Web copy, a book, or a newsletter that is littered with grammar mistakes, strange links, and confusing sentences can cause your organization to look unprofessional, and be off-putting to potential clients or customers. A few errors might slip through, especially in longer pieces, but clean copy is crucial for maintaining a professional brand identity, demonstrating authority in your  niche, and creating trust between you and your readers.

There are three basic types of copy editing: 

  • Developmental Editing
  • Copy editing
  • Proofreading

A proofreader will simply read over your text and ensure that there are no glaring grammatical errors, that punctuation is correct, and that the spelling is clean.

A copy editor will proofread in addition to correcting confusing sentences, providing suggestions on word choice, and double checking the citations. They may also ensure things like brand consistency if requested.

Developmental editing delves much deeper. It looks at the content as a whole and answers the question: "Does this content achieve its ultimate goal?" For a novel, this may mean critiquing things like characterization, setting, and plot. For web copy, this may mean ensuring brand consistency, checking for SEO, or ensuring that the copy meets business objectives.

Depending on what you are looking for, these different types of editing will cost different amounts, with proofreading being the cheapest, and developmental editing costing the most. When you hire a copy editor, be sure you both are on the same page about what exactly you are looking for. 

A good editor will likely read your content multiple times to ensure that they didn't miss anything the first time through. When I copy edit, I read through once for grammar, once for SEO, once for HTML, etc., for as many times as is necessary. Some copy editors charge by the hour, but many others charge by word. For more information on the rates of a standard copy editor, check out the Editorial Freelancers Association cost chart, or contact me for my rates.