Tuesday, June 12, 2012

5 Easy Steps to Edit Your Blog Posts


Lately, I’ve notice more and more typos creeping into my blog posts. It’s not a fun thing to admit, but it’s because I’ve become complacent about editing. Oh I could blame it on being busy, or life getting crazy, but the truth is...I’ve gotten sloppy.
It’s easy to do. We’re halfway through the year, things are going well with my blog, and my concentration has been elsewhere. Still no excuse. 
So today I’m going back to the basics. I’m posting the checklist I use (at least I used to use it) before I publish a blog. It’s not a long involved process, but it will ensure those annoying typos become much less common place.
Before I get to the list you should know I compose my blog posts in a word document, with NO formatting. I do this for a couple of reasons.
  • First, it gives me a back-up of everything I post on my blogs.
  • Second, it’s easier to check for misspelled words here rather than in the compose pane of my blog.

Blog Edit Check List
1. I begin the process by looking for misspelled words. First checking for the ones my word processing program underlines in red, then checking some common words that have more than one spelling. Here’s a short list of ones that frequently get by me:
  • lose vs. loose.
  • chose vs. choose.
  • its vs. it’s.
  • there vs. they’re vs their.
  • your vs. you’re.

2. At this point, I stop to copy and paste the post into the compose window of my blog. This is when I add the formatting. The reason I wait is because the formatting doesn’t copy and paste accurately. The reason for this due to the code involved with publishing a blog to the web. I also check for places to break up the text with bold, headings, italics and bullet points.
3. Next I add the photographs to illustrate the post. 
4. Now that I have the photos, I go to the preview window to see if the font type is correct (verdana), and all the spacing lines up. Here’s what I’m looking for:
  • I want an extra line between paragraphs.
  • I don't want extra lines anywhere.
  • I make certain the text and the pictures line up well, and there isn’t an odd or short line of text sticking out anywhere around the photos.

5. Finally, I return to the compose window and read the entire post out loud. I know it sounds weird, but your brain uses different pathways when you read something out loud and you’re less likely to see what’s actually on the page. This is when I add any commas or other punctuation marks I may have missed.

These steps won't insure a perfect post every time, but they will cut way back on incidental typos.

Now I'd like to know what you look for before you hit publish on your blog. Any tips you share about your process can help us all get better.

Don't forget to join the conversation!
Blessings,
Edie

28 comments:

  1. Since I schedule mine a week ahead, I also check out the post one last time the night before it's due to publish. Usually that reveals clarity problems more than anything else.

    Sometimes I check out my emailed posts when they appear on my hubby's computer, and I've been dismayed to see extra spaces and other formatting issues show up on those posts that aren't on my preview window. Grrrrr!

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    1. Steph, checking once more after a few days is a great thing to do. As far as the formatting in email notifications. Well...that's just the nature of the beast. Thanks for stopping by! Blessings, E

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  2. Good tips.

    I read my posts over and over, in the preview window and in the compose window, and still, days later, and weeks and months later, I'll find stupid typos, missing words, and commas in the weirdest places. I found that when I started at the bottom and read the paragraphs backwards, I found more typos, but after doing that with several posts and then reading later and finding that I'd edited the paragraphs in ways that messed up the forward flow of the blog post, I stopped.

    I'd love to find someone who blogs who would exchange posts with me for edits. That's tough for me, since I don't post every day. I'd love to be one of those organized people who writes five posts ahead of time, gets them edited, and then schedules them to post through the week. Alas, I'm sooo not that person. :)

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    1. Sally, I
      try to work ahead, but it never seems to end up that way. What I do have is several close friends who read my posts after they're published and lets me know if they see any typos. Not a perfect plan, but it's better than nothing.

      Maybe you can find someone here, in the comments section who's looking for the same kind of exchange.

      Blessings, E

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  3. Thanks so much for the tips. I feel sick to my stomach when I re-read my blog after posting it and find an error. UGH! I need to make my blog editing more of a step-by-step process as you have. I know it will help.

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    1. Linden, just remember to cut yourself a little slack. I think people are more forgiving about typos in blog posts now that more of them have tried blogging. It's easy to be critical of something you've never attempted.

      Also, think of it as a numbers game. In publishing, if you have a 100,000 word manuscript and it's 99% perfect, there are still 1000 mistakes. That statistic gives me a better perspective. Granted our blog posts aren't nearly that long, but for a blogger who posts 400 words, 5 times a week in a year you'll have written 100,000 words. Over the year, 1000 typos is still only a 1% typo rate.

      Blessings, E

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  4. Ahhh - reading OUT LOUD was the best tip I ever got, from YOU no less, and every time I don't do it, I end up with typos and awkward sentences.

    BTW, thank you for using an ocular-friendly font like Veranda. I'm about to go blind reading so many serif-ed fonts. That might be my next Blogmama rant ;)

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    1. I love the reading out loud miracle. It's like and 'I once was blind, and now I see' moment.

      I definitely think you should go on a font rant at Blogmama. I'm right there with you.

      To my other readers, if you haven't visited Susan's Blogmama blog you are missing out. Here's the link. It won't be clickable in this comment, but copy and paste it into your browser and you'll get there. http://www.blogmamasusan.blogspot.com/

      Blessings, E

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  5. Great tip to read everything out loud! I will have to try that (both in blog posting and in my novel writing). I admit, since I'm an editor, I have a pretty keen eye for copyediting, but catching mistakes in your own stuff is always more difficult, since you know what you MEANT to say and your eyes see it THAT way.

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    1. Lindsay, that's my problem too - seeing my own stuff clearly. Thanks for sharing, it always helps when others can see that even editors need tricks too. Blessings, E

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  6. Edie, thanks for these helpful tips. I write my posts in the compose window of blogger. Microsoft Word doesn't work well with my readable software. Since I'm unable to use the mouse, I can't get into spellcheck, and I obviously can't see the words highlighted in red! :-)

    After I publish my post, when I go back read it later, I see typos and it drives me nuts! If you have any suggestions, I'd love to hear them! Love you my sweet and precious friend!

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    1. Jamie, it's definitely harder in your situation. I think this is where good friends come in. Just let those you trust know that you'd like them to help you find the typos.

      On another note, I'm glad that getting rid of 'type what you see' has helped you navigate my site better. I'd really like to know about other things I can do to make it more accessible. I'm planning an upcoming post about making our sites easy to navigate for everyone. Let me know of things I should include.

      Blessings, my friend! E

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  7. I tend to write blog posts in spurts. I always have some in draft form and add to them as new thoughts appear. By the time most of them reach the publication stage, reading and fine-tuning them is almost like reading cold text.

    Reading out loud is helpful, but it's more helpful to me to read posts repeatedly over the course of weeks (how ever many weeks it takes from start to finish). No, I don't read every draft every week, but the process is still the most beneficial one I've found.

    By the way,once my posts are scheduled, I copy them all into WordPad and file them in a folder on the hard drive. It's a lot easier to retrieve them that way than it is to sort them out of the backups from my server.

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    1. Carrie, your comments are a goldmine of suggestions! Thanks so much for sharing with us. You've hit on something that really is important, working ahead. We can't always do that, but it's a habit we all need to cultivate. I appreciate you so much! Blessings, E

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  8. Thanks for this concise, handy list, Edie. Printed off and sitting by my computer now. This is just what I needed today. Perfect!

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    1. Donna, I'm so glad this list is helpful. I keep a copy of it handy when I'm working, too. Thanks for stopping by - Blessings, E

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  9. These are great! Thank you so much. My blog has done a complete 180 since the conference, all thanks to your wisdom. It's still under construction, but it's getting there.

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    1. Lynetta, I'm glad I've been able to help. Please feel free to use me as a resource as you bring your vision to life. Thanks for visiting! Blessings, E

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  10. Hi Edie - Great post. Thanks! I like to double check my posts for easy readability - i.e. if something has to be re-read over and over to understand, I rewrite it so my readers don't have to work hard. Getting bogged down in wordy writing isn't enjoyable! Also, I've begun following your tip about using contractions more frequently because that's usually how we speak.
    In Christ's Love, Emily

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    1. Emily, that's a great tip about readability. We all hate to have to stop and try to figure out what someone's trying to say. Thanks for dropping by! Blessings, E

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  11. Very helpful hints, Edie. Thanks to you, I'm practicing most of them - but I'm definitely reading my posts aloud from here on out.

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    1. Cathy, you do a good job of proofing. Your blog posts are always clean and easy to read. Thanks for dropping by! Blessings, E

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  12. Hi, Edie:
    You are so helpful -- I love all your "here's what's worked for me" wisdom.
    Like everyone else, I like the read it aloud idea. I do it for my novels -- why not for my blog posts?
    I keep my blog posts short & use the preview tool several times. I also have my husband read through the post once and let me know if he has any "huh?" moments. (Yeah, I have a wonderful husband!)
    One thing that's important to me is that the photo and the copy line up correctly. I hate it when that is cattwampus.

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  13. Great advice, that I needed read! Thank you!

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  14. Thank you Edie, for the great pointers. . . I also write my blog pieces first in a Word doc, copy and paste, then read aloud, so I don't get bored with myself! Then, I'm able to pick and glean the best from the un-best! And like Diane . . . it goes to my husband for a final critique!

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  15. Great suggestions, Edie. Along with these, I heard one of the best tips ever from my first editor. She suggested reading aloud, just like you said. Then, reading the story backwards, one sentence at a time. It's surprising how many mistakes I find by following her advice. As always, thanks!

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  16. Karen Campbell ProughJuly 31, 2012 at 6:37 PM

    Thanks for all the advise. It's a big help

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  17. My blog is a book review site. It's embarrassing to have typos when I insist on well-edited books and won't accept those that are not. I cheat a little. I use Serenity Editing software to catch the easy stuff. I promise I've never met them but I am a fan. You have to be careful because they may be British and the style has some different elements than American. Everything I write (except this) goes through the software. Grammer is always on in my Microsoft Word too. I admit I need all the help I can get.

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