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Want to know how to make your handmade product listings more attractive, persuasive, and easy-to-understand? Brush up on your proofreading skills.

Before you head for the hills screaming, “Oh no! Not a grammar lesson!” – hear me out.

You already know that a fabulous product description is crucial to selling your product. You’ve spent time thinking of descriptive nouns, persuasive adjectives, and vivid verbs to describe your product. You might have even completed a product descriptions course and used the tips to improve your copywriting.

You’re not finished yet. Your product listing needs one extra layer of tender loving care before you send it out into the world to help sell your product: proofreading.

Want to know why proofreading your product listing is so important? Here’s why:

A product listing with errors could cause potential customers to doubt the quality of your product.

What in the world does a spelling or grammar error have to do with the quality of my product, you ask? I know, I know. It doesn’t seem fair that people would think less of your handmade product because of a wording error, does it? But they might.

Don’t worry. You don’t have to be a grammar whiz to be a good proofreader. Read on for the areas you should check.

Basic Proofreading for Handmade Sellers:

  • Spelling
    • Remember that spell check doesn’t always catch errors such as their/they’re or its/it’s.
  • Punctuation
  • Grammatical Structure
    • Are you familiar with the Grammar Girl website and/or podcast? She approaches English grammar in a fun, easy-to-understand way.
  • Conciseness
    • Say just what needs to be said; don’t be too wordy.
  • Spacing
    • Look for extra spaces between words, sentences, and paragraphs. Keep it consistent.
  • Jargon
    • Remember that just because your wording is free of grammatical errors doesn’t mean that it is clear to the customer. Do you use jargon (terms that apply to your niche but that your average customer won’t understand)?

Your product description isn’t the only shop wording to proofread. Here are some others:

  • Shop announcement
  • Seller profile
  • Shop categories
  • Tags
  • Message to buyer (automatically sent after customer makes an Etsy purchase)

So what is a non-grammar whiz handmade seller to do? The following reminders will help you improve your proofreading skills:

  • Read your product listing (title, description, tags, etc.) for errors and then leave it for a while.  Come back to it later when you have “fresh eyes” to spot errors.
  • Copy and paste your wording into a text editor of some sort. Fix any errors that you find.
  • If you know someone who is a grammar whiz, beg, plead, or bribe (☺) them to read your wording and point out any errors or unclear wording.
  • Take your time when checking your product wording. Product descriptions that are written hastily are more likely to contain errors.

Okay, confession time. Which of the following proofreading styles best describes you?

(a) I carefully proofread all of my product listings and feel comfortable correcting the errors myself. I’m pretty good at proofreading.
(b) I struggle with proofreading my product listings. Customers sometimes point out mistakes that they find in my wording. I need to work on this skill.
(c) Proofread? I’m supposed to proofread my product listings? ☺

Tell us in the comments, will you?


Julie Corbett – On The Dot Creations

On the Dot Creations features handmade creations and shares biz tips with those who sell them. Check out Julie’s free video series3 Reasons Your Product Photography Might Be Turning Customers Away, or her brand new online workshopDIY Product Photography.

12 comments on “The Reason You Simply Must Proofread Your Handmade Product Listings”

  1. I’m an English major and law school grad so proofreading is the least of my worries:) In other words, it’s not a problem for me and it’s practically ingrained in me to make sure all is correct before going live with a product description, or anything else, i.e., blog, for that matter. Product quality and great marketing is what I need to focus on!

    • It’s great that you’re able to devote most of your efforts to product quality and marketing. I’ll bet your English background comes in handy in law school! You probably have papers coming out your ears! 🙂 Thanks for your feedback, Kathleen. Nice to hear from you!

  2. Amen! Amen! I help a friend with her non-profit (and they’re not a newbie). I can’t seem to get through to them how critical it is to proof read and strive for perfection every time. Although it is tough to be perfect, regular mistakes will shake folks’ confidence in how you conduct business, how donations are handled, quality of product, and on and on. Perfect grammar is terrific. Pretty darn good grammar will pass but incorrect spelling and typos…never!

    • Ha ~ as I make a mistake. Shouldn’t proofread be one word? Oh well, good thing nobody is counting on me 🙂 Happy Thursday!

    • Great points, Mandy! I work for a non-profit for my day job, and although we have a small staff, at least 2 (and sometimes 3) people look at every email, every webpage, every document. Those extra pairs of eyes sometimes catch things that others miss. Thanks for your feedback!

  3. When I read a badly-written listing, I sometimes wonder if the item is really produced in the United States or if it will be imported from China or somewhere else.

    (Not that I only buy items made in the USA, but if I am looking at a listing for a handmade bracelet created by an artisan in Oklahoma, I would expect the listing to be grammatically correct in US English.)

  4. Thanks for the reminder, I am the grammar and spelling nazi, but I often miss typo type errors. I will admit I have walked away from both purchases and blogs due to spelling errors. It’s not so much the quality of the product that concerns me but the service. If you can’t manage to create your listing correctly, can you manage a reply email or getting my postal details correct.

    Thanks, Joy

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