Eight top tips to get you proofreading like a pro
We’ve all been there. You’ve just spent hours writing that perfect piece of copy for your business and have finally published it on your website in all its glory – success! But 10 minutes later you get a text from your friend – “did know there are a few typos in your new blog?”
OH THE SHAME!
But you can easily save yourself from those cringeworthy moments by proofreading your work thoroughly each and every time. "Well, I already do that" I hear you cry! Err, I’m not talking about a quick scan or relying on spellcheck to do the job for you. I mean a PROPER proof – one that ensures you nail the difference between knowing your shit and knowing you’re shit. In short, it's important!
After all, studies have shown that over half of people would avoid doing business with a company who made obvious spelling or grammar mistakes. So, it’s worth checking right?
Even if you are up against a deadline, don’t be tempted to whizz through the proofreading stage – it could mean the difference between you securing that new customer, or losing them to that pesky, good at spelling competitor!
Take a look at my top tips below which will soon have you proofreading like a pro.
Don’t rely on spellcheck
Let me guess. You are one of those people that think the spellcheck on Word is enough to get you by when writing for your business? Well you had better think again, because no matter how many red squiggly lines you manage to get rid of, spellchecks are not 100% reliable. They don’t pick up incorrect words or words that you have used in the wrong context, so you definitely have to proofread even after using spellcheck.
Get a dictionary
I’m not saying buy a big old bulky book to lug around with you (we are in 2019 people), but make sure you refer to an online dictionary frequently when proofreading. Even if you are a spelling pro, using a dictionary can help you use words in the correct context, and will help eliminate errors that spellcheck might not pick up. Make sure you use the same one for consistency!
Read your words aloud
Ok, I get that you might feel a bit weird doing this one but reading your work out loud means you can really get to grips with any mistakes and asses how well the piece flows. If you are reading it out, you might falter over a spelling mistake or stumble over a sentence, allowing you to pick up errors that need correcting or re-writing.
Print out your work
I know, I know… think about the trees! But did you know it’s up to 30% easier to read your words on paper than it is on a screen? Having a physical copy to edit with a pen really helps you to pick up errors that you might otherwise skim over.
If you would rather spare the trees, there are a few other methods you could try. Why not change your copy into a different, bigger font, or use double spacing? This can help you recognise mistakes and grammatical errors on-screen more efficiently.
Use a ruler
But I’m not in primary school? Ok, this one might seem a little juvenile, but using a ruler or a piece of paper to cover up all but one line means you can’t race ahead when proofreading. Wait until you’ve read to the end of each line before you move your ruler down to the next one.
Read it backwards
Huh? How is that going to help me? Well actually, reading your work backwards is quite a good way to spot mistakes in your text!
You don’t have to read the whole page back to front though (that would probably take you hours), so why not try splitting it up in to paragraphs or even sentences to help you spot those niggling mistakes?
Don’t proof when you are tired
You might be tempted to spend your evening going over content you wrote that day, but checking work when you are tired will only mean you might miss some epic blunders. The best time to proofread is when you are feeling the most energised and alert, so perhaps give it a go after your morning coffee!
Get a professional to do it for you
If my tips aren’t quite cutting it and you are still repeatedly publishing content with mistakes, why not hire a freelance copywriter to take a gander over your work? After all, we proofread our own work on the daily so happen to be quite the experts!
Get in touch with me today and let's get your work looking tip-top and reading perfectly!