How to proofread content: Tips and checklist

By Niyat Ghebremichael

You have spent a lot of time writing an article or a document, and finally, it is ready for the world to see. But wait, an important step is missing before you can publish the content; proofreading. Find our tips and checklist for effective proofreading below.

What is proofreading?

Proofreading is the process of reviewing and editing a text before it is published online and shared with your audience. It is the final stage of revising a text for any grammatical or formatting errors. In addition, it is essential to check tone, logical flow, style, images, as well as any SEO aspects to make the copy shine brighter.

Below I have summarised some tips that I rely on when editing and proofreading a copy.

Proofreading and editing tips 

Use a spelling and grammar check tool

Online grammar checking tools have made correcting errors very convenient for writers in the last few years. When you start writing, do it in a text editor with a proper spell check tool such as Grammarly or Hemingway. Obvious spelling mistakes come to your attention, and you can correct them directly. Grammarly not only checks spelling and grammatical errors, but it also provides synonym suggestions to make your writing more readable. 

However, you should not rely exclusively on a text tool. Incorrect spelling can result in another word that is evaluated as correct by the online checker. Polish your sentences at this point and make them smooth and clear. Look out for very long sentences, since they may have less clarity than shorter, more direct sentences. Proofread the text carefully afterwards. But before that, give yourself some time.

Take a break between writing and proofreading

Try to avoid proofreading a text you have just typed. You could be blind to your mistakes because your mind could be clouded right after writing, and you only see what you wanted to write - and not what you actually wrote.
Do something else for a little while, come back and then read and edit it again. If you leave some time between writing and proofreading, you’ll be better at spotting mistakes your brain skipped over the first time through.

But don’t edit forever. The perfectionists among us don’t want to submit copy until it is perfect. Do a good job, but you need to know when to turn it over to someone else.

Ask someone else to read your work

Before publishing, let a colleague’s fresh pair of eyes proofread your text and ask for advice. This will give you a different perspective and point out errors that you did not notice on your first reading.

Concentrate on only one thing at a time

If you or a colleague are checking grammar and spelling while doing other things like formatting, or image editing, you’ll easily miss something, and it will take longer to finish. Instead of doing it all at once, do it all in sequence.

Use a proofreading checklist

Whether you’re editing your own article or someone else’s, this proofreading checklist will help you proofread articles in terms of content, grammar, spelling, text structure, and SEO.

Editing and proofreading checklist

You can also read this article in Swedish on Onlineguiden.

Niyat Ghebremichael
Niyat has been a content manager at Zooma since 2019. She loves to create content​ and helps to bring campaigns and ideas to life.
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