Blogger Checklist: 5 Things Every Successful Blogger Should Do Before Clicking ‘Publish’ (Free Checklist!)

As you’re getting started with blogging, you want to first get in the mind of a blogger. What resources do they use? What tips do they follow? Do they have a particular schedule? Do they wear their comfiest pajamas to blog? Okay — maybe not that specific, but I think you get my point. With my blog posts, there are a few guidelines I like to follow before I am completely confident with my content and I know you do, too. But where do you track it all? What should you track!? From what I’ve observed throughout my research before getting started with my blog, and even now, I have noticed that many bloggers give themselves a checklist or guideline on what they should and must do before pushing ‘Publish.’

Allow me to shed some light, my fellow bloggers!

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What’s in it for my readers? 

Before even getting started with writing a blog post, many bloggers will ask themselves a few questions along the lines of:

  • How is this relevant to my current and future readers?
  • Will they gain something out of it?
  • Do I enjoy writing about this topic?

I narrowed it down to these three specific questions for a couple of reasons. When reading blogging tips from other bloggers, I noticed that many of them follow the rule of thumb of staying within their niche. For a right reason. Focusing your content on a particular category of topics that reaches a specific community of readers will not only allow you to gain traffic but also share things that you enjoy. Readers will notice early in your post if you don’t seem enthusiastic about the topic at hand, or if you’ve gotten bored of it and aren’t giving them anything new or consistent. So before you even think about writing your next blog post, ask yourself, “Do you enjoy the topic?” And the answer should always be yes! This is your blog, no one is forcing you to write about being a mom or blogging tips, but you want to write about it… right?

If you’re unsure about whether you enjoy what you’re writing about or it’s not coming across as fluidly as you’d like, that’s okay! The first step to blogging (and being successful at it) is knowing what comes most natural to you. It doesn’t have to be “popular” because blogging isn’t a make-money-quick scheme, it takes time and dedication, so if you want to start blogging, don’t rush! Share your most authentic self to the public. Talking from experience, getting started on my blog wasn’t the hardest — it was allowing myself the time to keep going at it. Blogging can get personal and, yeah, it might take some self-reflection and hard work on your part, but don’t worry! The fun is just beginning. I hope!

Another thing to ask yourself: how will your readers benefit from what you’re telling them? Are you giving them insightful advice that maybe only you can share or something tangible like a really awesome discount? You want to make sure that your readers are getting something out of each and every post you do. Yes, you can feel free to write posts about how you’re feeling or if you’re in a rut and want to share that with your community, that’s totally fine! I think writing posts like that help your readers get to know you better but of course, if you really want to bring something new and fresh to the table, you want to make sure you keep your readers in mind as often as you can while being as authentic as possible.

What if I don’t have any readers?

Write to the readers you want to have. When you first start out it will be very likely that your words will get lost in the massive black orb that is the interwebs, but worry not! Readers (and views) will soon come. Just keep writing as if you already have an audience, center your posts on what your readers are responding to along with what you enjoy writing about. Remember: as bloggers, influencers — whatever you want to call yourself! We want to bring something new and authentic to the table that hasn’t been offered before. And if it has been offered before, how are you giving it a bit of your own twist? Your blog is completely yours and it’s the perfect space to be creative, so take it by the reins and get to writing!

Choose a clean, relevant blog image

One of my biggest set-backs when I first started blogging was imagery. I knew about stock images but felt like an imposter using them. Until one day, I started seeing that it was actually extremely common to use stock images. Like really common. I would always low-key envy some bloggers that had amazing blog images to only later see those images on sites like Unsplash! Of course, I do plan on using my own images in the near future but I think that’s just apart of the process… I enjoy being able to create content while having the confidence that I’ll be able to match the perfect image to it without the stress of actually taking the picture. Plus, over-lays take time to perfect so I like that I’m not pressured to figure that part out of my blog just yet.

Whether you decide to add text onto your images or just keep them clean and simple, having imagery attached to your blog (and within your post whenever possible) is extremely useful to not just catch your readers eye, but keep them engaged. Imagery is one of the main reasons a reader will be attracted to your page because it shows them that you’re legit and also adds to the experience of your blog! Before even reading your post, the two main things a reader will notice is your title and your image, or lack thereof. Unsplash is my go-to for pictures, I think most bloggers will get their images from there but there are so many sites that offer royalty free stock images for free!!

Prep for Linking to Pinterest

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I’ve mentioned Pinterest before in my own blog and I know I’m not the only blogger to rave about Pinterest when it comes to gaining organic traffic, so that’s why this tip is a must. Before moving forward, make sure you have already converted your Pinterest into a Pinterest Business account. If you are unsure how to do this, a simple Google Search will give you the answers you need. If you’re still unsure, let me know by commenting on this blog post and I’ll write something up for you guys all about Pinterest.

Regardless of how you decide to do it, linking your blog posts to Pinterest is so important. I normally prep my Pinterest image while I’m prepping the blog image and upload everything once my the post is live. Whichever way you do it, just make sure you do it. This is not a step you want to skimp out on.

If you’re wondering what I mean by prepping an image, I’ll include a few examples. When you scroll through your Pinterest feed, you will see images with catchy titles that when you click on it, you will typically see the person who posted the image, their name, and a description of the image. If you click on the image itself, it will redirect to the respective website or article. You want to make sure that not only the image but the text on the images are catchy and relevant to get someone to click through to your website. To help rank your image higher on certain searches, make sure that you add a description that includes key phrases that are relevant to your topic while still keeping the fluidity and personality in your description.

Keyphrases will highly depend on your topic. For blogging tips, common key phrases I see are: make money blogging, work-from-home, gain traffic, grow your blog. This will take some time to tweak and finesse but the more content you create, the easier it’ll get.

Do you use tools to find keyphrases? What are your tricks? Let me know down below!

 

 

Proofread, proofread, proofread!

I know how tedious and frustrating this can be, but imagine how even more frustrating it must be for a reader to find multiple grammar and spelling mistakes before they even hit the half-way point of your post? As much as I’m sure you want to just push out your content, checking for spelling errors is extremely important. The amount of times I’ve started reading someone’s post and was tempted to just exit out because of all the errors I found right in the introduction! I just know that if I find it annoying, others will too. Of course, minor mistakes are understandable. I’m a dev editor so I know first-hand how different it is reading your own work and having someone else read your work to you. Sometimes things will sound or read fine, no matter how many edits we do, and someone else can give it a once-over and notice mistakes that you wouldn’t ever have caught, I get it! But let me tell, you, your readers will notice if you didn’t proofread your post. It’s such a small step and overlooked by so many bloggers.

Proofread your posts! Keep your readers engaged all throughout and don’t throw them off with silly grammatical errors.

SEOing your post with keyphrases and metadata

Okay, so I’ve already talked your ear off about using keyphrases on Pinterest and it’s the same thing when it comes to your blog. An incredibly useful WordPress plug-in tool you want to have is SEO Yoast. SEO Yoast allows you to make sure that the description of your blog post when it comes up on Google Search is not just a bunch of random sentences or symbols (yikes!) but includes exactly what you want it to say. This way, you will be able to create descriptions for your posts with relevant keyphrases that will help you rank higher in Google Search. Let me show you an example…

So I did a search for: make money blogging and this is what came up. Do you see anything wrong with my results?

Take a look at the titles… and take a look at their descriptions. First, let’s look at the titles25 Legit Ways to Make Money Online Blogging with WordPress is exactly the kind of title that Google loves but can at times be difficult to be creative while focusing on your keyword target. And although How to Make Money Blogging – Amy Lynn Andrews is perfectly fine, it is a missed opportunity for two reasons: Compared to the first title, we have fewer keywords/phrases that will help you rank higher in Google search and second, maybe people don’t know who Amy Lynn Andrews is. Clearly, she’s popular enough to show up on the first page and this could very easily be a branding technique, but if you’re just starting out, you want to make the most out of the space you have by including as many keywords or phrases in the most catchy and relevant way you can.

Now, let’s take a look at the descriptions. Using the same two examples, look at their descriptions and what do you see wrong with them? 25 Legit Ways to Make Money Online Blogging with WordPress include a bunch of keywords and phrases but they’re completely random and doesn’t seem personalized. Something like this may cause potential readers to hesitate to click on your blog thinking it might be spam. In How to Make Money Blogging – Amy Lynn Andrews, you see how the description ends with ellipses? Typically if you see this, it means that Google pulled the first text it could find on that page. Which can be okay, but to ensure you have full control of what shows up on Google and how it shows up, keeping SEO on top of mind is important and SEO Yoast plugin lets you do that easily.

Okay… so I know I said just 5 but I want to make sure you have all the tools you need before you get started on your post, so here are a few more tips!

  1. Always preview your post to make sure any links aren’t broken and that the formatting and images look okay.
  2. Don’t have any links? Cross-reference to relevant posts by linking previous blog posts of yours so readers have more to reference to!
  3. Ask questions! Keep readers engaged by asking questions and prompting them to start a conversation in your comment section!
  4. Add images to your post to keep the reader interested in what you have to say. This also helps break up the text for your more informational blog posts. Fewer people enjoy reading large chunks of text.
  5. Find creative ways to get readers to sign up for their newsletter, like freebies! 

What tips did you find useful? Share down in the comment section what you always do before clicking Publish.

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