So you’ve finished writing your blog post, and you’re feeling pretty good about yourself, right?
Good! You should feel a sense of pride.
But understand that finishing writing a blog post is not the same as publishing a blog post.
Many writers have made the mistake of publishing too quickly, only to have their blog post fall on deaf ears because no one can find it, or they have to unpublish it, edit it, and try again.
Why not skip the frustration and use this helpful blog post checklist instead?
Keep reading… As this article continues below, you’ll find much more information and advice on these seven essential items you need to check after writing your post and before publishing it.
In a rush? Get this article as a PDF guide so you won’t miss these tips!
1. Your Title
First on your blog post checklist is the title (headline). This is the one thing almost everyone will read.
John Michael Morgan, in his excellent book Brand Against the Machine, shares that he spends more time writing the title of his blog posts than he does writing the content of the posts themselves.
Here are some quick items to check for an engaging blog post title:
- Make It Catchy: Try this simple formula: Number/How/Why/What + Keyword + Adjective + Promise. Examples are “5 Tips to Write a Blog Post Title That Gets You More Traffic” and “How a Blog Post Checklist Can Help You Succeed Starting Now.”
- It Must Be Accurate: Your title shouldn’t mislead readers. A title that exists solely for grabbing attention and has no relevant content is considered clickbait. Not good.
- It Should Be Informative: Your title should point toward an area of interest so readers know what they are getting into.
Crafting the perfect blog post title is vital to the success of your content. One study found that 97% of its participants read the title of the article, but only about half finished the article.
2. Your Visuals
After the title, the next thing people’s eyes automatically go to are the visuals.
People love to look at pictures, so any topic-related images will be beneficial. Free picture sites include:
- Creative Commons
- Burst (by Shopify)
- WOCinTech Chat
- Gender Spectrum Collection
- Disabled and Here
- And a few more
Inserting an image into your blog post should increase the time readers spend viewing your content. You don’t even need to spend a ton of time finding the “perfect” picture.
Before you publish, add an image, logo, chart, graph, or video—something that stimulates the reader’s brain and breaks up the block of text to make reading easier.
3. Your Links
Make sure you include links to other sites (external sites) and links to other posts or pages on your own site (internal links).
While linking to other websites might seem counterintuitive because you’re leading people away from your site, understand that search engines like Google and Bing will actually rank your page higher if it has credible external links.
If you really want to, set your links to open in a new tab when they are clicked. However, the idea that people won’t come back to your page after clicking a link is unfounded, and many people know to right-click on a link to open it in a new browser.
Here are some examples of when you should consider using external links:
- A study or article you are referencing
- A service you are reviewing, using, or generally writing about
- Anything that gives the reader more information too long to include in your article
Before you publish your article, make sure your links go to the intended page.
Having a blog post checklist is a great way to keep yourself from forgetting some crucial aspects of your blog. However, mistakes still happen. Take the pressure off yourself by hiring Super Copy Editors as your on-demand proofreader for blog posts.
4. Your Formatting
Since many people like to skim web content before reading it, ensure your blog post is correctly formatted for easy reading and skimming.
- Use title and header tags.
- Use bulleted and numbered lists.
- Separate your paragraphs into sections of no more than 300 words.
Reading a giant block of text is hard on the eyes. So have a clear title, then use H1, H2, and H3 tags to tell the reader what is about to happen. Try to keep sentences, paragraphs, and the blog post itself short and to the point.
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5. Your SEO Essentials
Once you are done writing your blog and before publishing, research search engine optimization (SEO) keywords that tell search engines what your post is about. Then go back and populate the keywords throughout your post.
You can use an SEO tool such as Yoast, SEOPress, or Google Analytics to see how many keywords are ideal. (Hint: Do not overdo it. Write for people, not robots.)
You should also write a meta description for your blog. This is the tiny 160-character description that summarizes your content in search engine results pages.
Meta descriptions don’t directly influence SEO ranking, but they can help persuade searchers to click to view your blog post.
Don’t forget! Download “Blog Post Checklist: Top 7 Things to Check Before You Publish Your Blog Post” to keep it handy and take action on it. Click here to download it now.
6. Your Call to Action
Standard practice is to include a call to action (CTA) in everything published on the web.
For personal blog posts, I strongly recommend including a CTA, usually at the end—even if the call to action is to leave a comment, like or share the post on social media, or check out a related post.
For business-related blogs, including a CTA is a must. You can direct interested readers to a sales page, show them how to learn more about your company, ask them to sign up for your email newsletter, or nudge them to do anything else that keeps them engaged with your business.
Here are some pointers on how to make a good CTA for your blog post:
- Make It Clear: CTAs should have one purpose, clearly stated (“Read More,” “Buy Now,” etc.).
- Use Different Colors: Your CTA should stand out, so use a different color from the rest of your text.
- Make the Benefits Obvious: Use additional text to emphasize the benefit of clicking your CTA (a gift, more information, services offered, etc.).
- Put It in the Right Location: Most CTAs go at the end of the blog post. Just make sure your CTAs flow with the content and aren’t simply shoehorned in somewhere.
The importance of a quality CTA is paramount—it is the payoff for all your hard work. So before you publish your blog post, craft a great CTA.
Don’t Miss: 3 Tips for Creating a Successful Business Blog
7. Your Grammar
The last and most important item on your blog post checklist before publishing your blog post is its grammar.
Spelling and grammatical errors make your blog look unprofessional. They weaken your sales effort, and you lose credibility.
The spell-checking function on whichever word processing software you use is the least you should do.
A more thorough check of your spelling, grammar, tone, conciseness, flow, and style goes a long way toward improving readability and, ultimately, engagement. You can have a friend or colleague take a look at your work, or you can try reading it out loud and backward to try to find mistakes.
Here again is the blog post checklist of the seven most essential items you need to check:
While this blog post checklist is a good start, take your writing to the next level by having the professionals at Super Copy Editors proofread and edit your work.
Our team has years of experience proofreading and editing blog posts for businesses and organizations, and we know what common errors to look for and how to make your copy read its best. Learn more and request your proofreading quote today.