Have you ever tried to bake your favorite cookies by remembering the recipe from last time? If so, you might have discovered that a critical ingredient or measurement is missed.
The same is true for blogging. There are so many small details to remember when publishing a blog post.
The solution is easy! Create a blog post checklist that you utilize each and every time you go to hit publish.
By turning your publishing into a standard process, you’ll ensure that each post is optimized for your readers and the search engines.
Here’s our list to help you create your own.
Blog Post Checklist
1. Dial-In Keyword Research
To begin, decide the keywords you want to focus on while creating your article. Keyword research may help you identify related keywords to your content and observe how many times visitors look for them each month.
It's a good idea to do this even before you start thinking about what to write about on your blog. Instead of attempting to squeeze the term in after the fact, you may create content specifically for it. You can create content that attracts your target audience by learning what keywords they use to reach your site.
To find out what terms your audience is searching for, utilize Google Search Console. Here you can see which queries people are making to find themselves on your website. This is great info for building out your blog with proper keywords to drive traffic.
This should give you plenty of ideas for how to best optimize your post for keywords that matter.
This step is essential. It can be easy to glaze over a bit while focusing on one topic for a while, but always come back with fresh eyes and look for any spelling or grammar mistakes.
If you would like to have a more proactive approach to handling your grammar and spelling live, try out a tool like Grammarly!
3. Get Your Headers Just Right
This next piece is about making sure you are telling Google what the article is about by correctly using headers to break up your post into sections.
With each blog post, you want to only have one H1. This is the title of the post.
Within the body of the post, you can utilize H2, H3, and H4 to add structure.
This post follows such a format. The title of the post is our H1. The header “Blog Post Checklist” is our H2. And then each of the 10 tips is an H3.
4. Optimize Your Images For SEO
No blog is complete without some mixed media included. You can make a post more engaging by including images, infographics, or videos.
There are elements to an image that can be optimized for search engines and users. The three most important elements are:
- A naming structure that has relevant words. An image name of image234.jpg has little meaning. Instead, an image of blog-post-checklist.jpg gives you a sense of what the image is about before you ever see it.
- Alternative text describes the image behind the scenes. This is a principle of accessibility. Include 3-6 words to describe the image.
- The size of the image should match the size of the frame. If you download an image from Unsplash for example, resize the image to match the size that will be utilized. This reduces the size of the file which is good for page load times.
5. Include Internal Links
Internal linking is not only a way to send readers to other pages on your site that is relevant to the topic at hand, but also a great way to communicate to Google what you think is most important on your website.
A best practice for this is to link to and from each of your blog posts to the most relevant other posts that you mention in your blog.
Sometimes mentioning something intentionally to link to it from the newest blog is a great way to stay on top of where you want visitors to go next.
For a business with services or products, linking to those from any informational content is also a great way to get people further into your funnel and closer to a conversion.
Notice how I did that with the Pathfinder Keyword Research Tool up above? 😉
6. Include External Links
Usually, when you are crafting a post you will run into a few opportunities to link to another useful resource that is off of your website. Often this is to an authority in the space, a tool that you mention, or just anything else you think the reader would be interested in checking out that is related to the post topic.
When doing this we always want to point to strong, relevant sites. These sites reflect back positively on your own blog post.
When you add an external link, make sure it opens in a new tab so readers don’t leave your post when they click on the link.
7. Craft a Custom Title Tag and Meta Description
One of the main factors Google is looking at on your page to decide what it is about and how to serve it to people using the search engine is the Title Tag.
Having this Title Tag dialed in for your post is essential. You need to make sure that the Title Tag includes the main top keywords for the page. This should also be reflected in your H1 and URL for the post.
While you are creating this meta tag you can also craft a nice meta description. This is what shows up under the Title Tag in the Search Engine Results Page.
Here you can give a little sales pitch for your page. Don’t be afraid to be a little salesy or even include a call to action like “Learn More Today” or “Click to read more”.
Google does not use this meta description as a factor for ranking the page, but they will also bold any mentions of the queries people are typing in that appear in your description. It doesn’t hurt to mention your keyword here if it makes sense to do so.
8. Craft your Open Graph Tags for Social Media
Open Graph tags are what display when a link to your post is shared on social media platforms like Twitter or Facebook.
You want these to be dialed in since you are competing with everything else someone could see on social media too.
This involves editing the meta tags for your particular post, but if you are using WordPress there are a few plugin options that can really make this part a breeze.
9. Pick A Good URL Slug
When it comes to optimizing your posts for SEO, one more place you want to include your keyword is in the URL where the post will live.
A best practice is to keep dates and numbers out of the post and go for something broader in case you add more to the post later. This also keeps it looking evergreen opposed to something like christmas-2021 etc.
Keep it tidy and not to long. The shortest you can while including your keywords works just fine.
10. Include a Call to Action
After all of the hard work you put into making a useful blog post, why not leverage it to get people further into your funnel?
Is there a service that is directly related to your post or do you have a product that you mention in the post?
At the end of your post giving the reader an action to take works wonders for converting readers into customers.
Don’t forget this crucial step when crafting your blog post!
As you publish your next blog post, use this checklist as a guide. Adapt it to fit your workflow. Then, write the steps down in a handy spot so that you have this process documentation ready to go each and every time you hit publish.