20+ Things to Check Before Publishing a Blog Post

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One of the most annoying things as a blogger is having to tweak a post once it’s already published. There are many things to consider before clicking publish on a post: the excerpt, tags, categories, links, image sources, etc. And it is normal that more than once we have missed some detail. In addition, if you are more than one person writing in the blog, add the difficulty of wanting to convey a uniform image without giving up the personal style of each author.

For this last point, and particularly if you have external contributors, we strongly recommend creating a style guide for the team of authors. A blog style guide should include the expectations and standards of your organization that every piece of content on your blog must meet. From grammar and spelling to design elements, such as the proper use of headings and the right choice of images.

The style guide should also include many of the aspects that should be reviewed before any post is published. So, without further ado, let’s look at our list of points and some resources or tools that we have to make this review as light as possible.

Does The Title Appeal To Your Readers?

The title of a post should be the most attractive part of it, since it is the first thing that your visitors see. If it does not arouse a certain curiosity or interest and stand out above the rest, they will not try or access it. Of course, do not try to fall into cheap sensationalism and avoid using clickbaits that will damage your image in the long run.

If you struggle to generate attractive titles, here are 10 tricks to write a perfect title that will be of great help.

Is the Title of Your Post Between 50 and 60 Characters Long?

This is the optimal length of the title. According to moz.com :

Google typically displays the first 50–60 characters of a title tag. If you keep your titles under 60 characters, our research suggests that you can expect about 90% of your titles to display properly. There’s no exact character limit, because characters can vary in width and Google’s display titles max out (currently) at 600 pixels.

Title Tag por moz.com

Anything shorter may not be descriptive and specific enough to grab attention. If your post title is longer, the title will be cut off at 69 characters in search results, and your clicks will likely decrease.

How to control it? You don’t need to count characters. If you have the Yoast plugin installed, it will always show you if the length of your SEO title falls within this range.

Preview of a post snippet in the Yoast plugin
Preview of the snippet of a post in the Yoast plugin. As you can see, under the title, the green line indicates that the title is the correct length.

Is the Main Keyword Included in the Title of the Blog Post?

When search engines determine the intent of a post and rank it accordingly, the post title, or H1 tag, carries more weight than any other post content. Not only should your post title include your keyword, but it’s best to incorporate it as close to the beginning of the title as possible.

Does the Voice Fit the General Tone of Your Blog and Your Readers?

As I mentioned before, if your blog involves a group of writers, you should previously define a style guide in which the general tone of the blog is established (for example, use a conversational tone or a formal tone) and the profile of the blog’s readers has also been defined.

Even if you have your own unique style of writing posts, make sure it follows the guidelines outlined in the style guide.

Is Your Main Keyword Mentioned in the Body of Your Article?

Google’s webmaster guidelines recommend that you think of the words that users will type to search for your pages and include them on your site. But they also tell you to create pages primarily for users, not for search engines. So, you don’t have to worry about hitting a specific keyword density but make sure you include the main keyword where it fits naturally in all of your content. If you want the wording to be natural, you can also use synonyms or words related to the main keyword. These words will also help drive more traffic to your website.

Does Your Language Sound Natural?

Try to place keywords and synonyms only where they are relevant throughout the text. Both Google and people can tell that you’re trying to stuff everything with keywords to get a quick SEO boost. This tactic doesn’t work and, in fact, Google’s own guidelines advise content marketers to “write naturally.” Your focus should be to provide value around your keywords, not hitting a certain keyword density.

Does Your Post Include H2 and H3 Headings When Relevant to Simplify Readability?

Using subheadings throughout your post will make your content much easier to read. Also, if you write very descriptive subtitles that incorporate your keywords, the better. Search engines give more importance to H2 and H3 headings than to body text.

Does Your Post Link to at Least 2 Relevant Articles in the Sector and Do They Open in New Tabs?

One of the concerns that come to mind when you write the first posts is whether linking relevant articles from outside sources (which may even be your competitors) is inviting your readers to abandon you and go to read those articles. Experts in this area, and our experience, show otherwise. Mentioning referents in an area gives you more prestige. They complement information that may be useful to the reader. They increase your credibility by showing that you know the sector and who are the best positioned in that market. Besides, don’t be fooled, any user will find that information on Google even if you don’t mention it.

How do you make sure you don’t forget to include two external links in your post? The easiest way is to use a plugin like Nelio Content that tells you, in its quality control, if you have external links.

Post Quality Analysis
Nelio Content analyzes the quality of your post in a non-disruptive manner.

Also take care that all external links are opened in new tabs since if they are opened in the same tab, it can cause the bounce rate of readers who leave your page to skyrocket.

Does the Blog Post Include 2-3 Links to Relevant Pages on Your Website?

By “internal links” we mean those that point to pages, categories, posts, generic information, or sections of your own website. Adding links to your site is an easy way to improve navigation, provide additional information, and increase the chances that your site will appear in relevant search results.

To make sure you don’t forget to add links to your own website, Nelio Content‘s quality control also tells you if you haven’t added at least a couple of internal links in your post.

Does the Content Have the Right Length?

There is no universal length to follow for posts, but there are several recommendations that indicate that the ideal length depends on several factors. The indicators are changing over the years, although currently, the ideal length of a post should be between 1,500 and 2,000 words.

How can I easily ensure that a post is a minimum length? In WordPress, you have the information icon that you find in the top menu of the post’s block editor that always tells you the number of words contained in the post. But if you don’t want to get lost, Nelio Content‘s quality control will notify you if your post is too short.

Have You Added an Attractive and Quality Featured Image to Your Post?

People are very visual. All websites with the best designs include attractive and quality images. The featured image serves so that, at a quick glance, your visitors can get an idea of what they are going to find on your website. It doesn’t make any sense to have high-quality content on your WordPress and accompany it with ugly images or that have nothing to do with the content. Besides, the images are the ones that you will share on your social networks when you promote your content, as well as in your RSS feeds.

If you do not have your own images, you can resort to the multitude of image banks available where you can get free quality images with a Creative Commons license for commercial use.

Nelio Content also includes in the quality control of your posts that you do not forget to have included the featured image in them.

Have You Included Attractive and Quality Images to Your Post?

In addition to the featured image, the content of a post that is accompanied by images is more entertaining and easier to retain. In many cases, the image helps to better illustrate concepts that may be difficult to describe in words. As before, look for attractive and quality images.

Nelio Content also includes in the quality control of your posts so that you do not forget to have included an image in them.

Do the Images Have the Right Size and Weight?

With images, look for a balance between image quality and their size and resolution. Do not add images that are so large in size or resolution that the loading of your posts is penalized. For example, we limit all our images to be no more than 1,200 pixels wide and occupy a maximum of 250 KB. And for this, what we do is compress the images before uploading them.

Have You Given Proper Credit to the Images?

Even if you have used images with a Creative Commons license for commercial use, never fail to give credit to the author of the images. The author of the image will thank you and you will help them to get recognition. In addition, both the Google search engine and your readers will value your seriousness and professionalism in the information you provide.

Screenshot of the Unsplash thank you popup when downloading an image
Many image banks invite you to copy and paste the credit text of the image that you have downloaded.

Have You Added Descriptive Tags to the Images With the Keyword?

Images also play an important role in the SEO of your website. Search engines (like Google) index them and you may end up getting visitors if you tag your images correctly. Many people use the search engine’s built-in image search engines and end up visiting the web where the image itself appears.

Attachment details of an image from the WordPress media library
Attachment details of an image from the WordPress media library.

Write the ALT text, title, caption, and description for each image you’ve uploaded to the media library. ALT text is essential in terms of good practice as it is the one used by Google to determine what the image represents. Additionally, this text is the one that is shown in browsers where you have disabled displaying images when browsing.

Is the Length of Your Meta Description Between 135 and 160 Characters?

The meta description of a post is the short summary that you find under the title in the results of a Google search. As with the post title, 135 to 160 characters is the optimal length of the description according to Moz. Meta descriptions that exceed 160 characters will be cut off in search results. As you have seen in a previous image, the Yoast plugin also tells you if the meta description is the right length.

Is Your Main Keyword Mentioned in the Meta? Description?

It is also important to reinforce the objective of the post, include the keywords in the meta description. The title together with the meta description are the texts that are displayed as a search result. The closer to the keywords for which the search was performed, the easier it will be to get a click.

Have You Indicated the Category and Tags of the Post?

If you still have doubts about the difference between categories and tags, I recommend reading this post. This information about any post is relevant and useful not only to the visitor but is also used by search engines and has an impact on SEO.

I am one of those who try to indicate them even before writing the post so as not to forget them, but even so, Nelio Content will warn you if you have forgotten them.

Have You Prepared the Promotion of Your Post?

Yes, the promotion of a post is prepared before clicking the publish button on it. At the very moment the post is published, you must communicate in all your social networks that it has been published and not only that, you can also prepare each of the tweets that you want to publish to remind your followers not to forget to read your post.

If you want to be efficient in the promotion, Nelio Content allows you to add all the social messages following the same post and can even create all the messages automatically.

Screenshot of the social media box
Screenshot of the social media box, from where we can program which social messages have to be shared to promote the post in question.

Has Anyone Reviewed the Post?

My best recommendation to improve the quality of a post before publishing it is to have someone else from your team review it. When we have just written a post, we are already a bit tired of it and we’re probably not the best candidates to review it. For a second person, however, it’d be the first time they read it, so they’re ideal for such a task. Besides, a review is not a big effort and it’s a fantastic way to improve the final quality of your content.

Would You Add Any Other Points?

Precisely one final point that should never be missing from your posts is to invite your readers to participate in the comments section of your post. I’d love to hear if you have any comments on the points of this checklist or if you think I should add any others, I’m all ears!

Featured image by Markus Winkler on Unsplash.

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