I thought I was a reasonably competent writer. I have always loved words—both written and spoken, and I grew up loving grammar. The teachers often called on me to go to the board and diagram a sentence. I never, ever let a participle dangle and ending a sentence with a preposition was a definite no-no. I have written to this blog for ten years and had a good response. So why was I having trouble with the blog now and why was I spending so much time editing articles by guest contributors? The real question turned out to be, “Why wasn’t I using Grammarly?”
Here’s the story
As an adult, I did a moderate amount of writing—for my job, for business, and for my husband who was in politics. But it wasn’t until I started The Self Improvement Blog in 2007 that I began to write on a regular basis. In those early days, I tried to publish something every day, and it was easy to whip something up quickly and post it. The blog grew fast, and it soon had 100,000+ visits each month.
Fast forward to 2017, and the picture changed. There is lots of competition now, and I found my blog moving down the list of “best” self-improvement sites until it disappeared altogether. Blogging had changed, but I had not. The Self Improvement Blog was stagnant. In addition, Google’s requirements became much more stringent and the emphasis moved from quantity to quality. Links and social media became critical to ranking and having a wider web presence became essential. I was way behind the power curve in all of it. The blog needed to be rebuilt from the ground up.
Concurrently, two other things were happening. I began receiving two or three requests a day from writers who wanted to write as guest contributors. Most of their articles had errors in punctuation and grammar and needed editing. Those who had English as a second language needed extra help. And I discovered typos and grammatical errors in my earlier articles when I began to edit them for Search Engine Optimization (SEO) purposes. These two efforts led to one conclusion: we all needed help with punctuation and grammar.
A friend recommended Grammarly, and I resisted. “No computer program can fix it,” I argued.
Later, remembering my favorite Tony Robbins quote, “Nothing changes if nothing changes,” I downloaded the free version of Grammarly and vowed to keep an open mind. I also checked out all the other grammar-checking software programs I could find. Grammarly seemed to have everything I needed.
To my surprise, it was easy to install, easy to learn and it far outdistanced my expectations.
I expected it to take care of commas and spelling, and keep subjects and verbs in agreement. And I expected it to tell me when a sentence was really out of whack. It did those things. But I had a delightful surprise when it gave me suggestions for word substitutions that genuinely enhanced my articles and again when it alerted me that I was writing in passive voice. However, the icing on the cake was that Grammarly detects plagiarism—something that is always a concern when accepting guest articles. I was convinced.
But the “good stuff” does not stop there. I have a habit of rushing through email and dashing off a response without proofing it before I hit “send.” In its own words, Grammarly says to me, “Hey, not so fast. Let’s fix it before you send it.” It has saved me from a few embarrassing email moments.
Here’s what happened
The more I used it, the more pleased I became. And the more pleased I became, the harder I worked to get perfect articles. I started using it on my postings and soon incorporated the guest articles as well. After correcting the errors in their articles, I sent reports to the guest authors on the changes and corrections I had to make, and I began to recommend the program to them.
I upgraded to premium.
During this time, I had the blog rebuilt, and within the first week, the number of requests to write guest articles jumped to an all-time high. However, the quality of the materials did not. So, I did two things: I rewrote the guidelines for article submission, and I began returning articles that needed “fixing”—in both I recommended that they use Grammarly.
The change is remarkable.
- I use a program for the blog that rates the articles for both readability and SEO. Before Grammarly, I had to do some lengthy revisions to achieve top readability on guest articles—and sometimes for my articles as well. With clear guidelines and improved grammar and punctuation, most of the articles now pass on the first try saving me a significant amount of time.
- Visitors to the blog are staying longer and clicking on more articles. I believe it is because the reader is no longer distracted by errors, thus making the articles more readable and more enjoyable.
- The blog is inching back up in the rankings, and I am looking forward to being at the top of the self-improvement, personal-growth websites again.
- As more guest contributors use Grammarly, I know I can expect to receive an increasing number of guest articles that are “good to go” for ranking and readability.
I just finished this article and Grammarly told me, “No issues found.” How cool is that? It also got a “go” in readability and SEO.
I encourage all of you who are bloggers and guest bloggers to use Grammarly.
I invite those of you who want to send me a guest article, to download Grammarly here and send me your perfect article.
Disclosure: This post contains an affiliate link, which means I may receive a commission. Clicking the links won’t cost you any extra money, but they will help keep this site up and running. Trying Grammarly won’t cost you, either. Thank you so much for trusting me and for ordering something that makes it easier for you and for me to be the best bloggers around.