Editing and proofreading website content is a key step in the content creation process. After writing your website content, it’s a good idea to set it aside for a day or two and return to it with a fresh mind for editing and proofreading.
Let’s look more closely at some of the things to consider when editing and proofreading website content.
Editing website content – the first step
The first step in the process is editing the website content. Editing involves making the content more clear and concise. Editing website content can include:
- Replacing complicated words with simpler equivalents
- Eliminating unnecessary words
- Removing jargon and corporate buzzwords
- Shortening sentences to make them easier to read
- Moving sentences so the text flows logically.
When editing website content, also consider the reader. For example, if you sell technical products or services, and you expect some readers won’t understand advanced terminology, you will want to define terms for them.
After you have done this, you can check how readable the content by using readability tools in Microsoft Word or online. A popular system for measuring readability is called Flesch Reading Ease. It calculates a readability score of 1 to 100 based the average number of words per sentence and syllables per word. The higher these averages, the lower the readability. For example, a newspaper might have a score of 60, while an academic paper might have a score of 20 on the readability scale. When analysing your website content, aim for at least 60.
You can find an online readability checker here.
If your products or services are more complex, the words and sentences will tend to be longer, so readability will be lower. You will want to keep this in mind when editing website content.
To learn more, read How to Make Your Business Writing More Readable.
Proofreading website content – the last step
After the editing stage, it’s time for proofreading your website content. Compared to editing, proofreading looks at the finer details such as spelling, grammar, punctuation and consistency. Using a spelling and grammar check will help find some errors but don’t rely on it too much when proofreading website content. Consistency issues are important to consider by not so easy to find. For example, if you capitalise each word in one heading level, you should keep this consistent across the website. The formatting of the text should also be consistent across the website. If each page uses a different font, size or spacing, this will distract readers from your message.
To correct any remaining errors, it’s usually best to proofread the text using the website content editor. In WordPress, for example, choose to Publish and Update the page after making corrections. Then go to the live web page to ensure all errors and inconsistencies have been picked up. It’s also good to print the page from the live website and go through it one more time before completing the website content proofreading.