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Articles by Cathy Kessler, www.BusinessProofreading.com

These articles may be reprinted freely as long as they remain unaltered and include by-line and author info. Please notify Cathy when reprinting. You may also use her photo located here.
 All Is Calm, All Is Bright for Your New Year
by Cathy Kessler, http://www.BusinessProofreading.com

Small business owners have it tough. I know... I’m one of them. It surprises me that we aren’t all bald from wearing so many hats! But what can we do to alleviate all the stress and pressure? I can tell you for a fact that a hectic schedule is just a symptom of a bigger problem. Eliminate the root cause of the stress, and you eliminate the stress. Here’s how to make sure your new year is calm and bright.

Small business owners are torn between what seems to be a never-ending struggle. We love what we do, but we simply don’t have time to do it all. We are also notorious for being "control freaks" which makes it oh-so-very-hard to ask for help. This year, try these suggestions in order to find the perfect middle ground and get some relief in your "too busy" schedule without losing control.

Practice Delegating

Go ahead... give it a try. Delegating is really not as hard as it sounds. Start with something small like having someone proofread your letters or marketing pieces. If you want to maintain control, just ask the proofreader to change the color of the font so you can see exactly what was modified. This action frees you up to do more important things, and you have a quick and easy way to check behind the person -- if you choose to. As you get more comfortable with the "delegatee’s" work, you can allow him/her to take over more duties for you.

Get Organized

Doing simple things will really give you loads of more time... now and all year long. For example:

Email - Take time to set up folders in your email program so you can sort and find messages quickly. No more digging through your entire Inbox or Sent folder to find what you need.

Accounting - Design a functional spreadsheet to track income and expenses. The end-of-the-year tax struggle won’t take near as much time if you enter all your information into one document.

Taxes - Take time to sit down with your tax professional and create a list of expenses you can write off. That way, all throughout the year, you’ll know what receipts to keep and what you can toss in the trash. You’re also likely to find many more deductions than you initially knew about!

Filing - Develop a filing system so you can get all that paperwork off the corner of your desk. You’ll be able to find what you need each and every time without your blood pressure or acid reflux kicking in! Check out David Allen’s book titled "Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity" to learn some great systems. He also offers an informational newsletter at http://www.davidco.com.

You’ll be amazed at how many more hours you’ll find in your day once things are in their place. Taking just a few minutes to stop and set things up the way they should be will save you time and money all year long. Then you can look forward to a new year where all is calm and all is bright.

© 2014 Cathy Kessler. All rights reserved.

**** About the Author: Cathy Kessler is a proofreader and copyeditor (http://www.BusinessProofreading.com).

**** Reprint Instructions: You’re welcome to reprint this article as long as it remains unaltered and includes by-line and author info. After publishing, please notify Cathy through her website at http://www.BusinessProofreading.com.

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 Building Credibility to Increase Sales
by Cathy Kessler, http://www.BusinessProofreading.com

The invention of Internet gateways is one of the most miraculous innovations to date. It allows us to sell products and services 24 hours a day, 7 days a week with the simple click of a few buttons. However, this ease of selling has a downside as well. Because it is so simple, all businesses - legitimate and illegitimate companies - can sell whatever they want. As a result, credibility suffers! How can you make sure your site portrays a high level of credibility? I’ll gladly show you!

Back Up Your Statements - The Net gives an open forum to any breathing person that wants to speak his/her mind. Truly outrageous statements are being made in order to turn a buck. When you make a statement on your website - back it up with some sound research. Instead of simply claiming that "Over 2/3 of most Internet businesses fail without a proper marketing plan," say "According to The American Management Association, over 2/3 of most Internet businesses fail without a proper marketing plan." Then provide a link to the statistics you’ve found.

Create A Truly Professional Site - This means no "homemade" site designs. Whether you are actually a scam business or not - homemade designs only damage your image. Your image is the best way a site visitor has to form an opinion of you. Although you may be excited about launching your online business, resist the temptation to quickly set up a site and then redesign it later. When you do it right the first time, you save a lot of time, money, and heartache.

Make Sure Your Site Is In Order - Scam artists move about the Internet so quickly that they rarely have time to have their sites checked. They are too busy worrying about getting as many sales as possible before they are "discovered." To prove you are legit, give due attention to your site. Be sure that all of your links work, that your pages load quickly, and that your text is proofread. Broken links and copy filled with typos only downgrade your credibility with visitors.

Communicate With Your Visitors - Most scam businesses simply will not communicate with their customers. They don’t want to hear your complaints and could care less about what you think. To show you are a true pro, answer your emails (good or bad) quickly and professionally.

Clearly Display Your Privacy Policy - Many site visitors look for privacy policies before giving any information online. If you don’t have a privacy policy, create one. It can be a simple statement of what you plan to do with the information you collect (emails, credit card numbers, etc.) and who will see it. If you already have a privacy policy, make sure a link to it is clearly placed.

Trust is one thing that can’t be bought. However, by taking the steps necessary to build a website that demonstrates your credibility, you will instill a strong sense of trust with your visitors. Remember that when you instill trust, you increase sales at the same time!

© 2014 Cathy Kessler. All rights reserved.
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About the Author: Cathy Kessler is a proofreader and copyeditor (http://www.BusinessProofreading.com).
****
Reprint Instructions: You’re welcome to reprint this article as long as it remains unaltered and includes by-line and author info. After publishing, please notify Cathy through her website at http://www.BusinessProofreading.com.

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 Insider Secrets of Writing for Search Engines, Part 1 of 2
by Cathy Kessler, http://www.BusinessProofreading.com

Practically anyone with a website is interested in being listed high on the search engines. However, few people actually understand what it takes to achieve rankings that will bring about qualified visitors. Copywriting pro Karon Thackston, http://www.MarketingWords.com, specializes in writing website copy that helps to achieve exceptional search engine positioning. She’s agreed to hold a "tell all" session with me, and to divulge some of her secrets.

CATHY: Hi, Karon. Thanks so much for talking with me about this subject.

KARON: Always a pleasure, Cathy. Glad to help.

CATHY: Let’s start with the basics, shall we? What is search engine optimized copy?

KARON: Well, Cathy, basically search engine optimized (SEO) copy is text on your website that has been written in such a way that it incorporates the specific key phrases you hope to be found under when search results for those phrases are returned. It uses those key phrases in strategic places, and in "balanced repetition" in order to show the relevance of your pages to the engines.

CATHY: And why is search engine optimized copy important?

KARON: All search engines that use "spiders" (automated programs that scan your site) have certain criteria in order for your site to be accepted. Almost every one of those criteria deals with your copy (text). The spiders read your HTML code in order to judge your site’s viability. It just so happens that your code is all text. Because of that fact, having search engine compatible copy is the number one consideration when trying to get high rankings.

CATHY: So then, how do I know if I have search engine optimized copy? I didn't create my website although I did write the copy.

KARON: SEO copy normally has to be written with the engines in mind. However, you will occasionally find very targeted sites where the copy was not specifically written for the engines, but it still ranks high. To find out if you fall into the minority here, just visit a few search engines and type in a phrase you’d like to be ranked high with... then see if your site pops up.

CATHY: If I want to improve my rankings, is it possible to do it on my own?

KARON: Many times it is. It depends a good deal on how competitive your key phrases are.

CATHY: If I decide to optimize my copy, can you give me some dos or don'ts to follow when writing?

KARON: Sure, Cathy! First and foremost, choose the best keywords for your particular site. Never, ever guess! I love to use http://www.wordtracker.com. They do an excellent job of helping to determine which key phrases are the most effective. Use multi-word phrases... not singular words because that is how most surfers search. In addition, select only about three or four keywords per page. This allows you to focus your copy in one direction in order to better meet the engine’s qualifications.

Next, pay close attention to your headlines. In most Web design programs, you have the option of choosing to make certain text a "headline" instead of just "big text." Headlines (those that are included within what is referred to as an "H1," "H2," etc. tag) are given a little heavier weight with the engines so it is important to include your key phrases within the headline where possible. This applies to subheads, as well as the headline at the beginning of your copy.

You’ll want to also use your key phrases throughout your body copy - keeping your page copy at around 250-400 words in length. You can include them within sentences, as the headline of a table or chart, in the links to other pages, as "ALT" tags for graphics and photos, and within your site title and other META tags.

Lastly, you’ll want to have your copy professionally proofread. Typos can cost you!

CATHY: Wow! It sounds as though you really have to know what you’re doing, Karon. Is it difficult to get the key phrases in all the right places without the copy sounding odd?

KARON: It can be a challenge at times, but it certainly is possible. Just look at all the sites on the search engines that rank high. :)

CATHY: That’s true. If I want to learn more about SEO copywriting, do you know of other resources that can help?

KARON: Oh yes... one excellent ezine about search engine optimization in general is written by SEO expert Jill Whalen of HighRankings.com. Her "High Rankings Advisor" is one of the best. You can find it here: http://www.highrankings.com/advisor.htm. For specifics on copywriting, there’s my ebook, The Step-by-Step Copywriting Course. It takes you through how to write effective copy of all types along with how to write SEO copy. You can find it here: http://www.copywritingcourse.com.

CATHY: Thanks so much, Karon. I really appreciate you letting me in on a few of your secrets. You’ve been a big help.

KARON: Anytime, Cathy!

© 2014 Cathy Kessler. All rights reserved.
****
About the Author: Cathy Kessler is a proofreader and copyeditor (http://www.BusinessProofreading.com).
****
Reprint Instructions: You’re welcome to reprint this article as long as it remains unaltered and includes by-line and author info. After publishing, please notify Cathy through her website at http://www.BusinessProofreading.com.

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 Insider Secrets of Writing for Search Engines, Part 2 of 2
by Cathy Kessler, http://www.BusinessProofreading.com

"Insider Secrets of Writing for Search Engines" was so popular that I contacted SEO copywriting pro Karon Thackston, http://www.MarketingWords.com, to see if she’d be willing to answer a few more, in-depth questions. She graciously agreed... and so our interview continues.

CATHY: Hi, Karon. Thanks for talking with me again.

KARON: Certainly!

CATHY: So, Karon, how do I start? I have this blank piece of paper in front of me, and I am clueless! This can be overwhelming to someone who does not write for a living.

KARON: You always start with keywords, Cathy. Think of your keywords as the structure for your copy. Your copy will be built around the keywords along with your other information. I always use Wordtracker (http://www.wordtracker.com) to research viable keywords that are *actually* being searched for. Never, EVER guess. You’ll end up taking a stab in the dark that could cost you big in the future.

CATHY: So, use Wordtracker to research my keywords and then incorporate them into my copy? Do I have to use the exact keywords?

KARON: Right. Yes, whenever possible, use the exact keywords/phrases that you’ve researched. If your keyword is "proofreaders in Pennsylvania," you should use that specific phrase.

CATHY: Where do I put the keywords? I’ve heard that I need to fill my META tags with them. Is that true? You mentioned headlines in our last conversation. Anything else?

KARON: Well, certain areas within your page get "brownie points" (if you will) when they contain keywords, but not so much so that you should change your copywriting strategy in order to make keywords "fit" where they don’t sound right. The title tag and description tag are really about the only two tags that are used by engines these days. Those will often show in the search results so they need to be enticing plus keyword rich. The keyword tag holds little, if any, weight. In my experience, your keywords should be equally saturated throughout the page... headlines, title, description, copy, and links.

CATHY: OK, so let me get this straight. I have to write copy that (a) is search engine compatible, (b) is enticing so those who find me in the search results will click my link, (c) communicates well to my target audience, and (d) makes the sale? Should I do this by myself or work with a professional writer who knows the ins/outs?

KARON: It can be a bit difficult, Cathy, but you can do it if you take the time to learn. If you don’t have the time (or the inclination) to learn to write SEO copy, you can hire a pro to do it for you.

CATHY: Hmmm... something to think about. Let me ask you this then... how important are graphics when it comes to SEO?

KARON: Well, graphics don’t hold any real sway when it comes to engines. Because spiders and robots read text, they pretty much ignore any images they find on your pages. You *can* use graphics, however, to boost your keyword saturation.

CATHY: Really? How?

KARON: In most Web design programs, you have the option of including what’s referred to as an "ALT" tag. (I think I mentioned this last time.) This is a text-based description that can be associated with the image. You’ve probably seen them when you’ve visited Web sites before. ALT tags are the little boxes that show up when you hold your pointer over an image. You can write descriptions that are keyword rich and increase the keyword saturation on your pages.

CATHY: Oh! Great! So, while graphics don’t hurt a site, they won’t help my positioning any either?

KARON: Exactly.

CATHY: Karon, do you have additional resources to offer? When we last spoke, you mentioned your e-course (http://www.copywritingcourse.com) and Jill Whalen’s newsletter (http://www.highrankings.com/advisor.htm). Do you have other resources for folks that want to know more about writing for the engines?

KARON: Yes! Jill Whalen has just released a new report on how to get those pesky little keywords in all the right places. I think it’s fabulous! It’s not a copywriting guide... more of an "editing for the engines guide." You can find it here: http://www.marketingwords.com/nittygritty.html. I use the techniques Jill outlines in her "The Nitty-gritty of Writing for the Engines" in every piece of SEO copy I write.

CATHY: Thanks so much, Karon. I really appreciate you letting me in on a few of your secrets. You’ve been a big help.

KARON: Anytime, Cathy!

© 2014 Cathy Kessler. All rights reserved.
****
About the Author: Cathy Kessler is a proofreader and copyeditor (http://www.BusinessProofreading.com).
****
Reprint Instructions: You’re welcome to reprint this article as long as it remains unaltered and includes by-line and author info. After publishing, please notify Cathy through her website at http://www.BusinessProofreading.com.

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 Keeping Your Brochure Out of the Trash
by Cathy Kessler, http://www.BusinessProofreading.com

Brochures are one of the most popular marketing tools. They have the potential to be highly effective. However, let me share a startling piece of information with you. It is estimated that over half of all brochures end up in the trash without ever being read. Considering the cost involved with printing brochures, it is important that every effort is made to gain the attention of the reader immediately and to provide information that will cause them to act.

There are several key elements to consider when planning your brochure. You may choose to use the following list of “do(s)” and “don’t(s)” as a checklist during your next printing.

DO...

1) Create an innovative, interesting, and applicable cover for your brochure.
If your business centers around allergy-relief products, you might consider placing a photo of a mother comforting her daughter as the child sneezes, or a man slumped over his desk with watery eyes in place of your company logo.

2) Use photos on your cover if at all possible. Photographs can be costly, but they are huge attention-getters. Visit “stock” photo sites such as www.photospin.com to find professionally taken pictures costing between $9.95 - $75.00. These types of sites offer a wide selection of photos for use at very reasonable prices.

3) Use full color on your cover. Why all the attention on the cover? It is the key to having your brochure read. If the cover does not catch the eye of your prospective client, the rest of the material will go unread. For this reason, spend the additional money and have your printer use full-color processing.

4) Use your copy space wisely. Most tri-fold brochures offer limited space for copy (text), so be sure to use that space wisely. Focus on benefits to the customer, use definitive calls-to-action, and leave at least one key piece of information out of the copy (such as the price or the size) so that the reader will be more likely to contact you.

DON'T...

1) Print "homemade" brochures.
Brochures that do not portray a highly professional image are received with a bit of skepticism. The low quality presentation of a homemade brochure immediately gives the impression that your business is of low quality, too.

2) Skimp on proofreading. This is without a doubt one of the most common errors novice marketers make. Typos, the misuse of words, and blatant grammatical errors are very damaging to your reputation. While most programs now offer a spell-check feature, these tools can’t differentiate between words like your and you’re, no and know, or peek and peak. Not to mention, their ability to check for mistakes in grammar is inadequate.

3) Try to close the sale from your brochure. Most brochures are simply not designed to take the customer through the buying process and to the point-of-purchase. That’s not their purpose at all. Brochures are designed to give enough information to spark the interest of the readers and to cause them to ask questions and want further details. If you attempt to include every ounce of information about your product or service in your brochure, most likely it will be too crowded and overbearing to bring about positive results.

Concentrate on creating a brochure designed to do its job and present your company attractively. By enticing your prospects, and then providing excellent contact information, you will soon find that your brochure will open the door to many more sales.

© 2014 Cathy Kessler. All rights reserved.
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About the Author: Cathy Kessler is a proofreader and copyeditor (http://www.BusinessProofreading.com).
****
Reprint Instructions: You’re welcome to reprint this article as long as it remains unaltered and includes by-line and author info. After publishing, please notify Cathy through her website at http://www.BusinessProofreading.com.

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 Outsourcing Can Actually MAKE You Money!
by Cathy Kessler, http://www.BusinessProofreading.com

In the beginning, most small business owners are virtually forced to do everything themselves. (Or so they think.) There is little money and even less time. As they run around wishing they could afford some help, they are trapped by the mentality that it will "cost" them to get the assistance they need. The truth be known… outsourcing can actually MAKE you money.

How so? Because your time is valuable!

Let me give you an example. Jennifer is one small business owner who thinks she is saving money by doing it all herself. She handles the research, the proofreading, the bookkeeping, the customer support, the emailing… everything. In addition, she searches for ways to develop joint ventures, drum up press coverage, and arrange for new services. On top of all that, she also handles all the sales, keeps track of Web site changes and additions, and makes sure her pay-per-click search engine rankings don't fall too low. Sound like you?

Jennifer works about 60 hours per week. Of those 60 hours, she spends about 25 hours per week on "money-taking" duties. These are things that take money from the company. They do not have a direct impact on bringing income into the business. The remainder of her time is spent on "money-making" duties.

Jennifer charges her clients $75.00 per hour for her services. If we subtract her admin time from the total time she works, that leaves 35 hours per week for Jennifer to actually bring money into her company. She averages $2625.00 per week.

Now, if Jennifer were to choose to delegate some of the "money-taking" responsibilities to others, this would free her up to pursue more "money-making" projects. Let's run a few quick figures just so you can fully understand the financial impact.

We'll say Jennifer delegates 15 hours per week to an assistant, freeing those hours up for her to make more money. The assistant charges $35.00 per hour.

BEFORE

35 money-making hours per week x $75.00/hour = $2625.00

AFTER

50 money-making hours per week x $75.00/hour = $3750.00

Less 15 hours x $35.00/hour for virtual assistant = $ 525.00

Income for Jennifer $3225.00

That's $600.00 more per week, even when paying an assistant!

Jennifer actually increased her income by delegating the duties that did not have to have her personal and immediate attention to someone else.

Many small business owners don't understand this concept, but it is really quite simple. When you free yourself up to perform the tasks that bring funds into your business, you make more money than when you attempt to handle everything yourself.

So the next time you feel overwhelmed by all you have to do, and you *think* you can't afford help - think again!

© 2014 Cathy Kessler. All rights reserved.
****
About the Author: Cathy Kessler is a proofreader and copyeditor (http://www.BusinessProofreading.com).
****
Reprint Instructions: You’re welcome to reprint this article as long as it remains unaltered and includes by-line and author info. After publishing, please notify Cathy through her website at http://www.BusinessProofreading.com.

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 Top Ten Checklist for a Professional, Best-Selling Ebook
by Cathy Kessler, http://www.BusinessProofreading.com

Have you ever noticed that some ebooks take the ‘Net by storm and others are destined to wash out before they even get started? Believe it or not, there are certain, simple qualities that the best sellers have in common. By making sure your next ebook measures up to the top ten checklist below, you’ll increase your chances of having a hit!

1. Know your topic. This should go without saying. Unfortunately, I can’t tell you how many ebooks I’ve read where it was painfully obvious that the author had little knowledge of the topic. Before beginning to write any ebook, be sure you have firsthand knowledge of your subject matter.

2. Select a unique topic or an unparalleled point-of-view. One of the biggest calling cards for successful ebooks is their uniqueness. Bringing attention to a topic that has had limited previous coverage is an excellent way to gain attention and make lots of sales. If you feel, however, that you need to write an ebook on a subject that has already been well covered, choose a unique point-of-view, some extraordinary features, or some exclusive bonuses to draw attention to your project.

3. Back up your points. Regardless of how well you know your topic, you’ll have to prove yourself to your readers. This may mean doing research to come up with statistics, common viewpoints, or ideas that support the information you’re providing. It’s well worth the effort!

4. Use the reader’s perspective. The most successful ebooks are written from the reader’s perspective. They take into account the reader’s problems, joys, goals, and struggles. By bringing your ebook down to the level of your reader, you make a stronger connection. You also create a tighter bond that brings about reader loyalty.

5. Be personal. Take a look back at a few of the ebooks you’ve purchased in the past. Which do you consider to truly be excellent? Are they personal? Most likely they are. In the realm of ebooks, being personable is a must. “Textbook” language is often considered too distant and stale. It is important for you to relate to your readers to keep their interest and help them progress through the ebook.

6. Make it easy-to-understand. Whatever your topic – from sealing an envelope to quantum physics – bring your information down to the most easily understood level. While you may be a pro at what you do, others are not. This is precisely why they have purchased your ebook… to learn. Don’t talk above your readers’ heads.

7. Give examples. Almost everyone learns better when they are given examples. If appropriate, include photo or graphic examples in your book. But at the very least, provide plenty of written examples.

8. Have it professionally proofread. After you have worked on your ebook for weeks or months, your eyes will no doubt begin to read what should be on the page, and not necessarily what IS on the page. This is a primary reason to have someone else – preferably a professional – proofread your ebook. It is vital that the language, grammar, spelling, layout, punctuation, format, and flow be perfect. No one likes to pay money for something that is second-rate.

9. Make it viewable in PC and Mac. There is virtually an unlimited list of ebook software programs available on the Internet. But one thing to consider before you buy is readability. Most of the ebook compilers are only compatible with PC, and not Mac. Considering that there are millions of Mac users online who may want to download your ebook, it is smart to use a program that allows them to do just that. Be sure the program you use is Mac-compatible.

10. Keep the file size small. Even though DSL and cable Internet users are fast increasing in number, the majority of Internet users are still using dial-up. This means downloads take longer. Be sure to keep your file size as small as possible. If you find your ebook is 7 megabyte or over, consider zipping it for speed’s sake. Having long download times, or problems that occur from large file sizes, is a sure way to put a bad taste in your customer’s mouth.

Regardless of your topic, regardless of your writing style, you CAN create a popular, best-selling ebook. Just follow the simple but vital tips above to ensure you – and your reader – get the most from the experience.

© 2014 Cathy Kessler. All rights reserved.
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About the Author: Cathy Kessler is a proofreader and copyeditor (http://www.BusinessProofreading.com).
****
Reprint Instructions: You’re welcome to reprint this article as long as it remains unaltered and includes by-line and author info. After publishing, please notify Cathy through her website at http://www.BusinessProofreading.com.

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 Top Ten Tips for Writing Like a Pro
by Cathy Kessler, http://www.BusinessProofreading.com

Many people love to write, but simply don’t feel they are as effective as they could be. Others hate to write, but find themselves in a position of having to for business reasons. Regardless of whether you write advertising or website copy, books, manuals, or simple business letters, there are certain aspects that remain the same.

These top ten tips will help you gain direction for your writing, will give you confidence, and will have you writing like a pro in no time!

1. Define your audience. Writing – in any form or fashion – is communication. Before you can communicate with people effectively, you need to know a good bit about them. Take time to outline who will be reading the written piece. Men or women? Business people or stay-at-home-parents? Do they have special needs? What puts them in a position to want to read what you have to say? The more in tune you can get with the readers, the more effective your writing will be.

2. Brainstorm. Whether mentally or on paper, take time to let your creative juices flow. Think of why you are writing and whom you are writing to. Then jot down some notes about what you want to say. For longer written pieces such as books, create a preliminary outline that you can expand on later.

3. Get inspired! When you find yourself “stuck” (and I say “when” because all writers come up dry from time to time), look for inspiration. You might find it in the form of a walk through a nature trail, a magazine article you recently read, an excellent ad flyer that came in the mail, or a letter you’ve received. Inspiration can come from any number of sources!

4. Create a draft. Now it’s time to write. To start, simply begin writing. Don’t worry about the flow or the grammar. Simply keep your mind focused on the readers and why they would be interested in what you have to say.

5. Do the research. If you’re lacking information, or need to gather some facts in order to make a point, do a little research. This can be just the perfect element to get your writing to the point it needs to be and to help you fill in any missing gaps.

6. Create a revision. Begin to refine your work, making sentences more concise, making points more obvious, etc.

7. Get an outside point-of-view. Once you have a working revision of your piece, show it to a neutral third party. This serves several purposes such as making sure your explanations are clear, defining missing elements, and ensuring your message is being received.

8. Revise, revise, revise. Yes, this is a primary part of writing. Incorporate the changes into your draft and make any needed revisions.

9. Get some help. At the point you feel your piece is complete, send it to a professional proofreader. Why? Primarily because most writers get weary of a work before it is done. This is a dangerous place to be! Errors are overlooked, typos are skipped, and elementary mistakes go uncorrected. The final bit of polish a qualified proofreader can provide is vitally important to the quality and professionalism of your work.

10. Send it on its way! You’re all done. Now send your written piece to the intended reader(s) with full confidence that it will reap your desired results.

© 2014 Cathy Kessler. All rights reserved.
****
About the Author: Cathy Kessler is a proofreader and copyeditor (http://www.BusinessProofreading.com).
****
Reprint Instructions: You’re welcome to reprint this article as long as it remains unaltered and includes by-line and author info. After publishing, please notify Cathy through her website at http://www.BusinessProofreading.com.

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 You're Image Is at Steak - Professionalism Can Make or Brake Sells
by Cathy Kessler, http://www.BusinessProofreading.com

It is so discouraging. You visit a very professional-looking website that seems to have everything you could want. The navigation is simple, the design is beautiful, and there is contact information with a real street address! What more could you ask for?

But, as you begin to read through the copy, you see repeated sentences that look like the title of this article! You find typo after typo - misspellings, words used in the wrong context, and very obvious grammatical errors. All of a sudden, your image of this company begins to wane, and you wonder if you should give your business to an organization that appears to have such little attention to detail.

Questions float through your mind. Will this company give me the same lacking attention to detail that they gave their site? Will their service be as unprofessional as their sales copy? Hmmm. Makes you stop and think, doesn't it?

The image you set forth with your website goes a long way. Having misspellings or typos in your copy (or your eBooks, reports, or other documents) does not simply state that you can't spell. It puts forth a message that you don't care. It damages your image tremendously.

There are many reasons mistakes happen. The two most common are...

~ being so familiar with the text that you read what it is supposed to say and not what it actually does say, and ~ getting in too big of a hurry to get the text from your word processing program to your Web design program or eBook.

Both will have a negative impact on your image and your sales.

So what do you do about it? There are several things that can help prevent mistakes in type. Focus on these tips the next time you write, and I'm sure you will see an overwhelming improvement in the quality of your text.

1. Write one day - read the next. When you write something new, allow it to "simmer" for awhile. Give your eyes a break. Set it aside and don't look at it for 24 hours. When you come back to the piece "fresh," you will no doubt spot many errors that you would have otherwise overlooked.

2. Print it. Reading from a lighted surface (your computer monitor) causes a great deal of eyestrain. Print out your piece on paper and proofread it. You will have a much easier time seeing the words.

3. Read one word at a time. We often have a tendency to read whole sentences; however, when you proofread, you should make a point to read each individual word. Oftentimes, using your finger to underline each word as you read helps call your attention to mistakes.

4. Hire a pro. If you are short on time or simply don't have a knack for the English language, hire a professional to help you. It will be worth the money to ensure your website visitors or eBook readers aren't turned off by what appears to be carelessness.

Producing written works full of mistakes sheds a bad light on your business; however, giving your text the same regard you give design elements can greatly increase confidence - and ultimately sales - from your prospects and current clients.

© 2014 Cathy Kessler. All rights reserved.
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About the Author: Cathy Kessler is a proofreader and copyeditor (http://www.BusinessProofreading.com).
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Reprint Instructions: You’re welcome to reprint this article as long as it remains unaltered and includes by-line and author info. After publishing, please notify Cathy through her website at http://www.BusinessProofreading.com.

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