There’s so much to consider when creating a blog — layout, typography, topics, hosting and platforms, plugins, photos, promoting, and more. Then there’s content. The adage, “content is king,” is more important than ever, as search engine algorithms are engineered to separate “human” content from bots, black-hat SEO, and keyword farm material. If content is king and SEO is no longer achievable by keywords alone — but by well-written informative content — doesn’t it make sense to improve your writing?
I’m a fair writer, but my posts are good — a few are better than good. I’m creative, and have a middling grasp of word usage. I construct questionable sentences, and what I don’t know about grammar could fill a book. So… how can my posts be good? Three words — edit, edit, edit.
A 24-Hour Blog Improvement Plan
- 1. Turn off spell check — Hemingway said, “Write drunk; Edit sober” Writing and editing use different parts of the brain. Turn spell check off as you write, and let the creativity flow. Turn it ON to edit.
- 2. Read it out loud — Let it roll off your tongue — see how it feels and sounds. You’ll find revisions, which will improve the readability.
- 3. Think small — Given a choice, choose the simplest words – the meaning is almost always clearer. Usually, people quickly scan posts, and long words break up the flow.
- 4. Review it backwards — Begin at the end and review each sentence as a stand-alone structure.
- 5. Wait 24 hours — Let it sit. Set the post aside, and forget about it. You’ll come back with a new perspective.
- 6. Use an editor — It doesn’t have to be a professional paid editor (although if it’s in the budget, go for it). Earlier, I mentioned a few of my writing challenges. My teammates, Nancy Jarial and Josh Humble, complement my writing by sharing their editorial strengths. Find someone who complements your weaknesses to be your editor(s). We use a 3-step editing process. If I’ve written the post, I follow the first five points. The post then goes to Nancy, who edits and sends it to Josh, who edits/formats the post, and then sends it back to me. Allison Carter from Indianapolis marketing and social media firm, Roundpeg, added 250+ insightful comments, thoughts, and suggestions to a 32,000-word workbook I’m authoring. All three are trusted friends; they complement my weaknesses, and I like their individual writing styles.
The quality of your content and the skillfulness of your writing shape the success or failure of your post more than ever. This is not going away. Using an editorial process may be the easiest and quickest way to improve your blog. If you don’t currently use a routine editing process, adopting these six suggestions will immediately improve your content — well, maybe not immediately, but it will in 24 hours.