Editors and websites

This straightforward guide by Debbie Emmitt certainly helped me improve my editor website. Debbie is a copy editor and author with over 20 years of experience in web content. She brings together all of her skills in this tidy and easy-to-read guide for editors on how to improve their websites.

As the title suggests, the guide is aimed at editors. What I liked about this book is that it made me realise that editors could have different reasons for wanting a website, let alone improving it. I learned that, as a copy editor, I needed to be clear about the reasons I have a website. I had always assumed that we all need websites for the same reason. As it turns out, we don’t, which makes this guide valuable for all of us wanting an online presence.

Easy to read

This guide was easy to read and the instructions were simple to follow. In only a few days (that’s all I needed to read it from start to finish), I felt energised and clear about what I wanted to change on my website and what needed my attention. I loved Debbie’s way of thinking about the audience and her tips on how to work with that effectively. I know what I need to do to make the visitor’s journey simpler.

Debbie provides several tools and links to free resources that helped me to determine missing elements, on the one hand, but also what was working, on the other. She reminded me that I have a fraction of a second to make an impression to visitors to my site and she laid out ways to keep their attention. I was also quite relieved to know that my (probably) conventional look was okay!

What I really enjoyed about this guide was that even the simplest website can do the job it’s intended to do. Debbie explains the basics of website content and at no point do any of her suggestions feel overwhelming or unfathomable.

She clarified my assumptions and misconceptions

I had previously made assumptions about what websites should have and what one couldn’t afford to leave out. Debbie’s book corrected and re-educated me. It also saved me angst, for which I am grateful. I had elements on my website that weren’t necessary for where I’m at now and for what I can realistically manage. I can add those in over time if I wish, but for now she has shown me what will suffice and what works. And I can still feel positive about my site.

I read the book from beginning to end (it’s just over 100 pages) and then got to work on improving my editor website. My existing sitewasn’t too awful, I thought. After working through Debbie’s book, I systematically followed and implemented her suggestions. Pages were improved and others were combined. I gave particular thought to the reasons I have a website. I made a checklist as I read (I’m quite organised and pedantic that way) and added the should-haves while removing the don’t-have-to-haves. Search engine optimisation (SEO) was something I spent time on and I tested my site performance. I was delighted to discover that my pages are usable and crawling was successful!

My website is improved

I have done a lot of work on my not-too-awful website, thanks to Debbie, and I feel it has been improved quite substantially. This will be an ongoing process. I will have to return to this book as my copy-editing services expand or change, so that my website can too. And I’m delighted to have this guide among my other copy-editing resources; I think it’s a resource we should all have alongside our non-negotiable and steadfast references.

About the author

Debbie Emmitt is a professional-level member of one of PEG’s affiliate organisations, CIEP. She has her own website (obviously!) which you can visit here: www.debbie-emmitt.com

Her book can be found on Amazon at: https://amzn.to/3XW0z0B (affiliate link).

Image: provided by author

The views expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of PEG.

About Alexis Grewan

Clean copy, on time, makes sense. As an editor and writing consultant, Alexis values accuracy and upholds high standards of editing and writing practice. She is ethical, vigilant, disciplined and reliable. She is also a collaborator with a flexible style of communicating – a generally proactive engager on every level.


About PEG

The Professional Editors’ Guild (PEG) is a non-profit company (NPC) in South Africa. Since moving to online activities in March 2020, PEG has been able to offer members across South Africa, and internationally, access to an extensive online webinar programme. Continuing professional development remains a key offering and the first PEG Accreditation Test was administered in August 2020 to benchmark excellence in the field of editing.