I already know that you have amazing content, this post will ensure that once you hit the publish button you’ll have a phenomenal post that is visually pleasing and search engine friendly (SEO).
Here are the top 10 things I recommend doing with every post you write:
- Write a first-rate title
- Customize and optimize your permalink
- Introduce your subject
- Use pictures/graphics
- Break up text
- Engage Readers
- Add SEO descriptions to every post.
- Just BE yourself
Write a first-rate title
The title is what entices potential readers to read your blog post. It should also give them a good idea of what the post is about. You want it to be enticing, but don’t over exaggerate or over promise in the title. The content of our post should match the readers expectation based on the title. Below are formats for successful blog titles. Pauline of Twelveskip has a great article, “100+ Attention-Getter Blog Post Title Templates” that I recommend reading for inspiration in creating first-rate titles.
Customize and optimize your permalink.
Don’t skip this one just because I used the word permalink! It’s not as technical as it sounds. A permalink is just the address to an individual blog post. It is made up of two parts: your domain + the slug.
You can adjust the default structure of your permalink by making adjusting in your reading settings. I have my default set to display the post title. However, I always edit the title to make the slug is relevant and condensed. Whether you blog on blogger, WordPress, or another platform I recommend always making adjustments to your slug. The post title is just too long and not always SEO optimized to let it be your permalink.
Here is some advice from Matt Cutts (during an interview) regarding your URL:
Stephan Spencer: OK.
Next question: what is excessive in the length of a keyword-rich URL? We have seen clients use keyword URLs that have 10 to 15 words strung together with hyphens; or blogs – we have seen them even longer there. A typical WordPress blog will use the title of the post as the post slug, unless you defined something different and you can just go on and on and on. Can you give any guidelines or recommendations in that regard?
Matt Cutts: Certainly. If you can, make your title four- or five-words long – and it is pretty natural. If you have got a three, four or five words in your URL, that can be perfectly normal. As it gets a little longer, then it starts to look a little worse. Now, our algorithms typically will just weight those words less and just not give you as much credit.
Tip for shortening your URL: delete any words that you wouldn’t capitalize in a title. It might sound funny, but it shortens the slug and makes it more SEO friendly. The Yoast WordPress SEO plugin actually has a setting to automatically strip stop words from the slug.
Now that we have titles and permalinks out of the way, let’s focus on the most important aspect of your post: the content.
Introduce your subject
I’m going a little English professor on you here (don’t worry, later I’ll tell you to break some of their rules). Every piece of writing should have an introduction. The point of an introduction is to capture your reader’s attention and convince them to read on.
Stories are a popular way to introduce your topic. Another way to introduce your post is to talk about the very best parts of your article first. If you are writing about a recipe, talk about how delicious it was or how all your guests asked for the receipt in the first few paragraphs of your posts. Once you’ve got your reader excited about the recipe you can talk about how to make it.
If you are showing a before and after of your bathroom, show to AFTER picture first and talk about what you love about it. Then, show/tell your readers how you accomplished it and how they can do it too!
Going along with talking about the best stuff first, show the best pictures first too! That brings me to my next tip: pictures
Use pictures/graphics in your blog posts
I know I’m kind of speaking to the choir here, we all know that bloggers love pictures! But, do use them strategically in your blog posts. Make sure to optimize them for speed and SEO.
Also, if your theme has featured images, make sure to set one! The featured image dictates what image shows up in your thumbnails and when you share it on social media.
Break up your text
Pictures aren’t the only way to make your blog posts look visually pleasing. The paragraphs in your blog posts should not resemble the ones in your English essays. They should be much shorter. Other ways are to break up your text are to headings, number or bullet lists, quote boxes, and content boxes (you’ve seen most of these inside this article)
Bonus: using headlines improves your on page SEO.
Tell stories that your readers can relate to. Ask questions throughout and especially at the end to encourage comments. Include click to tweets to promote social discussions. Link to older, related posts inside the article to keep readers exploring your blog.
I know it is tempting to just trust spell check and hit publish (I am guilty of this), but there are so many things spell check misses. I frequently have random spacing or my links don’t include the whole word. Little things like that. My best advice is to write your post at least a day or two before you plan on publishing it. This gives you time to step away and then come back and reread the post. I also like to have Devin read through my post. If you can, have an extra set of eyes read through your post before it goes live.
Categories and tags can be powerful tools for your blog that can help improve our readers experience on your blog. Categories should be the main topics your blog focuses on and tags are focus words for the post. Make sure to assign categories before you publish so that your post will show up on that category page. Tags make it handy for readers to find related posts.
Add SEO descriptions to every post.
SEO descriptions (Meta Descriptions) are short (150-170 characters) descriptions of what your blog post is about. They do not improve your search ranking, but they can improve your click through rate! Make sure the description is relevant to the post and seduces searchers to read more.
Self-hosted WordPress users can add meta descriptions if they have a Genesis theme or the Yoast WordPress SEO plugin. Blogger users can add meta descriptions by enabling meta tags in the Search Preference settings.
Just bee yourself.
Quote that movie.
Brownie points if you guessed Disney’s Aladdin
Aladdin is trying to win over the heart of Jasmin and several times through out the movie, the Genie advices Aladdin to just be himself. This is the best advice I can give you for winning over your blog readers. Be yourself. I love Regina’s post on how to use your voice. I especially like her emphasis on the fact that you don’t need to find your blog voice, you just need to learn how to use your voice. In a crowded online world, you are the biggest thing that sets you apart from every other blogger out there.
Write a perfect blog post every time.
Let’s recap, here are thing things I recommend doing with every post you write:
I try to check off all 10 things every time I write a blog post. Hopefully this checklist helps you publish awesome content too.
What are some of the things you always make sure to do in your blog posts?0