Have you ever published a blog post, only to come back seconds later to edit the categories, the SEO settings or photo descriptions? While updating posts is such a good thing to ensure our blogs stay relevant, sometimes we forget about the little details that go in every post. We want to feel confident, good and excited when we finally press publish on a well-researched and visually appealing blog post. As bloggers, there isn’t a better feeling.
Today I am here to calm your worries and give you a checklist to make sure every blog post you publish is on point. Here is everything you need to know before you press the magic button. Plus, I made a free printable checklist so you can have it handy!
1. Include a Shareable Pinterest Photo
Make sure to include a vertical photo with text to share on Pinterest and other social media sites. This gives your blog post more chances to be seen across several social networks. Plus, it also makes it easy for others to share your content, too! Want to make your images more stellar? Check out these tips to boost your blog graphics.
Another tip I am loving right now is creating two (or more graphics) for Pinterest per post. This gives you the opportunity to reach different audiences on social media if you cater your photos to different segments. Which means you can share your pins with more people!
2. Add Headings (H1, H2, H3…)
In WordPress, make sure you have headings (h1, h2, h3 HTML tags) in your posts. It is easy to find in the text editor if you want to adjust your paragraph text to a heading text. In Blogger, make sure to use headings instead of simply changing the size of your text. This does wonders for SEO and makes it easy to read your content.
3. Use Keywords
Before you hit publish, make sure to proofread for keywords relevant to your post content. Use Google Keyword Planner to find terms people are searching. Then, strategically place your keywords throughout the copy of your blog post. Don’t overuse them though, but use them to enhance your writing and be more specific in your posts.
4. Write SEO Meta Description
Another important part of SEO is writing the meta description for your post. WordPress SEO by Yoast is a great way to do this using a plugin. It allows you to customize your meta description, adding in your keywords and writing an engaging description to hook your readers. While the meta description does not boost your search rankings specifically, it may boost your click-through rate if you write a compelling description! You can read an awesome article about meta descriptions here!Bloggers: Make sure to do these 10 things before you hit publish! Click To Tweet
5. Add Relevant Links to Past Posts
When writing your post, think about ways to include links to previous posts that you’ve written. This increases the chance of readers staying on your site longer, and it also gives readers more resources about a specific topic you write about. For example, here are 10 Website Essentials for Your Blog or Business!
6. Select Categories & Tags
Categories and tags help keep your content organized on your blog, and making sure your posts are categorized before you hit publish is important! Check out this post from Elembee on keeping your categories and tags organized!
7. Add a Read More Link
I sometimes forget to do this before hitting publish, but making sure you have a read more link (if you are truncating your posts on the homepage) is essential in order to make your homepage clean and concise. This also helps readers find what they are looking for faster and easier! Check out Madison’s post about how to truncate your blog posts for easy tips on how to do this!
8. Insert a “Click to Tweet” or Social Sharing Icons
I love using Click to Tweet boxes in my posts. I notice that they are good way to boost reader interaction with your content. I personally love it when bloggers use Click to Tweet boxes, since I will usually take the extra effort to tweet out their posts that way. It’s definitely a great tool to build reader engagement.I'm excited about this Ultimate Blog Post Checklist! Perfect for any blogger! Click To Tweet
9. Edit the URL of Your Post
This pro tip is something you shouldn’t forget to do before hitting publish. Links are important, so I wouldn’t suggest changing the link to your blog post after it goes live. (Unless you can redirect your previous link to maintain traffic.) But before you publish, here are a couple examples of why you would change your URL:
- To Shorten It: Sometimes we have long post titles and many times having a short URL is better for sharing links and SEO purposes.
- For Posts With Numbers: Especially with list posts, you may want to change your URL from something like this “/8-reasons-I-love-blogging.html” to “/reasons-I-love-blogging.html.” First off, this shortens the URL and also it sets you up for the future if you would like to add any more additional reasons to your list post. If I updated that post to 20 reasons I love blogging, the URL stays more relevant.
10. Add a Question to the End of Your Post
A question can be an engaging and friendly way to end a blog post. It makes your readers think and reflect on what they are going to do with the new information they gained. It also starts a conversation and promotes interaction.