Writing is only half the battle; the true magic happens in the editing process.
Whether you’re just learning how to edit or are looking for an easy editing checklist to guide you, this post is full of the 11 questions every blogger should ask themselves before hitting publish.
Want to learn more about writing and editing? Join the Writing for Bloggers waitlist.
1. Is My Headline Strong?
Newsflash: you should be spending up to HALF the time you spent working on your blog post working on your headline. I can almost guarantee you don’t do that!
Really invest the time to make sure your headline is strong; is it clear? Does it invoke any emotion?
If the reader doesn’t like your headline, she won’t click on the article.
So this is absolutely worth spending your time on!
2. Is There a Strong CTA?
There needs to be a goal and intent behind each blog post, otherwise why are you writing it? And you’ll need to be clear about that with a strong call to action.
See how that worked? That’s a straightforward call-to-action.
I’ve talked about this before in my post on the best ways to end a blog post. Whether you want someone to join your list, download a freebie, comment or share, you need to tell them!
3. Can This be Formatted Better?
Blog posts that are read and shared are highly readable. In other words, there’s elements like:
- Boxed out things
- Bullet points
This makes it easy for readers to scan your post, which a lot of readers do!
Scan your post and ask yourself if it can be formatted better. Then, do it!
Need help with this? Grab the Perfect Blog Post Template.
4. Did I link to other of my articles?
Every one of your posts should link to at minimum one, or even several, of your blog posts. This makes for a better user experience and is great for SEO.
5. Did I add external links?
While we’re on the subject of links, you should be adding external links as well (when applicable). These usually enhance the reader’s experience in some way.
Worried you’re steering your reader away? Make sure you’ve selected for the link to open in a new tab.
6. Where Can I Be More Succinct?
When editing, one of the first things I look for is how things can be re-written and said more succinctly. Less is more, and oftentimes writing can be full of fluff. Comb through your copy and ask yourself if what you’ve written can be said in an easier-to-digest way.
7. Did I Check My Grammar and Punctuation?
This is an editing checklist, not a proofreading one, but it’s still a good reminder to check your grammar, spelling and punctuation.
You can use a free tool like Grammarly to help with that; it’s also a built-in Chrome extension so you don’t even have to leave your document!
8. Did I Trim the Fat?
Kill your adverbs. Yes, really. All of the flowery copy, too many adjectives and overall fluff can take away from what you’re saying instead of adding to it.
9.Did I Optimize for SEO?
If you’re bothering with content marketing, you probably want some organic Google traffic. Don’t miss out on that and make sure you optimize your post for SEO!
Run it through Yoast and do some keyword research to make sure your post has plenty of keyword variations and answers the questions your reader may be searching for.
10. Is My Style Consistent?
In my Writing for Bloggers course, we’ll talk much more about creating a style guide for your posts, but one of the easiest things you can look for is consistency.
For example, do you write e-Book, ebook or eBook? These may seem like small things, but keeping things consistent is the professional way to go.
RELATED: How to Find Your Writing Voice
11. Is There Enough Word Variety?
The thesaurus is your friend. It’s also free!
Sometimes when we are writing we don’t even notice how much we are using the same words again and again. That’s why it’s so important to take a step back and edit on a different day than the day you wrote your original copy.
On your editing day, use the editing checklist above and ask yourself if you have a variety of words.
If the same words appear close together, or often throughout the copy, go to your thesaurus and hunt for new ones! It will breathe some fresh air into your work.
If you loved this self-editing checklist for bloggers, be sure to download your printable copy! And sign up for the Writing for Bloggers course waitlist where we’ll talk much more about how to edit your own copy like a professional.