Blog post editing is an essential part of the editorial process. Hell, you couldn’t even spell editorial without ‘edit’. Most people, sadly, will skip this step. They will deposit a half-cocked article on the web where it will languish for eternity. Inevitably, it will receive about three to five views per month and serve no other purpose than to increase your bounce rate and the number of pages indexed by Google.
But you see, you aren’t most people. I know this because you’re here—reading this article. You want to improve your skills as a writer, and you want your writing to have an impact on the bottom line of your business.
While editing might feel like an unnecessary step for a busy business owner, I’d wholeheartedly disagree.41 tips to supercharge your blog posts and stand out in a world full of noise and distractions. Click To Tweet
These tips will make your editing process easier and, with continued use, much faster. Feel free to take this and rework it to fit your needs if your process requires fewer/additional steps.
41 Blog Post Editing Tips
Use these tips as a guide to make the editing process more manageable. My hope is that it will help you refine your writing process so editing will become easier and faster in the future.
So, without further ado, grab a cup of coffee and let’s get to editing.
The topic is immediately apparent. Make sure the reader knows exactly what you’re talking about right away. The topic of your blog post must be clear and concise and outlined in your first paragraph, or the reader will seek an answer elsewhere.
The topic is not overdone on your blog. Any good blog covers multiple topics that relate to the business. Make sure you spread-load your content to adequately and comprehensively cover each topic.
The title is compelling enough to click and interesting enough to share. Would you share an article that has the title you’ve chosen? If yes, that’s great! If no, then consider revising it to make it more engaging and shareable.
Many blogging tools come with headline analyzers that will tell you how powerful your headline is. Now, these tools aren’t the end all be all, but they will help you get some clarity on how you can improve your title.
The title accurately reflects the content within. Don’t mislead readers with a title that promises something when the article behind it doesn’t deliver. The only thing this will accomplish is increasing your bounce rate on Google Analytics.
The title is brief and concise and includes relevant keywords. Based on Google’s current setup, you have about 70 characters to get the point across and get the reader to click through to your blog post. Be sure to include the keyword/phrase you want the post to rank for in the title, as this is one of the first things search engines look at when assessing the relevance of a blog post.
Structure & Formatting
Formatting is correct and consistent. Formatting content accurately helps readers scan your article and digest the information more easily. Use lists where possible, break up large blocks of text and include images to reinforce your points.
Pay particular attention to the formatting of headers. They should denote hierarchy in the text and help lead the reader through the content. Make sure all headers in a hierarchical level are styled and displayed consistently—this applies to every article on your blog.
The flow of content is logical. When you read your article, does it flow smoothly? Using transition words, like also, and, or furthermore will help readers to grasp what you’re talking about by leading them seamlessly between ideas. Furthermore (see what I did there), the main points of the article should be in a logical order. For example, if you were writing about how to make coffee, you wouldn’t tell the reader to add creamer and sugar before they make the coffee.
The content is comprehensive. Having an outline before you start writing helps immensely with this. You want to make sure that you have covered everything you possibly can on the topic. However, you don’t want to be too broad either and get off topic.
Here’s a perfect example: When I started writing this article, I got off on a tangent about how blogging affects inbound website traffic. I was super excited about some of the information I found (I’ll share that with you next week Monday) and just got on a roll talking about it. Then I realized I was way off topic. Stay on point and your readers will thank you. Hopefully :).
Reinforce important points with bold or italics. Since readers scan blog article website copy, formatting such as bold, italics, or underline, can help to draw attention to the most important points. Don’t overuse these options, though. It can have quite the opposite effect—how can you emphasize importance if everything is of equal importance?
Include images and supporting visuals where appropriate. When you present data, statistics, or other quantifiable information, it’s good practice to include a chart or graph to reinforce that information. Perhaps you’re writing a blog post to support a YouTube video—add the video above the transcript. Or maybe you’re writing about a recipe you created, in which case you might show a photo of the finished product. Maybe the tone of the post is comical, and you decide to include a funny animated gif.
Regardless of what the visuals are, make sure they are reinforcing and supporting the content and not taking away from it.
All images are sufficiently optimized. Image optimization becomes more importance with each search algorithm update. User search patterns are trending in greater numbers toward visual media, and optimizing your images will give you a much better chance of showing up in Google image searches.
Images should be high enough quality, so they aren’t grainy, and should be a small enough file size to allow for quick loading in a web browser. You also want to make sure that each image has an alt tag associated with it. The alt tag is how search engines know what your images depict.
If you’re using WordPress, there are many plugins available for optimizing images on upload. Here at AdCom, we prefer EWWW Image Optimizer.
Writing & Copyediting
The content is valuable, interesting/entertaining, and easy to read. Readers are selfish. They are looking for something that is going to help them out in some way. If your content doesn’t serve that purpose for them, they will go somewhere else.
When it comes to value and how interesting/entertaining an article is, that will be unique to each audience. So you’ll need to understand your readers and what their needs, desires, and pain points are if you wish to address them.
In a recent update, the Yoast SEO plugin added a feature that measures readability based on the Flesch readability score. Blog consistently, and this will prove an invaluable tool.
The introduction is compelling and draws in the reader. The headline is your first impression. Be sure to tell readers exactly how your blog post is going to help them out. It should be descriptive enough to entice them to click and interesting enough that they want to share it.
Whatever you choose to write for your article headline, please, please—for the sake of your readers and internet users everywhere—refrain from infecting the internet with anymore clickbait.
The content tells a story. All the best content tells a story. Clearly state the value provided by your content and how it ties into the reader’s life. When you directly address a pain point or need in this manner, the reader will connect with your content.
The content delivers what the title and intro promise. If you make a promise to your readers in the title or excerpt of your blog post, make sure the rest of the post delivers. If the body of your post fails to fulfill that promise, expect your readers to run for the hills.
There are no grammar or spelling errors. This goes without saying, but I’m continually baffled by how common spelling and grammar errors are. Not only are these errors terribly common, but they are also one of the fastest ways to send blog readers back to Google in search of a new source of information.
If you don’t care enough about your content to spellcheck it, why should the reader care enough to read it?
Headers are clearly worded and keyword optimized. Each header should make it clear what the following chunk of content covers. Optimize headers with keywords for which you want the blog post to rank. However, you should always refrain from keyword stuffing. Google’s Penguin algorithm hates keyword stuffing.
The voice aligns with your overall content strategy. Think of the voice of your content as the personality. If you’re writing a gardening blog, your tone would be much different than if you were writing a blog on heavy metal music (rock on). Personality humanizes your blog post and engages the reader.
The tone aligns with the audience and the content. If the voice is the personality, the tone is the mood. Are you talking to an audience of business executives? Well, then you probably don’t want to use a bunch of silly pop culture references. On the other hand, you don’t want to make Donnie and Marie references to a bunch of 20-somethings either.
Additionally, you want to be sure the tone sounds as if you are talking to that audience face to face. Make it conversational and people will respond in kind.
The author’s personality shines. Personality is one key way to get readers to connect with your content. Personality can vary greatly depending on the individual.
Take Gary Vaynerchuck, for example. He’s the master crass language, dropping F-bombs on a whim, but he connects with his audience because of it. It humanizes him, and it keeps his audience present and engaged.
Examples are included to illustrate main points. Throughout this blog post, you may have noticed references to studies or other supporting examples. By adding these to your content, it helps reinforce the credibility of the piece and provides a means for readers to dig deeper should they wish.
Properly attribute examples to the source, and include a backlink. As long as the original site is reputable, this will help your SEO and theirs as well.
Can additional content be included to enhance the presentation of information? Have people been discussing this topic on Twitter, Reddit, or Facebook? Has someone created a SlideShare presentation on the topic? If so, use that to your advantage and embed the content in your blog post (with proper attribution, of course).
Statistics, quotes, and data are properly attributed and linked. Make sure any supporting media embeds, quotes, charts, graphs, and other visuals give credit to the original author. A backlink should always be provided as well, as this helps with SEO and also serves as a hat-tip to the author.
Data is interpreted correctly from the source. Make sure that facts, statistics, or supporting information are interpreted correctly. Misinterpreting information will mislead readers, and that’s a fast track to destroying your credibility with your audience.
We’re allowed to use all images and supporting media. Pretty straightforward. Make sure you’re licensed or otherwise authorized to use the media (images, videos, etc.) you’ve selected, so you don’t run into copyright issues.
SEO & Conversion Optimization
Add links internal and external links where appropriate. Links are the backbone of effective SEO. Internal links refer to links that connect to another page on your website. These links are particularly useful for connecting users to related information on your website. External links lead from your website to a different website to connect users with additional resources. Both of types of link can significantly improve SEO when used properly.
Are the chosen keywords the most relevant options? This refers to the keywords in the body copy, and not so much the keywords meta tag since search engines don’t even look at it anymore. Doing a little keyword research will help you discover which keywords people are actually searching for so you aren’t optimizing your post for useless keywords.
Incorporate keywords/phrases into the title and headers. As mentioned above, make sure to optimize the title and headers for relevant keywords.
The meta description is clear, concise, and compelling. Most WordPress SEO plugins give you the option to edit the meta description. Take advantage of those 160 characters make your article click-worthy in the search engine results.
All calls to action (CTAs) are clear. Every post needs a CTA. Whether it’s a social share, subscription to your email list, or make a purchase, (politely) tell them what you would like them to do next. Here are a few tips to make sure your CTA works.
Make sure all links are working. In most content management systems, you have the ability to preview the post. Hit that preview button, then, using a tool like the Check My Links plugin for Google Chrome, you can quickly see if everything is in order.
Do a final spelling and grammar check. After doing all of your edits, run one final check for spelling and grammar. I use Grammarly, and have found the free version to be sufficient for catching most common errors.
Get approval before publishing any sensitive information. Are you sharing a case study on one of your clients with screenshots of
Fact-check all data, statistics, and quotes for accuracy. Get caught publishing misleading or, worse, untrue information and you risk instantly losing all credibility you have. Be sure to double check those facts and figures. It could set back your community building in a big way.
Add appropriate tags and categories in your CMS. Categories and tags help WordPress (or whichever CMS you use) to organize your content so that readers can find it more easily—this is particularly helpful if you have a search feature on your website.
Make sure scheduled posting time is accurate. Get this. So I wrote a great blog post, had great images, addressed a pain point for my readers, and then scheduled it for publication at 3am. Inevitably, that blog post went widely unnoticed. Make sure your post is scheduled for the correct time of day on the correct day of the week during the correct month… you get the idea.
Can the content be made more shareable with sharing buttons, embedded Tweets, Pin-it buttons, a click-to-tweet box, etc.? If your content added value to the reader’s life, they are much more likely to share it with their friends. In fact, a study by QuickSprout shows that it could increase your social shares by as much as 40%!
Final Sanity Check
Could this content be potentially harmful or offensive to partners, stakeholders, the audience or the company? If publishing this blog post will bring negative press to your partners, stakeholders, or any other party consider whether hitting publish is the best idea.
I’m not exactly saying it’s never a good idea, just be conscious of the potential consequences.
Double check all math/formulas for accuracy. If you included any equations or quantitative data, make sure everything adds up correctly.
The final product aligns with your company mission, voice, message, and philosophy. Give the fully edited piece a final once over and make sure that, after editing, it still aligns with your overall content standards.
Are there any opportunities to build relationships with industry influencers or thought leaders? Did you mention any industry leaders in your blog post? If so, consider reaching out to them to see if they will share your post on their social media or syndicate it on their blog.
Happy blog post editing!
Use editing to your advantage. Few small businesses edit their articles, so taking the time to do so is a long-term investment in your content strategy and your business. With practice, you’ll find you need to refer back to this list less and less.
So, happy editing for now, and I’ll see you next week for article #5 in our Small Business Content Generation Series: Publication & Distribution.
Is your editing process a little different from ours? Tell us about it in the comments!