Want to learn how to avoid typos in your next draft? Here's a list of five proofreading tips you can start doing to keep grammatical errors at bay!
In this article:
- Don't proofread right away
- Pause every time you meet a punctuation mark
- Check the first word of every sentence
- Verify every name and number
- Make sure every hyperlink works
How to Proofread a Document: Proofreading Tips for Content Writers
1. Don't Proofread Right Away
Writing web content, whether it be long- or short-form, is nothing short of tiring. A tired mind won't be sharp enough to spot and correct those grammatical and format errors.
When it comes to proofreading, try not to do so right after jotting down your draft. Give yourself a day to rest before pouring over your work again. Trust us, doing so will help you accurately edit out any errors.
Proofreading your draft at least a day after writing it also helps you see your work with a renewed point of view. Not only will you be able to spot errors better, but you'll also be able to find and correct:
- Overused words
- Unclear sentences
- Redundant ideas
Next time you're tasked to write web content, figure in an extra 24 hours so you can have enough time to proofread your piece.
Tip: If you don't have a day to spare, try reading your draft backward. That'll trick your brain into thinking that what you're editing is entirely new, which also helps you spot those grammatical errors.
2. Pause Every Time You Meet a Punctuation Mark
When it comes to proofreading and editing, remember that the devil is in the details. A missing apostrophe can be the difference between the right message or a grammatical blunder.
Every time you're proofreading your work, stop at every punctuation mark. When you see an apostrophe, comma, or period, ask yourself, "should this be here?" and do the necessary changes.
This proofreading exercise is especially useful keeping mistakes on contracted words (e.g. your/you're, its/it's) at bay. It also prevents you from publishing a draft full of comma splices or run-on sentences.
3. Check the First Word of Every Sentence
Among the most critical proofreading tips every content writer should know is to check for overused words. This doesn't just happen within the paragraphs of your work. When you're not conscious of it, you might be starting each sentence with the same word!
Try looking through one of your drafts right now. We bet there are at least two consecutive sentences that start with the word "the".
There's nothing grammatically wrong about this. The thing is that starting every sentence with the same word can make your work sound monotonous.
So when you proofread, look over every sentence and see if you can change up how you write each one. Flex your creative muscles a little by choosing other ways to start a sentence. After all, variety is the spice of life.
4. Verify Every Name and Number
This tip is especially crucial for when you're writing sponsored or branded content. Mistakes on how a client's name or brand is spelled can make you look like a sloppy writer. You don't want that.
You'll want to make sure that every name in your article is spelled correctly, consistently. Take special care for letters that need to be capitalised or words that have spaces between them.
Plus, every number, date, or statistic you write down has to be accurate, too. Keeping your format consistent throughout your draft also makes your work look more polished and professional.
5. Make Sure Every Hyperlink Works
Nowadays, ensuring that your draft has a good number of working hyperlinks is also part of your job as a content writer.
So when you're proofreading your work, don't skip over those hyperlinks. As you did with the punctuation mark, stop at every link and check whether they:
- have the right anchor text
- lead to the right landing page
Having broken links in your content affects you more than you know. Not only do broken links confuse your readers, but they also reflect poorly on search rankings. Google deprioritises articles with too many bad hyperlinks, so make sure your content doesn't have any!
Nothing kills your online credibility and authority more than a typo. Keep your web content mistake-free by practising the five modern-day proofreading tips in this article. Every detail counts, so make sure to go over your drafts with a fine-toothed comb before hitting the publish button!
Need help proofreading the outputs of your content strategy? We can help! Contact us today, and we can help you proofread and edit your next blog entry, social media post, or infographic!