Editing services

Services

The cost of the following services depends on the size of your site and how much work it needs. When you contact me we can discuss the work you have in mind. I may ask for a sample of your content so that I can make an accurate assessment of the amount of time involved before giving you an estimate of my fee.

Please bear in mind that, as an editor, I can recommend changes to improve your site, but the content remains yours. It is up to you whether or not you accept all – or any – of my recommendations.

Site assessment

A site report is usually the first step towards improving your website. In it, I provide an analysis of:

  • content: Is it well written for the web? Is the grammar and spelling correct? Does it make sense? Does it have effective SEO (can search engines such as Google find it)?
  • structure: Is the content divided up appropriately? Do links and navigation labels help a visitor to find what they are looking for?
  • standards: Is the code valid and efficient? Will it work on a range of browsers? Is the site accessible to people with disabilities? (If you don’t think this is important, read my article Access all areas.)

The site report gives you an idea of the size of the task ahead, and includes recommendations for action.

Substantive editing

A document which has been substantively edited meets the needs of the reader while preserving the writer’s individual voice or corporate style. A substantive edit takes into account:

  • the writer’s intent: the business purpose of the document
  • the reader: who they are and what they can be expected to do with the information.

Structure

Editing the structure of a document means checking that:

  • the reader has enough information – in the document itself or in linked material – to complete their task
  • it is logically organised
  • internal navigation – headings and links within the document – are helpful
  • illustrative material such as tables, charts and illustrations are appropriate and clear.

If the work to be edited is a suite of web pages – perhaps a whole site – rather than a single piece of content, I will also review:

  • the relationship between pages – for example, whether content is repeated where it could more effectively be linked
  • how readers will find their way to each piece of content.

Language and style

In a language and style edit, I identify and suggest alternatives for content which is:

  • repetitive, contradictory, irrelevant or potentially offensive
  • awkwardly phrased
  • inconsistent in style or tone.

Fact checking

As an editor, I am not responsible for the accuracy of statements you make. If you explicitly request fact checking, I will:

  • seek to identify one or more credible references in support of each statement of fact in your content, and
  • identify those statements which are incorrect or cannot be supported.

Note that fact checking is a time-consuming, and therefore expensive, process.

Copy editing

A document which has been effectively copy edited is accurate, clear and consistent. When copy editing a single page or a whole site, I carry out the following checks.

Grammar, spelling and punctuation

  • Ensure that text is grammatically correct, and that the writer’s expression is clear.
  • Apply the site’s editorial style sheet (create one if it doesn’t exist).
  • Check other style issues (punctuation, abbreviations etc) against an agreed style guide.
  • Check spelling against an agreed dictionary.

Cross-references

  • Each link (whether text or image) is self-explanatory and leads to the correct target.
  • Other cross references (for example, to figures and images) are clear and correct.

Accessibility

  • Check that the alt text for each image (the text which replaces the image where it is unavailable) is appropriate.
  • Edit captions for images and multimedia.

Metadata

Review or create a title, description and keyword metadata for each page.

Appearance

  • Styles have been applied consistently and appropriately.
  • Heading hierarchy is maintained.

Proofreading

Ideally, this is the final step before a web page goes live, in a preview site where you can see content which is finished but not live. If your site doesn’t have a preview option, it can be done immediately after the page goes live.

In proofreading a web page, I check that:

  • it has no spelling or grammatical errors
  • it is consistent with the site’s editorial style sheet
  • each link is self-explanatory and leads to the correct target
  • it works in all major browsers (Edge, Chrome, Firefox).

Other services

Content strategy

If you are developing a new website, or undertaking a major rebuild of an existing one, I can develop a content strategy which will allow you to ensure that your content remains:

  • consistent
  • relevant
  • current
  • findable, and
  • accessible.

Training and mentoring

I can provide customised training and support for individuals or groups. Even experienced writers benefit from learning more about the particular challenges of writing for the web.