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Editing vs. Proofreading: What’s the Difference?

Reading Time: 3 minutes
right hand writing with a black pen in a notebook

“Done is better than perfect.”

Chances are, you’ve heard this statement before. While this mindset might work in some situations, it for sure does notbelong in website copywriting.

Hey, we get it. You’re busy and all you want to do is get your website up and running to start taking advantage of its benefits. Here’s the truth: your copy must be clean and clear, or you’ll lose many of the potential customers your website attracts.

Don’t let “clean and clear” scare you. All it takes to ensure your copy is the best it can be is a bit of editing and proofreading—two very different, but equally important, steps in the copywriting process.

Editing: Removing Inconsistency & Telling Your Story

The purpose of editing is to ensure your web copy is delivering a clear and consistent message while not swaying away from your story. Editing must come first. During this step, try your best to stick to the message, instead of looking for spelling and grammar concerns.

  1. Is your copy consistent? Take a few minutes to read through all your copy. Is there a word or phrase that seems out of place? Are you using the same point of view on each page? Do you jump back and forth between ideas? Inconsistencies will jump right out at you. When they do, fix them on the spot.
  2. Are you writing enough? There’s a sweet spot where you’ve delivered everything your reader needs to know without giving away too much. This is your goal for each page. For example, does your service page tell your reader everything they need to decide it’s the right choice for them, without giving away the secret only you can deliver? If so, it’s ready.
  3. Are you sharing enough of you? For your copy to truly connect with your audience, you must infuse it with you. Make sure you’re sharing your unique message throughout your copy. Remember, you’re writing copy for a human to read.

Don’t forget to check for formatting inconsistencies as well. For example, make sure you’re using headers and plenty of whitespace to give your reader’s eyes a break. Make your copy easy to read across your entire site.

Proofreading: The Icing on the Cake

Just like the chocolate icing on a Texas sheet cake (delish!), proofreading is the final touch before you serve your copy to your audience. This is the part of the process where you take the time to check your spelling and grammar, as well as how your copy reads.

Start by reading through your copy again, this time checking technical elements including spelling and grammar. Pay attention to how your copy reads, changing and simplifying text to make it easier to read as you go along.

While we will shout from the rooftops that what matters most is making human-to-human connections, we’re no stranger to—nor are we against—the use of tech and AI to make our lives easier. This is especially true when it comes to proofreading. Grammarly and Hemingway are great tools to use for this step, as they show misspelled words, grammar issues and more.

Don’t Lose Your Potential Customers Over Easy-to-Fix Mistakes

Website copy riddled with typos, big blocks of text and inconsistent messaging won’t work. In fact, you’ll lose potential customers over it. Take the time to thoroughly edit and proofread before you publish. To learn more about editing and proofreading, send us a message.

Erin Larson