Checklist For Writing Blog Posts

checklistHave you ever hit publish on your blog post and then realised that there was something you had forgotten to do – maybe you hadn’t assigned a category, or you hadn’t checked the links within your article?

Well you aren’t alone, and that is why I now have a checklist for writing blog posts. I have already written about a checklist planning a blog post and today I will share the part of my checklist for writing blog posts – the things I like to check off before I click the publish button.

It can feel like a big deal when you click “publish”, especially if you have put a lot of time and effort into your post. You don’t want to realise that you have made a mistake or missed something several days later.

Having a written checklist is far more reliable than a mental checklist, especially if you have long to do list – like most entrepreneurs seem to! I like to keep my checklist in Evernote, but you can use a written system that suits you – the important thing is that you have a written checklist for writing blog posts.

Your post should already be planned – if you have not already done so refer to my checklist for planning articles for your website. This will make the thought of writing the blog post itself easier and less daunting – that is always a good thing.

Writing Your Blog Post

Start writing! If you have writers block or you are struggling with a few opening sentences, don’t worry just write the first few things that come into your mind. Once you start writing you will find it easier to keep writing and will build some momentum. You have already chosen a main keyword and written a draft title so these should help you get going and keep you on point.

Although SEO is important, please remember that you are writing for your readers. Your aim is to give them something of interest and value that will encourage them to return to your website in the future. SEO is important, but you are not writing for SEO purposes so do not try and stuff your article full of keywords. That tactic will harm your traffic and search engine results in the long run.

Check Page Analysis With WordPress SEO and Edit

After completing your first draft have a read through and correct any obvious mistakes. Then it is time to see how well it is optimized for search engines.

I use WordPress SEO by Yoast for this, and you are aiming for a green light under the Publish meta section in your WordPress post panel. The analysis will give you an idea of where you can make SEO improvements in your article, but remember this is a guide only – you are writing for your readers and not the search engines.

After checking the analysis I then go back and make amendments to my post based on the findings.

Amend Post and Emphasise Key Phrases

Many people, myself included, often scan blog posts to see if they want to read the whole article. For this reason it is good to include good sub-headers and emphasise key phrases in bold. Don’t go over the top with this otherwise your blog post will start to look very messy. But do emphasise key phrases and headlines that support the subject of your article.

Finalize Your Headline

Your headline is often what makes someone decide to read your blog post or skip it. Now it is time to finalise the draft headline that you prepared during your planning stage.

You want your headline to be intriguing as well as optimised for your focus keyword, without sounding spammy!

Add Post Tags

If you haven’t already added tags during the planning stage, do so now. You do not want to add a huge list of tags but add a few relevant tags. You can read more about adding tags to blog posts in this article.

Check The Links Within Your Blog Post

If you haven’t already added links within your article, do so now. It is a good idea to have a mixture of links to external websites and internal links to your own pages. The external links add usefulness to your readers and may make other bloggers more inclined to link to you. Internal links will help to increase your reader engagement, keeping them on  your website longer and improving your bounce rate.

You need to check that all the links work, and that they behave how you want them to. For example do they open in the same tab / window or do they open in a new tab or window of the browser?

I use a plug in called Broken Link Checker. The great thing about this plug in is that it monitors all the links within your site and notifies you if a link that you added some time ago is not working. It then provides you with an easy way to update or manage the link.

Add Images

If you have not already added images, now is the time to do so. I like to put an image at the start of the blog post, and usually make this my featured image too. Not all blog themes have featured images but if yours does, then it is better that you choose which image is featured.

Where appropriate you can also add images throughout your blog post. Don’t add images for the sake of adding images, but if they support your theme or add something then do.

It is always a good idea to give a title and alternative description to your images as this can help them be found in search engines.

Write An Excerpt

It is a good idea to write a manual excerpt for your blog posts. This will make your blog home page look a little neater if it includes excerpts rather than using truncated excerpts drawn from the post itself.

Check The Permalink

It is by far better to ensure that your permalink is correct before publishing although if necessary it can be changed after. However you may lose some valuable inbound links if you do change the permalink after publishing.

Ideally you want your permalink to include just your focus keyword.

The Final Read and Preview Check

At last you are just about ready to click the publish button. However before you do so it is always a good idea to Preview the post and give it one last read through. I always like to see how my post will actually look on my blog. Often I will make little changes when I see the article previewed – just altering the layout slightly so that it does not look too cluttered. I sometimes find that I will also pick up the odd typo that I had missed earlier.

Once you are satisfied all is well then it is time to click the publish button.

You haven’t quite finished with the blog post yet though. There are a few final things that I like to do once the article has been published and I will share these with you in a future blog post.

If this article has been helpful to you, or you know someone who will find it interesting, please do share…

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