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Write or wrong: 5 common errors you need to cut out of your web copy

“Grammar bullies” are ill-reputed on the likes of social media sites and messaging services, where you are probably in too much of a rush to check that your words are always grammatically immaculate. However, you do need to diligent with the text on your company’s website and social media pages.

Slipping up here can risk your firm looking sloppy and unprofessional. You don’t want visitors to assume that the same applies to your products or services! Here are some textual errors especially worth avoiding.

Leaving two spaces after periods

If you’re old enough to have been regularly writing at a time when inputting double spaces after full stops was standard practice, now’s the time to exorcise that habit. These days, guidelines call for just one space to follow a period – or, indeed, an exclamation point or question mark – ending a sentence.

Doing double duty on the spaces is a subtle practice that, nonetheless, could leave your brand looking old-fashioned rather than current and relevant.

Not being disciplined with your style

Your writing “style” is not exactly the same as its “tone”, a subject to which we will later proceed. Style concerns the more technical elements of your prose, such as whether you use the Oxford comma or shift to sentence case – in other words, being selective with your capitalising – for subheadings.

Letting your usual style slip partway through text can look untidy, but your business might have its own style guide to which you can make sure all of your corporate copy adheres.

Being inconsistent in tone

If “style” is the science of your text, then “tone” is more like its art. However, you will certainly recognise, say, a lighthearted or professional tone when you see it, as will your readers.

You should verify that, as your text unfolds in front of their eyes, it comes across like it’s always the same person speaking rather than a cobbled-together patchwork of multiple people’s voices. Chopping and changing the tone can somewhat muddle up your brand identity.

Using gender-biased terminology

Once upon a time, “he” was habitually used to refer to a non-specified person or “mankind” accounted for both the male and female contingents of humanity. However, that time isn’t now.

Where you can, which should be possible in nearly all instances, adopt gender-neutral terms. You don’t want to alienate, however inadvertently, about half of your potential customer base.

Letting sentences run on for too long

Ever found yourself reading a sentence only to find yourself needing to take a breather before you’ve technically finished it? That’s a telltale sign of an overly long sentence. As sentences like these can be hard to follow, too, you should – as a general rule – break up any sentences spanning more than two lines.

There aren’t always hard and fast rules when it comes to writing well, but our marketing copywriters know what works and what doesn’t – and can tap into this expertise to write engrossing copy for your company.

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