Proofreading your work is a sign that you seek excellence for your blog.
Often, however, it’s hard to proofread your own writing because you know what you want to say, and that’s what you see. If English is your second language, or if you didn’t really pay that much attention to the details when you were in school, you may find proofreading tedious and difficult.
The following list is not comprehensive, but maybe a couple of these suggestions will help you as you review your next blog post.
Check the Formatting
- Replace double spaces with single spaces. It takes just a few seconds, using the Search and Replace function in a word processor.
- Put space between the paragraphs. When the tennis article came to me, it looked like a long string of letters; the only indication of new paragraphs was a two-space indentation. No one wants to read pages that are crowded with text.
Check the Sentence Structure and Word Usage
- Passive voice. I changed “When this is accomplished” to “when you accomplish this.”
- Sentences that start with “there are.” I changed “There are many reasons a player can lose a point,” to “A player can lose a point for many reasons.”
- Consistency of voice. I changed “We constantly build on this for the rest of your tennis playing life” to “we constantly build on this for the rest of our tennis playing lives.”
- Consistency of tense. I changed “Many times we lose points because we were out of position” to “…we lose points because we are out of position,” or it could be “…we lost points because we were…”
- “ing” words. They can often be simplified. “One of the main tips to being in good court positioning…” became “One of the most important tips about good court positioning….”
- Unnecessary prepositions. I eliminated the with in “After we get comfortable with hitting the basic shots.”
- Preview your article either in print, full screen, or your blog preview.
- Pretend you are reading the article for the first time. If you need to, take a short break, come back, stand up to read it or change position in your chair.
- Read it out loud, slowly. It’s amazing what your ears hear that your eyes don’t see, especially when it comes to extra words and repetition.
- Don’t skip the subheadings! I recently spotted the following subheading in a blog about managing other people: “Become a Manger.” We tend to think because headings and subheadings are in larger print, we’ll notice mistakes. We don’t.
If you’re finding mistakes after publication, or others often point them out to you, it may be time to ask for help – you know – from someone who used to diagram sentences for entertainment.
What about you? Do you have any special techniques for making sure your work is error-free?