How to build the perfect online copy-editing service

Wordy is all about building the fastest, most reliable service for professional human copy-editing on the basis of a few powerful principles: great editors, 24/7 service, the fastest turnaround times, easy ordering, and attainable pricing.

So, how should we go about this? First of all, by using all the advantages the Net has to offer. Global coverage means that Wordy can attract great editors everywhere. It also means that Wordy can offer ’round-the-clock service and best-of-the-Web turnaround times simply because there are always editors online to pick up a job. Also, because of our very modest commission rate, Wordy can offer customers truly great pricing.

On the technical side, the challenge is to make Wordy accessible from any publishing platform from which the customer might be working, from CMS- and blog-posting systems to word processors, online proofing tools, and publishing communities. Among other things, this means being open for integration.

Copy-editing is not just about achieving the correct grammar, structure, or even spelling. Copy-editing is about getting your message across to the audience in a way that is as plain and straightforward as possible. So basically, there is nothing to it — unless, of course, one considers that 95% of people are not native English speakers, and even native English speakers often have a hard time finding just the right words. This is where Wordy comes in.

With great editors, we can lessen some of Wordy’s learning curve. Because what we are doing is pretty new (at least in a Web kind of way), the best editors for Wordy are on-screen editors that feel comfortable working with diverse texts without needing a hard-copy. This takes a skilled editor because errors are harder to spot on-screen than on a piece of paper. So far, more than 400 editors have registred with Wordy, and although we hope to be able to make use of a larger number of them soon, only a little more than 25% have been approved to work on the platform. We are confident that the quality of editors will also be reflected in the quality of the jobs leaving us. Moreover, editors at Wordy specialise in over 40 registered subjects, ranging from academics to marketing, ensuring that just the right editors are paired with specific jobs.

For many businesses and individuals, 24/7 service is a quite natural thing to demand, although 24/7 editing service has so far been both very costly and quite cumbersome – if available at all. With editors in all major time zones, including the UK, the USA, Australia, and mainland Europe, service around the clock should be taken quite literally. One of the great things about Wordy is that all editors work from standard guidelines. For both UK and US English, this ensures the same quality of editing whether the job is done in New York, Nebraska, New South Wales, or Nottingham.

Easy ordering is an area where Wordy can really shine. We are constantly working on refining Wordy’s public application programming interface (API), making it possible for third-party developers to tap into Wordy’s resources. The production and publishing of badly written material in English is one of the biggest problems on the Net today; thus, the public API is something that will really ease the addition of professional copy-editing to any writing process. So far, there are plug-ins for WordPress and Drupal (February 2010), but we’re aiming to introduce seamless Wordy editing for more than 10 different publishing platforms within Q2 2010.

As far as attainable pricing goes, Wordy believes in the volume of its business. This means two things. First, we have set a commission rate of just 15% on all orders; this means that editors are keeping 85% of the total revenue (in comparison, Apple’s app store charges a 30% commission on all paid apps). Also, by setting the price based on the assumption that all Wordy editors can edit approximately 1600 words per hour and by having no start-up fees and no fees for quick turnarounds, Wordy is making professional human copy-editing more attainable than ever.

That is just a bit about building the perfect copy-editing service on the Net. Now, back to work!