Writing a blog post is the easy part. After all, you’ve secured the perfect subject, carried out a little keyword research and written a thousand words or so of content about a topic that you’re passionate about. On top of that, once you’ve settled into a content creation routine, it comes almost as second nature.
But once your blog post is written, there’s still work to be done before you share it with the wider world. After all, you need to upload images, set up meta tags and get your new post shared on social networking sites, amongst other things.
It can be easy to skip a step or to accidentally forget to do something that’s super important. That’s why we’ve done the hard work for you and pulled together our checklist of what you’ll want to double check before you hit that all-important publish button. Let’s go.
Check it’s Actually Worth Posting
It’s easy to get carried away when you’re creating content, and so the very first step you should take is to double check that your audience will actually be interested in what you’re saying. If you’re creating content to be a thought-leader then you need to make sure that your thoughts are actually leading, and if you’re blogging for SEO then you’ll want to double check that it also has value to any human readers who come across it. If in doubt, get a friend to read it and tell you what they think.
You’d be surprised at how often people forget to do this. Proofreading is one of the most vital aspects of blogging because even a single error can irritate readers and stop them from returning. If you’re not up to the task yourself and can’t find a friend to help you, or if you simply want to work with a professional, then search around for the best writing services reviews and pick someone with proven experience who can work within your budget.
Add the Visuals
No blog post is truly complete until visuals have been added. When we talk about visuals, we’re talking about any form of visual content, from infographics and images to embedded YouTube videos. If you don’t have imagery or photography of your own, then find some Creative Commons licensed images that allow you to use them in exchange for crediting their owner. You can also search for public domain images, which means you can use them in any way you see fit without crediting anyone else.
Set a Featured Image
This builds on the last point but is worth a heading of its own because it’s so important. Most blogging software allows you to attach a featured image to the page that will be used when sharing it to social networking sites. Make sure you pick something that will make your post stand out in the news feed so that when one of your readers shares it, their friends click through and check your blog out.
Fill out SEO Information
Before you hit the publish button, you’ll want to fill out the meta title and meta description at the very least, as these directly impact what users will see if they come across your post in a search result. Different blog platforms offer up different options, so take a look around your admin panel and familiarise yourself with its capabilities. You may also be able to specify what appears when it’s shared on social networking sites or specify other attributes that search engines use to generate their listings.
Add a Call-to-Action
If you’re blogging for business then you probably want your readers to purchase your product, but even amateur bloggers can benefit by adding a call-to-action to ask people to follow them on social networking sites or to sign up to their email list. When we talk about calls-to-action, we’re basically talking about a short section at the end of your post that tells people what you want them to do next. After all, if they’ve read through to the end then they’ve obviously enjoyed your content, which makes it the perfect time to ask them for something. Just don’t overdo it.
Once your post has been published, you’re ready to promote it. There are all sorts of different ways to do this, but you’ll want to use social networking sites at the very least because they cost you nothing except for your time. As your blog becomes more successful, it’s also worth developing an email list so that you can send messages to your subscribers’ inboxes whenever you’ve got something worth saying.
Analyse the Results
You might think that you’ve finished once your blog post is live on your site and in the hands of your readers, but you’d be mistaken. The very best bloggers take the time to revisit their posts after they’ve been released and to measure the impact that they had. You’ll want to keep an eye on how long people are spending on the page, whether they’re clicking your call-to-action and whether they’re visiting other pages once they’ve finished or whether they’re simply heading away. Identify common themes between different successful blog posts and try to apply that to the posts that you write in the future.
A successful blog requires consistent quality and a regular upload schedule, and it also requires a standardized set of rules for when posts are uploaded. If you’re creating every piece of content yourself then it’s fine just to have a set of rules in your head, but you’ll want to write it out into a formal guide if you’re working with multiple contributors.
This covers everything from whether you embed third-party videos and what the dimensions are for featured images to how you fill out your SEO information. The key is consistency – and you can use this checklist as a starting point to develop your own rules and regulations.
Get it right and you’ll be able to tell – after all, your readers will respond and your traffic and engagement levels will go through the roof. Get it wrong and you risk losing your audience’s interest – or failing to establish an audience in the first place.
The choice is yours.