20 Questions To Ask Before Publishing Your NEXT Blog Post
It is easy to feel overwhelmed by the endless considerations when creating a blog post. For good reason! There so many important elements to consider — each crucial to the overall demise or success of your post. Is it ready for public consumption? Is it shareable? Is it optimized for search?
Don’t leave it up to fate! Review this checklist prior to each post to make sure you haven’t missed a thing!
Blog Post Checklist
1. Did I check my spelling and grammar?
Be on the lookout for poor grammar and spelling errors. These mistakes can slow down the reader and are detrimental to your credibility. No one is impervious to grammatical mistakes, so in our experience, it is always best to check, double check, and triple check.
2. Did I read my post out loud?
Does your content flow well and have a conversational tone? Is it overwrought with technical jargon or too repetitive? Reading your content out loud is the best way to ensure you sustain your human voice. Additionally, many common grammar mistakes can be avoided by simply reading your content aloud. (See #1: Double check!)
3. Did I run my content through a word processing engine other than MY CMS?
Are we still talking grammar? Yes. Simply because we are human and many grammar mistakes are easily (and understandably) missed. Try composing your post in Microsoft Word or using an editor like Hemingway App to check for misspellings or confusing language. (See #1: Triple check!)
4. Is my headline engaging and are there keywords included?
A great headline to should grab the reader's attention right off the bat. If it fails, all your hard work could be for not. Ask yourself, would you click your headline? Does it reflect the way people are searching for information on your topic?
5. Is the featured image clickworthy?
Ask yourself, is your visual worth of a click, pin or share? Humans are highly visual creatures. Even with a killer headline, people may fail to see the benefit from clicking on your post. An awesome graphic is like insurance, improving the chances your post will be seen.
6. Did I optimize for Search Engine Optimization?
Once you have your topic, you should be cross-checking the The Google Keyword Tool to find out what people are searching. Be sure to include these relevant terms in your headlines, descriptions, tags and body (without stuffing!) This doesn't stop at your text content. Be sure to also properly name all image files before uploading and label with proper alt tags and descriptions for optimum SEO results.
7. Is my tone friendly? does it fit brand guidelines?
We touched briefly on tone when we recommended reading posts aloud. More often than not, blog posts should be conversational and friendly. Write how you speak to a friend for improved reception. You will also need to do this in a way that adheres to your brand specific guidelines. You can still be informative and educational while presenting your content in a friendly tone.
8. Are the first paragraphs catchy and emotionally appealing?
So you've crafted and engaging headline and created a cool graphic, but now you have to entice the reader to commit to reading the length of the post. Also, you need to be able to do it in the first 10 seconds of arriving. That's right, you have about 10 seconds to capture your readers attention. Start with a hard-hitting opener for maximum retention.
9. DID I TAKE ADVANTAGE OF SUBHEADS, H2 & H3 TAGS AND BULLET POINTS FOR IMPROVED READABILITY & SEO?
Not only do subheadings improve readability on webpages, but they are also important for SEO purposes. Look at alternative layout options to make scanning the page easiest for the reader and search engines.
10. Is there a secondary image I can use within the post?
Multiple visuals give you more opportunities to repost and recycle your content.. Make meaningful secondary graphics to extend the life of your post. Some examples would be a visual representation of pull quotes, interesting stats, infographics or memes.
11. CAN I FIND SOME RELATED STATISTICS THAT BACK UP MY POINTS?
You've researched you topic extensively, so make sure to include some of that research. Backing up your remarks with substantial proof will prove your credibility to the reader.
12. DID I GIVE PROPER CREDIT And Site my Sources?
Does the body of your post link to at least two reputable industry resources? Have you adequately sited these sources? Improve your credibility with the aide of credible information from authority sites and make sure to give proper credit.
13. Did I test my external links and do they open to a correct/new tab?
So you've cited your sources, now you should test all of your links. First make sure they are correctly linked and second make sure they open as intended (in either the same or a new window.)
14. Did I optimize my slug?
This oftentimes will default to the title of your post. Even though your headline will include your primary keywords, this default slug isn't always ideal. Craft your URL to be easily understood by the public and search.
15. Is there any useful stat/fact that would work for 'click to tweet'?
Highlight share-worthy statistics or quotes with Click to Tweet or similar services. Increase your posts shareability with this quick and simple addition!
16. What is a prior/related blog post I can link to either at the end or within the post?
An internal linking strategy is important for optimal SEO. In addition it gives you an opportunity to stretch the traffic to your blog. You will find that many of your posts can be tied to previous content. When you can — do.
17. Is there a promotional opportunity to add a Call to Action?
Take the opportunity to thrown in a call to action (CTA) at the close of each post. Some examples are a call to comment, signup for a newsletter, learn more, see a related article, etc. Coax the reader to learn more about you and your brand.
18. Is there an opportunity to use prior work as an example?
When the content relates to solutions provided by your company, call it out. Let your previous work speak for itself!
19. Did I check the final layout in post preview?
Never publish before previewing your post. Check for final layout, uniform spacing, etc.
20. Did I review the finalized (published) post?
Because we can never be too careful.
Get a good handle on all of the items on this list and you'll be off to a great start. You've not only properly prepped it for public consumption, but you've given your post some serious legs!