3 Things You Should Do BEFORE and AFTER Writing to Improve Your Content

Good grammar and command over English language isn’t your free pass to a writing career, it is only the first requirement. This will enable you to write freely and write posts which are easy to understand, interesting, valuable and devoid of errors, all at the same time. But to make it engaging and interesting, you will need to put some muscle into your writing.

Many people mistakenly think of blogging as a trivial job that anybody can undertake, whereas the reality is quite the contrary. Stringing two sentences together is no mean feat. Giving them meaning in a way that glues the audience is an entirely different story. However, like everything else in the world, good writing requires that one follow a few simple guidelines, from taking a look at the topic to coming up with the finished product.

1.      First thing to do BEFORE writing -> Understand The Topic:Take your time when writing

To really write on the topic, and not appear as if you are beating around the bush, ranting on and on about something you barely understand, or simply just off topic, you need to comprehend the topic. Don’t just take a quick look and get down to writing some words onto the page, instead take time to read it multiple times. Absorb the topic in hand, then close your eyes, separate your mind from the lawnmower running or the kid crying in the background.

Now think of the keywords and what the topic required on the whole. Think of the points you need to cover and brainstorm. Make sense out of these points and write only those that appeal the most. Dig into possible controversies. Develop the main idea and the direction you want to pursue at an early stage and narrow your brainstorming in that direction. Flailing around and trying to cover everything about a topic in one short piece of writing will be discarded by mature readers.

Think from a user’s perspective. Think of what they would want to read till the end. Avoid going in the direction that has been written upon extensively, especially for an old or very popular topic. To be an above average writer, you need to be able to think of phrases and one-liners to spruce it up, because the ideas and content generally remain the same.

 

2.      Second thing to do BEFORE writing – Thorough Research:

Once you know your direction, the keywords, and the thesis statement (ideally), hit the internet or books and try to get a good know-how of the topic, try to take information from multiple sources. It always helps if you already know about the topic, but a writer shouldn’t really be limited to one or two fields.

Always remember to check the sources, lest you end up taking inspiration from an amateur blogger desperate for attention. Also, check for the dates, lest you end up writing about the launch of a gadget which is actually discarded.

 

3.      Third thing to do AFTER writing – Proofread:

Once you’ve written the entire thing, take a breather. Ideally, leave the article be and go do something entirely different. Then with a fresh mind and a fresh take on the topic, start proofreading. You’ll start to see a better flow in the ideas, an idea or two that were important but missed, what should’ve come at the top etc. the ideas are always there, it’s how you present them, the wording and the flow that differentiates a reputed writer from the regular crop. Repeating this cycle a few more times will make it even better.

The aforementioned steps before and after writing are actually what will make your written pieces and blog posts stand apart from the rest.

About 

Arba is an SEO expert, and writes on topics related to Internet Marketing. She’s working for smartpress.com that offers brochure printing services.

71 Comments (click here to leave a comment)

  1. Luanna

    Lovely tips. I especially liked the first tip. Its very boring to read a non intereseting post, what makes it hard to read. If its written well its far more fun to read!

    Thanks for sharing such awesome tips with us.

  2. Great tips, Arba. I agree with taking time out before proofreading can really help see your article with fresh eyes. At times, I ask a close friend to check on the article before posting it ‘coz there are times when even after taking a break, I still can miss a few things.

    • Arba

      You’re lucky to have such friends Adeline :) I don’t think any of my friend will be willing to go through dozens of posts i do on weekly basis

  3. I have seen a number of twists on this subject matter. Some call the BEFORE part as composting. You research and collect data. Soon as your cup is full, you write. The AFTER part is the editing/proofreading where you polish things up and make your writing shine.

    Happy holidays!

  4. I can’t tell you how frustrating it is to read a blog when it’s clear they’ve done no research, and have no knowledge of the subject area. It’s clearly been written just for the sake of having keywords, and really annoys me. It’s even worse when there’s spelling or grammar errors so these three points are vital for writing a good blog post.

    • Sites like that are everywhere on the World Wide Web, Levi. This is why the majority of publishers need to put a heavier emphasis on not only creating meaningful content and staying away from stale content, but also connecting with others meaningfully on the World Wide Web, when publishers create and distribute their content to be read. I can completely understand where you’re coming from, you said that. Let me ask you this. What kinds of specific topics interest you on the Internet, when you search for informative blogs to read? :-)

  5. Hi Ileane Just visited Your Interview on techtricksworld. I must say You have answered all the questions from your heart.

    Now Coming to this post, I read it just now. I must say all writers or bloggers must do the research work first thoroughly as you said in the post and after writing the whole post . Proofreading is the must do thing.

    Thanks for the post.

  6. These are the basics of writing. If you don’t follow these, you will end up with a boring or mistake-ridden article. It is a nice recap of the basics. A lot of people don’t really follow these.

    • yep, basic rules in writing but are very essential to making a blog a success. It makes me laugh whenever I read on the past posts I’ve written for my own blog. and all the time, I always end up editing and adding more posts into it.

  7. Short but straight to the point Arba. While proofreading is indeed extremely important, I will probably still overlook that depending on the article I am reading. What I can’t let go by is when I am reading an article that is not only poorly researched and but also when the blogger is talking about something that they don’t quite really understand. These tips are solid and something to keep in mind, always :)

    • Arba

      True that DiTesco … such clueless writing often comes from freelance writers providing writing services at dirt cheap prices, they’ll simply take a random article and rephrase.

  8. This is a really nice simple and easy to follow post. The brainstorming part of the process can easily be ignored by sum who instead just try and re-write one or two existing articles. This almost always reads badly. If you’ve learned a topic well enough, then brainstorm for the important ideas and then write around those the finished piece will be a worthwhile contribution!

  9. Thanks for the information. Research is crucial, especially keyword research. When I started blogging last month my main mistake was letting others proofread my material because I was too lazy to do it. That was a huge mistake. My site was filled with typos because my friends told me that they proofread my posts when they merely skimmed through them. Again, thanks for the post.

  10. admit that I love commenting on this wonderful blog, because there’s always something valuable to learn from all of the guest writers. In the beginning stages of my blogging back in 2006, I was barely proofreading any of my blog posts, as I had no experience blogging, nor knew what a blog was, after I created my first blog on blogger.com. Today, with a different outlook and approach towards blogging and creating unique content, I’ve taken into importance about proofreading, writing meaningful and engaging content, as well as building meaningful relationships with others online through content I create and distribute on the World Wide Web. Today, though I still rant on and on at times, I have to admit that’s still one of my blogging shortcomings, and working on that silently… LOL :-)

    • Arba

      It’s true, proofreading your own content is not easy (in fact proofreading someone else content is tougher) but thorough proofreading can do wonders to an average article

  11. Proof reading is the main step in writing that pays good impression to the contents. Always write within your niche to attract the relative readers.

  12. Great post, Arba! thanks for sharing with us. I totally agree, researching your content, proofreading, and knowing your topic well will all help you create better content for your blog or website.

    Another thing that helps is to only work in a niche that you really know and enjoy working in. People building websites just because of the money are just creating a job for themselves, and generally it is one that they wind up hating.

  13. judith

    I determined to write quality answers every time when I signed up for WebAnswers earlier this month, so I don’t plan to change anything. I make sure I have at least a few sentences’ worth of things to say on any subject before I try answering it.

    I still have a lot to learn about the site, so much of the time I just read through others’ answers, and if I don’t have anything unique to contribute, I usually don’t answer (an exception would be if there are several conflicting answers – I may give an answer that echoes another’s as a “vote” for which answer I consider to be correct).

  14. Every new blogger should be given this article and forced two read it. The points you’ve mentioned make the difference between a low quality, spammy blog, and a high quality interesting blog. Really good article!

  15. Really good tips, proofreading is the one that I pick up on most. It can be so frustrating when you’re reading a blog that hasn’t been proofread. I always think that if the author hasn’t bothered to read through their post, then why should I read it?

  16. And a forth tip, remember to revisit your content if there are developments – by either adding to the content or providing a link to refreshed content. You don’t want to be known for providing out of date content.

  17. Hi Arba, I get what you’re saying. I once got karate chopped in the throat whilst in the midst of a heated debate I had no business being in. After he had put my head on the chopping block, my brainy opponent proceeded to further humiliate me by adding one final thrust in the form of ‘read the facts, it makes for interesting discussion.’

    • Arba

      ouch … i can remember one or two such incidents in my early days of Internet … and that “added insult into injury” was something that taught me some invaluable lessons.

  18. I would like to say that there are three types of website content – content that is used for web pages of an online resource, content for blogs and content for article directories. Each of these website content types has its own peculiarities. So, the task of a writer is to get familiar with content writing styles.

  19. These are definitely all the things that should be done by every blogger, writer or copywriter) And as about proofreading, then I prefer, even to do it, if I have such an opportunity, next day. It will be even better for me to find out some things that were omitted

  20. I’ve never understood why some people insist on not proofreading. How can you spend two hours researching and writing an engaging, interesting, quality blog post, then just put it online for all to see with spelling mistakes.
    A spelling mistake isn’t too bad, but once I see a few of them in a post I just stop reading. I just loose any respect for the authority of the blogger if they can’t proofread their work.

  21. Great advice. In particular, I have to agree with what you said about thorough research. If I’m reading a blog about a particular subject, I’d expect the author providing the information to know more about it than me. I don’t want to read 400 words of somebody ‘blagging’ it, like a school essay.

  22. It’s essential to proofread your articles, and then get someone else to proofread them before you get slated in your comments for the smallest of grammar mistakes. It happens all the time, people are always looking for any little error

  23. never overlook the power of proofreading, because it benefits anyone’s overall search engine optimization efforts. That’s the beauty of getting quality traffic from search engine results pages, just by proofreading your spelling and grammar, to make sure everything is respectively in position :-)

  24. Hi Arba,

    Some nice points, I agree that after writing your complete article take a break for sometime and read your article again with fresh mind, there are good chances that you many find some improvements in your article and can rectify it.

  25. Yes, yes, and yes! It makes such a difference when your readers can tell you really understand what you’re writing about – that you did your homework – that you are an expert or a student of learning sharing. And one bad typo can ruin an entire post!

    I’d say that typos are going to happen … no one is going to catch everything all of the time – but as long as you’re always working to improve and deliver value, you’re doing pretty good!

  26. I usually keep my articles in draft for a few days to give a fresh perspective when I proofread it. New ideas might come up and better ways to present the thoughts often show up :)

  27. Proof reading is must. Recently I read that even spell mistakes affects the SEO. So it is not just humans, even bots don’t like it.

    Nice post.

  28. I have followed this blog ever since I have got here by search engines and everytime I get a mail about the new post here ….I always knew that there will be something to learn..
    As a Blogger I understand the importance of the content but never really found these type of information…thanks to basic blog tips for providing such kind of information really appreciate and to writer “Arba Hana” you did really a good job making this type of stuff all together thanks again and Merry Christmas to all of you!!!!!!!!!!!……………………..

  29. Thank you for the useful tips, they are very simple, but really important.
    And I’m completely agree with@Louis, it’s better to proofread your post after a day or two , maybe you’ll notice some mistakes or add some thoughts to the article ;)

  30. i so suck at proofreading, i get my wife to do it. Seems women are really good at proof reading, i don’t know any men that are good at it apart from freakishly intelligent ones

  31. wishing everyone here a safe and joyous weekend. Be sure to not drink and drive, as checkpoints will be everywhere in Delaware, Philadelphia, all over Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York City, the five boroughs of New York City, Washington DC, Maryland, Virginia, and everywhere else!

  32. It’s true just concentrate on the topic, increase the approach and write the similar ideas in mind. Your article is not only helpful for bloggers but also students as they often have to face essay writing contests. Your tips make the writing task easy.

  33. Understanding the topic is the easiest for me. Proofreading can be challenging especially when you are in a time crunch. I actually enjoy the keyword research.

    Happy New Year!

  34. Tip #3 will be my new habit!!

    Nothing rubs me the wrong way more than having to proof read does, especially when i’m eager to get fresh content online.

    Now before I proof read anything i’ll go outside for 5 minutes and get some fresh air (read: smoke a cigarette!) and come back to proof read with a fresh head on my shoulders!

    Also when proof reading I find it’s really helpful to proof read out loud taking natural pauses for breaths with the punctuation marks. I find this helps you add in useful punctuation to give whatever you’ve written a more engaging flow.

    • Arba

      Pretty much on the money … Though I’d definitely not suggest “smoking” for obvious reasons, but yes break is necessary, or you might miss some blatant mistakes if your mind is tired.

  35. Understanding the topic is the key before you want to start doing a research and blog about it. I think this does apply when you have sets of different essays to write.

  36. Fear of taking the first steps is the most common dilemma of procrastination.. I personally experience this when I started my online work.. but the good thing is I continue. I enjoy again reading your post!

  37. I like the fact that you mention understanding the topic BEFORE writing content. While it had always been my endeavor to write the best content I could, I found that doing preliminary research on a topic before writing helps in addressing the content properly.

    For instance, checking up QnA sites like Yahoo answers on the topic might reveal some important insights about what information people want to know. That itself can change the perspective of the article and alter the approach to writing content.

  38. Very precisely written.

    Proofread. I think this is what most of the bloggers miss every time they write a post. Especially new bloggers. I made it a habit by working hard on it, now even after writing comments I read’em out to myself.

    Understanding what we have to write is also important, writing unnecessary points is completely useless.

    Sharing this article with some of my newbie blogger friends.

  39. Hey Arba,

    Simple but important and effective tips you presented here :D

    I usually don’t do any of these things while blogging since it will be more like the formal papers that I write for my college (I understand that these steps are essential; but I still don’t do much about it :D). I think I should change a little about that.

    For me, its all about having fun writing on the topic. But, I do pre-plan before writing the posts (preplanning as in basic idea and title). The content is usually what I come up with at the time of writing :D

    Anyways, nice ideas presented here :D Thanks,

    Jeevan Jacob John

  40. proofreading is not only important for good search engine optimization, but also for meaningful relationship building on the World Wide Web. When we as publishers proofread content before publishing, it says a lot about our online character, in terms of delivering content with meeting to the online audience :-)

  41. stacey schneider

    Great tips, Arba. I totally agree with you. These are the basics of writing. This is really simple and easy to follow post.
    Thank you for sharing this post.

  42. Thank you Arba,

    This posts really great, I’m recently trying to focus on my writing and I found that this post is really really helpful.

    I’m always do these all at once when publish post. After this, I’ll try to break it to pieces and publish it

    Ferb

    • Ferb,

      just like yourself, I too am focusing on my writing and creating unique Web content more frequent. Are you also doing article marketing? :-)

Trackbacks

  1. 3 Things You Should Do BEFORE and AFTER Writing to Improve Your Content…

    Good grammar and command over English language isn’t your free pass to a writing career, it is only the first requirement. This will enable you to write freely and write posts which are easy to understand, interesting, valuable…