Finishing a blog post and pressing the ‘Publish’ button is an exciting feeling, no matter how many times you’ve done it. Before you release your latest blog post though, be sure to do these eleven things to take your post to the next level.
Read your post out loud
It may feel strange, but reading your own blog post aloud to yourself or having someone else read it aloud to you is the best way to write solid content. The University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill’s writing center has a great guide on why reading aloud is a practice they employ. According to their research, reading aloud can help identify:
- Grammatical errors and awkwardness
- Order and structure flow issues
- Sentences and paragraphs that run too long
- Tone inconsistencies
If reading aloud from the screen feels too strange, it may help to print out your blog post and read it.
Link to your other blog posts
This is referred to as “internal linking”. Internal links are inline links in your content that point the user to other blog posts on your site. Internal linking is not only a great SEO technique, but it also helps your user find relevant content on the same subject they are currently reading. There are many views on how many internal links are too many, but I like to stick to one (1) internal link to every 300 words. This provides a good reading flow, without the entire article being filled with links. There are 3 crucial points to a great internal link. They are:
- It must be relevant to the current content – An irrelevant link is bad for the user and may result in them leaving.
- It’s anchor text should use keywords – Anchor text is the text you choose that shows as a link to your article. By using keywords you’d like to rank for in Google, you can help suggest keywords to the search engines by making the link contain these preferred words.
- Open links in the same window – Any internal links should open in the same window, not a new one. New windows or “blank” targets are typically reserved for external links, not internal.
Optimize your images
They key to creating sharable content, is good images. The biggest mistake new bloggers usually make it not optimizing their image sizes. Large images can cause your page to load slowly, and impact your ranking in Google. There are many ways to do this prior to uploading your images into WordPress, but to save time, I recommend using a plugin & service like Imagify.io. The Imagify service, and their plugin for WordPress seamlessly integrates so that when you upload images into WordPress, they are optimized for you, automatically. Imagify.io is the first plugin I install on any blog that will contain images that play a crucial role in the effectiveness of the content.
Setup clear headings
It’s easier for people to read your content when it’s separated into short, and logical sections. Once you have these sections created, write some eye catching subheadings and configure them with either the
H3 HTML tags. These tags not only help your users quickly scan your post for the general points you are making, but it also helps search engines identify key points in your blog post. These headings should be clearly written and not be longer than 3-6 words. Keeping these short will make your post more digestible by simply scanning your content.
If you are using the Visual Editor in WordPress, you will want to use the “Heading 2” or “Heading 3” option from the font picker:
If you don’t see this when viewing the Visual Editor, you may need to click on the ‘Toggle Toolbar’ button .
Wether you are using Yoast SEO or another solution, before publishing it’s very important to setup your title, description, url, and focus keywords in order to maximize your effectiveness. Modifying these items afterwards might be too late to be effective. If you aren’t sure what you should be doing for SEO, Darren Rouse of ProBlogger.net has a great set of 8 first step SEO tips. In his list, you’ll find a few of these suggestions I’ve already made, plus a few bonus tips.