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Punctuation, Spelling and Grammar – Quality Control for Bloggers

In our series on crafting blog content we’re at stage 7 (of 10) and having chosen our topic, crafted a title, written an engaging opening line, written a meaningful post, added a call to action and added depth – we’re finally ready to hit ‘publish’!

Or are we?

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Image by geminicollisionworks

Today I want to talk about Quality Control – one of the last tasks that I recommend before hitting publish on your blog posts.

Having put so much time and effort into getting the content of your post into tiptop shape it can be tempting to put your post ‘out there’ for readers to engage with as soon as possible.

However, taking just few extra minutes to check for ‘errors’ can take a post to the next level.

This is an area that I admit I need to improve.

On a daily basis I find spelling and grammatical errors on my posts and embarrassingly, so do my readers.

I put it down to excitement and wanting to get posts out quickly – but if I’m honest with myself I’m sure it’s also partly laziness.

While some of your readers will gloss over these kinds of errors and won’t let it impact how they engage with the content – some will not be so forgiving and will be distracted by your mistakes.

Every spelling error that you correct and every awkward sentence structure that you improve removes a barrier to readers engaging with your content.

The solutions are simple (yet a struggle for so many of us):

  • Take your time in writing posts
  • Take time to look at spell check in your writing tool of choice.
  • Reread your posts to see how they flow (sometimes reading them out loud will help).
  • Have someone else look your posts over (I know of at least two bloggers who do this for one another – they have logins to each other’s blogs and edit the post that the other one writes on a daily basis).
  • Test to see if links in your posts work.

Yes – this is an area that those of us who don’t like to pay attention to detail and those who blog in a language that isn’t their first language can struggle with, but it does pay off to work on.

As mentioned above – I’m not the guy to teach you how to improve on this aspect of blogging. As a result I’d like to point you to some others who are!

Resources for Bloggers

Posts to Read:

Blogs to Subscribe To:

Books to Buy:

Feel free to add resources, blog posts and blogs that you’ve found helpful in comments below.

Read the Full Series

This post is part of a series on how to craft blog posts. It will be all the more powerful if taken in context of the full series which looks at 10 points in the posting process to pause and put extra effort. Start reading this series here.

About Darren Rowse

Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn.

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Comments

  1. Carla says:

    “Have someone else look your posts over (I know of at least two bloggers who do this for one another – they have logins to each other’s blogs and edit the post that the other one writes on a daily basis).”

    I think that is a great idea. Like another blogger wrote above, sometimes you are just too tired to notice *everything* even after going over it several times. It would also be good to come back to it later (hours, or a day) and reread it before publishing it. Sometimes I post late at night only to come back the next day and see something I didnt notice before because I was worn out.

  2. Claudia says:

    Wrestling with these issues will help you become a better writer. It’s all about allowing your writing to evolve into its fullness. Like fruit ripening on a tree. Good grammar needn’t get in the way of your authentic voice. When your intention is to communicate with clarity and grace, attention to grammar shows respect for the language, the writer, and the reader.

    I manage an information and Web design team at a university. We build multiple reviews into the process, both Web and print. Accuracy is mission critical.

    When I blog, I write in a more informal voice, and get loose with the structure, but never the grammar, unless it’s a deliberate colloquialism.

    Dynamite resources, Darren, I would add the Microsoft Web Writing Style Guide for those who lean more toward technical writing. Chicago Manual of Style is my overall favorite, now that the latest edition include electronic media citations.

  3. Will says:

    I’d defintely reccommend buying Eats, Shoots & Leaves. A nice quick read and it’s in perfect english.

    Darren I think you can be excused from the odd spelling mistake – I don’t think i’ve ever seen a blogger produce so much interesting content on a daily basis – a few mistakes are bound to get through ;)

  4. I personally think that grammar is a [huge] part of being a good blogger. A lot of bloggers I know think it’s not necessary to run good content. “Grammars?” they say, “Good contents will forgived the grammer errors!”

    That’s a little exaggerated, but mostly I find people ignore verbs agreeing with the subject. I don’t understand why verbs and subjects can’t get along!

  5. Carla says:

    Wow!

    Reading the comments here is making me scared to write and publish another blog post! I know I don’t have the best grammar skills in the world, and I rarely notice other people’s bad writing skills (I notice content over grammar unless its really bad) so I had no idea that its such a hot topic in the world of blogging.

  6. Especially for a non-native English speaker these resources are very helpful.
    Thank you so much
    Yani

  7. moneymanager says:

    while i fully agree with the idea of this post by darren,
    one must have sound knowledge of the language and grammar,
    and if not then all efforts must be made to perfect it,
    as one cant depend solely on the text editors as they only correct spelling mistakes and not the grammar,
    having said that, i would also like to add that it next to impossible not to make mistakes even for a great guy like darren as he himself admits as also for big and bright news papers(finding errors in news papers, at one point of time, used to be my hobby, some sadistic pleasure i guess), but we must also keep in mind that a mere mistake should not distract us from the content of the post, would a small mistake detract you from reading darrrens post, i am dead sure NO would be the answer, we shold have the same forgiving attitude for people whos first language is not english(i happen to be one of them), as also to the newbees who are so exited to share things with us that they at times forget the basics(wasnt every one a newbee at some point of time in the blogging journey).continuing the discusson i would like to mention a nice article by skellie in her skelliewag blog
    http://www.skelliewag.org/why-great-writing-doesnt-matter-online-246.htm

  8. egbsystems says:

    You are absolutely right we need to concentrate on spelling and grammatical errors that we make while posting a comment.
    The Section how to achieve this was very useful

  9. Carla says:

    Moneymanager is right. Unless we hire an editor, (not always possible for us small time bloggers) we WILL make a mistake at some point no matter how hard we try not to. :)

  10. charles says:

    One reader of mine. Checked one of my errors but i am happy he found it. I usually update my articles everyday to check for errors and add more details.

  11. arun says:

    Greate article! However as a blogger my instincts are to post the blog when I deem finished, and its only later that I realise the quality lapses. On one hand this does not matter much if I am looking for SEO and SERPS rankings, but if we wish to establish a reputation as a quality blogger / article writer and drive traffic, which all of us must do, we need to be wary of the aspects mentioned in your article.