Regardless of what you are writing – a high school essay about your buffet menu, an article for an internationally renowned scientific journal or a blog post about the latest SEO trends, your writing will always remain reader oriented. So, your job is always to produce an informative and enjoyable read. To achieve this goal, careful proofreading and editing are essential for any kind of writing job.
If you let your narration flow inconsistently or if you allow spelling, grammar, and other errors into your end text, you will irritate your reader leaving them displeased with your text. Either way, your end goal is delivering intelligent content. However, the result will be different for the kinds of text mentioned above. If your school essay is less than perfect, you will get a lower but still passable grade; if your article demands improvement, chances are you may get feedback about what should be fixed to get your article published later. It is different with blog articles, though: if it is flawed, you will simply get considerably fewer views, likes, and shares, but no feedback. And there you are, wondering just what went wrong.
Lucky for us bloggers, we can get rid of this issue simply by proofreading in all attention. As tedious and "unnecessary" as this task may seem to some, it needs to be done. Fortunately, there are lots of tools and tips to facilitate the process. As a matter of fact, there are so many of those, the Internet is overwhelmed with them. Here is our humble effort to put together the most effective ones. Given the fact that WordPress remains the most popular platform for blogging, we focused on WordPress-compatible tools. However, we realize that many bloggers use other platforms, so we try to stick to general advice or to tools that are supported by all or most popular platforms for bloggers.
1. Know what proofreading is about
Surprisingly many people, even in this trade, confuse proofreading with editing and mix the two processes in one. So, if you task yourself with proofreading, first and foremost, you should know what exactly you should do.
Proofreading is about the seemingly minor finetunes that are easy to overlook. These are the typos and spelling errors, punctuation, etc. Adjusting the text’s style, tone, structure, etc. is not proofreading, this is editing, which is a different process.
2. Print it
As you know, a printed text and a text on your screen are different kinds of media. As such, they are perceived differently by any reader, including you – the author. It is well-known that when one tries to proofread their own written text, it is very common to overlook possible errors. Therefore, having your text printed and correcting it in written form is the easiest way to give it a truly fresh look.
3. Read your writing out loud
This is especially good for those who take green consciousness with all seriousness and will not waste paper printing out their writing just for the sake of proofreading them and throwing them out. Another way to translate your text into a different medium is to read it out loud. This way, all overlooked flaws (should there be any) will literally make you stumble. This way, not only can you spot them, but you can't help yourself fixing them.
4. Read your text backwards
While this idea may sound silly, it is in fact quite helpful. The trick is that when you read your own text as it is, you follow the narration and re-live your writing process, and that's it. This is not the point of proofreading. If you start scanning your text from the end, you will not be able to follow the narration, and so you will only focus on grammar and spell check, which is the focus of proofreading.
5. Show your writing to someone competent
It can be useful to just let someone else read your text. Of course, it can be a friend or colleague, but only if you are sure about their English efficiency. It is a waste of time and attention to seek writing advice from someone not really competent to give any.
Another critical issue here is that your proofreader should be someone you trust. Remember that your writing is your intellectual property, and your ideas must not “leak” anywhere before you publish your post.
6. Try AfterTheDeadline
This online tool, also known as PolishMyWriting, will check your text for flaws. Using it is simple and intuitive. You just paste your text into the field and see your errors marked in different colors: red for spelling, green for grammar, and blue for the style. An interesting detail is that it was developed by the same people who gave us WordPress.
7. Use Grammarly
Grammarly is a software tool that instantly highlights any spelling, grammar, syntax, punctuation, and other errors that you may have in your text. There are options as to how to use it:
You can use it from your browser by copying your text and pasting it there
You can download and install the app so that Grammarly can instantly check whatever you are typing
You will also get recommendations as to how to fix the highlighted error and comments on the case, so Grammarly also helps you to improve your grammar on the whole. Additional functions include plagiarism checking, which is quite helpful because nobody is safe from accidental plagiarism which is still regarded as plagiarism by the search engines and can be deadly to your blog's performance.
Most of Grammarly’s features are free of charge, but there is also a paid subscription with extended functionality.
8. Write in Grammarcheck.me
Instead of proofreading your text after it’s ready, you can pay attention to the possible errors on the go. Grammarcheck.me has a friendly distraction-free writing interface that also checks what you type instantly.
9. Use SpellChecker
This is another spellchecking tool. Like others, it checks your spelling, grammar, etc. Yet, there are two features that make it stand out:
It can check your spelling in other languages than English
You can task it by checking the entire blog, without the necessity to copy and paste every piece of text separately. However, it is not recommended to use this feature for big blogs with huge amounts of posts in them.
10. Try LanguageTool
This is another online tool that checks your spelling and grammar in different languages. It supports over twenty languages, as well as six regional variants of English.
11. Don’t rely on grammar-checking software too heavily
While special software can be very helpful to check your grammar, spelling, punctuation, etc., its corrections should be taken with a strong dose of criticism. While the algorithms used by this software grow ever more sophisticated and accurate, they are still far from perfection. It is still possible that software will not recognize a mistake as such or see a mistake that is not there. So, these corrections should be treated more like suggestions, and you can either take them or discard them.
12. Double-check the names and figures
Here is your example of what software will not fix for you: personal names, names of places, and exact figures. These are the things that only you can check, so you should pay special attention to those.
13. Trust it to professionals
If you feel like proofreading your texts is a too boring job for you and a waste of time, then you can find a way not to do it yourself. You can find professional proofreaders and editors online who will be glad to do it for you, at a fair price. You don't even have to look for them on Craigslist, you can just find any custom writing service. They don't only help out students with their essays and know not only how to write a literature review. Obviously, they give their texts thorough editing and proofreading before handing them over to their end client. They might as well proofread yours.
14. Take notes about your mistakes
Obviously, proofreading can be both time-consuming and tedious. It is no wonder many bloggers are reluctant to even bother doing it – at least, themselves. It is only logical to try and avoid this. The most logical way to avoid the necessity of proofreading is not to make mistakes.
Blogging as an occupation suggests that you put out texts regularly, as regularly as you proofread them. So, instead of just fixing the mistakes every time and forgetting about it, why not try to pay attention to their nature and regularity. If you know your flaws, you know how to handle them.
You might not achieve total perfection with your writing, but you will spend much less time on proofreading.
15. Have your paper rated by PaperRater
PaperRater is yet another powerful tool to help a blogger out when it comes to proofreading. Apart from giving suggestions as to how to fix the mistakes that it finds in the text, it also gives you an overall rating of the written piece. So, if you use it regularly, you will be able to keep track of your progress.
As you can see, proofreading does not have to be a tedious school-like process. You have all the necessary tools at hand; so, your part of the job gets minimized. Also, as a bonus tip, be encouraged to exchange your experience in this regard with fellow bloggers. Do you have you any experience with the tools mentioned above? What tips can you share about this experience? Were the tools helpful? Perhaps, you have some tricks of your own to share?
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