Most publishers have long accepted the need to use editors for hard-copy publications. Nobody wants a typo or other embarrassing mistake immortalised on paper.
But the ease with which we can now publish, and modify, electronic text often discourages organisations from using professional editors for their websites. I consider this a grave mistake — and not just because I make my living partly from editing websites.
‘Editor, schmeditor,’ I hear you say. ‘If somebody finds a mistake after we go live, it’s easily fixed. That’s the beauty of the internet.’
Well, yes and no. While e-publishing has removed some of the apprehension that editors used to feel on publication day, there are still good reasons to have your website professionally edited, and here are three of them.
Reason 1: Correctness = credibility
I know, it’s an old chestnut — but it’s true. Mountains of research have proven that readers are less likely to trust print materials that contain typographical or grammatical errors.
And web research shows the same thing. For example, Stanford University’s Web Credibility Project, urges web publishers to avoid errors, even small ones; ‘Typographical errors and broken links hurt a site’s credibility more than most people imagine.’
Using an editor is an easy way to make sure your website is free from errors of spelling, punctuation and grammar.
Reason 2: Good editing increases your site’s usability and findability
Editors with web experience understand navigation, how to link between pages, how to use headings on screen, and a whole lot of other web-specific stuff. They can increase your hits by using frequently searched words in your copy, and help with SEO (search engine optimisation) by researching and entering metadata keywords for you.
Reason 3: You can get exactly what you need
Experienced editors offer a range of services. They can just do a quick copy edit to remove errors. They can rewrite sentences to make them clearer and nicer to read. They can check that your facts are correct. They can even do a ‘substantive’ edit, where they look over your whole site and suggest what you could add or subtract or re-organise. You’re the client, so you choose.
It’s never too late to edit
If this post has left you feeling a little uneasy about your own website, contact us and we can get you on the path to editorial righteousness.