Gone are the days of speaking casually on a blog. Nowadays, any and every content creator is making an effort to write in a professional manner. Why? Mainly, it’s because of the impression that well-written, concise, and professionally-presented content makes. This type of copywriting is more likely to build a sense of trust and expertise than content that is written and presented in an informal manner. Think about it. Who would you, as a reader, trust more—the website design expert whose blog content is riddled with typos and slang, or the expert whose blog content is clear, easy to understand, and links to other reputable sources? You don’t need to be the Lisa Simpson of grammar when it comes to your own articles and information, but you should present yourself with the same level of professionalism on a blog as you would in person. That said, here are five tips for editing content on your small business blog that will help you keep your brand and personal image looking polished, informed, and trust-worthy.
Check your spelling, grammar, and punctuation.
There is a difference between ‘you’re’ and ‘your,’ ‘affect’ and ‘effect,’ and, of course, ‘they’re,’ ‘there,’ and ‘their.’ For those moments when you’re unsure about which word is the correct one to use or have questions about spelling, it’s perfectly fine to rely on a tool for assistance. For editing our own blog content, we like and use Grammarly, which features an extension that you can install and use to guide your writing and editing.
One thing to note, however, Grammarly sometimes conflicts with WordPress. It’s annoying, but for the most part, the extension is very useful and helpful. You just have to keep an eye on it when you’re using it within the Text Editor of WordPress.
Another great source that even the master of writing, Stephen King, swears by is the book The Elements of Style. A requirement of every journalism student, this guidebook should also be a part of the library of anyone who writes and edits content (even small business owners).
Word variety is a challenge for even the most experienced writer. Don’t feel bad if you hit this roadblock, too. Thesaurus.com is a nifty resource for finding alternative words. You can only use the word ‘awesome’ so many times in a single blog post before you wind up sounding like a teenage skateboarder circa 1984. So when you’re editing content on your small business blog, look for opportunities to mix up your language use.
Double check all names.
Our sister company, Maintainn, which provides WordPress support and maintenance for small business owners, is a perfect example. As you can see, the brand uses two Ns at the end of its name. Quite frankly, we find it offensive when someone writes about the company and doesn’t adhere to their branding. It’s disrespectful.
When you’re writing or editing, don’t automatically assume that you know (or your blogger employee knows) how to spell a person’s or brand’s name. The easiest way to double check is to simply go to their website. How do they spell it?
Be mindful of things like CamelCase, such as in our own brand name eWebscapes, and the use of the ampersand (&) vs actually spelling out the word ‘and.’ Again, it’s just about being respectful of that brand or person, which is especially important if you would ever like to partner or collaborate with them.
SEO it now, not later.
In this blog post at WebDevStudios, the author talks about how expensive SEO as an afterthought can be. It is more efficient to plot SEO prior to writing and publishing your website content. Know your keywords, blog post or page title, and URL slug in advance. In fact, we recommend deciding all of that before clicking the Add New button and creating a blog post or page. Planning your SEO strategy in advance not only strengthens your content optimization, but it will also help to give you some structure as you write.
Read, read, read.
Good writers (and editors) know that in order to be great, they need to read. You should be reading what others in your industry are writing. Heck, read what your competitors are writing. Other people’s articles can prove to be inspiring. They can also be examples of what not to do, but learning from the mistakes of others is still learning, right? Read daily and take mental notes of what you can do to improve and better edit the content on your small business website and blog.
Writing and editing content on your small business blog can be simple tasks with the right tools and processes in place. Take the time now to establish and streamline your editorial workflow. Your small business website is bound to benefit from the effort. Your readers will, too.