Great bloggers are separated by mediocre ones by one important factor: they know how to edit their own writing. Bloggers typically don't have professional editors and proofreaders to watch their backs and clean up their copy, which means that writing isn't the only thing they should master. If you want to become a better blogger, you have to learn that editing doesn't only include fixing typos and unintentional grammar mistakes. You should also get rid of the ambiguous phrases you love so much, and we will teach you how to do that in eight simple steps.
The first thing you need to understand is that editing your own posts is hard work. However, the challenge should only inspire you to become a better blogger; so don't even think of skipping this process altogether because it's boring and you don't find it as interesting as writing.
1. Write first, then edit
Forget about editing while you are still writing your blogs. It's completely fine to fix a mistake you notice, but don't stop to edit entire paragraphs while you are still in the process of writing. You cannot turn your creativity on and off as you wish, so allow yourself to write down everything you can before you go back to the text and start editing.
2. Allow it to "sit"
Before you start editing the blog you just wrote, you should allow it to sit for a few hours. It's your own blog, so you're not limited by deadlines and no one is rushing you to publish the post sooner. When you come back to the text after the break, you will be able to approach it with fresh mind and the mistakes will be easily noticeable.
3. Use the "preview" feature
When you read through your writing in a different format, you will spot the problems much more easily. This is what the "preview" function of a blog platform is all about. Make sure to check how your post looks in its published form before you make it available for the wider audience.
4. Structure and content comes first in editing
Bloggers make one common mistake when editing their own work: they start polishing every single sentence and forget about the logical flow of the text. The big picture should always be first on your mind. If some paragraph seems to be out of focus, rearrange the structure of the post or get rid of the parts that don't belong there. Maybe you will think of more useful information you can add, so you should definitely take care of that part before you dive into individual words and sentences.
5. Make it shorter!
Let's face it: no reader would be interested in reading an endless piece of text on your blog, no matter how important you think it is. There is one effective rule you can implement and make your writing much more appealing: cut out 10 percent of the word count during the editing process. Bloggers can get carried away and repeat the same point several times throughout the post. If you notice some repetitive phrases, points or words - get rid of them! Delete all unnecessary adjectives and pretentious phrases, and your readers will become more interested in your posts immediately.
6. Spell-Check is great, but not self-sufficient
Run every one of your blog posts through a spell-checker before you publish it. You can paste it in Word or use a browser plugin for that purpose, so you can correct the detected mistakes. However, you shouldn't rely on this tool entirely - some errors slip through these programs, but they will still be noticed by the careful eye of a reader.
7. Read the post slowly (or backward)
The technique of reading the post backward before its publication is used by many bloggers, because it enables them to spot the mistakes that slide past them. The logic behind this strategy is simple: you are familiar with your own writing, so even the most obvious mistakes can be left out during the editing process. If reading backward seems too wacky, you can try a simpler method - enlarge the font size and start reading the text really slowly. This way you will pay attention to every single word and the chance of leaving mistakes in your post will be minimal.
8. Stop when it's enough
Bloggers typically take two opposite approaches to editing: they don't edit their posts at all, or they can't stop editing once they start. If you find yourself going through the unpublished posts too many times and you keep making changes and then taking them back - you are definitely done and it's time for your readers to see what you have to offer. Even if your posts are published with some minimal imperfections, they will still be more useful to the blogosphere than the unpublished content you don't feel confident about.
Sandra Miller is a freelance writer at editing service Help.Plagtracker.com. She was a social studies teacher. Loves writing, running and all things green. Interested in improving her learning through technology. Makes sure every post she's writing is as useful as possible.