Tag Archives: copyediting

Top Copywriting Mistakes to Avoid at All Costs

Some people naturally have a flair for harnessing the power of the written word. Some are born salespeople, and could sell ice to the Eskimos. However, there are some pitfalls that even a great writer needs to be on the lookout for.

Poor Copywriting Grammar, Spelling, and/or Punctuation

There are some hard and fast rules learned in English class. Others are a matter of style, and won’t get your paper covered in the teacher’s red ink At least you’ll have the “matter of style” defense to rest on if you get points off for a difference in style. On the other hand, the black and white errors that accompany spelling and punctuation stand out to the well-trained eye like the commission of an English felony. With sirens blaring, the spelling and grammar police will penalize you harshly.

I remember a client of mine who had horrendous spelling. It was as if a five-year old as trying to phonetically spell the words. I have to admit that I made an assumption and judged his intelligence based upon his poor spelling habits. It seemed to me that anyone whose spelling was so poor couldn’t be very bright or well read. As I got to know him better, I discovered he was very sharp and did read quite a bit. Not just his child’s bedtime stories either, he read lengthy literary works on various non-fiction topics. While it changed my assumptions about those who are spelling-challenged, I still cringe at certain spelling errors.

Ignoring SEO Best Practices

SEO best practices encompasses many factors. While the techniques involved are constantly changing, there are some constants to keep in mind.

  • Use original content. If you spin an article and it doesn’t pass Copyscape, you can get penalized. It’s not enough to just change some words around. While your time may not allow you to write articles from scratch, you need to properly reword your article when rewriting existing content. If you have doubts about originality, Copyscape is a good investment a 5 cents a search. There are also free plagiarism checkers available online.
  • Add images. Caution must also be used with images. If you don’t create your own, be sure you use royalty-free images or follow proper royalty and copyright rules. Your images should be interesting enough to catch the audience’s eye and properly optimized with alt tags and meta descriptions.
  • Find the right keyword balance. Currently, keyword stuffing should be avoided, it may get you penalized. Your language should flow naturally and not use keywords awkwardly. Your top keywords should be used in headings and as close to the beginning of sentences as possible.
  • Write an effective headline. The headline is what motivates your audience to click on the link and read further. If the headline isn’t compelling, the rest of what you write won’t matter, since it won’t be seen. There are various techniques used in headline writing, such as creating intrigue by posing a question, using strong adjectives, offering tips / how-to’s, and others.

I’ll be following up with some further tips in a future post. In the meantime, if you’d like to share some of your pet peeves, please feel free to sound off below.