I have returned to the blogging basics in the past two weeks as we have a new guy in work who is running the companies blogs. He has no experience with blogging and both WordPress and Blogger are new to him.
The best thing about blogging is that it is really simple, give yourself an hour to sit down in front of the blogging platform of your choice and you can have a pretty good idea about what all the buttons do.
In this post I want to outline 10 things you should check before hitting the publish button on your blog posts, this should become a fool-proof guide for newbie bloggers to help build confidence before you unleash your posts on the world.
- Post Title: Ensure that you have a) set a post title, and b) made the post title reflect the content that will appear below it. This is a mistake that newbie bloggers make, they focus so much on getting their post content sorted they forget to title it.
- Paragraphs: Break the content into easy to read sections, blogs are not read like essays. The idea is to have several short bursts of text and not long rambling paragraphs.
- Images/Graphics: I adopt the approach of adding an image to all of my posts. The images used are relevant to the blog posts content but are not so obvious that they distract the reader away from reading your content. This may not work for all blogs but I recommend adding an image to all posts, try not to add so many that the post just become an image gallery.
- Links: This is often overlooked by newbie and experienced bloggers. Where possible you should try to link to older blog posts related to the topic being discussed. This helps to keep the reader on your blog and increase page views.
- Categories: Be sure to put all your blog posts into at least one category, this allows them to be found much easier by your readers and groups related posts on your blog.
- Tags: Pick out the key areas from your post and add them as tags. This has two benefits the first being that readers can find older blog posts about the areas of the post that interest them, the second is that you can link to specific tag pages in future blog posts.
- Spelling: Most blogging platforms provide spell checking facilities, USE THEM! There is nothing worse than publishing a blog post full of spelling mistakes. I recommend using the ‘After The Deadline‘ plugin for WordPress. It has helped me hundreds of times.
- Timing: Is now the best time to publish the post? Many bloggers simply hit publish when they finish typing the post, is that the best time for your audience? This requires a little testing and some common sense, there is no point in publishing the post at 3am, why not schedule it for 1pm so that your audience can read it whilst having lunch, or 7pm so they can read it whilst relaxing in front of the TV. You need to find the time that works best for your audience.
- Engage: The best way to end a blog post is to engage your readers. This is as simple as finishing your blog posts with a question or asking for their views on the subject. Give the readers a reason to leave a comment and engage with you.
- Take A Break: Before hitting publish? I find that it is a good idea to do all the points above, save the draft, then do something different for the next 30-60 minutes. In this time you can think over what you have just written, have you missed anything out? Have you given bad advice? Is your title strong enough? After your break, give the post another proof-read, you may find bits that you wish to change, if not you are ready to schedule your post for publish.
If you follow the points that I have detailed above then you should have a well formatted and engaging blog post.
Do you have any extra pieces of advice for what to check before you hit publish? Are you always forgetting any of the things mentioned above? How do you make sure your post is ready to be published?