When you are about to publish a blog post, there are a few things you should always check for to make sure your post is top-quality for your readers. (I forget to check for all of these things a lot, so this post is quite helpful to me too!)
Make sure to include at least one picture in your posts. This creates visual attraction and eye-engaging content. Think about yourself. On the internet, would you be more likely to read an article formatted as plain text or one where you first see a pretty picture that catches your attention?
Break up Paragraphs
On the internet, you want to read and understand the main points fast. Using bullet points, numbering, or even just splitting up paragraphs with spaces in between can be extremely helpful for getting your point across quickly to readers, and keeping them happy. Again, think about if it were you. Would you rather read 10 spaced-out tips on a topic, or a huge paragraph/essay of the same content?
This one is obvious, but I still forget to do it all the time! So make sure you always run your post through the spell checker before posting.
It's helpful to read through the entire post and check for flow and sentence structure. Make your post sound interesting and conversational. Talk to your reader, as if you're having a conversation. This will make it easier to read while connecting directly with your reader.
Address Your Reader
You design your blog for multiple people. So it's easy to slip into the habit of addressing your audience as "people," "everyone," etc. But in order to connect and make an impact with your readers, you only should be talking to one person. Notice how in this particular post I am talking to YOU, not you and your mother, and brother, and grandmother, and best friend. This helps your reader apply what you are teaching directly to his or herself.
In order to rank in search engines, which bring more traffic to you, you have to add labels, or tags, or key words (whatever you would like to call them) to your post. This helps the search engines know exactly what you are talking about and rank you appropriately. This is also beneficial to your readers if they choose to search for a certain topic on your blog. Sprinkle these words throughout your post a few times, not too much or else the search engines will think you're a robot, but just enough to show the importance. Synonyms are useful too.
Your posts are most likely organized in order of published date on the homepage of your blog. If a new user looks at your blog for the first time to get an idea of what you write about, she will scroll through the homepage, skim the articles, and click on the ones she thinks are most important. You want to make sure you always include a page break so your entire post isn't showing up on the homepage. This will make it difficult for readers to see what's new and it will clog up your homepage. The page break also provides a nice hook to making readers interested enough to read the whole article.
What are you more likely to read, "7 Ways You Can Improve Your Writing Right Now" or "Improve Your Writing?" Creating a catchy headline will draw attention to you and your blog bringing you more readers, old and new. For excellent information on writing catchy headlines, PLEASE check out this series by Copyblogger, How to Write Magnetic Headlines.
Ask a Question
Invite your readers to interact with you. Be open for questions, comments, and thoughts. You're writing a conversation, so help your readers continue the conversation by asking something pertaining to your post. (See the next paragraph for an example!) And when your readers comment, respond back to them!
Follow this checklist BEFORE you press publish on any blog post, and you will be on your way to creating successful posts. I will be off to check this post, using my handy dandy checklist I just created, right now! Is there anything else you check for before posting? Let me know in the comments!