Needless to say that proofreading your copy before publishing it online is essential to improve your content and as a result boost user experience. While some writers underestimate the importance of proofreading, others spend too much time overdoing it. Either case is a problem that needs an effective solution that we’re ready to offer you. So, check out our quick guide on how to proofread your copy smart and effective.
1. Haste Makes Waste
We know — deadlines, rough deadlines. Still, it’s essential to take your proofreading slow. Otherwise, you’ll end up having a copy full of grammar and spelling mistakes. Being in a hurry is the worst that can happen to you when you’re trying to polish your text. For one thing, you won’t be as concentrated as needed. For another, your mind will be overwhelmed with pressure and not working to its full potential.
That is why we highly recommend putting some time aside for proofreading. In the best-case scenario, you’d better leave several days and break the whole process into parts. However, let’s be realistic, and suggest that you take a break for a day. Okay, 30 minutes will do (but the quality of such proofreading won’t be the same). That is to say, no matter how pressed for time you are, leave some time for rest after the writing process before checking your text.
2. Read Your Copy Out Loud
For those who have already done it, this advice may seem obvious. On the other hand, for those who haven’t, it may sound fun. Reading your content aloud helps can help you improve the tone of your writing and remove unnecessary word choices. So let’s get it straight. There’s a huge difference when we read something to ourselves and when we do it out loud. It’s vital to read your copy out loud, as this is a perfect way to spot the mistakes.
What is more, this way it will be easier to notice what parts of your text doesn’t speak to the reader. Remember, that your text should be talking to your user in a friendly manner and the best way to check whether you’ve reached this goal is to pronounce every word, pause at every punctuation mark, and change your intonation where needed. By following this easy tip, you’ll instantly see the results on how proofreading helps you write better.
3. Always Verify Spellings
Another moment that can’t be taken for granted is checking the spellings. Dedicate some time to verify how you spell people’s names, company’s names, and product names. It goes without saying, that if your name is spelled wrong it will spoil your impression of an article immediately (“Didn’t they have enough time to check the spelling?” a person may wonder).
To make things worse, you should know better than anyone that these days people don’t always value if everything is perfect. However, as soon as they spot something wrong, there’s going to be the flow of haters each pointing at your mistakes and trying to make you feel bad. For this reason, check the spelling of proper names one more time, just to be on the safe side.
By the way, don’t forget to proofread your titles and subheadings as well. People mostly scan information, so titles and subheadings are at gunpoint.
4. Polish Your Formatting
Sometimes it’s all about your copy being visually attractive. This comes down to breaking your text into small blocks that are scannable and easy to digest. While there may occur slight changes during the proofreading process, get down to formatting the last thing (but don’t forget about it).
Things that are important include spacing, bullets, lists, and text wrap. Make sure that your formatting style is consistent. Once you’ve chosen to make subheadings bold, keep on doing so. There’s nothing more annoying than inconsistent style so that the user’s eyes get quickly tired.
While it’s vital to spend time polishing your formatting, it would be a great idea to structure your copy in advance, so that during the proofreading you’ll just have to add the last strokes.
5. Stop at the First Word of Each Paragraph
Finally, your vocabulary choice truly matters. There’s an effective tip that includes scanning the first word of each paragraph. As we’ve already mentioned users avoid reading word by word, they prefer scanning the text and focusing on the most important information. For this reason, first words play a crucial role in attracting the reader’s attention.
If you spot that you overuse some words, try to add some diversity. For one thing, it will make your language more sophisticated, and as a result more colorful. For another, the abundance of various words will make your copy more dynamic. Thus, more appealing to the reader.
This is how not only will you enrich your vocabulary, but also boost your chances of using just the right word at the right time.
Proofreading isn’t rocket science, though take it seriously. Don’t rush and take your time checking a copy. There’s nothing bad in spotting some weaknesses in your text. It’s way worse if you publish the final text without correcting the mistakes and polishing your content.
Our final advice will be to learn how to manage your time smart so that proofreading will be part of the whole writing procedure. Follow our tips and tricks that will help you write a better copy. In conclusion, try to get down to check your content in the morning, as this is the time when your mind will be the most concentrated and ready to spot any possible mistakes.
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Rhonda Martinez is a content writer and proofreader at LegitWritingServices.com review site who’s keen on creating and optimizing dynamic, compelling content. She manages a team of freelance proofreaders and oversees fact-checking and style compliance. Rhonda has a strong understanding of marketing, advertising, and organizational psychology.