The Ultimate Blog Post Editing Checklist | Process Street The Ultimate Blog Post Editing Checklist – Process Street

Introduction:

Whether you're editing your own blog posts or someone else's, this editing checklist will help you catch any errors and present your audience with a polished finished product.

It's divided into 3 sections:

  • Copy editing
  • On-page SEO
  • Visual content editing

All of these elements are equally important for bloggers, as you want to make sure your readers and Google get a good experience from your piece.

Let's get into it.

Copy editing:

Let's get the most time intensive part out of the way first. This section focuses on getting your words perfect, readable and clear.

Wait for a day after writing before editing

If you're self-editing, your mind will be clouded directly after writing it and you'll be blind to your mistakes.

Wait a day, and read it aloud all the way through. That way, you'll be able to instantly spot mistakes.

Split the article into sections

Is the article broken up into a clear structure? Traditionally, a blog post is structured like this:

  • Introduction
  • Key point 1
  • Key point 2
  • Key point n
  • ...
  • Conclusion

Here's an infographic to elaborate:

Check for spelling and grammar errors

Using Grammarly, check the article through for flagged spelling and grammar issues.

Check for language inconsistencies

Now, check to make sure you're not using inconsistent language.

For example, standardize 'ebook' / 'e-book' / 'eBook'.

If you use a style guide, refer to that:

Fact-check the article

Back up any unsupported sources, and research any claims to ensure they're fact, not opinion or inaccuracies.

Using Google Doc's research pane for quickly sourcing claims or doing proper research on an incorrect one:

Remove adverbs and filler words

Filler words make your writing sound weak, but they're easy to find and remove.

Check here for a list of 297 compiled by Shane Arthur.

Be wary of using adverbs. Adverbs are almost always unnecessary, as demonstrated here:

  • He smiled happily
  • Then ran quickly
  • I wondered thoughtfully

Happiness, quickness, and thoughtfulness are implicit in the verbs — there's no need for the adverbs (happily, quickly, thoughtfully).

A good app to catch these is the Hemingway Editor.

Convert from the passive voice to the active voice

The passive voice is unclear, and sounds weak. Here's an example of passive vs. active:

  • Passive: The football game was won by the Patriots
  • Active: The Patriots won the football game

By converting the sentence from passive to active, it's shorter, sounds confident and clear.

Remove cliches

Cliches — like 'crystal clear' — are hallmarks of bad style. Instead of using the first term that comes to mind, be creative or cut words out.

Here's a list of 681 cliches so you can familiarize yourself with them.

Readers tune their brains out when they read cliches because they're 'pre-digested' phrases that have lost meaning over time.

Replace weak verbs and adjectives

Similar to cutting adverbs. Instead of using 3 weak words, use 1 strong one to give your writing more impact and clarity.

Example:

  • Think up a plan —> Devise a plan
  • Go and see the world —> Travel the world
  • Not very good —> Atrocious
  • A bit of a pain —> Excruciating
  • Quite interesting actually —> Fascinating

Check punctuation is consistent

Commas are a hotly debated issue in the academic world. For bloggers, it's just a matter of consistency. Whether you choose to use Oxford commas or not, make sure you're being clear and consistent.

To use Grammarly’s example:

  1. “I love my parents, Lady Gaga and Humpty Dumpty” (no Oxford comma)
  2. “I love my parents, Lady Gaga, and Humpty Dumpty” (Oxford comma)

Check the article reads like a human wrote it

Another element of bad style is that bloated, faux-academic tone you get from junior writers. If you wouldn't say it in a casual conversation, then edit it so it sounds like a real person said it, not a machine.

For the definitive guide on this topic, check out On Writing Well.

On-page SEO:

Okay, that's not what Plato said. Regardless, it's still important.

Once you've written an awesome article, you want to make sure people can find it. You do that by signaling to Google that your article is about a certain topic.

Here's exactly how to do that, with help from Backlinko's infographic on the topic.

Check the keyword is early in the title

Your article's title — the H1 — is the most important on-page element to optimize. If you're writing a guide to making the best pizza, then you're going to want to indicate that in the title.

For example:

  • Make Your Own Pizza: From Dough to Delicious in Six Simple Steps
  • The Complete Landscape Gardening Guide for Busy People

To make sure your article's title is an H1, inspect the element by right clicking it in Chrome and choosing 'Inspect Element'.

See when I hover over the title, it says 'h1' in the tooltip floating just above.

Change the slug to be only your target keyword

Instead of having a URL that looks like this...

www.process.st/2016/05/content-marketing/the-ultimate-editing-checklist/

Try one like this...

www.process.st/editing-checklist

Not only is it easier for humans, Google understands much better what the article is about because you cut the clutter.

Include images, videos, infographic, embeds

To increase the time a user spends on your page, use interesting multimedia to hook them and keep them sticking around.

Use at least 2 of the below items:

  • 1
    Images
  • 2
    Infographics
  • 3
    Videos
  • 4
    Slideshows
  • 5
    Checklists

Check your subheading structure is SEO-friendly

As explained in the image above, you can never use an H2 without an H1, never an H3 without an H2 first, etc.

Think of it as indented bullet points, if it helps.

  • Title (h1)
    • Intro (h2)
      • CTA (h3)
    • Key point 1
    • Key point 2
    • Key point 3
      • Elaboration
    • Key point 4
    • Key point 5
      • CTA
    • Conclusion

Use your exact target keyword 2-3 times in the body

To make sure you (again) signal to Google the purpose of your blog post, include your keyword:

  • 1
    In the first 150 words
  • 2
    Mid-way through
  • 3
    Near the end

Optimize visual content:

Visuals are partly for SEO, and partly to make the reading experience more enjoyable.

In this time of limited attention, images drag the reader into the content. Great visuals show the reader instant value and make them more likely to stay on the page.

Replace stock images with tasteful graphics

Get rid of this garbage:

At Process Street, we make sure all of our graphics are even custom-made, edited for quality or screenshots.

As Kathryn Aragon says, images should not be:

  • Inserted willy-nilly, just to have an image.
  • Trite or overused stock photos.
  • Thought of only as share-bait.
  • Boring or irrelevant.

Make sure media is full-width

For a better overall design aesthetic, keep your media full-width. Compare these examples:

Oh dear.
Much better!

To edit for this, either find higher resolution versions of the same images or replace low-res images with high-res ones.

The good thing about screenshots is that you have total control over their size so can always find a way to make them full-width.

Optimize image titles and alt text

To optimize for Google Images search volume, make sure you're titling and alt-tagging your images properly. Do this by saving the files with descriptive, keyword-optimized titles, and by editing alt text in HTML view:

A well optimized image.

Keep graphics consistent with house style

Tap into your brand assets — logos, branded images, image templates — to create consistent images in keeping with your blog's style.

Below are examples of what we do at Process Street. Note the consistent font, color pallette, and icon style:

Sources & further reading: