This is the ultimate blog post checklist every blogger should use.
I can’t imagine writing a single post without this.
In fact, I have a two-part checklist in my blog planner.
The first one I use before publishing or scheduling a blog post.
And the second one after going a post live.
It ensures that I haven’t forgotten anything before publishing my posts.
So, to make your post fully optimized for your readers as well as for search engines, make your own blog post checklist based on the points I’ve discussed in this…
Ultimate Blog Post Checklist
If you don’t have time now to read the full post, Download The Checklist Here (Item #2).
1. Choose A Topic
This point should be at the top of your checklist.
When you decide to write a post, the first thing you want to do is wisely choose a topic that resonates with your target audience.
In fact, I have a separate session in my blog planner for brainstorming topic ideas.
You can also read my post “How To Come Up With Endless Blog Post Ideas” that I published a little while ago.
Once you’ve chosen your post topic, the next thing in your checklist will be…
2. Find Longtail Keyword Using Google Suggest
Longtail keywords can be a game-changer in terms of SEO.
You can use Google suggest to find them.
Just type your topic into Google’s search bar. As you start to type, Google will show you some suggestions.
Collect two-three long-tail keywords from this suggestion.
3. See Google Search Suggestions
In the previous point, you’ve collected two-three longtail keywords. Type one of them into Google’s search bar and hit enter.
Now scroll down to the bottom of the search result page.
You will see something like:
The purpose of this is to collect more relevant keywords to your post topic.
With these keywords…
4. Use Google Keyword Planner…
To validate your keywords in terms of search volumes and competition.
Not only that, but you’ll also find some other keywords to write about in the future.
Read More: How to Use Google Keyword Planner?
5. Use Ubersuggest
Like any other keyword research tool, Ubersuggest also uses the data from Google keyword planner tools.
But it has its own unique way to present data.
You can see the SEO difficulty of your keywords.
And the exact search volume in a month.
Read more about the Awesome features of Ubersuggest here.
With this point, You’ve found your desired keyword so far.
The next point in your blog post checklist should be a free tool…
6. Answer The Public
The amazing thing about this tool is, you can find the questions that people are asking on your topic.
To do that just type your keyword into the search bar.
It’ll show you all the questions.
You can also see the questions as a list by clicking on the Data tab.
I just collect two-three questions to write about on my post.
With this, you may want to find some LSI keywords to give your post an SEO boost.
For that, use this free tool…
LSI (Latent Semantic Indexing) Keywords are conceptually related terms that search engines use to deeply understand the content on a webpage.
These keywords actually boost your blog SEO.
Brain Dean has nicely explained about this on the post What are LSI Keywords And Why They Matter For SEO.
My purpose is to find some LSI keywords with this tool.
And use them in my post.
8. Search Your Blog Using Keywords
I included this point in my blog post checklist to reassure myself that I didn’t publish the same post before.
If you’re just starting out and your blog doesn’t have many posts then you can ignore this.
But if your blog has many posts then you might have forgotten that you’ve written about the same topic before.
This point actually should be at the top of your checklist.
But I kept it in the #8 position. Because I have another plan with my posts.
That is if I found that I’ve published the same topic before, I review my keyword strategy in that post.
You can search your blog in two ways (at least).
One is, you can go to your blog and type keywords into your blog’s search bar.
Another way is to type “site:yourblog.com keywords” into your browser’s address bar.
9. Find Most Shared Posts
There are thousands of posts written before on the same topic that you’re going to write.
You definitely want to stand out on the crowd.
That’s why it’s important to know about the format of posts that are widely shared on social media.
You can use this tool for free.
What you need to do is, just type your keyword into the search bar.
For example, I typed a keyword SEO CHECKLIST…
And it showed the most shared post on the topic.
You know about your topic very well.
But there is always something about the topic that you don’t know.
That’s why post research is important.
To research, just type your seed keywords into Google’s search bar.
It’ll show you top-ranked posts in search results.
These are the posts that are highly credible in Google’s eye.
Read the first 2-3 posts to learn more about your topic.
11. Write Headlines
The headline is the title of the post that we see at top of every webpage.
This is the first thing that people see on the search result page, social media, and everywhere.
In another way, this is your first opportunity to get readers in your post.
So, a post title should be catchy enough. I’ve talked about this before on the post “How To Write Catchy Post Titles?”.
In fact, I write 4 headlines for every post.
One I use on the blog post itself. And the rest three I use while promoting the post on social media.
Here I need to say one thing.
I used to write headlines after completing post-draft.
Now I write headlines even before starting the actual post.
That way I get a clear idea that how I should write the post.
To come up with some nice headline ideas use TWEAK YOUR BIZ. This is a free tool.
Just type your keywords into the box.
It’ll show you some nice headline ideas.
12. Check Title’s EMV Score
EMV stands for Emotional Marketing Value.
They say, most professional copywriters’ headlines typically score 30%-40% EMV.
To check your headlines’ EMV, put your headline into the text box of this tool, and hit Submit For Analysis button.
And it’ll show the headline’s EMV score.
13. Write Post Introduction
You may think that this point shouldn’t be in the blog post checklist as everyone writes post introduction.
I put this in the checklist to remind me of a thing. That is the post-introduction should be short.
And it has the following three things:
First, Preview your post immediately in the post introduction.
Second, Show proof.
Third, A call-to-action
This is a formula I learned to write my post introduction.
And it works every time.
The formula is called PPC (Preview, Proof, Call-to-action) or PBC (Preview, Benefits, Call-to-action).
Credit: Brian Dean
14. Include A Call-To-Action
Each of your posts should have a call-to-action.
Either it’s to get blog comments…
Or share your post on social media…
Or subscribe to your email list.
With this point, you’ve completed your post-draft.
15. Write Social Blurbs
Sharing the same message to all of your social channels while promoting your post isn’t a good practice.
That’s why I write…
- Three blurbs for twitter
- One for Facebook…, and
- One for Pinterest
You can write blurbs while promoting the post on social media.
But I found that it takes a lot of time.
So I write social blurbs as soon as I finished my post-draft. Because all the things about the post are still in my head.
16. Gather Data To Your Content Marketing Sheet
This idea may be new to you.
Let’s be familiar with this.
I have a separate sheet in my blog planner called CONTENT MARKETING PLAN.
In that sheet, I have several columns. Such as post no, post title, post URL, published date, social blurbs, headlines, and many more.
I’ve talked about this on the post How To Make A Content Marketing Plan.
Read the post to make your own Content Marketing Plan.
I included this point in my blog post checklist simply to gather all the information about the post in my content marketing plan. So that I can use them later to promote my posts.
For example, in point #11, you’ve written four headlines for a post. You need to store those headlines for future use.
You’ll do that at this point.
Another example, You wrote several social blurbs in point #15. Collect those blurbs in your content marketing plan.
I don’t move to the next point on my checklist as long as all the columns in my content marketing plan are filled with the relevant post information.
17. Copy The Post-draft To WordPress
You can eliminate this point from your checklist.
But I included this in my checklist to maintain the workflow as I draft my post on Google Docs.
I just simply copy the post and paste it on my WordPress post editor.
18. Write The Primary Keywords In Yoast
If you use the Yoast SEO plugin, wite your primary keyword into the box at the bottom of your WordPress post-editor.
This will allow the Yoast to analyze SEO of your post.
19. Write Meta Description
A meta description is what you see under the post title in the search result page.
It’s also shown when you share posts on social media.
Writing meta description is wise as you can optimize that for keywords as well as make that enticing for people.
If you don’t write, Google will show a random excerpt from your post.
That may not serve your purpose.
I published a detailed post on writing killer meta description here.
So how can you write Meta Description?
At the bottom of the WordPress post editor screen, you’ll see a text box (if you’ve Yoast plugin installed).
Write your meta description into the box.
20. Change The Post Publish Date
Have you ever hit on the publish button unwillingly?
If you do that the post will be published on your blog.
Publishing an unformatted post isn’t good for your readers.
And it’s unprofessional.
Although you can revert the post to draft, still the post will be visible to some RSS readers that your readers subscribed to your blog on.
I put this point on my checklist to save me from this accident.
Fortunately, there is an easy way to do that.
Just click on the Document tab at the right side of your WordPress post editor screen and change the date by clicking on the link that labeled Publish.
I just change the last digit that indicates year.
And it becomes a Schedule instead of PUBLISH.
21. Make The Post Url Short
Google officially recommends using short URLs.
It helps Google understand your page topic.
Short URLs also help people to decide what to click on in search results.
You can modify your post URL under the Document on the right side of the WordPress post editor.
22. Select Category And Tags
I definitely don’t want my post to go under the OTHER (Uncategorized) category.
That’s why I included this in my blog post checklist.
You can select categories and tags under the DOCUMENT tab on the right side of the WordPress post editor screen.
23. Proof-read Your Post
Eliminate grammatical and spelling errors from your post.
I use Grammarly for this purpose. It has several apps for different platforms.
Install Grammarly for Chrome. Its a browser extension.
And it’ll show you all the errors underlining with red lines.
24. Reduce The File Size Of Images
At the initial stage of blogging, I often forgot to reduce the file size of images.
Now I don’t.
It became my habit.
So, I don’t actually need this point in my checklist.
But somehow you have to reduce the file size of your images before uploading to your blog.
If you have a tendency to forget that, include this point in your checklist.
And use the TinyPNG for this purpose. It’s a free online tool.
Just upload your image…
Within seconds, the tool will reduce the file size of the image and make that available for download.
25. Rename Images Properly
Using a generic name in images isn’t a good practice.
Use a name that describes the image.
26. Add Image Alt Tag And Description
The alt tag and description help search engines to understand the image properly.
You should write an Alt tag and description for every image you upload to your post.
27. Set A Featured Image
The featured image is shown in the post snippet preview.
And in the RSS feed.
It’s visually appealing.
You can easily select a featured image within the WordPress post editor. See the image below:
28. Use Keywords In Post Title
Keywords in the post title help search engines understand the post topic.
In fact, you need to wisely include your keyword in some other places within your blog post.
I’ll discuss them in the following points.
Include this point in your blog post checklist to make sure you’ve inserted the keywords in your post title.
29. Keywords In Post Introduction
Include keywords in your post introduction.
Also, make sure it is within the first 100 words.
It’ll boost your post SEO.
30. Use Keywords In Subheadings
Using keywords in subheading is a good strategy in terms of SEO.
But you don’t need to use keywords in all of your subheadings. Use in one or two of them where it fits best.
31. Include Keywords In Meta Description
Back in Sep 2009, Google announced that the text in the meta description and meta keywords doesn’t factor into it’s ranking algorithm in search.
So you may think that it is not required to include keywords in the meta description.
But look at the image below.
In the image above, Google made the key phrase bold that I’ve searched for.
Having keywords in the meta description will quickly get the attention of searchers as it’s bolded by Google.
So use keywords in meta description within 156 characters.
32. Use Keywords In The Image Alt Tag
As long as it’s relevant to the image, try to use the seed keywords in the image Alt tag.
33. Use Keywords In Image File Names
While renaming my post images I try to use keywords as long as it’s relevant.
34. Add Internal Links
Interlinking posts helps Google to crawl other posts from the blog effectively.
This is the part of on-page SEO.
I added this point in my checklist to make sure that I link to 2-3 of my old posts from my new post.
Read More: How to Interlink Blog Posts
35. Add External Links
One of the obvious benefits of adding external links is that you’re helping some other bloggers.
If he or she can know about this he may link you back.
Thus your blog will get some SEO juice.
Even if they don’t link you back, they may share your post on their social media.
And you’ll get some readers to your post.
That’s why it’s an essential point in the blog post checklist.
36. Set Outbound Links To Open A New Page
You definitely don’t want your readers to leave your blog immediately.
That’s why It’s important to set outbound links to open a new page.
You can do that easily within your WordPress post editor.
37. Approach Bloggers That You Mentioned In The Post
This point should be in your blog post checklist if you want to get the most out of your blog post.
You need to let the bloggers know that you’ve mentioned them in your post.
You can do that after publishing the post.
But I don’t want to be spammy.
That’s why I included this in my blog post checklist that I use before publishing a post.
What do you actually need to do?
First, link to some useful resources from your post.
Next, let the bloggers know that you’ve mentioned them in your post by sending emails.
Once they reply to you…
Finally, send an email with your post link when the post is published.
38. Format Your Post Well
If you want your reader to read your post, format that well.
Because a well-formatted post is enjoyable to read.
When I was new in blogging, I used to forget that.
That’s why I included this in my checklist.
Formatting a post is not a big deal.
You just need to…
- Divide your post body using headings and subheadings
- Make paragraphs short
- Use bold and italic text where applicable
- Use numbers and bullets
- Include visuals
39. Upload Images For Social Media
Facebook posts with images get 2.3x more engagement.
This statement is somehow true for every social media.
So, you definitely want an image to be shared along with your post link when people share your post on their social platforms.
Fortunately, there is an easy way to do that.
At the bottom of the WordPress post editor screen, you’ll see a Social tab.
This option is provided by Yoast.
With the free Yoast subscription plan, you can use images for two social media – Facebook and Twitter.
40. Make Outbound Links Dofollow Or Nofollow
You don’t want Google to follow the outbound link that isn’t related to your niche.
Or, that you don’t have any control over.
For example, I’ve used a reference in this post.
As I don’t have any control over that reference I made it NoFollow.
But when you think that the outbound link you added on your post is somehow related to your topic or somehow helps your readers as a resource, you should make the link DoFollow.
The default setting for a link is DoFollow.
You can make the link Nofollow clicking on the toggle button as shown in the image below.
These are the points I have in my blog post checklist.
Following these, you can…
Make Your Own Blog Post Checklist
I know, you’re familiar with the points I’ve discussed in this post.
And you do many of these things randomly before publishing your post.
But the problem is that you forget many other things to do.
It is because you didn’t make your checklist handy.
Make it handy and keep it open every time you’re going to write a new post. And strictly follow all the points one after another.
I’ve prepared a checklist for you.
Download it here (Item#2 in my free resource library).
You can also use any spreadsheet-like application to make your checklist.
I use Google sheets.
How To Use Your Blog Post Checklist?
Many of you may write a post in just one sitting.
But I can’t.
I spend several days, even weeks, to complete a blog post.
So, When I sit to work on a post I need to check my checklist to know which points I’ve completed so far.
That’s why when I finish the task of a point, I just marked that with a different color.
The next day, when I sit to work on the post I just start with the point that I haven’t marked yet.
You can do the same too.
Many people say that you don’t need to optimize all of your posts.
At one point, it’s true. The ultimate purpose of blogging is just to send your message to your readers. You can do that anyhow.
But I don’t want to be a mediocre type blogger. And I want to form a habit of optimizing posts for my readers as well as for search engines.
That’s why I follow this checklist every time I want to publish a post.
Have I missed anything in this checklist?
Do you want to add any points?
Which point is new here for you?
Please let me know in the comments below…