9 Things You Need to do to Every Blog Post Before You Hit Publish + Free Promo List
My fellow bloggers probably know that writing a great article that people will read, share, and pin is no easy task. There are so many things to consider and so many people to please: Google, your readers, your social media followers, your mama…the list goes on. I’ve been getting requests for a list of things you need to do to every blog post before you hit publish, so I put this together just for you guys!
I also made a huge list of Facebook groups that allow you to promote your posts, so that you can share your awesome stuff after publishing it. I’ll send that over to you after you’re done with this article. So, let’s get to it!
THINGS YOU NEED TO DO TO EVERY BLOG POST BEFORE YOU HIT PUBLISH
There are a few important elements to every great blog post. You want it to be interesting, helpful to your reader, easy to read, and easy to share. To name a few of the big ones.
Make sure that each of your blog posts follow the guidelines outlined below, and you’ll be on your way to blogging greatness.
THING ONE: SOLID BLOG TITLE
Every great blog article starts with a great blog title. In fact, a great blog title can help you to stand out in a sea of other posts online, whether you’re sharing in Facebook groups or being sought out on Google.
You want your blog title to be interesting and persuasive. It should describe a problem that you’re going to solve or a need you are going to fill. And it should persuade your reader to click on your link and read what you have to say!
Case in point: The most popular article I ever wrote goes by the blog title, How to Upload Your Blog Posts to Pinterest in Three Easy Steps
This blog post title is clearly interesting and helpful to people that want to figure out how to upload their blog posts on Pinterest. It reaches the reader personally by saying “YOUR BLOG POST” and it’s persuasive because it assures my reader that the process will be “THREE EASY STEPS.”
Always remember, interesting, persuasive, and helpful titles are best.
THING TWO: SIMPLE OUTLINE
You should always have some sort of outline for your blog posts, because this helps you keep your content focused and your reader interested. If you’ve ever read a long-winded diary-like blog post with no clear direction or purpose, you already know exactly what I’m talking about. Readers don’t typically enjoy that stuff.
Just think back to junior high English class.
Your blog posts should have an introduction, a body, and a conclusion. The content should follow a consistent direction and it should be leading your reader from the starting point to the destination.
My outline usually looks something like this: open with an observation or personal anecdote. Present a problem that needs to be solved. Solve the problem in several small steps. Conclude with a positive affirmation about the solved problem. Invite my readers to comment on their experience.
Sweet and simple!
You don’t need to create or follow a written outline, but you should think of your blog posts like your navigation system for your reader. You’re helping them get from A to B, and you need to keep the directions clear and simple so that your reader doesn’t get lost.
THING THREE: BREAK UP THE TEXT
When you’re writing your blog article, think about the posts that you like to read online. Most popular blog posts are broken down into short paragraphs and separated with clear subheadings. This is also great for helping people find you through search engine optimization, which we’ll talk about next.
Anything that has 10+ long-winded sentences without a paragraph break is going to scare away your audience. Honestly, after 3-4 sentences, I’m ready for a change of pace via a new paragraph. When it comes to blog posts, several short paragraphs are always better than a huge block of text.
Along those lines, most readers want to get a feel for the content before actually committing to reading the entire article, and subheadings make this easier. Even if your article is super long, you can use a few catchy subheadings to break up the text and make the content a lot less intimidating. I usually have at least 5 subheadings in each of my blog posts.
THING FOUR: OPTIMIZE THE HECK OUT OF IT
Optimizing your content for search engines is super important if you want people to FIND YOUR STUFF.
Search engine optimization (SEO) is just the act of creating super specific content that is full of words that people are searching for on Google (or any other search engine). When your content is optimized, that means that people can type related search terms into a search engine and one of your posts appears in the ranked pages.
As an example, if you wrote about the best double stroller for twins, and someone typed those search terms into the search bar on Google, a well-optimized blog article will appear on the first few pages of results.
A lot of factors come into play for SEO, and it takes some time to get on Google’s good side and build your credibility as a rank-worthy website…so don’t despair. It will happen if you stay consistent.
And when you’re feeling lost, just think about the words that YOU type into search engines when you’re searching for something. Then review those first few articles on page one of search results and pay attention to the way they optimize their content.
Here are a few things to include in your blog posts.
- A blog title with keywords
- Subtitles with keywords
- Include keywords peppered naturally throughout the post (Yoast likes to hit 0.5% keyword density)
- Include keywords in your URL and the alt descriptions for images
- Write posts that are at least 300 words (all of my posts are between 1,000 – 2,000 words)
- Break up content with several subheadings
Yoast SEO is an amazing free tool to help you optimize your content for search engines. It walks you through a specific checklist for every single post and suggests edits for improvement.
This is one of the many reasons that I highly recommend setting up on a self-hosted site using WordPress .org. This route gives you access to so many free and useful plugins that allows you to improve your site and your content.
THING FIVE: ENCOURAGE ACTION BY ASKING QUESTIONS
By this point, you have a great blog title and an optimized blog post that is helpful to your readers…and now, we need to wrap up the article in a way that motivates your reader to do something.
I always end my articles with a specific question.
Your call-to-action will depend on what you’re trying to accomplish with this blog post. Are you trying to get your readers to sign up for your email list? Join your Facebook group? Comment on your blog post?
Whatever the case may be, ASK YOUR READER to do something.
I usually want my readers to comment on my blog post, so I end my blog post with a simple question like this: now, tell me! Have you started using Pinterest for your blog yet? Are you finding success with it? Tell me in the comments below!
It’s simple but so, so effective! Try this in your next article and you’ll see what I mean.
THING SIX: INCLUDE A PINNABLE IMAGE
You know how much I love Pinterest. It’s great for blog traffic and for inspiration for everything under the sun. Every blog article that you write needs to be optimized for Pinterest.
Because many of the readers that come to your site want to save your article on Pinterest and then come back to read it at a later time (there are over 200 million users doing this, to be more precise)!
Let’s say I come across your blog article on postpartum fitness, wedding hair styles, or getting out of student debt. I love the article, I love your writing style. I’m saving a collection of similar articles to read and review when I have some down time, so I create a Pinterest board and I go to save your article there.
If you don’t have a pinnable image and a Pinterest-optimized article, I won’t be able to save that article for later and share it with my Pinterest followers. And you just missed out on a potentially huge pool of new blog readers on your website.
So, include a pinnable image on every single blog post.
You can create these images for free in Canva. They have an option for Pinterest graphics that are just the perfect vertical size that Pinterest loves.
When you add that pinnable image to your blog article, you’ll have the option to edit the alternative text (alt text) that is connected to the image.
Remember, when people see this pin on your website and save it to one of their boards, we want the pin description to be full of keywords that are interesting, helpful, and persuasive to our reader. That’s what the alt text box is for, so make sure you put SOMETHING into that box.
I typically include my blog post title and an additional sentence about what you’ll find in the article.
PRO TIP: The meta description that you use in Yoast SEO is a a great description for your pin, so just copy and paste that description and use it as your alt text. It looks like this:
THING SEVEN: CHOOSE A FEATURED IMAGE
Our content is done and now we’re ready to add a featured image and get this baby published.
Your featured image will be the little icon that appears next to your blog title on social media, and it will usually appear above the blog title on your website.
If you’re on WordPress .org (and you should be), the option to add a featured image will appear on the right side of your post editor. You’ll upload the image you want to use and hit select. Once you’re featured image has been saved, your live blog post will look something like this:
Just lovely, right??
THING EIGHT: ACTIVATE SHARE BUTTONS
Every blog article should have the option to share across all social platforms. If someone likes your article and wants to share it on Facebook, they should have the option to do this quickly and easily.
These social shares help you to reach more people and grow your audience. They are super duper important, so make sure they are active on every single blog post.
I use the Shareaholic plugin for my social share buttons, it’s free and easy to use!
THING NINE: PROOFREAD AND PUBLISH
Fun fact about me: I used to be an editor! I worked on websites, sales copy, and books…finding errors and improving readability.
It’s kind of my jam, and also something that I’m a total stickler about. Our content needs to be easy to read and understand, and it should be free from errors (for the most part). An occasional mistake is bound to happen, so don’t beat yourself up. But take a few minutes to proofread and make sure your spelling and grammar is on point.
And that’s it!
Do these nine things and then hit publish. You now have an optimized blog post that is ready to read, share, and pin. Pretty sweet, right?