Looking for ways to improve your blog posts? The truth is anyone with writing skills can produce and publish a blog post. But creating blog posts that people want to read requires more than just writing talent. Professional bloggers often have a routine or set of best practices that they follow to optimize the quality of their content before hitting submit.
In this article, you will learn the seven main things that should be done before publishing a blog post. Following this checklist will allow you to consistently post content that your readers will love.
Table of contents
Get the post proofread
Grammar mistakes, misspellings, and poor sentence construction can take away from the strength of your blog post, regardless of how good the content is. A good writer does not necessarily make a good proofreader.
Conventional wisdom suggests that it is always a good idea to have a second (or even third) pair of eyes to look over the content. A proofreader will be able to have a fresh look and see where the text may be repetitive, have poor syntax, or contain commonly misspelt words the writer has overlooked. Besides, polished content will read better and allow the user to grasp exactly what the post is saying.
Analyze your headline
As simple as it seems, the headline or title is one of the most important elements of your blog post. The headline is what people see first and is often the determining factor as to whether they click to read the content or not. Some content marketers believe you should spend as much as 80% of your time on crafting the headline and the remaining 20% on writing the blog post. It’s up to you if you want to follow that advice, but it’s a good idea to analyze your post title before hitting the publish button. Here are some things to check for:
- Catchiness: The title should be memorable and resonate with the goals of your target audience.
- SEO-friendliness: If you want your blog post to be optimized for SEO purposes (more on that later), the title needs to contain your main keyword.
- Character length: A blog post headline of 60 characters or less is considered ideal. Anything longer often gets truncated when being displayed in Google search results.
In case you need help coming up with the perfect blog post headline, there are several headline analyzer tools that can help you optimize yours. These include Sharethrough and CoSchedule.
Sort out the post format and structure
Proper blog post formatting helps improve the readability of the content. People love to skim read, and the better structured your post is, the easier it will be for them to make note of the main points and decide to read the rest.
Formatting and structuring involve breaking up big chunks of texts into shorter paragraphs, using bullet points for lists, and turning each main point or step into headings and subheadings (by using heading tags).
Check SEO readiness
The goal of writing a blog post is to have people read it. This means making it easier for your target audience to find it on Google and other search engines. SEO optimization is a whole topic unto itself, which can be difficult to grasp for a non-expert. However, just knowing the basics is enough for you to publish posts that are search engine friendly. SEO readiness involves having the right target keyword, which is something you would have addressed before setting out to write the post in the first place.
When you create the post, it needs to have great quality content but at the same time have the right amount of keyword density. This begins with the target keyword being placed in the title and subheadings and mentioned a few times in the main text.
With that said, you don’t want to flood the post with keywords as this may result in penalties by Google, which will do your blog more harm than good. A better strategy is to include related keywords (which are other search terms related to your keyword when you look it up on Google) that can be added throughout the content.
Other SEO tactics you can use to improve the search engine performance of your blog post include:
- Ensure you select a category and add tags: WordPress makes it easy to create categories relevant to your blog posts. These categories help you to classify each post under a particular subject area that narrows down what it is about. They also make it easier for people to find your post on Google. For example, if you have a blog about coffee, creating categories such as French Roast, America, Decaf, etc., allows readers to find the most suitable blog post on your website that relates to their search term. Tags also help in this way because they are words or phrases that help to describe specific parts of your blog post.
- Add appropriate alt text for images: Alt or alternate text and tags are also good for SEO because they give you another opportunity to use your keywords, increasing the possibility of that image to show up in search. Also, the alt text serves the purpose of letting readers know what the image is about in case it is not displayed.
- The link between blog posts: Try to link a minimum of two previous blog posts in your current article. This SEO tip can increase visits to your blog in general. Of course, if you are just starting, this will be difficult, but you should be looking for opportunities to link between posts as soon as you have a few published.
Upload a suitable featured image
Having a featured image means it will be shown when the blog post is shared on social media websites. This image needs to be at a suitable dimension to be properly displayed. It is also important to only use images that you hold the copyright to or are royalty-free.
Review sources and credits
This is important for adding credibility to your blog post. When it comes on to blogging, it is not necessary to create a bibliography or list of references. Mentioning sources, and even linking to their content, is enough to help back up the points you are making. Also, infographics or diagrams used in your blog post should be properly credited to ensure you don’t run into trouble down the road. Image owners can ask you to remove their images or even take legal action if you use their content without the proper credits.
Create a meta description
While a meta description won’t necessarily improve your SEO ranking, it can increase the likelihood of your post being clicked. A meta description gives readers a snippet of what your post is about when it shows up in Google under the headline. Without an accompanying meta description, the search engine automatically displays the first few sentences, and that may not represent your blog post very well.
Knowing how to prepare a blog post for publication ensures each of your blog posts is the best it can be. By following the steps in this article, you will be well on your way to blogging success.