If you’re new to the world of writing and publishing content, you might also be new to how the process of web content editing works.
It sounds simple enough. A writer drafts a post, an editor reads it to make sure there aren’t any errors, it gets published. Simple, right?
Not so fast.
One thing that’s key to understand is that there are multiple types of editing. For the purposes of writing web content, we’ll stick to understanding what copy editing and proofreading are and where they fit into the overall publishing schedule.
What is copy editing?
Copy editing is the first part of the editing process. During this stage, your draft, or “copy,” is read and edited for big-picture things, like organization, coherency, sentence structure and clarity. Copy editors get the copy ready to go to the designers, which, in addition to the above list, includes checking for things like grammar, spelling, punctuation and sentence structure. However, they aren’t the final eyes on the project.
You need to have your posts copy edited before making final decisions on design, such as what images to include and where to put them.
What is proofreading?
Proofreading is the final stage of the editing process, and it happens right before you hit “publish.” Proofreading basically is quality checking your post before it gets sent out for publishing. Proofreaders are checking to make sure the copy editors didn’t miss anything (spoiler: they usually do).
Do you need to hire a web content editor?
Ideally, yes, you’ll have someone else copy edit and proofread your work for you. When we write, we know what we want to say, and our brains tend to trick our eyes into believing all the words we want to say are actually there on the page. More often than not, though, we miss words and make other typographical errors. We also tend to gloss over explanations since we know what we’re talking about.
Having a copy editor who isn’t as familiar with the subject as you are can be extremely helpful for pointing out areas where you could be more clear or add more information to make sure the reader fully understands what you’re trying to say. To get this type of feedback, you don’t necessarily need someone with a strong writing background. Anyone who is willing to read your drafts and tell you honestly what doesn’t make sense can be your stand-in copy editor.
If you happen to have someone who is well-versed in grammar, typography and punctuation on hand, let him or her be the final set of eyes on your document.
If you’re trying to rank for SEO and make money from your blog, it could be worth your money to hire a content agency to edit and proofread your posts before they go live. A professional copy editor and proofreader will also save you a lot of time. Consider that it can take anywhere from 2 to 10 hours, or even longer, to copy edit and proofread an article to get it to that perfectly polished stage; do you really have time for that?
If you don’t have anyone on hand, and you don’t want to hire anyone for this task, then at least take breaks between writing, copy editing, designing and proofreading your post. This will give your brain a chance to catch those mistakes and lessen the likelihood that your readers will find glaring errors.
If you would rather have an expert copy editor and proofreader on hand than do it yourself, contact us!