Blog writing hacks – quick fixes for common writing errors

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Whether you call them blogs, features or articles, the words on your website say a lot about your brand. Your message might be the most useful your followers will ever read. But if they don’t understand it, they’ll be left confused, not confident. That is where our blog writing hacks come in.

Building trust with potential customers takes time. It isn’t just about your message; it’s about making it easy to consume. And when it comes to written content, that means avoiding some of these common mistakes. They are all easily fixed.

Blog writing hacks – quick fixes for common writing errors…

 Passive voice

Using passive voice is a form or set of forms of a verb in which the subject undergoes the action of the verb. For example, they were painted as opposed to the active version – she painted them. Passive voice is not necessarily wrong, but they can be harder to read.

If you’re still unclear about passive voice, check out this example. The first sentence is written in passive voice. The second has been rearranged and is stronger.

  • John was a wonderful teacher, which was shown by his willingness to share his knowledge.
  • A wonderful teacher, John willingly shared his knowledge.

There are a few grammar tools which can help you identify passive voice sentences. And if you’re website is built using WordPress, this identifies them for you. But you should still re-read your content to make sure it’s readable. It can be tricky to get the hang of writing this way, but your content will improve if you have time to practice!

Strong words

When you proofread, change ‘weak’ or unnecessary words such as very, stuff, just, good, really, things, or got. You don’t need to avoid them altogether, because you’re writing needs to sound like you. But don’t use them frequently. Use more descriptive nouns in their place. Or, remove them – online writing is different to writing a book and sentences need to be kept short anyway. Here are some examples to help…

  1. I really hope – I hope
  2. It’s a really good example – It’s a perfect example
  3. In order to – to
  4. The errors in this writing are purely grammatical in form, but in some cases, an understanding of the readability issues becomes clearer when someone else proofreads for you – The errors in this writing are purely grammatical in form, but in some cases sometimes, an understanding of the readability issues becomes clearer when someone else proofreads for you.

Jargon

Our thoughts on using jargon are lifted straight from the 11 dos and don’ts of good PR.

Communicate clearly and cleanly. If you’ve written any online content, would your best friend understand it? If the answer is no, start again.

Common grammar gripes

Have you ever mixed up you’re and your? Being aware of your mistakes is the first step to correcting them, so you’re already halfway there (wo oh, Living on a Prayer. Sorry, one of the Capella team is a Bon Jovi fan and can’t proofread this part of our blog without singing out loud).

If you frequently make the same mistake, double check for it when you proofread, and find easy ways to remember how to correct it. For words with apostrophes such as ‘you’re’, replace them with the full version i.e. ‘you are’. If your sentence doesn’t make sense, you know you’ve picked the wrong word.

Long reads

Online writing is easier to follow if it’s broken up into subheadings. Making the subheadings descriptive can help your SEO, too (If you’re new to SEO too, this will help… SEO – what’s the big deal?). Paragraph breaks can help the flow of writing, too. And don’t forget to use bullet points as an aid to clearly convey ideas.

Top tips:

  1. ALWAYS ask someone else to proofread your work. If that’s not an option, reading your work out loud is one way of spotting some of the issues we’ve covered. If you trip over words when you’re trying to read aloud, rewrite your sentence – it’s a clear opportunity to improve your readers’ experience.
  2. As your writing improves with time and practice, check over your old content. Reusing an older blog for a new purpose is an ideal time to edit
  3. One of the best ways to improve your writing, other than practice, is to read the work of others. You will need to develop your own style and write for your target audience. But reading a variety of other people’s work will help you to learn. And you might get some inspiration for new content, too.

Finally, remember everyone makes mistakes. It’s one of the things which makes us human, and it’s how we learn. Even the most experienced writers have editors…