The Key to Clarity: Proofreading Product Descriptions

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Product descriptions. You can hardly go out without running into another product description. They’re everywhere! So how on earth are you going to get your product description to pop?

By ensuring your customers see the product’s value.

A good product description is like any other kind of writing. You want it to grab your reader by the eyes and capture their attention. You want it to compel them, to make them want to know more about what you are selling. You want it to create desire within them. You want them to need your product.

Your customers, meanwhile, want to know what your product will do for them. They don’t care about your business goals—they want to know what this thing you’re selling will bring to their table before they spend their hard-earned money on it. They want to know how it will better their lives, how it will make their days easier or more comfortable, if it aligns with their principles or not. If they like what they see, they will be much more likely to make the purchase. If not…well, you know what happens then.

But how can you convey that value? How can you be sure that you are showing off your product’s best side? How can you grab customers’ attention in this world of constant buying and selling and buying and selling? How can you be heard above the noise of other retailers vying for their dollars?

With a killer product description.

You need a product description that is well-crafted, compelling, and persuasive. If you want to generate higher sales conversions, you need error-free, coherent, and structured descriptions. You need them to be clear and readable. You need them to hone in on your target’s pain points and knock their socks off with your solution.

What can help you do that? Proofreading.

No, I’m totally serious.

The Key to Good Product Descriptions is Proofreading

You can make your product descriptions more persuasive. You can make them more compelling. By carefully reviewing and refining your copy, you can create descriptions that win.

In this post, I will discuss various techniques and strategies to proofread product descriptions effectively. Using these tips and a touch of elbow grease, you will be able to optimize your copy for clarity and persuasion, creating effective product descriptions that will captivate customers and drive much-wanted conversions.

What Makes a Good Product Description?

Since it’s such an important part of your business strategy, you want your descriptions to be good, right? But what makes a good product description? What are some of the most vital elements of one?

  • Knowing Your Buyer Persona: When you’re writing a product description, you shouldn’t be targeting just anyone. You need to understand your target audience. Who are they? How old are they? What are they missing? How did they find you? Why do they need your product? Develop your idea of your ideal customer and hone in on them and their needs, then speak to them in their language.
  • Highlighting Your Product’s Benefits: Buyers generally don’t want long, dry lists of specs. (Well, some do—that’s why you need to know your audience!) They want to know how your product will benefit them. They want to know how your product will meet their need for something. Show them in your description.
  • Being Engaging and Creative: Don’t just lean on bullet points and dry facts. Get creative! Tell a short and sweet story about your product—an honest one—and write it with pep and pop. Be honest about what you are selling, and be consistent with your brand’s voice, but give your product life. A good story will set it far above the competition.
  • Knowing When to Get Technical: As I said above, some people are looking for technical details. Know when you should include them in your product description, and you will be more likely to win over the customer you’re targeting.

But how can you be sure your writing does that? By proofreading!

Understanding the Proofreading and Editing Process

People have a tendency to use “proofreading” and “editing” interchangeably, but they are two different processes. I’m going to shamelessly plagiarize one of my own posts for the explanation here:

What is Editing?

Editing is the process that ensures that your content is solid. It focuses on improving the overall quality and structure of the piece, addressing issues with clarity, coherence, organization, and more.

Think of editing as the remodeling process. When you are editing, you find the major problems with your content, and you fix them.

What is Proofreading?

Proofreading is the step where you check for errors in grammar, spelling, and punctuation, and where you ensure that your text is accurate and consistent.

Editing is the remodeling process. Proofreading is the cleanup process. Both are equally important. You need to be sure your metaphorical house—your product description—has all of its pieces in place. You also need to be sure that it’s clear, coherent, readable, and persuasive.

A well-proofread product description communicates the benefits and features of a product effectively. It catches your target audience’s attention. It compels them to convert. It ensures that the information you’re giving to your potential customers is accurate and clear, and conveys exactly why they should buy your product instead of someone else’s.

Proofreading is usually the last step before a piece of writing goes live. It is the part of the process where you systematically review your text, focusing on correcting the grammar, punctuation, spelling, and formatting. It cannot be neglected.

But how do you proofread? How do you proofread product descriptions? Here’s how.

Set the Right Mindset for Proofreading

You must approach proofreading with a focused and detail-oriented mindset. It is a meticulous, iterative process that requires a sharp, attentive eye and a clever, riveted mind in order to find every out-of-place typo, every grammar or phrasing misstep, and every formatting error.

Take a break between writing and proofreading. You need the fresh perspective a break will give you when you come back to your product description. This will help you approach your copy with a more critical eye and identify more errors with ease.

A quiet, distraction-free environment will also enhance your proofreading abilities. Without potential interruptions, you can concentrate on proofreading and give your product description the attention it deserves. Find yourself a peaceful space—or create one using headphones or earplugs—and immerse yourself in the text.

Focus. It is important that you remain focused and review every single word. Ignore the temptation to skim over your words. You’re not reading this as a reader—you’re reading this as a detail-oriented professional.

Once you are in the right headspace and in the right place, you will be able to catch even the smallest errors.

Create a Proofreading Checklist

A proofreading checklist is a valuable tool. It offers you a roadmap, a systematic approach to take, and will guide you through the process of proofreading until the essential aspects of your product description have all been covered.

A step-by-step checklist developed by you is often best. Include key areas of concern, tailoring it to your writing style, your brand’s style, your target audience, and specific areas where you tend to make the most mistakes. Include items such as grammar, punctuation, spelling, clarity, tone, sentence structure, persuasive language, and visual style consistency.

This may seem like a lot to check, I know, but with a good checklist, you will have a thorough, meticulous process to follow. You’ll be more organized and efficient. You’ll have a reference for future proofreading duties and will reduce the chances of errors slipping past your eyes. With your checklist as your compass, you will be able to deliver error-free and captivating product descriptions to your audience.

I’ve provided an example checklist here. Feel free to tailor it to your own needs, adding any other details you may need to look out for to keep your descriptions consistent with your brand:

Proofreading is essential for enhancing clarity, coherence, readability, and persuasive impact in your product descriptions. With a focused and detail-oriented mindset, a fresh perspective, a distraction-free environment, and a proofreading checklist, you will have error-free and compelling product descriptions every time.

Grammar and Punctuation

When proofreading product descriptions—or in any proofreading, really—paying close attention to grammar and punctuation is critical. Correct grammar and punctuation ensure clear and effective communication with customers. This is vital for your product and your brand’s reputation.

Let’s examine a few aspects of grammar and punctuation that require careful review while proofreading product descriptions.

Common Grammar Mistakes

Some grammar mistakes tend to be more common than others. These can hinder clarity and comprehension and will make your content look unprofessional and unpolished. No one trusts a brand like that.

A Few Errors to Look Out For:

  • Misused homophones or similar words
  • Misplaced modifiers
  • Pronoun disagreement
  • Punctuation errors
  • Run-on sentences
  • Sentence fragments
  • Lack of subject-verb agreement
  • Inconsistent tenses
  • Missing antecedent
  • Incomplete comparisons
  • Parallelism issues
  • Incorrect articles

This is only a brief list. Grammar resources, style guides, and grammar-checking tools can help in identifying these mistakes, and others. And, if needed, consider seeking professional assistance for a thorough review.

Some More Tips:

Structure and Syntax:
  • Make sure your sentences are constructed properly and convey the intended message
  • Adjust sentence structure to improve the flow and clarity of your product description
  • Use varied sentence lengths and structures for a more engaging and dynamic style
  • Avoid excessive complex sentences that could confuse your readers
  • Fix sentence fragments and run-on sentences, unless they are being used for a particular effect
  • Cut unnecessary repetition or redundancy
Verb Usage, Tense, and Voice:
  • Check for subject-verb agreement issues
  • Maintain consistency in verb tense and voice
  • Ensure that the verb tense fits the timeframe and context of your product
  • Use a consistent voice—active or passive, though active is generally agreed to be better—for a smooth reading experience
  • Consider your target audience and choose a verb tense that resonates with their expectations
  • Be mindful of the tone and style of your product description and ensure it aligns with the verb tense and voice
Punctuation:
  • Review for proper usage of commas, semicolons, colons, apostrophes, quotation marks, and hyphens or dashes
  • Correct punctuation errors
  • Ensure your punctuation conveys the right meaning, tone, and emphasis
  • Use ellipses sparingly for suspense or pauses
  • Check for consistent punctuation in lists
  • Avoid excessive use of exclamation or question marks—too many may appear unprofessional

Through the meticulous review of grammar and punctuation in your product descriptions, you can elevate the quality and effectiveness of your content. Then, you will present polished and error-free product descriptions that engage your audience, build trust, and, ultimately, drive conversions.

Spelling and Vocabulary

Checking for accurate spelling and appropriate vocabulary is also critical when proofreading your product descriptions. Error-filled content is not compelling content. To ensure that your product descriptions are effective, they must be high-quality. Pay special attention to spelling accuracy and word choice while proofreading.

Be sure to conduct a meticulous and systematic spelling check. Make sure you haven’t misspelled or misused commonly confused words. Breathe life into your vocabulary. And you can speed up the process by using—but not relying on entirely—spell-checker software.

Here are some tips for checking your spelling and vocabulary in your product descriptions:

Conduct a Systematic Spelling Check

As with all parts of the proofreading process, being systematic is important when you are checking the spelling and vocabulary in your product descriptions. Poor spelling and word choice undermine the credibility of your brand and create a negative impression in the minds of your potential customers.

A checklist can be a great help. Make a note of mistakes to look out for, such as missing or duplicated letters, transposed letters, incorrect vowels, or commonly confused words. Be sure to add the ones that cause you a great deal of grief as well. Then, go over every word with care while proofreading. This will help you catch and correct all of those pesky little errors.

Items to Consider Adding to Your List:

  • Missing or duplicated letters, transposed letters, or incorrect vowels
  • Commonly confused words and homonyms
  • Technical terms, industry-specific jargon, and product names
  • Homophones
  • Commonly misspelled words
  • Accuracy
  • Using an automated spell-checking tool, such as Grammarly
  • Double-check headings, subheadings, and captions

Enhance Vocabulary and Word Choice

Word choice and vocabulary have immense power. Words, especially the right ones, can change how your customers view your product and brand. Your language must resonate with them, align with your brand’s tone and values, and communicate the benefits and features of your product.

Here are some things to consider when evaluating your vocabulary and word choice in your product descriptions.

Some Tips for Vocabulary and Word Choice:

  • Consider your target audience’s demographics and preferences
  • Tailor your vocabulary to the desired tone, whether formal and professional or conversational and casual
  • Reflect on the selling points of your products, and choose words that convey these qualities with accuracy
  • Evoke emotions and create desire by choosing words that highlight the value and benefits of your product and that target your customers’ pain points
  • Incorporate descriptive, vivid, and persuasive language to make your product descriptions more compelling
  • Use sensory language to paint a clear picture of how your product looks, feels, and functions. Help your audience envision the positive experiences they’ll have with your product
  • Remember that you are selling an experience, not just a product. Place the benefits and description front and center, not the specs

Use Spell-Checking Tools

Spell-checking tools like Grammarly, ProWritingAid, your word processor’s built-in spell-checker, or any of the other tools out there can be of great help while you’re proofreading product descriptions. They’ll streamline your proofreading process by flagging misspelled words and providing alternatives. They will never replace a human, but they will save some of your valuable time.

You must always review their suggestions carefully. Spell-checkers do not understand context, and they may not detect correctly spelled words that are being used in the wrong ways.

Still, they are a highly useful complement to manual proofreading, and they can help you find problems you might not have noticed otherwise.

Some Tips to Use Spell-Checking Tools Effectively:

  • Review suggested changes and ensure they fit your intended meaning and context
  • Be aware of their limitations
  • Treat their suggestions as a starting point, then perform a thorough manual review before accepting their recommendations

Poor spelling undermines the credibility of your brand. It leaves your customers with a negative impression of your product. Ensuring your spelling is correct and your word choices are appropriate is critical when proofreading product descriptions. When you use the right words in the right ways, you can be sure that your product descriptions are outstanding.

Clarity and Readability

When proofreading product descriptions, making sure your content is readable and clear is vital. Your potential customers need to understand your offerings without effort and be compelled by the info you are giving them.

Confusion and disinterest kill.

You don’t want to lose potential customers to jargon, convoluted sentences, or a lack of clarity and readability. This isn’t literature. I say this as someone who totally understands the impulse: save the highbrow prose for fiction.

If you focus on enhancing clarity and readability while you are proofreading, you can improve the efficacy of your product descriptions and increase the likelihood of conversions—just what we want! In this section, we’ll explore some techniques for simplifying your sentences and technical terms, eliminating redundant or unnecessary words, and enhancing sentence and paragraph flow. We’ll also talk a bit about the value of reading aloud and seeking feedback.

These practices will not only make your descriptions more accessible and engaging, but they will also instill confidence in your potential customers, and leave a lasting impression of professionalism and reliability behind.

Simplify Complex Sentences and Technical Terms

Much like your friends in journalism do, you must remember that, when writing product descriptions, communicating information is your goal. Does this mean your writing has to be watered down and boring? No! God, no. It just needs to be highly readable and clear, and concise.

To do this, you need to simplify complex sentences and technical terms. Sentences should be broken down into simpler, more digestible language. Replace or, if the terms are essential, explain technical terms down into language that a wider audience understands. This will create a more reader-friendly experience that engages and informs your audience.

Some Tips for Simplifying Sentences

  • Divide long sentences into shorter ones for the sake of readability
  • Replace, define, or clarify any technical terms
  • Use analogies or examples to explain anything that’s unclear
  • To aid comprehension, use visuals such as illustrations

Eliminate Redundant or Unnecessary Words

“Brevity is the soul of wit,” Shakespeare said many, many years ago, and it remains true today. Concise communication is effective communication. Trimming redundant or unnecessary words while proofreading product descriptions will help you deliver a clear message and keep the reader’s attention.

Review each sentence with care so you can determine whether a word contributes to your message. Strive for brevity without losing clarity—and without becoming boring. Find less wordy ways to punch up your copy.

Look for chances to streamline your writing. Remove repetitive phrases, redundant expressions, and unnecessary modifiers. Clear, succinct information helps readers make informed purchasing decisions and keeps them engaged with your brand.

Some Tips for Eliminating Redundant or Unnecessary Words:

  • Look out for redundant or repetitive phrases
  • Remove unnecessary modifiers or qualifiers
  • Simplify expressions with the same meaning
  • Use concise alternatives for wordy phrases
  • Don’t waste space with weak praise. Eliminate filler words or phrases that don’t add value
  • Consider using contractions to make the writing more conversational and succinct

Improve Sentence and Paragraph Flow

Flow is another aspect of your writing that you must focus on while proofreading product descriptions. You want your readers to be able to follow your words with ease and absorb the information on offer.

Review each sentence in context, and make sure the ideas are presented in a logical manner. Also, pay attention to the flow of your paragraphs. Each one should focus on a specific idea and segue smoothly into the next. If necessary, reorganize paragraphs to improve the flow.

By giving sentence and paragraph flow the attention they deserve, you will create a more cohesive and engaging reading experience.

Some Tips for Enhancing Sentence and Paragraph Flow

  • Use transitional words and phrases. These help guide readers along
  • Make sure the progression of ideas is logical
  • Start paragraphs by introducing the main point
  • Organize info with bullet points or lists
  • Avoid monotony and create rhythm by varying sentence lengths and playing with word choice
  • Parallel structure can help maintain flow
  • Break up long paragraphs for readability

Read Aloud and Seek Feedback

Reading product descriptions aloud as you proofread is a great way to find areas that need improvement. This lets you hear the rhythm of your writing and identify awkward phrasing, lack of clarity, or pacing issues you might miss.

Likewise, seeking feedback from others can give you a fresh take on your unfinished product descriptions. Others may notice areas that are unclear or otherwise in need of refinement and offer suggestions for improvement. This can help you edit your descriptions, ensuring they communicate your message and resonate with your audience.

Some Tips for Reading Aloud

  • Pay attention to the cadence and flow
  • Listen for awkward phrasing or pacing issues
  • Look for grammar, spelling, and other errors
  • Use proofreading tools to catch anything you might have overlooked

Some Tips for Seeking Feedback

  • Ask colleagues or other trusted individuals for their input
  • Request that they give you feedback on clarity and coherence
  • Adjust your wording based on their feedback

Persuasive Impact

Compelling and persuasive product descriptions are product descriptions that get results. A strong, compelling description will generate sales, attract customers, and establish a strong brand presence.

Proofreading your product descriptions will ensure that they are not only error-free but also deliver the persuasive impact you want and need to grab your target audience.

By evaluating your product descriptions’ effectiveness and enhancing the call-to-action, you can elevate the persuasive punch of your product descriptions.

Evaluate the Product Description’s Effectiveness

Your product descriptions need to capture your potential customers’ attention and motivate them to purchase your product. The world is full of products they could be spending their money on—why should they buy yours?

Your goal is to create content that not only informs your potential customer but also compels them to take action. When proofreading product descriptions, you must evaluate their persuasiveness.

Product descriptions need to resonate with the target audience. Yours should engage your reader and tap into their desires, their aspirations, and their pain points. Will your description pique their interest? Does it communicate the benefits and features in a compelling way? Have you tapped into their emotions with sensory or descriptive language, or determined that that’s not necessary?

With the right language, you can be sure that your product description will have a persuasive impact on your potential buyers.

Some Tips for Evaluating Your Product Description’s Effectiveness

  • Determine whether the product you’re describing needs a simple, brief, matter-of-fact description or something with more substance
  • Assess the overall clarity and coherence. An incoherent or unclear description will not compel anyone
  • See if your introduction is likely to capture your reader’s attention
  • Determine how well the description communicates the product’s features and benefits
  • Make sure the tone and language used evoke emotions and connect with your reader
  • Look for opportunities to improve structure and organization
  • Evaluate the usage of techniques like social proof or testimonials—are they necessary?

Enhance the Call-to-Action

A call-to-action (CTA) is a must in any persuasive product description. While proofreading, focus on enhancing your CTA. Your CTA should prompt your reader to take a desired action, whether that’s making a purchase, signing up for a newsletter, or anything else you are trying to achieve.

Consider using incentives or implied exclusivity, or providing a guarantee, to up the persuasive impact. Make sure to highlight the value your reader will receive for taking the desired action. Avoid ambiguity—your CTA should be clear and concise. State what action your reader should take and create a sense of urgency or excitement within them.

By carefully crafting and refining your call-to-action while you are proofreading your product descriptions, you can increase the likelihood of turning your readers into customers.

Some Tips to Enhance Your Call-to-Action

  • Tell your reader exactly what to do in clear and concise language
  • Use action-oriented wording that creates a sense of urgency and excitement
  • Highlight benefits your reader will receive from taking action
  • Incorporate scarcity, exclusivity, guarantees, or other persuasive techniques
  • Test different variations of the CTA to optimize effectiveness
  • Make sure the CTA stands out and is easily clickable
  • Place the CTA wherever it will have the most visibility

Conclusion

A good product description is compelling. It is clear. It is free of grammar and spelling errors, and it highlights the benefits of your product and encourages your potential customer to take the desired action.

With careful proofreading, you can ensure that your product descriptions have a persuasive impact, drive customer engagement, and increase conversions.


Is proofreading product descriptions part of your job? Do you have a process? Is there an error you can’t seem to shake? Tell me in the comments below!

While you’re here, need some tips on proofreading when you’re short on time? How about some tips on proofreading business blog posts? Or would you like an experienced professional proofreader to take a look at your stuff? I’ll proofread up to 400 words of your writing for FREE!

Be sure to follow me on Pinterest and Facebook! Then sign up for my newsletter, too, if you haven’t already. If you subscribe, you’ll receive a free copy of my Proofreading Product Descriptions Checklist, weekly updates, and any other goodies I want to throw your way.

Now, go do some proofreading!

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