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!

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

  1. Great article, wrong editing can make a great post look ordinary. Most people think that once they have written the article there is no need to read it before publishing which is a mistake and can hurt the blog big time

    • Hi Vinish, lovely to see you here again and thanks for leaving the first comment:) I wish I could get my blog posts out faster but even with multiple checks errors to slip in. Of course I'm totally paranoid this one will have nasty mistakes! Fingers crossed. We can only do our best:)

  2. I was just working on a post and in the editing process right now.. I actually got up to get a cup of water to come back and re-read it out-loud.

    These are some really good editing tips. I especially like the point about using every day language in your posts. Using long words that don't resonate with your readers will drive them away – and probably bore them…

    I'm a big believer in style – so I'm gonna take your tips and apply them to this post right now..

    Hector

    • Hi Hector, great to see you here and sounds as if you're doing all the right things. Totally agree with this one: "Using long words that don’t resonate with your readers will drive them away – and probably bore them…" I just like to throw in one or two in every post to keep you on your toes:)

  3. HI,
    These are some awesome tips! I love the first one..just put your hands up and walk away from the post after writing it. It truly does work. IN fact when you can come back after an hour or so with some coffee in the tummy 😉 the posts start showing its errors…and then editing it is that much fun.
    I have to admit though…there are times my heart breaks when I cut and chop…but in the end, if the readers love it..it all works out right …..I do tend to really write long posts sometimes….but that's only sometimes…..but I got to learn to edit more …so that the posts shine.
    Thank you for sharing thy wisdom or Great one 😉
    Much Love,
    Z~

    • Hi Zeenat, ah, I missed the have a coffee tip, thank you! I'd go for tea but I know the feeling. Oh mine are super long too but they would have been even longer if I hadn't edited them!

  4. It's reassuring to know that it can take you 4-8 hours to edit a blog post! These are great tips. I've never tried reading the post aloud. That's a wonderful suggestion and one I really need to try.

    Thanks again!

    • Hi Sandra, I've never seen any errors in your posts anyway! I'd really like to get that time down. It's a downfall for me. When my blog becomes a viable business I'll definitely hire an editor:)

  5. Really useful and clearly set out tips, thanks!

    Many years ago I was told to take 'that' out of every sentence, 90% of the time we don't need it. When editing my blog the last thing I do before hitting publish is a 'that' search, I keep one, replace a minority with 'which' 'so' or 'it' and delete the other ten completely! Try it, you'll see (that) it makes sense :0)

    • Hi Caromellymac, I hope I spelt that right:) That's a great tip about that. See, I didn't even need it at the beginning of the sentence. Thank you!

  6. I actually enjoy the editing process – it's a great intellectual challenge to condense, eliminate excess words and switch to the reader's point of view. BUT … I still struggle to find my own mistakes!! And being the exclamation mark queen is a heavy burden. When I've had someone else check my work I've been surprised at the errors they've picked up – but many can be intimidated by being asked to edit. Your great article has ensured I'll be tracking down someone I can absolutely trust to critique my work no holds barred!

    Thanx, Marion

    • Hi Marion, lol "being the exclamation mark queen is a heavy burden"! Oh dear, well we all have our problems. I can't stop writing I think. It's a confidence issue. Good for you hiring a pro. If you need a recommendation I have one. Not me of course, someone else. I'm definitely better at writing than editing:)

  7. Hi Pankaj, lovely to see you here and thanks for the comment. If we all do this the quality of blogs will be unbelievable!

  8. Great tips. I particularly like to use the "reading out loud"technique, and I also try to walk away from a post for a while before publishing so I see it with fresh eyes. Amazing how impossible it becomes to edit when I've pored over a post for hours.

    • Hi Barbara, that is so true: "Amazing how impossible it becomes to edit when I’ve pored over a post for hours." In fact I had to get my hubby to take over on this one. I'd been writing and editing all day and it takes the edge off. Mornings are always best for me:) Thank you!

  9. One great piece of advice my academic publisher gave me for proofing my own work was to read the text backwards – that way, you are really forced to concentrate on each individual word and you'll almost always pick up any typos. Long winded, yes, but exceptionally effective!

    • Hi Benedict, lovely to see a new face and read your comment. Aha, another backwards reading recommendation. It must be true then!

  10. Great advice! People wonder why having a blog is so time-consuming; this is why. You can't just pop something out in an hour and have it be quality writing unless you're some kind of writing prodigy. Reading the piece aloud is one of the best pieces of advice any writer can get. If I have to stop and draw a breath before I reach the end of a sentence, I know it's too long. 🙂

    • Hi Gray, lovely to see a new blogger here – or new to me:) Great tip about working out if a sentence it too long by reading it aloud. I add a lot of commas when I do that too:)

  11. Great stuff, Annabel. Editors can put us through the wringer and we wonder how we could have done it without them. When writing a blog we are out there on our own… I know I can get a little lose and fast. I think there is much more leeway for blogs because the most important thing is getting it out there authentically and uniquely us. That being said, we should hold ourselves to excellence and do the best we can with our limited resources… you give some great ways on how to do that.

    • Hi Rob, there you are:) I really wish I could get things out faster. I see other bloggers being much more immediate than I am and would dearly love to get quicker. I agree we can only do the best we can it's so important to get it out there even if it's not as good as we'd like.

  12. Writing is a not a problem for me. Editing – definitely! I can spend days editing and perfecting one post! So, I figured that editing is the hardest work possible. 🙂

  13. Hi Annabel,

    I'm with Graham and Benedict. My publisher told me to read from the bottom of the page backward to check for errors. It works.

    It's funny how some words are similar yet different between countries, like pernickity. We call it persnickity.

    thanks for the post.

    • Hi Barbara, that's four confirmations not then, thank you. I really have to try it. Maybe one backwards read will save me from ten forwards checks!

      Lol. Molly told me it's persnickity too but my trusty UK thesauras confirmed pernickity. It is funny. I try to use US spellings but not change the acutal words I use:) That's part of me!

  14. Hi,

    I always hit the publish the post on the same day i wrote it. Though i did my editing to scan for grammatical mistakes but i believe it probably will be better if i leave it for a day or two. Your advice really came at the right time as i think i need much to improve on my editing. There's a tendency that i have the mentality of thinking my writing will improve as long as i keep on writing. But never did i thought that editing is equally important.

    Thanks a lot for the tips. This really helps.

    • Hi Lye, sometimes that happens and we don't have enough time. If the posts are out there that's good. You can always improve and republish them better than ever at a later date, focusing on the most popular ones:)

  15. Good job! So many writers neglect the editing. Editing is what makes good writing great.

    My sentences are still too long and I use convoluted syntax sometimes — but I really do talk like that, so I just consider it my style. Since it's my blog, my readers and my life, we're all learning to live with it.

    Gip

    • Hi Gip, Lol, I love the sound of convoluted syntax, the words appeal to me:) Yes, we have to keep our personal style intact, thanks for the reminder:)

  16. I think the two things here that really stand out to me are writing and leaving it and then reading out loud. As you know I tend to do a good amount of writing in one sitting. But I will leave most things for a few days. As I was going through my new ebook "Time Management forBloggers with Short Attention Spans" I decided to read it out loud. It's amazing how much more effective you become at catching mistakes when you do that. Good stuff here. Can't wait to meet you in person at Blogworld.

  17. #5 sounds like it's worth it's weight in gold – great idea! I've gotten really used to writing succinct but pretty formal comment posts for my online grad school courses, and it can be somewhat of a challenge to switch back into conversational writing mode. I'm definitely going to give this trick a try and see where it takes me. Thanks!

    Also, I've found that my husband makes a great editor. If you can find a friend or family member to proofread your posts, I'd say that's a great way to go.

    • Hi Adrienne, thanks for joining us. It's exciting to see a lot of new faces commenting on this one. It's one of those topics I've been avoiding because it's quite boring but it is a necessary evil and so glad you found some good tips. Hehe, my husband did a good job editing this one for me too. I definitely think it's good to get someone else to cast their eagle eyes over it if you can:)

  18. Hi,

    Great post. Are you sure you haven't been mind-reading my mental file of future blog post ideas?! 😉 Quite apart from the fact that it will drive readers crazy trying to read blog posts that are riddled with errors and typos, publishing a sloppy, unedited post is a form of professional self-sabotage. I'd wonder how much care someone really takes with their clients' projects if they can't even be bothered to edit their own blog posts.

    I frequently use the "trick" of reading from right to left and bottom to top on a hard copy of the document to make sure that I don't miss anything when I'm editing a document. (I alleviate my environmental guilt by using environmentally friendly paper and printing on both sides of the page.) If it's at all possible to recruit or persuade a friend to check your post for any "uh-oh"s you might have missed on the umpteenth round of editing, I'd recommend having a fresh pair of eyes look at the text.

    Have a great day.

    • Hi Sue, lol, I've been saying I was going to write that since I started the Blog Writing Magic series four weeks ago so had to follow through! Great minds think alike though:)

      Great feedback and tips thank you. This quote "publishing a sloppy, unedited post is a form of professional self-sabotage" is scary but true. I really hope people will forgive the odd error but you can't keep making them.

      Anyone reading this and thinking of switching to video blogging?!

  19. Hi Rebecca, thank you and that's a great addition – knowing your pitfalls so you can avoid them – and another thing that will come with practice.

  20. Hi

    I, too, am one of those people who love the challenge of a good edit. I'm a martyr to long and convoluted sentences, big expressive words, and over punctuating! So the challenge is big. Luckily, I belong to a small network of writers who also keep me honest without dashing my fragile ego too much. I don't blog (yet – still haven't developed the courage to think that anyone would want to read my blather) but I do write fiction. Pretty much the same rules apply.

    I also believe that we should add in a couple of interesting words here and there. I think vocabulary is shrinking and we need to keep the English language rich and compelling. But, then, I like reading Shakespeare, so… 🙂

  21. Great post! My biggest writing obstacle is that I'm too wordy. I have to edit a lot and that is very time consuming. I'll use your tips for my next post! Thanks

  22. I am always tempted to push the publish button once I write a blog post. Now I am restraining myself so that I give it at least a day in the drafts before I reread it and check if it can be improved. The quality of the posts definitely improves with this method.

    Now I just need to learn to edit the posts and make them more engaging for the reader especially the beginning.

  23. Great advice. The reading out loud is something that I tell people over and over as it makes such a difference. Typos happen and you are right, we wrote it so we know it *should* say and overlook as we are rushing to get it up. Walking away and coming back even a minute or two later is powerful. I not only walk away when I feel I am done with a post (and I mean literally get up and walk around for a second), I also read them out loud.

    I write simple. I have been told of the simplicity and some see it as a negative. I see it as a means of conversation and being easy to follow. Good news is that people are noticing the style and simple or not they are noticing.

    My rule: Would I read this post if it were not mine? If I cannot scream yes, it gets put to the drafts for another day.

    @SuzanneVara

  24. I'm always surprised at how some of the biggest blogs can have such blatant errors sometimes. But I guess they're so big they can get away with it. The rest of us can't!

    I never publish a post right after I write it. There's usually a few days in between and for a longer post I go back and edit several times!

    Brevity is key. Sometimes I have thrown out a whole paragraph or two that seemed extraneous to the post. Good reminders, Sue!

  25. I post only once a week and for good reason–I'm after quality. To tell you the truth I'm having a hard time writing because I always read and edit my works using some of the methods you have shared here. I try my best to make it of value to my readers. 🙂

  26. I read and re-read my blog posts in preview mode before hitting the publish button. I do this about three times until I finally convince myself that's it's ok to publish. The funny thing is, I still miss a spelling error or two 😛

  27. Hi, you know how I feel about grammar and correct use of language so I really enjoyed this post – I have read books on writing well and I have had the opposite advice on using contractions. I would use them in emails and chats but when I write an article, I tend to spell contractions out. I read my posts either silently or loudly and it always sounds better and more polished – of course to me and perhaps only me – but when the words are spelled out, it is a more clear emphasize. "I will share this with you" – rather than "I'll share this with you." – do you think it could be just personal preference? Thanks!

  28. Long time reader, first time commenter here…

    Fabulous post]! I thought I found a glaring error in "pernickety", as I always thought the word was "persnickety" (my spell checker is even highlighting your spelling of the word at this very moment).

    Google however, tells me "persnickety" is the U.S. version, and your version is "widely used across the Atlantic". And apparently the Pacific as well…

    Perhaps we'll run into each other at BlogWorld!

  29. Too bad I noticed this post so late, but about #3, I'll share something I noticed using Google Docs to write some project: the spell checker is content-aware, it can tell you if a word is spelled right but used in the wrong context. It did it for me a couple times, I was kinda surprised.

  30. Hi, these are really helpful. I'm just always too impatient, if I write, I want to publish right after. Do you think it shows in my posts? Perhaps because I keep editing them after posting, it's not as bad as it could be.

    BTW: 1000 subscribers is very impressive!! You have a very good subject for your blog too. Any blogger wants blog advice of course. I think my subject is for a more specific group. Do you still think I could get 1000 subscribers at some point? I'm already twittering my ass off and promoting but maybe I'm doing that too soon? Or maybe I'm too impatient haha!

    Sorry to be bothering you with questions again 🙂

  31. These tips are all helpful. I am happy to have visited your site.

    My typical way of writing and write and submit. Not really a good thing.

    Thank you for the reminder.

  32. THANK YOU so much for this help, It’s just what I needed! I appreciate your expertise, and I am bookmarking this tutorial! Have a great weekend!

  33. Great steps to keep in mind! I just found your site via "How Long Should My Posts Be?" post, and I'll definitely keep coming back. Thank you!

  34. Thanks for this wonderful post. Edition of post is a real need. Even updating your posts with new informations also helps to boost your SEO.

  35. Howdy! This post couldn't be written any better! Looking through this post reminds me of my previous roommate!
    He continually kept talking about this. I most certainly will forward this article to him. Fairly certain he will have a great read. Thank you
    for sharing!
    wildstar guides recently posted wildstar guidesMy Profile

  36. I have dreamed to be a writer all my life, but have been so busy to focus on writing. And now I just started to write, but I am still afraid that my article is not good enough to post so the others can read.

  37. Great article, as usual! I advise friends/clients to walk away before publishing and reading out loud. Nice to see confirmation from an expert! Reading out loud backwards is a new tip I'll have to try.

    Sue, did you mean this sentence as written: “Omit needless words; emit needless words; emit needless words.”? I didn't quite understand what you meant; I'm sure it's profound.

  38. Excellent! It is so unprofessional when reading other people's posts and pages with unnecessary typos and misspellings. I lose trust in their advise. Every time I come across one, which is daily, I'll share your words of wisdom. Thanks for raising the bar.

  39. Hi Sue,

    Thanks for this awesome post! I've started chopping off those unnecessary words from my blog posts right away. I'm so happy you reminded me 🙂

    Thanks for the awesome post once again.

    Off to share!

    Iyiola.

    P.S. I've been trying to reach you through email, regarding my new blog.

  40. Hello Sue!

    Thank you for sharing this wonderful post

    In my case, before I publish a post on my blog. I just read it aloud and pull my friends and listen to the post I read. In that way, they can scrutinize my post word per word.

    All the Best,

    Jan Limark

  41. Many amazing pointers, Sue – and I'm especially grateful for some more ideas to my "search and delete" list. "Just" is a powerful one to eliminate as well.

    One thing that has helped me – even if it's not perfect – is to run writing through the Hemingway App, then Grammarly and back through Hemingway. That catches a ton of "chud" and makes the writing more clean.

    Another thing I like to do is revisit a post after it's been published and revise it. There's something about publishing that makes the errors even clearer. They never seem to show themselves until the stakes of live have arrived.

    Thanks again for the great ideas! 🙂

    • Love your triple system, Anthony. I use Grammarly and a spelling plugin so I do a double-check. And you are so right – you see more mistakes after it's published. Crazy, right?

      Thanks so much for commenting.
      Sue

  42. Awesome stuff as usual Sue!

    All five of your proven suggestions, definitely

    help take our blogging efforts to the next level or two.

    Personally, # one, more times than not, crosses me up!LOL!

    Especially after I've published the darn thing, and have proof read it

    once or twice, I still see my glaring typos jump right out at me!LOL!

    But rather than let this prevent me from blogging regularly, instead I

    just correct the typos asap, and keep on keeping on!

    All five of your excellent suggestions, will take make a nice freebie

    giveaway cheat sheet, and or even a nice bonus white paper!

    As always, thanks for sharing some extremely helpful and insightful

    tips, which can and definitely should be implemented asap!
    Mark recently posted Why Thinking And Acting Like An Entrepreneur Can Make You Money!Part FiveMy Profile

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