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Once you’re done writing your post, you can just hit publish or submit it to your client, right? Wrong! As a freelance writer or blogger, proofreading plays an important role in your work process. Here is a strategy you can use to quickly proofread a blog post.
Does your brain work a little faster than your fingers too? Sometimes, I’ll be in the writing groove, my fingers flying on my keyboard. And then, I’ll think I finished a sentence. But it turns out I didn’t really.
I only finished it in my brain, not on the screen.
Has that ever happened to you?
How about typos? Or using the incorrect form of a word.
When you create content, mistakes happen. You’re human and not perfect. You will have errors in your work that need to be corrected.
Which is why proofreading should be part of your workflow.
Here are some tips to help you proofread a blog post more accurately, and more quickly.
Put It in Your Workflow
I typically proofread after editing my draft. So, I do the first draft. Then I read through it and make organizational changes or fix anything big. Then, I proofread as a final check before I publish or submit content.
It is a step I don’t skip on client work.
But, if I’m being honest, it is something I’ve skipped on my blog posts. When I run out of time, and just want my post to go out, I take the “done is better than perfect” approach.
And I have published content with a few mistakes. When I realize it, I go back into the WordPress app on my phone and fix them.
So, make it a point to put proofreading in your workflow. And, have a plan to fix errors if one slips through the cracks.
The Grammar Police
If you publish content, you will eventually deal with the self-appointed grammar police. These people hunt around on websites just looking for mistakes.
And when they find one, they pounce!
Their pouncing typically looks like a snarky comment or rude message in your inbox.
Here’s what I try to keep in mind when I deal with them:
I have a limited amount of time and energy to pour into my blog posts. Especially the free content I’m publishing here on my blog.
So, give yourself some grace! Fix the mistake if it needs corrected.
And just tell them thank you. You don’t need to justify your error and explain why you made one.
They really don’t care. They just want to feel like the hero for pointing out the mistake that you made. Or maybe pitch you a proofreading service… 😀
On that note, if you are a member of the grammar police, please keep in mind that there are real people behind the posts you are reading. People who cared enough about the topic to want to write up a post and share it freely with you.
So, if you find a mistake – think about it. Does it impact the way the post reads? Could it cause confusion? If yes, please let us know kindly.
If no, ignore it. It’s bugging you a whole lot more than it’s bugging anyone else.
That comma splice? I’m not going to lose any sleep over it, so you shouldn’t either!
Now back to proofreading…
Give Yourself Some Headspace
The best way to find every error in a post is to read it with a clear mind. That means you can’t write and proofread back to back.
You must step back and clear your head.
In a perfect situation, I let posts sit all night before I tackle the proofreading. This gives me the best results, because my brain isn’t still thinking about all the things I thought I said.
Instead, I can focus on what I actually wrote.
But, if I’m running tight on a deadline, I just get up and go spend some time outside. Or play a game with the kids.
I do something to get my mind off my post. Then when I come back, I’m ready to focus and get it done.
Read Your Blog Post Aloud
The best trick I’ve discovered for proofreading is to read your blog post aloud.
It may sound crazy, but it’s not. Reading your post aloud allows you to interact with your content in a new way.
It brings in more of your senses, because you are now speaking and listening instead of seeing and typing.
God gave people all these senses, and they work together in amazing ways. When you rely only on your eyes to catch an error, you’re likely to glaze right over it.
That’s because your brain knows what you meant to say. You know what your blog post should say.
So you tend to read it correctly in your mind, even when there’s a big mistake.
To ensure your posts actually say what you want them to say instead of what you think they say, you must stop relying on your eyes.
By reading your post aloud, you’re inviting your ears and your voice to the proofreading party. There are more members accounted for, and it’s less likely that you’ll miss something.
How to Make Reading Your Posts Aloud a Habit
If you aren’t used to reading your posts aloud, it may feel strange at first.
I recommend that you keep going, and work to make this strategy a habit for each post you create.
I typically just read my posts aloud from my computer or phone–wherever I happen to be typing it.
I like being able to read it aloud to someone else. My kids or my husband are usually kind enough to listen to me.
I tend to make changes as I go. That means the people listening to me have to have a little patience. (Which they do!)
Don’t worry if you don’t have anyone to read aloud to. Your ears will be happy to help you proofread. Just make sure to actually read what the post says, not what it should say.
If you have kids who are good readers, you can also print out a copy of your post. Then they can read it aloud from the paper version while you sit at your computer and fix things.
It’s a great way to get your kids involved in your business!
What to Listen for When Reading a Blog Post Aloud
So, what should you listen for as you read your post aloud?
As you listen, pay attention to:
- Grammatical errors – it should sound right
- Awkward sentences
- Run-on sentences
- Sentences that don’t have an ending
- Unclear transitions
- Technical gibberish
- Your voice
That last one is important. You want your voice to shine through your posts. After all, people want to hear from you!
So, if you are reading it and wondering why in the world doesn’t this sound like me? It’s a sign that you may need to do some tweaking to make your voice stronger.
Cut out some fluff. Add some personality. And always make sure you aren’t trying to copy another blogger’s style.
Unless you are ghostwriting for them. Then by all means, copy away. You want to write in their voice then!
But, otherwise, you need to shine through. You are different from other people. You say things differently than other bloggers.
And that is good. So read your posts and look for your voice in there.
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Other Tools to Help with Proofreading
In addition to reading posts aloud, there are some free tools you can use to help ensure your posts are high quality.
You can copy and paste into a Word document and use the grammar/spell check. Look for squiggly lines and make changes as needed.
I like the Hemingway Editor. You can copy and paste content into there, and it will make suggestions for changes. This is especially good for keeping sentences clear and ensuring you don’t have parts that are hard to read.
How Do You Proofread a Blog Post?
Do you read aloud your posts as well? Do you give yourself space to get a clear head?
Please share your best proofreading tips in the comments!
This post was originally published in the spring of 2016. It has been revamped and had new images created.
Lisa Tanner is a former teacher turned homeschooling mom with 11 kids. She's also a successful freelance writer. Lisa enjoys helping other busy moms find time to start and grow a side hustle of their own.