Okay, so, you’ve tapped out that blog post and, of course, you think it’s utterly brilliant. It’s ready to go out into the world. Or is it? Many people believe that writing is half the problem when it comes to blogging, but I can assure you that’s not the case. It takes me barely anytime at all to write up a blog post. I’m a really fast typist. Once the idea is in my head, that’s it; I’m off. It’s everything else surrounding that blog post that I find takes the most time, and it’s often those last-minute bits that I’ve noticed other bloggers miss out.
If you have a blog, and you would quite like that blog to be as adored by hundreds, thousands, and millions of fans as you adore it, it’s time to look at:
The Blogging Checklist: 10 Things You Should Do Before You Press Publish
1 – Read ’15 Ways to Make Your Blogger Better’
You’ll find it here: 15 Ways to Make Your Blog Better
Why? Well, because I wrote it for a start, but also because it has a list of things I do with every blog post to make sure it is ready to go out into the world. The little things – things that quite often don’t seem that important, but actually are when you’re up against so many other damn fabulous bloggers. I’m not saying that you need to be better than them; that’s not what it’s all about. But … and it is a big but; you want your stuff to stand out, right?
15 Ways to Make Your Blog Better discusses using Grammarly (the free version) to make sure that your writing is up to scratch. We all make typos. My blog is probably littered with them. I type too fast and I’m a really crap proofreader, but I’m working on it.
The guide also discusses how you can use lists to make your blog posts easier to read, and more aesthetically pleasing too. And how keeping yourself up to date with social media platforms such as Pinterest is smart so that you can make sure the stuff you’re posting on your blog is relevant.
There are loads of good tips. I should have called it 15 PLUS Ways to Make Your Blog Better. But, yeah, give it a read. I think you’ll find it a bit useful.
2 – Did You Proofread? Twice?
Oh yeah, I’m going back to that little point I made about proofreading. It IS important. As much as I gloss over my own proofreading far too much and, in that sense, I’m a total hypocrite, proofreading really is very, very important. I once sent a blog post out into the world that I hadn’t proofread properly, and my Mac had changed a particular actresses name to ‘tithead’ every time I tapped it out. (Cheers, Pages, I appreciated that … not.) I caught a couple of the errors during the proofreading stages, thankfully, but there were a few that slipped through the net.
My client that day was the best client in the world and found the entire scenario hilariously funny. It was at that point that I needed to admit to myself that I call my friends far too many weird names in emails. Believe it or not, ‘tithead’ is actually a term of endearment in the circles I move in.
Again, going back to the point number one and my previous brilliant blog post, Grammarly helps with proofreading a lot, picking up on commas that I seem to put in the strangest of places. There are free and paid versions, and I’m genuinely considering giving the paid one a shot. I really need help with punctuation, specifically, commas, and I reckon the tool would help me out a lot.
I’ll give it a shot and let you know what I think of it!
3 – How’d You End things?
No, I’m not talking about with your last boyfriend or girlfriend; how did you end things with your readers? What does the end of your blog post look like? Pretty as a picture? Or like there’s something missing? That’s probably the case …
If you don’t ask your readers questions, how are you ever going to get them to interact with you? Don’t get me wrong; you’ll always find someone who is more than willing to project their thoughts and opinions your way, and sometimes not in the nicest of manners. If you ask questions, however, it won’t just be the opinion-projectors that throw their comments at you. It’ll be other bloggers – bloggers who might know the answer to your question or have something funny to say in response. Get them on board, that’s what I say. People LOVE giving out their opinion. Give them a reason to – ask them to do it!
Have you ever tried this vape eliquid?
What are your thoughts on these shoes with these jeans?
Who’s into the rose gold craze right now?
End with a question and there’s a chance your readers will start tapping out an answer. If you don’t ask, you don’t get. That’s what I was taught as a youngster, anyway.
I also like to end my blog posts with a little reminder of how fabulous I am over on Instagram. My current WordPress Plugin-love is called Instagram Feed. With a simple shortcode, your latest Instagram photos will be wherever you want to put them in your blog. Hey, every little helps!
My point here is: add a question for your readers to answer, or a call-to-action, such as ‘follow on Instagram’ or another social media platform. Perhaps even buying your latest eBook? Whatever you like – it’s YOUR call-to-action.
4 – Link It Up!
Have you added links to other blog posts? Your own? Other bloggers’? I like to add relevant but old blog links to my new blog posts, just like you saw with point number one on this list. It’s relevant, I feel it is worth a read, and I’ve just rehashed an older blog post that might have seen its reader numbers dwindle away.
Rehashing your content is a big thing right now.
I also like to add links from other bloggers too, especially if it’s going to reinforce my point or add value to what I’ve already written up. So, for example, with a vape eliquid review (that I don’t have an affiliate for), I would add links to other reviewers at the bottom, in a “Don’t just take my word for it, read what so-and-so has to say too!” way.
(The other bloggers love it, particularly if you get a little more traffic than they do. Hey, they may even return the favour!)
5 – Have You Cited All Sources?
I know, I know, it’s boring as hell, but if you’ve used detailed information from somewhere else, such as a statistic or a quote, it’s a really good idea to make sure that you give the original source some credit. You wouldn’t steal someone’s image and make out like it is your own work (and if you do, you should be ashamed of yourself), so don’t do that with the information you have found. If you read one particular sentence in another person’s blog that you then used on your own, give the original person some credit. Just add a link.
It’s the right thing to do. Plus, it makes it look like you know what you’re talking about; like you can be trusted. You don’t just have the words; you have the facts to back them up and can cite all the sources for them too.
Ooooft, look at you go!
6 – Have You Given the Images Proper Credit?
If you’re using an attribution-free site to get your images from, you’re not obligated to give the original photographer credit, unless it states otherwise. I recommend checking out the licenses for each image before you assume you can use them.
If you’re taking your own images, you don’t need to cite your own name, obviously, but I would make sure you have a watermark or something to protect the images you do take.
If you’re sharing an image on your blog that you have ALREADY shared on your Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter accounts, I’d cite whichever platform you shared it on as your source. Technically you’re giving yourself some credit, yes, but you deserve it.
Just a little “Source: UKWordGirl / Instagram” will do. Hey, it gets your Insta-account out there a little more, doesn’t it?
7 – Make It Easy For Me
The easier you make it to share your blog post, the more likely I’ll share it. There, I said it.
On the best-ecig.co.uk Facebook account, I regularly share blog posts from other websites. Vaping websites, obviously. I try to throw in a good mix of different, informative blog posts, from different websites. Some of them I’ll have affiliates for, some I won’t. Some posts will be ones that I’ve found particularly helpful, and some are ones that I think other people – new vapers, perhaps – should read.
Although I try to give an equal mix of shares, I share the blogs that are actually easier to share the most. If there’s a Facebook link waiting there, I’ll share it on my page. I’ll do the same on Twitter. You should share your posts on social media regularly (ish), and you should also make sure that the blog post itself is as easy as possible to share. There are plenty of WordPress plugins you can use, and some of the themes that you can use (for free) have pretty cute standards included.
Either way, if your post isn’t shareable, it won’t be shared.
8 – Create, Create, Create
Right, this might not work for ALL bloggers, but this is the way that I work. I’m just sharin’ my secrets, you know? When I’m done with a blog post, I create a featured image for it, usually using Canva or something similar. When I’m done with that, I spend a few more minutes adapting a couple of templates that I have saved, making shareable Pinterest graphics. I’ll switch the picture for a new one, perhaps change a font or colour here and there. I’ll do this a few times until I have between FIVE and TEN Pinterest-ready graphics. It takes me about 15 minutes on top of the blog post I’ve already created, and I’ve got stuff ready to go.
When I’m ready, I’ll schedule my new images to Pinterest. I might just schedule five to start with, saving the remaining five in a folder on my Desktop. It gives me something to come back to and share when inspiration is running a little low. The blog post is fresh in my mind too, so creating bulk graphics is much easier than trying to create them weeks or months down the line.
9 – While We’re on the Creativity Bus …
While we’re here, we might as well talk about those featured images in a little more depth. They’re important because they’re what grab people, encouraging them to take a closer look. Everyone has their own opinion on featured images, but I try to make mine bright and clear, and relevant to whatever the post itself is talking about.
If you want to add some jazz to your featured images, websites like Canva will provide you plenty of templates to get started with, all of which you can customise and make entirely your own.
Alongside creating those five or ten Pinterest graphics, and the featured image for my blog post, I also like to create between five and ten ‘Instagrammable’ graphics/images too. Again, it saves time, taking me just a few more minutes while I’m already on the editing site.
[From 5 Reasons Why You Should Use Shortlinks by Pretty Links]
It could be a simple quote from your blog post, a quote, a graphic with a title over the top … The possibilities are endless but have a good play around. There have been times where I’ve spent just a few minutes on Canva and created 15-20 graphics that have actually done really well on the various social media platforms.
10 – Let’s Get Tweety With It
Heck, while we’re here, grab 15 or 20 small excerpts from your blog. Just enough to fill a tweet. Leave enough room to throw the link in (most scheduling tools also offer a link shortener), alongside a hashtag or two, and you’ve got yourself 15 or 20 tweets ready to schedule when you next go on your social media scheduling spree.
If you’re scheduling a future blog post in WordPress, it even offers you a shortcode which you can use to schedule future social posts. Obviously, if you share the link before the actual post goes live, the link won’t work. It’ll send your readers to an ‘ooops’ page.
Quick, simple, done.
Dontcha just love it when blogging is simple?
Those are my tips – the things that I personally do right before I click on the publish button. Once you’ve done these things a couple of times, they’ll become second nature to you, and you’ll get faster and faster at it, as you go.
I bet they’ll make a difference to how well your blog performs. I would absolutely bloomin’ love it if you could come back and let me know if any of my ideas have helped you!
Thanks for reading today, happy blogging!
- Read 15 Ways to Make Your Blog Better
- Did you proofread? Twice?
- End it with a question.
- Links to other relevant posts
- All sources credited
- All images credited
- Make it easy to share
- Create a Pinterest-worthy graphic x 5/10 + use Tailwind
- Create a featured image (Canva + Insta-worthy graphics)
- Create 10-15 tweets using the information in your blog.
*Image source: snockstap.io