Do you find yourself regularly going back and editing your posts after you’ve published them?
Now that I’ve added new plug-ins to help optimise my blog I find that there are a lot more steps I need to cover before I publish a post. And I’ve been finding that I constantly forget something and have to go back and edit the post. A real annoyance and a totally inefficient use of my time, which would be better spent enjoying reading some of my favourite blogs or writing more articles.
So I’ve compiled a Pre-Publish Checklist to keep me on the straight and narrow. Darren Rowse at ProBlogger is inviting his readers to submit their tips for improving their blogs so I thought I’d post my Checklist here and submit it to his growing knowledgebank.
- Write your post (I know, I know, but I have to have a starting point)
- Spellcheck. I have the Google Toolbar Spellchecker always turned on to highlight my fat-finger typos as I go along.
- Don’t trust the Spellchecker! Just because you’ve spelt a word correctly doesn’t mean you’ve actually typed the right word. Only recently my Darling Daughter left a comment on one of my posts letting me know I’d referred to ‘mere people’ when I meant to say ‘more people’. She just couldn’t help herself. But the truth is we do tend to get a bit sloppy when we have tools like Spellcheckers and forget they are not infallible.
- Review your post for link points. Have you referred to another blog post (your own or someone else’s) that you should connect to with a link?
- Are there any trackbacks that you need to enter from articles on other blogs that you have mentioned in your post?
- Check that the right categories have been selected for your article and it hasn’t just dropped into the default.
- If you have SEO (search engine optimisation) plug-ins, check that you have listed all the tags (keywords) for your post in the appropriate field.
- If you have been a bit creative with your title, check that the search engine optimised version has been entered in the appropriate field. For example, although the URL for this post reflects its long title, if you type “checklist-for-blog-posts” into a search engine ( a more likely title for people searching on this topic) then this article will come up.
- Is there a preferred excerpt that you want the search engines to display when your post comes up on someone’s search? If you don’t type your preferred words into the appropriate field then the search engines will just grab the first 3 or 4 lines of text in your post to display. And that might not be the message that best describes your article to a new reader.
- View your post in Preview mode. Read it through. It’s amazing how different it looks in proper ‘post format’ and you’ll be surprised at the grammar mistakes you will spot when you read it again.
Now this may sound like a lot of fiddling around. And you’re right, it is. For those of you who don’t get into the search engine optimisation stuff Nos 7-9 don’t apply. But the rest are really what you should be doing if you want to be sure of putting a good clean post out there, first time. And in the long run it will save you time as well as making your blog look more professional.
And now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to go and check my Checklist before I post this article. How embarrassing if I didn’t follow my own advice.
By the way, if you have any other checkpoints that you recommend including in this Checklist please feel free to add them in the comments.