PostHeaderIcon On-Page and Off-Page Optimization: Two Ways to Climb the Google Ladder

This is a guest post by Jazon Monroe.

I noticed a question on my blog the other day that struck me as being too important to ignore. The person posting the question had invested some considerable time and effort to optimize his web page and was relying on SEOPressor to help him out.

He was quite certain that his efforts would quickly result in more traffic to his site, but this hadn’t happened yet. His question seemed straightforward; “What’s more effective, off-page or on-page optimization?”

I really wish I had a straightforward answer.

The only answer I have is: it depends. It depends on who you want to reach, and what keywords you are competing for.

Google’s Job; Ranking Pages. Your Job: Making Google’s Job Easier

Google uses a fairly complicated algorithm to assess the relevance of a particular page to a particular keyword or phrase. This algorithm considers both on-page and off-page factors.

The recent visitor to my website was using a very good product to optimize his web page, so I’ll assume that the page is in good shape. The reason he isn’t seeing a substantial increase in traffic is that he ignored the larger part of the equation – off-page optimization.

Based entirely on experience, I would say that your page’s search rankings are influenced about 20% by your on-page optimization and around 80% by off-page optimization.

Another experience-based observation is that Google judges you by the company that you keep. For search engine purposes, the company you keep is defined by the pages you link to, as well as the pages that link back to you.

As an example, if a website that focused on performance auto parts has an incoming link from a NASCAR team site or Road & Track magazine, that site should have a pretty good ranking. On the other hand, if most of the links to that site are from BobsAutoSalvage.com or RentAWreck.nz, the site may actually drop significantly in Google rankings because of the company it keeps.

Regardless of whether your site sells fine furniture, offers free car insurance quotes, or advocates for clean drinking water, off-page optimization is incredibly important if you intend to rank well for highly competitive keywords. Of course, those highly competitive keywords aren’t the only ones people use, so off-page optimization should not be your only focus.

I’ll go so far as to say that about 80% of your time ought to be spent on off-page optimization. However, if your webpage isn’t in good shape to begin with, Google won’t even have a place to start when ranking your page.

On-Page Optimizing – Making the Most of Traffic Patterns

In the world of Search Engine Optimization, there are two primary means for improving your Google rankings. The one that delivers the best improvement is establishing quality backlinks, but this can also be very labor intensive. Another way to do the job is to actually direct traffic to your website by providing your readers with quality content and a properly optimized web page.

This second type of on-page optimizing is often referred to as gathering low-lying fruit. When picking fruit in an orchard, the low lying fruit won’t represent the bulk of the crop, but it’s easy to get hold of, and a guy could live on it if he had to.

There are three tasks that you should pay attention to when optimizing your webpage;

●      correctly placing keywords

●      fully describing the page

●      providing quality content

In case you aren’t sure about any of these tasks, I’ve outlined them below.

The Key to Keyword Placement

Your targeted keyword should always be in the title of your page. This will not only alert the search engine to the content of your page, but it will also give potential visitors a good clue about the content of your page.

The same keyword should also be in the first or second paragraph. This makes it easier for the search engine to establish that your title actually matches your text. It also will help you stay on topic in the critical first few paragraphs of your page.

Page Descriptions – A Virtual Welcome Mat

Another thing you should include in your opening paragraphs is a detailed description of the article.  Folks who haven’t been trained to write military briefings or newspaper articles will not naturally summarize the article in the first paragraph, but if you can do it, you should.

A good meta description will do the same job, by the way. Meta descriptions not only tell Google what your page is about, but they also clue researchers into your page content, which could potentially drive extra traffic to your site.

One example of a good description for a weight loss site would be “Practical advice for eating right and exercising, consumer reviews for Medifast, Weight Watchers and Jenny Craig products, as well as up-to-date information on the newest dietary supplements.” This would be a very awkward first paragraph, but as a meta description, it just shines.

Quality Content Leads to Quantities of Traffic

The most effective means of on-page optimization is simply writing a quality article. If your article is informative, entertaining, and meant to be read by humans and not just search engines, you will have people actually clicking on your website and spending time there.

Properly written articles will rank very well for the less competitive, long tail keyword phrases, and this translates into web page traffic every time. For example, the weight loss site mentioned above is a fairly small site with only 23 pages, but it brings in traffic from over 1500 keywords, most of which are very low-use phrases. You could consider that kind of traffic as a reward for writing good content.

Traffic Plus Backlinks Equal Gallons of Google Juice

If you’ve optimized your website correctly both on-page and off-page, you’ll be able to benefit from both a solid stream of traffic and some well-placed backlinks. The happy result of this killer combination is enough Google Juice to give your site the ranking it deserves.

The best example I can offer of Google juice at its best is my own experience. Because my articles are meticulously optimized on-page and off-page, my websites have very good Google rankings. When I post a podcast, the only thing on the page is a very large audio file. No keywords, no meta descriptions, no titles or sub-titles.

Despite a complete lack of optimizable material, these pages still rank on page one, simply because they have my domain name attached.

The next time you find yourself adding content to your fantasy football site or a site that offers auto insurance quotes online or one that sells antique alarm clocks, you should remember two things. Off-page optimization will help you compete for more popular keywords, while on-page optimization results in more traffic from less competitive search terms. Consequently, you’ll want to have both types of optimization for your website to rank well.

That’s been my experience, anyway… how about yours? Comments are always welcome, so take advantage of the comment box below.

About the Author

Jason Monroe is one of the young guns in affiliate marketing loving life in his mid-twenties with all the luxuries that come from being single. Being an avid football player through college gave birth to his love for the NFL as he continues to fuel his football passion watching weekend games with his friends. When football isn’t on, you can often find Jason researching classic cars, preferably the Camaro SS, in car magazines and online. But even this young gun knows how to get serious when it comes to affiliate marketing, a career that was born from his innate tendency to be a research hound, a knowledge that shows through his success online.

PostHeaderIcon Publishing for Beginners

This is a guest post by Dee Mason, a writer at money.co.uk.

In some respects, it is not that difficult to get published these days. Platforms such as Google Blogger offer multiple opportunities for newbie writers and seasoned professionals to let their writing voice get heard. Ordinarily, when a novelist has a book to publish, he or she hires a literary agent. That agent then peddles the book around to various publishers in the hope of hitting the jackpot. This does still happen, of course, but it is not always the only way to get your story out there.

Online Selling

Amazon offers various self-publishing options — each at a cost — for anyone who has a book they want to sell. Amazon’s options are based on the Kindle e-book reader and other creative measures to design your own paperback book. The downside of these options is that Amazon does take a sizeable chunk of the profits and it would mean you having to selling thousands of books to break even.

You can self-publish your own work in paperback form with ‘print on demand’ (or POD) publishing, with LuLu.com being one of the more renowned services. This does cost quite a bit of money, and there is no guarantee that you will sell your entire stock. If you do choose the self-publishing route, find a book printer who will offer you the best options. Most of them will offer a sliding scale, whereby you purchase 100 books at a certain cost, but 200 would work out cheaper. Do plenty research before you commit to one particular printer.  As much as it’s a great feeling to have your name on the front of a book, going down this route to make it a reality can be a real blow to your credit card.

Web Logs

Web Logs, or Blogs, as they are better known by, are a great way of getting yourself out there and noticed. Having your own blog gives you the opportunity to voice your thoughts, share your opinions and exhibit excerpts from your novel or poetry collection. You can add a synopsis or a whole chapter and then offer it for sale, either by e-book or printed version. Again, caution here. Unless you get a substantial order for printed copies, it might be better to stick to e-book methods, such as .txt files or .pdf files. These are the most common kinds of file that are viewable on most e-readers, but do your research.

Your blog can also be a way to make money. Offering links to other writer’s pages can help you network. A web-ring is like a mini network, where one link leads to another appropriate site, linking back to yours. If you find that other writers’ want to network with your blog you can then offer adverts and banner space at a small cost. Also, offering banner space to promote products or services might bring in some cash. This won’t rake in millions of dollars, but it will give you enough to maintain your site or hire a designer to get it noticed. Having a link to PayPal is also a good option. If you self-publish using your blog site, you will need to offer people a way to pay you securely and for that, Pay Pal is the best option.

Freelancing

One way to increase the size of your portfolio and your experience as a writer is to do freelance work. This can be found on various sites by doing a simple search using Bing or Google. Join a freelance site and get as much advice and experience as you can. Not all professional journalists went to school to get a journalistic degree. Some people just begin at the bottom and work up.

They say that everyone has enough life experience to create a book. This is true of most things, and a word of good advice is to always write about what you know. You don’t have to be a complete specialist in a subject, but so long as you have a healthy interest and are willing to do your research, you will find that writing about any subject becomes easier.

Articles for blog and DIY sites are a good way to get yourself published as a newbie. Always use the spell check and follow the site’s instructions on how they prefer their articles to be written. There are such writing methods as ‘active voice’ and ‘passive voice’. If I am telling you to do something in instruction form, my active voice will offer you a step-by-step guide, which will help you complete a specific task. My words will be active and instructive, like telling you to ‘press’ ‘push’ ‘turn’ ‘screw’ ‘hammer’, and so on.

Tips and Advice

If I am writing a story or novel, it is usually written in the third person, passive voice, unless dialog is required. The main bulk of the story is to convey a series of images, emotions and situations to the reader, to keep them engaged throughout the whole story. Test your story on friends and family, but do not take everything they say as gospel. Friends and family will love and support you, but they may not want to hurt your feelings by being over critical. This is where other writer’s come in handy. They can offer an unbiased critic to quality assure
your work and offer you positive and constructive feedback.

PostHeaderIcon Laughing Out Loud

By Jael Strong

 “Phil, really, you had to know this might happen.  This is what happens with relationships.  They might work out or they might end.  And we’re ending. I’m sorry.”  Phil Lytton sat on the couch next to his fiancée, newly-created-ex-fiancée, Becky Kaiser.  She smiled.  “You could hardly support a family.  Phil, you work at a pizza shop.”  This was a job that Phil was quite happy with.  He liked sitting in his rusty red car eating day-old pizza during his ten minute breaks.  But she laughed.  And he really did love her smile and her laugh.

Becky looked at her watch.  Phil didn’t like watches.  So he never wore one.  Becky always wore her watch, and always stared at it.  Phil really did love her watch too.  He just didn’t want to wear it.

 “Can you excuse me for a second?”  Phil left Becky sitting on the couch as he made his way through his tiny apartment.  He felt his hands shake and his stomach turn as he walked away from her.  If he was that kind of man, he would have taken his fifty-cent-yard-sale lamp and thrown it at her.  Instead he made his way swiftly and quietly to the only room he could feel alone, the bathroom.  He cursed his big feet as he heard them booming through the three rooms that made up his home. He came to the bathroom and locked the door behind him.

Phil Lytton was angry.  His muscles bulged from the pushups he did every morning, but now they twitched from irritation.  His eyes stung him.  He blinked tears away and wedged himself tightly between the walls of the small bath room.  He dug his long nails into the palm of his hands until the nails broke the skin.  The pain shook him.  Phil Lytton felt a fiery fury breaking inside, under his pale skin.

A red dot on the white wall caught Phil’s eye.  A tiny red beetle with perfect black spots was crawling across his bathroom wall. Phil stopped shaking and got closer to the beautiful creature.  Phil’s grandmother used to get a certain pleasure out of smashing insects, but Phil was horrified by that practice.  He loved insects.  He loved beetles.  He loved this smooth red ruby walking on his walls.  It reminded him of ice cream, which he also loved.  It made him forget that he was trapped in a small bathroom, in a small apartment.  It was a beautiful bug.

Phil Lytton wrapped his large right hand around his left shoe, never taking is eyes off of the beetle.  He untied his shoe, and slipped it off of his big foot.  Phil lifted the shoe above his head.  He stared at the moving red dot on his wall.  Phil shocked himself when he heard the wall crunch as he crushed the beetle beneath his shoe.  The beetle, ugly and crippled, stuck to his clean wall.  Phil stared at the bug, then his shoe, then at the bug parts again.

Phil Lytton started to laugh.  His thin frame shook inside his baggy red shirt and beige pants. His stomach jiggled.  He put his hand over his mouth to keep the sound in.  His light brown hair fell over his eyes as he convulsed with laughter.  It was a bug after all and that is what happens with bugs.  They either live outside or they come in and get crushed.  And this one got crushed.  When he thought of this, Phil Lytton laughed.  And Phil Lytton loved to laugh.  On the couch, two rooms away, Becky Kaiser, sitting solemnly and staring at her watch, looked up when she heard Phil Lytton laughing out loud.

About the Author
Jael Strong is a writer for TheWriteBloggers, a company dedicated to creating professional blogging content for increased internet visibility.

PostHeaderIcon Lunch With Abuela

by Jael Strong

“I want to play the video games, abuela,”  Miguel said as the hostess called them to their table.

“You can call me grandma,” said Birdie as she pulled Miguel away from the orange rifles dangling from the game machines.

“Papa told me that you are abuela.”  They were seated within direct eyesight of the games and Miguel could only stare longingly as every other child dropped endless quarters in the slots.

“Can you imagine, Daisy?  Telling him to call me abuela,”  said Birdie to her sister.  Daisy shook her head from side to side disapprovingly.  Turning her attention to Miguel, Birdie tussled with his hair as she told him, “I am not Hispanic young man.  You may call me grandma.”

Miguel slumped his shoulders and fingered the menu, but his eyes drifted always to the game room and the orange rifles.  The other boys laughed heartily every time they blasted the guns. 

“Have you picked what you want to eat?”  Birdie asked, but Miguel didn’t answer.  “How about dessert, if you’re not hungry for any real food?”

Miguel liked the idea of dessert, a moist chocolate cake with ice cream, but he still said nothing.    He could only gawk at the other boys having a good time, wishing he was one of them. 

“He’s not listening to you, Birdie.  His mind is only on that stupid shoot ‘em up game,”  Daisy laughed.

“Is that what you are thinking about Miguel?”  Birdie asked.

Miguel didn’t have a chance to respond.  Daisy interjected, “That’s all he’s thought about since we got here.  Let me give him a quarter for the game.”  She rifled through her purse. 

Miguel hungrily waited for his liberation from the old women, but grandma would not have it.  “Don’t give him a quarter!”  she snapped. “Let him stay here so that we can get to know him better. Daisy, put your money away.”

Miguel fell back into his seat as if those orange rifles had been aimed at his chest and the other children had opened fire.  Daisy spoke up for the boy.  “Birdie!  He wants to play.  He probably played those games with his father all the time.  Don’t they like those kinds of shoot ’em up games?  That’s why the crime rate is so high.” 

 Miguel glared now at the old aunt, but she adjusted her napkin and smiled, happy that she could come to his defense.  Miguel opened his mouth and his dark cheeks grew crimson as he prepared a barrage of complaints for Daisy’s ears.  Birdie recognized that murky expression and intervened.  “Relax child we’re not talking badly of your father.”

“She acts like he’s a scoundrel or a bad man.”  His chin began to quiver.

“That’s a big word for a little boy,”  Birdie laughed.

“Stop laughing at me!”  Miguel was getting loud.

“Relax child!  Don’t listen to Daisy.  She doesn’t know eggs from rocks.  I’ll tell you a secret though.”  Birdie leaned in close to Miguel while Daisy took her turn at glaring.

Miguel didn’t say anything, but watched intensely as his grandmother opened her purse and revealed a black shiny handgun.  Miguel instinctively reached for the grip, only to have it yanked away by his grandmother.

“Are you crazy?”  She smiled.  “Do you want to get me arrested?  That’s not a toy.”

Daisy frowned contemptuously.  Birdie smiled. Miguel sat back and listened to his grandmother speak.  The tales unfolded while he chomped on his burger and fries and then his chocolate cake and ice cream.  Miguel, so mesmerized by his gun-toting abuela, didn’t notice the orange rifles dangling unoccupied in the game room.   “When I was a child,“ said Birdie, her eyes going wild as she spoke, dancing from object to object, not really focusing on any one thing. “My grandfather took me to the field in the back of his property and we shot at trees.  When they come to steal my wallet, I’ll yank it out and that’ll be that.  They best not try to hijack this old lady‘s car or climb through my window in the middle of the night.  I’ll take aim with my wrinkled hand and fight ’til my last bullet is spent.   Boy, I won’t be taken down easy.  Pow!”

About the Author
Jael Strong is a writer for TheWriteBloggers, a company dedicated to creating professional blogging content for increased internet visibility.

PostHeaderIcon Train Whistle Blowing

by Jael Strong

I know the sound of a train whistle blowing.  I have always known that sound. As a child, I would sit quietly in a hot bath and listen to the distant cry of the engine as it passed along the river, through our town. At any moment, I can close my eyes and hear that sound.

My sister, Minerva, doesn’t know the sound of a train whistle blowing.  She doesn’t know any sound.  When she was just a baby, the fever came and burned through her, leaving her deaf.  She can close her eyes, but I don’t know what she hears.

We were all desperate for Minerva to hear.  My father stared at her when she was small, imagining that if he worked hard enough he could buy her ears to hear with.  He worked longer and longer until he worked so hard that he died at the age of fifty-two.  My mother channeled her desperation differently, teaching Minerva to be practical, to achieve an inconspicuous life in which perhaps no one would notice that she was deaf. 

I loved Minerva, and I only wanted her to hear the trains pass because I could hear them and I loved hearing them.  So, when I would hear the train chugging, I knew the whistle blow was fast approaching. I would rush to Minerva’s side, and as the train would blow I would blow a gust of air into Minerva’s face.  She would giggle and laugh, as baby’s do, as I tried to make her hear the howling of the train.  Everyday, I did this.  And as she grew older and began to walk, I would walk with her along the tracks so that she could see the machine that made such a gust of wind, and know the sound of the train as it passed.

I kept this ritual for many years, until the odd stares of passersby made me stop. Minerva was old enough too to notice the stares, but it didn’t matter.  When she saw the train, she would wait for my warm breath to wash over her.  Her blonde curls would bounce in the wind and a smile would spread across her face as the train whistle warbled in my ears and I passed the sensation on to her. It was a melancholy time when I became too self-observed to hear the train for my sister.

When Minerva was fourteen, she decided that she was going to become a starving artist.  From then forward, my mother and I would find odd items strewn about, splashed with red paint or slashed with a carvers blade.  Minerva would set these on display in the front yard for the neighbors to ogle and hopefully buy. 

My mother wholeheartedly disapproved of Minerva’s choice to be a starving artist.  I could see what she felt, a gnawing feeling that the world would not support a deaf  artist.  Or worse than that, Minerva might not hear the jeers of the world.  Or worst of all, the world might see that she was a deaf, starving artist.  The battles between them were dark and loud, but Minerva couldn’t hear them and I hid from them, drowning them out by immersing myself in the rumble of the passing train.  I felt that I should help Minerva to hear the train, to distract her, but I was confidant by then that she no longer had any interest in the long, loud whistle of the train.

It wasn’t too much later, when she was barely sixteen, that Minerva took off with Peter, the charming and rustic twenty-something neighborhood boy.  He bought a broken down camper that announced itself soundly whenever he approached, and one day he drove up to the front of the house, Minerva ran out with a small bag of her belongings, and they disappeared.  Regret filled the intervening years between Minerva’s disappearance and the eventual letters that she sent.  The silence made me lonely and my mother quite old.

I imagined Minerva often during those years trying to understand the world around her.  Peter, despite great intentions, wouldn‘t know how to help.  She wouldn’t hear the clinking of glasses or the crashing of colliding cars.  A blaring horn would be lost on her.  I saw Minerva clearly lost in the mayhem of a chaotic, clamoring world.

When Minerva’s first letter arrived, I was terrified of opening it, and for a long time it stayed in the pocket of my jacket.  Then, one day, I sat alone in the house, and I opened Minerva’s letter.  As I read, I could feel the train chugging toward us and anticipated the whistle blow that I had never stopped loving. They had traveled all of those interposing years throughout the country, camping at times, renting at others, and so often sleeping on the side of the road in the back of the camper.  She loved the sight of the stars away from city lights, and she loved the smell of the ethnic foods mingling in the city, but she loved most, she said, riding on the open roads in between.  There, as Peter drove along, she would put her head out of the window and feel the wind flow over her, and as she would close her eyes she could hear the sound of a train whistle blowing.

About the Author
Jael Strong is a writer for TheWriteBloggers, a company dedicated to creating professional blogging content for increased internet visibility.

PostHeaderIcon Developing Your Voice as a Professional Writer

This is a guest post by Jeremy Fordham.  Thanks, Jeremy, for your great contribution!

When you dive into a book by your favorite author, you usually have an idea of what to expect from it even before you read the first sentence. This is because authors write in ways that make their books recognizable as their own, a distinguishing characteristic called voice. This voice encompasses a writer’s particular tone and style, from the length of their sentences to their syntactical predispositions. Developing this unique voice in writing takes time and a multi-pronged approach to enhancing your use of the language in which you
write. Even accomplished scholars from Ph.D. Programs have been known to have problems developing a voice that is uniquely their own—the thesis can be real struggle for most students. But whether you want to write dissertations, small essays, poetry, blogs or novels, your most important asset as a writer will always be your ability to distinguish yourself from the crowd: your voice.

What is Voice?

A writer’s voice is like a personality on paper. Personal beliefs, outlooks and attitudes all influence the way a writer “sounds” when telling a story or presenting information. Every writer out there, published or unpublished, has a one-of-a-kind voice that gives life and character to his or her work. Readers seek out writers whose voices engage them and make them want to read more. So not only is voice part of a writer’s identity, it’s also part of what makes the writing enjoyable to audiences young and old.

Distinctive voices are found across all genres throughout literary history. Take, for example, Joseph Heller, author of “Catch-22.” Heller’s voice relies on a rhythmic, stream-of-consciousness style and dark sense of humor to convey the serious and disturbing realities dealt with in the novel. By contrast, the work of British humorist Douglas Adams is always identifiable by its fast pace, dry wit, and amusing tangents.

Voice is equally as important when writing for a younger audience. Probably the most notable example of a unique voice in children’s literature is Dr. Seuss. No matter which Seuss story kids pick up, they know they’ll be treated to stories full of whimsical characters told in lighthearted rhymes. Even as children, readers gravitate towards writers with interesting and captivating voices.

Finding Your Voice

Chances are if you’ve written something, whether for business or for pleasure, you’ve already begun to get in touch with your writer’s voice. The way that you “talk” on paper is how your writing sounds to readers. Through this, readers can get to know you the way that they know other authors whose work they enjoy. Try imagining that you’re having a conversation with your readers and write as though you’re speaking directly to them. This gives your writing a personal touch and helps free you from the tendency to try and write everything perfectly the first time around.

If you’re having trouble hitting on what your specific voice is, give other voices a try. Pick a few authors whose work you admire and write something that imitates it. The more you experiment, the better you’ll be able to see what works for you and what doesn’t. The important thing when it comes to voice is that you’re comfortable with how you’re writing. Feeling forced or trapped leads to frustration and often produces work that sounds rigid and bland. No matter what you’re writing, you should enjoy the time that you spend on it.

Developing Your Voice

It’s often been said that the best way to learn something about writing is to write. Like most creative endeavors, writing requires practice. Yet unlike practice in other, more structured pursuits, writing allows for a great deal of experimentation. It isn’t necessary to work on full stories or articles while developing your voice. Writing short scenes, character descriptions or even lists of words that you enjoy using can all work towards pinpointing the “sound” that will be characteristic of your work.

The idea of writing for specific readers applies here as well. Though your voice is uniquely yours no matter what you’re writing, you may not always stay within the same genre or work on the same type of project. Fiction and nonfiction have different audiences, as do the sub-genres within them. People who enjoy sci-fi and fantasy may not be the same as those who enjoy romance novels. Readers of scientific books differ from those who read war histories, and so on. Keep your audience in mind as you write and focus on speaking to them through your work.

Likewise, don’t be afraid of emotions. Feeling is one of the things that contributes to a writer’s voice. If you’re working on a scene that has you laughing, crying or gasping, don’t hold back. Run with the mood and let it flow into your writing. By doing this, you bypass the inner editor that so many writers dread. Instead of worrying about how your writing sounds, you’re putting exactly what you’re thinking and feeling down on paper. When you’re truly moved by something, so will be your readers.

Never Stop Learning

Reading is an essential part of searching for and developing your voice. To be a good writer, you must be an avid reader. Everything you read is research for your own work. When you’re enjoying a novel, take the time to ask yourself what you like about the writer’s tone, style and approach to the story. If a news article inspires you, study the elements that you like best. By taking the time to pay attention to the things about other writer’s voices that engage you as a reader, you’ll gain valuable tools for use in your own writing.

Whether you’re aiming to write light-hearted children’s books or analytical articles filled with hard facts, having a unique, recognizable voice is an important part of your work.
Voice identifies a piece as yours and draws in readers. Once you establish your voice, you’ll find that writing comes more easily, goes more smoothly and is more enjoyable overall.

PostHeaderIcon Five Proofreading Tools and How to Use Them Effectively

This is a guest post by Randall Davidson.  Thank you for this informative post!

Understanding the tools of the trade can make a significant difference in the quality of proofreading and the results produced. Proofreading tools can make finding errors and inconsistencies much easier and more convenient; however, overreliance on automated software processes can be counterproductive and may allow errors to go undetected and uncorrected. These proofreading tools are intended to provide supplemental assistance when checking documents and should not be substitutes  for the assistance of a trained proofreading professional.

Five of the most useful proofreading tools are discussed below.

  1. Spell check. The first line of defense in finding spelling errors, spell check software is usually limited to the vocabulary included in its initial programming along with any words added by the end user. At best, these programs can detect typographical errors and common misspellings; however, if words are added to the custom dictionary in error, then even these functions may be compromised, rendering the automated spell check useless for most practical purposes. While spell check functions are useful as a first line of defense, they should not be relied upon as an authoritative source of information on proper spelling.
  2. Grammar check. The limitations of spell checking software programs are echoed in the grammar check tool that is also included in most word processing programs. The most commonly available grammar check programs tend to present a large number of false positives. These can create confusion for less
    experienced proofreaders and may even cause errors that otherwise could have been avoided. Proofreading professionals often ignore the grammar check function
    altogether in favor of manually checking the document to avoid these exact situations.
  3. Thesaurus. One of the most useful proofreading tools, a thesaurus can provide alternate word choices when a word in a document conveys the author’s message unclearly.  Proofreaders can find the exact meaning of an unfamiliar word using a dictionary and then can clarify the passage using a thesaurus.
  4. Google. Google’s search engine is a valuable resource for proofreaders. Unfamiliar words can be checked and the suggested spellings can be evaluated in order to determine the proper spelling and capitalization of unusual words and proper nouns, allowing authors and proofreaders to proceed with confidence.
  5. Professional proofreading. The role of a professional proofreading company in producing high quality results should not be overlooked. Even the most talented writers can benefit from  allowing a professional firm to examine their work and suggest spelling and grammatical corrections. In many cases, a professional proofreader can be one of the most time and cost effective proofreading tools for small businesses and independent authors alike.

About Randall Davidson

As a co-founder of ProofreadingServices.Us, an innovative proofreading services company based in San Francisco, CA, Randall Davidson is committed to helping business people, academics and individuals present themselves as effectively as possible. As an entrepreneur, Randall knows the importance of precision when
producing documents for public consumption.  Randall works to provide others with the tools and information they need to produce flawless documents.  He does this through the informative articles he writes for the ProofreadingServices.Us blog and other popular websites as well as through the affordable professional
proofreading
services that his company provides.

PostHeaderIcon Social Commentary In Fiction

By Jael Strong

“Little Pill” is my take on the prolific over-medication of children.  This isn’t one of my favorite stories, but it is indicative of how our writing is informed by our beliefs.  Even when we are desperately trying to divorce our work from our convictions, our convictions will bleed through.  Why not embrace them? 

Artists use their creation as their voice.  Even the most disturbing topics allow for the expression of a stand or belief.  Combining those convictions with quality writing that is also engaging can be very gratifying and permits the writer to indulge in a bit of social commentary to boot.  Ultimately, a social stand is a great springboard for any artistic endeavor.

About the Author
Jael Strong is a writer for TheWriteBloggers, a company dedicated to creating professional blogging content for increased internet visibility.

PostHeaderIcon Little Pill

By Jael Strong

Mama is trying to kill me.  I think so.  She gives me this thing. She says I have to take it to get better.  I’m not sick. 

I say, “So I can be a good boy?”

She says, “Yeah.”

I say, “If I’m a bad boy, I have to take this?”

She says, “Sort of.”  I don’t know what that means. 

“So, if I’m good, I don’t have to take it?”  That pill makes me sick.  I’m gonna throw up.

“The doctor says you should take it.”

“‘Cause you tell him I’m bad?”

“No.  Because you’re a little bit over active.  You’re sick, not bad.”

I don’t feel sick.

Mama says, “It’ll calm you down and we can have a nice time.”

I don’t feel like doing anything when I take this medicine, only like not moving.

“Tommy doesn’t take this.”

She says, “Tommy’s not sick.  He doesn’t have to.”

“Tommy does what you tell him to do?”

“A lot of the time, but so do you.  Sometimes you don’t because you’re so hyper.”           

 I’m a viper?  “I’m sick, so I should take this?”         

  “Yes.  So, take it now so that we can have a good time.”

 “If I take this, we’ll have a good time?”

 “Yes, but not until you take it.”  She is standing over me and I put it in my mouth, the medicine.

“I’ll take it now then.  Where’s my water?”

“In my hand.”

“Then we can have a good time?  Maybe go to the park?”

“After you nap.  Take the pill, then go sleep on the couch. Then when you get up maybe we’ll go to the park.”

I swallow the pill and go sleep on the couch.  I fall asleep fast.  I think it’s killing me.  It’s like that.  I think mama wants it to be like that.

About the Author
Jael Strong is a writer for TheWriteBloggers, a company dedicated to creating professional blogging content for increased internet visibility.

PostHeaderIcon Liberate Your Writing

By Jael Strong

I love the story “Worms”, but I readily recognize that it will not be everybody’s favorite.  Why do I love it?  Because it is unrestrained.  The subject matter is a bit unusual and the way the story is told isn’t middle of the road either.  When I wrote this story, I wasn’t worried that readers might find it strange; in fact, I was more concerned that they would find it “normal”.

The story started as an exploration of loss.  I could have written a story about a man who lost his family, either through divorce or death. Instead I chose a more surreal approach.  I chose to write without dialogue and purposefully selected strange imagery.  In the end, I felt good about my writing.

When writing fiction, it is a good idea to strive to love what  you are writing, rather than writing strictly for the reader.  A good exercise as a fiction writer is to write outlandishly.  Pick a topic, perhaps even a topic that has been done to death, and then do it differently.  Use disturbing images, unusual language, unique styles.  Write how you want to write without concern for whether it will be accepted.