Whether you post weekly on your WordPress blog or daily, there is nothing more satisfying then pushing that ‘publish’ button and sending your words of wisdom out to your loyal readers.
Formatting done? Check.
Photos placed? Check.
Ready to hit publish? Check—er, wait.
Is there something you’ve overlooked? Is your post ready for all those readers eyes? Sure, you can always go back and edit, but, damn, don’t you want those first sets of eyes to be happy eyes?
To help you with these questions, here’s a handy 7-point checklist for you before you hit ‘publish’.
1. Did you check your spelling and grammar?
There is nothing worse than your first comment being, “Didn’t you mean ‘its’ instead of ‘it’s’”? Or discovering that a misspelled word has distracted your readers from your important content. So when you think it’s ready to go, read it one last time. You’ll be surprised the things you may have missed. And as you may have experienced, spell check won’t catch all of them. (They’re vs their is a good example.) Here’s a little trick: read your post backwards, from the last word to the first. Those typos and misspellings will jump out at you. But also, those little gremlins will get in there and it will happen to even the best of us. Live with it, all things will pass.
2. Did you double check your links?
One small error can ruin your hyperlink and send your readers off to the land of 404-page-not-found. And it’s so easy to do. You can preview your post and click on the links or simply click on the linked text and then on the URL itself. In any case, you are likely to avoid that email from a reader letting you know that “the link in the second paragraph isn’t working” or have them shout it out to the world on Twitter. And if you are linking internally, best to always find it via the search when hyperlinking. That will assure a perfect link.
3. Are your photos too big?
When I say big, I mean in file size, many, many megabytes. Watch the first time you preview your post. Is that photo loading like curtain slowly being pulled down? Or maybe the entire page loads slowly. If so, you may consider optimizing the original image and uploading it again to your post or use a plugin or service that will optimize your images. Speed is important.
4. Did you add an alt title to your image?
When you uploaded the image, did you fill in the “Alternate text” (sometimes called the alt title)? This is the place to put in a few friendly keywords for the image to help you with your SEO. Google frowns on missing alternate text. And a lot of software out there for sight impaired readers depends on it.
5. Are you happy with your permalink?
When you create the title of your post, depending on how you have your permalink set, the URL for that post becomes yourdomain.com/name-of-the-post-goes-here. But sometimes you might want to change the permalink to something shorter (you will notice the option to edit this under your post title). Or you may want to take out those stop words, like “the”, “and”, etc. unless you use a plugin that does that. Before publishing your post is the best time to do it. If you do it later, after your post goes out, any inbound link to that post is broken. And if you need to do it afterwards, you will need to create a redirect. Yoast SEO will do that for you automatically so you won’t forget.
6. Is this post set for your theme or site functions?
This is a common one. Your theme may pull in recent posts to a part of your homepage by category. So did you check that category? Or maybe your theme only shows thumbnails by inserting an image into the featured image option. Did you do that? Or lastly, maybe you created your blog page out of a category, so the only way it is ensured to show up on your site is if it is assigned to that category. This is only a few examples. Know and understand how your site is presenting the content.
7. Do you really want to send this to the world?
And last, but not least. Do you really want the world to see this? If it is a rant post, check the tone. Is it too rude? Did you come home last night after a few cocktails and share with the world how a particular brand pissed you off? Or did someone at the event rub you the wrong way? If so, take a deep breath and here’s an idea. Sleep on it. Things have a way of looking totally different in the light of day. Remember: once you send a post out, it’s there. Even if you delete it a few minutes later, the damage has already been done.
So here they are. I’m sure you will discover others along the way, but these seven pieces of advice will help you to get your blog post ready for the world.