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So, you’ve carefully crafted your very first blog post. All the writing is done and you think you’re ready to publish. But are you?
Well, there are a few things you should do before you hit publish. To get the most out of your work. So let’s make sure you’ve covered all the important extras. That you need to consider before you publish your first blog post. And these even apply to every other blog post you’ll write too.
1 | Create Multiple Pinterest Images
Before you hit publish with every blog post you write. You should also create a few Pinterest images. And embed them in your blog posts.
Pinterest is amazing for beginner bloggers to quickly get traffic. Within a short period of time. And you can see results much faster than you would with SEO.
Ideally, you should be creating and adding Pinterest images to your blog posts from day 1. Including your first ever blog post. Unless for some reason Pinterest isn’t a social media platform you plan to focus on. Like, ever.
But believe me when I say this. You should seriously consider using a Pinterest marketing strategy for your blog. If you haven’t got your Pinterest strategy sorted out yet. Then this ultimate guide for Pinterest beginners will help you master it in no time.
Oh, and there isn’t any set number of Pinterest images you should create. It depends on what you have time for. I do 4 per post currently. And then create a further 6, for posts that perform well with my audience. The more you create the better. But keep in mind that creating new content is more important in the early stages of blogging.
2 | Create Social Images For Facebook & Twitter
Whilst Pinterest is the social media platform I would suggest you focus on early on. It also doesn’t hurt to create social media images for the other common platforms. Such as Facebook and Twitter.
These both have their own specific optimal image sizes:-
Facebook: 1200 x 630 pixels
Twitter: 1024 x 512 pixels
But the images for each of these don’t have to be unique. In fact, you can use the same styles from your Pinterest image to create your Facebook image. And then scale it down a bit for your Twitter image.
This will help to save you time when creating social media images for your blog posts. As the number of images you need to create can add up and become quite time-consuming.
3 | Create Your Blog Post’s Featured Image
This featured image will vary depending on your theme. But you should be able to find information on what pixel size you should use from your Theme’s documentation.
For example, this blog theme uses 400 x 400 pixel images. And you can see these in use on the homepage as well as the search and archive pages. As like a thumbnail for the blog post.
You can even see these in use at the bottom of this blog post.
4 | Add Images To Your Blog Posts
In addition, to social media images. It is crucial for engagement to include images in your blog post before you hit publish. These images will help to keep your audience interested in your content and not get bored. The images can also help break up chunks of text to make them seem less daunting. After all, looking at a wall-of-text, will probably make you want to skip or skim over it right?
I like to have one image minimum per 1000 words. But I often add more than this. Oh, and remember to include some relevant SEO keywords in your image’s filename too.
Also, I sometimes even embed my Pinterest images into my blog posts. And use these as images to break up the text. This is especially useful for longer blog posts.
Not sure where to get images for your blog posts? Well, Ivory Mix has a huge library of 500+ free stock images for her subscribers. You can also get free stock images from places like:
5 | Optimize Your Blog Post Images Before You Hit Publish
There’s one thing with adding images to your blog posts though. You can’t just add them.
There needs to be some thought that goes into placing these images. In particular, optimizing the images are important. Otherwise, they can slow down your blog’s speed to the point where you start losing visitors.
So, how do you go about optimizing your images? Well, to start with, making sure the images are at the size that you will use them on your blog
Just think of all those extra pixels!
So, in short, make sure to crop and resize your images to the size you want to use them at on your blog.
Take Your Image Optimization Even Further With Compression Tools Before You Hit Publish
Next up, you can actually take these resized images. And make them even smaller by compressing them. You can even do this whilst maintaining high image quality. So you can’t spot the differences between the original and the compressed image.
There are several ways you can do this. One of the first ways I started off with. Was to compress my images manually. Using software like IrfanView, Photoshop, GIMP, or online tools to compress images like GIFs.
With these tools you can fine-tune your settings and optimization. But the major downside is how time-consuming it can be.
The next method people consider when using a WordPress blog. Are image compression plugins. There are plenty of options to choose from. But they vary in how well they actually compress.
These tools can allow you to automate compressing your images, which will save you time. But you need to make sure the WordPress plugin you are using. Will actually compress the images optimally.
When Using Image Compression Plugins Compared The Results
Out of all the plugins I have reviewed. The top ones in my experience have been:
If you want to go with automatically compressing your images then the best ones to go with are TinyPNG and ShortPixel. As they both offer excellent optimization. And free monthly allowances to get started with for the bootstrapping blogger. With the option to upgrade your monthly image compression allowances. For extremely affordable prices.
In fact, you can get 10,000 1-time image credits from ShortPixel for as little as $9.99 / £8.
Compare this to the extortionately expensive price you’d have to pay for Smush Pro. Since the free version of their compression plugin is severely lacking. Don’t bother wasting your time with it. It frustrates me when people suggest bloggers use it.
And if you don’t believe me read here. Because I have tested it among many other compression plugins. So, trust me when I say the Smush compression plugin is only worth it at the paid level. And the paid option is expensive. So, unless you plan to use most of their other premium plugins alongside Smush. It simply isn’t worth it for new bloggers.
6 | Ensure Your Images Are Formatted Correctly Before You Hit Publish
Another of the many considerations that come with using images in your blog posts. That you need to consider b
Every image on your blog post should have an alt text description set to it. This alt text should be brief and describe the image. As well as, include some keywords if relevant.
And whilst you can set images to text wrap left or right. I always recommend setting your images to the centre. So go through and make sure you’ve clicked on the Align Centre button. On each WordPress Gutenberg image block in your blog post.
Why? Well, a significant portion of your blog’s traffic can be mobile users. So, using text wrapping on images that display on such a tiny screen. Isn’t practical and looks terrible. By centering all your images. Your blog posts can look wonderful on both desktop and mobile devices.
7 | Add ‘nopin’ To Images You Don’t Want Pinning On To Pinterest
Right, so if you’ve added Pinterest images, other social media images. And normal images into your blog post. The other thing you should consider before you hit publish. Is adding the code:
You can add this code to any images that you do not want people pinning to Pinterest. This would normally be the wide images you add to your blog posts. As Pinterest favours tall images.
Now, the easiest way to do this is with the WP Tasty Pins plugin. As you can simply toggle the setting in the dashboard rather than using code. But if you don’t have this plugin. You will need to view and edit HTML.
For example, in WordPress Gutenberg you would click on the Options for the Image block. And click Edit as HTML. You could then add the nopin=”nopin” code right after the opening <img tag. Like this:
<div class="wp-block-image"><figure class="aligncenter"> <img nopin="nopin" src="https://flyingcdn-2a7845.b-cdn.net/wp-content/uploads/2019/04/before-you-hit-publish-in-wordpress-optimize-your-images-with-plugins-like-short-pixel.png" alt="Before You Hit Publish In WordPress Optimize Your Images With Plugins Like Short Pixel" class="wp-image-4283"/></figure></div>
8 | Ensure You Include Any Affiliate Disclosures At The Top Of The Page
When writing your first blog post or any further ones. Have you included any affiliate links before you hit publish? Affiliate marketing is a great way for beginner bloggers to make money early on. Even with only a small audience. So, at some point, you will likely start adding these to your blog posts.
Whilst it might not be your first ever blog post when you start adding these. What is important is to make sure at the top of your blog post. As a general rule of thumb. Is that you have a disclosure that meets all the legal requirements. There are also additional requirements if you use Amazon affiliate links.
This is what the affiliate disclosure looks like at the top of my blog posts:
9 | Check The Formatting Of Your Text Before You Hit Publish
Okay, so you’ve written everything down. And everything makes sense and looks right. But have you formatted your headings?
What you might not know, is that you should format your headings using the inbuilt styles. This usually means H1 to H6. Every single heading and subheading you use should have one of these heading tags. Where the number reflects the hierarchy of the heading.
For example, you should only ever have the Heading 1 (H1) tag for the title of your blog post. And your theme should automatically set this for you. Then the next heading in your blog post would be set as Heading 2 (H2). Then if the next heading you have is a subheading of the Heading 2. You would set it as Heading 3 (H3).
But if it wasn’t a subheading it would be another Heading 2. And so forth. It would look at bit like this for example:
Overall, it is important to make sure you set these before you hit publish. And that they are
Another formatting task you should consider. Is to think about using bold or italics to emphasize your words. These can help making your writing even clearer. And make skim reading easier.
Breaking up your text is another way to make reading your blog posts easier for your audience. And shorter paragraphs often work best for blog posts. So, when you proofread or edit your blog post. Think about whether your paragraphs are broken down into bite-sized chunks that also make sense.
10 | Set Categories & Tags For Your Blog Post
Another feature you might not know about in WordPress when writing your first blog post. Are categories and tags.
Think of a category as a broad sub-topic that should fit within your niche. For example, if your niche was social media marketing. Your categories could be Pinterest, Facebook or Twitter.
Tags are a little more tricky to grasp. I like to think of them as the core key features. For example for this blog post. Which is to do with tasks you should do before you publish your first blog post in WordPress. Could have tags for:
- Blogging for beginners
- Blog writing
- First blog post
For both categories and tags, you can set multiple options. But with categories, WordPress will ask you which is the main category for your post.
So, don’t forget to set these in the document sidebar of your blog post. As these again help with Google’s understanding of your blog. They are also useful for your blog readers. As categories and tags can be used by your readers to find your content too.
In fact one of the most common ways to use this. Is for the categories to be setup in your navigation menu. This allows your readers to browse through your blog posts by category.
11 | Set The Slug URL Of Your Blog Post Before You Hit Publish
When writing your first blog post and getting it ready to publish. One thing you likely didn’t think about is what is called the slug for your blog post. The slug of a blog post is basically the end of the URL for your page. And it is important to set it before you hit publish.
For example, the slug for a post looks like this:
So, this means that the URL link for this post would look like this:
Sounds simple, right?
Well, the important thing here is to make sure it is something meaningful. Sometimes by default, if you haven’t fixed some important WordPress mistakes like configuring your Permalinks. Then your slugs might be generating meaningless names. Which are a jumble of letters and numbers.
Try to think about it from a reader’s perspective. If you are clicking on a link in a blog post. Are you more comfortable clicking something like this:
You should feel more comfortable clicking on the first link. As you have more of an idea what the link is about because of the slug description. Which is why it is important to set it for your own blog posts.
Also, you should try to make sure these slugs are not too long. They should be short and to the point, but they should still be understandable.
Consider these two for example:
They are both understandable right? But the shorter one is better as the other one is too long.
12 | Consider Adding A Contents Menu At The Start Of Your Longer Blog Posts
If you’ve written a particularly long post before you publish. Have you considered adding a contents menu before you hit publish? So your audience can quickly navigate around
No? Well, here’s a quick example of how you can without using a plugin. As I’ve found most no longer work with WordPress Gutenberg anymore. As they are extremely outdated.
You’ll want to add an HTML block to your blog post and then copy and paste the code from below:
<div id="toc_container"> <p class="toc_title">Contents</p> <ul class="toc_list"> <li><a href="#toc1">1 | Heading section 1</a></li> <li><a href="#toc2">2 | Heading section 2</a> <li><a href="#toc2_1">2.1 | Heading subsection 1</a></li> <li><a href="#toc2_2">2.2 | Heading subsection 2</a></li> </li> <li><a href="#toc3">3 | Heading section 3</a></li> <li><a href="#toc4">4 | Heading section 4</a></li> </ul> </div>
You’ll need to add the #toc1, #toc2, #toc2_1 or whatever name you give these. To the Heading
So, if you click on the Heading block you want to set. Using the right-hand toolbar, click on Advanced at the bottom. And enter the #name into the box called HTML Anchor.
For example, to link the highlighted line in the code above. I could change the text “1 | Heading section 1” to something meaningful that would indicate the topic. I would then copy the #toc1 that is next to the text and paste it into the HTML Anchor box. That is under the Advanced section of the Heading block I want the link to scroll to.
In the end it will look a bit like this, depending on your theme styles:
13 | Add More Grease Slides, Power & Emotional Words Before You Hit Publish
Here’s another trick you can use. This time let’s consider adding more varied words. To help improve the flow and readability of your writing.
So why not try some of these useful resources. As they’ve helped me improve my blogging voice. It doesn’t feel robotic and bland like when I first started writing. As my writing skills most came from a technical and academic background.
Here are a few of my favourites:
- 7 Editing tips to improve your writing
- Power & Emotion word lists
- 502 Grease-slides
- 595 More power words!
14 | Edit & Proofread Your Writing Before You Hit Publish
Once you’ve written your blog post and before you hit publish. Have you done any redrafting, editing or proofreading?
There is always room for improvement in writing. So, if you think you’ve done the writing. Why not consider putting your writing through some extra tools.
Such as Grammarly to check your spelling and grammar. Or the Hemingway app to improve your writing and it’s readability. If you also use the Yoast SEO plugin. Then this plugin also has a readability analysis. Which you can also use to further fine tune your writing.
You’d be surprised what these apps might suggest. And you will likely find that reviewing and editing your writing. Will improve your overall writing immensely before you hit publish.
The first round of your writing should always be rough. Which you review a few times to make changes. And polish it to it’s finished form.
Also, once you’ve used these suggested apps and you think you are done. Always. And I mean always, do one last proofread yourself manually without any tools. To make sure any changes you have made do in fact make sense. As sometimes these tools can get it wrong!
15 | Double-Check The Yoast SEO Analysis Before You Hit Publish
I’ve already mentioned using the Yoast SEO WordPress plugin for their readability analysis. But you should also use the Yoast SEO plugin to check your SEO stats.
Once you’ve finished writing your first blog post and any future ones too. This is a good last check to make sure no SEO mistakes have crept in while you were writing before you hit publish. It is also good to make sure you’ve sprinkled enough keywords. Or to ensure you haven’t overstuffed it.
Consider this one last check to make sure your blog post is SEO optimized as best as it can be. As the Yoast SEO plugin will also remind you to do things. Like adding a meta description that can be used in Google search. But often gets forgotten about.
16 | Add Email Opt-In Forms Before You Publish Your First Blog Post
Here’s something that can often get forgotten about. Add in any email opt-in forms and content upgrades you have for your post.
Whilst it can be easy to forget about adding this. They are so important for growing your blog!
If you’ve just started a blog, then you might not have set up an email list yet. Which is fine! But this is definitely something you want to consider including sooner or later.
A bit like this 😉
17 | Embed Pinterest images & descriptions
So, I mentioned Pinterest images and how you should create a few. Once you’ve written your first blog and all other blog posts before you hit publish.
Well, what I also forgot to add was that you need to embed these images into your WordPress blog posts.
I’ve covered in detail here. All the different methods you can use to add Pinterest images to your WordPress blog. But from my experience. The two best options are writing Pinterest descriptions using HTML code. Or using the intuitive WP Tasty Pins plugin.
By having your Pinterest pin images. And descriptions embedded into your blog posts before you hit publish. Means that whenever your audience decides to use your Pinterest share button. Your Pinterest images and keyword-optimized descriptions will be used. Instead of the default square or wide images and your alt text descriptions.
This is important for reaching as many people as possible on Pinterest. Which in turn is brilliant for the traffic you can get from Pinterest to your blog!
18 | Add Links To Your First Blog Post Before You Publish It
Once you’ve finished writing your first blog post and are ready to publish. Did you make sure to add any links to your writing?
If you haven’t. Then now is the time to go back and add some before you publish. As every blog post you have should try to have at least 3 links to other content on your blog.
Now, if this is your first ever blog post. You won’t be able to do this. But it is worth making a note of some ideas that you could link to your blog post. That you can write next. And then go back and edit the post to add in those links.
Make Sure To Include External Links Too Before You Hit Publish
What you should also do is try to add a few links that lead to external content. These links should be relevant to your blog post.
For example, if I was writing a blog post related to social media plugins. I would include external links to the plugins I recommended in the post. This is helpful for anyone reading the post. As they can go and find the download for the plugin without having the search for it.
It is also helpful in telling Google what your blog post is about. And even vouching that the resource you’ve linked to is high quality too. Especially if you remove nofollow from the external link’s HTML. Like this:
<a href="https://www.individualobligation.com/best-social-media-plugin-for-wordpress/" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank">social media plugins</a>
After you’ve removed the nofollow it should look like this:
<a href="https://www.individualobligation.com/best-social-media-plugin-for-wordpress/" rel="noopener" target="_blank">social media plugins</a>
Another thing you need to watch out for is that your affiliate links do not have . As this can result in your links not getting tracked correctly. Resulting in lost sale commissions!
Make sure you follow this guide for step by step instructions on how to remove from your blog post links.
And remember, with affiliate links you want to set the attributes to include nofollow. And you want to avoid having . Like this:
<a href="https://www.individualobligation.com/best-social-media-plugin-for-wordpress/" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank">social media plugins</a>
If you are not sure if your links have . Then the best thing to do is to right-click on your affiliate links from the live view of your blog. And select Inspect Element from the list. Then if you see in the blue highlighted code. Then you’ll know you need to use this guide to remove it.
Also, one last thing to check and keep in mind. Is that you never want to include nofollow for your internal links.
19 | Schedule Social Media Shares To Your Top Platforms
If you’ve followed my previous suggestions of adding social media images. For Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter. Then another thing you should setup before you consider publishing. Is to schedule the posting of these social media images. Onto their relevant platforms.
There are lots of scheduling tools out there. Some of my favourites so far that I use are:
You can even use the Pinterest built-in scheduler to schedule pins for free if Tailwind isn’t your thing.
So, by scheduling your shares ahead of time. You can have everything shared exactly when you want. This will again. Help to keep you consistent and make sure your content is equally and regularly shared. Which is always vital for getting more readers to check your content and share it!
20 | Schedule Your Post For An Ideal Time To Publish
When your post is ready to publish. Have you stopped to think when you want your post to publish?
In WordPress, it is very easy to click the Publish button and move on. But did you know you can actually schedule your posts to publish at a specific day and
Set a specific time to publish your blog post. And schedule it for WordPress to automatically post it at that time for you. This is great for creating a consistent pattern for your audience. So they know roughly when to expect new content. And it will help get more eyes on your content when you initially post it this way.
Wrapping Up All The Tasks You Should Do Before You Publish Your First Blog Post
Phew! That’s a lot of extra tasks to consider after you’ve finished writing your first blog post. But before you hit the Publish button. It is well worth taking some time after you’ve finished writing to review these aspects. To make sure that your blog post is ready to wow from the first day of publishing.
These are all things I do for my own blog posts. And they’ve worked well for helping me grow my blog from scratch with zero previous knowledge. Whilst they do require time and effort. They do get quicker and easier the more blog posts you write. As they will become routine and at some point you’ll even come up with your own ideas on how to optimize this. Based on your own preferences.
So what are you waiting for? Get blogging!
Do you have a blogging routine for after you’ve written your blog post? What extra steps do you take to get your blog to the publish perfect level?
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