Have you ever published an amazing, informative, ingenious blog post, only to find that it didn’t get the results (i.e. clicks, reach, engagement) you felt it deserved? After all that hard work you put into researching and writing a great blog post, it’s frustrating when you can’t seem to get it noticed. As social media marketers who have been business blogging for years, we’ve been through it all.
That’s why, with our extensive experience in business blogging, we’ve put together this comprehensive guide on publishing a blog post so that you can get the results you are looking for. If you’ve developed a good foundation in coming up with great blog post topics and an idea of how to write engaging pieces, then read this step-by-step blog post publishing checklist to use before you press “publish.”
Blog Publishing Checklist: Reviewing Language
If you’ve gotten to the point in the writing process where you’re getting ready to publish, you’ve probably already checked and double checked your writing. Fixing errors is one thing, but taking a big-picture overview of the language is another. There are a few key components to take inventory of during your final review to ensure that your piece is professional-quality and ready for the world to see.
Spelling and Grammar
You might think this is a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised how many articles there are with typos or grammar mistakes that get by undetected. And it matters. When readers see an error in a piece, it distracts them from the point of the piece and makes them question the writer’s credibility. Even for those people who are less critical, incorrect grammar still suggests that the person doesn’t know as much as they claim to know. Do not let a little mistake like this ruin an otherwise awesome piece.
One thing I like to do after writing a piece is set it down for a day (or longer if time permits) and come back to it when it’s fresh. This allows me to read it from a clear headspace and hear the voice of the writing in my head. When you read it back, you will be able to determine how well the writing flows. It should flow smoothly from start to finish, with clear transitions and a good mix of sentence lengths.
Adding several different points into your article is great, but they should all fit under the same umbrella theme. Professional writers, even when writing simple blog posts, always have a “thesis” that they tie all their information back to. Everything should be related to the central theme, and every tangent should come back around to the main point in the end.
Many writers forget to incorporate this, and in my opinion, it makes a huge difference in the quality of a piece of writing. Throughout your post, you will probably offer your readers several tips, opinions and/or pieces of information that they find helpful. But ask yourself: what larger, big-picture insight are you offering the reader? If you want to make your post stand out, leave the reader with one main, key takeaway, usually something you suggest immediately in the introduction and describe thoroughly in the conclusion paragraph. Leave them feeling like, in addition to the new information they are learning from you, they are also gaining a new perspective on the topic, a thought-provoking insight that they didn’t have before.
Call to Action
If you want to decrease the bounce rate and maintain a stronger engagement, add a call to action of some kind at the end of your post. Never leave the reader not knowing where to go next on your site for more information. They came to learn more about the topic, so always give them a chance to keep reading more. To help our readers navigate our page better, we always include a link at the end of each post, encouraging readers to learn more about our business.
Blog Publishing Checklist: Formatting
While doing your final read-through and determining how everything flows, also take note of the formatting. Having a smooth, flowing layout is just as important as the flow of the writing itself. There are a couple things to watch for during this design overview.
Headings and Subheadings
Make sure all headings and subheadings are consistent and formatted correctly. There is nothing more confusing to a reader than seeing several different heads and not knowing which one is the main point and which ones are subpoints. It should be obvious where each heading belongs, so that the piece is easy for the reader to navigate.
As you know, people on the internet are typically searching for quick reads to get their information as efficiently as possible. They are not reading your post in the same way they would read a novel. You have one chance to catch the reader’s attention, and nothing is more off-putting than long, unstructured paragraphs.
The paragraphs should all be broken up into sizable chunks. This really is a great trick because when you keep the paragraphs are short and concise, with lots of headings to indicate each new point, then the reader feels like they are getting their information faster, even if it’s the same amount of information. Using images also boosts reader engagement significantly, so sprinkle pictures or infographics generously throughout the page.
Blog Publishing Checklist: SEO
SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is a daunting idea for many business professionals, but it doesn’t have to be! You don’t have to be a master digital marketing expert to understand these basic, yet highly effective SEO tools.
Using a target keyword phrase is a frequently overlooked strategy that can be used to drastically enhance your SEO. If you want Google to rank your post high for your targeted topic, you must tell Google (in as many places as possible) what your post is about.
For each blog post, choose a word or phrase that sums up the focus of the post. It should be short and simple. Here are some examples of keyphrases we’ve used for our various blog posts.
- Tips for Running a Successful Facebook Ads Campaign – Keyphrase is “Facebook Ads Campaign
- 5 Social Media Advertising Strategies – Keyphrase is “Social Media Advertising”
- How to Come Up with Blog Post Topics – Keyphrase is “Business Blogging Topics”
Here are the key places you should weave the keyphrase: the URL/permalink, Title, Post description, headings, subheadings, intro, conclusion, image title, image alt text, and image description. Putting it in all these places makes your blog more likely to come up on search engines when someone searches for that topic or keyword.
Search engine traffic significantly increases if you optimize your images for Google Image searches. Make sure before uploading your images that they have the main keyphrase as the file name, so that when people search for images related to that topic, it will rank high in their results. As mentioned above, use the main keyphrase in the image title, the image alt text and the image description for optimal results.
Keep the image size under 100KB to ensure that it loads quickly. Above this, the quality of the image does not change in any noticeable way to the standard mobile or desktop screens, and takes up unnecessary bandwidth on your page.
To adjust the size and dimensions of your image, you can upload it to pixlr.com, press save and adjust the size and quality until it is 100KB or less.
Adding valuable links to your post has a huge impact on SEO, so long as you know how to use them effectively. Links should always add value to a piece.
There are two types of links: internal and external. Internal links are ones that bring the reader to different pages on the same website, whereas external links open to different websites.
Internal links help SEO in several ways. The most obvious reason is that when you include links to your other blog posts, or pages on your website, it keeps blog visitors on your website. This gives them more opportunity to learn information from you and become familiar with your brand. It also improves your bounce rate, and the lower the bounce rate, the higher Google ranks you on searches.
Including internal links is also helpful in making your website easier to navigate. In terms of SEO, including more links helps to evenly distribute the ranking power throughout your website.
In the same way that including the keyphrase in several places throughout your blog post tells Google what your piece is about, having your blog post mentioned and described in another post provides Google with even more information about the topic of your blog post, especially when you use the keyphrase in your link.
The more your post is linked to, even if it’s from another page on your own website, the more value Google sees in it, and the higher it appears in search results.
Linking to credible external sites also increases your digital footprint and boosts SEO. It builds a digital connection between your site and more well-established ones, which can greatly expand your reach, especially if they are sites with high authority and credibility.
Just remember to set your links to open in a new tab in order to prevent readers from leaving your website entirely and affecting your bounce rate.
On WordPress, as well as other blog websites, there is a feature to select the category (or categories) under which your blog post belongs. Some of our categories, for example, are blogging, social media, business, marketing, and SEO. This is yet another opportunity to tell Google what your post is about, so that it shows up when people search for a given topic.
Your Snippet preview shows how your blog post will show up on Google. If you don’t manually edit it, it will automatically use the first few sentences of your post in search results, which is often not the best summary of your post. If you use WordPress for your blog, you can manually change this snippet.
Edit your post description so that it is a quick “preview” that quickly summarizes the main point of your blog. You can also arrange your title, primary category and slug so that they look the most t eye-catching to a potential viewer. WordPress has a built-in application called Yoast that indicates, using a scale from red (low) to green (high), the readability of your snippet.
Blog Publishing Checklist: Additional Page Elements
There are a few final elements to make sure you have included on the page that your blog post is on. Make sure you do a preview before publishing your post so that everything is in the correct place on the page.
Readers like knowing about the person who wrote the post. It helps them decide if what they are reading is credible. Include a short author biography with a picture at the bottom of your post that gives a quick overview of who the person is and what their qualifications are.
Give your readers an opportunity to easily share your post with friends. Include “share” buttons that generate an automatic preview of the post on various social platforms. You can even take the featured image and modify it into various sizes so that it accommodates each platform (i.e. a long rectangle pic for FB, a tall vertical pic for Pinterest, etc.)
Include a place for people to engage and share their thoughts. This is a great way to generate more organic interaction on your page. It also helps with credibility when viewers see that others have also read and engaged with your post.
By following this blog post publishing checklist, you can ensure that your blog posts have the best opportunity to get noticed by your audience. It may seem tedious, but taking these steps ensures that all the hard work you do, not just with your writing process, but with your business in general, will pay off. And trust us, there is nothing better than seeing your audience take a piece you’ve written and engage with it, share it, learn from it, and use it to overall expand their knowledge and benefit their lives.
Business blogging is a big part of our work here at SocialNicole. Writing and publishing our blog is part of our own social media marketing plan, and as a leading social media agency, we know blogging inside and out! Want to learn more of what we have to offer you and your business in the world of blogging and digital marketing? We would love to hear from you. Contact us today about partnering with us to take your business’s social media presence to the next level.