17 Things to do to your blog posts before you hit publish
After spending hours writing your next blog post, you’re finally done! You only need to hit that Publish button, and then it’s time to sit back and relax!
But before you hit publish and share your post with the world, you might want to wait a little bit longer… I mean, don’t you want to be sure that you’re providing your readers with amazing, top-notch, flawless content?
If so, I advise you to read this blog post first. I have compiled a list for you with all the things you need to do before you press Publish. I use this list for all of my blog posts, as well, and it helps me a lot! Hopefully, it will be helpful to you, too.
And to create some extra order in the mayhem of all your blogging tasks, I also created a printable checklist for you, which is waiting for you at the end of this post. Don’t forget to grab your copy before you leave!
Also interesting to read: 10 Reasons why you should start a blog and 6 reasons why you shouldn’t
Disclaimer: This blog post contains affiliate links. I may earn a small commission to fund my coffee-drinking habit if you use these links to make a purchase. You will not be charged extra. So it’s a win for everyone! Please note that I won’t link any products I don’t believe in or don’t resonate with my blog site. Thank you!
Don’t be like me; correct your mistakes before you press publish, not after 😉
As a blogger, we have numerous different tasks to remember! And I know that I always forget to remember at least one of all these tasks if I don’t go over this checklist before publishing. It’s just so tempting to publish your posts too fast, right?…
I mean, we’re bloggers, we have the urgent desire to share! It’s in our blood!
But when you don’t take the time to check your posts thoroughly, chances are you’ll later discover the dumbest typos or a layout that looks a bit sloppy, or you find yourself to be stuck on a permalink that you can’t change anymore. Such a waste! So, please, be smart and use my checklist! :)) You’ll thank yourself later!
1. Catchy title
The most important part of your blog post
The title may well be the most important part of your total blog post. It is the reason why people decide to click on your post (or not) when it appears in the search results. Use it to convince potential readers to read your post! Ask yourself if you would click on this title if you were looking for similar information.
Tip: Use the Heading Analyzer Tool to check your headline quality!
2. Clear introduction
This is your moment to make your readers curious about the rest of the post
The beginning of your post is the perfect moment to grab the attention of your readers. Therefore, make sure you have a clear, not overly long introduction that answers the following questions:
- Which topic are you discussing in this post?
- Why did you choose to write about this topic?
- What can your readers expect to read in this post?
- What problem do you solve for your readers?
3. Optimize for SEO
What is SEO?
To receive organic traffic to your blog, you need your website to be optimized for SEO, which is short for Search Engine Optimization.
In a nutshell: SEO basically means: designing and configuring your website in such a way search engines will like your site and rank your posts in the search results of the search engines. And this results in free blog traffic!
For a detailed explanation of SEO, please read my beginner’s guide to search engine optimization.
How do you optimize blog posts for the search engines?
You can optimize blog posts by:
- Using keywords
- Adding descriptions to the alt tags of your images
- Dividing your text into paragraphs and headers
- Using keywords in the URL of your website and (sub)headers
When you’re done writing, adding keywords, and breaking up your content into small easy-to-read paragraphs, headers, and subheaders, you can check your on-page SEO score with Yoast: a plugin that is every blogger’s best friend! It shows you the SEO readiness of your post and where you need to improve.
I also recommend using Semrush to use their free backlinks tool to track your backlinks, do an overall SEO audit of your website, and pump up your rank with the position tracking tool!
What does your permalink look like?
Have you already adjusted the slug of your blog post? If you haven’t, WordPress will automatically use the title of your post. And the title of your post is pretty much always too long to serve as a slug. The slug is the part of the URL that comes after the domain name. For example shecanblog.com/start-a-blog.
Don’t forget to use your keywords in the slug as well!
You can change the slug in your WordPress dashboard:
- Go to Posts
- Go to All Posts
- Click Quick Edit
- Change the slug
- Click Update
When you’re editing your post in Elementor and have RankMath installed:
- Go to the SEO tab
- Go to Edit Snippet
- Add the desired slug at Permalink
Make sure to edit the slug correctly, because if you need to edit it later, you need to use redirects, and Google is not a big fan of too much redirecting on a website. So make sure that the slug:
- Is as short as possible
- Includes your keywords
- Is as short and clear as possible
Related: 3 legal pages you need to add to your website today
5. Meta Description
Did you add a description to the meta tag?
The meta description is the text you see in the search results in Google. This tiny piece of text determines, together with your title, whether the searcher will click on your link – or on someone else’s link for that matter. That is why it’s important always to add a description to your meta tags. To add a meta-description in Elementor:
- Go to the SEO tab in Elementor
- Click on Edit Snippet
- Enter your meta-description at Description
- Ensure the score is green; if the text is too short, you don’t give enough information to your potential visitors. And if the text is too long, the part after the 1st 160 characters will be cut-off in the search results.
- Briefly and clearly describe what the post is about in the meta-description
- Use a call to action to encourage the user to click on your link
- Use your keywords! Again? Yep, again! The better you use your keywords, the more likely it is for your post to be correctly indexed and appear in the search results
6. Internal and external links
Have you linked to other content on your website and valuable content on other people’s websites in your post?
Pointing to other internal content and external websites with a high Domain Authority is good for your SEO score. Linking to other content:
- Adds value to your readers
- Shows to your readers that you know what you’re talking about and that you know who the big players are in your niche
- Shows that your priority is to help your readers, regardless if this requires linking to other (better/bigger/more popular) websites than your own, and that you are not just interested in making money on them
- Helps your users to navigate your blog more easily
- Helps to get more eyes on your old content
Please note: Never link to spam sites. Doing so can harm your domain authority.
7. Grammar and spelling errors
Are you sure you’ve corrected all the typos?
We don’t have to be perfect; your readers will forgive you for a small spelling mistake, but you often become blind to your own mistakes during the writing process.
Take a little break from your blog post when you’re finished with the writing process. Get some rest. When you’re focusing on other things for a while and allowing your eyes to rest a bit, you’ll find more errors in your content than if you go over it immediately after you wrote it.
This is why you should ALWAYS perform a spelling check. You can use tools like Grammarly and Hemingway to check your text for spelling, grammar, and style errors.
Other tips for flawless blog posts:
- Ask someone to proofread for you. Maybe you can agree with another blogger to check each other’s posts. Ask your partner, your daughter, a good friend, your neighbor, or a friend.
- Hire a proofreader on Fiverr.
A flawless blog post helps to gain your reader’s trust in you, and it shows that you’re a true professional. So, never skip this step in your writing process. I know it’s tempting to skip it, and I also know you’re probably a fantastic author, but when you are so focused on the same thing for a long time, it’s so easy to overlook your own mistakes.
8. (Featured) image(s)
The manual of your fridge is more entertaining than a blog post without any images!
A blog post without images is what I would call a study book. And study books are usually rather dull. This is precisely what a blog shouldn’t be! Blogs should be colorful, fun, and interactive.
When readers read your blogs, they want to be entertained. They want to see easy-to-understand, engaging content, with a beautiful, stylish design and some eye-catching images every now and then.
That’s why you should always add a Featured image to your posts. This is the image that appears at the top of your blog post. Add additional images to make your post even more engaging, add contrast, and use informational images, such as print screens or self-created infographics.
You can download stock photos to use on your blog and edit them with Canva. Which I will talk more about later in this post.
Don’t have any (stock) photos, yet? Then read my post with a list of the best websites for elegant free & paid stock photos as well!
9. Create pinnable images
Are you going to promote your blog posts on Pinterest? Then you need to make ‘Pinnable’ images.
In case you’re not planning to promote your posts on this awesome platform, I want to ask you; why not? If there’s one easy way to promote your blog posts and get free traffic to your blog quickly, it’s with Pinterest.
So, go on, and create a business account, read my blogs about Pinterest, and claim a piece of that Pinterest pie, too! Potential visitors are really up for grabs here.
Did I convince you to give Pinterest a chance? Perfect! I explain exactly how to start with Pinterest in the posts below. Just follow the instructions, and you’re good to go!
- Click here to learn how to setup a Pinterest Business account
- Now you can continue with optimizing your Pinterest Boards for Pinterest SEO –> Click here for the tutorial
- Continue here to read my tips to drive more Pinterest traffic to your blog
- Download my Pinterest Profile Audit Checklist to check if your profile is fully optimized and ready for real Pinterest success!
Already have a (fully optimized) Pinterest Business account?
Start creating pinnable images that your readers can use to pin your blog post to their boards. Use different colors and titles so that your readers have some options to choose from.
Tip: Pinterest automatically uses the Alt-tag description as the Pin-description. And this is not the text you want your readers to add to their pins when they pin your pins to their boards. The best option is to change the Pin-description yourself, which you can do with the WP Tasty plugin.
This plugin costs $29, but it ensures that the pins that are pinned directly from your site have the correct SEO description added to them. Furthermore, this plugin allows you to upload images to your post that only appear as a pinnable image when a visitor starts sharing your post to Pinterest. This way, your posts don’t need extra time to load all the images, and you prevent your posts from appearing messy and cluttered due to an overload of images.
You can create and edit beautiful images with Canva. This tool works much simpler compared to Photoshop or Illustrator. Believe me; it’s so easy. Anyone can become a designer with Canva! It has a free version and a Pro version, but the free version is sufficient to create stunning images for your blog. Plus, you can find stunning Pinterest templates in Canva, which is really helpful when you’re new to Pinterest. However, if you plan to pin regularly to Pinterest, I recommend the Pro version of Canva, which offers a wider variety of design options.
After editing your images, it’s time to resize and optimize them with a plugin, like ShortPixel. This helps to prevent unnecessary long loading times.
10. Add a description to the Alt-tags of your images
Search engines also crawl image names and alt-tag descriptions
You can change this when you edit an image in WordPress. Adding a description to the Alt-tag of your images has a positive effect on your SEO. Alt-tags are important because:
- This way, Google can understand your images. With the description of the alt-tag and the name you give to your image, you tell Google what the image is about.
- So, if you post a picture of a horse, but you name it “Cat” and the alt-tag description reads “ginger cat”, Google will think there’s a cat in the picture. You should use this knowledge to your benefit because it’s another opportunity to tell the search engines what this post is about.
- Images can be crawled and indexed correctly
11. Check the layout
Did you check your posts’ layout? Is your post divided into short paragraphs, headers, and subheaders?
Website visitors oftentimes already know what they are looking for, and they are not always interested in reading your entire post. And when they do intend to read the entire post, it just reads so much easier when the layout is well-organized.
Search engines also love blog posts that contain headers and text that is broken down into bite-sized chunks. Use bold or Italic to highlight important words, and use bullet-point lists, so readers can quickly scan through your content to find what they’re looking for.
Tip: When you create headers, remember that H1 is only meant for the title. After that, you can use H2 for the paragraphs and H3, H4, etc. for the subheaders.
12. Check for plagiarism
Don’t worry; I’m not accusing you of stealing other people’s content
I know you don’t do this. Stealing content is not cool! And no real blogger gets any pride out of that. Unfortunately, content gets stolen a lot. I read many messages about people stealing others’ content in the blogging groups I’m in. So, it is something to be aware of and something to protect yourself from. You can use the WP Content Copy Protection plugin to protect yourself from this. This plugin blocks the right-mouse click on your website, making it more difficult for thieves to copy-paste your content.
Back to the plagiarism check: the reason I added this part is because 4.4 million new blog posts are published daily worldwide. Imagine the number of blog posts that are published in a week, or even in a year! Chances are that some of your brilliantly crafted sentences have already been brilliantly crafted by someone else. 🙂 And if there are too many sentences in your content that aren’t original, search engines could start flagging your website as plagiarism. You – do – not – want – this. And certainly not if you didn’t commit the crime! So, just do the check!
If it turns out that your content contains too many sentences that aren’t unique, you can now still modify them before your blog post is indexed.
13. Conclusion & Call to Action
Did you write a killer ending?
You started your post with an intro, and to round off your post completely, you need to write the conclusion. Write a good ending to your post in which you answer the following questions:
- What is the conclusion?
- What is your advice?
- Ask your readers a question that encourages them to respond in the comments area.
- Ask your readers to share your post on social media
- Offer a ‘content upgrade’; like as a checklist (like my checklist in this post!), a template, or a relevant product that you promote or sell. This way, you offer your readers something useful to them, and it allows you to gain new subscribers for your newsletter and turn a one-time visitor into a loyal reader! And when you start to promote your new blog post, you can use your content upgrade to draw more readers to your post!
14. Affiliate Disclosure
Did you inform your readers about the affiliate links in your post?
If you promote products with affiliate links, the FTC Guidelines require you to inform your readers about that. You have an obligation to tell your readers that you’ll earn a commission for referring them if they click on one of your affiliate links and buy that product.
You can do this by adding an affiliate disclosure. Do not forget this step to avoid legal problems later on. You can do this with the help of a plugin, but I don’t recommend it. I used a plugin for my affiliate disclosure before, but the disclosure somehow disappeared several times. And that’s not a risk I want to take. To be sure this won’t happen again, I add a text block myself with my affiliate disclosure in it. Another reason to add the disclosure yourself is that plugins can really slow down your website, and this way, you save yourself an extra plugin as well!
15. Check the Preview of your post, and re-read everything one more time!
You’re almost there! It’s time for the finishing touch!
You’re so done with this post, right now… I know! You just want to publish that post, already! But please, just go over your post just one more time before you hit publish. Chances are, you’re going to discover a mistake so retarded you won’t be able to forgive yourself if your readers would see it. 😉
Check what your post looks like on other devices as well; so, make sure your post is responsive. In Elementor, you can easily do this by clicking on Responsive mode at the bottom of the screen, and then you can toggle between tablet, desktop, and mobile. You probably write your posts on your laptop / PC, while blogs are most often viewed on mobile and tablet. For this reason, you should always check if your posts still look the same on different devices.
16. Categorize your post and assign tags
Have you already added categories (or more) and tags to your post?
This will make it much easier for your readers to navigate your blog. And this is also another opportunity to help the search engines better understand your website and index it properly.
You can install a tag cloud to your blog’s sidebar. Go to Appearance in your WordPress dashboard and click on Widgets. Drag and drop the tag cloud to the sidebar. When visitors are on your website, they will see the tag cloud in the sidebar, and they can click on interesting tags to learn more about that topic.
You can see an example of my tag cloud below. You can also see it in the sidebar, by the way 😉
Your blog post is ready to be published! You can finally click on that Publish button now!! Go ahead; you deserve it! Time to sit back and enjoy your new, perfected blog post that you can now share with the world. 🙂
Done relaxing and recovering? Then you can start promoting your new blog post. Click here to learn how to do that!
Don’t forget to grab your copy of my “Before You Hit Publish” Blog Post Checklist!
You can download your copy of my Before You Hit Publish Checklist here and use it for all your future blog posts!
When you are finished writing your blog post, your post is far from ready. There is so much to think about before you hit publish, and it’s not easy to remember everything you need to do. I hope this post helps you to remember all the steps you need to take before publishing your future posts and to publish them without any embarrassing mistakes or corrections that you need to make afterward.
Do you have any comments or suggestions? Or do you have another pre-publish tip you’d like to share? Let me know in the comments below!
A great list with some great blog post reminders. There are so many things us bloggers have to keep in mind before we hit publish. It’s crazy!
Thank you so much! And I know, right! You need to keep some sort of reminder on the side to remember all the steps we need to take. My brain can’t remember it otherwise. 🙂