Whenever I complete writing a post, there are always a set of steps that I take care of before hitting the publish button. Initially, the number of steps were few but as I started learning more and more about blogging/SEO/social media and so on, this small checklist started increasing to take care of the same. I will be sharing this checklist in this post as I feel that it is a kind of must have for every blog publisher.
Typically, I use the wordpress editor itself for composing/editing/publishing my posts. Somehow, I could never switch on to Live Writer or any other blogging tool. Lets assume that I have written whatever content that I had to put in a new post on my blog. Now I will start with the following steps to ensure that the post is worthy of getting published.
- Preview Post -- I always preview the post either after the whole content is written or even in between the writing. This helps to quickly get a visual feedback on how the over all post is shaping up. If there are any alignment issues with the text or any image, it helps to take care of the same. Further, If the subsequent content of the post that I am going to write also has similar formatting, it helps avoid repeating the mistakes. You can fine tune the look and feel of the post in this way.
- Read Post Aloud -- While the preview provided the required visual feedback, it is also very important to ensure that what you have written is
- Grammatically correct -- A post with spelling errors would most likely turn off any new visitors.
- Logically organized -- This is important to create a good reading flow for the visitor. You should build up the story you are trying to say as a sequence of sentences so that the point can be properly put across to the reader. Any out of context/flow breaking references/sentences should either be removed or adjusted to align with the overall post content.
- Uncluttered -- It is useful to organize the post in to smaller paragraphs which provide logical segregation. This will also make the post look organized as opposed to an unorganized monolith.
- Well Formatted -- Ensure that the post is well formatted. Use bold/italics/underline formatting for highlighting text. If you are listing a set of steps, use bullet points. If you are presenting some data, make use of tables.
- Readable ( Become the visitor ) -- Imagine you are the visitor interested in knowing about the topic of the post. Read the post aloud and see if you can make good sense of the content. It is important for you to be able to not only get the information as pointed to by the post title but also any additional points that were intended to be put across as the post author. Repeat the cycle until you feel that you are satisfied with the changes.
- Post Title -- Revisit the post title to see if you would like to change it or make it more catchy/attractive. Sometimes a great post content can remain un-noticed because of a shoddy choice of post title. Your objective has to be to make the expected visitor excited enough to go through the post content after seeing the title. Your title should also address any relevant keywords for the post as mentioned below.
- Post Keywords -- Do some research using Google Adwords, Google Suggest etc to be aware of the most probable keywords which would bring visitors for this post content. Ensure that you have those keywords covered. At the same time, you need to avoid doing unnecessary keyword stuffing.
- Permalinks -- Permalinks also contribute significantly to SEO. So it is important to use the right keywords in the permalink. By default, wordpress constructs the permalink from the post title itself. You can edit this permalink to either use a new keyword for your post OR remove any irrelevant words eg and, or, the ( which do not add any value as such ). As an example if your title is something like <Create Logo Online> and you believe that users could also search for <Make Logo Online>, then you can edit permalink to replace Create by Make. This way you could cover both the keywords.
- Title/Meta Description -- If you use the All in One SEO Plugin, ensure that you put in the title using the guidelines mentioned above. Additionally add the meta description in such a way that it not only targets any desired and most expected keywords, it also provides a crisp/attractive information to the visitor encouraging him to visit your website for this post. Keep the meta description round about 150 characters.
- Images and Videos -- Any pictures or videos that you use to supplement your post content enhances the overall user experience and are highly recommended. As an example if you are talking/reviewing about any product, include useful snapshots that give a feel of the interface or may be add a video to illustrate how it works. Always remember to strike a good balance between the text ( actual post content ) and images/videos to ensure that certain quality is maintained.
- Image Credits -- If you have used any external images, make sure you give due credit to the owner as per the licensing terms of the image. This typically involves back linking to the image author’s profile.
- Hyperlinks ( External and Internal ) -- It is important to provide external hyperlinks for any text terms in the content of your post that you would like your visitor to click on. Additionally, you should also use your judgment to link text in the current post to any other related posts of your own blog. This will not only provide you with an opportunity to get your visitor to view multiple posts on your blog but will also be useful if you make use of the right anchor text for SEO.
- Custom Fields -- In case your theme uses any custom fields for the posts, make sure you put in the right details. As an example, the arthemia theme that I use supports custom field called <Image> on a per post basis, whose value needs to be specified as a hyperlink to the image file. This information is used to display thumbnail of this image alongside the post title and description on the home page.
- Categories -- If you have created multiple categories for content on your blog, make sure that you assign the most relevant category to the current post. This will help to get this post listed if someone browses your site on the basis of category.
- Tags -- Tag cloud is an excellent mechanism to engage visitor on your website. But for this to work, it is also extremely critical to assign right tags to each of your posts. Hence before you publish the post, think about the tags that will suit the most to your post content and specify the same.
- Comments and Pingbacks -- By default, you would typically enable comments and pingbacks for all posts on your blog. However, if because of some reason, you want to disable either the comments or pingbacks, you can do so by un-checking the relevant box below the discussion tab on the wordpress dashboard in the post edit window.
- Token Of Thanks -- Sometimes you get the idea for the post content from someone else. For example, you saw a twitter update mentioning about a new tool. You used the same tool and liked it. You have now written a post about your take on this tool that is a kind of recommendation/review. Do acknowledge the source of the information by putting a <Thanks @source for the tip> kind of line at the bottom of your post with a back-link to the actual source. This not only projects you as honest and humble but also helps to build newer contacts
- Social Media -- You would also like to encourage your visitor to tweet your post, share it on facebook, bookmark it on delicios and so on. While the compelling content might itself make the visitor to do that, but at the same time it is very useful to explicitly mention a request to the visitor to share the post if he/she liked the same. This increases the probability of your post getting more traffic.
- Completeness -- This is a very interesting thought that is now always occupying my mind whenever I am publishing a new post -- thanks to an interesting article on BlogTyrant which says that sometimes it is useful not to write an exhaustive post covering almost all aspects of the topic. It is better to leave certain questions unanswered so that there is greater probability of visitor interaction.
- Content Is King -- Last but not the least, always remember that content is the king. You need to build good, useful content before you can expect any following for your blog. You might have good formatted posts with the right keywords, but they will only click if the content is powerful enough as well.
Have I missed something?
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