One of the most important things you can do when you’re finished (or as you’re writing) with your blog posts is to proofread them. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve caught mistakes in my own writing. I don’t even want to get into seeing errors with other people’s because it’s just insane out there, but I will talk about my own errors here because I don’t mind beating myself up a bit. And I’m sure, as you read this, you’ll end up catching something I mistakenly typed. Writing sometimes gets the best of us, but there are a few tricks that can help in this regard.
Before I begin, I’d like to mention that what I’ll share below isn’t only relevant for blog posts. The tips can also be used for pretty much any type of writing, from memos to letters to emails. When it comes to communicating with the written word, there’s a bit of a constant thread that runs through all forms of writing.
Think About What You’re Doing
Before hitting the “Post” button in your blog editor, take a moment to think about what you’re actually doing. I know this sounds like a strange tip and I bet I know what you’re thinking right now. You’re thinking, “Of course I know what I’m doing. I just did it and I’m ready to post it.” My reply to you is, “Are you sure?” If you are, then everything is fine. But if you aren’t, you might want to think back to your original intent and then compare that to what you just typed. In your post, were you clear? Were you concise? What did you try to explain? Did you do a good job at explaining it? Did you go off on any tangents? Did you actually complete what you intended to complete? It’s remarkable how we can wander while we write and we oftentimes go off course – by a lot. I’m a firm believer in the theory that we can only write a certain amount per sitting. If we try to go too far, we’ll end up wrapping things up whether we’re finished or not. Trust me when I say this; I’ve written thousands upon thousands of blog posts in my day. I know when my brain tells me end whatever it is I’m working on.
So, my advice for this section is, when proofreading a blog post, compare what’s written to your original intent. It can be an eye-opening experience.
Did You Ramble?
From a quality and “keeping your readers entertained” perspective, you don’t want to ramble. People tend to stop reading when they get the feeling that you’re not getting to the point. If you’ve ever tried reading a novel and realized that the story wasn’t going anyplace, you know what I’m referring to here. So don’t ramble. Stay on course and tell your story in a focused and easy to understand way.
While proofreading your posts, pretend that you have never met yourself and that you’re a brand new reader of your website. Would you appreciate what you just wrote? Would you find value in it? Would you think that the post was targeted to a specific question or concern? If not, open the editor back up and start fixing your writing so it’s more efficient and effective.
Check the Spelling of Names and Places
This is huge. If you aren’t absolutely 100% sure of the spelling of someone’s name or of a place, check on it. Double check it. Triple check it and get it right. There’s absolutely no excuse for a misspelled name or place in today’s world. I mean, you are using a computer, after all. All it takes is a second or two to check your address book or use a search engine to assist with accuracy. It can make or break a post.
So, when proofreading your posts, double check those names and places. While writing, you may be in the zone and it might not be the best time to stop even for a few seconds, but when proofreading, take the time to do what you need to do.
Read Your Posts Aloud
Strange things happen when people type a lot. First, they type completely incorrect words without even knowing it. I do this all the time. I type so fast that I write “around” when I mean to write “about.” I can’t even tell you how many times I’ve done this. There are many other examples of this type of mistake and the best way to catch them is to reread posts aloud.
One of the problems that occurs is that blog authors become blind to their own writing. There must be a mechanism in our brains that tells us that what we’ve written is good enough and that we should start working on other things. If you’re an avid writer, I’m sure you’ve experienced this phenomenon. When proofreading aloud, our brains switch into another gear and somehow think that they belong to someone else. They’re no longer blind to the writing and this can help out a lot.
The second thing that can happen is that our intended tone can wander away from where it first started. I know that when I’m writing my posts, I usually start off in a certain mood that’s appropriate for my message. As I get going though, I start to think about all sorts of things and those thoughts may make me stray from where I want to be. The problem is, I oftentimes don’t even notice that I’ve done what I’ve done. This goes back to the first tip; think about what you’re doing. Again, what was my intent? If it was to discuss how happy birthday parties can be, I really shouldn’t end up talking about politics. I mean, really. Proofreading aloud can help with this. It’s critically important to pay close attention to the plan.
Do you have any tips about proofreading blog posts that you’d like to share? If so, please do so below. Also, if you have any questions about proofreading or blogging in general, please feel free to ask below. Thanks!