Checklist of Things to Do Before You Publish a Blog Post

I hate it when I waste my time doing the same tasks over and over again. That's why we created Nelio Content, so neither you or I get stuck with boring stuff! Check it out!

When you write a post for your blog it is very important to be sure that you’ve actually finished it before hitting the publish button (or the schedule button, if you plan your posts in advance). And I’m sure that many times you do not even re-read the text you write, which is a basic thing to do 😱

Nowadays, time is the most precious resource we have. We are always running short of time, but still, I think you should spend a few more minutes to make some checks before publishing your posts and, hence, increase their final quality in an incredible way.

So to make your life easier, today I’ll show you a list of things that you should do before publishing a blog post.

Checklist of Things to Do Before You Publish a Blog Post

If you take the following steps in your daily routine, your blog will make a huge jump in quality in a very short time.

1. Rethink the Title

When you finish writing your post it might happen that the title that you firstly chose has little or nothing to do with the final text. That’s why it is often recommended to rethink the title once you’re done with the content.

Also, remember that the title is one of the strengths of your post. It’s the first thing that your visitors or potential readers will see, and what will determine whether they are interested and end up reading the complete content. So you should think a little and try to write a catchy title that captures your readers attention—but try not to deceive or disappoint them either. Getting the balance here is an art that you will improve over time.

2. Write an Interesting Introduction

Apart from the title, the first paragraph of your post is the most read by your visitors and, therefore, it can either invite your visitors to keep reading or make them go elsewhere. Introductions have to arouse the interest of your readers, as David told you in this post.

Writing, by Ben Timney
Although not easy, if you can write an attractive introduction, you’ll have half the work done.

You decide how to get the interest. You can explain an anecdote, start with a controversial fact or describe something curious. But keep in mind that it must always be related in some way to what you will explain in the post. So review the introduction and try to improve it before publishing.

3. Correct Misspellings and Typos

Typos and spelling errors in your content today is something that gives an image of intentional disregard. This is so because we have a lot of writing aids that should help you write better content. For instance, I do have a spell checker in Chrome that checks my content as I write it in the WordPress. There’s no longer need to install extra software—as I just said, current web browsers and/or the operating system itself usually include spell checkers, so please enable them and use them in your writing—this way, you’ll make your content much more enjoyable.

4. Add Categories and Tags

In order to have everything well organized in our blog, categories and tags play a very important role. At least you should assign one category to your new post and add some tags. This way if your users are interested in content related to the same topic they’ll find it easily. Don’t think of categories and tags as a SEO tool, but as indexes in a dictionary to make life easier to your visitors.

5. Verify that the HTML is correct

This is something few people do, but it’s quite important too. When you write your content, you should properly use HTML tags for titles, emphasis, element lists, and so on.

Visual editor of WordPress. You can select different formatting options there.
Visual editor of WordPress. You can select different formatting options there.

For example, you should not use <H1> tags in your post because that tag is supposed to be reserved for the title only (and your WordPress theme should take care of it). In addition, the use of the corresponding titles should follow a correct hierarchy, i.e., there should not be a higher-order title within a lower-order title (not an <H2> within an <H3>).

And for lists, it is usually much better to use <UL> or <OL> tags than to make line breaks or separate items with numbers and/or hyphens. In addition, in WordPress you can do it directly using the buttons of the visual editor, so you have no excuse.

6. Check SEO

SEO is something really important today, as it’s one of the main traffic sources. There are several things you should take into account to optimize your posts from an SEO perspective. Here is a list of the most important ones:

  • The keywords of your post should appear in the content (the sooner, the better).
  • The keywords of your post must appear in the title.
  • The length of the post must be at least 300 words.
  • The snippet must be completed, including title and meta-description.

The best thing you can do is to install a SEO plugin for WordPress that will make suggestions and help you complete these steps.

7. Add Internal and External Links

Your post is not complete if you have not included links to other articles from your own website or from external sites. Such references improve the overall quality of your post—on the one hand, you promote your own content by building a powerful internal link structure and, on the other hand, external sources offer different perspectives on the topics you cover and complete the information you provide. Don’t be afraid to add external links. Surely if you don’t do it is because you think people will leave your web to never return. Well, it turns out that if you link quality content, your visitors will be delighted and will visit you again more often.

8. Add Images Inside the Content

If you write a lot, you need to give your readers a break. The best way to do this is by adding related images into the text of your posts. This way, you will make reading your content more enjoyable.

Of course, you need to select those image properly. If you flood the text with too many images, you can cause your readers to just look at them and skip the content. Remember, the images have to accompany (and not hide) the content.

9. Set a Featured Image

Whether your theme supports them or not, I recommend that you add featured images to your posts. The reason is that if in the future you change the theme and the new one uses them (something totally common today) you will not have to go editing each post in order to fix the mess.

stop
If you look at the detail of the featured image of this post, you will see that the word STOP is related to the topic. Do not publish until you reviewed everything!

In addition, featured images help to capture the attention of your visitors. That is why you should choose them carefully. And remember to mention the source or the author of the image you use if it has copyright. We add attribution links at the end of the article (if you scroll down you’ll see it 😉).

10. Write a Proper Ending

Don’t forget to end your articles with a final paragraph. If you don’t, it’ll look as if the post is not finished, and your readers will be baffled when they reach the end. Take advantage of the final part of the content to write conclusions or to review the most important points you have been explaining—this will help the reader to focus on the relevant ideas and to better understand what they read.

11. Include a Call To Action at the End

Whether you are a company and use the blog to get potential customers or a writer looking for new readers, you should take advantage of your posts to achieve your goals. Doing it at the end is totally legitimate, so don’t forget to askyour most loyal readers (those who reach the end) to perform certain actions.

For instance, you can ask them to make a comment sharing their opinion or experience, to visit an additional page, or to share your content in social networks. Many won’t do anything, but surely if you suggest actions to your readers you’ll have more success than if you don’t 😉

12. Prepare the Promotion of Your Post

The best time to think about promoting a post is right after you’ve written it. So take a few minutes after writing a post and prepare the messages that will appear on Twitter, Facebook, and other social networks.

Timeline of Scheduled Social Messages
Screenshot of the Social Media box of Nelio Content. There, you can see which social messages are scheduled to promote a certain post and add new ones.

Using our Nelio Content plugin, you’ll be able to schedule all these social messages without ever leaving your Dashboard!

13. Have someone check the post

If you want to ensure the final quality, it is best to ask somebody else to review it—since you’re the author, someone less familiar with the text will identify errors more easily and will be able to make suggestions for improvement. Also, seeing the point of view of others is always positive!

In our case, one person writes the content and prepares the whole post, and then another reviews it deeply. And we do the same for the translation from Spanish to English (or viceversa).

Final review

Believe me, taking all this into account when writing a post is easier than it seems. You do not need to have an elephant memory so you do not forget any point—there’s plenty of tools that’ll help you with these tasks.

For example, in our case we use the Yoast SEO plugin to control that all aspects related to SEO of our posts, since the plugin itself gives you indications as you type. And with the same idea we developed the quality control that comes included in Nelio Content, so we do not forget to put images or links, nor to program social messages to promote each post.

The truth is that you have lot of help at your fingertips. Test this list on your website and tell us if you think something is missing or how you do it. I’ll be happy to hear your experience 😉

Featured image by Bethany Legg.

by

Antonio obtained his PhD in Computer Science at UPC. He has several publications in the field of data mining and information retrieval applied to conceptual modeling and health informatics. He specialized in the design, development, and integration of web services and cloud applications. He's an active contributor to the WordPress community and participates in meetups, seminars and WordCamps.

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