Editing and Proofreading Tips Every Blogger Should Know …
Perfection is not attainable, but if we chase perfection we can catch excellence.
So, with that being said, let these tips be the help you need to take your efforts to the next level!
Before we dive into the tips, consider this question: How awful are grammatical errors and typos when you are blogging? It could be a matter of opinion. If you are a new blogger looking to establish credibility, then carefully editing and proofreading your work can help you in that effort.
For me, blogging is about sharing information (and sometimes questions) with readers. My main goals are to communicate my ideas and provide information. If I am having a very good day, I might make readers think more deeply about my topic—and perhaps question something they thought they knew. Then I have succeeded.
Being completely honest here, most bloggers have these three goals over a period time: to increase the number of followers we have, gain new clients and increase sales.
How important is it that every blog entry be letter-perfect with excellent grammar and no typographical errors?
I believe that as long as you communicate your ideas clearly, the occasional grammatical errors and typos are forgivable. I can think of two exceptions:
- You do not want to publish an error that changes your meaning or creates ambiguity. While that can happen, for the most part grammatical errors and typos in blogs do not lead to much confusion. More likely, they create a distraction and then the reader moves on.
- If your area of expertise as a blogger is grammar or proofreading, your posts do need to be letter-perfect.
So … let’s get to the meat and potatoes of this topic: Tips for editing and proofreading.
First, be aware that editing and proofreading are not the same.
9 SUGGESTIONS FOR EDITING YOUR OWN ARTICLES
If you are editing a rough draft, your best option is to read it out loud. Your focus will not be on proofreading at this point, it will be on content. Here are things you will want to look for as you read:
- Have you included everything you intended to say in the article?
- If your article has become too long, could it be more effective if split into two articles?
- Does anything you have written so far need clarification?
- Can you find redundant remarks and delete them?
- Can you find more concise ways to phrase your points or the examples you have provided?
- Does any of your material need to be rearranged? Should you move a paragraph to a different position for a better flow?
- Do you need to insert smoother transitions?
- Would using a bulleted list or numbered list for some of your material make it easier to read? The reader’s eye appreciates these cues.
- Does the material end abruptly and need a more developed, organic ending?
11 PROOFREADING TIPS
You do not need to use all of these tips! Try several so you can learn which ones work best for you.
- Read your work out loud to yourself twice. Once so you can hear how it sounds, and the second time more slowly as if you were giving a presentation to an attentive audience.
- If your mind wanders when you read your own writing out loud, find out if the program or device you are using offers a text-to-speech feature. With that feature, you can have your device read the content out loud to you. It helps to hear it in a different voice.
- Proofreading requires concentration, so if you cannot focus at first, come back to it later when you can give the text your full attention.
- Use the spell-check feature of the program you are working in. These features are not always correct, but they do catch misspellings you may have missed. If you disagree with a suggestion, look it up to be sure you are correct.
- Look up the spelling of words you are not certain about. Examples would be “compliment” and “complement” or “affect” and “effect.” If you hesitate, you need to look it up.
- Test the links (hyperlinks) if you have included any.
- Print the material and proofread it on paper instead of on the screen. Some people find they can spot errors on the printed page that they miss on the screen.
- Working with a printed copy of your article, place a blank sheet of paper over everything except the top line. Move the blank sheet down the page as you read each line. This keeps you from skipping a line.
- Walk away from the material so you can see it with fresher eyes when you return.
- Ask a colleague, friend or virtual assistant to proofread it for you. A second set of eyes is valuable. You can return the favour when they need a proofreader.
- Read the material out loud backwards. This is a drastic step and only necessary if your blog entry must be letter-perfect … or, if none of the above tips have worked for you.
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