I emphasize over and over that you should have another set of eyes proofread your writing after you do, whether it's an editor or a member of a writing group. However, with time-sensitive material, like a blog post, that isn't always possible. So careful proofreading of your work is necessary to keep your writing clean and professional.
Keep the following tips in mind as you review your writing for errors.
As with writing, proofreading requires concentration. Some errors will be obvious, but others can be subtle. So if you're going to catch them, you need to focus. You can't afford to multitask here. So turn off the music, close the social media sites, turn off the cell phone, and give your work the undivided attention it deserves.
2. Watch out for Usage Errors
Homophones are the biggest offender here. Have you ever confused to, too, and two or used accept when you should have used except? These are easy mistakes to make and just as easy to overlook since the words will be spelled correctly.
3. Check Punctuation
While you need to review your words closely, punctuation is important too. Don't let those little marks fool you. A misplaced or omitted punctuation mark can damage a sentence just as much as using the wrong word. Watch for misplaced or missing commas, periods used incorrectly, apostrophes in contractions and possessives, as well as others.
4. Print It Out
With shorter projects, this may be unnecessary, but for longer articles and stories, you should consider it. You read differently on paper than you do on the screen. And if you are alone, read it aloud. Your ear will catch awkward constructions more easily than your eyes will.
5. Have Someone Else Proof It
I know I said this was about proofreading work yourself, and that is important. But whenever possible, have someone else proofread your writing. You'll find there are a number of things you overlooked. If time doesn't permit this, go over it one more time yourself.
The first three on this list are necessary, even on a tight schedule. But on a long-term project, make time to print your writing out and read it aloud. And then have someone else read it. Communication is the goal, and clean copy is the most effective way do so without distracting your reader with errors.