essential checklist for proofreading your blog

Essential Checklist for Proofreading Your Blog

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You have just completed your blog article. And you are now ready to hit publish. But wait…did you proofread your content to ensure your work is as close to error-free as possible? Proofreading takes practices, focus, and concentration. Over time, you will fine tune your proofreading techniques based on your writing style. Regardless of the proofreading techniques that you decide to use, this is an important part of the editorial process that should not be neglected or forgotten. Use these components listed out below in this essential checklist for proofreading.

What is Proofreading?

When you work through some effective proofreading techniques, you’ll find yourself asking these types of questions:

  • Have I checked for any typos or misspellings?
  • Did I make sure there are any grammar errors?
  • Are all of my hyperlinks working correctly?
  • Did I review for any punctuation errors?

What is the Difference between Proofreading and Editing?

Many people use the terms editing and proofreading interchangeably, but there is quite a difference between the two. As registered dietitian nutritionists and writers, it’s important that we know the differences when it comes to proofreading versus editing so that we can best determine the editorial needs we have for various projects.

Why is Proofreading So Important?

Although, this may not be the most enjoyable part of the content creation process for many, proofreading is a critical part of the editorial process.

As registered dietitian nutritionists and writers, I encourage you to proofread your work before publishing. Utilize some of these effective proofreading techniques and refer back to the essential checklist for proofreading below to get you started. As you begin to implement proofreading, you will develop your own proofreading techniques that work best for you and your writing style.

If you do not have the time to self-proofread; or don’t prioritize it at the top of your list because of other projects that require your time and energy, I would suggest hiring out for this type of work. It’s a simple, cost-effective service that will ultimately benefit you and your reader.

When Should I Proofread My Blog?

Proofreading is the final stage of the editing process. Don’t waste your time trying to update and edit as you go. Once your copy is done, do a few rounds of edits and then save the proofreading for the end.

If you are already satisfied with the overall quality of your work, and you just want a fresh set of eyes on your content to ensure it’s free from spelling, grammar, or punctuation errors, or any surface-type items, then proofreading services would be your best option.

While there is no such thing as perfect content, we should always strive to get as close to error-free as possible.

Your Essential Checklist for Proofreading Your Blog

Now, let’s dive into the five key components you’ll focus on when creating an essential checklist for proofreading your blog. This will help ensure that you are sharing content that is as close to error-free as possible. The five main areas of focus on your proofreading checklist should include:

  • Spelling
  • Grammar
  • Punctuation
  • Style & Tone
  • Formatting
  • And other BONUS Items

1) Spelling

Spell check is the first task because it’s the most essential on a proofreading checklist. There is no room for spelling errors in any of the blogs you publish. If spelling is not your strongest skillset, then there are many applications you can use that are built into our devices. And there are various programs you can utilize (free or paid) so you can prevent most spelling errors.

Remember, that even though there are built-in systems to help eliminate spelling errors, we are still human, and mistakes can happen.

One way to help catch spelling errors is to read your copy aloud. For example, my computer just autocorrected my ALOUD to ALLOWED. Yes, both words are spelled correctly, but the context in which I’m writing calls for ALOUD, meaning to read/ or say something with your voice, and ALLOWED means to grant permission. Our computers are not always accurate.

Here are ten words that are commonly misspelled:

  1. Accommodate
  2. Acquire
  3. Calendar
  4. Colleague
  5. Committee
  6. Entrepreneur
  7. Fulfill
  8. Liaison
  9. Necessary
  10. License

2) Punctuation

Proper punctuation is essential in writing. It helps you to communicate effectively with your reader. For example, let’s look at the difference between the following two sentences:

            I find inspiration in cooking my family and my dog.

            I find inspiration in cooking, my family, and my dog.

This first sentence will probably leave you feeling a bit unsettled. It expresses that an individual enjoys cooking her family and their dog. While the second sentence shares that the individual’s cooking, family, and dog provide them inspiration, for a cookbook, perhaps?

3) Grammar

Like most aspects of writing, you can continually learn to improve your grammar. With spelling, comes its best friend grammar. There are a lot of grammar rules in the English language. When in doubt, check it out.

Here are some common homophone mistakes:

  • There, their, and they’re
  • Its, it’s, and its’
  • Your and you’re

Bonus Tip: Be consistent with your verb tense. There will be moments when you speak about the past or future; you just want to make sure you keep everything in order. You want to make sure that you aren’t hopping into a time machine and going through various dimensions of time without any notice. We want to make sure we’re all along for the same coherent ride.

4) Style & Tone

5) Formatting

Here are other BONUS items to include on your essential checklist for proofreading:

  • Paragraphs are indented correctly
  • Industry-standard stylistic guidelines have been followed (citations, line spacing, page numbering, title pages, etc.)
  • Check for sentence fragments
  • Check for run-ons
  • Subjects and verbs agree
  • Check for best word choice
  • Check quotations for proper formatting
  • Reread any long or complex sentences for hidden grammar errors
  • Check for active vs passive voice. Active voice tends to be more direct and concise, making it easier for readers to understand.
  • Remove unnecessary words
  • Stay aligned with your style guide for formatting
  • Check for broken URLs and hyperlink accuracy
  • Remove excess adverbs

Try these 7 Effective Proofreading Techniques for Dietitians:

Proofreading Technique #1 - Eliminate distractions

Proofreading Technique #1 – Eliminate Distractions

When we sit down to proofread a document, it’s crucial that we are able to concentrate and give that content our undivided attention.

Choose an environment that is quiet and free from distractions. In today’s world, it’s almost impossible to eliminate all distractions, especially with many of us working from home.

Make sure your cell phone is on silent (or notifications are turned off) and your web browser is minimized (Amazon purchases and Instagram scrolling can wait…).


Proofreading Technique #2 - Print it out

Proofreading Technique #2 – Print It Out

Proofreading on a computer screen is not ideal. It is easier to catch spelling, grammar, and punctuation errors on a hard copy of the document.

When you are working off a printed copy, your eyes don’t have to strain while staring at a backlit screen on your laptop or any electronic device for that matter.

Plus, this allows for you to mark up the document as you see fit.

Give your eyes a break. Print out the document.


Proofreading Technique #3 - Read it aloud

Proofreading Technique #3 – Read It Aloud

This allows you to slow down as you read each sentence.

It gives you a chance to hear the message aloud to ensure it matches the intent and tone of your overall content.

As you read each word aloud, you may find that you can make a sentence stronger by using a different adjective to describe the noun or verb to describe the action.

You may also decide to replace a word in a sentence with something that rolls easier off the tongue when readers are consuming your content.


Proofreading Technique #4 - Read from the end to the beginning

Proofreading Technique #4 – Read Backwards

While I know it may sound strange, trust me on this one. It’s a tried-and-true useful technique by writers and editors.

It allows you to look at your content with a new perspective.

Begin at the end and make your way to the beginning, sentence by sentence (or paragraph by paragraph, depending on the length of the content).

This will make it easier for you to look at spelling, grammar, and punctuation errors instead of the flow and logic of the content.


Proofreading Technique #5 - Use a ruler (or blank sheet of paper)

Proofreading Technique #5 – Use a Ruler (or blank sheet of paper)

This makes it easier and more manageable to review sentences line by line.

Your eyes will thank you. Place the ruler (or blank sheet of paper) under each line and read each sentence aloud slowly.

This process help you improve sentence structure, such as run-on sentences, compound sentences, and selecting simpler words that will resonate more clearly with readers.

Tip: For this technique, it helps to double or triple space your document before printing as well.


Proofreading Technique #6 - Ask a friend

Proofreading Technique #6 – Ask a Friend

As the author, it is easy to be closely attached to the content at hand, and in turn, miss simple, common errors.

Give the content over to a friend.

Someone who is reading the content for the first time and who is not an expert on the topic, will be better equipped to review the surface level errors, like spelling, grammar, and punctuation.


Proofreading Technique - Ask a friendd

Proofreading Technique #7 – Hire a Professional

If you have implemented proofreading techniques in your work, but you are still not 100% confident about the accuracy of your writing, it may benefit you to hire a professional.

For some dietitians, proofreading may not be on the top of their to-do list, or they simply don’t have the time to proofread with all the other projects they have going on in their business.

In these cases, hiring a professional to review your work would probably be the best use of your resources –aka your time and money.  


*Bonus Tip: Just Walk Away

Sometimes when we’ve been working on a document, presentation, or blog article for hours at a time, it makes it difficult to concentrate on surface level errors, like spelling, grammar, and punctuation.

We’re so deep in the weeds of the content and so heavily invested.

Take a step back. Go for a walk or just get some fresh air.

The change of scenery will help give your mind a fresh perspective when you pick up that paper later.

Aim to work on proofreading for 30 min at a time (or less) to prevent mental fatigue.


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7 Effective Proofreading Techniques for Dietitians

Proofreading your work is an essential step in the writing process. Take the time to check for any errors so that you can ensure that your piece is polished, looks professional, and is ready for publication. Refer back to the essential checklist for proofreading before you hit publish on your next blog post!

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