Creating interesting content is just one step of the blogging process. Having a handy blog post checklist will definitely help.
But do you know how to make sure that your blog post is ready to be published?
I will be sharing the essential actions to take on each and every blog post before you hit publish, and I have even created a blog post checklist just for you.
I have to confess, that I never used to do these when I first started blogging.
I was just so keen to hit that publish button, that I totally missed out some of these vital steps.
I have had to go back to each of those blog posts to make sure that they have all these important areas completed. It sure was a lot of hard work!! I want to save you the headache of that.
You can download my handy blog post checklist at the end.
What do you need to check on your blog post before you hit publish
1. Start at the top. Does Your Post Title Speak To You?
Your blog post title is your front door. Have you taken care to paint it, clean it and make it look welcoming?
Can someone enter easily and know what they will find behind that door?
Will your blog post title encourage your reader enough to click through to read what you have to say?
That is why you need to start at the top. That all important blog post title.
I cannot stress enough checking your blog post title.
What makes a good title you may be asking?
You should make sure that your title has two things.
Firstly, that it includes your focus keyword.
Secondly, that you are using key phrases that entice without being salesy. The title should connect to your readers emotions. It should give a description of what they can expect in the blog post.
You can use a headline checker to try to come up with an interesting but catchy title.
I use Tweak your biz and co schedule headline analyser
For example, the title on this post could have been simply “What to do on every post before you publish ”
I mean that tells you what to expect, it contains the keywords, but let’ s be honest, it is not that interesting.
I added in some urgency and also emotions.
I added an emotive word “essential ” — this tells the reader these things are important, they will then want to know if they are doing these on their blog post.
I added the number 13 — this tells the reader, it is a list post, things they can check off before publishing.
I added in an action “hit ” — before you hit publish, this allows the reader to imagine themselves hitting publish and maybe wondering if they have all the items on the checklist completed.
And finally, I added that there is a Free Blog Post Checklist — we all love free and anything that makes life easier right.
2. Make Sure That Your Blog Post is SEO Friendly
Make sure that your keywords are in these key places.
In the url, in the title and in your meta description.
Make sure that your keywords are sprinkled throughout your post, just enough but not too many. You want to write your post for a human, but you want your post to be understood by the search engine as well.
It is a balancing act and I use a great tool called Yoast SEO to help make sure that each post is SEO optimised.
If you have not installed Yoast SEO, it is a wordpress plugin (they have a paid version as well, but the Free works just as good when you are starting out).
If you have not started your blog yet, then get my Free step by step guide
3. Keep Sentences, Short, Simple and Easy to Read
Let’ s face it, most people have little time. At most they are going to skim through the post to see if it has any value. If it is difficult to read with long sentences that they have to figure out. They are going to leave as fast as they arrived, which is not great for your bounce rate.
Again, Yoast is great at helping you analyse if your writing is reader friendly.
Yoast gives you suggestions such as:-
-Keeping sentences under 20 words long
-Using Transition words like these : —
as a result,
that is to say,
in other words,
on the other hand,
in the same vein.
These transition words help to join up your paragraphs and help your reader to understand the flow of your writing much better.
–Write with your reader in mind. Use buzz words. They will carry emotion and help your reader understand the topic. But try to avoid clichÃ© and abbreviations, these can disrupt your writing flow.
4. Make Your Content Clear by Using Sub Headings
This point follows on from the one above, readers are skimmers. They want everything laid out in an easy to read format. Just think, how to make your content as easy for your reader as possible.
Headings are great for SEO but they also keep your content clear and in sections that allows for easy scanning.
Let’ s just be clear here with regard to using headings or H1,H2, H3 tags. You should only have one heading that uses an H1 tag — that is your title.
The next heading should be your H2 heading. The H2 should be similar to your title and include your keywords but change it around a bit.
After this you should use H3 and H4 headings to space out and structure your blog post. These will keep your post clear and easy to scan.
You should try to keep the content between subheadings short.
Yoast recommends that there are no more than 300 words between each sub heading.
This gives you a clue as to how much information a reader will take in when they glace through your blog post.
If your content is long and has no breaks, they cannot easily digest it all.
Sub headings help your reader, to break down your content and understand how it will benefit them.
Basically, what I am saying is don’ t make it hard for your reader.
If you are not sure how to use Header tags, then I recommend this 30 day SEO training which at the time of writing was 100% FREE.
5. Add Your Meta Description
I know that some of these may seem rather tedious. Afterall you just want to get out there and post your blog post.
But trust me if you take the time to go through these important tasks now, it will help your blog post rankings in the future.
The meta description is the piece of text that you will see when your site shows up in the search engine.
You should definitely use your keywords and key phrases in the meta description. It is the text that will encourage your reader to click further to read your blog post.
Here are some examples of what the meta description will look like on a desktop google search.
As you can see, in this search for “blog post checklist ”,
Wix provides steps to encourage you to come and find out more.
WordPress blogger tells you that there are 10 things and starts giving you the first few, if you want to know more then you will know what to do. (click on the title of course, but you knew that!!)
I hope so far you are getting some food for thought and thinking more about crafting out your meta description. Still not sure how to write a good meta description, then this is something that is discussed in the SEO training but I also wrote a blog post on how to SEO your content in 5 easy steps
6. Let’ s Talk About Images
A blog post without a single image is like watching a sunset with your eyes closed. It’ s boring and dull.
Please make sure that you have images in your blog post.
Let’ s start with the featured image.
This needs to be horizontal and related to the blog post you are talking about.
At first, I wanted to use featured images of mums and children. As this is what my website is appealing to. But these images did not always make sense with the content. I have started to move away from using these type of images but trying to keep them consistent and in line with my blog theme. Now I try to find a featured image that reflects what the blog post is talking about, I still have women and children whenever it makes sense to do so.
Throughout the blog post, you will want to have images that reflect the content as well.
For example, when you are taking about a blog checklist, then find an image about blogging, a checklist or something related to this and which reflects your content.
Not sure whare to get images, I shared some useful places in this blog post
A final thing that bloggers forget to do, and I hold my hands up as guilty in the beginning, I made so many mistakes when I first started blogging, make sure that you add alt tags to your images.
What is alt text?
Alt text is for visually impaired and gives your image a bit more juice, as it will explain what the image is. It is also important that you add your keywords in the alt tag as well.
7. Create Pin Images
Even if you do not do a lot on Pinterest, (and I think you are missing out if you are not).
I would suggest that you have at least a couple of images for each blog post that are Pinterest ready.
This will enable readers to share your content on Pinterest.
Here’ s a pin I created for this post.
It means that the blog post checklist can be shared and also make the content that much more interesting.
If you want to know how to get your Pinterest account set up, then you will find all you need here.
8. Linking to past posts
This is one that many forget to do in their rush to hit publish.
Each post you write should be linked to past content. It will make mention of a topic or something that you wrote about in the past. You should create an internal link to that content. This keeps old posts fresh, when readers click to read them. It also keeps readers on your site longer, as they click between different pages to read more.
9. Linking to external sources
This is another trick that many new bloggers miss. They think that readers should only stay on their site, and yes you want this to happen, but when you are starting out you don’ t have all the answers. Referring to external sources who do, will give your blog post credibility.
Link the text that is related and make sure that it opens in another window. This means that your reader stays with your site open and can come back too what you are saying, if they decide to click away and read the source you are referring to.
10. PROOFREAD , PROOFREAD and PROOFREAD
I have said that three times because I cannot stress it enough. But proofreading is not easy when you have written the content. Often you read what you think you have written, especially when you have read through it a couple of times, Often you cannot see the errors any longer. The first thing to do is use a checker like Grammarly. Grammarly will point out the spellings, but also the grammar mistakes.
It’s not always right, and you will need to check the suggestions it is making, afterall it is just a tool, but it can help you to ensure that your content is clear and has no spelling and grammar errors.
There’ s nothing worse when reading content and seeing an error.
I know that you are probably scanning this for errors to see if I take my own advice. If you do come across any please let me know. Like I said sometimes we are human and we don’ t always spot things when we have worked on it for a while.
I do try and do two things to try to counterbalance this.
Once I have written the first draft, I put it away for a couple of days. This means my brain forgets what it thinks it has written. When, I come back and read the blog post again. I often spot a few more errors.
The second thing I do is once I have published the content.
I read this on a different device and read it out loud. I often come across a couple more minor errors.
Of course you can always use an editing service or Fiverr to have someone proofread your blog posts.
11. Your call to action
You don’ t always have to sell something in your blog post, but you should always try to encourage user engagement. This could be something simple such as inviting them to comment with their own tips, or which action they have put into place.
Asking people to do this, encourages action and you want them to do anything even if this is a just a comment.
12. Add a Freebie
I have only just started to add this to the end of blog posts. It is a great way to give away something for free and who doesn’ t love a free checklist or printable.
It does take more time to create a more eye catching printable but it is so totally worth taking that extra time to do so. If you want to know how to create printables then I recommend Blog by Number
As a parting gift, I put all of these points into a checklist that you can print out and refer to whenever you write a blog post. You can download the blog post checklist right here or by clicking the image below.
13 Does Your Post Add Value
We are onto the final tip number 13, lucky for some. I love 13 so I’ m going to go with adding this one.
Finally, look through your post and ask yourself
“does my post add value? ”
If you are not adding value, then you need to go back and work on it some more.
Sorry to say this but just churning out content, is not going to do it anymore.
This used to work in the days gone, where bloggers would get content from (prepared and change the words) this is no longer recommended.
I know that it is a struggle to produce quality content, and in the past there were automated content producing programs by just typing in your keywords. I would not recommend these as it does not speak to an audience and is written to search engines.
Write quality blog posts that have your reader in mind. Offer value in each blog post.
Let’ s sum up :
13 Essential Actions to take before you hit publish — your blog post checklist
- Start at the top. Does Your Post Title Speak To You?
- Make Sure That Your Blog Post is SEO Friendly
- Keep Sentences, Short, Simple and Easy to Read
- Make Your Content Clear by Using Sub Headings
- Add Your Meta Description
- Let’ s Talk About Images
- Create Pin Images
- Linking to past posts
- Linking to external sources
- PROOFREAD , PROOFREAD and PROOFREAD
- Your call to action
- Add a Freebie
- Does Your Post Add Value
Blogging takes time to perfect, I know!
Keep going and I hope that you have found these essential actions useful when publishing your next blog post.
Don’ t forget to get you Free Blog Post Checklist.