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Article Checklist: Use Before Publishing

Steven 6 responses Blogging

Checklists are the best way to make sure you’ve accomplished everything you want to accomplish, like a daily or weekly To-Do list. Sometimes, though, our lives are so busy and complicated it’s even better if we make checklists inside our checklists. Maybe you already have a checklist you use when you’re setting up a new blog. Well, here’s one you can use before you hit “Publish” on your next blog post.

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  1. Did you read it all the way through, from start to finish? I can’t tell you how many times I’ve skipped a whole block of information because I was writing fast so I could get all my thoughts down. Be sure to read your post from start to finish to make sure you didn’t forget something.
  2. Does it include everything the reader needs to know? Would it make your post more meaningful if you explained that jargon instead of assuming all your readers know what it means? How about that 10-step How-To article? Did you explain all the steps?
  3. Did you do your keyword research? Are you using the right keyword for this article? Think about the traffic you’re trying to attract. Will they find this article relevant if they land on it during an organic search?
  4. Did you create an attention-grabbing title? Go back and look at your title. Would you be tempted to click on it if you had nine others to choose from?
  5. Did you edit for spelling and grammar errors? I should put this at the bottom of the list because it should automatically be at the top!
  6. Did you link to an older post on your blog? Don’t forget about SEO. You must have at least one older post, deep inside your blog, that you could link to to give your readers even more information. If not, write one.
  7. Did you link to relevant sources? If you used “Studies show…” then link to those studies and prove it. Your readers aren’t going to stop following you because you backed up your facts and you’ll earn more credibility.
  8. Did you check that all the links work? Check all your links before you publish because you’ll never remember to come back. Better yet, install a plugin that monitors your blog for broken links.
  9. Do you have a meaningful image? Studies show…. (Just seeing if you’re paying attention!) Not all blogs use images but if you do, don’t forget to include one in your post.
  10. Did you preview and format? Preview your post to see how it’s going to look to your readers. Does the text wrap around images the way you want it to? Are you using headings and sub-headings to highlight blocks of content and make your post easier to read?
  11. Did you write toward a goal? Before I sit down to write any blog post I always think about what I want to achieve. Do I want to use this post to draw attention to a product, to get more RSS subscribers, to get subscribers for a newsletter… or maybe I just want to provide information and showcase my expertise. Always have a goal in mind for every post.
  12. Is this a good day to publish? Is today the best day to publish that post? If you’ve never payed attention, this is a good time to start. Look at your stats to see which days your blog gets the most traffic. Chances are you have at least one or two days where your traffic drops. Avoid posting on those days and post your best content when the highest number of visitors will be around to see it.

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  1. Excellent checklist. You’re right, people sometimes hit Publish without checking to make sure everything is ready to go. I have been guilty of putting a titile in my post just for the draft, then forgetting to update it before I publish it.

    I would add a few things to the list. I would add refining the URL and adding a slug. I would also be sure to add tags and categories for easy finding the article within the blog and in search engines.

    1. Thank you for your comment Carolyn :)

      About editing the slug, I can agree with you. However, I don’t do it on every single post. I make short slugs only for my pillar content. It allows me to keep short keyword-targeted slugs available for key articles.

    2. So why don’t you shorten every URL? Is it because you want to keep your titles short and precise so you don’t need to shorten your URL?

    3. Here is an example to illustrate why I do not shorten all my slugs.

      I have written several articles about “bounce rate” in the past, and I could have shortened the slugs of these to “bounce-rate” since it was my main keyword.

      However, I didn’t.

      Then, when I wrote a very long article (6000+ words) about bounce rate, that slug (bounce-rate) was still available to me, and it was more relevant to have a short slug on this very detailed guide.

  2. Dawn Abraham

    We all need to use a check list and sometimes the person who makes the check lists needs it too. I don’t mean you, I give webinars and wrote a e-book about making money with your blog and of course it has a check list.

    Since I have my check list memorized I think I don’t need to look at it. But like everyone I forget sometimes so a check list is always a great way to double check.

    I like your last tip that is something I have never paid much attention to. I run reports on everything under the sun including when is the best time to tweet and post on facebook etc. but I never thought about my time for blog posting.

    You know I am going to check my stats on this tonight. I know that Sunday is a slow day but I never checked to see if one day of the week stood out. Thanks :)

    1. Hello Dawn, thank you for your comment!

      I rarely need to refer to my checklist anymore because I got it memorized too. However, just keeping it on a piece of paper pinned on the wall above my desk ensures that I don’t forget anything when I’m about to publish a new post.

      I’d love to hear the conclusion you will get to when checking your stats!