Justin recently wrote a post about proofreading tool After the Deadline. True enough, it makes sense to check your draft for misspellings, and mistakes in grammar and punctuation before hitting the publish button. If you’re using web markup, it also makes sense to check the draft for any unclosed or misplaced tags.
But aside from these simple mistakes, it takes more time to actually check a post if it does make sense. First, you have to check if your argument is reasonable. Then, you have to check if you got your facts straight. Then you need to check if your sources are valid, and if your post does point to the original (or at least the best quality) source of information. And there’s also a host of other things I’d like to check before hitting publish. Here would be a short checklist.
- Check spelling.
- Check grammar.
- Check for clarity. I like using precise language. For instance, “hard” can mean many things. So I prefer to use “difficult.”
- Check for conciseness. Usually, during proofreading I remove unnecessary sentences and even paragraphs.
- Check for readability. I like to divide my posts into easily-digestible paragraphs. Better yet, I use headings, for easier scanning.
- I do a logic check. Does my reasoning really make sense? Sometimes I rearrange paragraphs for better buildup.
- Check categories and tags.
- Check the site URL. With the many blogs I write on, I might be writing on the wrong site!
- Preview the post to see how it looks like as a finished product.
I often find myself reading and rereading a draft before finally publishing. If it’s a feature post, proofreading often takes about 150% to 200% of the time I spent drafting the actual thing (or even longer). If it’s a news post, I’m more concerned with the timeliness of the article, so the time spent editing could be significantly shorter.
I think I may be too much of a perfectionist that sometimes i even scrap a draft if I think it won’t cut the grade in terms of quality and applicability to a blog. Sometimes I decide to move the draft to another site altogether, if my writing and editing results in straying away from the original intent or idea.
Either that, or perhaps I’m afraid of criticism.
My point here is that for me, I think readers deserve shorter, clearer blog posts that make an impact, rather than a post that just rambles and rambles and isn’t even clear on what the author wants to say. It’s more difficult to edit than write. But with more effort put into editing a post, it makes it easier for your readers to understand what you want to say, and this makes for better writing.
How long does it take for you to edit and proofread a blog post?
Great article! Being a blogger originally myself and now a professional proofreader I think this list will come in handy for me. Once again thanks, very helpful article.
First, I do a ‘natural’ read. In other words, I try to read the piece as anybody else would. Then, I do a slow read: about a third of my usual reading speed.
I then do any ‘arrhythmic’ read. For this, I only read in six-word segments (using a business card to cover up the bits of the sentence I don’t want to read). This arrhythmic technique breaks up the natural rhythm of the writing and prevents me from skipping ahead, filling in the gaps, forgiving omissions and all the other little things our brains do to help us out. When it comes to proofreading, the last thing you need is your brain helping you out.
If you’re going for a long article, use MS office or similar for the spell check. Then paste it into the blog and add bullets or whatever. But for me as long as the publisher isn’t too kindergarden at spelling, grammer and punctuation, I can normaly look past it as I can still understand.
i am totally agree with it that blog post should be shorter.
I strongly agree with shorter blog post! I try to make my paragraphs short and to the point as well. When I read other blogs, I lose interest fast if the paragraphs arent structured to skim through, or if its too long. Long is okay if their are bullets and shorter paragraphs, but its easy to lost interest on these long post that our out there. Very good post.
My weakness, I often forget to put my post in a catagory, and I have to go back and fix it! Or use too many words and have to cut out the rambling parts! Thanks for the great post.
Tools are fine for a lot, most?, things but proofreading isn’t one of them.
I go back and forth from preview to the composing window several times before hitting the publish button. Seeing the post previewed on the site helps me edit and improve the post for some reason as opposed to rereading and editing it from the composing window.
Thanks for the mention. You did a great job covering the details of proofreading. It’s an important aspect of blogging that’s most likely the most overlooked. I also agree with the short posts idea. Something that’s short, well written, and to the point is much more effective than simply going for length.