Is editing a blog post really important? And If yes, what are those steps that are absolutely important when self editing your blog posts?
When I first started blogging, I thought that blogging was just writing your thoughts and publishing them. I wrote exactly my first three or four posts like that. I did not have the least idea of what I was doing back then.
Then, I would read the published post just to realize that I had spelling mistakes, grammar mistakes or even I had written the same sentence twice in the same paragraph. Yes, I was awful.
As I continued blogging, I decided I should be more careful with my content. I was reading beautiful pieces by other bloggers and I was eager to develop my writing and become as good as them. I tried to learn and educate myself better on how I could effectively write better posts and add value to them.
One of the major lessons I learned so far is that before I publish my post, I have to make sure I have edited it the best possible way. However, editing is more than a one-step process.
Let me share with you the major steps you need to follow when self editing your blog posts.
Table of Contents
- Steps to Self Editing Blog Post
- Useful Tools to Help You Through the Steps of Self Editing Your Blog Posts
- Final Thoughts on Most Important Steps to Self Editing Your Blog Posts
Steps to Self Editing Blog Post
1. Validate Your Outline
Before writing a blog post, it is important to have created an outline. You could use an outline as your guide to reassure that you analyze all the important points related to your primary subject and also build some kind of structure to the way you expose your ideas and thoughts.
However, sometimes you might be eager to say as much as possible and you may add in your outline headers that are not really important or you could merge them with existing ones. It is best if you proceed to this validation of your outline before even start writing your post.
Yet, sometimes, when you create the outline, you believe some headlines are different. You can only realize they are practically the same after having written about them. For these cases, validation of the outline will take part in the final editing process.
2. Separate Writing and Editing
Writing a post and editing it should be two different things. While writing, your mind operates creatively and you should allow it to make mistakes as long as ideas come easy and you keep punching the keys with your fingers. Trying to edit while writing will only slow you down dramatically and probably block your creative thought.
To edit effectively, your mind should operate in a more critical manner. Operating this way, your mind can judge the writing you have produced. It would be even better if you had some time distance between the writing process and the editing process. Some time during which your mind can take away from a specific written piece. A day would be perfect, but even a few minutes could also make a difference.
You should be able to read the post as if it was someone else who wrote it. We all usually are more strict and see it more subjectively this way.
3. Review The Big Picture First
The big picture involves the main contents of your post. It involves your headers and the ideas shared throughout your post. Now that you see it completed, have you said everything you wanted to say? Do you feel that your structure is satisfying? Is there a flow in your ideas or do you just jump from one thing to another?
Some more questions you should ask yourself during this step are:
- Do you understand everything you write about? Should you explain something a bit more?
- Do you over explain some things that someone could easily assume?
- Is the way you write your post consistent from beginning to end?
- Is this post consistent with your own writing blogging style or does it feel strange?
4. Get Into More Detail
Start getting into some more detail. Check your post sentence by sentence and word by word. Correct any spelling and grammar mistakes you may find. Are your sentences too big and hard to understand? Try to break them down into smaller ones. You are the reader now and if you, the one who wrote it, find it hard to understand a sentence, possibly another reader will find it hard too.
Think of alternative ways you could use to say something in a more simple way. Understand if your arguments are well justified. Think of whether you are using specific terms that you should explain more. Check whether you use the same words to start your paragraphs and sentences again and again. You probably don’t want that.
Do you use too much or too little passive voice? Do you use the same tense throughout your post and when you don’t, is there a reason? Are your paragraphs too long? Most blog readers nowadays read your posts on their mobile phones and long paragraphs are difficult to read on them. Have that in mind and break your paragraphs into shorter ones.
5. Cut Down Everything Unnecessary
Do every paragraph, every sentence, and every word have a reason to exist in your post? If you think that something you read seems similar to something you have already said, just delete it.
If it does not add value to your content, then your content can easily live without it. Do not just have the word count in mind. Word count is important, of course, but meaningful word content is precious.
6. Preview Your Post
As I mentioned above, some writers prefer to perform their editing process on printed paper. Blog posts, when published, look different from what they look like in your editor. Preview them and read them again from a different perspective. While previewing, you may spot errors you couldn’t see otherwise. Does it look exactly as you wanted it to?
Read it aloud while previewing it. Does it flow like you wanted? Does your voice sound the way you wish? If yes, then you are ready to press publish or schedule.
Useful Tools to Help You Through the Steps of Self Editing Your Blog Posts
There are some tools that could prove extremely helpful to you during the editing process.
Personally, I have been using Grammarly for some time now and I am pleased with the way it helps me locate my spelling and grammar mistakes. It has a free extension for Google Chrome which you may find it here.
A fellow blogger also recommended ProWritingAid, which is like Grammarly. I have just tried checking this out and I think it is really handy as well. It allows you to choose the tone of your writing, e.g. whether you are a blogger or a fiction writer, and makes you relevant suggestions. It also has a free extension for Google Chrome which you may find it here.
Last but certainly not least is Yoast SEO plugin. It really does all the hard work to scan your post and let you know of your weaknesses and strengths regarding the readability of your post and how well structured it is for SEO. If you hold a WordPress blog, Yoast has a free version plugin which covers most of your needs as a blogger. You can find both the paid and the free version here.
Remember that tools exist to make our lives easier, but do not follow blindly whatever they suggest. The final and most valuable editor is always yourself.
Final Thoughts on Most Important Steps to Self Editing Your Blog Posts
Writing a blog post is not a simple job. Bloggers publish quality content every day and if you do not want your posts to look like a poor relative, you better think of doing the hard work of self editing your blog posts before publishing them.
First of the steps you should follow when self editing your blog posts is to validate your outline. Make sure you separate your writing time from your editing time. Start with the big picture of your post and get into more detail later on. Remove everything unnecessary and preview your post to verify that the outcome pleases you.
Tools like Grammarly, ProWritingAid and Yoast SEO are available for you to use them and help you guarantee a better quality of your posts.
I hope you found this post helpful and if you have any other additional tips on how to effectively self edit a post let me know about it in the comments below.
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