W ondering what makes a great blog post? The question can't be answered in a single sentence. If you really want your blog post to be a hit, there's a lot that you need to consider before publishing it. And a blog post checklist is the best way to keep track!
In this article, I’ve created the ultimate blog post checklist for the new blog you started. It will help you come up with a successful post that your followers will love to read and share.
Ultimate Blog Post Checklist
In This Guide:
- Think of a great topic
- Stick to your niche
- Do proper keyword reseach
- Research and outline your post
- Write a clickable post title
- Work on a great opening
- Stay focused on your topic
- Add subheadings to boost engagement
- Use small paragraphs
- Write in a conversational tone
- Use 8th grade language
- Aim for at least 1000 words
- Focus on beginners
- Don’t plagiarise
- Double-check your grammar
- Read it out loud
- Add media content
- Optimize your images
- Conclude your post
- Add a Call to Action
- Add an eye-catching featured image
- Optimize your post
- Take a break before editing
- Know the right time to publish
- Share it on social media
- Send out email notification
- Respond to comments
- Give it some time to grow
- Keep it fresh
1. Think of a Great Blog Post Topic
The first step to come up with a successful blog post is to think of a great blog post topic that will continue to bring a lot of traffic to your website.
The best way to do that is to know who you are writing for. Once you identify with your target audience, it’s much easier to know what you want to write about.
Pick a topic that your followers will love and enjoy reading. Do some research and see if you know enough about the topic. Find out if you have a solution that will benefit your readers.
If yes, you can check the 1st box. If not, continue your search!
2. Stick to Your Niche
When you’re coming up with blog post ideas, make sure you don’t step out of your blog niche.
The internet is already saturated with content. By writing about everything and anything, you’re only adding more competitors to your list.
Instead of covering multiple niches, it’s good to stick to your niche and master it with high-quality content. That way, you’ll become known to your readers as an expert on that topic.
When you focus on your niche, your blog posts will have a higher chance of ranking in the top search results.
3. Do Proper Keyword Research
Keyword research is one of the most important things to do on your blog post checklist. All your hard work writing blog posts will be in vain if they don’t get any search traffic!
That’s because for the average website, at least half of your traffic will come from search engines.
The only way to stop that from happening is to look for the keywords or phrases that people are using to search for your topic. If you don’t know how, check out this guide on how to do keyword research. It’s not as hard as you might think!
Your research will help you gain insight into what people are searching for on the internet, and how to appear at the top of their search results. Check out our list of the best SEO tools to help you in your research.
4. Research and Outline Your Post
Now that you have your topic and your keywords, its time for some in-depth research. With every new blog post, make it a goal to create a detailed and comprehensive post that will answer every question a reader has.
Don’t forget to take down notes while you are still researching. Once that’s done, you can come up with an outline. This will help you cover everything you ever wanted without forgetting.
It will also help you to write faster since you’ll have everything you need to get started, and won’t have to stop writing to do more research.
For more details, see our guide on how to structure the perfect blog post.
5. Write a Clickable Post Title
The next step is to generate an effective blog post title that lures people to click. The title plays a very important role in deciding whether or not people will click on it. Your followers won’t waste more than 1 second to decide if they want to read your post or not.
If you’re able to generate an attention-grabbing title that will convince your readers within that precious 1 second, consider your work done!
The smart way to find out the strength of your title is to use a title generator. It tells you how powerful and engaging your title is.
One of our favorite headline analyzers is MonsterInsights’ Free Headline Analyzer. You can try it too.
6. Work on Your Opening
The next step is to come up with an introduction that will make your followers want to keep reading on and on. If your intro isn’t engaging enough, your readers will hit the back button and your bounce rates will be high.
Start out with a beautiful opening line. Try something that will make your readers feel connected to you right away.
Make them believe that you know exactly what they want. Now tell them how your post can solve their problem.
7. Stay Focused on Your Topic
Start writing your draft using the outline that you created.
If you follow your outline, you’ll already know exactly what you want to say.
Stay focused on that and don’t get sidetracked or mix in other topics. Talk about one thing at a time.
This will help to keep your readers focused and engaged, and it will also help you to rank better in search results if you’re focused on one topic.
8. Add Subheadings to Boost Engagement and SEO
Subheadings keep your article organized and easy to read.
This makes it easier for readers AND search engines to understand your article better.
That’s because subheadings help you to give structure to your post and explain things clearly. It also makes it easier for your readers to skip ahead if they want and read whichever section they’re most interested in.
Plus, using your keywords in your subheadings will help to rank your posts higher in search results for those terms. Check out our beginner’s SEO guide for more tips on ranking your content in search engines.
9. Use Small Paragraphs
When you’re writing, make sure to keep your paragraphs short.
Why? Long paragraphs can make your post look exhausting to read. This is known as a “wall of text” and it’ll discourage your readers from continuing to read the whole post.
Try to limit most paragraphs to 2-3 sentences at most. You can even use one single sentence in a paragraph, even if that’s considered “wrong” in more formal writing.
There’s nothing wrong with 1-sentence paragraphs in a blog post!
10. Write in a Conversational Tone
Blog posts aren’t supposed to be formal.
Write like you’re talking to your readers! That makes them feel like they’re having a conversation with a friend. It’s a great way to make them feel connected to you.
Make use of “I” and “you” just like you do in a normal conversation. It’s also okay to use shorthand like don’t instead of do not and so on.
You can even start your sentences with conjunctions, ask rhetorical questions, and more. When writing a blog post, you don’t really have to follow all of the conventional writing rules you learned in school. In fact, it’s better if you don’t!
11. Use 8th Grade Language
When writing a blog post, you don’t have to use a bunch of complicated and advanced words. People won’t read your post if they don’t understand it.
Imagine reading a fun novel versus reading a heavy college course textbook. Which is more fun? Which are you more likely to want to read?
You’ll get all kinds of people coming to your blog, including people of all different education levels and those who are learning English. Your post should be easy to read for all of your visitors, without a lot of effort.
For that to happen, always stick to writing easy sentences. Complicated and long sentences tend to distort the meaning and can throw your readers off track.
12. Aim for At Least 1000 Words
Aim to make your post at least 1000 words long. This length gets more shares on social media too. I think it’s the perfect length because it’s neither too long nor too short.
Longer blog posts tend to rank higher in search results and get more social media shares.
However, not all posts need to be super long. For some posts, it doesn’t make sense to go on and on when you’ve said all you need to say on a topic.
13. Focus on Beginners
Blog posts work better when they offer simple, workable solutions to your readers.
The majority of the traffic to your website will be beginners – otherwise, why would they be searching for solutions?
So keep your posts beginner-friendly. If you can establish your blog as a problem-solving one, people will definitely come back the next time they need help.
14. Don’t Plagiarise
Writing a great blog post needs good research. But using the same word-for-word sentences used by others can make your post fail miserably. You could get in real trouble for stealing someone else’s content.
Also, your tone is important when blogging. The posts should sound like you. Let your personality out!
And be careful not to plagiarise.
A better way to talk about your research is to paraphrase it. If you’re tempted to use the exact words, be sure to quote your source and give credit to them.
15. Double Check Your Grammar
Proofreading is one blog post checklist item you definitely don’t want to forget.
Grammatical errors can be a major turn-off for your readers. I hate reading posts that are full of errors. And I’m sure you do too!
If you don’t want to lose readers or look unprofessional, always proofread your posts to check your grammar and spelling.
If you’re not a natural “grammar nazi,” you can try out the Grammarly browser extension and you’ll never have to worry about silly grammatical errors ever again.
16. Read Your Post Out Loud
Reading your post out loud will help you to see if your post needs changes. It’s a great way to make sure your post sounds conversational, like you’re talking to a friend.
It also helps to slow down your reading so that you can catch any errors instead of skimming over them.
16. Add Media Content
A post with no images or other media files can be boring and tedious to read.
Make it engaging by adding images and videos!
You can change it up by using different formats like animated gifs, infographics, screenshots, and more. This will keep your readers engaged and help them visualize your ideas better.
If you’re writing a tutorial, screenshots and videos are the best way to show your readers exactly how to follow along.
17. Optimize Your Images
Any time you add an image to a blog post, you should make sure to optimize it first.
Images should be optimized for 2 things:
- Speed – Big images files can slow down your site, so it’s important to make sure the file size is as small as possible without compromising on image quality.
- Search Engine Optimization (SEO) – If you optimize your images, it can actually help to boost your search engine rankings and get more traffic to your blog.
So, how do you optimize your images?
Make sure to resize and compress images before uploading them to your blog.
Also, before adding your images, make sure they each have a descriptive file name. You can also use your keywords in some of them if it makes sense to. But don’t go overboard with keyword stuffing, which can hurt your SEO.
When you add them to your blog, make sure to use alt text and titles. The alt tag should be descriptive of the image, and use keywords if it makes sense to. See our SEO guide for more details and tips.
18. Conclude Your Post
Don’t end your post abruptly! Remember, it should be conversational. You wouldn’t just walk away from a conversation with a friend without saying goodbye, right?
Conclude your post with an ending paragraph that sums up the topic and the reader’s next steps. This gives the post more closure.
19. Add a Call to Action
Speaking of your post conclusion, you should also add a call to action (CTA) at the end of your post.
This tells the reader what they should do next after reading your post. For example, your CTA could ask your readers to…
- read a related blog post
- leave a comment with their thoughts
- sign up for your email newsletter
- …or any other action you want them to take!
It’s best to have just one main CTA per post. This way you can focus your attention on getting your readers to take that action, instead of giving them too many choices.
See this guide on how to create the perfect call to action for some tips and best practices.
20. Add an Eye-Catching Featured Image
Featured images, like titles, play a very important role in getting people to read your blog post.
You might be surprised to know that a lot of people decide to click on your post based on how attractive the featured image is! So make sure that you create a nice one.
Not sure how? See our guide on where to find photos and images for your blog.
21. Optimize Your Post
Now that you have done most part of it, you should check if your post is well optimized for search engines. To do that, you have several things to consider.
First, add relevant internal and external links:
- Internal linking means adding links to other posts on your own blog. It’s a great way to let your visitors browse through your entire website.
- External linking is adding links to other sites. If you link to reputable sites that are helpful to your readers, it can be good for your own SEO.
Don’t forget to add the category and tags, too.
We also recommend using the All in One SEO plugin to optimize your posts.
All in One SEO will help you optimize your post for search engines, step-by-step. So don’t ignore it! With this plugin, you can easily set the title tag, meta description, focus keyword, and more.
The plugin will also give you an actionable checklist you can use to make sure your post is optimized for maximum traffic.
And if you want to get started for free, you can try out the lite version of All in One SEO.
22. Take a Break Before Editing
Once you’re done drafting your post, take a break!
You might not think this is an important item on your blog post checklist. But I highly recommend that you don’t look at your draft for at least 6 hours after writing it.
Personally, I think it’s best if you complete drafting it before bedtime. That way you can sleep on it before you edit. Then when you wake up, your mind is all fresh to start working again.
Now you can read your draft more objectively and edit it for publishing with fresh eyes.
23. Know the Right Time to Publish
You’re now ready to publish your post!
But wait – before you hit that big blue button, you should always try publishing it at peak hours. This will help if you want to draw some quick traffic.
According to experts, 8:00 am to 10:00 am on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays are the best time to publish your posts for most blogs.
Of course, every audience is different. If you’re not sure what will work best with you, check out our post on the best time to publish blog posts and start experimenting!
24. Share It on Social Media
Once your post is live, you should share it across different social media platforms.
If you want to get a big traffic boost, you should share it on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Pinterest. You could also do some social sharing on different relevant groups and forums around the web.
25. Send Out Email Notifications
Hopefully you’ve already created an email list. To reach out to your loyal group of followers, don’t forget to let them know about your new blog post!
Sending out regular email newsletters is one of the most important content marketing items on your blog post checklist that you should never miss out on.
26. Respond to Any and All Comments
If you receive a comment asking you a question, respond to it promptly. If it’s just words of appreciation, well then be sure to say thank you!
You can use a WordPress plugin to make sure that readers are notified of responses to their comments.
Your readers will appreciate how responsive you are, and be more likely to return for more.
27. Give It Some Time to Grow
You’ve worked hard on your blog post – congrats!
Now you can relax and give it some time. Let the search engines index it. And let people read and share it.
Your post won’t reach the top search result in a day. It takes time for that to happen.
If your post is well optimized, you should see it gaining more and more traffic over the new few months.
28. Keep It Fresh
You’ve published your post, but our blog post checklist isn’t over yet!
The last step is to update your published post so that it always remains fresh. You can do it by adding some new content to the existing one, adding a video, etc. Don’t forget to share your updated post on social media and notify your followers with an email.
I recommend updating your blog posts at least once a year.
So that was the ultimate blog post checklist that every blogger needs for a successful blog post!
If you’re working on your next blog post, make sure you use this checklist. I bet it will work like magic.
Looking to get more traffic to your blog? Be sure to check out our ultimate guide to growing your blog traffic.