Writing the content is actually just the first step when posting a new blog post on your website. There’s a number of things you need to do before and after publishing to make sure you’re getting the longest shelf life out of each post. More than that, following a checklist helps keep your website consistent and easy to navigate, and your visitors interested and engaged.
Review your Content
Put your best foot forward by making sure your content is accurate and easy to read. Run every post through a tool like Grammarly to make sure it reads well, and there’s no spelling or grammar errors. Depending on the type of post, you might also run your post through a plagiarism checker, just to make sure it’s dissimilar enough from any other post out there. If you’re doing a lot of research to write posts, this is a good idea just to maintain your legitimacy. If, like me, you write most of your posts based on personal knowledge and what works for you, then you should be OK!
Finally, read your post aloud to yourself to make sure it flows and you haven’t carried on too much. Hearing yourself out loud can catch errors you won’t find from reading in your head alone. This is because your brain reads what it expects to read and will brush your eyes over any errors. If you find you’re running out of breath, this is a good indication to shorten your sentences or remove entire sections that aren’t relevant to the post.
Blog posts need visual cues. Not only does it break up the text on the page, but it adds interest and can act as a branding exercise. Sporadically insert photos throughout the post, but make sure they’re relevant and on brand. Always resize your photos in Photoshop or Canva and compress them using a tool like Compressor or CompressJPEG. Take it a step further and install a plugin like WP Smush to get your files even smaller. This helps load time and is important for SEO.
If you’ve sourced your images online, or obtained them from a photographer, make sure you’ve properly credited the source according to the licensing agreement. Never take photos directly from Google as this is most likely copyright infringement.
Make sure you have a Featured Image set to ensure your post is shared optimally across platforms. Include Alt Text in all images so that screen readers understand what the image contains. This is best practice in ensuring your website is accessible for all users and, as a bonus, is great for SEO.
Craft your Title
Many copywriters will tell you your title should be the last thing you write. This is because your content should inform the title and not the other way around.
When crafting your title, make sure it’s engaging, attention grabbing and search engine friendly. Lists with odd numbers perform well, as do How To guides and asking a question. Basically try to think of what someone might type into Google to find the information you’re providing. And then, type it into Google! Take note of what Google suggests to you as you’re typing, plus the related searches found at the bottom of the results page. Also try using a tool like Keysearch to test the popularity of this search term, and Answer the Public for ideas on the types of questions people ask about this topic. There’s also Prozely that will give you a suggested title based on the blog topic, and Coschedule that analyses your title for emotional response.
Instead of “I like soft Cheese”, try “9 Best Soft Cheeses to Buy from your Local Aldi”. Instead “My Daily Schedule”, try “How to Plan your Day as a Stay at Home Mumpreneur”.
Check your Slug
Check your slug (URL) contains relevant keywords, is easy to read and isn’t too long. Some experts recommend removing stop words from slugs, such as “to”, “the” and “and”, though it’s necessity differs depending on the phrase.
Write a Meta Description
Make sure you’ve an interesting meta description and / or excerpt that includes a variation of your title and keyword. The new WordPress editor Gutenberg has an excerpt section where you can enter this description, as does the Yoast SEO plugin. This description is what search engines and social media websites use to describe your article. It’s what shows up on the search results page to entice people to click on your article over anyone else’s. So make sure you tell people exactly what to expect from your article. Don’t lie or embellish in an attempt to get more clicks as this will frustrate your users and tank your bounce rate.
Select Categories and Tags
Select the Categories and Tags for this post so your content is filed in a logical way. Make it easy for your blog visitors to find similar content by being consistent and concise.
Insert Internal Links
Keep visitors interested and active on your website by linking this blog post in text to similar content. You can do this organically throughout the post if you happen to mention a relevant blog post, or have a “related” section at the end of the post like I have. Note that manually entering links this way is also good for SEO, as it lays out a path for search engines to follow for similar content. Simply installing a plugin that shows users other posts in the same category, will not have the same effect.
Insert External Links
If writing an informative post, make sure you’ve provided at least one external link as a source, in support of what you’re claiming. This adds to your legitimacy both in the eyes of the reader and in the eyes of the search engines. Make sure these links open in a new tab, so you don’t accidentally direct your users away from your website prematurely.
Ensure your Page is Optimised for Mobile
OK we’re almost at the finish line! Quickly check your page looks correct on different sized devices and browsers. This is especially important if you have a lot of photos or an unusual layout that may not “stack” properly on smaller screens. All you need to do is minimise your window and drag the edges to make it smaller and larger. This will cause the page to imitate the layout it will have on different devices.
Include any Promos
If you have any promos that need to be included, such as a newsletter sign up, a social media page you’re pushing or a freebie to download, make sure you’ve got in there!
Get Ready for Social Media
Now you can draft and schedule your social promotion, including pins, across all relevant platforms that are part of your social media strategy.