The freedom to self publish on the Internet is both a blessing and a curse. It allows us to say what we want, when we want, as often as we want. We can create our own businesses, become entrepreneurs and channel our creative talents in ways we may have never thought possible. That’s the blessing side.
So why is it also a curse? This freedom allows us to run our sites virtually unchecked. We alone take responsibility for our content. Essentially there is no filter and no barrier between us and what we’re sharing, when perhaps there should be. Think about how many eyes read an article for Vogue before it appears on those glossy pages. Is your blog as permanent and influential as Vogue, maybe not, but we could all benefit from an extra set of eyes or a quick check before posting.
Since a second pair of eyes is often not an option – we've outlined a quick checklist to talk yourself through before you share your posts live on your blog. From little grammar slips to bigger content concepts, putting your stuff to the test will produce higher-quality, original content you’d be proud to see on the pages of your favorite glossy.
Check out how your post reads, in every way.
Read it forwards, then read it backwards. (This is an old college trick that will help you catch grammar errors and misspellings.) Be especially careful of your use of “it's” and “its,” and the dreaded “their,” “they're” and “there.” Try reading your post out loud to yourself as well to make sure your sentences aren't too long and your paragraphs flow nicely. We're big believers in the importance of content editing!
Are all your images sized correctly and in focus?
View your post in the ‘preview' mode before it goes live. Make sure your images are all universally sized and centered, or that they fit into your text well if aligned to the left or right. Even when your images switch between vertical and horizontal, have a uniform width. (We tend to think bigger is better as well, as long as they still look crisp when enlarged.) You'll be amazed at the difference in continuity image uniformity creates.
How are the mechanics?
Once your post is live but before you push it on social media, check to make sure all your links are working. If you’ve got affiliate links be sure they lead to the right product, and if your image comes from an outside source, be sure the link to that source correct.
Does your post title inspire, entice or excite?
The title of your post is your strongest selling point, always. Whether or not you focus on SEO tactics, you should make an effort to sell your readers on the amazing post they should really want to read. Will it inspire them to get creative in their own closets? Does your title ask a question or present an enticing opportunity to learn something new? Whether you’re asking a question, using numbers or creating a how-to, just try to keep it short and sweet!
Ask yourself, “Would I read this post?”
No seriously, would you? You’re probably the best example of your blog’s ideal audience, so be critical of your own content. If you've bored yourself within the first sentence or two – time for a re-write! If you don’t care that much about what you’re saying or wearing, odds are your audience won’t either. Think not only about how you’re writing, but what you’re writing about. It’s better to hold back on posting if you don’t have something interesting to say, rather than using a sub-par post as filler.
Where did this post idea come from?
Sometimes we have one of those light bulb moments and just have to immediately start writing and create a post. It’s a brilliant thing. Just be sure that you didn't have that moment because you saw the idea somewhere else. The beauty of the creative space is that there’s always room for something new. However, there’s rarely any love for those who just repackage something that’s already been said. We all get inspired by each other – and that's how it's supposed to be. just be sure to put your own, unique spin on everything you do.
[Image credit: Alli G., Shutterstock.]