Last Updated on: February 22nd, 2017
Self-editing is a great option if you’re a blogger but can’t afford to hire an editor.
Editors aren’t cheap! Sure, they can improve your writing, and even teach you a few things about sentence structure and grammar. They can even boost your writing so that your post ranks higher.
However, you might not have the money to spend on an editor, especially if you are a new blogger.
But that’s no excuse for not editing your writing!
So what you should you do?
Self-edit! That’s what!
My guest today will show you 5 self-editing hacks you can use to boost your blog writing.
You can also download my bonus checklist of 17 Editing Tips for Writers!
Blogging = A LOT of Writing and Editing
If you’re a blogger, you know that blogging involves a lot of writing.
But, have you ever wondered why the pro bloggers are pro bloggers?
It’s because they send powerful messages and have had someone edit their work!
The most successful bloggers hire an editor to cut through redundancy and grammatical errors, who can polish every single piece of writing before they publish.
However, not everyone can afford to hire an editor, and that’s why you should learn the most important self-editing secrets. It is possible put more power into your words without hiring someone to help you!
Self-editing goes far beyond the reach of proofreading.
Some hacks breathe new life into your writing, some improve clarity, while others make your writing seem more interesting.
Hack #1: Maintain Your Tense
It’s easy, when letting words flow onto a screen, to mix the tense in your wording. So, the first step, when editing for tense, is to be clear about when you’re coming from.
Are you in the past, present, or future in relation to your audience?
One statement can be said many different ways, with a few minor word-tense changes. Typically, you want yours to stay the same.
Past tense: “I wrote a blog post.”
Present tense: “I write a blog post.”
Future tense: “I will write a blog post.”
As you go through your work, looking for errors, make sure that you align the tense to flow from the same time reference throughout the entire post (unless, of course, your intention is to write a flashback or flash-forward).
Hack #2: Take Out Every Unnecessary Phrase
When you write a 3000-word short story, it should come to roughly 2500 words after editing. You will say goodbye to ⅙ of the original words used.
The same goes for blogging – if you need to submit a 1000-word post, the first draft should be at least 1100 words.
Amanda Patterson provides a list of 13 phrases to watch out for while editing, and what to replace them with.
What to search for VS. what to replace it with:
- “According to our data” VS. “We find”
- “Take into consideration” VS. “Consider”
- “Regardless of” / “Despite the fact that” VS. “Although”
- “Based on” / “Due to” / “In view of the fact that” VS. “Because”
- “It is often the case that” VS. “Often”
- “A majority of” VS. “Most”
- “Take into consideration” VS. “Consider”
- “A study was carried out to examine” VS. “We examined”
- “In most cases” VS. “Typically”
- “In a situation” / “Under circumstances” VS. “When”
- “Is able to” / “Is possible that” VS. “Can”
- “In an effort” / “In order to” VS. “To”
- “In the event that” VS. “If”
Hack #3: Check Your Commas
Question: How many commas should you include in list statements?
Answer: Use one comma between each item you list.
Some people will tell you to use a comma before the conjunction, some will say you don’t need to, and the people who tell you to use it are right.
I remember arguing about this with a tutor, in high school, when I was out of school on medical leave. I will never forget how frustrated I became with my education when she insisted that I remove a comma where I didn’t need to.
My response was to stop the assignment, request that she take her grievance to my English teacher, and ask that we reconvene when she had an answer from an expert. She returned with a hung head and her tail between her legs.
When writing a list statement, you must use a comma after the word preceding the conjunction.
Correct use of commas: She only eats apples, oranges, and bananas.
Incorrect use of commas: She only eats apples, oranges and bananas.
(Do not argue that this is correct. It is often used, but Lorraine Reguly, the owner of this site who is also a freelance editor and a certified English teacher, will even tell you that she does not write like this!)
Each time you finish a piece of writing, go through and check your lists to make sure you’re using commas properly.
Hack #4: Cut Out the Flab
It’s easy to overuse words when writing, so pay close attention. For example, if you’ve used a descriptive word in more than one sentence in a paragraph, edit out consecutive uses. Replace repeat words with synonyms, or cut them out completely.
Additionally, several “weak words” in the English language are used too much by everyone. You should avoid some, and others should be used sparingly.
Words to Avoid:
Words to Use Sparingly:
- Have Got
- Used To
The only purpose that peppering your writing with weak words serves is to add excess weight. They create “flab,” and should be replaced whenever another word will suffice.
Hack #5: Fine-Tune Your Call-to-Action (CTA)
When writing for a blog, you should be ending each post with a clear call to action (CTA). The final editing hack is to check that the call to action used is relevant to the post itself.
You want readers to take a specific action, as a result of reading your post. So, let them know what to do, and make it easy for them to do it.
Here are some examples of possible scenarios and their CTAs:
1: When writing on your own blog, you may want readers to subscribe to your newsletter. If so, include a subscription form that is visible from the post page, and direct readers to it.
2: If you want readers to continue moving through your site, include a link to another relevant piece of content.
3: When writing a guest post, you might want to ask readers to take action pertaining the advice you’ve just given them.
Effective CTAs don’t just say “click here.” They are descriptive and urgent, yet simple.
Writtent shares 15 examples of CTAs that convert, explaining that there are a lot of different directions to send readers upon completion of a blog post. The point is that you need to say something, and it should be in alignment with the rest of your post.
When self-editing a blog post, the first thing to check is your tense. Next, remove and replace unnecessary phrases. Then, check your commas. After that, cut out the flab by taking out overused words. Finally, make sure your post has a clickable call to action that makes them want to take the next best step. Next time you write a post, integrate this advice and increase the power of your words.
You can use these 10 Awesome Editing Tips + 10 Best Editing Tools for #Writers and #Bloggers to help you, too.
Don’t forget to download this in-depth bonus checklist of 17 Editing Tips for Writers!
Have Your Say! (MY CTA)
What do you have problems with when self-editing?
Will these self-editing hacks help you?
What else can do you to edit your blog posts?
Share your thoughts in the comments, and share this post on social media!
And if you really need an editor (or a writer), then hire Lorraine. 😉
She’ll be happy to help you!
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Janice Kersh is a writer and editor at EssayWriter.Pro. She strives to improve the performance of her content with each and every post.