Do you use a blog post checklist before you publish?
While planning your content calendar is the first part of your publishing routine, carefully reviewing your post is the final stage before it goes live on your site.
“Quality content” isn’t just about killer blog post ideas.
It’s about all of your writing habits and the care behind the scenes that makes great content possible.
A blog post checklist makes your job easier
In addition to smart editing tips you might use to polish your draft, here’s a blog post checklist you can review before you publish.
It has 12 important steps professional writers consistently follow when they produce high-quality work. The goal is to ensure your audience engages with your content in the exact way you planned.
Plus, you have enough on your mind as a writer. Getting in the habit of following this process makes your job easier.
Sounds good, right? Here’s the system you can start using today …
Step #1: Set your publish date and time
I always advise that setting your publish date and time is the first thing you should do when you select a “New Post” in WordPress or any other publishing platform.
If you start writing or editing your content while “Publish: Immediately” remains as the status of your post, you run the risk of publishing your draft prematurely by accident when you save your work.
You might be thinking:
“Run the risk? That probably never happens. It sounds a little dramatic, Stefanie.”
Everyone who’s made this blogging mistake because they didn’t listen to me when I gave this pointer knows I’m not being dramatic.
It happens and it’s regrettable.
Step #2: Proofread your headline
Not one time.
Not two times.
I call this the Copyblogger Triple-Check — it’s a staple in this blog post checklist and a core element when you’re learning how to write a good blog post.
Step #3: Proofread your subheadings
You guessed it.
Give your subheadings the Copyblogger Triple-Check as well.
When you’ve already spent a lot of time blogging and editing your content, it’s easy to overlook mistakes in your subheads because you’re so familiar with what they’re supposed to say.
Step #4: Proofread your permalink (one of the most important parts of your blog post checklist)
Finding a typo in your content’s URL is just disappointing.
Luckily, it’s completely avoidable if you also give your permalink the Copyblogger Triple-Check before you publish.
Check out more of my favorite proofreading tips, and if you’ve been proofreading for a while, you’ll especially love this proofreading technique.
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Step #5: Select the correct post author/bio
Even if you’re a beginner blogger and the only person who writes for your site, don’t skip over this step on your blog post checklist.
Are your by-lines personalized with your name and author bio?
Include those details so new readers can find out more about you.
If you manage a multi-author blog, make sure you’ve selected the correct author and that their bio is current.
Step #6: Click on your hyperlinks
No one wants an email from a reader alerting them that a hyperlink in one of their posts doesn’t work or goes to the wrong website.
After you’ve carefully selected your hyperlinks, review your post in the Preview screen and click on all of them one last time.
Step #7: Check your quotation marks
They look innocent, but quotation marks can be frustrating little critters for web publishers.
If a hyperlink isn’t working properly when you test it, the quotation marks in your html might not be plain text.
Locate those curly-Q-style quotation marks in your Post Editor, delete them, retype them, and you should be good to go.
This glitch isn’t as common as it used to be, but if one of the hyperlinks in your post isn’t working properly, just make sure to take a careful look at the entire URL.
Step #8: Choose your categories
Categories you set up during your blog launch help organize your content and make it easy for readers to find more information on a topic.
For example, I like directing people to our Editing category on Copyblogger if they’re interested in learning more about content editing.
Assign the right categories to your content or create a new one if you’re exploring a fresh subject.
Step #9: Add your “more” tag (or, the “wildcard” step in your blog post checklist)
You might need to add a “more” tag to your blog post.
This tag determines which text will show on your blog’s home page, if your full post doesn’t appear there.
The “more” tag inserts a link readers can click on to view the rest of your post.
If that isn’t part of your publishing process, use this step on the blog post checklist as a “wildcard” step — create a custom item that is necessary to ensure your content looks correct on your site.
It’s important to remember that these steps don’t support perfectionism. In fact, they can actually help you learn how to start writing and overcome perfectionism.
The tips help ensure you’ve done your best work, so you can confidently publish it, let it go, and move on to your next piece of content.
Step #10: Display your featured image
Featured images aren’t just for your blog.
Get them set in the right spots on your publishing platform, so the correct ones show up on social media when you share your content and when other people share your content.
Step #11: Write your meta information
Your meta title and description display on search engine results and social media.
When you’re studying how to be a copywriter, you’ll learn how to attract the right readers with intriguing blurbs.
Go ahead, give them the Copyblogger Triple-Check too. 😉
Step #12: Enable/disable comments
Have you posted a blog comment policy for your community?
Whether comments are always enabled, or if you turn them on/off depending on the piece of content, get your comment section ready to roll the way you want.
Will you review this blog post checklist when you publish?
A blog post checklist with straightforward items might seem unnecessary and even, dare I say it, amateurish.
Know what’s really amateurish?
Making a mistake you could have easily avoided if you treated your work with a little more care.
Even when we know what to do, we have to remember to do it … every time.
So, keep this post handy. You can bookmark it, or use it as the foundation for your own customized blogging checklist.
What steps would you add to yours? Share in the comments below!
Reader Comments (10)
Ivan Kreimer says
Good points, Stefanie!
I’d add to this list:
1. Prepare content upgrades — great for list building
2. Prepare email and other promotional content (like social media content)
3. Define where to promote the content
They may be a bit more complicated than the points you suggest, but I think they matter a lot too.
Stefanie Flaxman says
Thanks for sharing, Ivan!
Those are three great examples of other “behind the scenes” tasks to think about before you publish. 🙂
Michael LaRocca says
Whenever possible, get someone to read it before you post it.
Stefanie Flaxman says
Absolutely — never underestimate how much another set of eyes can help. 🙂
Kathie York says
Yes, I tell people, “Even editors and proofers need editors and proofers!”
It takes some $$, but having folks proofread my posts is money in my pocket down the road.
Since I have a proofing company, I (literally) cannot afford mistakes!
Eric Miller says
Thanks for this, Stefanie! #’s 4 and 6 resonate most with me. It can be a pain to realize your permalink is off then you have to decide whether to keep it as is or change it and potentially lose traffic opportunities. And number six has a lot to do with credibility.
Stefanie Flaxman says
Thanks for mentioning credibility, Eric. All of the steps are probably related to credibility, even though I didn’t mention the word. 🙂
Alison Ver Halen says
Thanks for the great tips! I have a similar checklist I use before publishing any of my blog posts, either for my own website or for a client.
Drew Morrical says
Loved this! I am working on my own blog, and this really helped me put my thoughts into a direction to start!
Rajesh Chandra Pandey says
However simple the list may appear, its necessity can’t be underrated. Also, I think the on-page SEO requirements must be met. Perhaps, one should take care of the ‘category’ and ‘tags’ too.
Thanks a lot.
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