Before You Hit “Publish” Checklist

BlogPostReviewChecklistNew It’s a bloggers worst fear…

You hit “publish” on a post you worked hard on, that you’re proud of…

And it begins to get shared all over social media…

Traffic starts pouring in… and then you see it…

The TYPO in the title that was there all along (now immortalized in hundreds of tweets)…

Or the service you recommended without your affiliate link (which is now getting dozens of clicks and sign ups)…

Ahhhhh!!

You can prevent these, and other blogger nightmares, with a simple “pre-publish” checklist.

Here’s the checklist I’ve created and review before I hit “publish” on a new post:

1.  Review the Title

Is it interesting and catchy?  Does it include power words?  Keywords?  Is it enough to get people to click over from social media and elsewhere to check out the post?  And… does your post deliver on what your title promises?

2.  Proofread It

Run a spell-check.  Review your post for grammar.  Does the “voice” and “tone” match your brand?

3.  Read it Aloud

Take the time to read your post aloud and you’ll more easily catch things like grammatical errors, passages you could phrase better, and other things easy to miss in print.

4.  Format it for Easy Reading

Does your post include sub-headings, bolded phrases, lists with bullet points… is it easy for your readers to scan?

5.  Think Search Engines

Are my keywords in my title, sub-headings, image names, and naturally throughout my blog post?  Do I know what keywords or phrases I’m targeting?  Did I run my post through any SEO tools I use?

6.  Call to Action

What’s the “next step” action you’re inviting readers to take?  Do you have a clear call to action at the end of your post?

  • Subscribe to your list (and what are you offering for their email address?)
  • Leave a comment (did you ask a question to give readers something to respond to?)
  • Share on social media (got buttons right there so it’s easy?)
  • Find out more about… (is there an obvious clickable link to the next step?)

7.  Check All Links

Test all your links to be sure they’re working and link to the correct places.

8.  Affiliate Links

Did you recommend any products or services in your post?  Be sure to include a trackable affiliate link!

9.  Links to Other Blog Posts & Authority Sites

Are there references in your post where you can link back to other blog posts you’ve written?  Guest posts you’ve written on other blogs?

Does it make sense to link out to any other bloggers or authority sites as references for your readers?

10.  Featured Image (and Pinnables)

Set your featured image and be sure to include pinnable or sharing-friendly images within your blog post.

11.  Include a “Tweetable”

Pull a catchy quote or sentence from your post and make it a “tweetable” to encourage your readers to share it (and to give them something specific to notice and remember from your post.  (Here’s how.)

12.  Choose a Category

Select the best categories for your new post to be sure it’s organized where it belongs and easy for your readers to find.

13.  Be Sure It’s Tagged

Add appropriate tags to your post.  Keep them in mind when you share on social media, too.

14.  Set Your Permalink

Check your permalink and be sure it’s short, makes sense, and has your keywords included.

15.  Give Credit Where Due

Are there any images, quotes or statistics that you need to add sources or credits for?  Did you find inspiration somewhere that should be acknowledged?  Be sure you’ve cited properly.

Share this post.  Your blogger friends will love you for it.

What do YOU check before you go “live” with a new post?  What else should we add to this list?

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21 Comments

  1. Great post! I always overlook the permalink!

    1. Overlooking the permalink is why I FINALLY broke down and created a checklist… :)

  2. The ‘tweetable’ is what will draw many to your site…and to engender more followers, which keeps augmenting your readership.

  3. Thank you Michelle! This article is great for vlogs too! My “tweetable” item in the vlog is normally an extension of the title.

  4. Perfect timing. I often overlook naming the image and including permalinks. Thanks for the list!

  5. Strangely enough, I wrote something similar not a long time ago in Romanian, for a romanian beginner blogger friend of mine, and I think the only thing that differed in what I wrote from your article, is that I included the advice about completing the ALT tags for the images correctly, to be considerate about the visually impared readers, and to write compelling TITLE options for the anchor tags, since, it’s another way you can create a great call for action through that.
    I was just about to write the english version of that post, on my blog, when I received the newsletter with this post of yours !
    Now how strange is that ?
    :)

  6. Hi Michelle,

    Found this on Triberr and I believe this is my 3rd time here. Great article and yes, I have ‘about the same’ checklist.

    What I do is after finishing a post, I leave it for a day or two. Then, I’ll come back, re-read it and do the needed changes.

    You’ll be surprised how much you can ‘adjust’ from then on!
    ~Reginald

  7. Great list, Michelle! I always name my images with keywords and then just copy and paste the image name to the Alt text box.

  8. Hey, thanks for this post, Michelle. I can proudly say that I check through my mental checklist before I hit publish, but there are always times that something gets forgotten anyway. I often forget “category” for some reason. So I’m pretty much covered according to your list, except “pinnables”. I recall seeing the PIN button on people’s images. I’ll have to look into that. Thanks for helping me make my blog better! Peace

  9. Useful information. How do you set the permalink?

    1. If your blog is on WordPress, you should see in the top right hand corner of the screen on your Edit Post page, a dropdown button “Screen Options” – click that and in the dropdown list that appears, make sure “Slug” is ticked. The slug is the same as your permalink and once you’ve got that ticked on your screen options, it will become available for you to edit.
      Jae recently posted… Vital Lessons From My 90 Day Blogging ChallengeMy Profile

  10. It never happens and then it does! I’m laughing as I write because I made a big boo boo with the title of the first module of free challenge that I launched earlier this month on my second website. Fortunately, many of the participants had not opened their emails and I was able to send out the right one with apologies as well as post the correction in the Facebook Group. The participants were very gracious. Picture this, Michelle, the title of the Challenge is ’21 Days from Chaos to Order – The Clutter Free Movement’ and my typo was ’21 Days from Chaos to Clutter……..’. Never again! I’ll check and double check! :)

  11. Wish you’d offer this as a downloadable pdf (hint hint)….

  12. Thanks for the reminders… I sometimes get in a hurry and don’t proofread. Then as soon as I publish I find a glaring mistake and have to fix it.

  13. Great tips. Question about #5 – do you have any SEO tools that you would recommend for this? Thanks.

  14. How do you keep giving such amazing content. I’ve been following you for just under two years now and I’m in awe of everything I learn from you. Thank you Michelle!!

  15. As always, a great article. I like the ideas of making your images pinnable and also adding a tweetable. I’ve found that adding a tweetable quote to my posts has increased my retweets exponentially. I use the TweetThis plugin for WordPress, which I highly recommend. And I put my Tweetable in a quote box, so that it stands out.

    Which plugin do you use for your tweetables, Michelle?
    Jae recently posted… I Finished My 90 Day Blogging Challenge? What’s Next?My Profile

  16. One other thing I’ve found has helped my posts get more reach is, on the text that is actually tweeted on your tweetable quote, precede it with RT or ReTweet. This, I’ve found, encourages others to actually retweet it.

    One post I did just before Christmas, about the Yoast SEO plugin I’ve found is getting so many retweets, I’m expecting it to go viral! (Well, I hope it does!)
    Jae recently posted… Ode To Business BloggingMy Profile

  17. Hello Michelle, I do love this check list and have made a copy of it and I am going to pin this right here on my cork board.

    One of my goals for the new year is to have more focus on my blog and this is a great start for me..

    Thanks for sharing and Happy New Year!!
    Chery :))
    Chery Schmidt recently posted… The Conclusion “Developing A Success Mindset”My Profile

  18. This is a good reminder to double check things right before you hit that publish button. After doing hundreds of posts now, it is a habit of mine to do the double check. Always appreciate you sharing information like this Michelle as it is something I can share with my colleagues and new people on my team.
    Lynn Brown recently posted… Quick Tour Of Your LinkedIn ProfileMy Profile

  19. Hello, Michelle. You are right on with proofreading and spell checking. Spell check doesn’t catch all errors. Proofreading can catch the majority, but still not a guarantee. Reading out loud? That’s good. I hadn’t thought of that one. I think that would catch all errors. One I had heard years ago was to have a fresh pair of eyes read it; someone who has no interest in your article. This way they would catch probably all the errors because they’re not anticipating as they read and don’t feel anxious. They can be more focused. However, the other side of that coin is 10 people can read something and still something can get missed. It’s amazing how that happens. So when this happens I simply say I can’t be perfect in an imperfect world. However, I try very hard not to take advantage of this sentiment. I still strive to be as right as possible with grammar, punctuation, and proofreading. So with this mindset, there should be less errors every time. Thank you for sharing your checklist. Take good care. Happy New Year! Rosella Young, AA-1 Designs, Invest in your shelf!

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