In The Next 15 Minutes I Will Show You How To Make Your Blog More Professional


Note: This post is a little long, but if you give me 15 minutes of your attention, I guarantee I can make your online appearance more professional.

My name is Eric and I’m an editor.

I’ve been a freelancer for many years working with various companies, marketplaces, students, professionals, journalists, entrepreneurs, copywriters, travel portals, bloggers, musicians, and all other facets of writers.

If you’ve submitted a post here at ShoutMeLoud, you may have had an encounter with me. Some of those encounters may have been favorable, and others, well, maybe not so much.

First, let me start off by answering this question:

  • What is an editor?

Editors are essentially grammar nerds.

We seek to make sure that everything the writer is saying is said in the most attractive way possible.

But not everyone has a favorable opinion of editors.

Here’s why:

  • They nit-pick.
  • They change words and phrases that you think didn’t need to be changed.
  • They’re often at odds with your artistic vision.

But there’s one thing you need to remember:

  • Editors are writers, too.

I am a writer. Honestly, I’m much more of a writer than an editor. I’m only an “editor” because I’ve had my fair share of terrible encounters with editors and I know that I can do it better.

(I’m also a grammar nerd.)

So as a writer, I know that my focus is on providing an artistic statement. My writing is my art.

In comes an editor…

Blog editor
  • Save
Don’t touch my art, bro.

Instead of looking at the artistic value of the work, editors are more concerned with the professional aesthetic.

In theory, writers and editors should be able to work in perfect harmony; each one supports and enhances the other’s vision.

But because editors are also writers, they have their own artistic vision. This is where the tension comes in.

A good editor is able to release their own artistic bend and focus solely on highlighting the artistic beauty of the writer.

As an editor, that’s my aspiration.

Here at ShoutMeLoud

After editing over 100 posts (and counting) at ShoutMeLoud, I’ve had the pleasure of reading some beautiful pieces of writing, and some, eh, less than beautiful pieces.

As I continue my stride here at SML, I’m very humbled by the value of this community. We are all imperfect humans working towards some vision of “success”.

In business, “success” comes disguised under the veil of “professionalism”.

Yet, most entrepreneurs are less focused on being “professional” and more focused on doing the thing they feel compelled to do.

This is noble, but it’s also likely damaging your “professional success”. Paying attention to the “professional” aspects of business, while often tedious, is something which you need to do.

  • You need to do it every moment of every day.

So how do you become more “professional”?

Glad you asked!

Over the years, I’ve identified three easy things which everyone can do to make themselves appear more “professional” when pursuing an online career (whether or not you actually are “professional” is completely irrelevant).

#1 Pay Attention To Grammar

Professional Blogging
  • Save
Graminivorous? Good thing we have this dictionary…

Now, it should be mentioned, I am 100% fully aware that this is a primarily non-native English speaking blog.

A majority of the contributors here are non-native English speakers, and that’s totally cool. I can’t even begin to tell you all how amazing I think multi-linguality is.

At the same time, many, many, MANY, native English speakers have terrible grammar.

  • So this point is not to single out non-native speakers.

I remember being in college and having to peer-review a scientific research paper from a classmate. I actually thought that person was mentally handicapped before I realized they just didn’t know how to write.

Not being able to write fluently is not a reflection on your personal character, but it does come across as suuuuuper unprofessional.

As a native English speaker, if I come across a blog with bad English (even slight hints of bad English), regardless of how valuable the information may be, I will hit that “back” button and will find a blog to read with better English.

But because I’m an editor (and a writer), I know what’s happening.

Most online users don’t know what’s happening. They don’t process bad grammar consciously. They know that “something is off” and they will leave.

In essence, you won’t be able to establish your authority because your user will not trust you.

To put it in blogging terms:

  • The user stumbles across your site but can’t navigate to the information they want because the grammar is a broken link giving them a 404 error causing them to leave which increases your bounce rate.

There have been countless (I. Mean. Countless.) articles online about:

“The (insert number) most common English grammar mistakes”.

If you’re looking to improve your English grammar, you should check them out.

This post is not that, but just to beat a dead horse, let’s do a brief overview.

Here are 5 common grammar mistakes:

1- It’s vs. its

  • “It’s” means “it is”. It’s a hot day.
  • “Its” implies possession. The summer has its hot days.

2- There vs. they’re vs. their

  • “There” implies location. It’s over there.
  • “They’re” means “they are”. They’re running a marathon.
  • “Their” implies possession. Their car is overheating.

3- Semicolons

People love semicolons. I don’t blame them.

Semicolons are awesome. But only when used correctly. Otherwise, they look terrible and I cry. Please don’t make me cry…

This is the simplest way (perhaps a bit too simplistically) to explain semicolons:

  • Semicolons are a way to join two separate, but related, sentences without starting a new sentence.


  • I’ve heard that girls like guys who know how to use semicolons; how am I doing?

In general, semicolons are not necessary. Very rarely will I as an editor say, “A semicolon would be nice here”.

If you don’t fully grasp the subtleties and complexities of semicolons, it’s better to not use one.

4- Run on sentences and commas

I will now demonstrate a run on sentence with improper comma usage:

People like to think that using commas somewhere in between a block of text, at seemingly random points will help turn that long block of text into a much more digestible and easily readable segment of language, but will only make it challenging for the reader to read, and make it hard for anyone reading this to actually understand, what it is you’re talking about, and even though your intention is good, I’m here to tell you, it’s not easy to read, which you can probably see for yourself.

Run on sentence
  • Save
Ok, wait, just, need, breath…

Don’t do this. It looks bad. It looks really bad.

There are times when run on sentences are necessary, but 99% of the time, they are not.

  • If you can say the sentence in one breath, it’s a good sentence.
  • If you need multiple breaths, chances are it’s needlessly running on.

Also, commas are not breath marks.

If you play music, you may know that breath marks are noted by an apostrophe (‘).

This is not how commas function in writing. While commas may imply natural pauses in speech, they are much more nuanced and subtle than that.

While I’d love to say “(this) is the most common mistake with commas”, I can’t.

  • Some people overuse commas.
  • Some people never use commas.
  • Some people just don’t care about where they put commas.

All three of these scenarios are wrong.

I could talk for days on the proper use of commas, but for now, I’ll give you this resource to read.

That said, there are certain ambiguities with commas.

Especially in informal writing (i.e. blog writing), overusing commas is not only commonplace, it’s occasionally good for copywriting (to an extent).

But in order to understand this, you need to understand what a comma is and how to properly use it.

Also, there’s no real consensus regarding certain comma rules.

For example:

  • This, this, and this.
  • This, this and this.

Both are technically correct.

It’s not important which one you use, but it’s very important to stay consistent (see point #2 below).

5- Capitalization

Capitalization is a bit like a semicolon; it seems like no one knows how to do it properly.

Three times to capitalize:

  1. At the beginning of a sentence.
  2. The word “I”.
  3. Proper nouns.

Note: There are some British/American differences, but let’s ignore that for now (see #2 below). Also, headings and titles should be capitalized. It’s up to you how you want to do it, but stay consistent (…see #2 below).

Tell me what should be capitalized in the following sentence:

  • I am sitting Down now at the Café doing My work writing about How to write Copy correctly.

Only the word “I”.

That’s it. Nothing else.

Three things to remember:

  1. If it’s not starting a sentence, don’t capitalize it.
  2. If it’s not the word “I” as in “I am doing something”, don’t capitalize it.
  3. If the word is not a specific name of something, don’t capitalize it.
    • John vs. him
    • Gateway Mall vs. the mall
    • India vs. country
    • The New York Stock Exchange vs. the stock market

Likewise, do capitalize proper nouns, the word “I”, and words at the immediate front of a sentence.

It’s not negotiable. Those three things need to be capitalized.

(Yes, there are some ambiguities as to what is a proper noun, but in these rare cases, see point #2 below.)

  • Please note: There are two schools of English (American and British) and several different styles (scientific, business, blog, etc.). Identify your audience and write for them. Example: SML uses American English, but I have a personal hatred against certain American grammar rules (like punctuation marks inside quotation marks), so I ignore them and edit accordingly. And this is a blog which means the style is “informal”, so I am allowed to start a sentence with “And”.

Again, I recognize that this is a non-native English blog, but if you’re blogging in English, you need to be able to write fluently. If you can’t do that, you won’t be able to get your point across. It’s as simple as that. This is crucial.

It’s like if I wanted to be a surgeon, but I stopped going to medical school after a year and just watched some other surgeons performing surgery for a couple of years.

Then I was like, “Yeah, I’m totally ready”.

I would (at best) not be a very good surgeon.

Being a Professional
  • Save
Nurse, hand me the… uhh.. knife thingy…

What you can do-

If you don’t feel comfortable writing in English, there are 4 things you can do:

  1. Hire a writer (with excellent grammar).
  2. Hire an editor (with even better grammar).
  3. Study English (online, meetup groups, university courses, private tutor, etc.).
  4. Use an all-inclusive grammar tool (like Grammarly, Ginger, Grammarcheck, etc.).
    • Keep in mind that these tools are computer algorithms and only scan for “what’s supposed to be right”. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen that red squiggly line underneath a sentence in Microsoft Word only to realize that Word was not understanding the sentence/context/syntax as well as I was understanding it.

If you’re ever in doubt about a grammar rule, you can always ask Google.

Google knows all.

#2 Stay Consistent

This point is less concerned about your mastery of language and has more to do with what it says about you as a professional.

  • Consistency is key.

That is pretty much my mantra in life. Everything revolves around that statement.

Without getting into heady philosophical topics, if you can be consistent, you can be successful.

That last statement is so important, I will say it again with a tweetable link:

[Tweet “If you can be consistent, you can be successful.”]

Consistency is how the outside world knows you’re serious and determined about what you want and what you do.

Examples of how to be consistent when writing copy:


Point: If you are writing a list and you started by numbering your list, don’t switch to bullets halfway through.


“3 Ways to Do Something”

#1 This way

  • 2- This way
  1. This way


#1 This way

#2 This way

#3 This way


  1. This way
  2. This way
  3. This way


  • 1- This way
  • 2- This way
  • 3- This way

It does not matter which you choose. What matters is consistency.

Point: If you’re writing a listicle with outbound links, don’t make the first link a bullet and then wrap the next link in brackets.  (Side tip: If the product is called YouTube, don’t write Youtube.)


  • Download YouTube here

<Download Snapchat>


  • Download YouTube here
  • Download Snapchat here


<Download YouTube>

<Download Snapchat>

It does not matter which you choose. What matters is consistency.

-The Oxford/series comma

Again, we’re back at the mysterious comma.

Point: Decide if you want to use the Oxford comma. (Note: I use it. Why? Because I just chose one way of doing it and have stayed consistent.)


This, this, and this. (Later in the article…) This, this and this.


This, this, and this. (Later in the article…) This, this, and this.


This, this and this. (Later in the article…) This, this and this.

It does not matter which you choose. What matters is consistency.


Point: As mentioned earlier, sometimes capitalization can be ambiguous when dealing with certain proper nouns and headings/titles. Again, just stick with one style and don’t ever change.


I use the internet every day. The Internet is great.


I use the internet every day. The internet is great.


I use the Internet every day. The Internet is great.

It does not matter which you choose. What matters is consistency.


Point: If you’re using British spelling, don’t switch to American spelling midway through the next paragraph.


  • She modelled to the organisation the color of her dress.


  • She modeled to the organization the color of her dress.


  • She modelled to the organisation the colour of her dress.

It does not matter which you choose. What matters is consistency.

Specifically with this point, I’ve heard the argument that you’re “appealing to both markets”. That’s seriously dumb.

You’re not appealing to both markets. You’re coming across as not knowing what you’re doing. It says, “I’m wishy-washy and don’t know how to commit”.

If I stumble across a blog with British spelling, I don’t leave. Rather, I start reading that copy in a British accent. I assume British people start reading in an American accent when they read my blog.

It doesn’t bother an English speaker to read something generic (i.e. not location specific) in the other English standard as long as the English is intelligible (see point #1 above).

Pick one English standard and stick with it. Make your entire blog fall under that category.

English language
  • Save
Thanks, bro… Cheers, mate…

-Back to grammar

Point: If you start writing in present tense, don’t shift to past tense and then back to present tense.


  • I’m walking down the street and I noticed that it was a hot day today.


  • I was walking down the street and I noticed that it was a hot day today.


  • I’m walking down the street and I’m noticing that it’s a hot day today.

It does not matter which you choose. What matters is consistency.

Point: Write your copy using first, second, or third person, and don’t change it at any point during the text.


  • A blogger can follow these instructions and you will benefit from them.


  • A blogger can follow these instructions and he/she/they will benefit from them.


  • You can follow these instructions and you will benefit from them.

It does not matter which you choose. What matters is consistency.

I think you get the point.

Consistency is very, very, very important.

Even if you’re using an element incorrectly, if you use it consistently, at the very least, it’ll make it look like you tried.

ShoutMeLoud story

When I first came to SML, our dear friend Harsh had me edit several pieces where he was improperly using a word which had an almost opposite meaning to the word he wanted to use.

At first, I thought it was a typo. But nope, he was mistaking the word entirely. But damned if he didn’t use it convincingly!

But this is not to single out Harsh. His English is better than many Americans I know.

It’s the fact that he blazingly went into an unknown territory and dared to take risks even though he may not have been 100% comfortable.

The word itself was unimportant. The way he used the word with consistency said more about his character than anything specific to his language skills.

It said:

  • “Rules be damned! I’m a guy who is bold, daring, and pushing my own boundaries to achieve the things I want in life”!

That’s a hallmark of professionalism. (Also, after I told him the word was different, his ego did not get hurt. Instead, he thanked me for correcting him. That is also a hallmark of professionalism.)

professional growth
  • Save
The tree can’t grow without the seed.

#3 Proofread

This. Is. So. Important.

And yet, very few people do it.

I’m a writer. I hate proofreading.

Many of my friends are writers. They also hate proofreading.

My unsuccessful writer friends don’t proofread. They say, “It’s perfect the first time I write it”. That’s why they’re unemployed.

My successful writer friends do proofread. They say, “Gotta make sure it’s perfect”. That’s why they’re employed.

Proofreading can be an emotional nightmare.

You’ve just spilled out your thoughts onto a computer and are about to show the entire world your opinions/knowledge/vulnerabilities. You just kind of want to get it over with and hope for the best.

But this approach is beyond dumb.


Because if you proofread, you are GUARANTEED to find mistakes.


In every piece of writing I’ve ever edited in my professional life, there have been at least 5 grammar/spelling mistakes. At least.

And it doesn’t just stop at grammar.

  • If something sounds bad and awkward, you need to get rid of it.
  • If you haven’t explained something fully, it’s not good, and you need to go back and explain it.
  • If there’s a misused word, don’t assume the audience will “know what you meant”. You need to fix that.

The last point is particularly troubling. If I see a misused word, I know you didn’t bother to proofread.

Examples of misused words (all taken from guest posts here at SML):

  • “This is the way to master special media”… Uhh, you mean “social media”?
  • “Follow these steps and you’ll be a tip writer”… Uhh, you mean “top writer”?
  • “Check out this new apple”… Uhh, you mean “new app”?

…and there are so many more…

Autocorrect is a likely culprit of these typos, but autocorrect is not an excuse. If you had proofread your work, this kind of error would never have been published.

Another way I will know you didn’t bother to proofread:

  • Duplicate content!

I don’t know how or why (I think it may be something with WordPress’s dashboard), but there’s sooooo much duplicate copy littered across really unprofessional websites.

I remember editing a published (!!!) blog post that had the same paragraph written 5 times. 5 times!!

This is what that looks like:

I am writing this paragraph to demonstrate what not to do. Not because it’s an example 

I am writing this paragraph to demonstrate what not to do. Not because it’s an example of what you should do, but because you should never do it. If

I am writing this paragraph to demonstrate what not to do. Not because it’s an example of what you should do, but because you should never do it. If

I am writing this paragraph to demonstrate what not to do. Not because it’s an example of what you should do, but because you should

I am writing this paragraph to demonstrate what not to do. Not because it’s an example of what you should do, but because you should never do it. If you proofread your work, this will never happen.

Ask yourself, does this look professional?

  • If you can’t be bothered to proofread your copy, how can I be bothered to trust you with my money?
  • Save
I didn’t check my CC information before I gave it to you, but it’s probably OK…

Here’s the gist:

You. Need. To. Proofread.

At least twice. At least.

I like to say:

  • If you’ve read through it and you’ve found an error, you need to do at least one more read through.

Only publish (or submit) when you’ve read through it and it’s spotless.

I’ve read this piece through 9 times. Only on the 9th time was it “acceptable”.

If you aren’t proofreading, you are DEFINITELY coming across as unprofessional. Guaranteed.

When I edit, I make sure to do at least two rough reads, and then at least one final “front-end” read through.

TIP: It is so important to do a “front-end” read through. You will, guaranteed, see mistakes that you can’t see in the back-end. Sometimes there’s an extra space in between words. Sometimes if you bold or italicize a word before a punctuation mark, that punctuation mark gets lost (this happens with SML).

Yes, you need to read through your copy, but you also need to make sure that your copy is displayed and formatted properly. 

Imagine if you came across a website and the text was overlapping, or the font color was hiding certain words. You’d probably see this as mega unprofessional because all it would’ve needed was for the webmaster to do a front-end check to see that there are some serious problems.

Check everything from every angle. Always.

[Tweet “If it’s not spotless, it’s not ready.”]

Building Professionalism

I don’t want you to be discouraged by any of this.

As an editor, my goal is to make you better. If you feel none of this applies to you, please disregard it.

But if you’re not seeing the kinds of conversions you want, or you know there’s something that’s “off-putting” about your business, there’s a high probability that you’re coming across as “unprofessional”.

In my observation, around 80% of obvious “unprofessionalism” on the internet is due to the above three points.

I’m merely giving a critique because critique is a such an important part of any artistic/entrepreneurial endeavor.

  • No great artist has ever gone from 0 to famous without being critiqued to the point of utter oblivion.
  • No entrepreneur has ever had an idea and executed it to perfection without the useful critique of a mentor.
  • Every book ever written has gone through a series of edits by a team of editors.

This is the process.

Learn from your mistakes and you will not only be more successful, but you’ll be way ahead of the competition that’s afraid to learn anything new.

Professional business
  • Save
This guy knows what’s up.

As an artist myself, I’ve had to learn the hard way how to take constructive criticism. If I let it hurt my ego, I won’t advance and my art will suffer. If I look at things objectively, I can clearly see the best course of action.

If “advancement” is my goal, challenging my own ego is usually the road to take.

Ok, yes, this was a long-winded post, but it’s important.


Because of three things:

  1. Your artistic endeavors (blogging/business/writing/etc.) are important.
  2. The critique you need to hear in order to grow is important.
  3. The self-reflection you need to display in order to learn from your mistakes is important.

If you fully understand these three steps, professionalism will ensue.

I guarantee it.

How do you feel about this? Which one of these three points do you struggle with the most? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.

Did you find this guide useful? Share it with your friends on Facebook, Twitter, and Whatsapp!

Was this helpful?

Thanks for your feedback!
  • Save
Authored By
Eric Michelson is a man of many hats. Not literally. He seldom wears hats. He is a traveler, writer, artist, and thinker. He is the founder of Perspective Earth - a meeting space for great minds to discuss the most important issues of the day. You can follow him and his work on Facebook and Twitter.

110 thoughts on “In The Next 15 Minutes I Will Show You How To Make Your Blog More Professional”

  1. Stefanie

    Great article and clearly you want to help others succeed so thank you for that. I blog and it’s funny because I absolutely LOVE proofreading. I’m addicted. After I think I’m done with a post (even after Grammarly has done its magic) I read it out loud to my husband. English is not his first language but it helps me catch my own errors. English is my first language and still- I catch errors every single time just by reading it to him. It’s my final way to proofread after I’ve read through it multiple times. Another thing I do is let the post sit for a day before I go back to it and proofread again- something about letting your eyes and brain take a break from it helps you look at it with a fresh take.

  2. Alan Brute

    Thanks Eric.
    It was really very thoroughly written post and really proofreading is much liked by many writers.

  3. Puneet

    I have difficulties with the second point “Staying Consistent”.
    I need to work on that.

  4. srinik

    Unlike regular English grammar tutorials, this is a damn great post on SML. Any suggestions on Grammar tools would be appreciated. Looking for a viable alternative to Grammarly.

    1. Harsh Agrawal

      Hey Srinik,

      You can try prowritingaid

  5. Hardik Save

    Thank a lot sir.
    Looks like i need to work really hard. (Self Reflection)
    I’ll surely improve myself. Thanks again.

  6. Subahu Jain

    Wonderful article, this must be taken care, if yiu are a sincere and professional blogger.

    I loved every detail you discussed here, i am using grammarly, for my writings and read at least 5 times before posting anything.

    Thanks for tis insightful great article.

    1. Subahu Jain

      I typed yiu, in place of you (correction) I did it in hurry 😀 but I always correct my mistakes, whenever I found them.

      Even after posting my articles, I review them later and if find something to be better than written already, I modify and replace it with a better version of it.

      Writing is an art and you must evolve and improve as you grow in it, your expressions get more precise, up to the mark, meaningful and according to your subject and audience.

      we must learn as much as we can about proper use of language and its rrules we are writing in.

      1. Eric

        It’s definitely true, Subahu. There is an unconscious effect that good language skills places in the mind of a reader. If we can learn how to influence those subconscious triggers, we can do pretty much anything we want with regards to our businesses.

        It’s so crucial to proofread, review, and correct mistakes, but so many people fail to do it either because they’re lazy or they just don’t think it’s important. I’m glad you recognize how important it is.

        Keep at it!

  7. Anshuman Agrahari

    Hi Eric, thanks for this helpful article. Above three tips are obviously very helpful; can you tell me something else? I have read many other blogs which suggest avoiding fluffy words, adverbs and jargons. Though I know what they mean but I don’t know how to avoid them. Can you give me suggestions with examples regarding the same?

    1. Eric

      I’m glad you found some value here Anshuman. Let me address your question:

      Fluffy words, adverbs, and “jargon” can mean a lot of things, but in the sense that you’re talking about, it just means “trimming the fat”. For instance, I could write this phrase: “This thing is really great. It’s helpful to a lot of people. So many individuals have gotten benefit from it. It’s a really wonderful tool. People are more successful because of it.” These sentences basically mean the same thing. If I, as an editor, were to “trim the fat”, it would look like this: “This tool is great and has helped a lot of people become more successful.” That’s it. Just one sentence getting right to the meat.

      The reason I put “jargon” in quotes is because jargon is not necessarily wrong. If you’re writing for an audience that knows a lot of things about your industry, then jargon is actually beneficial because it makes you seem like an authority. The problem occurs when your audience doesn’t know what you’re talking about. When you use jargon and don’t define it or can’t assume your audience knows what you’re talking about, then yes, that’s probably not a good thing. For instance, take a look at any of the posts on this blog. There is a ton of “jargon”. Refer to my “blogger terms” example in this post. This is OK because we are all in the same industry and have the same general language to talk about certain things. Jargon in this sense is not bad, but if you use it, make sure that your audience knows what you’re talking about. A good idea is to internally/externally link a word or phrase that is particularly jargonous to an article explaining what that word/phrase means.

  8. Tanisha

    I love this post! It really helps a lot. I’m a rookie when it comes to blogging, and this post really helps me. I’m taking all the tips and advice in this and it works perfectly for me!

    1. Eric

      Glad to hear it, Tanisha! Keep practicing and getting better!!

  9. Kapil Bhatt

    First of all thanks for the great post @Eric.
    Now i have a question if i own a blog should i write we(so people might think it is written and have been experienced by a team of my blog) or i(so people can only read things from my prespective) while writing?

    1. Eric

      Hey Kapil, that all depends on the kind of blog you’re running and your writing style. If it’s just you, then use “I”. Otherwise, you have a choice… But whatever you choose, make sure it’s consistent!!

  10. Aruj Budhraja

    Hi Eric,
    You mentioned that Grammatical mistakes should be avoided, so I use Grammarly to decrease them effectively. But over the time, it’s been made a habit of using it.
    Don’t know how, but now I require it more often.

    What do you recommend? Going back to School Grammar Books?

    1. Eric

      Grammarly is a computer. It isn’t accurate all the time. It’s best to use it as a guide.
      If you know you’re weak in grammar, looking through some grammar books is a really smart thing to do. We can all improve, and the more we do, the better we’ll become! Find your weak spots, make them better, and be even more awesome!

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top