By Peter Dillon, GoDaddy
I know you want to, but give it five minutes or so before you hit “publish” on that new blog post or send that article you just wrote for an industry publication. Use that time to read this post, then go back and see if you are actually ready to send your words out into the big, wide world.
The rewards in finishing a post range from “Whew, it’s finished!” to a serious sense of accomplishment at a job well done—but as skilled at writing as you feel you might be, the number of posts that are written without error the first draft are, let’s face it, probably none. And no matter how many times you re-read your 500 words, chances are you’ll miss typos time and again.
So how do you avoid posts that grammar-nuts would have a field day with?
- Backwards, you will go! Reading the post as it was written—forward—can put you into auto-pilot. You might skim through it instead of read what is actually there. Instead, read it backwards. Start with the last sentence and read it out loud to yourself. This might not help with overall composition because this method doesn’t allow for one idea to be built upon another, but this deliberate method of reading your work will help you spot those otherwise-elusive typos.
- Having friends has its benefits. As mentioned, reading your own content doesn’t necessarily help you spot those pesky errors, so having a friend look over your work, and inviting them to comment on it, can help you get your post into a polished state with a lot less stress. It’s easier to accept spelling mistakes and assorted typos when someone else points them out to you. And don’t ignore suggestions made about grammar and flow—accept the comments graciously and follow up on them yourself.
- Go to bed. Before you hit the hay, however, print out your work. The following day, read it again with a fresh pair of eyes—it’s amazing the difference a day makes! Also, reading from a hard copy gives it a whole new look, and it’s easier to spot what you might have missed on the screen.
If you’re still not sure, ask a professional to proofread your work. I certainly do (thank you, Andrea) and am never surprised at the changes made before posts like this go public.
Every day I read articles containing multiple typos and grammatical errors. It’s easy to get over an incorrectly used semicolon, but it’s a lot harder to ignore the ubiquitous errors involving “they’re/their/there” and “then/than.” And that’s where spell checkers might not help: those words aren’t typically spelled incorrectly; it’s all about context.
There are a number of online tools that can help. If you’re second-guessing the spelling of a word, then Dictionary.com can be your best friend. PaperRater and Grammarly will help with typos and a range of grammatical errors. If you’re looking for a download, then you might try Ginger, which lets you download software that checks everything including emails. This post () also has some great tips for writing website copy.
I doubt I’m alone in thinking that writers who don’t care about the quality of their work might not care so much about the content itself. And I am not one to leave a comment complaining about dreadful spelling; I will just move on and look for a writer who cares. I hope that’s you.
About the Author
Peter Dillon was transplanted from Wales, UK, about 10 years ago and joined the GoDaddy family in 2010. He lives in Phoenix with his wife and cat, who adopted the couple last year and has allowed them to live with her since. A specialty trainer at GoDaddy, Peter loves education and enjoys being on both sides of the desk—knowing that there is not only always something to learn, but there is always something that can be taught. The world’s largest domain name registrar and Web hosting provider, GoDaddygives small business owners the tools to name their idea, build a beautiful online presence, attract customers and manage their business. To get more tips for your small business—including articles, videos and webinars— check out the GoDaddy Training Hub.