For those of you ready to begin a blog (and wanting to do it right), you might be looking for some evidence that you are on the right path. Most bloggers struggle to get started. So here’s a head start for you.
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This checklist is a summary of my strategy for blogging. And I hope it helps you! You might also find my daily checklist for Twitter helpful as well.
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But this post isn’t a daily checklist, it’s a “when you are ready to write” checklist. Because most of us can’t afford to blog everyday. And many of us don’t have audiences that want new content every day. Although I will say when I started two other blogs earlier in my blogging career, I did write every day on each for 90 days.
Why? Well, because someone said I should. To establish content and a consistency (to show readers that I wasn’t going anywhere). You can visit my job search and career blog or my new ideas blog (rather quiet now). And see a few other examples.
Here’s the checklist. if you have any questions, please share them in the comments.
Blog Structure and Content
- Do you know the primary purpose and theme of your blog?
- What are your categories?
- What are your keywords?
- Who are you writing for (target profiles)?
- How often will you write?
- What is your permalink style (should include the title of post)?
- Do you have an email feed sign up?
- Do you have a Facebook “Like” box?
- Do you have sharing buttons for Twitter, Facebook, etc?
- Is your photo or your logo “above the fold” so all can see it?
- Have you optimized your sidebar? (e.g. add categories and recent posts – remove “archive”)
- What other “engagement” widgets or plugins can you add?
- Do you have a blog roll? Create a list of 10 blogs that you like and link to their posts in yours. Comment on their posts. Re-tweet their stuff.
Before You Write
- Create an editorial calendar for the month. Have a theme for the month (or week).
- What is your topic? Is it consistent with the main theme of your blog?
- What keyword or words will you focus on?
- Who are you writing for today?
- What’s your voice/personality?
- Use short sentences, subheads, numbering or bulleting systems.
- Headlines should include keywords, be attention-getting and be less than 60 characters. Avoid gimmicky or “too clever”.
- 1st paragraph is important to keep someone reading. Use story, promise or startling fact.
- Is your blog about you? Unless relating an experience to make a point, it should not be
- One link per 120 words (4 per post). Generally two internal links and two external links. Make sure you use keyword driven anchor text. And consider linking to posts more than blogs (creates a trackback so that others will see it).
- Add links to your LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube or Facebook pages.
- Ask a question at the end of every post. To draw comments.
Before You Publish
- What’s your word count? Good target 500-750 words. Avoid <300 and over >900. Break longer posts into two smaller ones (Tues/Thurs)
- Do you have a photo in the post? What is it titled and what alt tags have you added to it?
- Choose only one category for each post
- Include at least 10 tags that are unique to the post and include your primary keyword (s)
- Check links (to make sure they work).
- Preview the post to make sure it looks right
- Check your spelling
After You Publish
- Share on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter (twice), StumbleUpon (you can use your own buttons to do this).
- Re-tweet version with heads-up to those your featured or linked-to in post or grab a compelling line and use that instead of your original title.
- Respond to comments, say thanks for Retweets, shares and likes.
I hope this post answers some of your “how do I get started” questions. If you have more questions or if you need more information, please comment below or send me a note.
Blogging can be a powerful tool to establish your brand promise. But it can also be an inefficient activity if you are not doing it right.
What’s on your blog checklist to create a compelling post each time you sit down to write?
Thanks robstephaustralia for the photo via Flickr