reading and editing our own pieces, we still can’t seem to make our text sound better. Trust me, even professional website content writers need help with that occasionally.
The truth of the matter is, here at 411Writers, we have a fantastic QA team on board that makes sure what we write is up to a great standard. But what makes proofreading such an art in itself? Let’s try to find the answer below.
First of All, Who Is Proofreading For?
Let’s see if this article is for you
If you are a website content writer, you have probably experienced the struggle of finding and correcting your own mistakes. We’re talking typos, misspelled & misused words, punctuation mistakes, grammatical errors that Grammarly often misses too, heavy constructions, and so on.
But wait, what is proofreading and what should I expect? Now, these are questions we’ve already answered. Give this a quick read and find out.
So,… here I am going to focus on what’s essential for a proofreading service to be not just average, but excellent. If the following points below are present, you’ve covered all the bases of proofreading.
Whether you are looking into offering it as a service yourself or you want to be able to spot a good proofreader, this article is for you.
Grammar, Spelling & Punctuation
Can’t go anywhere without them
Typos can lose you money. Not to mention, that those types of mistakes are often associated with sloppiness. It’s definitely not an impression you want to make on your potential and existing clients.
A truly great editor must first have some exceptional knowledge of grammar, spelling, and punctuation rules. It’s an imperative here. There’s nothing more helpful to a writer than an extra pair of eyes.
On the Hunt for Inconsistency
Chasing away discrepancy like your life depends on it
Eliminating spelling and grammar mistakes, for the most part, is the easy part. Even when present, they are way less harmful compared to inconsistency. Be it in the tone, voice, font and size, capitalization and so on. This can confuse the reader.
A great feature of good proofreading services is receiving a list of suggestions on how you can make the text better. You can still keep it in the way you originally created it or take into consideration even just a few changes. Yet, having a professional go through your text is not like giving it to a friend.
The Devil Is In the Details
Details content creators often glance over
Have you heard the saying “write first, edit later”? It’s a piece of advice that most writers follow religiously. It can be very encouraging to the content production process. However, after writing a lot, sometimes the last thing you want to do is go over it again. And even when you do, spotting your own little mistakes is so much harder than it is for someone else.
Someone with a fresh mind and proper proofreading skills, that is.
In a traditional sense, for example in book publishing, proofreading is among the last stages of the process. Basically, an editor will go over the book and look closely to each word, letter, and comma.
In light of this, I want to mention something else that’s quite important. Sometimes, there are instances in contemporary digital marketing where grammar rules are intentionally broken. Content writing is not a fixed science. It’s not black and white. And usually, the end justifies the means.
Why Online Tools Are Not Always Enough
Real people are better than machines, it turns out
Okay, so by now some of you are probably thinking “what about all these free grammar checking tools available online?” Sure, probably there isn’t a website content writer who doesn’t make use of Grammarly, Hemingway, Scribens, etc. As an SEO content creator myself, I sometimes resort to some of them. Yet, often all they do is spit out a machine-generated response to your text.
Creativity and nuances of meaning can sometimes look like mistakes.
Here’s a snippet from an article by the Apartment Therapy on carpet care with pets:
“We have dogs. We also have carpet. Sometimes these two things don’t go together very well. Especially when messy dogs stain our carpet. Here are some simple tips for keeping your carpets clean if you live with furry friends.”
According to the online-based writing editor Hemingway, this text is perfect – it features no lengthy & hard-to-read sentences, no grammar mistakes. However, it sounds stripped, it lacks colorful expressions and relies on basic structures.
It’s like a telegram. You know, messages that people used to send to each other when separated by long distance. You often had to say a lot with just a few words.
Let’s check out a second version of the short text:
“As dog owners who also like spending some buck on a nice rug, we sometimes find these two don’t go together very well. However, the tips you’ll find in this article are a great starting point for keeping your carpets clean around your furry pal’s muddy paws.”
The message is the same. Yet, according to the online tool, the text contains weak points. Which one do you like better?
On Fine-Tuning Your Copy
Sharpening your texts for ultimate success
As much as I wish I could tell you that after being proofread your copy will automatically be flawless, I can’t do that. Editors are not magicians. If the content at hand is poorly written, a proofreading service won’t make a difference. If it makes no sense, to begin with, fixing grammar and spelling will be of little to no help.
Good content is good even before it gets edited.
If you don’t think you have the skill set to conquer Content Creation, 411Writers can help you with that. Besides, proofreading is also included in our services so you won’t need to be looking for one. Anyway, what’s your take on it? What do you consider essential when it comes to proofreading? Let me know in the comment section.