After a long few days of travel, with a stop off in Dallas to see family, an airplane ride, a visit to my parents’ house for a few days and a car ride down to the shore, we have officially started our beach vacation here in South Jersey. Yes, this is a good thing, but it also means I don’t get to sew anything for the next few weeks, and honestly, to me, that’s a bummer. My ideal vacation would actually include a sewing machine – and what would make it a vacation would be the ability to sit down and sew – uninterrupted – all the way through a project. Well, one can dream. I guess I’ll take a beach break instead. And in the meantime, here’s a bloggers’ bonus post for all my blogging friends. Feel free to pin and share!
I have wanted to touch on this topic for a while. You see, my Pinterest feed is overrun with posts by a million and one different bloggers all talking about how to make money blogging, how to increase your social media following, how to switch to WordPress, how to come up with good content ideas and on and on. This is all great stuff – and no doubt they’re going to get clicks on those posts because these are things we all want to know more about (I have pinned my fair share)! But I have noticed that with all the hype about the stuff that will eventually get us more money, and more exposure, we sometimes lose sight of this actual thing we call blogging. I know it has happened to me. What is blogging, after all? It’s writing. It’s keeping a “log” on the web. It’s sharing information and communicating (sometimes to a lot of people at once) and as such, the act of blogging itself should be treated with a certain level of care.
With that in mind, today’s post is about those few loaded moments after we have written a post and before we hit that “publish” button. These are the most crucial moments in blogging. I have definitely rushed through them on occasion and regretted it, noticing spelling and grammar mistakes after the fact, forgetting to add a link to something that should be linked, or realizing I forgot to set my featured image. There are so many little things to remember that make a difference in the quality of a blog post, both for your readers’ sake and for the “back-end” of your blog’s sake, that I thought it would helpful to provide a pre-publish checklist of items for your blog post. In the past, publishing a blog post has taken me way longer than it should have because I didn’t methodically go through these items. I had to think way too hard to do things that should have been a habit.
If you find these tips helpful, subscribe to my blog to get them in the form of a printable checklist that can be added to your blog planner! Printable checklists are great. As much as I love to try to do everything on the computer, sometimes I just need the real thing in front of me and out of the way of the computer screen.
Before you hit “publish” on that blog post, check this list out and make sure you’re ready!
- Your writing: I know I shouldn’t have to say it. I know. But let’s get it out of the way. Triple check your spelling and grammar. Do this once with your spell checker and then twice through with your eyes: once in your dashboard and once in preview mode (READ the whole post through in preview mode – don’t just skim). I don’t know why it makes a difference, but it does. Your eyes will catch things they wouldn’t when you were in your dashboard. You can also double check the way fonts, font sizes and your layout looks in preview mode. Whenever I don’t do this – I have mistakes. No exceptions. I’m not saying there may not be mistakes anyway, but I’m far less likely to make them when I follow this rule.
- The URL: Is the URL set the way you want it? In WordPress.org, you can set the URL for your blog post to be anything you want. It usually defaults to the date and title of the post but if your title is super long, you might want to change that.
- Your images: Have you added all the images exactly where you want them in the post? Are you using the images you painstakingly edited and not the original versions? (Yes, I accidentally did that once). Have you named your image files appropriately so that they are not just a jumble of letters and numbers? Have you set the alt text for them? Have you set a featured image for the post? Do you have at least one pinnable image inside the post itself?
- Links: Have you added links to anything you meant to link to in your text or images? Have you checked those links to make sure they are working?
- Categories and Tags: Have you put your post in the appropriate category for your blog? Have you set some tags that make sense for the subject matter?
- SEO: I use Yoast SEO with WordPress and it makes it really simple to make sure your SEO is good. If you also use WordPress and Yoast, make sure you set your focus keyword, your SEO title, and your meta description. You’ll notice they also have a “social” tab where you can set a specific title, description, and image that you want to show up when your post is shared on Facebook. This is helpful when your blog’s featured image is not “Facebook friendly” in terms of its dimensions, or when you have a ton of different images and you want to make sure a specific one is used on Facebook.
- One last thing: Have you said everything you wanted to say? Have you asked a question at the end of your post to engage your readers if it makes sense to do so? I know it seems silly but there are times when I have gone through all of my steps only to hit post and realize that I had a thought or something to add to the post that I forgot to do while I was busy focusing on all the other little things. If you have the time, take a break. Step away from the computer. Pretend you just hit “publish” and go about the next task in your day. If you don’t feel like you’ll be able to get back to the post in time, schedule the post so it will publish at a certain time later in the day. This gives you some time to think about it a little more and remember some of those fleeting thoughts you may have had that didn’t make it to the page.
So you’re all published and you feel great about your post. Now what? Head on over to my linky party post to get tips for linking it up and getting the most exposure that you can with the least amount of time spent at linky parties.
Don’t forget to subscribe to my blog using the form below to get access to a free printable checklist that will take the guesswork out of clicking that “publish” button, No hassle and no more “after-post” regrets!
Crafters, hang in there with me! Even without a sewing machine I have plans to get a crafting post out there to you!
Do any of my blogging readers out there have anything to add? How do you make sure you your posts are polished and “publish” ready?