Publish WordPress Blog Post

How to Properly Publish a WordPress Blog Post

by Nicholas Tart on May 10, 2011

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

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