Writing for the Web: 5 Huge Mistakes

Post Views for Sep :
Angie Papple Johnston
Angie Papple Johnston is a former combat journalist for the U.S. Army who owns and operates Unique Web Copy and the wildly (ok, maybe not wildly) popular Blog Posts for Lawyers. Angie's portfolio is stuffed with engaging web content, press releases and more.
Angie Papple Johnston
Angie Papple Johnston

Latest posts by Angie Papple Johnston (see all)

Angie Papple Johnston
You can get your own content published on this site as long as you have CommentLuv installed on your site.

Doing so means you get exposure to thousands and thousands of other CommentLuv users and your posts get sent out to the massive subscriber list.

Google loves this site and indexes it multiple times per day and posts always get lots of comments so you can be sure of some excellent exposure.

See the Write For Us page for more details

btw.. you can get this author box here

You can't afford to make huge writing mistakes on the Internet. (Image courtesy of Hisks at RGBStock.com)

When you’re writing web content – whether it’s a blog post, a landing page or even a product description – there are five major mistakes that you can’t afford to make.  Screw-ups can cost you valuable readers, possible subscribers and potential customers… so you need to make sure every document you put in the public eye is worthy.

Web Writing Mistake #1: Apostrophe Abuse

Don’t litter your document with apostrophes – know where they belong and how to use them properly.  Here’s a quick guide.

  • Apostrophes belong in contractions, like don’t, doesn’t, hadn’t and we’re.
  • Only use an apostrophe with the word it if it’s a contraction.  When you use the word it to signify possession, there is no apostrophe.  For example, you can say, “It’s raining outside” because it is raining outside.  On the same token, you can say, “The cloud released its moisture in the form of rain” because the moisture belonged to the cloud.
  • Don’t use apostrophes when you’re pluralizing words or acronyms.  No apostrophe is necessary when you’re talking about multiple objects, like computers, dogs or mistakes.  Likewise, if you need to talk about more than one thing that’s referred to with an acronym, skip the apostrophe.  Some examples include CDs, DVDs and TVs.

Web Writing Mistake #2: Use the Right Word

Lots of words in the English language sound identical – but in writing, they’re very, very different.  The wrong use of the right word can make you look dumb and alienate your readers.

Your and you’re: If something belongs to you, it’s yours.  If you are going to do something, you’re going to do it.  It’s not okay to swap the two out; you’re going to take your item.

Their, there and they’re: If something belongs to them, it’s theirs.  If they keep it in a certain location, they’re keeping it there.  If they are keeping it hidden, it is hidden there.  Get it?  It’s theirs, and they’re

hiding it there.

Web Writing Mistake #3: Capitalizing on Capital Letters

Capital letters are great – they tell us where a sentence starts, signify proper nouns and can even be used for emphasis.  But you can’t beat them to death if you want to produce a quality document.

  • DO NOT WRITE AN ENTIRE WEBPAGE IN ALL CAPITAL LETTERS.  It gets annoying and can prevent you from conveying the correct message.
  • Do Not Capitalize Every Word, Even If You Think Each Word Deserves A Capital Letter.  Again, annoying – and it doesn’t make you look any more professional because you know how to hit the “Shift” key.
  • Capitalize the first word of every sentence and proper nouns (like names of places, people or brands).

Web Writing Mistake #4: What He Said

Never, ever copy what someone else wrote and claim it for your own.  You can write a fresh piece with your own ideas and spin – but if it didn’t originate in your head, don’t put it on paper (or type it, to be more precise).  Copying the work of others without proper attribution is plagiarism, and you can be sued for it… so don’t bother copying and pasting another person’s words; it’s just not worth it.

Web Writing Mistake #5: Things Better Left Unsaid

No matter what you’re writing, there are things you shouldn’t say.  The wrong choice of words can drive away visitors in droves – so here are a few things to avoid in most situations:

  • extremely personal details… unless, of course, you’re blogging about potty habits or surgical procedures and those personal details are necessary.
  • offensive language.  Sure, if you have a blog that’s based largely on shock value, cuss it up – but if you’re trying to sell strollers, an f-bomb is almost never appropriate.
  • libel.  You do have protection for freedom of speech – but that doesn’t extend to making statements you know are untrue with the intention of hurting someone else’s reputation.  You can state the truth if you really, really know it’s true – but you can’t bend it to make somebody look bad.

Web Writing Mistakes Can Cost You

Generally, using a little common sense and a grammar checker will prevent you from making the five most common web writing mistakes listed here – and if you’re ever in doubt, have someone else look your piece over.  A set of fresh eyes can go a long way, and an outside opinion can help shape your document for the better.

What do you consider writing mistakes that can be easily avoided?  Have a web writing mistake horror story?  Share it!