The following checklist is an internal document I created some time ago to help train new hires who would be doing some blogging for me and my company. I’m always tweaking it and adding to it as new problems come up but I thought I would share it with you both because I think it will be useful and also because I think you can make some suggestions for what else should be on this list.
I should add that I know I sometimes break these rules myself and I realize that, though I try to work hard to follow as many as possible. I think of this as the ideal case which is why I call this “anatomy of the perfect blog post.” To me, this is what everyone *should* be doing, especially if they are representing me and my company. It’s my own personal list of best practices for blogging.
Lastly, if some of the things on this list seem too obvious to be worth mentioning to you, I find that the things that seem obvious are the ones most often overlooked, especially for new bloggers, which is why I highlighted them below.
Checklist: Anatomy of the Perfect Blog Post
Please review the following checklist before publishing any blog post to the main site:
- Did you utilize the maximum number of related keywords possible while still making sense?
- Bad: New Turtles TV Show
- Better: Nickelodeon’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (TMNT) New Animated Series Coming to TV In 2012
- Did you spell all the words in the title correctly?
- Is your title under 140 characters? (aka does it leave room for retweets? If that length is impossible, are the most important terms in the first 140 characters?)
- Does your title distinguish your post from others about the same topic? (Particularly posts on the same blog)
- If you corrected a spelling or grammatical error in the title, have you checked to make sure that same error does not appear in the Permalink?
- Have you previewed the post using the blog’s preview feature to make sure everything looks okay and is working correctly within the blog’s template?
- Have you checked the post for visual readability? (I.e., have you avoided long, uninterrupted blocks of text, unreadable fonts or colors, or anything else that makes the post hard to read).
- Have you corrected all awkward phrases or grammatical and spelling errors in the post? (A.k.a. Have you read the post aloud to yourself very slowly at least once?)
- Have you verified that the information in the post is accurate by going to the original source or, if the original source can be found, verifying the information with multiple other third-party sources?
- Have you sought out the original source of the content? (In other words, have you made sure you’re not reblogging a reblog without consulting the primary source.)
- Have you included an image if possible?
- Have you insured that your use of the image does not violate anyone’s copyright?
- Have you credited the image source?
- Have you aligned and resized the image within the post for the best visual effect?
- Have you properly cited all sources used, including image credits, in the post in an SEO friendly manner?
- Bad: “image comes from this site here.”
- Better: [image courtesy of Site Name] or “Site Name recently wrote about…”
- Have you been respectful of the source content and your readers?
- Have you linked back to your previous posts in a meaningful way (if relevant)?
- OK: “As I said in this post.”
- Better: “Last week, guest blogger John Doe shared five business tips.”
- Have you taken advantage of all opportunities for referral links or widgets?
- Have you ended your blog post with a question or sentence designed to start a discussion and encourage comments?
Categories and tags
- Have you placed the post in all relevant categories?
- Have you added all relevant keywords to the post as tags?
- Have you included all possible permutations of the keywords, including plural and singular?
- Have you included both single word keywords and phrases? (Example: eBay seller, eBay, seller, selling, selling on eBay, eBay selling)
- Have you checked the spelling of all keywords and category names?
- Have you ensured that it will post during an optimal time period? (If you’re writing a post that isn’t time sensitive after peak hours, have you scheduled it to post during peak hours the next weekday?)
- Have you double checked that you’re posting from the correct author account and to the correct blog?
What would you add to this list? Is there anything on this list you’d like clarified or that isn’t clear on the first read?