If you’re looking to get more people to read your blogs – and all the way to the end – it’s a good idea to make sure that you’re editing your writing before you publish them.
Typos and grammar errors are natural, but they can throw the magic of a well-written blog post, and cause your readers to leave in search of another site to visit.
So how can you accurately edit your own blog posts? Here are a few tips that everyone can use – even if you’re not an English major.
(1) Write your first draft freely
One of the biggest obstacles that any writer faces is that nagging voice in the back of their head, that ‘perfectionist voice’ you’re hearing is not helping you or your blog post. Don’t try to edit the post as you write it. Rather complete the first draft and ignore the tiny typos and awkward sentences the first time around.
(2) Take a break
Once you’re done with the post, put it aside. Stand up, boil the kettle, step outside and breathe in deep. You’ll no doubt find it hard to edit a post right after completing it. I suggest you step away from it for a couple of hours (or overnight if you’re not rushing to get it published).
(3) Use tools
There are SO many free tools that you can use for editing. These can make the editing process a lot smoother, and make you feel even more confident about your content.
Check out Grammarly, this has a free and paid version. With the free version, you’ll get alerts about misplaced commas, misspelled words, and grammar errors. The paid version adds features like a plagiarism checker and a passive voice checker.
(4) Read aloud
This is one of the best ways to edit your own writing. It may sound silly, but trust me – it works! By reading the post aloud, with emphasis and emotion (not just quickly or monotonously) will help you pick out anything that doesn’t quite ‘sound right’.
(5) Have an editing checklist
Don’t go into an edit without knowing what you’re looking for. An editing checklist on hand means you won’t forget anything, and keeps editing simple and efficient.
An example of a checklist we use:
- Does the post flow correctly? This is best checked when reading aloud.
- Does it have headings, and correct one? Read more about headings here.
- Are there internal and external links?
(6) Know your blog’s voice
Every blogger should know their blog’s voice – how do you want to speak to your audience? Once you know this, you should be able to edit your blog posts so that they’re not only free of spelling and grammar issues, but so that they also speak to your ideal reader.
(7) Edit before you proofread
There is a difference before editing and proofreading.
The first time you go through your post, you’ll edit it – cut out useless words, change sentences to make it sound better, remove the 15 instances of ‘very’.
The second time you go through it should be to proofread – spellcheck, grammar, etc.
(8) Don’t overthink it
You want your post to be free of errors, and to be pleasant for your audience to read. But I promise you that you could edit a post 20 times and always find something to change/fix/reword. So do a round of edits, and a proofread check and then hit PUBLISH. Don’t overthink it and don’t let yourself get swooped up in a quest or perfection.
(9) Edit from the bottom up
A good way to pick up errors in your blog posts is to read from the bottom up. This keeps your mind sharp and prevents your mind from filling in the blanks as you read, which often leads to overlooking errors and such.
(10) Get a second eye when you can
With these tips, you should be able to easily edit your own blogs, if you have someone to help you with editing, use their eyes wisely. It’s tricky to edit your own writing, and having a friend who knows your blog take a read through can be really valuable.
Whether you’re publishing a quick blog, or submitting a guest blog, having as few typos as possible is always preferable. Editing allows you to improve your posts, expand on original thoughts, and enhance your writing.
Don’t be afraid to edit your work, and remember that the more you practice, the easier it will become.