How to Start a Blog: The Ultimate Blog Post Checklist

The Ultimate Blog Post Checklist

Make every blog post awesome with these tips. Plus, snag your FREE blog post checklist at the end of this post.

If you’re new to blogging, creating a blog post and hitting publish can be a big deal. Heck, even if you aren’t new to blogging it’s a big deal! It’s something you’ve created for others to read and it’s important to have it reflect what you want it to! It isn’t just as easy as speed typing and hitting publish. There’s a lot that goes into writing a good blog post, especially one that will be recognized by Google and is shareable by your readers. I am going to share what I think is most important to keep in mind when writing a blog post so that you can be confident when it comes time to go live! Also, grab your own free blog post checklist, which includes everything I am going to talk about in this post (in an easy-to-read checklist). Print it out and refer to it any time you want!

So, What Makes the Best Blog Post?

Your blog post stays on topic & hits key points

By this, I mean that your post is not filled with fluff. It’s easy for your reader to scan through and know exactly what it is you’re trying to point out. Haven’t you ever come across an article that you skim-read and found yourself having to re-read the same sentences over and over because it was just unclear what the author was trying to say? It’s frustrating and can cause your reader to become uninterested and click out of your website (no one wants that!). I recommend using headers that keep your reader on track with what’s being said. Breaking a lot of text up with relevant images is also a great idea! I am definitely not saying don’t write with personality, but keep your reader in mind and don’t waste their time!

I like to write out the key points of my blog posts (especially those I know will be more in depth) before I begin typing the post out. That way, I can keep myself on track and organized. You’ll see a spot you can do this in my free print out, The Ultimate Blog Post Checklist. Snatch your own copy below!

Your blog post title contains your keyword

Keywords and keyword research are so important when it comes to writing an awesome blog post! If you’re unsure what a keyword is, it’s a word or short phrase that is used in your post that is recognized by Google so that when someone searches your keyword in Google, your post is pulled and shown to the person who searched the keyword. With that said, just because you set your keyword to be “handbags” and someone searches “handbags”, that doesn’t mean your post will be on the first page of Google (but it does give it a better chance). There are other factors (such as the age of your website, link backs, and other things that add to your credibility according to Google)… I’m not an expert on this topic so I can’t name them all. Anyway, back to keywords and keyword research. So, like I mentioned above, it’s important to have a clear topic and ideas for your blog post. Keywords help with this so much! If you have a Google account, login to Google Adwords (not Adwords Express) and hit “tools” in the menu bar. You’ll see “keyword planner” in the dropdown menu. There, you can search keywords and check out how many times someone searches the keyword in Google and how many other articles are using the same keyword (which is important for helping you rank). Low competition means you are more likely to be on one of the first, if not the very first, page of the search. But, if the competition is high, you have a less likely chance. I plan to have a more in depth How to Start a Blog on this topic, but for now check out this article by Melyssa Griffin (she’s amazing) and skip to the section of the article titled “Using SEO to Your Advantage”. P.S. Using the plugin “Yoast SEO” makes optimizing your keyword super easy!

Your blog post title is clickable

By this, I don’t mean make sure your link is working. I mean, make sure the title of your blog post catches your reader’s attention and makes them stop, look, click, and listen. One thing you want to ask yourself when thinking up a blog title is “does this answer someone’s question? Does it solve someone’s problem?” For example, “How to” titles are very popular (hence the popularity of Pinterest). Basically, think of what you’d click on if you were surfing the web. Are you more likely to click a link that says “Clean Your Home with ____” or “How You’re Cleaning Your Home Wrong and What You Can do to Solve it”/ “Why ____ is the Best Home Cleaner on the Market”/ “10 of the Best Home Cleaners You Need in Your Life”… etc. I’ll list a few of what I believe to be the best, most clickable, types of titles below.

  • A how – “How to ___” or “How I ___”
  • A list – “10 Great ___”
  • A why – “Why ___ is Amazing and Why you Need it”
  • An answer to a problem – “The Answer to Your ___”
  • The truth about something “The Truth about ___”
  • A secret – “The Secret to ___”

For more inspiration, check out this article with blog post title templates. They make it as easy as just filling in the blank!

You’ve linked to past blog posts where possible

Self-promoting is important! A lot of bloggers self promote across social media, but may forget to self-promote on their own blogs!! So many of your readers will not land on your home page. Meaning, they will be directed by a link that will take them to a blog post. Likely, they will read that one blog post and then click away (known as a bounce). But, if you have other blog posts hidden inside the page they are reading, they are more likely to click on and continue exploring your website. This is also where “similar posts” and a home button come in handy. Basically, just be sure your blog post doesn’t trap them into having to click out of your post once they’re finished reading it… make navigating your site easy, even if it isn’t from your homepage.

Text is not too long or is broken up by sub-titles

I touched on this in the first tip, but it’s important! Nobody wants to read a huge block of text. Subtitles makes it easy for your reader to navigate the page and decide what they want and don’t want to read. It makes reading your paragraphs easier and more comprehensive. It gives your reader a sense of what they are about to read and primes their brain for the information you have to offer (just imagine reading a book with no chapter titles).

Your post contains a call to action

A call to action is a question or comment at the end of your blog post that stirs up conversation in your reader. It makes them want to comment and reply to your post. For example, a call to action could be “Leave a comment telling me what your favorite ___ is!” or “What did you like best about ___?”. You need to start the comment thread in your own post, so it’s easy for your readers to leave a comment!

Your images contain alt text and are SEO friendly

Alt text is the text that appears as the images caption when it’s saved somewhere other than your site, like Pinterest. It’s important for the alt text to include your keyword or keyword phrase and is just as enticing as your title. To change or add alt text to your image, upload the image to your blog. Once it is uploaded, add it to a post and click the pencil icon in the tool bar that appears when the image is clicked. There, you will see where you can add alt text and edit the title of the image. By being sure your images are SEO friendly, I mean that they contain alt text and the images title is not “IMG183.jpg” but rather “YourKeywordHere.jpg”. Google picks up on these things and having all these details ironed out makes your post that much more optimized and searchable!

Your post contains a featured image

A featured image is the image that you upload in the sidebar of your wordpress blog post (near the bottom under “tags”) and is the image that appears when your post is linked anywhere that an image would be included in the link. If someone pins your entire post, it’s the image that will appear as the pin on Pinterest. If someone links to your post on twitter or FB, it’s the image that will appear in the link. It’s the image that represents your post! Also, it’s the image your blog will show for your post in archives and other places (like a slider or similar post tab).

You’ve proofread your post

Proofread, proofread, proofread! It’s so important! Your reader is likely reading what you have to say because they trust your opinion and knowledge on a topic. But, if you aren’t making sense, have tons of misspellings or aren’t using correct grammar, you risk losing their trust (not good!). It appears unprofessional and sloppy, which I am sure you don’t want your brand to be known as! If you’re running out of time and are feeling rushed into posting and thinking you need to be typing as fast as you can just to hit publish… you’re doing it wrong. Your blog post can wait a few more hours (even days) if it means it will be that much more well written! Your readers want quality work, and I’m sure you do, too. And remember, even if you think your post is 100% perfect, hit publish, then later change your mind – going back and editing what you’ve written is not a bad thing!

Your URL matches your post title and is evergreen

Many times, WordPress can not automatically fix your post’s URL to match your post title, so always double check it! Be sure that it matches your post title so it can easily be read and copied, if need to be. You don’t want a post with a random URL like www.YourBlogsName.com/kH69fk33W. By saying your URL should be evergreen, I mean it should be something that won’t have to be edited and changed a bunch of times after hitting publish. Don’t be so specific in your URL that if you end up changing even something small in your post, the URL is no longer relevant. Because, if you or someone else links to your post and then you change the URL, the link will be broken and you’ll lose that link back. It’s really hard to remember every single place you’ve ever linked your blog post to go back and change all of the links! So, be sure they’re evergreen.

You’ve written a meta description for your post

A meta description is what appears under your post title in a Google search. It’s the summary of what your post is all about and can and should also contain keywords. It will also appear in your archives and other places your post is not showing in full on your blog. Keep your meta short and sweet, to the point, but containing important keywords and ideas. You can even add a hook to your meta… make it interesting! It can greatly contribute to someone clicking on your post’s title in a Google search (or even on your own blog), so be sure it will peak someone’s interest!


Download your FREE Ultimate Blog Post Checklist Here

Is there anything you are sure to do every time you publish a blog post? Let me know in the comments below! Also, if you have any questions that I didn’t get to cover in this post, don’t be shy! Ask away and I will try my best to find you an answer.

xx, Amanda

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4 Comments

  1. Reply

    Jessica

    March 6, 2017

    Totally true on the evergreen! Thats actually something I struggle to do since I’m usually caught up in trends but I definitely need to focus more on evergreen! Thanks girl!

    xo, jess

    alljessedup.com

    • Reply

      Amanda

      March 6, 2017

      It’s definitely important! Thanks for stopping by Jessica 🙂 XO

  2. Reply

    Paired with Prosecco

    March 3, 2017

    Great post! Definitely some tips we can use in the future. Thank you for sharing!

    XOXO @pairedwithprosecco

    • Reply

      Amanda

      March 3, 2017

      Thank you for reading! I’m so glad you found it helpful. XOX

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