Hello, my friend. If you are a blogger like me, then you should know what it’s like to wear a zillion hats at a time. As an owner of your own blog, you are the one who searches for the right piece of data that should be interesting to read for your audience. You are the only one who is responsive for writing your content, editing and SEO-optimizing it. Running all these and plenty of other tasks at a time isn’t a joke. It’s easy to miss some important points as you click the “publish” button. So, in order to help you feel confident that you didn’t skip a thing, we have decided to come up with this checklist for bloggers.
In this post I provide 15 key things that you need to do before pressing the “publish” button. Although it may seem like too much at the first glance, most of these steps are pretty simple and quick to achieve. Moreover writing a good copy of text is worthy of a couple of extra minutes spent for its editing, so that all the time and effort you applied while working on it will be appreciated by your readers.
Step 1: Create A Compelling Title
The title of your blog post is one of the most powerful elements that it may include. Depending on the way you structure it, people will decide whether your publication is worthy of their attention. Based on the way you write the title, your blog will/won’t get loads of organic traffic from search engines. As a rule, a post title is the last thing that bloggers work on during the post creation. At least, that’s how we create posts on MonsterPost.
There are plenty of different techniques that you can apply while working on the post title. Start off with a work title. This will be a foundation of your final version of the headline. Keep the title short. Up to 70 characters will be enough for its proper display in the search results. Once you’ve come up with your version of the post title, brainstorm it with someone else. Do not forget about including keywords or phrases in the title. This grows your chances to reach the right audience and attain a wider exposure in search engines.
Step 2: Format Your Copy
It’s way easier to read a text that is divided into smaller sections. Avoiding long paragraphs is a good practice. 5-6 lines of texts is the proper length of paragraphs that will be read by your audience, not skipped.
As a rule, when coming across any blog post, people scan through the content before deciding to read it. By means of sub-headings, you can better deliver the message of your article to the readers. In such a way, the users can see a quick plan of the ideas highlighted in your post, thus better realizing what your post is actually about.
Step 3: Image Formatting
We all know that a single image added to a web page is equal to a thousand words. Perhaps nothing can harm your web page more than a poor-quality image and badly formatted photos. So, before your post gets live, make certain that every piece of visual content is correctly sized and looks good on any device screen.
In addition to the quality, relevant photos is posts, take care of updating your blog with a high-resolution logo that will make your project more recognizable to a wider web community. Also, do not neglect optimizing alt tags and title tags of your images. This will help you make your content more findable on the web.
When working on a WordPress created on the basis of a ready-made theme from TemplateMonster (for example), you will have all SEO-optimization tools at hand. So, just think about your content and the search request your target audience will use to find it.
Step 4: Featured Images
This point is especially relevant to everyone running a WordPress-based blog. Enhancing your publications with featured images can be important for a number of reasons. First and foremost, by means of a featured image you can capture the users’ attention. Depending on the way you design it, the featured picture can either bear an intriguing message or clearly state the things that you are going to highlight in your post.
Due to the expansive WordPress functionality, a featured image of your publication can be used in a variety of ways. For example, this can be automatically pulled to be used as a recent posts slider.
Adding vertical featured images with texts placed on top of them will help you draw more attention to your piece of content as a person scrolls through a news feed on social media platforms. We will discuss the importance of social media a little bit later in this post. Still, a well-designed vertical featured image makes your content more visible, thus growing your chances to drive more traffic.
Step 5: SEO
Even if you upload your post with gorgeous images and write a brilliant copy, all efforts will go in vain unless you optimize the data for search engines. The way your blog ranks for industry keywords on SERPs is of predominant importance when it comes to increasing organic traffic and lead generation.
In order to make your blog post more findable, make sure that you include industry-driven keywords in the text. When optimizing your data make certain that the keywords do not affect the overall readability. Also, do not forget about adding internal links to other pages of your blog. This can not only help you better optimize your content for search engines, but also bring more value to your readers while giving them quick access to other relevant pieces of data on your site.
Step 6: Links Check
Once you’ve added internal links to your content, it’s high time to check how everything works. As a rule, this should be done manually in order not to miss a single broken link within your content.
External links also require a precise manual check. Does your content include any CTA buttons? Go check them out as well.
Step 7: Cross-device Check
More and more often people give preference to mobile devices when they need to check out news or see some updates on the preferred topics. That is why, before you make any piece of content go live, double check how well the data that you are going to share looks on multiple screen sizes.
It’s always a great benefit to build a site on the basis of a responsive framework. This frees you from the necessity to develop separate versions of your site for desktop and mobile devices, which is both cost-effective and time-saving.
Moreover, Google ranks mobile-friendly sites higher in its search results. So, making your content properly displayed across a variety of screen sizes lets your kill two birds with one stone. One one hand, your blog will get more user-friendly. On the other hand, it will get more findable in Google.
Luckily for you most popular themes are already responsively designed. The Total theme for example offers a fluid responsive layout right out of the box. But the theme also includes bonus options if you want to set your own custom site widths for all devices sizes.
Step 8: Cross-browser Compatibility
Now that we know that your content performs smoothly on any device screen, it’s time to check how well it is displayed in all the major web browsers. Think about the possible web browsing apps that your audience might be using and see how well the content loads and displays over there.
Step 9: Encourage Discussions
Getting back to the post editing, let’s make your copy thought-provoking and discussion-encouraging. How do you know if your article brought any value to the readers unless you receive their comments?
One of the proven ways to encourage discussions below your posts is asking your readers a couple of questions in the end of the article. In the outline section, people commonly look for a brief summary of the things that you highlighted in your publication or some kind of a “call to action” in order to actually do something. Finishing your text with a question or two can encourage your readers to leave a comment with their own impressions about the things that you highlighted or share their own experience on a suggested topic.
Step 10: Proofreading
It sounds like something that bloggers should do as a default action, however for some reason far not everyone proofread their posts before the publication. In order for you not to look like an idiot who was too lazy to check the text before making it go live, it’s highly recommended to proofread what you’ve written for several times.
There may be common spelling mistakes that you could make in a hurry of expressing your thoughts in a document. We are all humans and make mistakes. So, just not to harm your reputation and let your readers enjoy every line of text that your share, proofread your texts carefully.
As you work on a blog publication, write a half of it and save the draft. Look through every single word that you have written and double check if you haven’t made any spelling mistakes. Correct all the writing flows before the publication goes live. Read sentence after sentence. Proofread each a couple of times, and only afterwards keep moving further.
Step 11: Publish and Pin
Now, as you have done all the editing and optimization work, it high time to make your post live. The next step will be pinning your article on Pinterest. If you still haven’t created a separate board for your blog, it’s high time to do that.
As soon as your publication goes live, pin images that you included into it on your own Pinterest board. In a couple of days, go ahead and find relevant boards where you can do the same. While doing such simple repetitive actions, you can distribute your publication to a wider audience, thus making your blog more findable on the web.
Step 12: Share Your Post on Facebook and Twitter
Get fancy while redistributing your publication on Facebook and Twitter. You can share them either manually or use post scheduling programs that will get everything done for you automatically. In order to make your posts more noticeable, accompany tweets and Facebook posts with images. As you upload your social media posts with visual content, make sure that you sized them in accordance to Facebook and Twitter standards.
Step 13: Post Tweets for Several Times
Twitter feed is updated with new posts at a tremendous speed. So, it’s likely that the publication that you share just once will be lost in a steady flow of other tweets. In order for this not to happen, it’s recommended to share new blog posts on Twitter for several times over the next couple of days after their publication on your blog.
It may seem like a daunting task to share your posts manually over and over again. This is when post scheduling programs will come into play. With their help, you can set the same post to appear in the news feed in a couple of days after the publication, as well as remind the social media community about its existence in a few months. Thus, you can circulate your older content over and over again.
Step 14: Comments
Whenever your post receives a comment, do not leave it without a response. This deals with both comments that people leave below a post on your blog and in social media. Make an extra effort to respond to comments containing questions. Extra thoughtful readers should also get a response on their reflections.
Responding to comments you show that you care about the opinion of your readers and that you value every single moment they spent to read your article. On seeing this, people are more likely to come back since they see how much they are valued.
Step 15: Analytics
In addition to user comments that are strong indicators of the public interest in your posts, it’s recommended to keep track of the total number of page views and reflections that each post that you published last month has attained. Google Analytics will help you manage this task better than anything else. The statistics will show you what topics are in the biggest demand among your readers, thus you will get a better understanding in what way you should keep on moving for a greater success.
Here we go. These were 15 of the most proven and effective steps that bloggers need to take into account before publishing their posts on the web. Some of them are tried and true yet no less effective. Apply these in practice and see how much more the audience will get engaged with your blog.
By the way, is there anything else that you think should be mentioned on the list? Let us hear your thoughts in the comments section!