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Have you ever cringed while reading a post? Have you ever cringed while reading a post YOU wrote?

There are so many things to consider before you hit “Publish” and your post goes live. The following blogging checklist should prevent any cringing going forth in your blogging adventures.

1. Title optimization

Let’s start right at the top. Your title is important for two reasons: Firstly, it grabs your audience attention and secondly, before your title can grab any attention,  it has to be search-engine friendly and include main keywords that people search for.

2. Spelling and grammar

I don’t know about you but I have been mortified in the past when I noticed a spelling or grammatical error in my posts. The truth is although the error every now and then is forgivable, your audience will not be amused if it becomes a pattern. Moreover, that’s why spell check was invented folks.

3. Content optimization

Just as your title should include main keywords,  so should your content. There are many ways to get a feel for what people are searching for regarding your subject matter including using  WordPress themes that will conduct SEO for you, using Google keywords or even just using Google to search your subject matter to see the kinds of things that come up

4. Heading tags

As the best bloggers will tell you, whether your content calls for lists or not, headline tags are very important for visually separating your content so that the reader has an easier time following your post. Your posts may not always call for it but as much as you can, use headline tags

5. Interlinking

This is when you include links from posts that you have written earlier. Many times as a blogger, you have a specific niche and as well as driving more traffic to your site, interlinking is a good way to show that you have become an expert in your niche.

6. One idea per paragraph

Blogging is a science and an art because while there are many good story tellers, some fail to become good bloggers. One of the key ingredients to being a good blogger is to make sure that one idea is kept to one paragraph because though you are telling a story, you are not writing a novel. Your audience wants you to get to the main points and to stay focused.

7. Meta description

This is another check for the search engines. If you’ve ever seen the one or two sentences that pull up about a story, this is what is known as the meta description. It gives your audience a little preview of what to expect from the post and when done right, the meta description will draw new readers.

8. Image formatting

When I first started blogging, image formatting used to frustrate me so much. Be sure to have a process that you like and that suits you. Be sure to check out different WordPress plugins and settings that can also help you get your image formatting done right so that is aligns the way you want it to with content.

9. “ALT” tag

This is hidden trick that veteran bloggers know too well. When you upload an image, always include the description of the image in itself in the “ALT” space which helps search engines pull up your post as well.

10. One language format

If you happen to be one of those lucky people who was trained in British grammar but living in the US of A or vice versa, be sure to stick to one language format. It gets confusing for your readers and additionally can also give any specific reader the notion that you have spelled words incorrectly.

11. External links

We’ve all been rookie bloggers at some point and rookie bloggers tend to make the mistake of not checking their external links (or any of their links) to make sure they open in a new window. While, linking shows that you’ve done research and therefore give you credibility, you want the reader to stay on your site, so don’t drive them away from the page unless it’s in a new window.

12. Original sources

Having authentic sources is important for any blogger but especially for business bloggers or sponsored posts that you may publish. Don’t just include statistics or data from any Tom, Dick and Harry. If you can get the site with the original content, say who and where and why. The more credible your source is, the more credible you are.

13. Sources credit

As a follow up from looking for original source content, it’s not enough to simply give the original author or site a shout out, link back to them too. If you can link to a specific article or page on the site, even better.

14. Keyword and links spam

As you may have noticed, I love SEO and  links – interlinking and external linking, especially when it’s done right. However, one thing to be very careful of is to not be a keyword and link spammer. I use the word, “spammer” because for all intents and purposes, if every other sentence in your post has a link or an obvious phrase keyword, your audience will know and they will not be impressed.

15. URL permalink

Like many bloggers, in my beginner blogging days, I used the default permalink that was in WordPress because I didn’t know the difference a permalink makes to the eye of the beholder.  Including your blog categories or general themes is definitely call for. You may also customize the permalink to suit you needs especially if you’re a blogger with several categories.

16. Length

As I said earlier, you’re a blogger and thus you are also a story teller. You are not, however, a novelist. While length may vary depending on your blog style, most people do not want to read long posts so keep it within reason. If you can break your post into a two or three part series, do it. If a paragraph is unnecessary, cut it out.

17. Video and audio

This can be tricky one so always check to see if the link on your video or audio is working on your post and as these usually give your post an edge, readers will be disappointed if they don’t work. I know Youtube makes it really easy to share videos on your post by giving you the buttons on actual video that you can link to on the specific post.

18. Publishing schedule

Like many people I know, blogging may be a hobby or it may be side hustle but between the 1001 things we have to do, the last thing you want is to have your post go up on a day or time you didn’t intend. While many people have different ideas on the best day and time to publish a post, always make sure you schedule correctly especially if your post happens to related to something in current events.

19. Call to action

For me, a call to action is the testament of a good blogger. He or she drives their audience to comment by asking for their feedback regarding the specific content. No matter what kind of posts you write, you can always ask for your audience to share their opinions.

20. Preview the layout

Promise me, that no matter how tired you are, no matter how many times you’ve formatted and checked for spelling errors and made sure that the post is scheduled on the correct day, that you will NEVER ever leave your draft without first previewing.

I hope this list helps you regardless of whether you’re a beginner, intermediate or professional blogger. Are there any other things you check off your list before you hit “publish”? Let us know in the comments.

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  • bejon

    @JanetAronica Great post, thanks for sharing the link.

  • I’ve skipped a few of these before and had to go back and fix. Printed out and on my desk. Thanks for the check list.

  • cardplayerlife

    @justin_butlion brilliant

  • Nice article. You have covered them all.

  • Similar to @drjbrand, I skip many of these steps because I’m more concerned about getting the post out there in the world of now. I need to transfer these steps on sticky notes and post them around my office with the words, “MAKE TIME” just above each one. Thanks for the tips!

    • Ginny Soskey

      Hey Catalina, glad this was helpful! Good luck with the sticky notes. :)

  • Jum’atil Fajar

    I will improve my blogging behavior with these advices

  • Great article! It was nice to read through these and see that I already do most of them! :) I’ll be making a checklist that I can use with each post just to keep myself on track.

    • Ginny Soskey

      Nice job, Terese! Always helps to have a checklist for posts–definitely a great way to stay on track, even if you’re likely to do them anyway. :)

  • JORGE O A NIKOLL

    Sensacional, es divertido, fenomenal y muy interesante…

  • Matthieu Durocher

    Very nice article.

    However, concerning point 11. External links, it’s good to keep in mind the following:

    1 – Some old or limited browsers (e.g. amazon kindle) do not support opening new windows and so links become inaccessible.

    2 – It can be a problem for people with disabilities.
    See : Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 1.0 § Guideline 10. Use interim solutions.
    http://www.w3.org/TR/WAI-WEBCONTENT/#gl-interim-accessibility
    ” […] changing the current window or popping up new windows can be very disorienting to users who cannot see that this has happened.”

    3 – Finally, some people consider it bad design :
    See for example : Top 10 Mistakes in Web Design (Jakob Nielsen’s Alertbox) § 9. Opening New Browser Windows
    http://www.useit.com/alertbox/9605.html
    “Designers open new browser windows on the theory that it keeps users on their site. […] the strategy is self-defeating since it disables the Back button which is the normal way users return to previous sites.”

  • Max S. Gilford

    I can’t help but sympathize with the bleary-eyed author of one of these “how to blog” blog postings, as they must invariably include a sincere admonishment to any who would abandon their post before checking it completely. It truly is nearly the single most important part of maintaining an image of intelligent authority, not to mention a great example of their advice in action.

    We all make errors in our haste to check that one more item off the list of posts to place. In most blogs, the stray error here and there is easily overlooked. The one exception, I have to believe, is in a post making the careful attention to such things the very point of the plea. And, comically, this seems to occur more regularly when such dire stakes are held high above us.

    It is therefore with a sad heart and an appreciation for irony that I point out the three MOST glaring hiccups in an otherwise well-written and informative piece (beginning with a lumbering double-hit in item 15):

    [Including your blog categories or general themes is definitely call for. You may also customize the permalink to suit you needs especially if you’re a blogger with several categories.]

    Continuing on, but not three points later, in item 18:

    […always make sure you schedule correctly especially if your post happens to related to something in current events.]

    Yes, these are, in the scheme of things, minor mistakes that avoid a truly tragic situation where meaning was changed or a misspelled surname or incorrectly transcribed link caused embarrassment or libel. These are even preferable to spelling errors. But not after the effective, finger-wagging lecture so effectively delivered.

    My tip for this author and anyone else who finds proofreading a pain – have it read out loud to you by a friend or an app (voicereader on iphone is my choice), or as a last ditch, read it to yourself into a memo recorder and listen to it. The above misses would have definitely been caught.

    This has been a long response. It’s late and I’m very tempted to think I have effectively been editing and proofing all along and there’s no need to check. This is the devil speaking. He’s hiding behind an abandoned but undeleted fragment somewhere near the top. I’m going to go find him now.

    Error Drone,

    Max S. Gilford

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