I found myself reading my old blog posts with frustration. Why didn’t I add a link there? How did I forget to format that section? Why didn’t I remember to [fill in the blank]?!
I mean I make checklists for basically everything else I do, why it hadn’t occurred to me to make a blog post checklist is just silly.
To save time, generate an engaged following and stay consistent from post to post, I created a checklist that I hope will help you tons and TONS! And so, my dear blogger friend, without further ado…
Here is my blog post checklist to use before AND after clicking ‘publish:’
Teehee, obviously Amy! No but really, write the heck out of it! Put tons of useful detail and make sure it is very well written. Seriously, you can make it super pretty BUT at the end of the day it is all about the content! How are your helping your reader with this post? What are you GIVING them? Content is key!
Does your post sound like you? Did you add a little humor – if that’s your thang? Make sure it is uber helpful, but keep it light and fun. Tell a story so that your readers can relate, and make sure it is long enough…750+ words at the bare minimum. You want TONS of good stuff in there!
Make a title that summarizes how you are helping your reader, but also sparks curiosity. Does your title make YOU want to read your post? Or is it vague and unclear? Ask a question in the title and answer it thoroughly in the post itself.
Change the URL
Don’t forget to edit your URL/permalink. Long titles are great but you don’t want your URL to be a novel. Shorten it by using only the keywords that matter most. /here-are-the-20-things-i-do-before-and-after-clicking-publish-on-a-blog-post BECOMES /blog-post-checklist
Add pics with alternative texts
Add lots of pretty pics and write detailed alternative titles for each so that they are social media sharing friendly. This also helps search engines find your post in that massive spider ‘web’ out there. The alternative title also shows up on your Pinterest description, so be sure to reference your post’s main message.
Make it easy to read. Short sentences with larger colored headings make your post scroll friendly. And breaking up all those words with super puuurdy images keep your reader…well, umm reading. They are a reader instead of a leaver LOL [sorry, just cracking myself up over here].
Use your different headings and lists to separate sections and make your points…literally bold.
Click to tweet (or other social sharing buttons)
Add a click to tweet button making it extra easy for readers to tweet your post and help their followers too. I prefer the Better Click to Tweet WordPress plugin after trying a few of them out.
Adjust your title and main focus keyword to make sure your post is findable. I recommend using the Yoast SEO WordPress plugin. Your slug [tail end of your URL], title and main keyword should all match. This awesome plugin will rate you a green, yellow or red light based on how well you do this.
Make sure your keyword is in your meta description and in your post here & there where it makes sense. Don’t add your keywords just to add them, it will sound awkward as heck.
Remember your reader comes first always and this post is FOR him/her/them. However, you want this post to be found by said reader for add the keywords where it makes sense to do so.
Links to your other posts and products
Be sure to link to any relevant posts and products that can help your reader, including your own. If you keep your blog categories/subject matter limited to a few overall topics, your posts will most likely almost always tie together.
Get the Yet Another Related Posts Plugin [YARPP] for WordPress and have your similar posts automatically link for your readers.
Tags and categories
Add tags and categories. I try to stick to only 3-5 main categories for every single blog post. That way my readers can easily navigate through my website to quickly find more of what they want.
For tags it is easy to get carried away so I track my most used tags and try to limit every post to only 2-5 of them.
The image that is the main image for your post should represent it well. You know how they say don’t judge a book by it’s cover? Well, people still tend to do so, unfortunately.
You want your blog post cover to be as pretty as your helpful content, so make sure it represents!
Create a custom sized image for Facebook so that when you share your post the image is pretty and professional looking.
I use Adobe to design but if you don’t have that software check out Canva for all your image editing. They have preset templates for basically everything you need AND ummm it is FREE! For a Facebook image be sure to use the dimensions are 1200px x 630px.
Create 1-3 super pinnable images for your post. Vertical and colorful, but very easy to read, with a hook [catchy title] that will get you tons of clicks and thus more readers of your post.
Again, try Canva for this and there are plenty of templates to choose from. However, should you decide to start from scratch the dimensions should be at least 600px x 900px or more vertical than that.
Sure, you can write tons of posts that are helpful BUT what are you really giving to your reader? By making freebies [downloadable incentives] you are taking your helpfulness to the next level AND growing your email list at the same time. Freebies are the best!!
When you read a blog post, you think ‘wow this is great I need to do this!’ But, will you really remember to? Imagine if that post had a checklist or a cheatsheet that you could print/download to help make sure you don’t miss a step? See how helpful that would be?! Adding tools like this to your post take your helpfulness game to the next level and your readers will notice!
Here is mine for this blog post:
Create a Leadbox for your freebie
Create a colorful popup box to capture your readers email address in exchange for your freebie. I recommend Leadpages or your email software provider for this. I use Convertkit for my email forms. Read all about them below.
Setup Converkit for your freebie
I cannot recommend ConvertKit enough for this. It adds your reader’s email address to your list, sends a thank you response WITH your downloadable freebie as well as any future email sequences that you have put together. I used to use MailChimp for my email list management and while it is a good program, ConvertKit is just lightyears ahead in regards to customization.
If a reader signs up for my free stock photo collection, I can add their name to my ‘stock photo’ special list and send them updates when I have new photos ready or more product to sell. I don’t want to try to sell photos to another reader of mine who is only interested in my travel posts, for example.
This level of specialization avoids spamming your readers with everything you ever do and instead, focuses on their interests. It. Is. Amazing!
I think it is because this is at the bottom of my screen, but I often forget this tiny step. Make sure the meta description and the post excerpt on your site are a great short summary of what my post is really about.
I usually make my meta description using Yoast because it limits the characters, and shows how it will appear to search engines AND THEN copy and paste that wording into my excerpt.
Ads, sponsors or affiliate links
I link products and services that I LOVE and trust into my post to generate sales from readers viewing and clicking.
Again, it is all about the reader, so I try to limit the number of ads and ONLY recommend services and products that I truly love. You never want to break trust with your audience – be authentic!
Edit + then edit again
Sure, you’ve probably edited a ga-zillion times already, but do it one more time. Read your post on your desktop AND your mobile. Read it backwards AND forwards. Yes, small typos happen BUT the more they do, the less professional you look. Proofread like crazy!
Signed, sealed + delivered
End the post with your signature and overall purpose (aka call to action). Remind your reader what the point of reading your post was. Include your personal signature and engage with you reader by ending with a questions and requesting them answer it in the comment section.
Leave a lasting impression with those last few words. [And double check that you gave credit to anyone you that should be credited.]
HECK YAH, LET’S POST IT!!!
After all of that hard work you finally get to…dun dun dun [dramatic music] HIT PUBLISH! Hooray!
Choose a time of day to publish that works best for your incoming traffic and when you will be able to complete the steps below. Don’t hit publish and call it a day! And make sure your posts are published in an order that makes sense to your overall blog.
I love to rotate my main topics. Right now I am posting this ‘blogging’ post, then a ‘travel’ post, then a ‘business’ post and repeat. Even if you batch your posts [meaning you work on multiple posts of similar content at the same time] you need to space out the publishing times.
Spread the word
Time to jump on social media and spread the word about your post. I’d love to think that people just check my blog regularly, but that just isn’t how it works. You need to tell everyone that you have something new!
I use the SumoMe WordPress plugin to do this [see those little social media share boxes on the left hand side of this post…that’s SumoMe].
Pin all images
I schedule all of my images to Pinterest with Tailwind. Pinterest is such an efficient way to bring traffic to your blog and Tailwind is freakin’ genius for scheduling your pins, tracking your Pinterest traffic and creating ads (if you want to promote pins) Oh yah, they work with Instagram too!
If you have a blog, I highly recommend making Pinterest your main promotional tool for your content. It is, to this day, responsible for 80% or more of my website’s traffic. Definitely make pinnable images for each and every blog post you have! (here is a link to Tailwind if you want to give it a try for free!)
I use Later to schedule all my tweets and bit.ly to make customized shortened url’s giving me more characters in my tweet – /here-are-the-20-things-i-do-before-and-after-clicking-publish-on-a-blog-post BECOMES /bit.ly/ABC123
Later has a FREE plan for up to 50 tweets per month and 30 instagram posts per month. That’s all I need! I retweet articles I find interesting and post photos here and there without scheduling, but with these counts I know this amount is scheduled and happening no matter what so it is perfect. If you use this link and post to Instagram you and I will get more free posts per month…it’s a win win if you want to give it a try!
Schedule Facebook and boost your post
Schedule your post to Facebook and schedule your boost. Boosting your post, or paying for a Facebook ads, helps increase the change of it being seen AND gets your post in front of potential new readers.
Unfortunately, when you have a Facebook biz page without a lot of followers to start, you need to do this more often to be seen. You can even do just $1 per post, but do something. If your post isn’t worth paying for, maybe you shouldn’t be sharing that post. Go back and make it worthy of advertising.
I use SumoMe to post my blog post to Facebook and Facebook Ads Manager app on my iPhone to boost it.
Promote on Instagram + IG Stories
I manually post on Instagram and update my profile with the blog post’s URL, noting ‘link in bio’ in my photo’s description (if you have more than 10k followers you get the swipe up feature).
You can also use Later to schedule this. Or write your post and instead of clicking ‘share’ click ‘back,’ and Instagram now offers to save your draft for later. Also, if you post regularly on your Instagram story let your viewers know you have a new blog post there too.
Email to subscribers
I keep a draft of my upcoming email newsletter ready to go at all times. I like to add my new blog post links, as I have them ready, to the draft always keeping my email list in the loop.
Sometimes your readers aren’t on all social media platforms often and the only way they know you have a new post is through the email you send them. I usually just send one a week/bi-weekly outside of my funnels to stay in touch with my list.
Share on Facebook groups
A great way to get more readers of your blog post is to join relevant Facebook groups. Each usually has a promo day that allows you to link to your latest post in exchange for you liking and sharing other group members posts as well.
Follow the traffic
How is your new post performing? Keep the promotion going regularly or update the social media scheduler as needed.
Follow along with Google Analytics [I use the Google Analytics app for my iPhone and may or may not obsessively check it on the go LOL] and your Jetpack by WordPress.com plugin to keep an eye on how much traffic this post is generating.
Comment + engage
Reply to comments on your blog post and all social media in a timely manner.
If you know you are going to be super busy, hold off on publishing your post until you have time to do this. You don’t want to leave your readers hanging…they took the time to read your post & comment – you want to show how much you value that!
And finally, lock it in!
Take the time right now, to make put this post to work. Lock it in your social media scheduler so that it gets posted regularly, always bringing new readers in. Add it to any summary pages you have [start here page, side bar category section, other blog post mentions etc].
You worked super hard on this post, you need it to continue working for you
HECK YAH, your post is officially complete! *BAM*
And now…time to get cranking on another amazing blog post to help and serve others!
Thanks so much for reading! How did this blog post checklist work out for you? I would love to hear your feedback in the comments below.
Please don’t feel overwhelmed, there are quite a few steps, BUT they are all so important in getting your beautiful work out there and found!
*Happy Blogging!* -Amy