You wrote your first blog post and the content is so amazing. Now you can’t wait to share what is surely going to blow your readers away. Before you hit publish, remember, you still need to edit and proofread blog posts. If you don’t, you could lose credibility with your community and potential buyers. Learn the strategies how to proofread your blog to provide polished, high-value content for your readers.
Writing, editing, and proofreading are three different stages in creating quality, valuable content. Editing and proofreading are terms that may be used interchangeably. Recognize that proofreading is part of editing while editing is not part of proofreading like a banana is a fruit but a fruit is so much more than just a banana.
Editing contains several very different stages of the revision process. Each stage demands close attention and careful reading but they focus on different aspects of the writing and employ very different strategies and techniques to look at the information with a fresh perspective.
Editing is what you’ll do when you reread your draft to see if, for example, the content is well-organized, transitions are smooth and make sense, and evidence actually backs up your argument.
Proofreading is the final stage of the editing process focuses on surface errors such as spelling, grammar, and punctuation mistakes. You should only proofread after you finished all of your other editing process revisions.
How to Proofread Your Blog Posts
Wait a few hours, days, or weeks before you edit your blog post since you last wrote. Short on time? Wait a minimum of one hour between writing and editing. This will clear your head of what you’ve written so you can take a fresh look at the content to see what is really on the screen. Not what your mind thinks should be there.
Better yet give the blog post to someone who did not write the blog. They can’t get more separated from the writing.
Wait another few hours, days, or weeks before you proofread your blog post. Again, aim for a minimum of one hour to clear your mind of what should instead of what is on the screen.
Determine if proofreading on a computer makes the most sense for you. Will a printed copy be easier for you to proofread or do you work more efficiently at the computer? Which writing and editing software will you use? Consider these as you make your decision of what medium allows you to proofread the most carefully.
Blog Proofreading Strategies
Change the appearance of the content
Try changing the look of your blog post by altering the font size, spacing, color, or style of a text. This may trick your brain into thinking it’s saying “this content is an unfamiliar blog post” which can help you get a different perspective on what you’ve written.
Find a quiet place to work. Don’t try to do it in front of the TV or while you’re on a treadmill where you can’t concentrate completely on the proofreading of your blog content. Avoid distractions.
Edit in short time blocks
If possible, do your editing and proofreading over several short blocks of time. Your concentration may start to drain if you try to proofread the entire content in one sitting. Shorter blog posts will be easier proofread in one sitting than a longer piece of content such as your ebook.
If you’re short on time, prioritize the most important editing and proofreading tasks to make sure you complete those first. The important thing about proofreading is to make the process systematic and focused to catch as many errors as possible.
Proofread your spell checker
Don’t rely on spell checker. These are useful tools but they’re far from foolproof. Spell checkers have a limited dictionary so homophones, the words that sound the same but look and mean different, cannot be differentiated from each other in these programs.
Proofread your grammar checker
Grammar checkers can be even more problematic. These programs work with a limited number of rules so they can’t identify every error and often make mistakes. They fail to give a thorough explanation to help you understand why a sentence should be revised. You still need the skills to evaluate the feedback.
Focus on one type of error at a time
Proofread for only one kind of error at a time. If you try to identify and revise too many things at once you risk losing focus and your proofreading will be less effective. It’s easier to catch grammar errors if you aren’t checking punctuation and spelling at the same time. In addition, some of the techniques that work well for spotting one kind of mistake won’t catch others.
Take your time proofreading
Read slow and read every word. Try reading out loud. This forces you to say each word and also let you hear how the words sound together. When you read silently or too quickly, you’ll make corrections unconsciously without ever seeing the error.
Separate the text into individual sentences
This is another technique to help you read every sentence carefully. Simply press the enter or return key after every period so each sentence begins a new line. Read each sentence separately looking for grammar punctuation or spelling errors.
Work on a printed copy
Try using an object like a ruler or a piece of paper to isolate the line you’re working on. Circling every punctuation mark forces you to look at it. As you circle, ask yourself if the punctuation is correct
Reading the blog post backward is helpful to check spelling. Start with the last word and work your way back to the beginning, reading each word separately. Content, punctuation, and grammar won’t make any sense. Your focus will be entirely on the spelling of each word.
You can also read backward sentence by sentence to check grammar. This will help you avoid becoming distracted by content issues.
Learn along the way
Proofreading is a learning process. You’re not just looking for errors that you recognize. You also learn to recognize and correct new errors. This is where style guides, books, and dictionaries are most beneficial. Keep your resources close at hand as you proofread.
You’ll find potential errors but you may not know what’s wrong. A word looks like it might be misspelled but the spell checker didn’t catch it. You think you need a comma between two words but you’re not sure why. Should you use “that” instead of “which?” Does the question mark go inside or outside of the quotation mark? The resources will be well used.
The proofreading process becomes more efficient as you develop and practice a systematic strategy. You’ll learn to identify the specific areas of your own writing that need careful attention. Knowing that you have a sound method for identifying errors will help you to focus more on developing your ideas while you are drafting the blog post. Leave the editing for later.
Now get your own editing checklist. The checklist will take you from planning through publishing a blog post. Never worry about missing a step or forgetting a detail again with this checklist.