One for the money, two for the show, three to get ready…
three to get ready…
three to get ready…
three to get ready…
Okay. That’s annoying. But isn’t it how you feel before posting and sharing?
Forming blog content is the easy part. Focusing on the noise surrounding a blog takes a little know-how, but if you put in the effort on the backend, clicking that little publish button won’t cause a panic attack.
My failed past experience with posting forced me to create an internal blogging checklist. So just for you, I’ve rounded up my most important to-dos to help make the pre-blogging process a success.
10 things small businesses absolutely must do before publishing a blog
(As it pertains to WordPress.)
1. Check the date
Number one on our blog posting checklist is to make sure your date is accurate. WordPress automates the date on all blog posts, meaning, the date is hardcoded when you publish a post (of course, this also depends on how your theme displays dates). If you’re asking why this is a point of topic, think about recycling posts. If you have older posts, update and post again.
Checking the date is obviously minimal and pretty effortless but it’s important. It’s important for search results and it’s vital for your reader to think of you as an authority who is current.
2. Check the category
WordPress automatically defaults to “uncategorized.” You can change this default by logging on to admin, select “settings,” then “writing.” Under the default category, choose your new default. If you have not set up categories, go to your dashboard, hover the “posts” tab and click “categories.” This being said, it’s still crucial that you select the correct category.
Be clever with categories. Think about keywords and how your readers will use search terms related to your post. “Categories” is reflected in the slug (URL) so Google is watching.
WP beginner has some great information on WordPress categories.
3. Featured image
Featured image is the image associated with your post. It’s pulled by all the social media outlets through the open graph source code on your website (more below). Usually, it’s displayed at the beginning of a post and used with sharing. Featured image is a topic all on its own. For this purpose, I will cover some basics.
We process images about 60,000 times faster than text. If you don’t have an image associated with your blog. Step back and create one. You will have much more success with readers and shares if you do. Users may not take the time to read your description, so be sure the image is able to stand on its own.
A few quick tips with featured images:
The number of social image dimensions out there is astronomical. If you’re so inclined, you can visit this cheat sheet to find every image size imaginable for social media. I find using an average featured image size of 1024px by 512px works well for blogging. But…that’s what fits my blog and looks good with my applications. Find what works for you.
Click here if you want a complete guide for social media images with color and font pairing.
See the Featured image box below?
It’s located to the right of your blog in the WordPress admin… scroll down. If you don’t see it, locate your screen options and toggle on. This is an easy way to declare your featured image in Open Graph which is important for social sharing. Set your featured image, and social outlets will pull that along with shares.
Always utilize very clear title text in your images. Keep it simple yet eye catching. Don’t let complicated graphics get in the way. Do not use borders. Chances are it will look distorted.
Remember many readers on mobile devices don’t have a huge attention span. Below is a good example of a featured image.
4. Social Meta / SEO
Did you construct your blog with a keyword or key phrase in mind? Hopefully, you are starting with keywords from paragraph one. Include the keywords in your title, and links (more below about links).
Meta. Meta titles and descriptions are key. After all, achieving search results and readership is what we want in the first place right?
I use Yoast to comprise my SEO. It rocks!
5. Publishing method
Click that publish button baby! If you have Jetpack installed, the settings enable you to publicize to all your social media outlets. I find this doesn’t post with the control I need. Either way, remember to check all the social automation offered in JetPack or plugins within WordPress and the control offered with each. You might find that as you “publish,” posts are automatically sent out and updates don’t look the way you want.
6. Prepare to share
This is the sugar. Schedule posts to all social media outlets. HootSuite is a great tool that shares and optimizes posts with scheduling and analytics. It’s a time saver for sure. Post to groups on Facebook and LinkedIn for maximum coverage.
Be sure to encourage your readers to like, share and comment! Sumo is a great tool to engage readers on your blog to initiate sharing and much more.
When first learning social sharing methods, I found having an unpublished test page in Facebook helps with publicizing. Social media constraints can be complicated and frustrating, and it’s better to do some test runs to get it right.
7. Double check spelling, layout and proofread
You’re ready to post. Wait a few minutes. Walk away for a while. Come back and proofread with a fresh set of eyes. This will nail your final draft. Once you do a final read through, post, share and forget about it. Don’t keep editing to death. Remember, it’s digital and no one said you can’t modify a little later once feedback rolls in.
Is your site responsive? How will the post look on a mobile phone? Over half of your readers will be viewing on a different device. Make sure it’s readable everywhere. It’s a little-known fact that we users have the attention span of a goldfish.
8. Link verification
Create links in your blog! Google experts suggest quality links have more weight, especially with keywords. Add links to other posts or complementary businesses. Make certain other quality bloggers you link to contain great content.
If you post through a social media management tool, use shortened links and verify the link works. To note, if your post isn’t published yet, the slug displayed in the browser window won’t be accurate. Use the permalink slug.
Make sure links within your blog open in a new page so your reader won’t get lost.
Be ready to capture your audience. Have a way to analyze reaches, clicks, and engagements. This information is vital to tweak and modify your blog posts in the future.
Don’t forget to include a profile of yourself. Sign up at WordPress.com to create a Gravatar and profile. Jetpack offers a Gravatar widget to plug into your sidebars.
Just to recap:
- Check the date
- Check the category
- Set the featured image
- Implement social meta
- Publishing method
- Prepare to share
- Verify links
- Be ready to analyze
- Set up your Gravatar or author bio
I hope that helps with your blogging success! Did I forget anything crucial? Let me know by commenting below!
Three to get ready…
Four to GO!