Everyone makes writing mistakes, yes, everyone, and unless you happen to be one of those rare writers who only makes occasional mistakes, you are probably making a lot of them, even if you don’t realize it.
But does it really matter? If the subject of the post is interesting enough, readers won’t mind about the mistakes, right?
No matter how enticing the subject is, people will very quickly lose interest if the post is hard to read. When they lose interest, they leave.
When you lose a reader, you lose the potential of that reader clicking on an advertisement, clicking on an affiliate link, or making a purchase from your blog (if you happen to sell products or services directly).
If you use a word processor such as Microsoft Word, it will highlight words that might be spelled wrong. It will also highlight where you might have used incorrect punctuation, missed a space between words, and some other things too.
For example, this post was created using a word processor, and as you can see in the screenshots below, some mistakes have been automatically highlighted.
But (and this is a big but), word processors will only pick up basic errors. They only pick up some punctuation mistakes, do not pick up sentence structure mistakes, do not assist with clarity and style, and do not pick up the common mistakes of using unnecessary words or writing in the ‘passive voice.’
If you’re not sure what writing in the passive or active voice means, with the active voice, the subject of the sentence is carrying out the action. With the passive voice, the subject is being acted on.
If the act is to hunt, and the subject is wild dogs:
Active voice: The wild dogs hunt on the mountain at night.
Passive voice: The mountain is hunted by wild dogs at night.
The passive voice is not as powerful as the active voice. It’s not as clear as the active voice and can sometimes be challenging to understand. For that reason, we should strive to keep the passive voice to a minimum. A general rule of thumb is to write no more than 10% of a piece of content in the passive voice.
So, how do you fix all these common writing mistakes?
A decent editor will charge around $40 per hour. The time taken to edit a post of, say, 1000 words can range from one hour to four hours depending on how much editing is required. On average, expect to pay around $80 for a 1000-word post to be edited.
A better and much cheaper alternative is to use an app that automatically corrects errors, rephrases sentences, removes unnecessary words from your text, and alerts you every time you write in the passive voice.
The one app that stands head and shoulders above the rest and does all the above plus checks for plagiarism (very handy if you're paying somebody else to write posts for you) is Grammarly.
I’ve been using Grammarly for around three years, and I couldn’t write without it. I’m not one of those rare writers mentioned at the beginning of this article. Very few of us are. But that doesn’t mean we can’t produce quality posts.
It just means that we need a little help
So, here’s what it does:
What's the cost?
Grammarly has a free and a premium version.
The free version provides some basic assistance and if happen to be on a strict budget, it's worth using it for free until you can afford to upgrade.
At the time of writing this, the cost for the premium version is $11.66 per month, paid annually. There is an option to pay monthly, but it’s slightly more expensive.
Plagiarism. What does it mean?
According to Merriam Webster:
“to steal and pass off (the ideas or words of another) as one's own”.
In practice, it means publishing content that is not original. In other words, copying content from somewhere else, such as a website or a book.
[Don't confuse copying with sharing. When you share somebody else's content, for example, when you share a YouTube video by posting it on your blog, that is not copying. You are sharing it with the publisher's consent, and of course, the video links back to the publisher's YouTube channel].
Plagiarism can happen even without your knowledge. If you hire writers, you will not know if the work they produce is original unless you check it.
Standalone plagiarism checker tools are expensive and usually charge depending on the number of words/pages you need to check per month.
Grammarly has a built-in plagiarism checker, and there is no limit to the amount of content you can check each month.