There are a few vital steps to take just before you publish a new blog post (and a few more to take just after you hit publish). Use this quick checklist to make sure your post is neat, tidy, error-free, and optimized for search engines.
Write a Great Post Title
Make sure it’s:
- Optimized for search engines
Not sure about your title? Use the (FREE) Coschedule headline analyzer to check it. It will tell you if it’s the right length, and how many unusual or emotive words you’ve used. It will even give your headline a score, and you can play around with it until you get an A+.
Check your SEO
If you’re an SEO expert, skip this point. If you’re not, there are a few basic tasks you can do before hitting publish to increase your chances of attracting search engine traffic over time.
Your main keyword should be in your title. Remember, long tail keywords work well in titles (check out this app specifically for finding your long tail keywords). Think of a question someone might ask or a phrase they might search for. Check your keywords using Google Keyword Planner. I use the FREE Yoast SEO plugin (along with these other great free plugins). It’s not a magic SEO wand, but it does quickly and automatically check your keywords are in all the right places. This ebook is a great SEO primer for beginners.
Check your formatting
Online readers like short paragraphs, plenty of white space and lots of sub headings that let them skim an article and get to the bits that are relevant to them.
Include an image
Depending on the length of your post, you may want one image or several, but always add at least one. I always include at least one image that’s optimized for Pinterest (portrait, big and bold, including the title of the post).
Include a disclosure statement if needed
If you include any affiliate links in your post, you need one of these (mine goes right under my image, in bold, before I include any affiliate links). I talk about the importance of disclosure and a whole ton of other important stuff in my series all about affiliate marketing.
Check tags and categories
It’s easy to forget to put your tags in place or check the categories box (that’s how some of your posts end up accidentally ‘uncategorized’ which no blog post wants to be!) Tagging and categorizing are both vital steps. They help with SEO, but much more importantly, they help keep your blog user friendly, guiding your readers to the posts they most want to read.
Link back to older posts
Before you publish and promote your post, make sure it’s all set up to encourage readers to stay on your blog and do some exploring. Link back to older posts that are relevant, or expand on a concept you’re briefly mentioning (see how I’ve done that a couple of times just in this paragraph).
Include a CTA
What’s your call to action (CTA)? What do you really want your readers to do next? Sign up to your list? Download your freebie? Buy your product? Leave a comment? Share your post? You can have more than one CTA. You can actually have several throughout your post, but end strong with your main one (mine is almost always a call to sign up to my list, which allows readers to grab my freebie and a discount on one of my products if they want it).
We all hit publish on a post with an error or two in it occasionally, but try to do it as rarely as possible. Give every post one last proofread before you hit publish.
Few bloggers have the resources to to pay a proofreader to check every post, but an affordable alternative is use Grammarly. It’s a super useful tool if you create a lot of content, and especially if (like me) you also create ebooks and digital products.
Occasionally the software flips out. Always preview the final version of your post (after you’ve hit ‘save draft’) to make sure your formatting is as you expected, and everything looks neat and tidy. Sometimes the way things look in your blog editor are not exactly how they look in preview mode.
Working on your laptop or desktop computer? Take a moment to preview in mobile mode too. Chances are many of your readers are accessing your site through a mobile device.
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