Whether your reasons for setting up a blog involve promoting a business or simply sharing insights on something you love, you probably want your blog posts to have a veneer of respectability. After all, it’s one thing to have a “voice” in the Internet; but getting people to listen and take what you have to say seriously is an entirely different thing. The latter involves a lot of effort towards making the salient points of your points as clear as possible.
This is why, before you even publish your blog post, you need to make sure that you’ve proofed, copyedited, and edited your piece.
The difference between proofing, copyediting, and editing
Many bloggers who didn’t have a background in traditional writing (you don’t actually need that to be a blogger) have no idea what difference between proofing, copyediting, and editing is. While it’s perfectly fine to not know the distinction as long as you’re conscientious enough to generate good content and make corrections after the first draft, knowing how they differ makes the process more effective. So how are they different from each other?
- Proofing involves a simple read-through of the text to find common errors in terms of punctuation and spelling. It also involves taking the LOOK of the finalized blog post into consideration, especially where punctuation, formatting, and captions are concerned.
- Copyediting involves searching for and correcting style and grammar errors on top of the punctuation and spelling errors you may have missed in the proofing process. Sometimes, it also involves reviewing your resources and double-checking the facts you’re relaying.
- Editing involves improving the overall flow of the piece, which entails the overhaul of entire sentences and paragraphs if needed, on top of correcting spelling, punctuation, style, and grammar. It also involves thinking of newer or better titles and captions for the piece.
Granted, other people may have different definitions for these processes. But the distinctions detailed above should be good enough to formalize your method for fleshing out your blog post.
Using the processes to make your blog posts awesome
Now that you know the differences between proofing, copyediting, and editing, you can formulate your own process for fixing your blog post before you publish it. Every person is different, so the sequencing of tasks that you’re comfortable with can be very different from the sequencing of tasks another blogger will be comfortable with.
For example, I start by looking at a preview of the published version of my work, then fixing spelling and punctuation (proofing), before fixing the flow and headers of the piece (editing) and finally double-checking my resources, grammar, and style (copyediting). You might be more comfortable fixing the titles, captions, and flow (editing) before moving on to fact and style checking (copyediting) before trying to catch misspellings (proofing). In fact, you may be the type who likes mixing it up depending on your mood. No matter what, all these processes are necessary for “perfecting” your blog posts.
Just a disclaimer: everyone knows how difficult it can be to fix your own work, especially when you try to do it immediately after writing it. The best way to handle this is to “outsource” part of the process to someone else – have another writer do the proofing or make editing suggestions before you try to make improvements. If finding someone to help you isn’t possible, then step away from the computer for about an hour or so; do something to forget what you’ve written so you can look at it with fresh eyes.
You may not be the first person to post on the topic that you want to post about. But at least your blog post will have the chance to be one of the best out there – and won’t that be good for your blog or business?
I work the other way around: I write my blog posts using IA writer for the Mac. It’s at simple text editor that allows me to focus on getting words on the screen rather than proofing as I write.
When the raw articles are written I leave them for a few days before I start editing them. Proofing is the last thing I do before hitting the publish button.