A couple of months ago one of our advertisers posted on Facebook that their website copy had been duplicated, word for word, on another proofreader’s website. This caused considerable distress and anger to the lady in question and she immediately contacted the website owner. Luckily, said website owner responded quickly and the whole situation turned out to be fairly innocuous – the ‘thief’ was in the early stages of building a proofreading website and was apparently just using the copy temporarily to fill the space and to see how their layout would look.
Funnily enough, a very similar thing happened to Find a Proofreader a couple of weeks back. We received an email alerting us to a pingback from one of our blog posts, but we hadn’t posted anything new that day. We traced the pingback and found that someone was using our blog posts on their own blog! We contacted the owner and he apologised profusely, stating that he was just playing around with his newly purchased WordPress theme and was using our copy to see how the site would look. He removed the offending content right away.
Copyscape – the online plagiarism checker
While these two cases seem to be fairly innocent, they do highlight just how easily your copy can be, well, copied. Fortunately there is something you can do to combat this behaviour. Copyscape is a free service which allows you to check whether your website’s copy appears elsewhere on the internet – in other words, it tells you if someone has ripped off your copy. Just type in the URL of the web page you want to check, and it will tell you if any sites have matching content, and, if so, it will even tell you what percentage of your content has been duplicated.
Copyscape has other useful services too. They have a series of banners that you can add to your website to deter would-be copycats. They also allow you to check that your own content is original. So for website owners who pay copywriters to produce text for their website, this provides peace of mind that the copywriter has written original content.
If you do find that someone has stolen your content, don’t panic. Firstly, remember that imitation is a form of flattery and the fact that someone has deemed your content to be good enough to copy speaks volumes about the quality of your content (and the fact that they found your site in the first place suggests you’re doing something right in the eyes of the search engines).
Secondly, Google is clever enough to detect which website posted the content first, so while duplicate content is a major factor in the eyes of Google and will be punished with poor rankings, it shouldn’t affect your own if you really were the originator. In other words, the person who copied you is unlikely to ever rank highly on Google, but your site’s rankings should remain as they were.
Having said all this, it is downright cheeky of them to nick your content in the first place and you are well within your rights to contact them and request that they remove the content. If they refuse to do so, you can report them to Google. For more information on this, read this article.
The use of images is an essential part of internet marketing. It’s true that content is king, but not all content is written content, and nor should it be – can you imagine how dull the internet would be without images and videos? If you’re serious about succeeding as an online business you need to be selective and creative when it comes to using pictures to promote yourself effectively.
The good news is that Find a Proofreader has an easy-to-use image upload feature. Whatever images you wish to include in your listing, Find a Proofreader lets you upload up to five – so there’s no excuse for not utilising the power of pictures on our website!
Upload your company logo
The first image you upload is treated as your primary image. It is used for the thumbnail next to your business name when visitors search the site. We recommend uploading your company logo first, if you have one, because your listing will look more professional with your own corporate identity and it will differentiate you from the other companies listed. If you don’t upload any images at all, our default thumbnail will appear next to your listing and you won’t be giving yourself any sort of advantage visually.
Logos of associations and societies
If you’re associated with any organisations related to the services you offer, you can upload these too, if the organisation has granted you permission to do so. These organisations are often expensive to join and you have to work very hard to achieve the various levels of membership that they offer, so you’d be daft not to make the most of them. Don’t just mention the association in the blurb of your listing – upload the image so that people can see at a glance that you’re associated with them. Remember that people don’t always have time to read all the text in front of them, especially when they’re browsing a business directory.
A photo of yourself
A photo of yourself, or your team if you have staff, is another way of giving your listing a sense of identity. ‘People buy from people’ is a cliché frequently used in the world of sales, and there’s some truth in it. As the world becomes increasingly reliant on the internet, more and more business is done remotely and so anything you can do to inject personality into your online presence is likely to help – as long as it’s a professionally taken photo or at least one that is of reasonable quality.
Examples of your work
Another idea would be to upload examples of your work. While this could be a powerful tool as it clearly demonstrates the quality of your work, you will of course need the permission of your client before you can upload such material.
The technical stuff
Whatever images you decide to use in your listing, the ideal dimensions to use are 150 px (W) x 123 px (H). Remember that you can add or delete images at any time just by logging in, going to your dashboard, clicking on View Listing and then Edit Listing. And if you get stuck, contact us and we’ll help you!