While brain-storming headlines for this post, I first settled with “Do this or don’t publish your content” and then the current one.
If we see that in a way is correct. Most of us are so eager to publish our content and breathe relief that we forget that we can actually do better and have a better reach if we performed certain checks before publishing a blog post.
Let’s make some confessions:
- You either are so eager to publish your content that you can’t help clicking that button.
- You think you have done your level best and there is no room for improvement.
- Your content is published hastily because you think performing a quality check will only add to the time taken.
What if I told your epic piece of content could create more ripples if you were not so tempted to publish your hard work without proper optimizing it. Writing is only half done or probably one-third done, the other two-third being proper optimization and giving it a shape that will make your audience go wow.
You can actually increase your reach manifold by just taking care of little things like proper image optimization, proper on-page SEO, adding social meta tags, and other tweaks like appropriate author BIO, blogger outreach etc.
In this detailed guide on “things to do before you publish your content”, I will explain the above points clearly.
1) Creating your first draft and moving towards your final words.
In order to create content that is valuable and popular you have to have a wider vision. Writing your first draft isn’t easy. You might take 6-8 hours for producing a piece of content that has the capability to go viral. Now that you have produced your first draft, it’s advisable to:
- Proofread the article: Check for grammar mistakes and spelling errors. A single spelling mistake can ruin your online business’s reputation. Most editors like MS word do a pretty good job in auto-suggesting the spelling mistakes and grammatical errors. But they only show syntax errors and skip the mistakes which their algorithm can’t catch. For example, MS word doesn’t warn you when you write “hen” instead of “when“.
- This is when you need a professional grammar checker like Grammarly. It is also the best tool to check grammatical errors, detect plagiarism and even offer human proof reading services.
- Ask someone outside the industry to read it: Many times we get used to industry traditions and tend to overlook certain mistakes. When someone outside readers your content he can quickly notice abnormal patterns in it like over stuffing of keywords or improper tone of writing.
2) SEO isn’t dead. Neither is keyword targeting.
You might be a big brand. Your product might be so helpful. But when your blog is concerned you need to target keywords to get the search traffic flowing.
It’s the organic traffic that is convertible because they are already searching for a related product on a search engine. If you have targeted proper keywords, you might appear for those searches and the “searcher” might click to your link in the SERPs. Most brands either don’t target keywords or stuff it excessively, thus calling the wrath of search engines.
Check: If you have proper keywords set. Here is a perfect guide to keyword optimization.
3) Add relevant links:
Adding links to blog post is very essential. It’s just like giving communication facilities to someone lost in a marooned island. That’s how search bots will communicate to and fro your article. Here are certain types of links you should check before publishing a blog post online.
a) Internal links:
These are the links that connect one page of a website with another via hyperlinks. Here both the domains (source and target) are the same. Internal links pass SEO juice to your older posts and help newer posts to rank well. They reduce bounce rates by giving readers additional pages with relevant information. Internal links are like giving SEO friendly backlinks to your own blog.
Check: If you have linked to relevant articles in your blog. Also link this new article in older posts. Here is an epic guide by my friend Ankit Singla on internal link building and its benefits.
b) External Links:
These are the links where two web pages of separate blogs are connected. Here both the source domain and target domain are different. External links help you cite certain information relevant to your post. They also establish the relevancy of your content in the eyes of search bots.
For example, if you are writing an article on Olympics and don’t have a single link pointing towards their official site, it might be considered irrelevant.
- If you have given proper attributes to images sources, Wikipedia citations, and links to authority sites in order to gain SEO juice.
- Cloak your affiliate links from something ugly to beautiful. Here is an example:
Ugly URL: http://www.shareasale.com/r.cfm?b=685563&u=1051026&m=26748&urllink=&afftrack=
Clean URL: http://www.digitalgyd.com/grammarly
4) Have proper image optimization:
Images speak a thousand words. In blogging, images carry a thousand SEO points too. Proper optimized images can bring you a good chunk of organic traffic through image source. Images can become a brand’s symbol. Images prompt the readers to share the articles on social media too.
- Try to add at least one image in your blog post.
- Have proper alt tags for your images. Alt tags are the words or description that allows bots and certain text to speech software to realize what the image is about.
- Change the title name of the image to a suitable one.
- Add images that reflect your brand. You can create or edit free images (from sites like Wikimedia commons) with tools like picmonkey. Alternatively you can create your own branded templates from sites like canva.
- Here is a guide to optimize images for your blog.
5) Check your search engine meta tags:
Your meta data is like your ad copy. You got to be right describing all your content in your meta data. It is advisable to keep your meta data under 155 characters and your post title under 55 characters. You can obviously go beyond that but it won’t get displayed in search engine results. You can use the WordPress SEO plugins to optimize your blog post for search engines.
6) Optimize your posts for social shares:
Social shares multiply the reach of your post. You have to optimize your posts for social shares and invite your audience to share your content too. Developing a social media strategy is a must for every blogger.
- Include share buttons at the beginning and ending of your posts.
- If you write long content, a floating social share bar like easy social share would be the best. It includes social share buttons for mobile readers too.
- Optimize your blog meta data for twitter and Facebook. Add twitter cards to get even more from twitter audience.
- Use a tool like Hootsuite to schedule your blog posts so that they are promoted when you are busy interacting with the audience.
P.S. If you are a content marketer, you wouldn’t want to miss watching this 3 minute long video for increasing your content’s reach.
7) Create a compelling author BIO.
If you are a solo blogger, write a compelling author bio for yourself. If you are a brand try to give your authors their due credit in the post. Include their twitter handle and other social buttons so that your readers can connect to them on a personal level.
Here is a beautiful infographic by Salesforce that demonstrates the whole post graphically.
Over to you:
So, this was all about things to do before you publish your content. Download the infographic and paste it onto a place you are in eye contact with. This will act as a checklist for content creation. What are your secret rituals before publishing your blog content? Do share it in the comments section. If you make a special point I will publish it here with due credits to you.