Publish WordPress Blog Post

How to Properly Publish a WordPress Blog Post

by Nicholas Tart on May 10, 2011 · 26 comments

It takes me three-five hours to write a blog post. And once it’s in a Word document, it’s another hour before the post is scheduled.

Most bloggers spend 45-minutes to an hour on the whole blog-writing-posting-publishing process and they wonder why they don’t get traffic. It’s partly because they’re leaving out at least one of these tasks.

Here are 18 things you should do to every WordPress blog post after you write it and before you publish it.

Keyword Analysis

If you read the Search Engine Optimization 101 post, you’ll know that I always do keyword research before I write a post for two reasons:

  1. To see if people actually have questions about a topic I want to write about.
  2. To determine exactly what keywords that I want to rank for.

For instance, I was going to title this post, How to Properly Publish a Blog Post but I found that the keyword, WordPress Publish Post is searched 1300 times per month and has 0/10 competition. Now WordPress Publish Post is my primary keyword for this post.

Use Google’s nifty Keyword Tool to do keyword research.

Headline

Once you have two-three keywords, craft the headline to include those keywords and to capture curiosity.

I tried to capture your curiosity with the headline by including the words How to Properly. How to always makes for a good post. And the word Properly makes you think, “maybe there’s something I’m missing.”

If you’ve read this far, it worked.

Intro Text

If you flip through a magazine you’ll notice that almost every feature article starts with a drop-cap and larger-than-normal intro text. This draws your eye to the beginning of the article and makes the first few lines easier to read.

I do the same with 14 Clicks.

Here’s the HTML for the intro text on this post:

<p class="intro"><span class="drop_cap">I</span>t takes me three-five hours to write a blog post. And once it’s in a Word document, it’s another hour before the post is scheduled.</p>

Here’s the CSS that I use to style my intro text:

.drop_cap { color:#8FBEBE; font-family:Georgia, Arial, sans-serif; font-size:3.1em; font-style:normal; text-shadow:#777777 1px 1px 1px;}
p.intro { color:#777777; font-size: 1.3em; font-style:italic; line-height:1.4em; }

Click to Continue

I choose to show only the post introductions (rather than the whole post) on the homepage. So at the end of the introduction I put the <!- -more- -> code and this becomes a [click to continue…] link on the homepage.

With the Thesis WordPress Theme (aff link), you can control the [click to continue…] text from the Edit Post area under “Read More” text. But I always use the default for the sake of consistency.

Subheadings

Most bloggers just bold their subheadings to make them stand out. This is a big SEO mistake.

The title tag should be the one and only <h1> tag on your page. Then all of your subheadings should be wrapped in <h2> tags. This structures your blog post for both your readers and search engines.

If you use the Heading 2 style in Microsoft Word to emphasize your subheadings, then you can copy-paste your post in the Visual view and WordPress will convert them to <h2> subheadings. WordPress also converts bold, italics, bulleted lists, and numbered lists.

Clean HTML

After you copy-paste, pick through the HTML view and to clean up any errant code. Clean code gets indexed higher. That’s another reason to use WordPress to build websites.

Post Slug

The post slug is what comes after your domain in the URL of your web page. Adjust the post slug by removing the filler words (e.g. to, a, the, etc.) and leaving the relevant keywords separated by dashes.

For example, the post slug for this page is publish-wordpress-blog-post.

Note: I made a spelling mistake when I first published this post which affected the post slug. So now I fixed the spelling in the slug and none of the social media counts transfered over because technically it’s a new page.

Meta Data

After the slug, copy-paste one of the sentences from your post introduction as the meta description. Paste it word-for-word so you don’t misrepresent the content of the post in how it’s indexed on Google.

After the meta description, list the three-five meta keywords that you found in your keyword research.

Featured Image

Always, always have at least (and arguably only) one feature image per blog post. Put it at the top of the post. Its purpose is to attract the eye and convince someone to read the post.

Set that image as the “Feature Image” when you upload it and anytime it’s shared via Facebook, that’s the image that will appear next to the link.

All of the feature images on 14 Clicks are 200px by 200px and placed right with text wrap and above headline. I also upload a thumbnail of the same image that’s 75px by 75px because I use thumbnails in the popular, recent, and similar post areas.

Get free images from Compfight by searching through the Creative Commons section. Compfight is a search engine for Flickr. Just attribute the image back to the profile page of its creator somewhere in your post. I put the link at the bottom.

Additional Images

In general, limit the number of images per web page to increase your load speed and make it easier to read on mobile devices.

But if you feel like additional images will drastically increase the quality of the content, you need to find/create, edit, optimize, and place them in the post.

Internal Linking

Always have at least two internal links to other articles on your site in your post. Interlinking posts strengthens the structure of your blog, like a spider web.

External Linking

Also, remember to include external links to other relevant resources (e.g. Google Keyword Tool).

Some bloggers think that you should never link out to other blogs because you’ll lose that traffic. However, Google is the biggest site in the world and all they do is link out.

Sharing other high-quality resources is one way to increase the value of your site.

Excerpt

Put a one-sentence summary of your content in the excerpt. You’ll find it near the bottom of the Edit Post area.

I use the same sentence from the meta description as my excerpt because it has the same purpose: it’s a summary that’s intended to get people to read the whole thing.

It shows up on my excerpt-only RSS feed, it’s the sentence in the Aweber newsletter, and it’s the description under the title in the secret-until-now Top Posts area.

Category

Every post should fall into one and only one category. Categories allow you to organize the content on your site. They’re like the folders on your hard drive.

Most bloggers use categories wrong. They have a comprehensive list of 27 categories and put each post into three or four. Instead, have no more than 10 categories and use them to organize content to your benefit.

Categories are for you.

Tags

Tags are like categories but less formal. You’ll see the tags for this post at the bottom.

Each post should have three-seven tags. When you click on the tag, you’ll get a list of all the posts that have the same tag.

Tags are for your readers.

Preview

Once you believe everything is in its place, preview the post to see how it’ll look on your site.

Edit, Edit, Edit

In preview-mode, read through and edit the post two-three times before you call it good. Look for basic grammar and spelling mistakes. But also check for phrases that you can link to other blog posts.

Schedule

The last thing you should do to every blog post is Schedule it rather than Publish it. I always schedule the posts to be published at midnight MST the next day for three reasons:

  1. It gives me a chance to make any last minute changes before it goes live.
  2. People can visit the next day and see a post that was published that day.
  3. The subscribers will be the first to see it since they get an email between 7am-9am (their local time).

Free Blog Post Publishing Checklist

To help you remember all 18 to-dos before you click “Publish,” I created a free checklist that you can print out, laminate, and store on a dusty shelf.

If you want it, you can grab it here.

In case you’re wondering, it took 3 hours, 50 minutes, and 14 seconds to write this 1365-word blog post (cut down from 1566 words after editing). Plus it took another 47 minutes and 16 seconds to post it.

Post image by: Miss Kels

{ 23 comments… read them below or add one }

Buntu Redempter May 11, 2011 at 1:05 pm

Good Job Nick, Great Post!

Reply

Nicholas Tart May 11, 2011 at 3:13 pm

Thanks, Buntu. What did you learn?

Reply

Buntu Redempter May 11, 2011 at 11:33 pm

I learned how to publish blog post in general, as I have a new website to write to: http://bunturedempter.me

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Nicholas Tart May 12, 2011 at 2:20 pm

Good. A lot of the concepts are the same for Posterous and all the other CMS’s.

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Patrick Soukup May 11, 2011 at 10:47 pm

Nick,

I am being egotistical here, but I feel as if you read my blog when I posted it, and wen’t… “HOLY COW, this is a big time rook!”

Thanks for the pointers!

Reply

Nicholas Tart May 12, 2011 at 2:27 pm

Hey Patrick… Not sure what you mean by your comment. I enjoyed reading it. Which is one of the more important things. But I noticed a few things that could be improved, and that’ll come with time.

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David June 30, 2011 at 1:50 pm

Interesting post. How did you get the social media buttons to stay pinned to the left side like that? Very cool. Also the “Don’t Miss” block and the article block are cool – how did you do that?
Personally, I think spending 4 hours on a blog post is nuts. 40 minutes is probably 20 minutes too long, unless you’re consistently generating major revenue from every blog post.

Reply

Nicholas Tart June 30, 2011 at 3:07 pm

Hey David… It’s a plugin called Sharebar by Monjurul Dolon. You can also get a similar effect with CSS (margin-left: -91px; position:fixed; ).

The “Don’t Miss” block is a highly customized version of the Similar Posts plugin by Rob Marsh. And the “Article by” area was custom developed. Feel free to peak through the HTML and CSS to get a better idea.

I’ve always been a slow writer. Even this reply is taking a few minutes. But I also know that some of the regulars at Copyblogger spend 8-10 hours on their guest posts. The question is: “Which comes first? The 8-hour blog posts or the major revenue?”

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Susheel Chandradhas July 6, 2011 at 5:21 am

Hi Nick,

Nice to see you engaging with the commenters here. I know what you mean when you say that you take 5 hours to write a post. Some of my best posts have taken 3-4 hours to write, link and get all the images needed to publish in place.

I enjoyed this post and it was valuable. Keep them coming.

Reply

Nick Tart July 6, 2011 at 6:30 pm

Hey Susheel! It’s my pleasure to interact with the commenters here. Frankly, most bloggers spend less than an hour per blog post and they ask for tips on how they can get more traffic. I always tell them to create higher quality content, but that’s not what they want to hear.

By the way, I was viewing your site in Chrome and the sidebar was pushed under the content. Take care and keep it up!

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Jacob October 6, 2011 at 8:54 pm

Excellent post. Very detailed and informative.

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Nicholas Tart October 7, 2011 at 11:51 am

Thanks, Jacob! Nice talking with you yesterday. I’ll be on the lookout for you ;).

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Marcel October 26, 2011 at 5:57 pm

Very inspiring, Im 21 and been trying to ‘make it’ online since 16. You are an inspiration and I wish you only the best.

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Nicholas Tart October 30, 2011 at 11:55 pm

Thank you, Marcel! What questions and struggles do you have?

Reply

Anar November 2, 2011 at 10:38 am

thank you nicholas!

Reply

Nicholas Tart November 2, 2011 at 11:43 am

You’re welcome, Anar. How are you using these techniques?

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ubaidsamyga November 20, 2011 at 3:08 pm

hi

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dochi November 22, 2011 at 11:09 pm

thanx for your information…its help my job

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Nicholas Tart November 23, 2011 at 12:59 am

You’re welcome, Dochi. How did it help with your job?

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Arthur December 9, 2011 at 2:27 pm

Do you still believe in creating a blog to make money? Don’t you think Mobile advertizing and QR-codes are the new hot thing?

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Nicholas Tart December 10, 2011 at 10:29 am

Creating a blog is not an easy way to make money. It’s a long-term strategy to learn about your market and develop tools/businesses specifically for them. Then launching them is cake, as long as you do a good job with the blog.

I don’t know much about mobile advertising and QR codes are somewhat of a joke. Nobody actually scans them. When was the last time you did?

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Paula Key December 10, 2012 at 9:24 pm

Writing is a gift and we need to nourish and appreciate its worth.
Like you, I never begrudge hours given to a ‘child that I love.’
Your method is trustworthy and brilliant! I appreciate being the student at your feet. As they say, “when the student is ready, the master appears.”
Thanks.

Reply

Hollie Dodd July 3, 2013 at 1:38 pm

Great post, very useful and will certainly be referred back to!

Thank you :)

Just in case you were wondering… my search was ‘publishing a wordpress blog’, so well done :P

Reply

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