Checklist For Publishing Blog Posts On WordPress

Checklist For Publishing Blog Posts On WordPress

Missteps can happen at any time. So it’s no wonder surgeons like Atul Gawande swear by the power of checklists. According to Dr. Gawande’s book, The Checklist Manifesto: How to Get Things Right, a good list will “remind us of the minimum necessary steps and make them explicit.”

A publishing blog post checklist saves digital marketers time and resources when publishing new website content. That’s why I’ve created this easy-to-use WordPress blog post checklist as the second step in the 3P Process: ProducePublish and Promote.

If you are someone to manage long-form content marketing for your brand, reach out for more information about my fractional content director services.

Rather than overload you with a lengthy and tedious list, I’ve broken up your must-do steps before publishing into four essential categories: ContentSEOCreative, and Publishing. Save this checklist for every blog post before you hit the publish button.

Below I’ve included a copy-and-paste checklist you can use to maximize results and search engine optimization. Keep reading to learn more about each step in the process.

And here is a Blog Posting Checklist infographic: Publishing Blog Post on WordPress Checklist (infographic)

Content

[ ] Compelling Headlines

[ ] Give Your Intro A Hook

[ ] Write Easy-To-Skim Paragraphs

[ ] Link Directly to Original Source of Information

[ ] Open External Links in New Tab

[ ] Wrap Up with a Call To Action

SEO

[ ] Target Keyword Phrase for SEO

[ ] Include a Meta Description

[ ] Proper H2 and H3 Header Tags

Creative

[ ] Check Featured Image Size

[ ] Support Sharing on Social

[ ] Check Image File Size

[ ] Image Alt Tags

Publishing

[ ] Use Grammarly Pro for Final Check

[ ] Check Readability Level

[ ] Use a Short, Descriptive Slug

[ ] Select One Category

[ ] Schedule the Post

Content

COMPELLING HEADLINES

There’s a famous quote by David Ogilvy you may have heard before that goes, “when you’ve written your headline, you have spent eighty cents out of your dollar” – this is especially true with long-form website content.

Great tools can help you write a great headline based on data-driven metrics. I recommend checking out Headline Studio, a program that helps maximize your headline’s SEO rankings.

Here are some quick tips for writing a great headline:

  1. Use attention-grabbing adjectives and verbs
  2. Focus on evoking an emotional response
  3. Address the audience in the second person
  4. Integrate primary keywords from your research

GIVE YOUR INTRO A HOOK

Even if your site visitors are intrigued by your headline and decide to check out your content, they could be pushed away without a good hook. Hooks are a challenging part of content writing, so don’t worry if you can’t think of one immediately. It helps to write your content’s body first and revisit your hook at the end.

To get the most out of your introduction, let’s see how Smartwriter.ai breaks down the essential elements of an introduction.

  1. Hook: As discussed before, your hook will draw readers in and keep them reading. It is typically very brief (a sentence or two) and convinces your audience to keep reading. Create an effective hook through thoughtful questions, compelling statistics, or conversational humor.
  2. Transition: As the name suggests, a transition is a sentence to phase your reader into the content portion of your post and signifies the information is forthcoming.
  3. Thesis: Your thesis summarizes what you will say and why your audience should stick around to read it.

WRITE EASY-TO-SKIM PARAGRAPHS

Although you may attract site visitors who consume every word of your post, studies indicate that most readers are more inclined to scan content than reading word-for-word. That said, scannability is incredibly important when it comes to WordPress blogs.

It is good practice to keep all paragraphs three sentences or less. Brief paragraphs create a scannable layout for your new post and push your writing to be clear, concise, and to the point.

LINK DIRECTLY TO ORIGINAL SOURCE OF INFORMATION

Credibility is currency when it comes to content. According to a preferences survey by Demand Gen, 62% of participants relied more on content research to make B2B purchasing decisions.

Linking to external sources boosts your credibility and helps your post rank higher in search engine results. Search engines measure external links for accuracy, credibility, and relevancy and use that data to rank the relevance of your blog post.

EXTERNAL LINKS OPEN IN NEW TAB

While external links can boost your search rankings and provide valuable SEO to your article, it’s crucial to integrate them without skewing other analytics on your website. When an external link opens in the same tab, it causes your reader to leave the page before they intended and negatively impacts the average time spent on the page.

Opening the link in the same tab can also cause back-button fatigue. Readers can lose interest if they have to work too hard to consume your content. Keep user experience in mind when including external links.

CONCLUSION AND CALL TO ACTION

You’ve come up with a great hook, relevant body copy, and a strong layout that prioritizes user experience – now it’s time to end strong! Your conclusion can serve as an effective tool to continue reader engagement.

At the end of your article, it’s good to give a quick summary to remind the reader of the 5 Ws of your post. Then, once you’ve reminded them of your content’s value, provide them with a call-to-action (CTA) that encourages them to continue engaging in your content.

Some examples of CTAs include:

  • Signing up for an email list
  • Use internal linking to other relevant web pages on your site
  • Downloading an eBook or white page
  • Signing up for a trial or consultation

SEO

TARGET KEYWORD PHRASE FOR SEO

Target keywords, also known as primary keywords, tell search engines what your page is about by utilizing commonly searched phrases on your topic. Targeted keywords are an important way to give search engines the relevant information they need to get you the right reader.

One way to maximize the effectiveness of your keywords is to focus on long-tail keywords. This is because long-tail keywords are less competitive and have a higher conversion rate.

INCLUDE A META DESCRIPTION

A meta description is a brief blurb you see below the search results links. Meta descriptions don’t directly impact your search engine ranking, but they will affect click-throughs from the search engine.

It is good practice to keep your meta description brief (between 120 to 160 characters), emotionally compelling, and descriptive. There are free tools available to preview your meta description.

PROPER H2 AND H3 HEADER TAGS

Header tags are an effortless way to represent your main points visually. For example, while the post title of your article will be in an H1 header, your subheads should be in H2, and their corresponding subpoints should be in H3. These title tags help guide your reader visually through the information.

Creative

FEATURED IMAGE SIZE

The recommended feature image size for WordPress is 1200×628 pixels. Featured image size may vary depending on your WordPress theme or personal preferences, but 1200×628 pixels is a good starting point and looks great on social media.

SOCIAL PLATFORM SUPPORT

Social media is a powerful tool for promoting your blog, and having a plan for how your social media channels can support your content is critical. Here are a few quick tips for helping with your social media strategy:

  1. Decide which social channels you will utilize and what media assets you’ll use
  2. Double-check the recommended dimensions for wherever you’re posting
  3. Write enticing captions that incentivize your reader to click through

WordPress also has tools for integrating social media with your site.

CHECK IMAGE FILE SIZE

It’s vital to check file image sizes before publishing. An image that is too large can affect loading times and negatively impact the reader’s experience.

There are free tools online to compress images, like Compressor.io, or you can use traditional desktop programs like Photoshop.

IMAGE ALT TAGS

An image alt tag, also called alt text, is the text that shows up in the event your image does not load properly. For additional context, the alt image tag is what programs for the visually impaired read aloud and the text that search engines use to rank your site.

Since search engines like Google can’t understand the visual context, they use the alt text and image file name to refine results. Therefore, the alt text should be specific, descriptive, and not overly stuffed with long-tail keywords, which can work against your search engine optimization.

Publishing

USE GRAMMARLY PRO FOR FINAL CHECK

Not everyone has the time or resources to hire an editor for every new post. Luckily, programs like Grammarly Pro give comprehensive self-editing tools to content writing professionals.

CHECK READABILITY LEVEL

Understanding your new content’s readability level can help refine your copy closer to the top-ranking search results—programs like Dashword rank readability on grade level. Most American adults read at an 8th-grade level. Depending on your target audience, you may want to scale this up or down appropriately.

USE A SHORT, DESCRIPTIVE SLUG

A slug is the URL part that comes after your domain name and a backslash. Regarding SEO, it is imperative to include related terms from your keyword research that you want to show up for in search engine ranks.

You can change the slug in the WordPress editor under the permalink settings.

SELECT ONE CATEGORY

Choosing a category is an easy way to organize your posts and get them in front of your target audience. In addition, selecting an appropriate category enhances how search engines understand your content. You can choose a category through the WordPress dashboard.

SCHEDULE THE POST

Scheduling posts is a great way to publish new content consistently. Creating and scheduling posts ahead of time allows you to easily continue the content stream without interruption and focus on other aspects of your digital marketing strategy. To schedule a post, check the settings under status and visibility.

And here is a Blog Posting Checklist infographic: Publishing Blog Post on WordPress Checklist (infographic)

Promote Your Website’s New Content

Now that you’ve finished your copy and utilized this blog post checklist to maximize your results, it’s time to publish! But once you’ve published, you might wonder how to get your content noticed. Have no fear – I’ve created this comprehensive promotion guide containing 16 Ways to Promote Your Blog Post.

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