20 Steps to Write a Blog Post
I see time and again that when people are posting on their blogs some steps are omitted. This post is about the steps you need to take to get maximum coverage in social channels and search engines.
Desktop Text Editor
I use a desktop text editor such as Microsoft Word or OpenOffice Writer to write my posts. The reason for this is that I have had a online tools crash on me losing all the work. Right now I think the safest way is to write offline and save often. Here’s what you need to do:
- Write the post.
- Create a keyword rich title. The keywords in the title are great fodder for search engine spiders.
- Select categories under which you file the post. I put most posts into several categories.
- Select a dozen important keywords from the post that will become the tags for this post.
- Write a description of the post. Up to 160 characters that tell people why they should read this post. Google uses this as a search result snippet.
- Select images that illustrate the subject matter. Give credit to the authors of the images. Good sources for images are sxc.hu and Flickr advanced search creative commons.
I use WordPress as the blogging platform. But most major providers should have the features described here. At this point all the editing should be done and you will just copy and paste the content into your blog.
- Enter the title and save the draft. This way you will make sure that the web address of the post will be the same as post title. You may edit the URL to make it shorter and increase keyword density.
- Copy the body text of the post and format as needed. Make important passages bold and use sub headings as needed.
- Add the pictures.
- Set the categories.
- Add the tags.
- Copy and paste the description of the post.
- Set the time for publication. Experiment to find out what is the best time to publish your blog posts. (Read: When to Tweet, Email, and Post on Facebook?)
- Click publish or schedule.
Spreading the Word
It’s not enough to just publish your post. You have to take the post to readers door step and this means knowing the channels where they hang out.
- First share it on your Facebook page. Add a short description what’s it about. This way your post will not seem as an automated feed. Click like.
- Write a tweet and post the link to Twitter.
- Add the post to appropriate LinkedIn groups.
- In important forums and Q&A sites find if the post answers existing questions. Write the short and to the point answer and add a link to your post for more detail. Make sure you are on topic.
- Ask your friends and colleagues to share, retweet, like and comment the post in channels they feel comfortable with. This creates initial social confirmation that other people actually like the post.
Now if you have written a good post people will interact with it by commenting, retweeting and sharing.
- Answer all comments to keep the conversations going.
- Comment on the blogs that are linking to your post. Thank them and try to add something to the original post.
These steps won’t make anybody a better writer but you will get more out of what you write. These steps may create a dramatic difference in traffic and engagement. So, if you are spending hours agonizing over th blog posts then take the extra 15 minutes to get the most out of them. I originally wrote this post as a checklist for a client. Print the bullet points out and check them off as you publish your posts.
Image credit Romain Ballez