Even after reading it five times, you know: Your text still has errors. You can’t make out any more at the moment, but as always you are sure that there is still a little twisted letter, an unnecessary comma, or a typo hidden somewhere. The problem: You don’t know how to double-check your article to find the hidden errors. Because: Your head is so deep in your lines that you are meanwhile blind. We, therefore, show you 10 proofreading tips that will let you make your text error-free from start to finish.
- Check your headline
The devil is in the details. A phrase that could hardly be true, especially when it comes to proofreading. Many copywriters make a tiny mistake in their headlines. Especially where readers look at it first and get an impression of whether the article might be of interest to them. A small mistake can then become a stumbling block for the conversion rate. Because: Errors in the header are not exactly evidence of competence and professionalism. Are you looking for a Best Proofreading and Editing Services in 2020, check this?
You usually only encounter minimal inconsistencies in the headline, which are often the result of a hurry. So you forget a short word or a single letter that would give the heading the right meaning. When proofreading, pay attention not only to your body text but also to your choice of words in the headline.
- Check every first word of every paragraph
Repeated words are a real quality killer. They quickly make your text look like that of a first-grader who knows no synonyms. While you can easily identify duplicates in the same, preceding, or following sentence, they are often difficult to spot within an entire paragraph.
The solution: check at least every first word of every paragraph. This way you make sure that you avoid the repetitions of words that readers might notice. And: Varied paragraph beginnings give each paragraph and thus your text a dynamic that lets readers read on.
- Stop after each punctuation mark
The fourth or fifth time proofreading is often just like skimming the text. After all, you know every word, sentence, and paragraph inside out. Details that could contain a mistake can hardly be made out for you. To avoid this, pause for a moment after each punctuation mark and let the content work on you. That means: Stop after every comma, after every semicolon, and after every point and question mark. In addition to the content of the sentence, you can then also double-check whether you have used the correct punctuation mark.
- Google every foreign word
For each correction loop, you should have a Google window open. You then use the search engine to check every word whose spelling or meaning you are not 100 percent sure about.
In addition to foreign words, you should also check people, company names, and product names so that you don’t make a careless mistake. Here, too, the subtleties are often decisive: For example, you can write “Bang & Olufson” instead of the correct “Bang & Olufsen”. Perhaps an unimportant mistake from your point of view, but which can quickly come across as unprofessional and not very thorough to readers.
- Verify dates, facts, and figures
This accuracy also applies to the use of dates, facts, and figures. You can quickly find a twinkle in a date or number that simply gets your content wrong. This can be a statistic, a year, a time, or a number fact that should actually underline your argument. If you accidentally reach the wrong place, the section or even your entire text will be less understandable.
- Watch out for duplicate information
Your text should convince readers. It happens again and again that you duplicate important information. This can be on purpose or by accident. Some writing techniques such as the “ clincher sentence ” even require you to reprocess information that has already been used in order to make it more plausible at the end of a paragraph or text. As a rule, duplication of content is more of an oversight that you can avoid.
So read your text again only with a view to whether you repeat yourself at any point. The less duplication of content you have in your text, the sharper and clearer it appears to the reader – and therefore the more convincing.
- Read your text backward
At first glance, that sounds like a strenuous version of proofreading that costs you a lot of time. While this may be true, this practice is also particularly effective. Because: You lift each sentence out of its context and can thus concentrate better on the respective content and details. You can put your operational blindness off and read your text almost as if you have never seen it before.
You will see: you find this way
- Repetitions of words,
- Typing error,
- semantic ambiguities and
- unnecessarily complicated passages,
that you can adapt, fix, and optimize.
- Check your hyperlinks
Hyperlinks are colored differently in the text, which is why you can quickly overlook them thanks to the “banner blindness”. So go through your text again and ask yourself:
- Are the anchor texts smart and understandable?
- Are you redirecting to the right page?
- Does the link have any useful added value for readers?
If you can answer these questions with a “yes”, you have ensured that your hyperlinks have the high value that your text has overall.
- Leave your text for 24 hours
When you’ve applied all the proofreading techniques, it’s time to refrain. Leave your text for 24 hours and read it again the following day with a fresh mind. This helps you to concentrate on all the details again and to find one or the other mistake.
Of course, this option is only possible if you don’t have any time pressure and don’t necessarily have to press “Publish”. As a rule, however, it is worthwhile to start your text a day earlier in order to have exactly this buffer in the end. You will quickly notice how many new little inconsistencies you can uncover if you haven’t looked at your lines for 24 hours.
- Let someone else read your text
Four eyes see more than two: If you have a reliable proofreader at hand, use this resource. It doesn’t have to be a professional editor. It can also be a friend or colleague who has a feel for the language. He will often understand words and sentences differently than you so that you can gain valuable input here.
For this reason, professional agencies such as contify.de have their own proofreading, which puts the text through its paces after quality management. The six-eyes principle, which consists of a copywriter, project manager, and proofreader, makes it possible to check the content from every angle before it goes to the customer. The eleventh tip is, therefore: Let the professional write your text directly.