Blog Tips Tuesday 9: 10 things to check before hitting ‘publish’
There are a lot of things to remember when it comes to blogging. Writing a post and clicking ‘publish’ is only half of it – and it can sometimes be easy to forget all those other things that you’re ‘supposed’ to do. This post serves as a checklist of things to check before hitting ‘publish’ on a finished blog post.
This is a ‘beginner’ blog tip, for those who are just starting to get their heads around blogging!
1. Have you included a pinnable image?
Images are one of the most important parts of any blog post – if not the most important. Especially if you have a food or craft blog, every single post should contain an image that can easily be pinned onto Pinterest. For food blogs, this can just be a photo of the dish (recipes with no photos are boring anyway), and for craft blogs it can be a photo of the finished product. I also like to add a title to one image in each blog post, to make something that will stand out even more on Pinterest.
2. Have you added titles and alt text to your images?
Remember, adding this extra information to your images will mean that they’re more likely to appear in Image Search results. The alt text also appears as the caption on Pinterest when an image is pinned, so it’s useful if this is the name of the recipe, rather than just something like ‘IMG_2044’. To find out how to do this, you can read my Blog Tips Tuesday post where I focused entirely on how to add titles and alt text to images.
3. Is your title SEO-friendly?
If possible, your post’s title should be your focus keyword for that blog post. Again, this is easy for food blogs or craft blogs because your title can just be the name of the recipe or craft that you’re talking about. I often see people writing blog posts with titles like ‘An easy recipe and some ramblings about dogs’ (sorry for the very random example!), when it would be much better to title the post with the actual name of said easy recipe. Not only does this increase the chance of your post appearing in search results (how often do people Google ‘an easy recipe and some ramblings about dogs’?), but I also personally think it’s more likely to attract your readers’ attention and make them want to read the post.
4. Have you included your focus keyword at least a couple of times through the post?
You should have your blog post’s keyword in mind as you’re writing. You definitely don’t want to be keyword stuffing and you want your writing to be as natural as possible, but you do want to try to get your keyword in there at least a couple of times through the post for SEO purposes. If possible, mention your keyword in the first few sentences of your blog post, and again near the end.
5. Have you included internal links?
If you can, try to add a couple of links to other relevant pages on your blog (like I did in #2!). Having lots of internal links is good for your SEO, plus you might just encourage someone to click over to another blog post, meaning you get an extra page view (it all adds up!).
Remember that your anchor text (the actual text that is linked) should be your post’s keyword if possible. Instead of saying ‘read about how to add titles and alt text to images here’, where the word ‘here’ was the link, I made sure that I linked the text that was most relevant to the post.
6. Have you added any relevant affiliate links?
You certainly don’t want every single post you write to be stuffed with affiliate links, but if you happen to mention a product that you would recommend, it’s beneficial to add an affiliate link. This means that if someone clicks across and buys the item, you get a small proportion of the money they spent. For example, in my recent vegetarian sausage hotpot recipe, I used Bisto gravy granules, and I added an affiliate link to the product on Amazon (in fact I just did it again!).
It’s worth pointing out that you should only ever link to items that you genuinely recommend and use yourself, because your readers will get pretty annoyed pretty quickly if your blog turns into one big advertisement for products that you don’t even like.
7. Have you tested all links?
If you are including any links in your post (which you should be), have you actually checked that they work? View your post in preview mode, and click on every single link to check it goes to the right place. Broken links are useless at best!
8. Have you checked which links you’d like to be nofollow?
I wrote a whole post about when to use nofollow links, so make sure you know what they are and which links you should be making nofollow. As a quick summary: any sponsored links or links that go to untrusted sites should be made nofollow.
9. Have you added a call to action?
If you’re struggling to get comments on your blog posts despite seeing good traffic, adding a ‘call to action’ can be a good way to engage readers. This can be as simple as asking a question at the end of your post. I must admit, I don’t always follow my own advice on this one, but when I do ask my readers a question, I tend to get really helpful answers.
10. Have you proof-read your post?
Make sure you read over your post several times to catch any spelling errors or typos – ideally, you’d even get someone else to give it a quick look over. Again, this one is not my strong point, since people seem to constantly be pointing out my typos (I swear I read each post over multiple times but just somehow don’t notice… I blame my lightning fast typing, obviously), but it’s definitely something that’s worth doing.
So, there you have it. As I said, there are lots of things to remember when writing a blog post, and there was plenty more that I could have added to this list, but if you make sure to check this list before hitting ‘publish’ on your blog posts, you’ll be getting into some great habits.
As always, let me know if there’s anything you’d like me to cover in future Blog Tips Tuesdays! (there’s my call to action… now act!)