December 14, 2007

Editing on Your Own? Do what the Editors do!

Producing quality web content, that generates clicks, comes with a responsibility. There's more to editing than running the spell check. Reading your article through once, twice, even three times will help you find common grammatical, agreement, and punctuation errors.

For most web publishing, you are your own editor. So, what do you do? Do what the editors do!

With regard to revision and publication, editors look at certian criteria. Here's the guideline:

  • Content

  1. Information: Are the facts true and the sources reliable? Is the content original, authoritative, and are opinions backed up by supporting information?

  2. Analysis and Interpretation: Is the author's voice resonating throughout the piece, not a regurgitation of other's work? Are ideas, facts, or premises presented in an organized manner and analyzed using facts and personal input? Is the hard stuff made easy to understand? Is the article better than it's sources?

  3. Balance: Does the article present both sides of the story? Are the author's voice and facts discernible? Will the reader consider the article reliable through the presentation?

  4. Originality: Does the article give a fresh look to the subject? Does it allude to prior thoughts on a topic and surpass them?

  • Readability

  1. Appeal: Does the article grab the reader and compel him to continue to read? Does the interest maintain momentum? Does the organization flow? Are the concepts and facts presented with clarity, related to the subject, and leading to create value for the reader?

  2. Concreteness and Clarity: Is the article more concrete, does it have a solid foundation with real tangible ideals or is it comprised of abstract details? Does the article get to the meat of a subject? Does it encourage the reader to think about, talk about, or act on the subject?

  3. Color and Tone: How is the author's voice? Does it talk at or with the reader? Is it active or passive? Is the use of story, humor, contrast or irony appropriate and presented in a sincere rather than condescending manner and flows as part of the article?

  • Impact

  1. Enlightenment: Is the article educational, beneficial, and stimulating without being preachy? Does the article have that Aha factor?

  2. Force: Goes along with balance, does the article offer authority and persuasion without being overbearing? Will the article stand the test of time? Is it intense, logical, and touches on fads but is independent of them?

  3. Relevance: Is the article subject up to date or enduring? Will readers find it as an extension or reward to their interests? Challenging or opposing interests is good too, writing this way feeds controversy.

Adapted from: The Elements of Editing. By Arthur Plotnik


  1. Hi! I have to agree that there's more to web publishing (blogging) than meets the eye. Even for a very small timer like me, I spend a fair amount of time on the items that you have mentioned. I just don't know how a professional, such as yourself, has time for anything else.

    I would imagine as a site gained popularity and success, that having a team behind it would help. Having said that, it could take individuality out of the equation. Thanking you again for your advise.


  2. Thanks Peter for the compliment! I wish I were a professional. I have no team. As for time, I'm online today because my husband went shopping with the kids and I have some free time--usually the weekends are all family. During the week, I do this in the morning before the little one wakes, while she eats breakfast, and during nap time. Thank goodness I'm a fast reader and typer!!!

    Many moons ago, I did go to college for this, (more on the creative writing side with teaching certification and a minor in Psychology). I am in the process of trying to refresh my memory on everything and adapt it to what I'm doing on the web (with the articles on AC and the possibility of branching out). I just hope that some find the information useful. For myself, it's a quick reference.

    Funny, I pulled out that old book and dust bunnies had made a home of it. I really need to revisit a lot of my old college texts, they have a ton of great information.

    Take care!

  3. Hi! Thanking you for the great feedback. My children are adults and living away from home. Now I have time up my sleeve for doing things such as reading and writing. Something I never really did as a kid. Besides it being fun it does keep the mind active. As for reading, I'm a very slow reader but my typing is great - 60 wpm - that is my claim to fame.



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