Blog posting is an art form often developed over time. My early blog posts were crap. Boring, poorly constructed, sometimes ridiculously short and that very few people were interested in. They got better as, every blogger does, when I focused on my audience, the intention and some other key areas. But there were still elements missing and the traffic wasn’t coming. No one cared!

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On my journey (cliche I know but it’s kinda true in this case!) I learned loads. There is so much information all over the web about how to blog well, earn money blogging, increase traffic, engage readers, grow your email list….it goes on. I found the best bits from EVERYWHERE and made myself the most comprehensive tick sheet that I’ve ever seen! Really, I’m not just blowing my own trumpet here, this is literally information from across the web, from all the gurus and fountains-of-knowledge, wrapped up in one easy blog post and tick sheet! Since I started using it I have seen a dramatic increase in traffic, engagement and shares! And I’m sharing it with you!

 

Haven’t got time to read this post?

Don’t worry!

Download the checklist here

and we’ll say no more about it 🙂

 

I found there were a number of main areas that were the focus of most or all of the helpful articles and downloadable forms out there. Some mentioned all of the areas, some just focused on a few or one and got really detailed about it. I went through all of them and pulled out the basics. My aim was to have one, workable, simple, document that I could print off and use for EVERY SINGLE BLOG POST. I wanted a simple system that reminded me to check for, and do, certain things before and after I hit publish. So, I did it. I gathered information from all of the sources available at the time and pulled them all together to make one sheet that i use every time I write!

 

Don’t Panic

 

I created this checklist during my journey, not before it. That’s important! I don’t want anyone who has been blogging for a while to read this and think that you’ve ruined your chances because your older blog post are wrong. They are not. They might just need some TLC. And, although it may take a little time, they can all be updated (even one a day like I did!) and improved upon.

 

In fact, on that note, you should consistently be going back to your old posts. Updating them, making them relevant, changing things up and experimenting with those changes to see what works and what doesn’t. In the blogging world, change is your friend!

 

The Area

  • Brand
  • SEO
  • Technical
  • Written Content
  • Visual Content
  • Traffic
  • Marketing & Networking
  • Post-Blogging/Later Tasks

Branding

 

This is a key element of all the awesome and successful blogs out there. Consistent branding is the key to looking professional. Top notch brands are known inside and outside of their industry. They have consistent colours, fonts, themes, and lots of other little bits that make you know instantly that the thing you are looking at belongs to them. We don’t all have millions to spend on marketing and branding specialists but it really isn’t that hard to build consistency across your customer facing areas (including your website, emails, and social media platforms).

 

My brand basics: a 6 colour palette that I use for everything, along with three fonts and standard photograph styles

 

Like I said earlier, just because you’ve been blogging for a while does not mean this is the end. I have also developed my branding as I’ve gone along and it’s still being improved to this day (new look website coming in a matter of days actually! 🙂 watch this space!!) So do not feel disheartened. Everything can be changed, even if it takes time. Set a plan and don’t feel overwhelmed! Brain dump your ideas and set actionable steps to aim toward the overall outcome you want. (Get a planner!)

 

You can learn more about Branding from the amazing Wonderlass. You will not regret visiting her site or signing up to her mailing list! She is the guru of all online and blogging business stuff! She knows her shiz!

 

Search Engine Optimisation

 

When I first started blogging, I had no idea what certain things meant and SEO was one of them! Inside this ever evolving whirlwind of algorithms and acronyms there is even more to learn. It is literally the Russian Doll of the computer age; once you think you’ve cracked it, there’s more inside waiting to confuse you! So, to help, I’ve given you a quick, no frills breakdown of some of the language!

 

Hint: get these in your memory bank now so they come naturally when using the checklist. It isn’t complicated, but in order to keep in short I’ve used some of these terms! You could also save this page and come back later!

 

META Descriptions/Tags

Simply put these are the bits you see under the webpage title/description when you search in a search engine. So, they really need to say what your post is about and what it can do for your reader!

 

SERP

Search Engine Results Page (simple!) the bit that pops up after you press search in google, yahoo, etc.

 

Keywords

These are the words that tell people, and the search engine bots, what your post is about. It’s important to use relevant key words in all of your content, META descriptions and Tags. A good example for me is my silly use of the term “small human” for my kid. That’s not a good key word! How many people search for small human clothes in google! See!

 

Long Tail Keywords

This is the same as keywords but that bit longer (see what I did there!) They should really be called sentences! These are simply the terms or words someone might use in a search engine to find something specific. So, like my example earlier. I want new clothes for my tiny human. Not going to search that am I! I will use phrases like “cheap children’s clothes” (don’t judge me they grow fast!) or “local children’s clothes shops”. You get the point!

 

URL

That’s your web address bit that takes you where you want to go. Like typing into your home address into your satnav – it’ll take you there as long as you’ve got it right.

So for example: my home page URL is:

https://www.theyorkshirepudding.co.uk

This takes you to my home page only. From there you can navigate around of course, but like an address, that’s the welcome page’s home.

However, each blog post or new page you write has it’s own little address to make it unique like my new product page: https://www.theyorkshirepudding.co.uk/adulting 

So, checking this to make sure it’s to the point and sensible is always a good pointer for everything, including SEO!

HINT: The URL’s above are linked so you can click on them and see what I mean!

 

Image Alt Text

I’m no computer magician so this is the best way I can describe my limited knowledge. Image Alt Text is the bit behind images in your post. You know that annoying thing when a page doesn’t load properly (happens sometimes even to the best of us – blush!) Instead of seeing the image that was meant to be there you’ll see words of what the image should contain. Alt text people! That’s what it is! Depending on the platform you’re using depends on the way to edit this so I can’t help you with that bit, but, I would recommend understanding how to edit this for your own platform and doing it for every post. It also tells the search engine bots what your image is too – so use your keywords in sensible sentences!

 

Technical Bits

 

There’s a few techie bits involved with most blog posts – nothing too flamboyant mind you because if it was, I wouldn’t be here. My understanding of some of the basics is covered in the checklist to make sure I’m doing the BASIC sensible techie bits to make my post SEO friendly and uses marketing lingo (like CTA’s – calls to action – asking the reader to take action – i.e. click here! Read Now! Check this out! Learn more today!…..You get the drift!)

 

Written and Visual Bits

 

The main lesson here, position yourself as the absolute font of knowledge for your blog post – whatever the topic. You know what you’re talking about! Believe it yourself and write from there. Do not touch your keyboard before you believe this.

Sorry, I’m climbing down from the soapbox!

We’re writing blog posts aren’t we…durrrr….yeah I know but there are some things that even writers need to be reminded of. Like, the difference between writing a blog post and an academic paper – huge difference! There’s no way you’d catch me writing like this for my assignment on Shakespeare! But there’s the point; writing for the blog world is different because it’s writing like you’re talking to someone. Like really having a conversation with a person to tell them about something. It’s more emotive, digestible and addictive for the reader. Talk to your people! You can sometimes throw the grammar for beginners book out of the window, but only when appropriate mind you! There is no excuse for the wrong use of there, their and they’re – ever!

 

Visuals should be part and parcel of any fine blog post because it helps to tell your story. Using a mixture of pictures, graphics, diagrams and infographics helps to get your point across, explain a complex theory or problem, and breaks up the damn writing! It can be so boggling reading lots and lots of text. Break it up for your readers people!! On top of that, images allow your posts to be shared and saved more easily on places like Pinterest and Instagram, that are visually oriented platforms, in addition to allowing you to link through to recommended products and services while visually demonstrating them! It’s also proven that images demonstrating a point, build trust with a reader – I’m chuffed that I know that! See, lots of benefits to the pics!

 

Traffic, Networking and Marketing

 

As with SEO, it’s important to understand your traffic and to optimise your post to get it’s best possible audience! After all, you’re a genius at work. Make sure people can find your works of brilliance without having to be spoon fed! Marketing your work is so important because you are important.

 

The big figures I’ve seen thrown around from blogging experts are that bloggers will spend 20% of their time actually writing and 80% of their time marketing their work. Otherwise, you just won’t get the readers without some epic stroke of luck and positive thinking powers even beyond my comprehension (and trust me when I say I’m the Calvin Klein of positive pants!) Marketing doesn’t just include social media posts either; it can be simply marketing yourself! Getting out there and talking to people in the blogosphere, connecting on link parties, Facebook groups, twitter chats, forums, the list goes on! Marketing and networking are very much one and the same in the early days of blogging.

 

After Post Tasks

Many of us are guilty of writing brilliant content, hoping people will find it and throwing out the odd social media post and forgetting about it. There’s loads of helpful blog posts and articles out there that tell us not to. So DON’T DO IT! Especially with evergreen content that is relevant today and will still be relevant tomorrow and in two years! Keep churning out your new stuff but don’t neglect your old posts!

 

Think about re-purposing them, mixing them up (like I suggested earlier!) or sharing them on places like Medium (on that note, there’s a brilliant article on this by smartblogger.com – seriously, read it!)

 

Has that given you some food for thought? It all sounds complicated at first but trust me when I tell you it’s not once you get into the swing of things! I genuinely believe that this simple, A4 (not reams and reams of information!) printable tick-sheet is the only reminder you’ll ever need before you hit publish next time. Try it!

 

I would love to hear the impact it has on your blog! Hit me up in the comments and tell me how it goes

 

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