If your website (or blog) is full of incomplete sentences, misspellings, and misplaced modifiers (yes, I'm a bit of a word-nerd, and yes they matter), your customers will have a hard time buying what you're selling.
Look, I'm not saying your website must be error free. Heck, I'm sure someone will find a missing comma or apostrophe somewhere on my website. But the online and/or printed content you share with your customers has to be readable ... at the very least.
Hiring a professional writer is the fastest way to get the work done right (assuming you hire a skilled writer... cough-cough). But, if you want to tackle some (or all) of the writing projects yourself, here are a few tips for making sure your master grammar skills pass the test:
- Use spell check, but read it anyway: I cannot tell you how many times I have caught major errors that spell check missed. Usually, this happens because I think faster than I type and I type the wrong word. Spell check is great for catching cursory errors, but you should always edit your work-- at least twice.
- Download Grammarly: I have the free version and I'm not a spokesperson of any kind for the company. I just happen to like that I can edit my work while I'm working online. Office spell checks don't do that for you. You can purchase the advanced Grammarly app online. They offer more extensive tools and other features, which I have yet to try out. As with your basic spell check, reread your work.
- Printable tips: Consider printing off a few of the grammar rules or spellings you miss a lot and keep them taped to your computer. It's an easy way to remind yourself when you're on a deadline.
- Use your Active voice: Your active voice is more powerful voice than passive. Your sentences should (most of the time) be in control. Instead of saying, "The dog was hit by a black car," Say, "A black car hit the dog."
- Take a break: Once you've written your content, take a break. Walk away from your page and eat a snack, go for a walk or make a phone call. Give yourself at least 15 minutes before you look at the work again. Fresh eyes are golden for catching funky sentences or unclear tangents.
- Read your work out loud: One of the best ways to spruce up your writing is to read what you wrote out loud. It's especially helpful if you have someone to read to. Speaking the words may make you read it a bit slower so you can catch mistakes. Hearing the sentences out loud can highlight awkward sentences too.
Taking care of your content is so important because it shows your customers and clients that you are smart and that you care about your work. Take a few extra minutes before hitting publish so you can present your best self.