If I’ve learned one thing from years of writing online content – it’s that proofreading is essential.

Quite honestly, it’s the difference between looking like someone having a stab at writing, and someone who is a fluent, professional writer.

I’m sure you know what I mean.

You’ve no doubt started to read a blog or webpage before quickly discovering a trail of grammar and formatting errors. If you’re like most readers, you’ll find this hugely off-putting. In fact, you’ll probably just click away and search for alternative content.

Of course, it’s not just about grammar and formatting. Your content needs to be emotive, punchy and gripping. (Readers must want to read on!)

To help ensure my content is the best it can be, I’ve made it a habit to always run through a checklist before hitting the publish button.

I want to share this personal checklist with you now.

Proofreading Checklist

  • Is your headline snappy and eye-catching?
  • Are you telling a story?
  • Is your content fresh and unique?
  • Is your content engaging and exciting?
  • Does your story feature a struggling hero who eventually wins the day?
  • Does your intro grab attention?
  • Does your voice shine through?
  • Have you considered adding bullet and number lists?
  • Have you included humour?
  • Do your sentences and paragraphs have one idea only?
  • Are you mostly writing in the active voice?
  • Have you turned generalisations into specifics?
  • Is your writing visual?
  • Have you given real-world examples?
  • Do quotations come before the name of the quoted person?
  • Does each sentence, paragraph, post and title end on a strong word?
  • Does your writing flow?
  • Have you pruned your content to keep it punchy?
  • Is your ending unexpected? Will it surprise readers?
  • Is your beginning hook 25%, your middle build 50%, and your ending payoff 25%?
  • Have you left your reader feeling inspired?
  • Have you checked your content for grammar, flow and punctuation?
  • Have you optimised the images?
  • Have you included tags?
  • Are you ready to promote the content via social media and other channels?

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Naturally, not every item in the checklist will be relevant to your content – but I’m sure most items will be.

So, whether you’re writing fiction or non-fiction, use this checklist to make sure that your content is ready to dazzle your readers.

PS. If you need more information on any of the items in the checklist, please drop me a line and I’ll be happy to help.