Hey there everyone!!
So it seems like people liked the first post in my blogging advice series – yayyyy!!! Hopefully, you all enjoyed it and found it somewhat useful, even though I maintain that I’m still not sure whether I am qualified enough to be giving you all advice …
Anywho, today I’m continuing my promise to make it a series, and I’m doing advice post #2 … my ultimate pre-publishing blog post checklist. For those of you who don’t already know, I absolutely love lists of all sorts, particularly checklists!! There is just something so satisfying about ticking things off your list as you complete them.
Now on that note, when it comes to blogging, I know that everyone has their own styles and preferences when it comes to how they write and publish, but there are a few little goals we all have in common, things that make our blogs look neat and polished when we send them out into the world. Sometimes it is useful having a checklist to go through before hitting PUBLISH on your blog post just so you know you haven’t missed out anything important and you are 100% satisfied with it before it’s out there. I also know that we can sometimes be in a bit of a rush when it comes to publishing (like when I don’t time things right and feel like I’m racing against the clock to get a post out in time), so having a checklist is also helpful because you can then be sure that you haven’t sacrificed any quality because of speed. So … enough of my yabbering – here is my ultimate pre-publishing checklist that I go through every time before I hit publish. I hope you find it helpful!!
Catchy, attention-grabbing title?
The title is the focal point of your post. It’s what pulls readers in, what entices them to read your post instead of someone else’s. Just look at newspaper headlines – how much thought goes into those to make sure they grab a reader’s attention from the get-go? What about book titles and covers? If they don’t seem interesting to you or like they can provide something fantastic, people are less likely to pick them up and read them. So, first things first is to make sure your title is catchy and can grab your reader’s attention. I’m not saying go the clickbait route, because that is never a good option. It will only annoy your readers and ruin their trust in you so as a rule, NO CLICKBAIT! When you read your title back to yourself, ask yourself if it’s interesting enough to convince you to read on, or if it provides something exciting that the reader will want to know more of. You need to hook your reader right from the start, and the title is where you do that.
Is it easy and enjoyable to read?
Next up, a post obviously has to be easy to follow and read. Making sure you have a structure that flows nicely is crucial, because if your reader can follow your content and thought process easily, you know you’ve done a good job. Clear subheadings and nicely sized paragraphs always go a long way to making a blog easy to read, but so does your style. Do you write in a way that is easy for the reader to follow along? Having a clear, easy to follow, and positive style go a long way to putting your reader in a good mood. So, before you hit publish, reread your post and check if you can follow it easily, but also if it’s enjoyable to read (I know it’s a bit difficult when you’re the one who wrote it, but still).
Proofread and finicky checking
Of course, we all like to think that we don’t make mistakes and for the most part we don’t. But sometimes things happen and little things, like spelling and grammar errors, slip past unnoticed. It can happen so easily – I know I make more mistakes than I care to admit if I’m typing too fast, or when I don’t take the time to read over what I’ve written. And that’s okay. The problem though is that spelling and grammar errors can distract the reader or put them off, so just doing a quick scan at the end, or popping your blog into a grammar checker (I love Grammarly and use it all the time!) can save you a lot of grief. Plus, by doing a last proofread and double-checking any finicky aspects of your blog (did you use the right name when you referred to that book/restaurant or whatever) will leave you feeling a lot more satisfied with the finished product and feel happier when you publish it.
Make it pretty
This is always my favourite (and most frustrating) part of the blog-writing process. But, it is a pretty crucial step. As I’m sure you know, people are quite visually orientated (sayings like ‘you eat with your eyes first’ aren’t there for no reason). So making sure your blog is visually appealing is always a must! I think adding pictures to a blog post is always a nice idea – it breaks up the text and gives your reader something visual to link up with your written content. It is up to you though so if adding pictures to your blog posts isn’t your thing, I completely understand that. However, having a nice featured image is critical, because much like the title, it brings your reader in because it is the image that sums up your blog. If I don’t forget and I have time, I like to design my own, but you can also just choose a nice image off the Pexels free photo library (both work great). Lastly, give your blog a visual overview – does the heading stand out? Do the subheadings look neat? Are your pictures good quality? All of these parts in the ‘making it pretty’ stage are just as important as proofreading, so don’t forget about it.
Check technical things (SEO, links, social media icons)
Ugh … the technical details that make sure everything runs smoothly but is usually the most tiresome part of the process. Grrrr. I loathe checking these technical things because I’m always worried my laptop is going to rebel, decides it hates me and does something crazy to my post, but we have to do these things right? Okay, I know this is terrible to admit, especially after a year and a half of blogging, but I still know virtually nothing about SEO (please don’t kill me) – I do plan to learn more about it so I can utilise it properly, but it always slips through the metaphorical cracks. But, if you’re a tech-savvy blogger or even a blogger who understands SEO (both are not me), then this is the stage to check things like your keywords and SEO. Another vital thing to check is that if you have mentioned anything where you need to link to another blogger or site, check you’ve put the link in, and it works! Now is also the time to add in your social media icons and all those other little technical things that elevate the post to just the next level.
Last but not least (haha that was not an intended joke), go over the last-minute details. By that, I mean put in your tags, make sure your little excerpt is in, and you’ve selected your featured image. Check that you’ve put your post in the right category and that you’ve mentioned all the things that you wanted to in the post. This your last-minute overview, to double-check everything is precisely the way you want it, and you haven’t forgotten anything.
AND NOW YOU HIT PUBLISH!!
So there you have it, my ultimate pre-publishing checklist for blog posts. I’m sorry if it was a bit long at parts, but I hope you all still enjoyed it or could take something helpful out of it. Sometimes having little checklists like this in place can help make blogging easier, and also ease your own stress when it comes to worrying if you remembered to do everything before you publish, so I really hope that this list is useful to you, or helps inspire you to create your own list.
By the way, I’d love to hear if you think I’ve missed any crucial pre-publishing checks on my list? Also, what sort of advice would you like to see in this series?? After all, I am doing this series for all of you, so if there is specific stuff you would like to see, please don’t hesitate to let me know! Lastly, thank you all so much for the fantastic response to my Blogmas announcement! I hope loads of you are planning to submit guest posts but just a note for when you do, please pop a comment in the Blogmas Announcement post so that I can be sure I received your submission.
Lots of Love
Blondey on a Mission xxx