Writing a Blog Post: What I Do Before I Click On Publish

 

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9 Things to Do Before You Publish Your Blog PostWriting a blog post is a pretty straightforward deal for me. I’m usually writing about things I know pretty well, so I just write what I’m thinking at the time. If it’s a more detailed or complicated subject, I might do a quick outline first to get my thoughts in order.

But once all the writing is done, my brand new blog post still isn’t quite ready to exist on the world wide web yet! There are a few other things I need to do to before I hit that “Publish” button and send my little post out live to the world.

 

1. Check My Title

I usually give my post a title before I even start writing. But there are times over the course of writing that I change course or go off on a tangent. So before I publish, I always check my headline and make sure it still works with the content of the blog post.

I also double check that it’s SEO friendly, to help with my search engine rankings. I have a little trick I do – for the post itself, I (generally, although not always!) use something that’s good for SEO. But on my images, I go with a more viral type of headline, because I find those get shared more often.

So my blog post title may be “5 Ways to Do This Thing”; meanwhile, my image will say “5 Secret Hacks to Do This Thing!”

 

2. Check My Permalink

This is another thing that I do for SEO optimization. If you look at the top of your page, you see this:

Edit Your Permalink

You can actually edit the permalink by clicking edit. I try to take out any extraneous words so I have a cleaner, more concise URL with a keyword phrase. This is one of the things the search engines look at to decide what your blog post is about, so it’s a good idea to tell them exactly what it is.

Another reason this is a good idea – a long title usually equals a long URL – by editing your permalink, you can have something that’s shorter, making it easier to share in social media.

 

3. Add My Category

When I first started blogging, I didn’t pay much attention to categories, and my old blog about Peru is a hot mess because of it. Well, my momma didn’t raise any fools, so I learned to use Parent categories to keep things better organized.  Just about everything on this blog fits into one of three categories – Blogging, Marketing, and Mindset Training, and then I can split them up into a few subcategories. It makes it much easier for visitors to find what they’re looking for!

 

4. Add My Tags

Tags are are similar to categories, but different. (In fact, I wrote a whole separate article about them – Categories and Tags). If your blog was a book, your categories would be chapter headings. The tags would be the index. Both are useful, and both should be used sparingly.  And don’t forget in your tags (and categories) to write them like titles, that is to say, starting each word with a capital letter.

 

5.  Read Through My Preview

WordPress gives you the option of previewing your post before you publish; take advantage of it! Don’t just check out your alignment – give your post a thorough read through, looking for any spelling or grammar flubs. A tip I learned – read the last sentence first and work your way to the beginning. It forces your brain to see things like “new” and helps you catch mistakes you might gloss over otherwise.

Another way you can catch spelling and grammar mistakes before you go live is by using Grammarly. It’s an awesome app that automatically checks your posts for more than 250 types of common grammatical errors as well as spell-checking. Grammarly can even help you improve your vocabulary! It’s helped me start to get over a bad case of “over-comma-zation” in my blog posts – I had no idea I was using WAY too many. 😉

Check it out by clicking here >> Grammarly

 

6. Make Sure Images Are Formatted

I mean two things by this. First of all, in your post preview, make sure your images look right – that they aren’t splitting up any paragraphs in a weird way.  If you’re on Firefox looking at my blog, you may see some weird shizzle from time to time – Sorry, it’s optimized for Chrome and I haven’t been able to get it to work both ways.

But I also mean this: Make sure the title of your image is descriptive – I usually use my post title.  You’re Alt-tag is super important too, because this is where Pinterest pulls their information from. You can type in a full description in that little box – tags and all.  What’s more, it’s good for SEO – search engines can’t “see” what your image is, they figure it out by your description.

 

7. Check Your Subheadings

While you’re on your preview, make sure you’ve got your content split up into easy to read sections with bold subheadings. Check for any “too large” paragraphs, and break them up into easier to read sections.  Big chunks of text are really hard to read on the internet – it never bothered me in books, but online, all I see is a wall of words that I don’t want to mess with.

 

8. Set My Featured Image

This is important for a couple of reasons. First, it’s the image that shows up on the index pages of my blog, so I want to make sure that my theme is pulling the image I want, not some random image from my post.  Same goes for sharing – when I share to Twitter or Facebook, the featured image is the one that gets picked.  In fact, I usually design a special image just for the “Feature” – one that isn’t actually shown on my post, but is sized to show up well on my front page and in social media.

 

9. Call to Action

Every post should have a call to action! I usually give people the chance to join my email community, but depending on the topic of the post, I may promote a product or service. Either way, this is the time to remember that we’re running a business here. Your content is being traded for something, it’s not really for free.

Sure a lot of people are going to read it and do nothing, that’s just the nature of business – a lot of people walk into The Gap without buying a pair of jeans. But there are going to be some people who are willing to comment, click on an ad, purchase a product or give you their email address in return for your awesome content.  So make sure you’ve got something on your blog post that tells them exactly what it is that you really want in return.

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That’s it! Once I’ve done that and got it all sorted out, I hit that publish button and let it loose into the interwebs to run free and dazzle people with my brilliance. 😉

How about you? Have you got any steps you take before you publish a post?  Tell us about it in the comments – maybe someone else needs to learn what you know!
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22 responses on Writing a Blog Post: What I Do Before I Click On Publish

  1. It’s never really occurred to me to set a featured image. I really thought that was only if you use a slider on the main header of your blog so I don’t use it. But I have – more than once – thought, “ugh, really?” when a random image gets pulled into my social media sharing so I will try this on my next blog post.

    Thanks!

  2. I really appreciate this list! I transferred from Blogger to WordPress last month and I think my head is not spinning so fast any more. I was happy to discover that I am hitting most of your suggestions already. I probably only miss the sub-headings (guess that is h2 tags?) most of the time because it doesn’t seem to really fit naturally into what I’m writing, although I did use it on a recent post and my SEO check reflected it.
    I always do a preview read (or two or three), but have never considered reading it backwards. Sometimes a misspelled word is only misspelled because of context and the spell checker doesn’t catch it – horrid to see that published then realize and have to edit, wondering how many people have already seen it! I’ll be reading backwards now.
    Thanks for the great advice.
    Karen recently posted…Herbed Homemade Chicken BrothMy Profile

    1. LOL – I know, I hate it when I find a really dorky typo or misspell in my blog post, like a month after I posted it. As far as sub-heads, sometimes I use the h2 tags, but they’re so big in my theme, I don’t really like them. I’m sure I could fix that in the theme itself, but instead I just use h3, like I did in this post. Or, I simply bold the first few words of a paragraph to make it stand out.

      I have a plug in called TinyMCE Advanced, that has a featured where I can change font size, and I’ll do that sometimes too, just to have variety and keep it interesting. Using the h2s and h3s is best for SEO, though.

  3. This is great! Some of this I discovered through trial and (MUCH) error.

    BUT: I’d never thought about setting a different featured image, and didn’t know about how beneficial editing the permalink is. Best of all learning that a slightly different title on the post picture would perhaps help it to get more interest.

    YAY!!! AND thank you!!
    Marjie @ Home Again Jiggety-jig! recently posted…QUICK TIERED SERVING STANDMy Profile

    1. Thank you so much for commenting, Marjie! I started using the featured image mostly because I like using tall images in my post, but don’t like them showing up so big on the front page of my blog, where it only shows post excerpts. But it’s come in handy for a lot of things!

    1. Thanks! I got that one from Picmonkey – just created an image 400×50, and inserted that image, saved it as it was and then pop it in my blog when I need to.

  4. Thank you for this list! I’ve been doing a majority of these so it’s nice to know I’m on the right track, but I see there are a few things I need to implement. A question regarding the featured image–I noticed that this is the one that shows on my homepage, but is this also the one that is used for Pinterest? The image that shows on Pinterest is very small compared to others pins and I’m not sure why. I would also like to make the social network images have text so viewers can see what what the image/post is about–but I don’t want this image to be the main image on my homepage. Is his a different image from the featured image or the same? Thank you so much!
    Carolann recently posted…Lemon Curd MousseMy Profile

    1. Hi Carolann – Glad you found a few new things you could take action on! As far as Pinterest goes, there is a chance, depending on how someone pins, that it would pull the featured image – but I haven’t seen it happening. When I pin, if I use the Pin It button in my tool bar, it pulls up all the images on a post and gives me a choice of which I want to pin – it’s not automatically choosing the featured image. Also, if you use the kind of share buttons that show on the image (like when you hover over mine), they will naturally pull up just that image if you click on them.

      For the 2nd question – you might want to check using the SEO for WordPress plugin by Yoast. It lets you define a particular image for sharing to social media for each post (you can even use different images for each one).

      Those are really great questions – thanks for asking!

  5. Thank you Kelly for the post. I’ve been blogging for 5 months and I just started using the Tags. I didn’t really understand the purpose, but since it was there, I started adding them. I didn’t think about capitalizing them tho. Also, editing the permalink, I didn’t really think about that one either. I would like to add 1 thing to your list tho if I may? I always have someone else edit my post. Usually it’s my husband. It’s just always good to have fresh eyes. For me anyway.
    Thanks a bunch
    Sabrina

    1. That’s a great tip, Sabrina, and something people should really try to do if they can. Thanks so much for commenting!

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