In a blog post I published five months ago, I described how my blogging process starts from seeking inspiration and ideas, to developing the ideas, then writing the blog post, and adding some final touches to it before finally hitting the “publish” button.
Every blogger has a blogging process of his own and yours may be totally different from mine. For instance, I know many bloggers who don’t edit their blog posts before hitting “publish”. They simply publish their posts right after writing or schedule them to be published some other time, and it’s all right, really.
If your blogging process works for you, it’s all right.
Some other bloggers, however, are keen on writing unforgettable posts that stand out, are helpful and are close to perfect, so the ruthless editing process is an essential part of their blogging process. But no matter, there are some things every blogger must make sure he does before publishing his blog posts.
1. Use a straightforward headline.
Not many people will be eager to read an article that has a poorly written link bait or an ambiguous sentence as its headline. It will take the grace of God before I care to “See What This Man Did to His Daughter on Her Wedding Day. It Will Make You Cry”.
Unlike the irritating headline above, a good headline must be clear, straightforward and specific. It must give your readers an insight on what they’re going to see in the rest of the post. Your headline’s job is to convince your readers to move on to the introductory paragraph of your article, and your introductory paragraph’s main job is to convince your readers to read the rest of your post.
So, to avoid losing your readers the second they read your headline, make sure you use clear, specific headlines in your blog posts.
2. Use relevant tags.
Two benefits of adding relevant tags to your posts is that it increases the chances of your posts being read by people who use the WordPress reader app, and it is also a smart way to organise your posts.
With WordPress, there’s no limit to the number of tags you can add to your posts, but I would advise cutting it down to 15 tags – 30 at most. You don’t want to come off as spammy.
One other thing – resist the urge to add “popular” tags to your posts simply because you want to make your posts popular. Your tags, like your headlines, should be relevant to your posts and give your readers a hint of what the posts are about.
3. Categorise your post.
Categorising your blog posts makes it easy for your readers to navigate through your blog. If you’re a blogger who writes on two or more topics, you should categorise your posts before publishing.
If you head over to the bottom of my blog’s homepage, you’ll see a drop-down list of my blog categories. By categorising my posts, I’ve made it easier for you to select a category of your choice and read all the posts I’ve written on that topic.
In short, categories, like tags, help you organise your posts. They also make it super easy for your readers to navigate through your blog; it’s a win-win situation!
4. Use a nice format.
Before hitting “publish”, skim your blog post, then ask yourself these questions:
Does it look easy to read?
Could it use some visuals – images or videos?
Would breaking it into shorter paragraphs make it seem less like one big chunk of text?
You can make your blog post reader-friendly by formatting its layout, you know? One way to do this is to use short paragraphs and break your text with images that are relevant to the post. (Keyword here is “relevant”.)
And don’t forget to use subheadings, bullet points and numbers (for lists) wherever necessary! They are equally important.
5. Link back to your old posts.
Aside from the fact that it’s good for SEO (search engine optimisation), linking back to your old posts keeps your readers glued to your blog as they can’t help but travel from blog post, to blog post, to blog post until they remember they have not yet had their breakfast.
All those helpful tips you shared in that old post aren’t meant to be forgotten. People (me, your children, grandchildren and great grandchildren) still have to read and learn from them, which is why you should add links to them in your newer posts.
With that in mind, before you publish your next blog post, go through it and check if you can add relevant links back to some of your old posts.
6. Edit it!
Did you just groan?
I won’t be surprised if you did. Many bloggers skip this process because they either feel it’s unnecessary or that it’s too much work to stress over. Whatever your thoughts concerning editing are, have in mind that editing your posts will always make them better and clearer to read.
Frankly, editing your writing isn’t as difficult as most people say it is, but if you believe you’re not good at it, you can always learn from people who are.
Editing your blog posts doesn’t have to be too complicated. You can learn to do some simple edits that make your writing more interesting to read, like proofreading your writing, checking for repeated words, choosing the right adjectives and eliminating complex words from your writing.
Simple, yet effective, don’t you agree?
7. Preview! Preview!! Preview!!!
The last thing to do before publishing your posts is previewing them. At this point, you’re expected to go through your post and make some last-minute changes until you’re sure it’s good to go.
In my case, I usually read my blog posts out loud since that makes it much easier for me to monitor my tone throughout the post and point out the errors I might have missed while editing. You can do this, too, if you doubt if you’ve spotted all the mistakes in your blog posts, or you can get a friend to go over your blog posts for you.
These are all the things I do before publishing my blog posts. What about you? Is there anything you make sure you do before hitting “publish”? Let me know in the comments!