If you're anything like me, but the time you've finished a post you just want to hit publish. Maybe it's taken a long time to write the post (and you're so frustrated, you're like Eff this!) or you're super thrilled about the photos you took of the new store and just can't wait to share them.
Before you get OMG so excited to hit publish, quickly go through these 10 steps. They'll help provide focus and direction to your posts, increase traffic to your site, make your site look more polished and easy on the eyes, and help give you a better sense of the traffic visiting your site.
Ask yourself, “What is my goal with this post? Do I reach it?”
If you're hoping to inspire your readers to try out new summer trends, then a collage of 10 images with links — and nothing else — may not do that. Your readers may not know why you shared those items. On the other hand, if you're hoping to share a beauty routine for oily skin and include your favorite products, how you use them, and how often… well, mission accomplished! Begin and end each post with a purpose, and be honest with whether or not you've reached it by the end.
Assign a Category and Tags to the post:
Categories and tags are two different ways that search engines pick up your site and establish authority on your content. You shouldn't duplicate the category and tag necessarily, but you should name them topics you frequently use (don't just leave your posts hanging in “uncategorized” – in fact, remove that as a category. Now!). Make sure to tag and categorize your post so search engines know that content is being updated! (See Erika Miller's SEO tips about Post Tags for more information on using tags.)
Build your links up from within.
It's no secret that links into your site help with SEO and PageRank. It's how Google and other search engines establish authority. But you can also gain authority by linking to your old posts. So before you hit publish, ask yourself, “Can I link to an old post of mine?” Maybe you're sharing an outfit post; link to the last time you wore that skirt, or link to your category page of vintage fashion when you wrote, “What I love about vintage dresses is how easy they are to wear.” (Want to see this in action? Read the points below 😉
Make Your Images SEO Rich!
I get so, SO much traffic to my site from SEO rich images. First, make sure your image file isn't named IMG_0123.jpg. Instead try naming it EmmaStoneOscars2012.jpg or ValentinoRockstudsPink.jpg (whatever describes the image!). Then use the ALT IMG tag to fill in additional keywords. Search engines will pick these up and direct traffic back to your site.
Fill in your SEO Plugins to maximize search results:
If you aren't sure what SEO plugins to use, start here. If you've got an SEO plugin, but aren't sure quite what each field means, read this post (it's based on All in One SEO, but most SEO plugins have similar fields). I like to think of SEO as a word game– how many different ways can a person ask Google a question about the topic I've written about? And that's how I fill in the keywords.
Use Bit.ly to track your links:
With working for IFB, I've grown to love Bit.ly links more and more. They provide great statistics and analytics about your links: when they get the most clicks and what platform those clicks are coming from. It can help give you a better understanding of when to share posts or whether people are clicking on products on your posts.
Quickly scan your post for grammar errors:
Confused by commas and semicolons? Not so sure if you've overused those ellipses? Do a quick scan of your content to make sure your sentences make sense, and that they're clear and easy to understand. When in doubt, write simply! Your sentences don't have to be long or filled with large words to be effective.
Make sure all of your images are the same width:
A silly tip, but this helps create a clean and continuous look for your size. If you're not a fan of a portrait image being the same width as a landscape image (I'm not, they seem disproportionate!), try making all of your images square, or pairing two portraits together to create a smaller, landscape sized image. Use image consistency as a means to create a signature visual style on your site.
If you work full-time or are balancing multiple life obligations (work, family, school, etc.), scheduling your social media can be a lifesaver. You may not be around to share posts as they go live, but you can easily set up unique tweets and Facebook statuses to publish when you aren't around. Just pop your post URL into bit.ly, copy the link into social media sites and schedule. Then move on with your day! (Just don't overuse this feature, okay? Make sure to get in & interact, too!)
Give your readers a call to action.
No post is complete with out a call to action. Engage your readers so that they're responding to your posts– whether asking questions that prompt a response or asking them to click a link (for a cause, to buy a product, or share your posts). Engagement is a huge part of blogging, and if your posts aren't asking them to engage… well, then what's the purpose of the post?
That's it! With these 10 steps, you should be on your way to publicizing your post more, drawing in more traffic, and engaging your readers more.
What other steps to do you feel most blogger skip or miss before they hit publish? Anything you do consistently with dramatic results?
[Image Source: Shutterstock.com]