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 â€“ 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 shouldnâ€™t be an excuse for not spell checking, and you should always do itâ€¦ 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 havenâ€™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 didnâ€™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 â€œoldie but goodieâ€ 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 elseâ€™s commentary? Be sure you include a link to your source, whether it is linking to Joeâ€™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 toâ€¦ 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 donâ€™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?