• Blogger’s to do checklist before hitting the publish button

    by  • April 30, 2008 • Blogging • 26 Comments

    How many times have we hit publish on a blog and then realized we forgot to do something crucial, whether it is changing post slugs or a crucial spell check. Here is a quick checklist of what you should do before you hit publish.

    Did you type what you meant?
    Avoid the temptation to write and then immediately hit publish. Always go back and reread your blog entry to make sure what you had in your head actually ended coming out of your fingers on the keyboard. You can also catch grammatical errors and little accidental typos that still make an actual word or where you wrote the same word twice in a row.

    Do you have a hook?
    The first paragraph of your blog entry is crucial. If you have a poorly written opening paragraph, readers have to be pretty motivated to read beyond that. So think of the opening paragraph as the most important part of your entire article. Make sure it is well written and enticing enough – usually with a hook – to encourage people to continue reading through to the end. Copyblogger has a great post on opening with a bang.

    There shouldn’t be an excuse for not spell checking, and you should always do it… although even I often forget. Someone needs to create a plugin that has an auto-spell check function when you hit publish.

    Double check your links work
    Make sure you haven’t accidentily forgotten a http:// or forgotten a critical period. You should double check each and every link to make sure it works, and make sure you didn’t put something else from your clipboard in place of the URL you intended. I once saw a blog where the URL linked to was actually a snippet from an IM that the author intended to paste to someone and not the URL they planned to use.

    Related articles you can link to?
    Are there any previous blog entries that you can link to as relevant to the topic? If so, definitely lead your visitors in that direction, especially if the blog entry is an “oldie but goodie” and not one that you published just two days ago. There is a plugin available to automatically display related blog posts.

    Other blogs you can link to
    Share the link love. Are there blog entries that others have written that are related to the topic. Even if they are friends, as long as the content is relevant, include some links to others. Read Why you should actively link out from your blog.

    Did you source your sources?
    Reporting on a news story or commenting on someone else’s commentary? Be sure you include a link to your source, whether it is linking to Joe’s New SEO blog or the likes of CNN or Forbes.

    Check your post slug
    Wordpress 2.5 makes this a bit easier, by highlighting the post slug underneath your title, but I still sometimes forget to do this (although I usually remember between the time I schedule a post and the time it actually gets published. Shorten the length and make sure you are including the important keywords from the title.

    Check your alt tags
    Are you including alt tags on your images? Be sure to tag all your images when you blog with the relevant keywords specific to the photo. And yes, avoid the temptation to keyword stuff those as well 😉 Use the SEO Friendly Images plugin to optimize your images as well as do alt tags.

    Did you include categories?
    Now that categories seem fairly hidden below the blog entry field instead of next to it in the new WordPress, I keep forgetting to tag blog posts with categories. But looking at analytics, I can see just how many people come to the blog on a social media or pay per click post and then go to the category level to see the other articles I have written on the same topic. So be sure you are including categories and that they are relevant to the topic.

    Did you tag it?
    Along with categories, be sure to tag relevant topics and keywords on your blog entries to… if you are new to tagging, also make the time to go back on previous blog entries and tag them.

    Check the vibe and flow
    Sometimes you just don’t have the flow going, no matter how hard you rewrite the blog entry. And a missing vibe or flow of the piece can make a blog post mediocre when it could have been great. In this case, hit save instead of publish, and go back to it another day. When you look at it again after a few days, you can rewrite it to capture that previously ellusive vibe.

    While I try my best, I don’t always remember to do everything on the list when I hit publish, but I do my best 😉 Anything else I missed that you do before you hit publish on your blog?


    Jennifer Slegg is a longtime member of the SEO community and is an expert on social media, content marketing, Google AdSense and search engines.

    26 Responses to Blogger’s to do checklist before hitting the publish button

    1. April 30, 2008 at 9:17 am

      Good post, Jennifer. Very useful stuff I’ll put into action.

      Question — have you always had your own domain, or did you “personalize” your blog through WordPress?

    2. April 30, 2008 at 11:21 am

      Thanks so much for the check list! I am new to blogging and I appreciate all of the tips and tricks.


    3. Jenstar
      April 30, 2008 at 12:01 pm

      No, this is my own domain name. I use the WordPress platform, but it isn’t a whatever.wordpress.org.

    4. May 1, 2008 at 3:14 am

      Great Post Jennifer! This is a super resource for new and experienced bloggers.

      I like to double check that my title is catchy enough at the end too. Usually I start with a working title that nobody would read and then give it more thought after the post is done.

    5. May 1, 2008 at 6:42 am

      This is an excellent list of resources. All serious bloggers should have this next to their keywords and check each item out BEFORE they hit the publish button. I totally agree on the “hook” element at the head line and the first paragraph.

      Cheers, Samantha Tang

    6. May 1, 2008 at 8:43 am

      Great tips here! I know I am usually a short-cut-taker but you really have to go back and re-read posts. If you’ve spent a long time writing, sometimes it’s the last thing you want to do !!

      I’d also suggest subscribing to your own blog so you can see how it displays. You don’t have to check it every day but at least you get an idea how your post formats in different readers like Bloglines vs. Google vs. Netvibes.

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    8. May 3, 2008 at 8:49 am

      This is great!!! I do benefit a lot from reading your article.

      Would it be OK that I translate your words into Chinese, so my friends here can share your great ideas?


    9. May 3, 2008 at 5:58 pm

      Thanks. So much is needed and available to produce a great blog.

    10. May 6, 2008 at 1:55 am


      Thanks for your checklist.
      It’s a must guide for all bloggers.

      Nice post.

    11. Lynn
      May 11, 2008 at 1:51 pm

      As a new blogger, I really appreciate this article and the others you’ve published. Thanks for the tips. And, it’s given me even more things to think about and learn…This article ought to be “must reading” for anyone who blogs or wants to.

    12. rk
      May 21, 2008 at 7:21 pm

      With reference to your third point, note that Firefox has built-in spell checking. So if your post your blog through Firefox you are alerted about spelling mistakes as you type.

    13. May 27, 2008 at 12:21 am

      on 5/27/08 Jacklyn at jjjjshaw@roadrunner.com (POB 3733, Seal Beach, CA 90740) wrote: It takes time, for this is new to us. Does the biography have a word limit (like 29 words)? The action newsletter draft disappeared, while doublechecking another internet website. We got a flurry of blank eMail. Do you know what causes it? We have apple computers and Firefox. Thank you.


    14. June 13, 2008 at 12:25 pm

      Hi Jennifer,
      Your article is the must read by every beginners in blogging.. and even by experienced ones so that they can perform still more better.. I got a chance to see your post on right time as I have started blogging since some 2 weeks back…

      I do remember all your points and will take utmost care before I Hit ‘PUBLISH’ button.. 😉

      I would like to add one small thing… In case, if sometimes, the content or part of the content is copied from the MS Word or any site or an email, then it is always advisable to clean up that part of the code. If the blogger is aware of HTML then he can go to edit HTML and can clean or else using the ‘REMOVE FORMAT’ option he can do that.. With this.. many junk code can be removed.. Kindly correct me if I am wrong.. 😉

      Thanks, I will keep coming to learn more..


    15. June 14, 2008 at 6:47 pm

      No doubt it is a nice post and I think it is best for advanced marketeer and who is in the middle of Internet marketing but please I am expecting another post from you for NEWBIE which guides
      newbie step by step to earn from internet where one doesn’t fail.

    16. Jack David Heaton Jr
      August 1, 2008 at 4:52 pm

      Thanks. I’m in over my head, but I do get the point about a good hook (I taught composition for fourteen years) and painstaking editing!


    17. deb
      August 27, 2008 at 4:08 pm

      Hi. I really appreciate the info–I am new to all of this, so all info is very helpful! I saw a ref to the “New York Post” or somewhat and was immediately frightened–I did not know anything “good” was ever printed there. I’m sure there are a lot of fine people there just getting the experience until they get a “real job.” Sometimes, I’m not sure who to trust–unless Mr. O’Reilly says it’s legit, I stay away. Due to the fact you are on this site, I feel much more at ease. Thanks again for the assist!

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    20. January 16, 2009 at 4:23 pm

      Jennifer, what are your thoughts on the length of blog entries and entry frequency? Do you think that publishing two long entries a week is better or worse than breaking them down into smaller entries and publishing four shorter ones a week? I feel like people dont read long entries.

    21. June 15, 2011 at 10:12 pm

      Nice article. I usually find it takes me several goes to get a quality article out. I rarely click publish first go.

      Problem I have is that I got gazzilions of unfinished unpublished articles. I suppose this is where discipline needs to come in 😐

    22. February 15, 2012 at 8:21 am

      Hi Jennifer,

      Great post – makes a lot of sense and agree with it all.

      However, ironically, this statement doesn’t make sense: “…Always go back and reread your blog entry to make sure what you had in your head actually ended out coming of your fingers on the keyboard…”

      I think you transposed the words “out” and “of”.

      Still a highly relevant and great post though. Thank you very much!

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