Writing Your Website Copy Well

This may seem like an obvious statement to some, but to others it isn’t. Spelling correctly on your website is a must, as is punctuation and capitalization.

Too often, I run into words spelled incorrectly on websites. No one is immune to this. I’ve been guilty of it a couple of times myself, but I’ve gone back and corrected it. Some things that are often spelled wrong include words with two vowels in a row, leaving out vowels, words with two identical consonants in a row and infrequently used words.

Also, there are words that are homophones, or sound the same, that are correctly spelled words, but used in the wrong context. Watch out for hear versus here. Also know when to use it’s instead of its, lose instead of loose, then and than, there, their and they’re. Watch out for two, to and too, were where and we’re, your and you’re.

Although this will not catch homophones, you might try checking your spelling for your website in a word processor like Microsoft Word. Another option is to use [http://www.spellcheck.net].

Capitalization is also important. The first letter of every sentence should be capitalized. The first letter of any name should be as well. Every instance of the word “I” should be capitalized.

Correct punctuation is essential. Every sentence should have a period, question mark or exclamation mark. Please, please, don’t give every other sentence on your website an exclamation mark. Use it sparingly.

If you are quoting someone who has something misspelled, or any kind of error, you should not correct it. If it’s a misspelling, after the word write (sic) in parentheses, just like I have there. That word is Latin, meaning “thus” or “so.” In other words, you know that it is spelled wrong, but that was how the source material had it.

If you notice over time that you are missing some errors on your website write-ups, it may be time to get someone to help you. Grab a friend who was an English major, or one who worked for their school paper. Or if you’re lucky, you may know someone who is a professional writer who is willing to help you out.

No matter how you go about it, get those errors fixed. Having them on your website is a sign of unprofessionalism, so it is worth your time to fix them all.