Easy Five Step Plan for Editing Your Blog Posts

Have you ever published a post with an embarrassing typo?
Have you written what youthought was a great piece … only to re-read it three months later and realize that it had no real point?
Some bloggers think that editing doesn’t really matter. After all, you’re giving your hard work away for free: readers can hardly complain if there are a few sub-par posts, or some full of typos.
This is a short-sighted attitude. Sure, one typo isn’t going to kill your chances of success … but poor-quality writing makes you look sloppy or even stupid. Even those readers who do stick around won’t feel so confident about buying your e-book, joining your membership site, or even listening to your affiliate recommendations.
If you’re working on pillar content, or a guest post, it’s doubly important to edit carefully: that content needs to be your very best.
The good news is that editing doesn’t need to take hours of your time. You can just follow these five simple steps to make sure that your post is working from start to end.

Step #1: Check Whether You Have One Clear Point

One of the biggest mistakes I see is bloggers choosing a topic then writing everything they can think of, without any real point. If you sit down and write whatever comes into your head, your post isn’t likely to have any clear organization or structure.
Another problem is a post that has several different points – if that’s happened with your post, you might want to try making it into a series.
Do it: Ask yourself “What one thing should the reader understand (or be able to do) as a result of reading this post?”

Step #2: Make Your Title and Introduction Gripping

If your title and introduction don’t hook the reader, the rest of your post is going to be wasted.
Most titles can be improved with a few little tweaks. You could:
  • Add a number.
  • Use the words “how to” at the start.
  • Include adjectives like “easy” or “powerful” or “little-known”.
Keep your introduction short and clear. Try starting with a question (like I do in this post) or with a quote that ties into your main point. Focus on the reader instead of on yourself: use the word “you” more often than you use “I”.
Do it: Spend at least five minutes on your title during editing. If your introduction seems a bit long, try cutting the first paragraph and see whether the second paragraph makes a better beginning.

Step #3: Include a Call to Action

Every time you write a blog post, you need to think about your aims. Is this post one which you want readers to share? Are you hoping to get more comments and build reader engagement? Do you have a product or service to promote?
Too many bloggers end their posts without giving the reader anything to do next. It might seem a bit silly to you to say “Leave a comment…” or “Click the button to retweet…” but your readers might not notice the comment box or retweet button otherwise.
Do it: Write a call to action at the end of your post. It could be as simple as “If you enjoyed this post, click here to read more…” with a link to a related post on your blog.

Step #4: Edit for the Little Details

Once you’ve got your post into good shape – with a clear point, a good introduction, and a call to action at the end – it’s time to start editing for all the little details.
Look out for:
  • Typos and misspellings – don’t rely on your spellchecker to spot them all.
  • Missing words – or words where they shouldn’t be (these sometimes creep in during editing).
  • Overlong sentences and paragraphs – break these up.
If you struggle to spot your mistakes, try reading your post out loud. You could also print it and read it on paper. This way, you’re more likely to see things that you’d miss on the screen.
Do it: Are there any words that you often confuse, like “you’re” and “your”? Do you know when you should and shouldn’t use apostrophes? When you’re editing, use Daily Writing Tips to double-check anything you’re not sure about.

Step #5: Add Formatting

Your final editing task is to add formatting. You may have included some while you were writing the post, but this is a good opportunity to make sure that your formatting is consistent and useful.
You should:
  • Use subheadings – be consistent in how you format these (e.g. always use heading 2 style, always capitalize the words).
  • Include bold text to highlight key phrases or sentences – but don’t overdo it.
  • Use bullet-points where appropriate, rather than listing lots of items in single sentence.
  • Avoid using underlining for emphasis, as readers may be confused and think that this is a clickable link.
  • Ideally, add at least one image (at the start of your post, to draw the reader’s eye). You might want to use individual images for each subsection.
Do it: While editing, sit back from your screen and glance at your post. It should look visually interesting and attractive. If it doesn’t, add a bit more formatting.
A bit more attention to editing from all of us would make the blogosphere an even greater place … so retweet this post, or share it on Facebook or G+, and let other bloggers learn these simple editing steps too!


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