10 things you MUST do before you publish!
There’s a lot more to do to have a successful blog post than just writing it and hitting “Publish”! In fact, the content is often the easiest part – you’re enthusiastic about your topic and the words just flow off your keyboard.
But there’s a lot of behind the scenes stuff that you should be doing to make sure your blog is seen and heard. These things take time, energy, and a little bit of savvy, but they can really pay off.
So before you hit publish, here is a checklist of things you should do to keep your post from getting lost in the interwebs.
Write a keyword friendly title.
Think about what words people who are looking for information on your topic might search for on Google, and try to use them. If you prefer to be creative or funny in your titles, there are some SEO plugins, such as Yoast or All in One SEO pack, that let you write a separate title that will show up in search results.
The easier it is for people to skim your post, the more of your post they will read and the more they will take away from it.
And using subheadings not only makes it easier for your visitors to read, but it helps Google to figure out what’s important in the post.
Use a good “alt” image tag.
Using images on your post increases the reader’s interest. But many images will have filenames like img_1234 – and you can bet nobody is searching for that!
However, if the image has a descriptive label, like “tomatoes planted in a paper bag”, then it’s more likely that Google will pull it up when people are searching.
Use a featured image.
Depending on the theme you are using, the featured image may or may not appear in the post, but it will usually appear when your posts are listed on your blog page, and also when you link the post on social media. That said, there are some themes that don’t work well with featured images, but they are getting fewer and fewer.
Categorize your post.
Categories group posts on one topic, and help Google determine the contents of the post. If you have several articles about a topic, your category for that topic will figure in the search results.
Tag your post.
Tags are more specific than categories, and further help Google pinpoint the contents of the post. Put all the relevant keywords in your tag fields and the SEO fields (if you have a plugin).
Link any related posts.
This lets Google know tyou have more information on the topic, and also helps it to crawl your pages more quickly.
Even if the posts are quite a bit older, link them up (and consider updating them!).
Write an excerpt.
If you don’t see a space for the excerpt in the editor, check the upper right corner for “Screen Options” and make sure “Excerpt” is turned on. WordPress will usually automatically create an excerpt for you by choosing the first 55 letters of the post, but it is far better to write your own.
Add links to sources.
Don’t be shy about external links.
When you use screenshots or you know an awesome source for additional information, simply link to it.
Again, this will have a positive impact on your SEO.
Preview the post
Make sure the formatting is correct. Always hit preview to make sure the layout is what you want, and test your links before you publish.
There’s little worse than having the comment section on your post be all about dead links!