I’m sharing 10 things that you should do BEFORE you hit publish on your next blog post. Implement these strategies to give your post its best shot and get increased blog traffic today!
It’s easy to think that the only thing you need to do as a blogger is write some blog posts.
Sit down. Write some words. Click Publish.
Rinse and repeat.
BUT there are a few things you need to do before you hit that ‘publish’ button. (Well, 10 things to be exact.)
This list is thorough and a great place to start when you’re trying to get increased blog traffic! I know these work because I have seen the success myself with my own posts and most of these are recommended by top bloggers as well!
Plus, if you’re going to put so much effort into writing your post, why not take a few extra minutes to give it the best chance of going viral? There’s also a free, printable checklist you can download at the bottom of the post which lists each step so that it’s easy to refer to when you write your posts.
10 Things to do before you hit publish
(This post may contain affiliate links. For more information see my disclosure, here.)
1. Make your post reader friendly
When I see a blog with enormous blocks of text — even if it’s something I’m interested in — I usually click away and find something that’s more reader friendly.
As you can see from this post, the recommended formatting is short sentences and small paragraphs so as to not overwhelm the reader. This makes it much easier to read through the post.
The majority of your readers will quickly scan the page when they arrive, see if it sounds useful to them, and then decide if they’ll actually read the whole thing.
So before you hit publish, break up the text with things like:
- Bold text
- Bullet points
These are all things that make it much easier for your readers to quickly find value.
2. Proofread & Edit
After you have written your blog post take the time to read it over. It’s best to read it out loud as you are more likely to find any errors and it will be easier to tell if it flows nicely.
Having a properly edited and error free blog post will promote professionalism and encourage confidence from your reader.
It can be helpful to finish writing your post and come back to it at a later time to proofread. I’ve found that if I simply walk away for an hour, then come back to read it, that I am able to catch more errors.
3. Create a click-worthy title
Make sure to give your blog post a catchy title so people will actually click and read what you have to say. By creating a persuasive and descriptive title, you’ll get more people to check it out.
You’ll also want to optimize your title for SEO by making sure you have included your focus keyword.
By adding keywords, you’re helping search engines know exactly what your post is about so that it will show up in search results.
4. Give it some SEO love
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is an absolute must and should not be ignored. If you haven’t done so already, go and download the Yoast SEO plugin.
The Yoast SEO plugin literally analyzes your posts and pages as you are developing them. It will very clearly tell you where you have done a great job with SEO and where you can improve.
The Yoast SEO plugin provides an easy spot at the bottom of your post to make sure your post has these 3 important things:
- Meta Description – Like with your title, your meta description should concisely explain why readers should care and what they can expect from the post.
- Clean URL – You’ll want to edit the URL (or slug) to make sure it includes your keyword and isn’t too long.
- Focus Keyword – Once you choose a keyword for you post, Yoast SEO will help you optimize your blog post around that keyword with helpful tips.
You can see all of these important SEO players in the screenshot below:
I get pretty excited once I’ve finished writing a post and I have a bunch of green bullet marks telling me I’ve done well with my SEO. 🙂
This plugin makes it easy to build excellent SEO.
Even if you aren’t ready to focus on getting Google traffic, it doesn’t hurt to start optimizing your blog posts now so that later you won’t have to go through all your old blog posts.
With the right SEO, your blog (and income!) have the opportunity to grow BIG TIME because it will drive search engine people to your website.
Check out this post for more specific SEO tips.
5. Link to your relevant content
You want readers to stay on your site for as long as possible, and remain engaged by going from one post to another. (This also helps with Google SEO – bonus!)
Each time you write a post which mentions a topic you’ve written about before, you can link back to that previous post.
An easy and natural way to do this is by mentioning it in a sentence that’s relevant to your blog post topic. This post is all about what to do when you’re ready to publish your blog post, but have you even decided what you’re going to write about? Checkout these tips on how to brainstorm popular blog posts. <— See what I did there? 😉
Another quick & easy way to link to relevant content is to add something like this:
There are plugins that can do this for you, but I recommend adding them manually – either throughout the post, or at the bottom.
6. Add on-brand, Pinterest ready images
It doesn’t matter what niche your blog is in, you’ll want to include shareable images in every post or you’ll miss out on a ton of traffic through Pinterest.
It’s important to have at least 3 “pinnable” images for each blog post. You can easily create beautiful, click-worthy, viral-worthy, images using a free service like Canva. This is the program I use to make all of my pinnable images!
(Don’t have time to take your own blog images? I recommend using Styled Stock Photography. Their photos are really high quality and they have tons of options to choose from.)
Once you have you’ve created your click-worthy images, you’ll want to make sure all of your blog post images have these two things:
Alt text is the description of an image that search engines will use to try to identify images. It is a good idea to incorporate your SEO keywords into the alt text for every image. This helps search engines like Google accurately determine what your post is about.
For most themes, the alt text is what will automatically be added to the “pin description” when someone pins an image from your site. BUT – having a multiple sentence description (that is needed for Pinterest), can actually hurt you in terms of ranking on Google.
So I recommend using a super helpful plugin called Tasty Pins to create a completely separate Pinterest description for each image.
Pinterest Descriptions using Tasty Pins
Pin descriptions are powerful on Pinterest, especially when you add keywords, persuasive text, and a call to action. The Tasty Pins plugin allows you to create a separate Pinterest description for each of your images while also creating an alt text that pleases Google.
It looks like this in the image settings in WordPress:
(Without the Tasty Pins plugin, the Pinterest Description text box isn’t available.)
Pleasing Pinterest AND Google is very, very smart. Therefore I am a HUGE proponent of this plugin.
There isn’t a free version of the Tasty Pins plugin, however it is very affordable at only $29. I use Tasty Pins every day on my blog, and I love how it does all the hard work behind the scenes. It is so worth the cost!
(And if you want to know how I get Pinterest to refer 90% of my web traffic, grow my email list and make sales for me in my sleep, check out my favorite Pinterest course that helped me come up with a Pinterest strategy that works!)
7. Link to External Content
Providing high-quality links to other bloggers in your niche is a must for a couple reasons.
Linking to authority content will help your rankings in SEO and will also help to add value for your readers. (Make sure to have external links open in another tab.)
Using outside links from respected sources proves that you know what you’re talking about. Plus, you could be gaining brownie points from top people in your industry when you link to their content – so this is never a bad thing!
8. Consider adding a freebie or content upgrade
In case you are wondering why you need freebies and content upgrades, I’ll fill you in!
I used to think that I didn’t need a list because almost all of my blog readers were following me on Instagram (totally not true..) and it was way easier to send out updates over there (also not true).
The truth? You need an email list.
It is the easiest way for you to be able to communicate with your audience. It’s speaking directly to your tribe, when you want.
No waiting around hoping people see your post before it gets buried in a newsfeed.
Growing your email list with quality, invested readers should actually be your number one goal with your blog!
So, making sure that you have a place for people to sign up is key. However, adding something that you give to your new subscribers in exchange for signing up makes it even more enticing and beneficial for them.
When editing your blog post, before you hit publish, think about something you can offer for free to a reader for signing up for your list.
Here are just a few ideas to use as free content upgrades:
- step-by-step guide
At this point you’re probably thinking, ‘Ok, ok Ashley – I get it! I need a list. Buuuuut, what on EARTH would I even send to my list??‘
Don’t worry, I gotcha covered!
I created a FREE guide just for you: 5 Things to Send to Your List (when you have no idea what to say). Download your copy below and start building a list of subscribers who CAN’T WAIT to open your emails!
9. Add a featured image (on WordPress)
Featured images can be important for a number of reasons. They can be used in your blog’s layout in a variety of ways — for example, as the image that is automatically pulled to be used on your home page or in a category index.
10. Encourage reader engagement
By asking a question at the end of a post, it encourages people to comment. Not only will comments help you out for SEO, it will also let you get to know your audience on a more personal level and allow you to pull new content ideas based on their responses.
Secondly, I know this might sound silly – but it’s never a bad idea to ask your readers to share your content. Sometimes, it just doesn’t occur to people to hit the share button unless you ask them.
You’re ready to publish! ??
You’ve got your post optimized for Pinterest and Google traffic, you’ve added an awesome freebie to encourage readers to sign up for your email list, and you’ve proofread your post at least twice!
You’re well on your way to getting your post in front of tons of new readers, my friend! 🙂
I went ahead and put all of these points into a checklist that you can print out and refer to whenever you write a blog post. You can download the checklist right here or by clicking the image above.
I hope you found this list of 10 things to do before you publish your next blog post helpful!
What is your favorite tip from this list? Leave a comment below and let’s hear it!