The quickest way to lose credibility as a blogger is to have a site riddled with spelling and grammar errors. No one expects a blogger to have all content copy edited prior to posting, but a site full of errors and typos will dissuade possible brand partnerships, reduce your chances of guest blogging elsewhere, and make your readers think you don’t care enough to give them your very best.
Blogging is a relaxed form of journalism where acronyms, slang, and social media-esque writing is acceptable. Your personality should also shine through any writing on your blog. However, a level of care and professionalism can take you to the next level in the blogosphere. I would never claim to be an expert in this subject, but here’s some tips and tricks I use to catch many spelling and grammar errors prior to publishing:
Craft blog posts in Word
I never write a blog post directly in my blogging platform. By crafting the piece in Word (or another word processing application), I not only can see the structure (size and number of paragraphs) clearly, but I have their handy colored lines under text to let me know when I have a spelling or grammar error.
When finished, I paste my text not into the Rich Text or Compose tab, but the HTML tab. I then flip to the Compose tab to adjust formatting and add images.
Use a browser with spellcheck
I encourage all bloggers to view their blogs on a regular basis in different browsers to ensure it looks the way you want it to, but I always compose posts in Firefox because it has a built-in spellcheck. This way, I have a second opportunity to catch any spelling errors. This is also good when you are editing sidebars or widgets on your site.
Subscribe to a grammar newsletter
A great grammar newsletter to start with is Grammar Girl’s Quick and Dirty Tips. Mignon writes in a clear, friendly manner that is easy to understand and provides examples that make sense for bloggers and those who write in a more relaxed manner. You won’t be inundated with emails, and each one can be read quickly over morning coffee or while waiting for your images to load to your Facebook page.
Use an online grammar checker
Don’t have a friend to proof your content prior to publishing? There are virtual proofreaders such as Grammarly that can help catch most grammar errors for you and for free! Bookmark this site, you can thank me later!
Learn grammar and spelling mnemonic devices
I grew up in a family of teachers and learned mnemonic devices at an early age to remember difficult grammar and spelling rules. A few that I still use on a regular basis:
• I before e, except after c, or when sounded as “a”, as in neighbor or weigh
• The U.S. Capitol building has a dome on it, as do the “O”s in each word
• There versus Their: Remember there’s an I when speaking of people (get it, I? Me? I’m a person!). Also think here and there – they go together and are spelled similarly
• Double the c, double the s, and you will always have SUCCESS
• There’s ‘A RAT’ in SEPARATE
• Here versus hear: You HEAR with your EAR
• A princiPAL at a school is your PAL, and a principLE you believe is a rule
• Jane and I versus Jane and Me – Remove Jane from the sentence and it should still make sense. Example: Jane and I went to the store; Lisa went to the store with Jane and me
• It’s versus its – If you can replace the word with it is or it has, use it’s; if you can replace the word with her, use its
Ask a friend!
So many of your fellow bloggers are on Gchat, Twitter, and other forms of Internet communication throughout the day. Don’t be afraid to send a post or paragraph to another for review. The more we assist one another in bettering our blogs, the quicker we can show the world that Washington, D.C. is a fashionable and intelligent city!
What I have written isn’t gospel, and likely contains a couple grammatical errors. However, these tips have helped me improve as a blogger and I hope can also help you get to the next level in your blogging career!
Alison Gary is the author of Wardrobe Oxygen, a DC-based personal style and fashion advice blog.