The Blog Post Checklist For Planning Articles For Your Website
How do you write your blog posts? Do you just type away, run a quick spell check and then hit publish? Or do you use a blog post checklist to keep you on track. If you do not use a blog post checklist the chances are you are missing out on a few steps that will help both your SEO rankings and increase your blog traffic.
I find it best to use a checklist when writing and publishing my blog posts. Since I started using a checklist I have found that I am far less likely to miss something and this has helped improve my blog posts. If I don’t use my blog post checklist I find that I am far more likely to miss something like sharing a post on a social media site or entering important SEO information that will help with my SEO rankings and traffic to my WordPress blog site.
What is my intention? This is the first item on my blog post checklist. When I sit down to write a blog post my first decision is what is the intention of the blog post and how will it benefit my audience? What value am I giving you in exchange for your time reading my blog post? Will it help you and will you feel it has been worthwhile? If you answer yes to either or both of these questions you are more likely to share the article and comeback to my website again.
This little exercise needn’t take long, but it is well worth doing. For example, the purpose of Working A Better Life is to help people find a better life through developing their own businesses and improving their health and well being.
Pick A Keyword
The next task is to pick a keyword that your post is going to target. Try to make different posts target different keywords, spreading your bets if you like. You are not necessarily trying to target the really popular keywords as these are difficult to compete for, but even keywords with small search volumes will increase your traffic over time.
Whilst writing your blog post you will keep this keyword in mind. But please remember that you are just keeping this keyword in mind – your goal is write for your readers and give them value, you are not writing with the purpose of trying to load keywords or for Google rankings.
If you want to build a business that will serve you well your best policy is to provide value and not try and trick Google for short term gains. Google is aways updating it’s algorithms to prevent spammy sites ranking high.
Write A Draft Headline
At this stage you are only writing a draft headline to use as a guideline. It will provide you a with a guide of your articles intent and topic as you write. Whilst writing you may come up with inspiration for a great headline which you can use for your published post.
Google sets a limit of 65 characters for headlines in the search results so try and keep to this limit. Google may edit or truncate longer headlines in search results so it is far better that you control what is displayed and keep to the 65 character limit.
Research And Plan Your Post
Sometimes I just get an idea and the words flow. Unfortunately this does not happen as often as I would like!
Most of the time I find it helps me to do a little research and planning. This may be reading a few varied articles on the subject matter or, depending on the subject matter, may be more involved.
Either way, giving the topic some thought and drafting out a structure of what I would like to say does make the whole process easier and quicker. It also helps improve the quality of the post and therefore the value you are offering to your readers.
Choose A Category For Your Blog Post
Organising your posts into categories is a great way to help your visitors find what they are looking for. It should be easy for you to choose a category for your post. If not you need to have a think about the categories on your website or maybe a rethink on your article – is it inline with the purpose of your website? Read this for more info on setting up your WordPress categories and tags.
I am a great believer in making things as simple and easy as possible. When it comes to SEO on a WordPress website then WordPress SEO by Yoast is in my mind the best out there. If you don’t already have it installed go and do it right now.
Once installed go to it’s meta box on the post screen and complete the following:
Fill in the focus keyword – the one that you have already decided to target in the post.
Enter the SEO title if you wish to offer an alternative title for search engine results.
Enter a meta description. This will not have a direct impact on your search rankings but if you right a good meta description people are more likely to click through to your website than if you just leave it as the generic first few sentences of your blog post.
This screen grab shows how I completed the info in WordPress SEO by Yoast for this post.
To learn more about ensuring your blog posts give you an SEO boost read this article on organizing your WordPress categories and tags and this article on optimizing your WordPress Categories and tags using the WordPress SEO plugin by Yoast.
In the next article on writing a blog post checklist we will cover the things you need to consider before publishing to the world.