Do you ever get a bit annoyed at blog posts that have grammatical and other errors? I know I do. And so do the blog’s readers, I’m sure.
Bad, roughly finished, writing is something that can only reduce engagement with your words and erode your authority.
But then, there are mistakes here on Writing For SEO, too. They’re really difficult to eradicate, especially with the kind of workflows we use these days, writing articles right into a blogging application or CMS, and then posting as soon as we think the piece is ready.
It invites roughly-hewn words to appear in front of your readers.
The psychological basis of mistakes on your website
Psychologically, people tend to see what what they expect to see, so you tend to miss your mistakes.
That means one of the answers is to find a way you can approach your newly-minted work afresh. Another is to use a completely different set of eyes.
Put the copy aside and come back to it
This is the simplest and possibly the most effective way you can weed out the nasties from your writing. Just don’t look at it for at least 24 hours.
Once you’ve disengaged from what you’ve written, you can see your words for what they are, and easily pick up on the changes you must make.
Make it look different
Print the copy out and go at it with a pen. Olde worlde, it may seem to be, but it’s amazing what you notice once you get your words off the screen and on to paper.
You can also use your publishing app’s preview to show the content properly laid out on screen. I like to open the preview in a separate browser tag, then I can switch backwards and forwards between editing and preview screens, refreshing the preview as I make changes.
Get a second set of eyes to look it over
Books and magazines – and quality websites – don’t spring fully-formed from the authors’ computers. There can be an army of copy tasters, sub editors, fact checkers and editors that knock the raw copy into shape and polish it into something deliciously readable.
If you’re writing your own blog or website content, you should enlist the help of a friend or colleague to make sure you haven’t missed something bad in your copy.
And get them to read it for sense, too. In other words, does the piece make sense? You know what you want to say, but have you actually said it?
In my case I ask Kate from My Itchy Dog, who I share an office with, to read the copy in WordPress as the last stage before it goes live. As a fellow blogger with a professional writing background, she’s the ideal person to catch my mistakes.
And she does!
Re-read your posts after you’ve published them
I do all these, and sometimes the odd missed word, grammatical hiccup or bad spelling still gets through – although normally this is when Kate’s journalist’s eye hasn’t managed to look at it before publication
For whatever reason glitches find their way on to the blog, I like to catch them at some stage, so I re-read posts after they’ve been made live. If I find anything that needs tweaking, I go ahead and do it. I’m not proud!
Are you happy with the standards of your Web content? What do you do to improve them?
You might also like to read:
Content inspiration. How do you get ideas for writing?
Killing writer’s block by writing it into oblivion
Thanks to David DeHetre for his image.