My dirty copywriting secret? I use a grammar checker!
It’s true. When you spend as much time as I do typing and reading, words can begin to blur together and lose meaning — and that’s before the evening glass of wine — it’s hard to catch every tiny writing error.
That’s right. I’m not perfect. My guess is that you aren’t either. That’s just fine.
While I prefer to work with an editor, that’s not always possible. When I’m whipping up a blog in half an hour or some social media posts in 15 minutes, I need to be able to write, proofread, and edit my work. That’s why I use Grammarly, a grammar editor.
Grammarly’s like that annoying manager who watches over your shoulder while you type. It gives you a slap on the wrist when you accidentally write “to” instead of “too”. Your average word processor’s spell checker won’t even catch little things like that (believe me, I’ve made some very embarrassing mistakes).
Another imperfection of mine? That damn comma. Yes, I know where they should be, but for some reason, I have a trigger finger for the comma key and it shows up in the worst places.
I’m also Canadian, and when I write content with American spelling, I can’t help but add extra letters here and there. Colours, favourite…all those words where we add extra Us to.
That’s why Grammarly is such a help. It catches EVERYTHING. I use the paid version, which works with my word processing applications, emails (yes, it catches my spelling mistakes when I’m typing too fast), and even in WordPress where I’m typing this blog right now. There’s a little red bubble on the right of my screen that’s telling my I have three errors. This time, I’ve outfooled it (it doesn’t like my Canadian spelling), but I’ll still check it when I’m done writing this.
If you’re not confident in your writing abilities (read more about why it’s so hard to write your own copy), this tool will help you improve. Here’s how:
- It provides alternate word suggestions for overused words.
- It tells you to cut words you don’t need, like “really” and “so”.
- It uses all those smart grammar words, like “preposition” and “conjunction”. It’s like taking a grammar test where it gives you the answers first, then teaches you why that’s right.
I know it sounds nerdy. I’m a word-nerd. I’ve loved grammar since I was a little kid (so weird!), but here’s the thing: when you learn how to use grammar properly, you learn how to express yourself better in writing. Whether you’re writing a 140 character tweet or a mammoth 2,000-word blog post, you learn how to use words more effectively.
You might think, “who cares about my grammar!” I do! And it’s not only me. When your content is full of errors, your discerning reader may lose trust in your ability to pay attention to details.
True story: the other day I was doing some research on financial services and I wanted to find a local company to answer some questions I had about entry-level investing. I found three companies: the first one was OK, but had such a high entry threshold, I clicked away; the second one was atrocious—there were three mistakes I caught skimming the homepage!; the third one was a great looking website, with clear messaging that had obviously been edited well. Obviously, I contacted the third company. I was tempted to pitch my services to the second company. I couldn’t take their website seriously because it felt like they’d put no effort into their homepage, which is the place most of us curious web browsers go when we’re trying to find something. Big missed opportunity.
Has someone proofread and edited your website copy? If not, how many people are you losing because they can’t trust you’ll deliver quality work?
Grammarly’s free to try. I use the paid version, because it has some added features I want for those late-night writing sessions, but give the free version a try and start learning how to improve your copy.
Disclaimer: I’m an affiliate for Grammarly. I tried the free version, fell in love, and bought the premium version of Grammarly before I even found out they offered an affiliate program. My promise to you is that I only ever share products and services that I use and enjoy. Trust me, there are a lot of apps I’ve tried and hated, and you’ll never see them here.