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Blog Post Editing: 5 Steps to Take Before You Hit "Publish"

A good editor is worth their weight in gold.

When you read a book or magazine article it will always have been written by one person, then edited and checked by someone else. There's a reason at least two people are involved in the print publishing process.

When you write a blog post yourself it's hard to read it properly and notice the typos and errors. We tend to scan anything we wrote ourselves and can easily miss errors that would jump straight out at someone reading it for the first time.

Also, when you try to edit your blog post,  you're too close to the material and may skip over certain info, assuming your readers already know it just because you do.

But we bloggers don't have the luxury of an editor to go over our writing, suggest improvements and point out typos or spelling mistakes. We have to do that ourselves. So knowing how hard it is to edit your own writing, how can we make sure our blog posts are a high enough quality for our readers?

(NOTE: If you'd like a free bonus guidebook on blog writing, click on the picture at the end of the post)

For me, blog post editing takes longer than writing the post. I may spend two hours writing a blog post then, two to three hours perfecting it. Even then typos can and do slip in sometimes.

I don't think the odd typo or missing comma matters too much, but if you have multiple typos, spelling mistakes and grammatical errors in one blog post, it's not a good sign for your poor readers.

Don't be a perfectionist - but do make sure it's as good as it can be. If necessary, I believe you should post fewer high-quality blog posts instead of more quantity. Your readers should be able to expect and look forward to good quality writing on your blog every time.

My point here is not to make you paranoid that your blog posts aren't good enough or have mistakes. The point is that good writing takes time but you can do it if you invest time and keep practicing. Try not to see the editing as a process, see it as a fun part of polishing your post so that it's even better.

I'm assuming you've already read the other blog posts in the Blog Writing Magic series on headlines, writing, and formatting. If so, you're ready for this.

How to Edit a Blog Post

1. Put Your Hands in the Air and Move Away From Your Post

Write your blog post, then put it aside for a day before editing and checking it. Or at least put it aside for an hour or two so you can read it with a fresh eye and see the errors more clearly. This means you probably can't write a blog post and publish it on the same day.

2. Check if it's Huh? or Ha!

Reread your post with your readers in mind then edit it for meaning. We've already talked about how every blog post should have a beginning, a middle and an end. It sounds obvious but make sure your blog post has a natural progression and a story behind it. Give your post an introduction, a middle and a conclusion or summary, even if that's not what they're called in the post.

Double check the beginning and the end. The beginning is crucial to draw the reader in and make them want to find out more. The end is a great place to reward your reader for sticking around. If you can, end your blog post with a bang, or relate the ending back to a point you made at the beginning to tie things up neatly and give a sense of closure.

Check the message is clear. Keep things simple and try to distill the purpose of your blog post down to one sentence with one message your readers can easily digest and take away. When you reread your post make sure that message is clear and not muddied by irrelevant information.

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3. Be Fussy

No one likes nit-picking and fussiness, but you have to edit your blog post for grammar. If you're not sure about grammatical points look them up online. Here are some of the main things that cause problems and a few suggestions:

  • Use everyday language when you write your blog posts. Yes, I do use words like persnickety in real life. Sorry, I can't help it. As a kid, I pored over the thesaurus learning new words and I like to use them. But I try to keep long words in check and over-formal writing is my biggest bugbear with blog and website writing. A blog is not a business report. It's a conversation. Make your writing sound natural.
  • Use contractions just like you would if you were talking to someone. Forget writing "I will", "you are" or "she would" - make it I'll, you're and she'd.
  • Apostrophes have two uses:
    - for contractions to show letters are missing like in the examples above, where "I will" become "I'll".
    -  for possessives like the blogger's posts which indicates one blogger, or the bloggers' posts, which shows there is more than one blogger.
  • Homonyms - words with the same sound but a different meaning. Spell checkers are great but they miss words that are spelled right but used in the wrong context like you're/your, it's/its or their/they're/there. You have to check the right word is used in the right place yourself.
  • Be consistent - if you make a mistake, make the same mistake every time because that way people might think it's just your writing style.

4. Give it the Chop

Removing unnecessary words makes the reading experience faster and smoother and the first three rules I learned were: "Omit needless words; omit needless words; omit needless words."

You need to edit your blog post for style by taking away as much of it as you can without affecting the meaning. Reread it to see if you've used five words where one or two would have been enough. Make sure there are no common words repeated and no fluff that's just in there for the sake of it.

Here are some words and phrases I chopped out of this post:

  • Despite all that;
  • If I'm honest;
  • I think;
  • Really;
  • Mostly;
  • That;
  • If this isn't possible;
  • Sometimes;
  • The other thing is that;
  • For some reason;
  • It's fair to say.

Horrible, isn't it? I'm getting better and starting to catch myself before I write these annoying and meaningless words. You will too.

5. Talk the Talk

Print your blog post out and read it aloud. Whispering will do but reading out loud and from paper will help you notice errors you'd miss on-screen or with a silent read. Apparently top editors read backward to force themselves to pay attention, but hopefully, you don't need to take it that far.

Don't panic if this sounds like a lot to take on, but writing the post is just the first step for successful blogging. Editing is what makes your blog posts shine even more. I hope these tips leave you feeling empowered to turn your rough first drafts into golden nuggets. Just remember, a good editor is worth their weight in gold, and with a little practice that will be you.

Take Action

Give it a go. Take one of your rough drafts and polish it into something precious. How much shorter can you make it while still getting your point across?

How do you edit your blog posts faster and better?

Click on the picture below to get your free "Blog Writing Magic" guide book!

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103 comments on “Blog Post Editing: 5 Steps to Take Before You Hit "Publish"”

  1. Sue,

    Once again, another great post.

    Much of what you're writing about applies to copywriting, too.

    I'm far more critical about my copywriting than I am my blog posts. For example, I always wait a few days before I go back and read my last draft.

    Before I submit my draft, I'll read it aloud to my wife several times and edit it where we agree it could be better.

    (My standard for editing my posts has not been as high, but now that I've read this I'll put more time into it.)

    I have an excellent book on writing called, "Killer Web Content" by Gerry McGovern. His method of editing is rather meticulous.

    He prints up his material, and rereads it line by line with a ruler. I used that tactic when I got my Ed Tech degree and it served me very well.

    Something I started doing for my blog posts is using the online tool called the Hemingway App. That app will look at what you've written and tell you if your sentences are too complex or long.

    It will also give you a grade level on what you're writing. (You can also check the grade level on Microsoft Word using the Fleish-Kincaid tool.)

    I find this tool is good for writing instructional material, because it keeps your writing simple and clear.

    Anyway, Sue, once again you nailed it on this post!

    Thanks so much for sharing!

    God Bless

    Mark "Elmo" Ellis

      1. Oops! My bad! I didn't mean to plug the Hemingway app after someone else did. I use it quite frequently, but had no idea that it had affiliates. I do know that they came out with a desktop version, but I have not tried it out yet.

        God Bless, my friend!

        Mark Elmo Ellis

  2. Hey Sue,

    Very interesting post. Primarily, You need structure to your post in order for your post to be reader friendly. I write a headline that I think might work. Sometimes I go to the google search page and type in my general topic to see what pops up in the search drop down.

    A title can be the most important part of a blog post, because it is what draws people to your article. Include key words and make it persuasive enough to have readers click through. Search Engine Optimization is an absolute must and should not be ignored, with the right SEO - your blog and income have the opportunity to grow tremendously because it will drive search engine peeps to your website. Eventually, thanks for sharing these worthy facts regarding subject.

    With best wishes,

    Amar kumar

  3. Sue thank you for this post. Based on your post, I see I need to give myself more time to go back a few times to edit. Grammerly has been an enormous help and now I'll add the Hemingway App. I've heard of it before. Thanks for being such an inspiration to me!

    1. I'm doing the same thing, Pamela. Getting the Hemingway App since I have Grammerly.

      Thanks for commenting!
      Sue

  4. Its really amazing blog with very much helpful information, thank you so much for writing this great blog here for us.

  5. I learned from a good friend that made me write all of the time, I always said I was bad at writing and even worse at editing, but practice is really the best medicine. Yes my early blogs were even worse than ever, but every blog is a story, and every story has a meaning. it is the secret that the blog tells the same story that the writer wants and the reader gets. Practice in story telling is more important than anything.

  6. Sue thank you so much for this post. Based on your post, I understand that I need to give more time to review the post and edit it. I will definitely be implementing these points and write better posts. Thank you.

  7. Hi Sue,

    Informative post. In fact, editing is often an overlooked piece in blogging. And to be frank, a lot of time I too, ignore it.. especially when there is a last minute rush. This happens to me even in the emails I send. But, offlate I have changed a lot after some really bad experiences.

    I liked the first point.. "Put your hand up...". It is true that you can better edit your posts and articles if you do it after a couple of hours at the least. A lot of things that would otherwise skip through your editing glasses gets caught when you are doing it after a few hours.

    For that matter, there are a lot of times when I was able to find a better way of expressing the idea in a sentence and hence rewrote it in a better way. All just because I read through it with a fresh approach after a few hours.

    Thanks for the tips. Enjoyed reading it..

    Cheers,

    Dilip

  8. @sue

    I stumbled upon your post by chance but having read it, I felt lucky. Really, gem of a post.

    In the pleasure of the moment when I finish writing a post I often forget to edit....but no more...

    Thanks a lot

  9. If you correctly edit every page of your site, then you ll be definitely stand out from the rest. Editing & proofreading are some of the most important areas for successful blogging.

    For me, initially, it becomes difficult for editing and remembering all the techniques, but then I made a checklist for editing the posts. I used to refer it on the go. It helps me to minimize the work and I also suggest to new one to do the same.

    Anyways, thanks for sharing these tips, its very useful for the person like me, as bcz I just started my blogging journey and want to grow as a quality blogger. Here is so much things to learn for me. Also on the web, I have noticed various blogging tools and advices that help to make things easier. But you need to keep all in an order to work best for you.

    Thanks, and keep sharing.

  10. Sue,

    What a truly helpful and informative article. I definitely will try some of the editing tips you provided. Thank you for sharing such excellent advise on an often overlooked topic!!

  11. Thank you so much Sue, I am actually new in the blogging world but I love blogging so much. I started blogging accidentally and I can't just stop. I love it. Although most of my blog are not perfect but I keep pushing harder.

    Your article will go a long way in advancing my knowledge about blogging.

    Am so happy I am here!

    The funny part is that when I subscribed to this, I wasn't a blogger then. Everything just fell into place and am happy that I found some basic tips of blogging.

    I have problems in choosing the right colors for my blog but your article will definitely help out..am sure.

    Please really having a problem driving traffic to my site. The funniest part is that I have a Facebook page filled with 2500 followers but whenever I share my blog post there, only 18,19,20 or 24 max will visit my blog.

    For now am going to apply everything I have grasped from your article. I will monitor them and know the next step to take.

    Here is a link to my blog site

    https://247dynamicnewz.blogspot.com

    Thank you so much...

    I will also like to know the best ad to apply so as to earn greater revenue from my blog site.

    I really love you for this.

    1. Hi Kingsley,

      Thanks for your comment and questions! Who is your typical reader - or who do you want reading your blog? Why would they come to your blog for info instead of elsewhere? Good questions to thing about, right?

      You'll need to do blogger outreach and guest posting to get traffic to your site. I don't believe in ads on a site - it takes a long time to have enough traffic to make that worthwhile.

      Keep in touch.
      Sue

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