Checklist for the perfect blog
Running a blog is the sort of work one is inclined to think would be easy. And it is, but only in relative terms – in comparison to working in a coal mine, for instance.
But in terms of how you’ll actually be thinking of it, well, it’ll soon turn out to be one helluva lot harder than you’ve convinced yourself it’ll be. Sure, you can do it from home, and can occasionally fluff out your word count with some shrewd thesaurusing; but you’re still facing the usual ruthless deadlines, demanding customer base, and sea of competitors who you need to beat out.
And for all the jokes we tell about how people don’t read anymore – because, really, they don’t – there’s still a great deal of risk to publishing a substandard blog post; if Murphy’s Law has anything to say about it, that’ll be the one that everyone ends up reading. Your brand’s going to be reeling from that blow for a while.
So, really, tedious as it might seem sometimes, it really is worth it – even on those dark, caffeine-fuelled all-nighters – to take those few extra minutes necessary to make sure your post really does match up to some standards. And yes, the internet does have standards; they’re not highly exacting, but still, there’s a fair few boxes that it’s worth checking off to ensure you meet them. Here’s just a few of them:
Grammar and spelling
Think you got them all? You probably haven’t. Spellchecking is all very well; but spellchecking again, there’s a certain magic in that. Every time you reread your work, beginning to end, you increase your odds of spotting that missing letter, that unnecessary comma, that uncapitalised proper noun – all those minute errors so easy to pass over when you’re typing, yet which even the most semi-literate of anonymous internet users seem to have an eagle-eye for.
Keywords (no keyword stuffing)
Keywords are like anti-wrinkle cream: they’re essential, but you can’t let anyone notice that you’re using them. There’s no better way to pluck up new potential customers from the swarming highway of the internet than a few well-chosen keywords (Google AdWords Keyword Planner can help you figure out just which one suit your business and blog the best); but they’ve got to be worked in there naturally. Shoehorn them in, and the customers notice. And that ticks ‘em off – they don’t like feeling manipulated.
Get those keywords in there; but don’t stuff ‘em.
The internet offers your potential readers several hundred billion things to do besides reading your blog; if your post’s introduction doesn’t pull them right in, a whole lot of them are going to get side-tracked right off the bat.
H2 and H3 formatting
You’ve got to split your post up into subsections, and not just because the average internet user is terrified of long paragraphs. Your best bet for getting your blog noticed is ensuring that interested can find it on Google; and Google needs to know which sections and words to pay attention to if it’s going to be of any use to you.
Whether internal or external, anything on the internet that you feel is strongly relevant to your post should be linked to.
That said, make sure you keep a particular eye out for opportunities to throw in links to your own posts; sending your readers directly to more posts that tap into their interests only grows your chances of earning dedicated followers and fans.
Pick the category for each post carefully. Too specific, and you won’t spread your net wide enough; too broad, and you’ll seem deceptive. You really don’t want that – it’s the internet. Folks are already inclined to be sceptical as it is.
As with the keywords, don’t overdo it; but everything that’s measurably important in the post should go into the tags.
Image alt tags
Let’s be honest: people like pictures. A lot of them like them more than words. But still, on occasion, folks will feel inclined to click that “visit page” button while browsing Google Images for pretty pictures; make sure your post’s images show up there with assiduous use of alt tags.
Your feature image’s job is simple: get attention. This isn’t asking a lot, and the qualifying factors for a good one are simple: it should be pretty, it should be colourful, it should be high-quality, it should fit in with the dimensions of your post, and it should relate, in some way, to what it’s about. Choose carefully – shouldn’t be hard. HD photography is an industry now.
It really can’t be said enough: you’ve got to get yourself noticed on Google if your blog’s going to get anywhere. Your meta description’s one of the first things potential readers are gonna see on there – it’s got to be short, it’s got to be sweet, and it’s got to make your post sound like it’s everything that your target audience needs.
Seriously, look at the preview. And look at it again with every edit. It doesn’t matter how short or how necessary that extra sentence you’re adding is; if it ends up turning the article’s intro paragraph into a great big square of text, you’re gonna lose readers.
Checked them all? You sure?
Check ‘em again. Do it.
Done? Honestly done? Go on then, hit that publish button – your post has earned it.
Just a side note
By the way, in case all this quality control work looks a bit too intimidating – after all, it involves reading and stuff – you could always get someone to give you a hand with it. We can offer you the services of qualified copywriters fully experienced in just what it takes to get your site prioritised by the great, all-encompassing machine we call Google.