6 Things to Check Before You Publish Your Blog Post

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(Photo: ammentorp)

So you want to be a blogger?

Popular blogs are popular because they are full of good writing.

As with a good short story or article, they catch the reader’s attention because you’ve taken the time to select an interesting subject and have written passionately about it.

No one will argue that the most readable blogs are heavy on context—but just because they can point you to a multitude of underscoring sources of information doesn’t mean the author has done a good job of writing a post.

You need more. Here’s a six-point checklist:

1. The Title

A crafty headline will capture more attention than a dull one. But a misleading one will just make people mad, so make sure it accurately reflects what’s in the post. John Michael Morgan, in his excellent book Brand Against the Machine, says he spends more time writing the titles of his blog posts than he does the content of the posts themselves! That’s how important titles are. (Did you like the title of this post?)

2. The Visual

You’ve got no excuse: Creative Commons has a monster database of work that can complement your blog postings—if you don’t have something original to include. Add an image, logo, video, or some item that will create visual interest. Readability will increase.

3. Links

This gets back to the concept of context. Links are your way of adding “oomph” to your message by giving the reader more sources that validate your meaning. Be sure to include URLs of older blog posts you’ve written if they add to the dialogue. This will drive traffic to those older posts.

4. Tags and Keywords

You’ve got a blog—it’s a big deal. But it is no deal at all if nobody knows about it. You’ve got to toot your horn, and you can do that by adding tags and keywords so that your blog will be optimized in search engines.

SEO is not a black art that only geeks in dark rooms practice while shooting Red Bull after midnight. Chances are, if you’re using any of the most popular blogging software such as WordPress, the ability to include tags and keywords is built right in.

5. Promotion

The behemoth known as social networking does a marvelous job of alerting folks about your latest blog post. Tell your Facebook friends. Tweet it. If it’s pertinent, your LinkedIn contacts should know too.

6. The ONE Thing Your Blog Should Not Have

Avoid spelling errors. A typo is a typo, and it is a mistake no matter how you spin it. This doesn’t mean you can’t use your own lexicon if it’s appropriate for the blog and understandable (as well as acceptable) to your readers.

If you don’t have someone you can rely on to edit or proofread your posts, be sure to give your writing more than a passing glance before you hit the Publish button.

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Dave Baker

View posts by Dave Baker
Hi, I'm Dave Baker, founder and copy chief of Super Copy Editors. I have more than two decades of professional proofreading and copy editing experience, including work for The Nation magazine, The New York Times, and The Times-Picayune of New Orleans, where I shared two staff Pulitzer Prizes after Hurricane Katrina. Today, I have put together a hand-picked team of copy editors, and we especially love working with ad agencies, marketing departments, and education companies to make their text as polished as possible. Learn more here.

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