The Ultimate Online Editing and Proofreading Checklist for Writers
The writing process is a chance to let creativity fly and tell a story with your own words.
Another, less glamorous part of the writing process is editing.
As you may know, proofreading is essential for any blog or ebook. It makes your work look professional, and without editing, it’s unclear to know how many mistakes or readability problems being published.
Remembering every single little grammar and editing rule is nonsense. While many become instincts over time, humans are known to make mistakes. That’s why we’ve created a checklist for you to use while editing so you have a point of reference while proofreading.
This list isn’t just about grammar rules; it also includes tips from topic selection, SEO, to promotion. Essentially, it can take you from beginning to the end of what you write.
Read on for our complete editing and proofreading checklist — made with the content creator in mind.
The Content Creator’s Editing Checklist
In this checklist, we will go over nine sections, listed below.
We’ll start at the beginning with topics. Knowing which topic to write about can come from various places, but these tips will double check that what you’re writing about will resonate with your readers and have the chance to rock it with SEO.
Does this topic align with our content strategy? Will our readers/ buyer personas care about it?
Have we covered this topic comprehensively in the past? Will it add anything new and interesting amongst all the content clutter on the web? If both answers are yes, consider updating and republishing the original draft.
Can the angle be tweaked to be even more interesting?
Does this topic have SEO have high potential?
Is this topic relevant to the industry/timely?
Structure & Format
How do you structure your pieces? This section makes sure your content is formatted in the best way for readability. It also provides some room for checking consistency.
Is this the right format for the content? Does this topic work better as a longer form ebook? Or in a shorter form, like a listicle?
Is the flow of the content logical? Are the chapters/headers/ideas organized in an order that makes sense and naturally guides readers through the content?
Are paragraphs 2-3 sections long for readability?
Are your headers formatted consistently — not just within this piece of content? Are different header styles (H2 vs. H3 vs. H4) being used to properly denote content hierarchy?
Is the content comprehensive? Are all major points associated with the topic covered in the post?
Can you incorporate numbered lists and/or bullets to make it easier for readers to skim, scan, and identify important takeaways?
Are supporting images and visuals included where appropriate?
Are these visuals and images high quality and interesting? Have they been resized and compressed so keep page load time short?
We can’t have an editing checklist without a section to double-check your copy. These are little things to make sure the narrative of your writing is succinct and engaging, as well as minor grammar edits.
Is the content well-written? Is the writing interesting, entertaining, and easy to read?
Titles are the first exposure most of your readers get to your piece. How are you going to use that to your advantage? Go over some tips for the effectiveness of your title.
Is the title compelling and interesting enough to get people to click through and read on?
Does the title accurately reflect the content within? Avoid being overly sensational or bombastic.
Is the title brief and concise? (Tip: Keep in mind longer titles will get cut off in search engine results.)
Is the title keyword-conscious without being keyword-heavy and sacrificing user experience and clickthroughs ( see also the section about search engine optimization)?
Style Guide Alignment
Written style guides serve as the commonly acknowledged authority when questions of grammar, punctuation, and style come up in writing. A style guide answers questions like whether you use title case for article titles and headers; whether you capitalize the word internet; or whether you use the Oxford comma.
You can either adopt an already-established style guide, like the AP Stylebook, or create an in-house version that enables you to borrow from different schools of thought and address any nuances specific to your industry or company. The important thing is to be consistent across all content you publish. Here’s the main question you should ask yourself …