So you’ve finished writing your perfect post! Congratulations!
However, before you take the plunge and publish it, there’s still some work to be done. It doesn’t matter how good you think your post is, it can always benefit from a spot of editing.
And believe it or not, there are some tasks that you should have done even before you started writing. A bit like marinading the chicken before you cook the curry.
The Infographic below will explain all:
And here’s some code you could paste into your own posts (via the text mode) if you want to share this Infographic with your readers.
Did you plan your post?
The old adage “fail to plan, plan to fail” should be noted here, because doing sufficient homework before you start writing will make the process that much easier.
Obviously you ought to know what the subject is going to be (surprisingly some posts are unable to show this). Suitable brainstorming in advance will not only arrive at an immediate topic, but even a series of posts for the future.
And then there is the need to properly research into your chosen writing focus. Not only does this contribute towards quantity, but quality as well. Your readers will be expecting nothing less.
Is there a structure?
Most pieces of writing need a beginning, middle and end. And that is usually the correct order (unless you’re writing a modern best-seller). Readers need to be familiar with their journey through your post.
Take time to create a structure for your post. Write down bullet points of the areas you’re going to cover, so that you don’t miss anything once you start writing. This will also show up any gaps that may need to be filled with some extra research.
And start practising writing your headline. This vitally important element should not be glibly concocted within seconds, left to chance, or added in as an afterthought. Some eminent bloggers spend more time on their headlines than on the main content.
Leave it a while
There is much to be said for sleeping on the decision whether to publish your post. Similar to commenting in anger, such a drastic response demands time out before the final commitment is made.
Leave your post for a period of time, preferably overnight, but 24 hours is good (if you can manage it). Time away allows your brain to subconsciously work on your post. So when you come back to it, all the areas that require editing suddenly pop out at you!
Constantly looking at your writing means soon you won’t be able to see the wood for the trees. Give your brain a break and the process of editing will become that much easier.
Avoid editing as you write
As I have said earlier, blogging should be written in a conversational style. Consider your post as a translation of you talking with your readers.
However, when you speak, you aren’t constantly editing what you say. And this is exactly how you should write your first draft. Keep on writing what comes into your head, just as if you were speaking to your ideal reader.
It’s all about keeping your writing flowing. Don’t worry about mistakes, just get the meaning down. Constant stopping to correct yourself will hinder your train of thought, and something fantastic may get forgotten.
Does it read well?
Continuing on from the conversation you’re having with your ideal reader, you can test how effective this is by reading your post out loud.
Reading what you’ve written will instantly show up any inconsistencies, anomalies in your sentence construction or grammatical mistakes that you ‘reading brain’ may not see.
Also if you find your teeth get in the way, it’s probably too complicated. Try rephrasing it out loud there and then, and that will be the right way to edit it. This is also true for sentences that have too many clauses and need to be split up into something shorter.
Does it make sense?
When you’re reading your post aloud to yourself (or anybody else who is around to listen), ask them or yourself whether it make sense. Is the point you’re making instantly understandable? Would all your readers be able to cope with it?
This is particularly true for the first paragraph of your post. This is where you introduce your post’s subject. Make sure you get your subject over instantly, so that time-poor readers can make an immediate decision whether this is the right post for them.
Make sure you’ve managed to include everything you wanted to, and that you are successful in getting your message across. And decide whether this post is worthy of being read, and whether it would satisfy any reader who came across it.
Anything to add?
Have you included everything you wanted to say? Do you think your post is sufficiently long enough? Does it contain all the necessary information to make it worthy of reading?
The process of reading your post, whether in your head or out loud, may bring to light bits that are missing or gaps that need to be filled. You need to make sure everything is covered or sufficiently explained.
Blogging gurus say that for a post to be successful with the search engines, it needs to be between 1000-2000 words. But if you are going to succeed with your readers, you need to make sure your post contains as much valuable information as possible.
Anything to take away?
However, having just been told your post requires a considerable length to be successful, you need to consider your readers. They will not want to read a waffly, rambling post that contains little substance.
So do some careful editing to make your writing succinct and concise. This will improve it no end. Another old saying “less is more” is certainly apt here. Avoid writing just for writing sake.
An extremely readable post will have the happy medium of being both full of interest, yet tight in construction. Make it exciting to read, but not a chore to get to the end.
Which words have you used?
Following on from suggesting you write in a conversational mode in your posts, this will be made easier if you consider the sort of words you are using.
If you have performed appropriate research on your ideal reader, you will know their reading preferences, the kind of words they normally use, and their level of comprehension.
So another area of editing is to see if any difficult or high-voluted vocabulary could be dumbed down (for the want of a better expression). If you aren’t using that fancy word in your own conversations, ideally it shouldn’t be present in your posts.
Now focus on spelling and grammar
Right, having considered all that I have said above, now you can get to grips with the technical side of editing: spelling, grammar, sentence syntax, etc.
Of course there are various apps and websites to help you with this, such as Grammarly. But I don’t need to rely on these. This is because I read widely as a child and, even though I had dyslexia, I took careful note of correct punctuation, sentence construction and all that sort of thing. I used to enjoy editing my books with a red pen – how sad is that!
The more quality literature you read, the more you will learn how the written word should be presented on the page. And then there are other books to help you, such as Eats, Shoots and Leaves by Lynne Truss, which is an amazingly funny read while at the same time getting a very important message across. Enjoy!
Over to you
And at the end of every post, don’t forget your call to action! Let me know what you think in the comments below, and share this post on social media so others can read it. And if you want to read the other posts in this series, visit the parent post to find them.
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