Thursday, December 8, 2016

Handy Step-By-Step Blog Editing Checklist

by Edie Melson @EdieMelson

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 before I publish a blog. It’s not a long involved process, but it will ensure those annoying typos become much less commonplace.

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.
NOTE: Sometimes, weird formatting accidently gets copied over to my blog and I can’t seem to get rid of it. This could be extra spaces between lines, weird formatting for bullet points, or even odd indentions. If I can’t make the text behave, I have a fool-proof way to tame the text. I highlight the offending paragraph and click on the REMOVE FORMATTING icon at the top of the page. It’s easy to find, it’s a capital T with a red x at the base. It’s universal for all major blogging platforms. Once I click that button, I can add back in the formatting I want.
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, blank line separating paragraphs (no indentions allowed).
  • 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 this is an important step. Our brain uses different pathways when we read something out loud and we’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 do to insure a clean blog before you hit publish. Any tips you share about your process can help us all get better.

Don't forget to join the conversation!

Edie Melson is the author of numerous books, as well as a freelance writer and editor. Her blog, The Write Conversation, reaches thousands each month. She’s the co-director of the Blue Ridge Mountains ChristianWriters Conference and the Social Media Mentor at My Book Therapy. She’s also the Military Family Blogger at Guideposts. Com, Social Media Director for SouthernWriters Magazine and the Senior Editor for Connect with her on Twitter and Facebook. Don't miss her new book from Worthy Inspired, WHILE MY SOLDIER SERVES.

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