Do you love listening to music while you’re working? I sure do. Not only does it help keep me awake but it can help set the mood if I need a certain mindset.
Unfortunately, my favorite music can be distracting. Whether it’s Darius Rucker, Chris Stapleton, Mose Allison, or 70s disco tunes, it’s easy for me to concentrate more on the song lyrics than on my proofreading and copyediting projects. Being distracted when you bill by the hour doesn’t work and isn’t fair to clients. Luckily, there’s a simple solution.
All I had to do was create some awesome playlists—with instrumental music. Mine are on Pandora and Spotify. They’re perfect for those times when I need to focus, whether it’s for my clients or this blog post.
Don’t mistake instrumental for only classical tunes, although I do enjoy Chopin. There are so many lyric-less options! Here are a few of my favorites:
Want to know what else works for me? Sometimes I turn on sports or a news station that I’m not interested in. For me, it’s often sports on ESPN or hardcore economics on Bloomberg. The sound serves as the perfect background noise. Podcasts and foreign language stations also work well. As long as the voices are pleasant and neutrally-toned, it’s easy to stay engaged with my work without letting the content interfere.
Give some of these playlists a whirl. See if any work for you to pump up your productivity, minus those distracting lyrics! Enjoy!
As spring approaches, now is the perfect time to review your digital marketing channels. Besides, National Grammar Day is March 4—even more motivation to make sure your site’s in tip-top shape! Get rid of the digital pollen.
In addition to Luminary Works’ previously-posted website checklist, here are seven more tips to help you enhance your online customer experience and correct common flubs.
Some tips may sound obvious, but they wouldn’t be here if they didn’t continually pop up on websites, emails, social media, and other marketing channels. Take a minute to check your digital channels—on desktop and on mobile!
1. Social media buttons. Check your website, ancillary sites, as well as your email signature. Ensure the links work. Do each icon and its link go together? For example, the Facebook icon should go to your company’s Facebook page, not to its Pinterest page or Facebook's homepage or to nowhere.
Also, don’t be sneaky with your social icons. Users are perturbed when social icons, especially in the header and footer, end up being shortcuts for sharing the company’s info via social media versus a link to the profile page.
2. Phone number. Can you hear me now? Check your site on mobile to ensure that your phone number is clickable, as in click-to-call. Most of the time, the phone number is automatically click-to-call regardless of any special website programming. However, phone numbers that include catchy words (such as 1-800-YOU-ROCK) are often not clickable. Consider providing the alternate, numerical version for your mobile users.
3. Address. Especially for retail stores and restaurants, provide a link to your physical location. Even better, provide information about where to park. Embedded maps are only partially useful. In a large city, it might give online visitors a sense of your area of town or a very zoomed in version of your street, but they rarely link to a map that provides real-time, customized directions. Save folks the extra steps—include a link to Google Maps. And, if you're still referencing MapQuest directions, please blast yourself into the digital future by using Google Maps.
4. FAQs. You would never write Frequently Asked Question’s. Likewise, don’t include an apostrophe in its acronym, FAQs. They’re not possessive, just plural.
5. Fewer or Less? People often misuse these similar terms. Here's a simple way to remember the difference in usage.
If you can count it—and count each item separately from the others, then fewer applies. Example: They had fewer investors in their startup than they would have preferred. The startup investors are distinguishable; each investor can be counted separately from another one.
If you can’t count it—or at least not as individual items, then less applies. Example: They had less money invested in their startup than they would have preferred. You can count dollar bills or quarters or even pennies but not money in the general sense.
A few more examples:
6. Decades. For your About Us page or your social #ThrowbackThursday posts, be sure to punctuate decades correctly. Usually, decades do not need an end apostrophe. However, if you leave off the first two years, then an apostrophe at the beginning is needed. Correct usage: Fashion in the 1980s. Music from the ‘70s.
Only if the decade is being used as an adjective will it include an end apostrophe. Correct usage: Some people miss ‘80s’ fashion! We love 1970s’ music. Note: These examples sound find when spoken, but they look better in writing when reworded to match the no-apostrophe examples above.
7. The Most Common Culprits. Look for the common blunders of its/it’s, whose/who’s, there/their/they’re, your/you’re. It’s common knowledge that Grammar Check usually flags these errors, which makes them even more difficult to excuse—especially when they’re on your homepage. Use the "Find" feature to double check each instance.
Use these tips and Luminary Works’ checklist from January to add some polish to your digital marketing channels for spring. Make your brand shine! Or, get a fresh set of eyes—Luminary Works can help with our Essential Website Review service or our custom workshops.
Article also posted on LinkedIn:
Image from PixaBay contributors: paulbr75. Thank you!
The Content Matters workshop focuses on software tricks and free add-ons to improve your proofreading capabilities. These easy-to-implement tips will help you catch and correct errors as you fine-tune the software you’re already using. This workshop includes tips for:
This workshop is ideal for Atlanta-area small business owners and entrepreneurs, as well as professionals in fields such as communications, marketing, sales, non-profits, administrative support, account management, project management, and more.
Learn more or purchase your ticket on Eventbrite.
Did you know October 20 is National Day on Writing? Created by the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE), this special day “celebrates the importance, joy, and evolution of writing.” Look for a flurry of tweets using the hashtag #WhyIWrite.
Whether you’re a writer of books, blogs, or business reports, take time to reflect on the quality of your writing. Is it clearly written? Is it free of spelling errors and other blunders? Will it achieve your objective? Will it resonate with your audience?
If you’re trying to improve your writing, consider the guidance from these books. They will help to ensure that your “practice makes perfect” rather than “practice makes problematic habits.”
When it comes to writing, follow Nike’s advice and “just do it!” Write. Edit. Repeat. Happy National Day on Writing!