Welcome to the first “Random Editing Day” as part of the Blog Exercises series.
The purpose of Random Editing Day is to help you edit and upkeep your site, but also to revisit and revise posts of the past.
Throughout this year we are going to have monthly editing exercises to help you flex your editing muscles, which improves your writing muscles. We’ll start with one post the first month and increase the number throughout the year, hopefully ending with 12 posts edited in one day.
If you would like to do more, help yourself, but the exercise begins with one post.
Edit one previously published post. Select it at random by putting in a search term, clicking a category or tag link, or just randomly selecting something out of your archives.
Read through the post carefully and considering editing it for the following reasons:
- Spell check. Read through the post to look for misspellings. Not a good speller? Edit the post and use the Visual or Text Editor to look for red squiggle lines under misspelled words in your browser, if your browser has spelling enabled and available. Most modern browsers today do.
- Check links. Click on the links or run the web page through a link checking utility online. Are they still good? Do they need updating?
- Clean up the content. Everything can use a little clean up, fixing a word here and there, moving a paragraph or sentence around, fixing punctuation. Tighten up the phrasing and edit useless babble. Consider breaking up big blocks of text into shorter paragraphs or possibly lists.
- Off to a fast start? When we start blogging, we often take too long to get to the point. Now that you are more experienced, edit the start of the post to get to the point faster.
- Are the points clear? Again, now that you are more experienced, you’ve learned how to make your point faster and clearer. Maybe this post needs a visit from that wiser blogger.
- Fix Link Dumps: In the beginning, you may have been a bit lazy in adding links to your posts, so now is the time to change those link dumps into properly formed links that are easy-to-read.
- Add or change images? Are the images in the post still relevant and appropriate? If this was published during the craze of publishing no post without some eye candy, consider changing the image to one more appropriate and related to the content, or remove the image.
- Think SEO. As you read through the article check for pronouns. Search engines exist for nouns, not pronouns. Name things. Name them properly. Use nouns everywhere and anywhere you can to add keywords to your content and help the visitor skim through the content faster to determine if this is the information they need.
- Relevancy check. Is the post still relevant? Should it still be on your blog or have you left this topic behind you? Should you delete it? Or maybe it is time to update it, adding new information.
- Does it say what you still want it to say? Over time, our say changes as our blogging voice changes. Check to make sure the post says what you intended to say, and maybe say it better.
Everyone has their list of things to look for when editing their content. Sift through it carefully and make sure it still connects with your audience, whether it was published two days ago or ten years ago. Because you never know when an old post will be new again to a reader, and any post can be a gateway to your site from search engines.
Note: Tom Ewer of ManageWP Blog has taken this exercise to the nth degree in “A Simple Checklist for Editing and Optimizing Old Blog Posts.”