Proofreading your blog

You’re over the moon as you’ve just published another post on your precious website.  You can’t be happier, and life is beautiful, until you come to read, usually after a few days, what you’ve written.   You find spelling and grammar mistakes all over the place.  To add insult to injury, there are probably more that you’ve missed and didn’t even realize it.  Were you so careless in your writing that you didn’t even realize you had made so many mistakes?  The worst thing about it is that they could have been easily avoided.  This brings about the importance of proofreading your blog.

“Who needs a proofreader, anyway?”

Sadly enough, most people do!

Any writing needs to be checked, and this ranges from putting together a simple letter, to multi-million dollar marketing campaigns.  Proofreading is related to any piece of writing, irrelevant of how long or short it might be.

Just a simple sentence, or even a slogan, needs to be written properly.

There is nothing worse than reading something which you consider to be important, only to realize it is riddled with typos and grammatical errors.  These will prompt any reader to doubt just how serious the author really is.

grammar

These mistakes, as far as many are concerned, have just rendered the blog useless.

Why?

The answer is simple…

Write your blog like you are a professional

Readers expect to read something written by a professional, a person who knows his or her subject inside-out, and somebody they would want to trust blindly.  However, after coming across several typos or grammatical errors, or both, they will not trust the information.

Your readers have just lost faith in you…

Even if the material is immaculate, at least information-wise, and full of things they’d like to know about, they will only take in what they read with a pinch of salt.  This is really a shame as the author of the article, book, brochure, or whatever it could be, would look incompetent.

Writing properly is not an easy task, and it’s not for everybody

Let me correct myself there.

Writing can be learned, just like any other skill, but writing and proofreading copy are actually two different things.  The art of writing can almost be considered as a gift.  There are so many brilliant writers out there, and their words mesmerize us, fill us with hope, or send us to distant worlds, or even make us transcend time and space.

The proofreading part comes after the writing is finished.  Most times, the work is not proofread by the actual author as he’ll just skim over the written word, and mistakes which are obvious to the trained eye of the proofreader will be totally missed by the actual writer.

I enjoy a good book, although I have to admit that I do prefer to read comics, but of the few books I’ve read, I have come across disappointing errors, especially on eBooks.   Once I come across such a failure, I just put the book down, for good.

Imagine if you’ve spent months, or even years working on your book.  Writing pages upon pages, creating your plot, your sub-plot, bringing your characters to life and then killing the ones you don’t like.  It might even be just a technical book, or on any other subject.  In each of these cases, a good book might take years to write, after which, it’s then sent to the publishers.

Avoid writing a disaster

Frustration will surface after the masterpiece is created and put on paper.  The satisfaction fades, and all because of stupid and careless errors.

Poor writing, as in the case of a CV, can cost somebody a missed job opportunity.

Cooking dogs

A company brochure will not get the desired response during a marketing campaign, but it will have the opposite effect.

An author will sell only a handful of the targeted number of books, be they in print, or eBooks. (Unless these are given away as freebies)

An advertising agency will surely not get the message through with a badly written copy.

A lawyer can lose, or even win a case over a comma in the wrong place.  A person can be sent, or even freed from the gallows over such writing blunders.

Printing companies will have to take their work back if any major flaws are found.

Such mistakes, especially in huge numbers, can cripple a business and make it look…how shall I put it…amateurish?

Blog posts swamped with inaccuracies will not only make the blogger look awful, but will not attract a large following.  The chances are that first time visitors won’t come again in a hurry.

Webmasters having poorly written content will most certainly not give their visitors an air of professionalism.  This will hurt their business, big time.  It is embarrassing, and it will kill any trust in the site, and the author.

If you can’t do it, hire a proofreader to check out your blog

If you can write well, but hopeless at catching mistakes, then please do hire a proofreader.

They are not very expensive, and will most certainly make your copy shine.

Even if you think you are good at proofreading, the chances are that you won’t catch everything.  A different set of eyes is usually needed.

However, if you feel you can do away with having your work checked out, here are some tips which will most certainly improve to minimize mistakes in your copy.

Tips to help you out with proofreading your blog

Most word processors have a spell-check installed in them.  Use it to your advantage.  Be cautious of these tools as they are not always one hundred percent right, and they can easily miss some mistakes.  You can use these word processor tools as a first guide to help you out.  Personally, I use spell-check, but then I also check out my copy using Grammarly.  I found the free version works out nicely.

Your writing isn’t just about putting the words together to fill up a page.  It’s a bit more complex than that, but knowing a few guidelines to follow, you will be fine.

Blog writing guidelines to minimize mistakes

Proofreading tips

You need to cover properly the formatting of your content, and that includes the proper spacing between the lines and the words.  You should also have consistent fonts all throughout your copy.  There is normally one space after a comma, and two spaces after a full stop.  There should also be an extra line between paragraphs.

Make sure your capitalization is correct where this concerns names and titles.

Read your copy several times.  Check out for inaccuracies in your writing, which also includes references to specific sections of your work.

If possible, print it out and read it on paper, and even in a different location from where you usually are.

One of the best ways to catch mistakes is to either read it out loud, or to have somebody read it out to you.

Take one section at a time and make sure all is in order before you carry on to another section of your work.

Leave your writing alone for a few days

Yes, just leave it.  Forget about it for a couple of days.  You’ll be amazed at how you view your copy afterwards, as it will be like seeing it from a different point of view.

Never forget that when you proofread your work, it’s primarily aimed at removing spelling, punctuation and grammatical errors.  The style of writing doesn’t come into it, although it would be great if you could master both these skills at the same time.  In doing so, this will make your copy shine…

Tip

When I come to proofread my own work, I tend to leave the copy alone for a couple of days.  Sometimes, I go through it, then leave it alone for a couple more days.  It’s amazing what difference this makes when you check it out again.  You’ll find that the longer you leave your copy, the more mistakes you be able to root out.

On top of that, you’ll also have a fresh new look at the writing.  At the time, it might have seemed brilliant, but after reading it a few days later, you might think it’s all a load of rubbish.  This is where the real work starts.  Apart from sorting out the obvious mistakes, you will also be polishing the written piece in terms of style as well.

A good idea is to read it, or even listen to it, in another location to where you are usually accustomed to.  It’s amazing what a difference this makes, but don’t just take my word for it.

Try it out yourself when you write something

keep-calm-and-proofread

The bottom line is that if you want visitors to read your work, and then come again for more, you have to make sure that what you’re writing is worth their reading.  You need to make sure that it can be read, and without a great deal of effort from the part of the visitor.

In other words, you need to make your visitors enjoy a wonderful user experience, or UX, when they read your articles.

Proofreading services for your writing

I have no intention whatsoever of putting you through any expense which isn’t necessary.  However, if you do value your work and want it to be perfect, then do consider hiring a proofreader.

You might be lucky enough to have a member of your family who can do this for you.  If so, then this would be a blessing.  I understand that when you are first starting up your blog, and aim to have it as your business, every cent counts.  Initially, you just can’t afford to go around paying proofreaders for their services.

However, should your business take off and your writing has increased substantially, more than your family or friends can cope with, it would be time to seek the help of a professional proofreader.

 

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6 thoughts on “Proofreading your blog

  1. Hi James,

    I have to say – this article contains really helpful information! As a newbie blogger, I struggle quite a lot with writing. However, after reading all that information, I’ve found a couple of suggestions that I used (and continue to use) when writing and which work for me quite well. I can’t stress enough how important is to use a writing app and give yourself a couple of days before publishing (or like in my case a couple of weeks lol).. there were days I recheck my post for 3rd time and even though I use Grammarly I still find sentences that don’t make any sense.. I’m like – What did I just read?! How did I miss that?!

    Now after writing anything (even this comment) I first go through Grammarly and then post.

    Thank you for the great info!

    Cheers,Nick.

    • Hi, Nick.

      I’m really glad you enjoyed this article and found it helpful.

      I have included all the things I do on a daily basis, and as you say, even though I leave Grammarly to do its job, I still manage to find things that I had totally missed the first time, or even the second time around…it’s crazy.

      I have been writing for quite a few years now, and one thing which experience has thought me, is to leave a piece of copy to be for a day, or so…or even a couple of weeks if need be 🙂   As long as nobody’s chasing you for the article, the longer you leave it, the better it is as you’ll be reading it from a totally fresh perspective. 

      When you do this, it’s amazing to find how many things you’ve missed.  In my case, I usually think “What a load of crap this is…and I need to go over it again”.  At least sections of it, and not the lot, more so if it’s an article which took me days to research and write.

      Yes, I know what you mean when you say “What did I just read? How did I miss that?”  Believe it or not, that happens to many writers, but it’s also a sign that you are developing your writing, and you’re on the right track.

      It’s extremely good practice to go through Grammarly, even when writing a comment.  I tend to do that most times myself, so I understand where you’re going.

      The bottom line is that people will associate you with how you write.  If you write like you’re drunk, then people won’t form a good opinion of you, but if you write properly, then your writing will not only make you look good, but it will also instill trust from your readers, and they will look up to you 🙂

      Many thanks for your kind comments, Nick.

      James

  2. This is one of the most important aspects of being a great writer that many, when they begin, overlook. Not only spelling and grammar, but structure and flow are critical to creating a good article, book or any piece of written material that is to illustrate an important point. To often, authors believe they can catch there own mistakes yet they will elude them. As with anything, practice promotes improvements yet perfection is rarely achieved without the assistance or the help of another pair of well trained eyes. 

    • Hi, Chris.

      Yes, yes, and yes once more…I can’t agree with you more on this.  It is really a hell of a shame that many writers, or bloggers, tend to overlook their spelling and grammar, and as you so rightly mentioned, the structure and flow as well.

      All these factors are crucial to creating a good article, or any other copy for that matter.

      Personally, I’ve been to websites that I won’t last longer than a few seconds as it hurts my head trying to figure out what has been written.  For all I know, it might be a fantastic piece of writing, highlighting a great deal of knowledge, but if it’s not written properly, then the end result is a disaster.

      Having the assistance of another pair of well trained eyes certainly helps, however, bloggers new on the scene, or writers in general, don’t usually have the means to pay professional proofreaders.

      I use Grammarly, which I found to be excellent, although it doesn’t always catch out on mistakes, and at times, it highlights mistakes which are not mistakes in the first place, so even though it’s good, I tend to be the judge of what is deemed as good, or not.

      Many thanks for your comment, Chris.

      James

  3. I am blogging on a budget so I think hiring some one to do it for me is cool. But I do not have the money to do it. I write my blog post on my own. I am lucky to have a friend from England to proofreading for me. English is not my first language but I learn it more when I writing my blog.

    • I think that initially, many bloggers do not have the finances to have their work proofread by a professional.  However, if they are good enough to do their own proofreading on their blog, it would be brilliant.

      You’re lucky having a friend from England to help you out with correcting your work.  I don’t think your English is bad, and yes, the more you write, the better you will become.

      Google now also tends to check out your writing for grammatical mistakes, so if your work is full of errors, you will eventually lose out on a better rank for your posts.

      Thanks for commenting, Kit.

      James

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