You’ve spent hours (days?) creating the perfect, yummy, everyone-will-share-this content piece for your blog. But have you covered all the bases? How will it look when it’s shared on Facebook? Tweeted? Shows up in the Google search results?
Here’s a little checklist I’ve developed to help make blog posting go off without a hitch:
- Spell check it. Take the preview page, select all the text, and paste it into a new Microsoft Word document. Word does a nice job of going beyond just the spelling check and spotting some grammar errors. Alternatively, you can post it in a Google Doc and get the same kind of help.
- Grammar check it. I like Grammarly, as it seems to do a more thorough job than Word.
- Check your URL. If the post is intended to draw search traffic, do you have your target term in the URL slug?
- Size up your page title. Make sure it’s not excessively long, especially after your brand is added to the end. You also want to be sure it’s not going to get truncated in a way that isn’t readable, or perhaps is offensive. See Dr. Pete’s article from May 2016 on new guidelines for title tag length.
- Link-check it. Make sure all of the links in your post work. I’ve seen 3,245,613,023 links on clients sites that were broken because they started with “www” instead of “http://www”. I like the Chrome extension called Check My Links by Paul Livingstone.
- Excerpt it. Use the tag in WordPress (there’s a button there that inserts this HTML tag for you), so that on the main blog page and all of the archive pages, it only shows the headline and the first couple of sentences, avoiding duplicate content issues.
- Publish it. Unfortunately, there are a few things you cannot test with a non-live page.
- See how it looks on Facebook. Test with the Facebook debugger to make sure that the headline, image, etc. looks the way you want it. Fix your Open Graph tags if needed. Note that if you change the Open Graph tags, you’ll probably want to re-fetch your page in the debugger–not just to test it, but also that forces Facebook to re-read those tags…otherwise, they may use the old tags from the last time they read the page.
- See how it looks Tweeted. Test with Twitter’s tester to make sure that you’re getting the embedded image and extended description showing the way you want it to.
- Share it. Take the URL of the single post (don’t make the mistake of sharing the main blog page URL!), and paste it on Facebook; send out a Tweet with that URL; create a Google+ post and paste the URL in it; pin images from the post to your Pinterest board.
- Promote it. At a minimum, immediately get your team to Like and Share it on Facebook, so that Facebook sees a lot of initial engagement–this makes it much more likely that Facebook will then show the post to a wider audience. And, get your team to retweet your tweet as well. If you’re serious about getting this post seen, then Boost the post in Facebook.
- Tell Google about it. For most of you, this isn’t necessary, but…. If it’s a blog that gets republished on another website, or you find yourself getting scraped by other sites, you want Google to see that content on your site first. Go to Search Console, and resubmit your sitemap so that Google (hopefully) crawls the new page on your site before they see it elsewhere. And, if you’re deliberately republishing it on another website, check to see that the rel canonical on that other website is pointing at the post on your main site.
This checklist is centered around what to do when you’re ready to publish your post. If you’re looking for help on how to plan your content etc. for a blog post, Rand Fishkin’s got this Whiteboard Friday video that I recommend you watch: