Writing a blog post is a lot of work, and we’re always looking for ways to make the process a little easier. You think of your topic, you brainstorm, you research, then finally you write it, then it’s ready, right? Not quite. There are a few things that you should be doing to every blog post before hitting publish. Once you get into the swing of things these actions will become intuitive and just another routine part of blogging, but until then, here is a list to make sure you are doing all you can to make your content the best it can be.
Add a Catchy Title
Your blog post needs to have a catchy title that will make it stand out from other articles in a feed. It should present an issue and tease the answer. It should make people NEED to click through and find out more.
No one likes bad grammar, especially if it’s getting in the way of your content or your message. I like to read my post out loud to myself to try and catch the errors. A mistake every once in a while is okay, but every other line will ruin what you’re trying to say.
Every blog post you write should have links. You should be linking to other content on your own site, and if fitting, to external content. If you mention a product or a tool, link to it. People will be glad you made it easy for them to follow your train of thought.
Set a Feature Image
On WordPress it’s called a featured image – and though it might have a different name on other platforms, every blog post should have a feature image. An image that stands for the post in visual form. And image that people can share on Pinterest or other visually based platforms to get your message across. I have a feature image for every post that says the title, and has additional images or design if it’s fitting.
If people can’t find your posts, there is really no point of writing. Make your SEO great, so that if someone searches for a topic you have covered, you show up in the results. It may take a while to make it to the first page of results, but every post you write is a step closer. To optimize my SEO I use the SEO plugin by Yoast. It makes everything so easy.
Headings are vital to almost any post, unless you are writing a story. Headings do a number of great things: 1. They show people that a post is broken up so it doesn’t seem so long and daunting to read. 2. They let people skim and jump straight to important information if they are only looking for one thing. 3. They divide the content making it easier to follow along and remember. I like to form my headings into either questions or list items to make my posts both visually and rhetorically easy to follow.
Add Meta Data
All your images should have tags like title and alt. The simple answer is that it just makes things easier for search engines to index and for usability. And you might as well, it only takes a moment to add the tag to each image.
Create a Call to Action
When a post is over, you need a call to action. Tell people where to go next or what to do. I like to ask a question, calling out to people to answer in the comments. You’re call to action can be direct or subtle, and can tell people to comment, visit another post, follow you on social media, or even to hire you for your services.
Shorten the URL
You likely have your URLs set to an automatic format, maybe your post name or the date. If, like me, you have them set to be your post title, then long post titles can create URLs that are way too long and troublesome. Take a moment to cut your URL down to make it easy to visit and find the page.
Add Tags and Select a Category
Most publishing platforms will have their own built in categorization system that you should complete when writing a post. WordPress uses categories and tags. These make it easy for people to know what you are writing about before they even read any of your content. Make sure you choose at least one category for each post and come up with at least three tags. And NEVER leave a post uncategorized.
Write a Conclusion
This is something I see a lot of in blog posts, especially when people are writing lists. No matter what, you should always have a conclusion to your post. Just a short paragraph to wrap up and finish nicely. Your posts should never feel like you just stopped writing or ran out of things to say.
The list could go on and on – how to optimize SEO, how to make your writing better, but here we are just working on the basics. If you check these 11 things off for every post, you will have content that is always ready for your ideal reader. So, download the checklist below, print it off, and get checking!