7 Proofreading Strategies for Higher-Quality Blog Posts
Writers love to write. It’s what we do because we are committed to bringing the written word to our audiences. However, writers have an obligation to provide high quality with every piece of content we produce. This means we must follow key proofreading strategies to create content of value.
“Tripping, stumbling, and hesitating over misspelled words or ill-placed punctuation is like watching a TV show with a shaky cable signal or trying to talk while a cell phone connection is breaking up—the reader is jostled right out of the story the writer is telling.”
Leah McClellan, freelance writer
When you have errors throughout your article, even if just one, you risk distracting your readers from your content’s message. Readers can lose focus, so it’s essential that you properly proofread before you publish and promote your content.
These 7 proofreading strategies will help you as a writer create blog posts that keep your readers reading till the very end. You’ll see that it will also increase your influence as readers begin to appreciate and rely on your high-quality writing.
— — —
1) Write your draft in full. Then, take a break before proofreading.
It can be awfully tempting to edit while you write. You see mistakes as you make them, so you want to edit right then. Unfortunately though, this can slow you down and damage your writing as a whole.
It’s important to write your thoughts onto the paper or document in full. It prevents loss of focus and allows you to get all your ideas fleshed out without interruption. When you’re writing, you want to have all your attention on your content first, proofreading next.
Once you have your complete draft, you don’t want to start editing right away. This is a common mistake writers make. Instead, step away from your draft for some time (length of time is up to you). When your mind is refreshed and your body rested, you can proceed with proofreading your draft.
2) Proofread for grammar and spelling AND proofread for accuracy and value.
You’ll find that proofreading involves more than you’d think. Grammar and formatting are just two pieces of the puzzle. You also have accuracy and content value to evaluate.
Of course, your instinct is to check grammar and spelling first, but you shouldn’t. When you do that, you’ll risk having to do it all over again after proofreading for accuracy and content value. You’ll likely make changes when proofreading your content itself, so do that first before checking your draft for grammar and spelling errors.
- When you’re proofreading your content, check your facts. Are they accurate and up-to-date?
- Check your content for value. Does it assist your audience?
Make any necessary changes before proceeding with a grammar and spelling check.
3) Focus on one element of your article at a time.
When you’re proofreading, choose one focus at a time. For example, focus only on formatting or only on grammar. Don’t try to do everything at once because you increase the likelihood of missing mistakes.
By focusing on one element at a time, you can ensure that you find and fix every error in that area. Don’t check for other errors until you’ve reviewed the entire draft for the initial errors first.
4) Proofread when you have no distractions and can focus on the task at hand.
Distractions can damage your proofreading efforts. They cause you to miss mistakes and make new ones. That’s why it’s essential to find a distraction-free setting for your proofreading sessions.
You have options for how to be distraction-free. Your physical setting should be quiet with no excess items around to distract you. When it comes to your draft on your computer, you’ll find that all the other features on your device can be distracting too. That’s when you want to find a tool to eliminate distractions.
You can use a tool to block everything on all devices, such as Freedom, which works for Web, Mac, PC and iOS. Or, if you use Chrome, you can try the extension called StayFocusd to block distracting websites. You have other options, but those two are most effective.
5) Send your draft to one person at a time and have a limited number of reviewers.
When you are the author, you can be blinded by your own writing. That’s when you want to get outside help to proofread your content. Another person will be better at taking your audience’s perspective, which is key to creating valuable content.
As you send out your draft to other people, use a tool like Google Docs to track edits and suggestions in real time. If you simply send out a Word document, you won’t be able to coordinate with multiple editors at a time. You won’t be able to track changes and suggestions as effectively as with an online service.
Another key point to keep in mind is this:
Limit the number of proofreaders for each of your drafts. If you send it out to too many people, you risk causing chaos. Your document will be butchered by all the suggested changes and comments. Stick with no more than 3 proofreaders per draft.
6) Take notes and remember where you made mistakes to learn for the future.
If you don’t want to make the same mistakes over and over again, you need to record them as they happen. This will teach you what mistakes you commonly make so that you don’t make them as often in the future.
An effective way to do this is through a note-taking program. Or, write comments and mark edits within your Google Doc draft. Create a system that you can easily refer to and remember.
If you skip this strategy, you are likely to make the same mistakes over and over. You may realize the frequency of the error, but it’ll be no more than an afterthought if you don’t record it. Remembering and monitoring for your common mistakes will expedite your proofreading. You’re less likely to make them in the first place.
7) Use the resources available to check your work for grammar and readability.
To fully optimize your proofreading efforts, use one of these tools. They each have features that will benefit you. Most are free, but you may want to consider purchasing a pro version when offered.
First, check your article in its final HTML format. You’ll see your content from your audience’s perspective. It can show you mistakes you may not have seen otherwise, especially in formatting.
Convince and Convert offers more suggested tools to consider for your proofreading efforts. The article offers tools you may not know about or haven’t tried. They’re worth exploring.
— — —
Now that you know these 7 proofreading strategies, are you ready to implement them?
It’s important that your content gets the point across without distractions. Grammar, spelling, value, and accuracy errors are distracting. That’s why you need to implement these 7 techniques to fully optimize your content.
What do you do to proofread your content? Leave a comment with your favorite proofreading strategies to help your fellow writers.