Every blogger has been there. You’ve published a post that you thought was great, but no one seems to even notice it.
With all of the content being published online every day (every hour for that matter) it is harder than it has ever been to get your post noticed.
That doesn’t mean it’s impossible. It just means that you need to take the right approach.
The right approach involves doing certain things to before, during, and after writing and publishing the post.
It’s really easy to miss one of these important steps, so I decided to put together this blog post checklist. The checklist lays out 20 things you should be doing with your blog posts. There are some things that can help to get your thoughts organized before you even write the post. There are other things you’ll need to do when you’re writing the post and getting ready to publish it. And there are also a few things that you should be doing after you publish the post.
If you’ve ever wondered how to write a blog post, follow the steps laid out by this checklist. You’ll find that your blog posts will be better, they’ll be appreciated by your readers, and ultimately they will reach more people.
Let’s get started.
If you want to learn more about making money with a blog, be sure to see my article How I’ve Made $1 Million Blogging and check out my course Hobby to Pro, which shows how you can build a money-making blog around your hobby.
Things to Do Before Writing the Blog Post
How do you begin the process of writing a blog post? If you jump straight into writing you’re probably missing out on some critical steps. There are a few things you need to do before you even begin writing the post, and these steps can literally make or break the post.
These steps before you even begin to write the post may be the most important part of the whole process. Be sure you’re not overlooking them.
1. Know Your Audience
Before you can write an effective article you must know who you want to reach with your post. You may hear this referred to as your target audience or your avatar. While the target audience is general (for example, 40 – 65 year old men who enjoy woodworking), the avatar is a specific person. The purpose of an avatar is to have a very precise idea of who you want to reach. You should decide on a lot of personal details for your avatar, like name, age, income, occupation, marital and family status, likes, dislikes, etc.
Identifying your target audience or creating your avatar isn’t something you’ll need to do before each blog post. You’ll do it once, and then you’ll keep that audience or avatar in mind each time you’re planning or writing an article. That way you’ll be sure to write content that will be appreciated by the readers that you want to target.
If you’ve been running your blog for a while but you can’t clearly identify your target audience, you should take some time to think about specifically who you want to reach with your blog, and put it down on paper. In the future you’ll be able to refer back to this as you’re brainstorming post ideas.
For more details on how to go about this, please see How to Create a Reader Avatar for Your Blog.
2. Decide on a Clear Message or Main Point
What is your post really about? What do you want readers to take away from your post?
If you have a personal blog you may be writing about whatever is on your mind, and your posts may be scattered or have multiple ideas or messages in one post. However, if you are trying to grow an audience or make money with your blog, you’ll need to be sure that your posts have one message, main point, or central idea.
Be sure that you identify the purpose of the post and the main point before you actually begin writing the post. If you want readers to be able to walk away with some valuable insight or even to take some specific action after reading your article, you must be clear on the central idea.
3. Choose a Primary Keyword
Although there are a lot of different ways to get traffic to your blog, free traffic from organic search rankings is ideal. Traffic from search is typically more consistent than social media traffic, and the visitors are all arriving on your site because they are looking for something specific. The quality of search traffic is generally very high, so you’ll often get better conversion rates, higher number of pageviews per visitor, and a lower bounce rate than from other sources.
To have the best chance of getting traffic from search engines you should be creating blog content with specific keywords or phrases in mind. You’ll want to use this keyword or phrase in the title, and also include it and some various synonyms and related keywords within the article body.
There are a number of tools that can help you to find and analyze possible keywords. One of my favorites is KWFinder. KWFinder will give you valuable information like the average number of searches per month for that keyword, and the keyword difficulty score. The higher the keyword difficulty, the harder it will be to rank on the first page of Google.
The keyword diffulcty score that you want to look for will depend on a few factors. If you have a niche blog you may be able to find some good keywords with decent search volume and a keyword difficulty below 30. If you are building an authority blog you may be comfortable targeting those with a score of 40 or under.
KWFinder will give you a big list of related keywords, so hopefully you can find one that has a combination of decent search volume and a low difficulty score. If you create a free account you can get up to 5 searches per day on KWFinder.com. That may be enough for you, or you may need to upgrade to one of the paid plans, which will give you many more searches per day and more related keyword suggestions.
4. Create a Post Outline
Before you begin writing the article, it’s a good idea to take a few minutes and draft an outline that you will follow. Writing an outline helps you to come up with an effective structure that will make the article clear and useful, rather than a scattered approach where you may ramble or miss key points. The outline also helps you to make sure that the post is readable and easy to follow.
Things to Do When Writing the Blog Post
The previous points gave you a good foundation for your post. Next, pay attention to these things when you are actually writing the post.
5. Give it an Effective Title
The title is the most important part of your blog post. In today’s society we’re bombarded with headlines all day on our phones, in emails, and as we browse the internet. The effectiveness of the title will impact how many people actually visit your blog and read your post.
The title will typically be used when the post is shared on social media, and if the title does not grab attention or entice people to click, your post won’t get the attention it deserves.
Your post titles will also influence visitors who arrive at your home page or blog index page to click through and actually read the article.
For these reasons, it’s critical that your post title is appealing and creates interest from the audience that you’re targeting.
But it’s also equally important that your title includes your main keywords so it has the best chance to rank in Google searches.
Learning to write good titles is something that takes practice, but fortunately there are a few really helpful resources for those of us who tend to struggle with it:
- The Headline Analyzer from CoSchedule is a great free tool that will help you to improve your headlines. Simply enter your headline and it will give you a score from 1 – 100. It will also give you some tips for improving the score, if needed.
- You can also refer to my list of post title templates as a great starting point. I put this list together because I often use these templates myself, and they can be extremely helpful when you’re stuck.
- I have also published a list of powerful words that you can include in your headlines and titles to make them more effective.
Use those 3 resources and you’ll always be able to create quality titles.
Sometimes you may find that you have a title that does a great job of capturing attention, but it does not include your keyword or is not optimized for search engines. In this case you can use the free Yoast SEO WordPress plugin to set the SEO title of the post. To do this you would give the post the attention-grabbing title, and then in the Yoast settings enter the keyword-rich title that you want to be used by search engines.
6. Edit the Permalink / URL
The URL or permalink of the post can also influence search engine rankings. In general, you want the permalink to include your main keywords, to be readable by humans, and to be short and concise. What I mean by “readable to humans” is that a reader should be able to look at the URL and have an idea of what to expect on the page.
For example, the permalink for this post is vitaldollar.com/blog-post-checklist/. Instead of including the entire title in the permalink I only included the most important words so that a visitor knows what to expect.
You want to keep it short, but not too short that it isn’t clear what the post will be about. For example, I didn’t use the permalink vitaldollar.com/checklist/. That would be shorter, but it could be any type of checklist. By using “blog-post-checklist” I give search engines and human visitors a better idea of what to expect to find on the page.
7. Write an Attention-Grabbing Intro
While the title is the most important part of your post, the intro or the first few paragraphs are not too far behind. Most visitors will start to quickly scan your post, and if they lose interest they’ll leave immediately. Most of us have very short attention spans and the decision to stay or leave is usually made in a matter of just a few seconds.
Be sure that the opening to your po