Well done on your last post, you really nailed it.
You put your heart into it and was incredibly pleased with it.
Do you feel like you are finding your voice? Your blogging is improving leaps and bounds.
However, if you are anything like me, you may realise with every post that something is missing.
Well that, my friends, is the reason for this ultimate blog post checklist that i would like to share with you. It's designed as simply as possible and as a chronological checklist to use during your blog development. If you prefer to use the infographic list, please feel free to do so. However if you are keen on using a checklist worksheet, I've drafted and expanded this into a PDF. Its also available in the store as a free digital download item. Both the infographic and the checklist can be used as a printable to-do list for each of your blog posts.
1. Do you have a killer idea?
It may seem obvious but to start a blog post you need an idea. It can come from anywhere. Finding that great idea is half the battle. Struggling for that idea, you can find inspiration everywhere. Try to train your brain into being creative, find a problem and craft a potential solution.
That may sound over-simplistic, but the more you do it the easier it will get.
2. Does it link to your niche?
You will have read about your "niche" on most advice blogs. It may be that you know exactly what you are targeting and who you are trying to help. You may have a fantastic specialism.
I subscribe to the "niche" idea but in more for the consistency of your writing. Your readers will develop into fans and that is because they enjoy the way you covey your ideas, like your voice and trust the information you are sharing.
3. Are you in a happy place?
When you are in a good place or a good mood it is 10x easier to start writing. It shines through in your text.
Try and get yourself in a happy place, listen to some music, get active, dance, sing, go for a run, whatever you can to help you forget about any external factors and help you be ready to produce your best work.
4. Have you got a cup-o-tea or coffee?
Self explanatory really, blogging and coffee go hand in hand. Stick the kettle on then, get brewing. Head on back to read the rest of this post.
At this stage download the ultimate blogpost worksheet by subscribing below. It's a companion to this post and has some extra special goodies to help you capture SEO keywords and help plan your post.
5. Clearly state what the post is about?
Your introduction is your key opener. Your readers need to know what they are getting into as soon as possible. Too much waffle and you have lost them. Be concise, be fun and be informative. The post won't be for everyone, so don't waste their time.
6. Will your intro grab the readers
SEX.....now that I have your attention, read on.
Your intro really should leave your readers wanting more. Like a good book they should be enticed to read on and be fully engaged from the beginning of the post.
Be careful though, you need to be genuine, don't promise something that the post can't deliver. This comes back to trust between you and your readers.
7. Does your intro include a strong Call-to-Action?
The all powerful call to action (CTA). Your blog maybe delivering the best most awesome stuff on the whole World Wide Web, however once your reader finishes are they going to do anything with it. Chances are they won't unless you ask them to.
Spell it out, examples of CTA:
- share this post on facebook
- like us on facebook
- leave a comment below
- sign up to our mailing list for exclusive free content
- share this post on Pinterest using the sidebar
- read my previous post here
8. Is your post split into paragraphs?
Remember that you are writing copy for your blog and oldschool grammar rules are relaxed.
Generally people reading your blog may be doing so on a mobile platform or while on a break. Lots of text can be daunting.
Take this paragraph.
Although grammatically not correct, splitting it into paragraphs makes it easier to digest and follow.
9. Does it include sub-headings?
Similarly to point 8, above. Splitting your text up can make things a lot easier to read and follow, also if you are writing a long piece, like this one, it can be easier for your readers to refer to paragraphs in the comments.
Additionally using subheadings benefits your SEO (Search Engine Optimization). By using H1, H2 and/or H3 will vastly improve your website SEO and ultimately help your organic traffic rate.
10. Does it utilise white space?
8,9 and 10 kind of go hand in hand.
You can see in this text that there is white space surrounding the text. This is a tactic to make text easier to read.
11. Is there a Call-to-Action within the body text?
Here is that CTA again. We are trying to entice your readers to engage, look at a product or start a dialogue. You need to ask them or direct them to do so.
12. Have you included internal links?
This is one I always forgot to do until I started using this checklist.
Internal links are redirections to previous content on your website. An internal back link benefits you google status as well as giving your readers opportunity to further engage and get access to other content.
You have worked hard on your current post, but also on your previous posts, share them, that way your reader may become a fan.
Also be aware of giving certain pages too much power by linking to it too often. For example your contact us page will already have a lot of links to it (due to its inclusion in your contents, side bar or footer).
13. Have you included external link?
I'm a beginner blogger and coming from a consultant background, it has taken me some time to get over the previous attitude that other people in your niche are competitors.
Blogging is a supportive culture, by linking up external sites (that are relevant to your post) you are giving your readers added value. You can also leave a comment on the external blog, letting them know how useful you found it and thanking them for the influence. This is a contact business and you may establish good ongoing relationships with leaders of your field.
Also that will give you one of those lovely back links and potentially another avenue for traffic.
By far my most popular post to date is 5 Killer Blogs to help you write an About Me Page. I did exactly that and I do get referrals from those blogs.
One word of warning, to many links will start to be detrimental to your google score. Generally you should try and not exceed 50 links, this includes internal (inclusive of links in contents, sidebars and footers) and external links.
14. Are you links complete sentences or phrases?
An example of a good link is this. For tips and best practice for SEO read this post from Orbitmedia.
The text I have used to link is a phrase and includes keywords. Try to avoid the click here type of link. Not only does it not contribute to your SEO, it also breaks up the flow of your text.
15. How many keywords have you used?
Improve you SEO by including keywords for your post.
If someone was to search for your post what would they search for? what words would they type into Google? give yourself a helping hand by using additional keyword phrases. For example if your post is about Star Wars, also include terms such as "space adventure", "epic science fiction tale set in space" or "a movie about Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader set in a galaxy far far away".
Word to the wise. Include keywords organically by writing good, original content with keywords flowing naturally. Google recognises keyword jamming I.e. Including keywords in list form and can penalize your SEO.
If in doubt, imagine how you would have a normal conversation about a topic.
Use our checklist to search for and capture keywords for use in your blog post.
16. Does this form a conclusion?
Your post has been written, it's an epic piece of content that is original, useful, fun and exiting. You reader has been engaged, laughed, cried, liked you on Facebook.
It's time to let them know it's over. You are spent. Your post should close out with a suitably Summary or conclusion. Reference back to your introduction. This shows that you have delivered on your promises.
17. Does it include a Call-To-Action?
Ok, now I'm repeating myself, but it really is important. This is another opportunity to direct your readers to engage with you. It's the ideal time to ask for comments and feedback.
18. Does it include any recommended reading?
Combine your CTA with recommended reading. Link and recommend your previous posts that may be along similar topics to your current post.
19. Have you asked for comments?
If you ask for comments, please make sure you have included a comment section. Also the Internet can be cruel or supportive, don't be too upset if you get negative feedback.
PHOTOS & IMAGERY
20. Does the post include at lease 1 original image?
Images are increasingly more important in blogging. With the rise of Instagram and Pinterest and the changes in Facebook and Twitter (displaying more images) this is your real opportunity to stand out from the crowd. I ensure I have at lease one original image. Do not steal from other blogs or google images (I have been guilty of this in the past when I first started blogging). Images on the web are copyrighted and you may expose yourself to action if you do.
There are plenty of sources to obtain copy free images, but you really can't beat an original image be it a photograph, sketch or infographic. Make it relevant and make it interesting.
In addition this is your opportunity to brand your work, include your logo, text style or whatever makes your brand yours.
For posts that are long or include a lot of information (like this one) images can really break up the text and keep people's interest and attention.
It's something I am still trying to do is go through my older posts and update the images, so start off on the right foot and produce original images from the very beginning.
21. Does the post include images specifically targeted for your social media outlets (e.g. Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest)?
As noted in item 20 imagery is very important to todays viscerally inclined populous. Knowing that each social media outlet has prefered image sizes and also what type of content is particularly suited to that source can be the difference to getting repins on Pinterest, shares on Facebook or retweets on Twitter.
I have a post planned to discuss this in further detail.
See as how i haven't git that ready yet, i refer you to an excellent post written by Lindsay Kolowich (@lkolo25) discussing a cheat sheet for social media images.
Another thing to note is that Social Media is constantly evolving and you should try and check the developer tools for each outlet to see if any developments may effect your previous posts and imagery.
22. Are all images named?
This is another initiative to improve your SEO. If you are using original photography, your camera may automatically save an image as Photo001.jpg or something similar.
It is unlikely that this will show up in any search engine.
By renaming every image with a relevant content name. You are improving your SEO and increasing the chances of someone finding your amazing work.
23. Does the name include a description?
The name should also include a description of what the photograph is. For example if a photograph you include is a blogger dressed in a red top working on his mac. Then rename the photograph something like "6-styles-for-bloggers-man-in-red-jumper-working-on-a-mac-#bloglife.jpg".
24. Does the name include a #?
I'm currently experimenting on the inclusion of hashtags in photo text. Someone may share your post and use an image from your blog. In this case including a hashtag may improve your chances of being found in a search.
BEFORE YOU POST
Nearly there guys, if you are still with me, thankyou, hopefully its been useful. I urge you to download the free checklist worksheet to aid you in your post development. After all its free, what have you got to loose.
25. Have you re-read your post?
I know you are excited to post your work.
I know you have worked tirelessly for hours to perfect it.
I know you want to help your customers.
But please take this time to re-read your post. If possible get someone else to proof read it. I guarantee if you take this time to re-read it you can make those tiny improvements, catch some spelling or grammatical oversight or strike through something that doesn't add value.
You want to be showing your A-game, and the extra effort at this stage will really increase the readability and enjoyment for others.
26. Have you spell checked and grammar checked it?
Self explanatory really, i'm a terrible speller and grammatically not the bestestest [sic]. So taking the time to check spelling and grammar can be boring and tedious but will benefit your overall blog quality.
27. Have you checked the spelling in your image titles?
Don't forget to check your photograph titles as per item 22 and 23.
28. Have you credited where credit is due?
Blogging is a strange beast. Free information and quality content is available everywhere. of course you will be using research material, inspiration, background content and that's fine.
As long as you make sure you request permission and give credit were it is deserved.
Let people know that you have credited their work, let people know that they have made a difference. Do it by email, comments on a blog post or by twitter, telephone, pigeon or smoke signal. Do not steal other peoples works.
29. Have you checked the links?
Now is the time to click on those links you have put within your post. Make sure you don't get directed to a 404 page. Someone reading your post has been persuaded to checkout your other content, clicking on a broken link may just prevent them from being turned into a fan.
30. Are you happy?
Here is the big questions:
- Do you love your post?
- Are you happy with it?
- Can you improve it right now?
Then do it. This is the beauty of your own blog. You are the bottleneck. You are the commander, chief, editor and have the final say on whether you push the button and publish your unique awesome content.
31. Are you Proud?
You are the person who will be promoting this post.
You are the person who will be putting your creation out there into the world.
Be proud of what you have created, you have turned an idea into a well formed piece of original content.
32. Are you Excited?
Well, are you?
You should be, your awesome work is ready to go and the extra work you have put into it should be commended.
Push the button and go get a glass of wine, beer, cup of tea or whatever floats your boat and relax. You've earned it.
Why this Post will help your Blog
I promised you a detailed post that will help your blog develop.
By using this checklist post and the free blog post worksheet, what you will do is improve consistency of your posts. Consistency is what will ultimately set you apart from other bloggers in your niche.
You can be confident that:
- Your post does what it promised;
- Has a structure;
- Includes imagery, links, and SEO improvements;
- is free from errors;
- continues to support the blogging community by delivering quality content and sharing other peoples useful content (while crediting them where applicable).
So why should you use the PDF worksheet. I'm glad you asked:
- The PDF includes additional content such as live url links to useful tools so that they are are always at your disposal;
- You can fill out the contents as you go and tick of the items that you have included;
- It's easy to use and quick;
- You can save the completed PDF, which can then be used as an audit in the future. It's your blog, you may not have time to create images and choose to exclude it, at a later date you can review the worksheet and improve your post.
- Please give it a go, hopefully it will help.
Thanks for reading,
Have I included everything? leave a comment below if you think I have missed anything or can improve in anyway.
If you like the worksheet, please let me know and share this with the blogging community using the sidebar sharing buttons.
Love n stuff
Andy @ DesignUntapped