If you’ve been writing for any length of time, you know that the first draft is basically a hot mess. You have a great idea, but it’s buried under a layer of extra words and spelling errors.
Editing is the secret sauce of good writing. Without it, no one would read much of anything. But it can be a time-consuming process and as bloggers, our time is precious. Thankfully, you can (almost) automate your editing with the help of Yoast SEO and Grammarly – for FREE.
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2-step editing process
It seriously couldn’t be any easier to proofread your content with these two tools. Yoast SEO is great for basic formatting, readability, and SEO (duh). Grammarly gets into the nitty-gritty of spelling and, of course, grammar. After I’ve completed a rough draft, I use each of these apps to polish and optimize my content.
Let’s break it down:
1. Readability + SEO
Yoast SEO integrates into WordPress. When you edit a blog post, you’ll see the Yoast box right below your post with two tabs: readability and keyword. Each tab has a colored bullet to let you know where you’re at in the editing process (red for significant problems, orange for needs improvement, and green for good). I strive for green 100% of the time for readability and most of the time for SEO.
Yoast walks you through each step to improve your blog content, including word count, headings, paragraph and sentence length, and passive vs. active voice.
For example, I often have too many long sentences (over 20 words). Yoast highlights all of these sentences for me so I can go back and shorten them up for easier reading.
As for SEO, Yoast lets you set a keyword, analyzes where and how often your keyword shows up in your article (title, headings, meta, etc.), AND shows you how to improve your content for better SEO ranking. With the free plugin, you can choose one keyword per blog post. If you go for Yoast SEO Premium, you can choose up to 5 keywords per blog post or page.
Pro tip: Aiming for a “green light” on Yoast SEO could actually hurt your ranking if you unnaturally plug in your keyword throughout your article. Basically, don’t use your keyword just to use it – make sure your writing flows normally.
I’m no expert though, so to make sure you’re properly optimizing your content for SEO, find out why orange is the new green bullet.
2. Spelling + Grammar
Please please PLEASE don’t rely on spellcheck to proofread your content. There’s so much more to good writing than cleaning up your typos.
Grammarly is my secret weapon. It integrates seamlessly into the WordPress blog post editor and underlines any misspelled words AND phrases that are not grammatically correct. Clicking on that word/phrase will bring up an explanation of the problem and show you how to fix it. From there, you can choose to accept the change or ignore it.
Simple as that.
It’s perfect for blogging because there’s no need to copy and paste your text into a separate editing program and lose all your formatting. You can quickly skim through your content for highlighted errors and focus on correcting those issues instead of searching for them.
And THAT’S IT. These are the only editing tools you need to write better blog posts – and they’re both completely free.
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Do you have a favorite tool for editing your blog posts? Share in the comments!