You’ve just finished up a fantastic, new blog post and you’re ready to share it with the world. The work is over, right?
Well, not quite.
Before you hit publish, make sure you’re doing these 15 important things.
1. Proofread, proofread, proofread
This advice should really go without saying, but let’s be honest—we’ve all seen way too many low-quality blog posts with embarrassingly obvious typos, factual errors, or formatting problems. Nothing says, “Please don’t take me seriously,” like a flip-flopped your/you’re.
2. Perfect your headline
Hey, you know that headline you took all of ten seconds to create before moving on to more important writing matters? It needs a little love too.
Your headline is the first thing a reader will see, which means it’s got to be catchy as well as informative.
Don’t know where to begin? Here are some headline tips that have been psychologically proven to make your content irresistibly clickable:
- Ask your readers a question
- Include numbers
- Go for the element of surprise
- Write headlines in second person
If that sounds like too much work, there are great tools like Headline Optimizer that can do some of the heavy lifting for you.
3. Craft a killer hook
After the headline, your first paragraph is the single most important part of your blog post. Your readers’ time is valuable, and if your opening lines don’t hook them, then they’re probably not going to stay around long.
At the very least, a great opening paragraph answers the following questions:
- Why should I care?
- What can I expect to read in this post?
4. Nail the meta description
Don’t just copy and paste the first few lines of your post into the meta description. If a person stumbles across your post in search engine results, it’s basically the only way you have to convince them to click that link.
Like with your hook, your meta description should concisely explain why readers should care and what they can expect from the post.
5. Craft the perfect call to action
Chances are you’re not just writing posts for fun—you’re doing it to bring in new potential customers. Blog posts that don’t end with some sort of call to action are a real missed opportunity for this.
Whether you want readers to try your service or sign up for your newsletter, at the end of every blog post be sure to include a tangible next step for them to take.
6. Make your post reader friendly
In our mobile-first world, if your content is impossible to read from a formatting perspective, potential readers are going to look elsewhere for answers to their questions.
Before you hit publish, make sure your post is a breeze to read. This means keeping paragraphs between two and five sentences, using bullet points, and breaking up information using headings and sub-headings.
7. Link to the major players in your field
Providing high-quality links to other players in your niche is a must for a couple reasons.
Number one, it actually increases your credibility. Using outside links from respected sources proves that you know what you’re talking about. You’re not just some random blogger creating content out of thin air—you have your finger on the pulse of your field.
Number two, it improves your readers’ experience. If you genuinely care about your blog visitors, you should want them to be as informed as possible, and high-quality, outside links help them form a more complete picture of a topic.
8. Link to your relevant content
Linking isn’t a completely selfless act, though. Be sure to link to relevant content that’s already on your blog as well! Keeping readers on your site as long as possible increases the odds that they will buy your product or use your service, and it can also give you a nice bump in search engine rankings.
9. Choose wow-factor images
According to some experts, including great images can improve your page views by 94 percent!
10. Throw some tags on it.
Tagging your post with a few relevant words or phrases will help both you and your readers.
Being able to quickly see what content you have surrounding a particular topic can help you with idea generation. Plus, if your blog is massive, tags can prevent annoying duplicate content situations.
Your readers will appreciate the organizational benefit of tags when searching for specific topics on your site.
11. Give it some SEO love
It seems like every few months the rules of SEO change right before our very eyes, which makes this task a major headache for writers everywhere.
If the thought of manually optimizing your blog post for search engines makes your eyes glaze over, spare yourself the grief and use a plugin like Yoast to help reduce your workload.
12. Run an audience edit
If you’ve been blogging for a while, you probably know your target audience inside and out—but it can never hurt to double check that your post is optimized specifically for them.
If you’re writing for newbies or the layperson, don’t overload them with tons of technical jargon and insider talk. Conversely, if you’re writing for old pros, don’t baby them with basic information they already know.
13. Create a promotion plan
Hitting publish is not the end of your blog post journey—it’s the beginning. Once your post is live, how are you going to get it in front of readers? What social media platforms are you going to share it on? Is it going in your newsletter?
Creating a marketing strategy for the blog posts you publish is essential to getting them in front of as many eyes as possible.
14. Don’t forget to plug your online presence
You’ve probably got social media buttons somewhere on your website, but it can never hurt to link to your accounts at the end of every blog post as well. Social media is a great way to cultivate return readers, so give people every opportunity you can to hit that “like” button.
15. Mine your post for future ideas
Finally, before you send your post out into the world, take time to see if it could possibly inspire future posts.
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