Most bloggers only complete about 75% of the blog posts. They don’t completely key information that could improve their readers’ experience and their blog’s SEO. I would say that in about 95% of the installs I’ve done, most bloggers have at least one or two issues with completely blog posts fully.
This blog post walks you through the steps you should take to successfully complete a WordPress blog post that is optimized for SEO and ensures that you are making the most out of the content you create!
At the top right corner of your ADD NEW post screen, you should see two tabs – SCREEN OPTIONS and HELP. SCREEN OPTIONS allows you to customize what toggles you see in your Post Screen. For example, I don’t need jQUERY PIN IT or CUSTOM FIELDS for my posts, so I have those boxes unchecked. I’ve set up my post editor screen to only include the toggles that I use/need.
This toggle gives you very brief and quick explanations about different components of this page. A lot of questions could be answered by just checking this out.
When I’m writing the first draft of my blog post, I focus on the SEO section first. I find that it keeps me organized as I write, and it helps me start quickly.
- Focus Keyword: For SEO purposes, I always determine a keyword for my post as I’m writing the draft. This keyword will help shape different components of completing a post, and I’ve found that my posts are better when I consider the keyword in the draft! This is a specific keyword or phrase that I use most throughout the post.
- SEO Title is a strong and clear title for my post that describes it and includes my focus keyword. This title will show up in search results when someone does an search for the Focus Keyword.
- Meta Descriptions are a 1-2 sentence description of the blog post that includes the focus keyword. When people search for the post, the meta description shows up underneath the title.
- Useful blog post tutorial: Yoast SEO for Your Blog Posts and Pages
Post Title is what the title of the post when published. Your blog post title is your Headline of your post, and it is important to hook readers with a meaningful headline. Best Practice: Include your keyword in the post title.
Post Permalink: I try to keep my post permalinks as simple as possible, so I often always use my keyword.
Content: A whole post can be dedicated to content, but here’s a few things I make sure I include in each post.
- Introduction: It’s important to explain or at least suggest what the post will be about. Keeps your reader focused (and yourself)
- Closing/Call To Action (CTA): The end of your blog post should have some sort of CTA. Comments don’t necessarily have to be the only thing. Readers can subscribe, sign-up, read another post, or even ask you a question twitter.
- Outbound and Inbound Links: Linking always helps for SEO, and it is important to include links to your past content as well as links outside of your post.
Inserting Images to Your Post
deserve a whole section to themselves, as well! Bloggers are notorious for misusing images. Here’s the 5 things you must do with all your images:
- Save them down for Web and save them the same size. For most people, if they have a sidebar on their blog, then saving their images down to 700-800px wide (less than 500kb) is perfect.
- Name your images descriptively and in plain English, i.e. No img-2332.jpg and more jcrew-midi-skirt.
- Add Title Tags to Your Images
- Add Alt titles and descriptions
- Select Link to None.
Selecting Beautiful Featured Images
A featured image is an image you select to represent the content of your blog. Featured images are often seen as the thumbnail of your post. Depending on your theme, they can have a big role in your blog. Some best practices for featured images:
- Have images follow the same ratio. For me, I prefer a 4w*5h ratio for all of my blog graphics.
- Should be your branded graphics (and brand graphics should be consistent with your overall site branding)
- From post to post, your featured images should be similar. A great example of this is Cathy from Poor Little It Girl.
Selecting the Right Categories
Don’t go overboard with the categories. One category is just as good as if there were 3. Typically, 1-2 are ideal. If your category situation is a mess, you should check out these posts on categories:
- Organize Your Blog Categories
- Use WordPress Categories
- Clean-Up Your Blog Categories
- Display WordPress Categories in Your Blog Design
- Pages + Categories: What to Use + When?
Next to not putting in images correctly; not entering tags is the second most common crime against blog posts. Tags are keywords that are relevant to your blog posts. If I use a tag in one blog post, I should have used it at least once (hopefully around 6+ more times in my older posts).
If you blog theme uses excerpts (abbreviated post views), instead of pulling the first 60 words, it will pull the excerpt. The other benefit is that excerpts are pulled when the post is shared on social media. Therefore, you can craft a message that best represents the post, similar to how the Featured Image represents the post. Sometimes the description is the same thing as my meta description.
Publish Your Post
Publish toggle allows you to customize the status, publication time/date, and to what profiles you are sharing your post automatically. If scheduling your post, make sure to select “OK” after you’ve entered the date and time (a very common beginner mistake). I’ve recently changed up two things on this section, and I think it has been beneficial. (1) Instead of using automatic publish for my social media posts, I’ve only connected by Google+ page. Instead, I publish all my posts through BufferApp. (2) I started scheduling my posts to go live at midnight Chicago time, instead of 6am on Chicago time. I realize that I have a significant number of British readers, who read my blog in the morning. After I made this change, I noticed an increase in my readership.
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