Proofreading: A Critical Part Of the Writing Process.

Proofreading Is Essential To The Writing Process

In my professional opinion, proofreading is horribly underrated. It is the most critical parts to content publication, but the majority of publishers do not bother with it. Most internet marketers and bloggers are satisfied with running a simply spell check on their blog, while the “top dawg” companies are hiring someone with a M.A. degree to just do their proofreading.

Why Is Proofreading Important?

You don’t need me to tell you why proofreading is important. Imagine that you are buying soap, and that you had to choose between two brands. Both the brands offered a quality product, and had very attractive advertisements. However, one of the brands had soap spelled as “soop”. Which product do you think you are going to buy? Furthermore, imagine how every time you see an advertisement for that brand of soap, all you are going to think about is “soop”.

As far as online reputation management is concerned, proofreading is important to make sure that customers do not associate your brand with typos. You will not only customers this way, but worse, you will lose customers to your competitors. All because of a typo!

Personal Experience: I have mentioned numerous times before that establishing your freelance writing business is not the easiest thing to do. The ideal client is going to be very critical because the market is saturated with writers who would be willing to work at the same rates as me. So when I am applying for a job, and there is a grammatical mistake in my email, or a spelling mistake in my copy, what impression do you think I’m making?

The kind of impression that cost me gigs.

About a year ago, when I first launched, I started actively targeting job boards and applying for creative writing positions. Needless to say, for each job post, there were about a hundred applicants and you had to sell a very good game to even get noticed. However, I got a reply from a social media company who were looking for an in house copy writer. I was completely caught off guard because I never imagined that I would be considered for a company position. My initial application was what had caught their attention because it was funny, informative and impressive. My sole mistake was linking to my website, whose content I had not proofread at the time. I wanted to seem like an authority figure who had a website, but I got kicked in the **** because of the typos and grammatical mistakes that riddled my copy.

It made me look like a complete amateur. I realized that calling yourself a professional writer was not about having just experience and a somewhat impressive portfolio. It was about learning from your mistakes and sticking with the learning curve. That is not always easy to do, but the commitment to improve your skills yields a lot of benefits in the long run.

The Proofreading Process: As I am writing this post, I am making mistakes. I can see the WYSIWYG highlighting certain words indicating a typo or a grammatical mistake. I am not paying any attention to that at the moment. Right now, I am focusing on simply writing the article. Proofreading is a completely separate process and it requires my undivided attention. Once I am one writing the post, I am going to wait at least 2 hours before proofreading it. I go for a jog, Facebook, check my email… whatever I need to do to take my mind off what I just wrote. When I sit down to proofread, these are some of the techniques that I use:

• Using text to speech software: I realize that most writers are not tech savvy, but using this software does not take much expertise. Windows users can use“FreeNaturalReader” and Linux users can use “Festival”. Both are free and can be downloaded from the links provided. Your ears are much more adept at catching mistakes in your writing than your eyes. The robotic voice is not exactly flattering, but it helps me to catch the mistakes my eyes would have otherwise ignored.

• Reading backwards: Reading your sentences backwards can be an extremely effective means of weeding out homonyms like where and were. These mistakes are treacherous and can be potentially embarrassing but can also be easily avoided. After writing an article, our brains are wired to read what we thought we wrote and not what we actually wrote. Reading sentences backwards forces my brain to focus and thereby enables me to spot mistakes that managed to slip through the spell checker in the text editor.

• Printing the text: This may not be very popular amongst eco-friendly writers but it helps me to proofread. I take the printouts and spread them across a table. This enables me to see my writing in a different perspective, and thus I can correct it efficiently. You could also try transferring the files to your tablet and reading it there. The main objective is to read what you wrote some place other than your computer screen.

However, from my experience the most important part of proofreading is never doing it right after writing. Like mentioned before, our brains are under strain while we are writing and therefore it cannot function properly afterwards, especially if we write at a stretch. Take a break in between and do something that does not involve staring at your computer screen. Give a couple of push ups or drink some tea.

Proofreading is meticulous, and it takes patience. You have to understand the importance of making your content absolutely flawless. Customers are critics, and when it comes to making a decision, they are going to look for reasons to not do business with you. So it is very important that we do not give them reasons to turn down our offer, product or service. Proofreading a 1000 word post takes about 2 hours.

Hope you found this article useful.  If you feel like sharing, you know what to do!

Using SEO For Internet Marketing

Search engine optimization is a very popular technique used by modern internet marketers to achieve their various marketing goals. SEO is a bit more technical than the traditional methods of marketing but it is fairly easy to implement.  While many people are confused as to how exactly to define SEO, I prefer to define it as a set of practices that will make it easier for search engines to evaluate the quality of your website.

Another reason that SEO is so popular is because it well documented and it can easily be outsourced.  Articles and various other search engine optimization tasks are some of the most highly outsourced jobs. While it does not take much skill or knowledge to write SEO articles, there are certain instances where it is desirable to make sure that your articles are of a certain quality.

Quality and originality are two things that are fast fading from the world of internet marketing. In an attempt to get the most out of their SEO practices, marketers often engage in unethical practices. When trying to build an online reputation with SEO, we should always try to implement practices that are both favored by search engines and are of some value to your internet users. Especially considering the latest Google Panda Update and how tough online competition really is, using underhanded SEO techniques could very well result in your website being blacklisted by search engines.   With that being said, it is pretty much imperative for the success of your SEO campaign to use white hat SEO techniques that will realize your short-term goals of increasing your search engine ranking position (SERP) and also ultimately result in more business for your company.  Some of the most popular SEO techniques are:

  • Keyword optimization:  Finding the right keyword for your business is the cornerstone of every SEO campaign.  Search engines will evaluate the quality of your website by taking your keyword and comparing how competitive your website is considering other sites with the same keyword. This is why it is essential to make your keyword as unique as possible as this automatically narrows your competition. Including your keyword in certain tags of your website also helps search engines understand your content and if they can categorize your site better, they are more likely to send more traffic to your site.
  • Content:  Content can be defined as the audio, video and template of your site and the reason why content is so important is because it lets you achieve a lot of goals. Using content you can inform potential customers about your product or service while at the same time making your website user-friendly. Moreover, with the uprising of social media, content literally lets you market your website on auto-pilot. If you can offer something of value to your target customers then chances are that they will share it with their peers.

Search engines always want to provide users with a quality browsing experience and as long as you do that, search engines will hold your site in very high regard. Therefore whenever you come cross a new SEO technique or a new software, you should always ask yourself “Does this improve the quality of my website?”  Building organic traffic may take some time but as long as you properly utilize your resources, the results will be apparent soon enough.