Proofreading and Copy Editing Online

By: Rumki Sen

When one is in a creative state, rarely can one also be in a detail state. Thus, mistakes in correct grammar, spelling and continuity of all details, may happen. Also, proofreading our own work can be very difficult, for all of us. This is because the same mental processes that went into composition are the ones we use to correct our work. Hence, so many websites are launched every year but so many of them fail to work perfectly as these sites have not been tested with a Proofreader's fresh eyes and impartial knowledge of English. Proofreading and Copyediting process involves reading the content for english grammar, spelling, story, flow and understandability. It also involves checking consistency in visual design, testing links, and ensuring accurate reading. Let us now discuss about some points for Proofreading and Editing Websites and Online Documents.

Tips for Editing Websites and Online Documents:

1) Create consistent text formatting:

Check whether the overall "look" of text on a page presents any obvious problems with various common fonts and type sizes. At this stage of the process, basic HTML skills are very valuable to the online editor in order to go into the HTML document and make minor changes directly , if required.

2) Check that colors are applied consistently throughout the work:

Watch out for arbitrary shifts in color. If link colors are specified in your HTML document, check that these colors are applied consistently throughout the work.

3) See whether links are working and going to the correct destinations:

Manually check all or most links to ensure that all links lead where they promise.

4) Ensure that text is readable:

Avoid "overabbreviation".

Use only standard, easily read symbols etc

5) Check that identifying information is present and consistent

6) Correct errors in grammar and spelling:

Check for subject-verb agreement, Sentence fragments, Run-on sentences and other obvious grammatical errors. In case of checking spelling errors, read what is actually on the page, not what you think is there.

7) Check for punctuation:

Punctuation error is the most common mistake people tend to make. There are various books available on correct punctuation. If you are not confident in case of punctuation, get a book for your guidance.

8) Make sure names are spelled correctly:

The single most important mistake is the misspelling of names. Going to whatever length needed to see that names and titles are correct is important.

9) Look the content from the readers point of view:

Reading the story completely through the first time, without marking or changing anything. Thats the way the reader is going to read the story, and thats the way the copy editor should read it, too.

10) Look for answers:

When editing a story for the first time, looking for answers to the following questions is important:- Is this a complete story? Does it consist of important facts? Does it give all of the necessary information to the reader? Are the quotes interesting? Any information or necessary quotations are missing? Does the writer omit information on the assumption that the reader already knows it? Does the story read smoothly? Does the information flow from one paragraph to the next? Do the quotes add to and support the previous information? Are the facts and quotes in descending order of importance?

11) Make sure the text is optimized for search engine rankings:

Check whether META tags (for description and keywords), Title tag and Image Alt tag have been used appropriately for the website content. Your text should also contain the main and related keywords/ phrases for your site. This will make the audience find your site on the Internet.

The basic processes, are much the same for online documents and print media - checking for correctness (spelling, grammar, and punctuation), consistency of capitalization and other mechanics, accuracy of information, and completeness. Creating consistent text formatting, Checking consistency in visual design, Testing for proper working of website links, Knowledge of HTML and its application (when required) are the additional responsibilities for an online editor.

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