Estimated reading time: 4 minutes
CHECKLISTS ARE AWESOME
They’re both efficient and effective; just grab the checklist and go tick! tick! ti–wait a second–fix it–tick! And it gives you that sense of accomplishment when you’re done, when you’ve got all the checklist points ticked, a quantitative 100% score as an indication of the quality of something. You get to remember everything you need to remember, no mistakes, no oversight, just a simple list that you go through every time you need to go through it.
Before I submit articles and blog posts I always go through a checklist I’ve created for myself. It covers general writing points, SEO best practices, and marketing/sales techniques. Of course, not all blog posts require all points to be ticked off but it’s generally a good idea to cover as much as possible. Today I’d like to share my checklist with you. Please note that the points on the list have been gathered from all across the internet so it’s not entirely my original work. But it works for me, maybe it’ll work for you.
And I hope this makes up for yesterday’s lack of a worthy, daily post.
THE BLOGGING CHECKLIST
1. Title attractive and catchy
Books are judged by their cover all the time. In the case of a blog post, your title needs to be catchy and attractive to readers. You need to reel them in otherwise no-one’s going to read your 3000-word saga that you spent ages perfecting and sourcing.
2. Title no more than 50 characters
Google’s results will only display the first 50 characters of your title. Anything more and it gets cut off and replaced with “…”
3. Description tag no more than 156 characters
Same as for the title. You want your full description to fit in Google’s search results for maximum readability.
4. Focus keyword in title, description, body, URL
If you’ve got a focus keyword or phrase (and you should), the title, the description, and the body of your blog post should include that keyword/phrase. Ideally, the URL as well.
5. External, Internal links
If you’re mentioning something you read or watched elsewhere on the internet, it’s a good idea to link directly to the source. Linking to a reputable source is even better. Check out Open Site Explorer from Moz for a Page Authority index. The higher the better. Also, wherever possible, try linking to your own blog posts and pages. Linking externally and internally is seen as “a good thing” by Google’s crawlers and will improve your blog’s visibility in results.
6. Content, Featured images
Featured images are (generally) a wordpress feature. If you take a look at my blog’s homepage, the images you see there are featured images. Each post has one and adding them will greatly improve the look of your blog. Inside the body of the blog post itself, it’s always a great idea to add images. They improve readability, focus and most people respond better to images.
7. Written for the reader
Every blog post needs to be written for the kind of person you expect your reader to be. Writing for a sports blog needs to be approached differently than a magazine focusing on financial law. Your readers expect a certain voice and tone; veer too far and you lose your reader and your sale.
Should all blog posts be written to sell something? Not exactly, but even if you think you’re not selling anything, you probably are… you just don’t know it yet. Most bloggers who don’t have an actual product are instead attempting to sell themselves. And the best way to sell something is by providing a call-to-action at the bottom of your blog post. This way, as soon as your reader finishes reading your awesome blog post, they’re offered a way to buy whatever it is you’re selling. It’s like the bag of M&Ms sitting right next to the cashier. You’re already invested, might as well buy the M&Ms. For more about call-to-actions, read here.
This one’s easy. Blog posts should include H1, H2, and H3 tags where relevant to improve readability and point out the important bits to Google’s crawlers.
For the love of all that is holy, break your blog post into paragraphs. It will make everything so much easier to read. No walls of text, please. While you’re at it, make sure all your paragraphs and sentences are concise and to the point. No rambling, run-on sentences. Just get to the point, make it, and move on to the next one.
I know it’s short. I’ve seen checklists that have 55 points in them. I know! Who has the time to go through that? This one’s quick, easy and produces great results. Hope you’ve enjoyed this post, and if you have any suggestions just leave them in the comments section below!
Take care, and have an awesome day :)
PS: Day 5! Woooooo!