Painful though they may be, proofreading and editing are absolutely necessities if you want your legal website’s content to rise above the rest. Even when the copy appears to be well-written, overall, the message you are trying to get across may be lost entirely if your copy has not been thoroughly proofread and edited. Of course proofreading and editing cover basic grammar, spelling, typos and general readability, but their importance really cannot be overstated. Even one small typo or grammatical error can leave your potential clients frustrated, annoyed, and….gone. Your potential client may see a misspelled word, and decide your firm does not pay attention to detail in other areas as well. Perhaps even more so than other genres, legal websites should always be error-free and should never, ever have any factually incorrect content. It is imperative that the copy is clear and concise and flows in an easy-to-follow manner.
Some General Proofreading Tips for Your Legal Copy
- Always take your time—the time spent will pay off in increased website traffic and more clients for your firm.
- Use your word processing program’s spell check, but don’t rely 100% upon it; the human eye can often catch mistakes your program didn’t.
- Read your web copy out loud to yourself—or someone else, and read from a physical copy rather than your computer screen. You will be amazed at the errors you will catch from a paper copy as opposed to a computer monitor.
- Forget your’re an attorney, and pretend you know nothing about the topic. Do you understand what you’re reading from this new viewpoint? Does it make sense?
- Once you’ve read, re-read, and re-read again from your paper copy, ask yourself if the content conveyed your intended purpose from a legal standpoint.
- Don’t forget to proofread important areas such as spelling of names or legal citations; these are often overlooked on legal websites, but remember that your clients are savvy and will likely catch mistakes you might not expect them to—don’t take any chances!
Additionally, in order to maximize your legal SEO results you must always remember that reading on a computer screen strains the eyes. When we read online our tendency is to jump from heading to heading and scan text in order to find relevant and pertinent information. Your legal clients will be looking for user-friendly language, paragraph titles, bulleted lists and summaries—anything that makes their research to choose an attorney who best suits their needs easier, faster, and less painful.
Perception is Everything
Your legal website copy is of utmost importance in the overall perception of your law firm. Potential clients will look at your website and determine whether or not they want to pick up the phone and call your number. If those phone calls are important to your law firm, proofreading and editing are key elements to ensuring your potential clients comprehend and perceive your law firm’s website in the way you want them to. Your number one goal is to educate and inform your potential clients, then entice them to become your newest, most satisfied clients.