Ever click onto a blog that looked like it was translated from Swahili into English by a machine? Ever hit that browser “Back” button because the blog entry had nothing to do with the headline you’d clicked? It doesn’t matter how skilled you might be at your freelance profession–whether it’s web design or photography–sloppy blog writing makes potential clients think: If this person is so sloppy with their blog, how sloppy will their work be?

That doesn’t mean a blog needs to be written English Lit class-style. Au contraire! Blogging is a much more conversational form of writing. But if any blog entry is going to effectively promote a business and portray you as a trustworthy professional, it must be readable and understandable. And it must deliver the information promised in the headline.

Also See: Email Etiquette Tips For Freelancers

Here’s how to edit a blog entry so it’s clean, clear, and convinces prospects that your freelance work is worth the investment:

1. Let it go.

Let it go… [apologies for the earworm] The most effective editing happens after you take your eyes off the content for a bit. Ideally, a blog entry can simmer for a day or two before editing, but if time’s an issue, don’t fret! Take 5 or 10 minutes to walk away from any manner of glowing screen. Take the pooch for a quick walk or start a load of laundry–whatever you need to do to refresh your eyes so they’re better able to catch oopsies.

2. Make it a match.

Check to make sure the entry’s headline matches the main topic, and then make sure the supporting points actually support the headline. For example, if you’re sharing tips to find effective keywords for a new website, cut sentences or paragraphs that tangent off into website color choice or how to build a newsletter mailing list. The reader clicked on that headline because they wanted to learn more about finding the money keywords.

3. Run spell check…

but don’t rely on it to catch grammar errors, faulty word choice, or homonyms (words that sound alike but are spelled differently: bases vs basis). You’ll need to do a read-through to catch those. Not sure about a correct word or usage? There are plenty of good, free grammar websites that will point you in the right direction.

4. Read out loud.

This is guaranteed to make you look like a dork–even your cat might look at you funny–but it just plain works. Reading aloud gives you the chance to listen for all those things that make a blog entry hard to read. You might find out you’ve used the same word or phrase over and over and over and over. Maybe you realize that a paragraph makes zero sense.

5. Check for inconsistencies.

Have you used omega-3 in the first paragraph and Omega 3 mid-sentence later in the blog? It might not look like a biggie, but if you’re freelance nutritionist, that inability to settle on consistent spelling for a basic nutritional term could be the that teeny-tiny tidbit that nudges a prospect to hire a consistent competitor instead of you. Look up the accepted spelling (if there is one) and use it consistently. Make a cheat sheet if you need to for quick future reference.

6. Make the call-to-action.

A call to action doesn’t necessarily need to be a “Hey, buy my awesome book!” It’s anything that encourages your reader to interact with you or other readers of your blog:

  • Action: Try these editing tips with your next blog entry.
  • Question: Do you have editing tips to share?
  • Relevant Links: Learn more by checking out these editing articles…

Off you pop! Try these blog editing tips with your next blog entry to let potential and current clients know you are THE MAN/THE WOMAN/THE LORD OF YOUR PROFESSION.

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