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
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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
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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.

Example:

  • 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
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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
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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:

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:

-Lists

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

Wrong:

“3 Ways to Do Something”

#1 This way

  • 2- This way
  1. This way

Right:

#1 This way

#2 This way

#3 This way

OR

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

OR

  • 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.)

Wrong:

  • Download YouTube here

<Download Snapchat>

Right:

  • Download YouTube here
  • Download Snapchat here

OR

<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.)

Wrong:

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

Right:

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

OR

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

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

-Capitalization

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.

Wrong:

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

Right:

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

OR

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

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

-American/British

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

Wrong:

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

Right:

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

OR

  • 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
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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.

Wrong:

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

Right:

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

OR

  • 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.

Wrong:

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

Right:

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

OR

  • 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
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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.

Why?

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

Always.

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?
Professionalism
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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.

 

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
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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.

Why?

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 Google Plus!

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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. Ryan Biddulph

    Hi Eric,

    I now spend an extra 4 hours creating a thorough, crisp resource versus spending 1 hour publishing my first draft. What a difference.

    Your tips rock but finding the mix of professionalism and being human challenges me to this day.

    I do my best job and publish the post. Of course, my best job changes after reading posts like yours.

    On the flip side, some bloggers who pay little attention to grammar not only get paid, they sway a massive audience. Ultimately, even though you may turn off purists and the odd casual reader, if you can inspire, educate and solve your reader’s problems they will usually ignore a less than perfect post, grammar wise.

    Write, write, write some more and read, read and read some more. Non native English speaking bloggers pose questions on Quora about how to improve their writing game. I say read, write, read English, write English, and over time you can spot and change your errors to create a more inspired, professional blog.

    Fabulous post Eric. Thanks for sharing.

    Ryan

    1. Wow, Ryan. What a great reply! You’ve touched upon some really interesting points.

      There’s definitely a balance between being professional and being human. If you can figure that nightmare out before I do, please teach me!

      While it is *possible* to obtain a large following without paying attention to the language, it’s definitely an exception and not the rule. But I think that if we go around believing we’re the exception, we’re reinforcing a big ol’ delusion and emotionally bypassing the necessity of growth from challenging ourselves and doing the work necessary to achieve the things we want. Also, the odd grammar mistake is no problem, but a lot of grammar mistakes are a big problem. Imagine if a newspaper or some other large information resource had the kind of grammar mistakes that many small blogs have. They would not even be close to where they are today.

      And yes, I totally agree. Reading and writing and keeping on learning is the name of the game for anyone wanting to improve (and that includes me)…

      (Completely unrelated: I checked out your FB.. You’re from Plainfield?? I’m from Watchung! 908 represent!)

  2. This was really loving post. When I read the post, I was feeling my school days. Thanks Eric, I learnt a lot from this awesome post.

  3. I’m new to blogging and this post has been very helpful for me. Currently the areas I’m trying to improve is to blog consistently and maintain the quality. Initially I used to make such grammar mistakes you pointed out in the article, but now I’ve been proofreading very carefully before publishing.

    You seem to be a pro in blogging, if it is not too much to ask, would you please visit my blog and share some feedback on the content and other aspects.

    Thanks a ton.
    Reemashi

    1. Hey Reemashi. I checked out your blog and yeah, I can definitely see a big improvement from the older posts to the newer ones. I would recommend you keep learning about sentence structure and syntax. This is a great resource: http://www.englishgrammar.org/ Also keep an eye on consistency (as I’ve mentioned in this article). Many of your titles and capitalizations are not staying consistent. Try to develop a laser-like eye for grammar and consistency. Keep reading popular English blogs and learn what they’re doing. Study, study, study!! Keep it up!

      1. Thank you for replying Eric. Will definitely follow your advice. Can you suggest some popular blogs too that will be helpful in improving the structure of my blog?

        1. Well just regards to consistency, any popular blog should do if you can study what they do. With regards to writing, Problogger, Copyblogger, Backlinko… those are usually pretty good resources.,

          1. Thanks Eric. Will follow your recommendations and get back to you showing my improvements soon. πŸ™‚

  4. This is awesome! Thanks for the list..nice to have a reminder of things that are important on your blog. I should triple check my spelling, not just double check! πŸ™‚

  5. Though it was a bit longer than usual post but was much more interesting. I have learnt a lot of things on how to improve my blog to look more professional. Thanks Eric !!

  6. Thanks Eric.
    It was really very thoroughly written post and really proofreading is much liked by many writers.
    What I do is, I write an article first then after 1 hour break proofread it. The results are very good for me and also do not get bored.

    1. Thanks for the compliment, Varun! I didn’t mention this point here, but yeah, it’s a very good idea to put it aside for a while before you go and proofread. I’ll usually write during the day, sleep, and proofread in the morning. Fresh eyes are more likely to catch mistakes. Keep it up, Varun!

  7. Muhammad Hassib Gul

    Hello ERIC, informative post. I am blogger and I know the power of proofreading. I am struggling with grammar and also working on it. I just want to say that if someone writes a post, very useful, very informative, and full of technical knowledge, but he lacks grammatical mistakes and some other conceptual mistakes. Should readers focus on knowledge and information or grammatical mistakes? Well i my case, I focus what writer want to say, not how he said.

    1. Hey Muhammad. If the information is 100% unique and unbelievable, then this is possibly true. However, most people aren’t saying things 100% unique and unbelievable. And as a native speaker, while I can definitely understand what someone is trying to say, I’d much prefer to read the same useful, informative post from someone who can say it fluently. It’s extra work for my brain to try and figure out meaning where I can guarantee there are 20 more bloggers on the internet saying the same thing with better language. The occasional typo is no big deal, but a really incoherent mess is not appealing. And I’m forgiving! You apparently are too. But I’m willing to bet there’s a point where even you have to check out. By setting that “check out” threshold low, you are giving the opportunity for more readers to leave. That’s not what I would call “professional”.

      1. Thanks Eric.

        How you’re doing?

        That really nailed it.
        I admit I “cop out” on proof reading sometimes, because I don’t want to see all the mistakes I made.

        But what I still do is always correct the content in terms of what I’m telling.

        Back to you:

        In blown away by the value you give away here, Eric.

        Have to reconsider a lot of points to improve.

        What really completely caught my attention, is,

        Where you stated that it’s easier getting the same information from another blog. Because it’s easier to process for you brain.

        I always used to say:

        Smalltalk is polite disinterest.

        Skip the smalltalk.
        It’s actually about connection too, why you tell here.

        The reader needs to identify the points striking the most.

        If the reader had to figure out the meaning first, this breaks the flow. Loses interest. Becomes bored.

        And the reader is…
        Most likely…
        Gone!

        Turn off the lights. Head for the showers.

        Eric thanks again.
        Keep up the good work.
        And all the success you need and deserve for your future.

        ~ Holger

        P.S. sorry for my bad English.

        And greets from a German Guy in Switzerland.

        1. Hey, Holger. I definitely know how you feel about looking at all those mistakes you made. I used to not proofread for this exact reason. I still have mountains of old writings that I’ve never read through because of this. Proofreading is a real bummer sometimes, but if we’re putting stuff out into public view, it’s sooooo necessary.

          I love your line: Small talk is polite disinterest. I’m gonna start using this! You totally nailed it. Writing is all about making a connection. If we’re just throwing up words onto a computer and not paying attention to what our potential readers want, I don’t think we’re “doing a good job” because we don’t care about what our readers want. The first rule of blogging is always: Give your readers what they want. That’s really the first rule of business in general…

          Thanks for checking in from Switzerland!!

          1. You’re welcome Eric,

            I am happy that I could give some value back. πŸ™‚

            when I stumbled upon your blog, it did what the domain name suggests:

            It shouted at me.
            Screamed at me.
            Yelled!

            “Follow Eric’s advices!”

            You suddenly gave me a lot of more work to do Eric, and I am grateful for that. πŸ™‚
            Having to change a lot. And I definitely will.

            >> How I read your texts: <> What I noticed what might help YOU as well Eric <> Penetrate the reality of the other person <> Finally <<
            So at least now – if you haven't been already – you have now the opportunity to get conscious related to this. You SEE it.

            And finally: Which type of conversationalist would you prefer?

            Have a nice day. πŸ™‚

            ~ Holger

            P.S.: You've definitely won a curious reader!

          2. Glad to hear it! You’ve definitely gotten the gist here. Always focus on providing a service to your readers (the best possible service). Penetrate their frustrations and make them know why they’re there.

            Keep it at, Holger! Looking forward to your success!

            Eric

          3. I am sorry, the last comment I wrote was definitely malformed by the comment input field here

            you don’t have to “submit” it, just take out the value I want to provide, again here:

            You’re welcome Eric,

            I am happy that I could give some value back. πŸ™‚

            when I stumbled at your blog it did what the domain name suggests:

            It shouted at me.
            Screamed at me.
            Yelled!

            “Follow Eric’s advices.”

            You suddenly gave me a lot of more work to do Eric, and I am grateful for that. πŸ™‚

            How I read your texts:

            And then there’s that little voice in your head that keeps telling you:
            “I know that already.” I just accepted that it’s there and then I ignored it.
            Because I don’t want my ego involved here. For the sake of better understanding.

            When I read your text, I basically switch off my auditive mind.
            Why? Because I wanna be present reading your text.
            Might sound counterintuitive yes.

            But what I noticed for myself is:

            Like this, actually my subconsciousness can process the text much faster than my conscious mind ever could.

            It gets rid of being stuck because there’s one word you can’t understand.
            It eliminates forgetting any passages at all.
            It’s basically like my whole body becomes a “text recorder”.
            And it’s automatically processed.

            This is always what I do first.
            And THEN I start thinking about it.

            So I am free to decided whenever I just wana read.
            Or when I wanna think about the content I’ve just read.

            Like this I can cross the bridge and close the gap.
            And even most likely FEEL what’s written as well.

            So I get connected to your work of a logical and an emotional side.
            I don’t mind if you think that’s crazy.
            I’m just lefthanded. πŸ˜‰

            BUT this STILL means I have to consciously apply the advice you give. For sure.

            What I noticed what might help YOU as well Eric

            If you don’t know this at all it might change your perception of conversations forever.
            No matter if in written form or face to face.
            So I am happy if I can give something back again. If not, am happy that you already do know. πŸ™‚

            For example assume you talk with someone about your topics here.
            In this case:

            still about make a blog more professional.

            So you might even tell someone, a guy, in real life about:

            You: “And if you apply this, it will really make your blog more professional”.
            Guy: “Yeah, I already know that. I am not the guy who proofreads everything. I do that sometimes.”

            What I noticed is, people normally relate everything back to them
            They are used to talk about their own experiences.

            “How does this affect me?”
            or
            “What could I just blurt out to that?”

            I guess you know those conversations where someone is telling something and then:
            keyword trigger activated.
            And basically every person thinks: “Now I can say THIS/THAT.”
            and suddenly one after another bursts out:
            “bloody bloody blah.”
            And they wanna be heard. It’s like a basic need, like water or food.
            When it’s over you have the feeling everyone talked, but no conversation took place.

            Penetrate the reality of the other person

            Here’s the twist (I will give a short concrete example at the end as well):

            Try to understand the views and insights of the other person.
            Try to go down the “why-chain” without coming across as interrogating.
            So you will even experience the beliefs of the other person.
            And talk about:

            – Motivation
            – Emotion
            – Character traits

            Here comes the example:

            a) first: like basically more than 97% do it. (I won’t tell that’s true for people commenting here, so we take it as if…, you get the point. πŸ˜‰
            b) second: including the twist.

            Common Example:

            a) Hi Eric.
            How are you?
            I loved reading your blog and tried to apply the changes, though I already knew those things.
            I figured out that I still have a lot to learn considering grammar and re-reading texts.
            My friend had a lot of trouble with that too. Now it’s getting better.

            Thanks.

            ~ Holger

            Basically there’s nothing wrong with that. And it isn’t very inspiring either.
            But with those little twists we’re for sure making much more impact
            (starting to create a deep emotional connection, and definitely making impact):

            b) Hi Eric.
            How are you?
            It’s not easy nowadays to find invaluable pieces of information like contained in your blog.
            Thanks for sharing.
            You must have invested a lot of time learning these – writing AND proofreading – skills.
            And you got your own very unique approach. I like the way you structure your text visually
            and contextually.
            I know this involves a lot of self-reflection, self-discipline and keeping out your ego.
            And I am sure at times you might still feel resistance.

            Would you say self-discipline is something you learned from your social circle
            or did you teach it yourself by writing this blog?
            You really have this gift to change someone’s perception AND business for the better.

            Thanks!

            Finally

            Which type of conversationalist would you prefer?

            Have a nice day. πŸ™‚

            ~ Holger

            P.S.: You’ve definitely won a curious reader!

        2. Yes! I completely understand where you’re coming from.

          It’s nice that you understand how most people interact in conversation: By asserting themselves and their individuality. It’s a great practice to make it a point to feel the other person’s point of view (as you’ve mentioned here). It’s a very valuable concept. There have been many studies on this topic, I believe, which confirms what you’re saying about how most people just pick up trigger words and respond according to their own perspective.

          Thanks, Holger for sharing such valuable insight. Armed with this knowledge, I’m excited to see where you go with it. Not many people can relate to others from this intuitive place. You truly have a gift and I’d love to see how it develops.

          PS I’ve checked out your blog and I will continue to follow you. You’ve also won a curious reader!

          Eric

  8. This article is a great peek into the quirky world of perfectionist editors. But then, all editors are perfectionists, I guess.

    1. It’s true, Sandip. But perfection is elusive and we all know that. We’re just doing everything we can to do the best job we can to help the most people possible… that’s as close to perfection as we’ll ever get.

  9. Hello Eric.

    Thank you for this post. It clearly states all the mistakes I used to make. Resolved some and still working on others.

    I have recently started a blog. Your points on comma and proof reading hit me the most. I had the bad habit of not doing the proof reading which I have rectified by doing a mandatory 3 round of proof reading. But I still make gramatical mistakes. Taking a course for grammar currently hope to rectify it soon.

    1. Cool, Punit! Glad to hear you’re learning and studying. You’ll be amazed at all the grammar issues that pop up on that third round of proofreading…

  10. Hi Eric,

    Awesome post! I totally love every part of it.

    So, in answer to Your question of what I struggle with the most… Seriously, it’s starting my paragraphs with capital letters!

    I so much feel this sort of inconvenience whenever I’m pressing shift and all that…

    1. Hey Adeboye, I feel your pain… lol. That extra “Shift” button is a real drag… BUT YOU GOTTA DO IT!!!!! <– (caps lock)

  11. I am so loving this, It is long like you said, but i am glad i read through. I will apply all i have just learnt and watch my website get professional. Thanks alot Eric for this post and God bless you.

    1. Glad I could help, Maurice. Just keep an eye out for making everything look “professional” and before you know it, you’ll be a professional!!

  12. Great post, I’m just working to start by blog. Even I’m not a professional writer, after reading this post I’ll follow this guide while writing,
    Thanks, ERIC.

  13. It took me years to understand the recipe behind making blog a professional blog. From design to content, and content to interaction with audience – everything counts. You literally mentioned everything that one can do to improve the overall image of a blog.

    I found few things interesting and surely going to implement them on one of my new blog.

    1. Hey Hamza, I like to think about everything from a user’s perspective. If my stuff looks like the “big” brands in terms of appearance, then it’s ready. Glad I could help. Keep at it!

  14. Hi Eric

    What a great post written by you, It really gives a lot of valuable points to make yourself look distinguished from others.

    All three points i.e Grammar, Consistency and Proofreading are very important.

    I was not paying attention to Consistency in particular but now I will.

    Thanks a lot.

  15. Sir, if i am new blogger and i don’t have so much money to hire editor. And my english is not so poor but it’s look like unprofessional. Also i am indian where we don’t use too much english. I would love to start a blog but my english is not so much professional.

    Tell me answer of this question how a new blogger manage all the things in his blog like SEO, content, wordpress, marketing and promotion. Because i think new blogger can’t afford all the things.

    Sir, when i write simple paragraph to improve my english my english is looks like so simple.

    You just read my comment right ? Then tell me i should start a blog ? Or wait untill my english is inproved sufficiently. I think my english is not too good but yet it’s not poor .

    I am gaining knowledge about SEO, Copywriting, blogging, online marketing, wordpress and other lotsa things. My online journey is just one your. I read almost 20 article a day from popular websites. I am really passionate to do something in my niche. But fear comes in as a starter.
    My english s improved really well after reading 1500+ popular blog posts and 100+ books.

    I gained really awesome knowledge and my journey is full of excitement but still it still incomplete without one thing. Blog.

    So help me sir. I will glad to hear from you

    And yes you really wrote a good post.

    1. Hey Hardik, I’m not going to say it’s “wrong” to start up something even if it’s not “professional”. In fact, many would argue, Harsh is probably one of them, that you should just start and “learn by doing”.

      That said, you should always seek to improve. You don’t have to be perfect, but you can always advance towards that “professional” mark. Keep studying, and keep learning.

      If you know your English grammar is not good, find some free English classes online, or find some friends who are skilled English speakers (or natives) and offer to do some kind of trade with them. Maybe you can find an American who wants to speak your language and you two can help each other. Maybe you’re a skilled masseuse, or a programmer, or dog groomer, or whatever, and you can help them with something else. Trade economics is a great workaround to not having money.

      Again, I would recommend you just start and seek to improve. At the very least, you’ll have a physical reference of where you were when you started vs. where you are later down the path.

      Whatever you do, if you have the drive toward “being professional”, you can surely succeed.

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

  17. Eric, thank you for that post. Your points are 100% valid. I am one of those whose father spoke correct American English drilled it into our heads to do the same. Now, as an adult with years of professional experience, I see the value of his wisdom. I cannot tell you the countless number of people whom I have run across who are unable to write a grammatically-correct sentence. I struggle with proofreading; however, I am learning to endure it because it saves me unnecessary embarrassment and revisions later. Thank you once again for the advice.

    1. Hey Cynthia, thanks for checking in. It really is disconcerting to see a lot of “professionals” looking like they aren’t even trying when it comes to writing. Being grammatically incorrect is cool when talking with your friends, but it’s got no place in the business world. Anyway, thanks for the comment (and for properly using a semicolon)!!

  18. good job, it is very beneficial.

    I want to be a more professional blogger. So I want to make my blog more professional. I know it is not possible within a short time. But I will try your tips to do better for my blog. Thanks for your informative article.

  19. Prashanth Bethi

    Woww..good post and we follow every point in this post. This kind of blogging will definitely makes your blog look professional – Digitant

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