Sometimes it’s easy to get so excited about a blog post that we click that Publish button before we’ve really maximized the potential of the post. These 15 things to check before you publish a new post will help you “score” yourself before you turn that blog post loose in the world.
1. Does Your Post Cover One Topic
Your blog post should one specific topic. And that’s it. If your blog post covers three different topics; your homemade pizza recipe, what your neighbor said to you earlier, and your kids’ soccer game, then you should actually have three different blog posts. This will help naturally improve the SEO performance of your blog.
2. Clear and Concise Title
With more and more sites being accessed via mobile units, your titles need to be more clear and concise than ever before. While Google.com search results show 60-something characters of the title, on a mobile phone or tablet only 30-something characters may be visible to the reader. Make them count!
3. Did You Include a Photo?
Pictures are key for a blog post to help capture reader attention and give them something to share. Have you noticed how pinterest, stumble-upon, facebook sharing, etc all include a thumbnail or photo from the post? People are visual – give them a visual!
4. Include Links to Your Other, Relevant Posts
Did you add links to other blog posts that are relevant to a keyword phrase in your post? It doesn’t have to be related to THIS specific post. For example, in #1 you’ll notice I’ve linked the words “SEO performance of your blog” to a post about improving blog SEO. Even though that post isn’t really about what to check before publishing your post, the way this one is, the link is still relevant.
5. Did You Check the Appropriate Category?
You do have relevant, keyword rich categories for your blog right? Like chapters of a book – they should tell what topics you’re covering on your website. Don’t be cute here – be specific. And put your post in the right category to help future readers find it.
6. Add Relevant Tags to Your Post
This helps serve as a blog “index” of sorts, pulling together similar posts from across more than one category. Tags also help your SEO in an organic, reader-friendly way.
7. Add Links to Outside Sources When Appropriate
Google is getting smarter and smarter – outgoing links won’t kill your blog or page rank. In fact, linking to high-quality posts and articles when relevant shows Google you know what you’re talking about. And encourages others to link to you. If you mention another blog, are inspired by a particular post, or reference someone else’s article, you should be linking to it. (Ditto the same with photo attributions when necessary.)
8. Did you SEO Your Images?
By this I mean – did you maximize your SEO potential with your images? Your image titles, alt text, description and caption should all be relevant to your post. Google can’t view your image so it relies on these other factors to determine what the picture is about.
9. Is Your Post Complete?
If it’s the “Ultimate Guide” to something, but you only include five items, your readers are not likely to share it. In fact, they may feel cheated. Just as in #1 I stressed the importance of covering just one topic, you should also make sure that the topic is thoroughly covered. I recently published a post about ten tips to success with affiliate sales. It’s a LONG post – longer than my average. But it covers the material thoroughly and I’m still getting emails thanking me for the post.
10. Call to Action
Do you include a call to action? A question someone can answer in the comments? Suggestions to purchase your ebook or subsribe to your newsletter? Or even a simple “Did you like this post? Please stumble it or share it on Facebook.” which can improve the shares on your post.
11. Read Your Post Aloud
No really. Sit at your computer and read your post out loud to yourself before you publish. Preferably AFTER you’ve stepped away from the post for a few minutes. You’ll be amazed at the things you suddenly see that you didn’t notice when you were writing the post.
12. Take Notes for Future Posts
Oftentimes when I’m working on one blog post, I’ll find myself inspired to create another one. For example, when working on this post I realized I never really covered Categories and Tags yet. So I’ve made a note to discuss them in a future blog post. Write down your ideas! I cannot say this enough. Write them down! These brainstormed blog post ideas are highly valuable!
13. Do You Have Reader-Friendly Formatting on Your Post?
Bold. Lists. Quotes. Numbers and Bullets. Images. These things all contribute to create a reader-friendly experience on your blog. Shorten your paragraphs. Tighten your copy. Make it easy to scan and browse in a variety of digital formats.
14. Check Grammar Basics
Spelling. Punctuation. These things are basic building blocks of the English language, and while no one expects you to be a master builder (unless you’re blogging about grammar) you should have the basics covered. Like loose and lose. And write, right and rite.
15. Preview Your Post and Check Everything Out
Do all your links work? Did your formatting show up right? Are your images visible and not bleeding into your sidebar? These simple checks are so important to the reader experience. How often have you visited a blog post you saw being tweeted and been disappointed by a lack-luster post? Don’t be that person to your followers – make your post worth the click.