Free Blog Post Checklist for Inbound Marketing and SEO

blog post seo checklist

Writing a blog is easy. Writing a blog that attracts readers, satisfies their needs, and achieves your business objectives, however, can be tricky.

It can be daunting to look at everything that goes into creating a stellar blog post. Keeping all those plates spinning at the same time can be challenging.

This blog post checklist is a handy tool that you can use to keep you and your blog posts focused on the aspects that matter most.

When you use this resource for all of your blog posts, you’ll never have to worry that you may have forgotten some important activity that you could have been doing to reach more people, engage more visitors, and inspire them to take action. You’ll also find useful, easy-to-use tools that will take the guesswork out of your marketing efforts and deliver results fast.

Most tasks are easier if you break them down into their component parts, so let’s break down blogging.

1. Blog Post Information

Describing your blog topic, keywords, target audience, and the type of blog post might look like the simplest part of your blogging, but it’s arguably the most important. These are the fundamental building blocks of your blog post.

Like all foundations, it’s important to get them right before building on them, so let’s take a look at each element in more detail. Each element complements the others. For the best results, read through the entire list before you start.

  • Target audience – Who is your blog for? Apart from you, that is. It’s good to start with an ideal reader in mind and to write for that person.

To get as clear a picture as possible of your perfect visitor, spend a few minutes with Make My Persona, Keep the results in mind throughout your blogging activities.

blogging persona
  • Blog post type – It might be a good idea to mix and match your blog post types to keep your content fresh and dynamic. This can be a great help when you have limited time, because some blog types are easier and quicker to create than others.

The types of post you choose to use most on your site depend on what will be most useful or entertaining for your audience.

For more information about the kinds of blog post you can create, take a look at this list of common blog post types.

  • Keywords – Use Moz’s Keyword Explorer to make sure you are using keywords that will help attract not only more visitors but the right visitors for you.

What is your ideal audience searching for? Make sure that those words feature naturally in your content. Getting at least one of these keywords or keyphrases into your headline and subheadings is particularly useful both to search engines and visitors

  • Headline – Now is a good time to work on your headline. It will help focus the rest of your blog post so that you stay on topic. It’s also worth spending time on this because often your headline is all that stands between you and a mass of visitors.

Use CoSchedule’s Headline Analyzer for a very fast – and fun – way to see the potential impact of your chosen headline.

Make sure that you are using at least one relevant keyword here. More on this below. Tweak what you have until you are achieving at least 70%. If you do it first go, congratulations!

2. Copy

This is where we check that your writing is in the best shape possible before it goes out to your audience via your website, social media, and your email list. You’re not only competing with other businesses in your niche. You’re competing for attention with every site on the internet. That’s a tall order, but it’s do-able.

Readability Score

Once you’ve hooked a reader with your headline, keep them on your page by entertaining and educating them with flawless prose. Use the readily-available tools at your disposal, such as Grammarly and Readability Score, to make sure that your content is free of errors and easy to read.

Break it up so that it looks pleasing to the eye. Most web users scan content to see if it’s relevant to them and not too much hard work before they actually start reading.

By using links to your own pages and to external sites, you can deepen your visitors’ experiences. As long as your links are relevant and point to quality information, whether internal or external, they are good for SEO and can make you a hit with Google.

3. Imagery

They say that a picture is worth 1000 words. Well, that depends on your picture. Using the right imagery can take your content to the next level. It makes an instant impact and ,ideally, it tells the story of your blog post. It should at least complement your text.

To make sure that your images are a hit with your visitors, make sure that they are high-quality, relevant to your post, and that they are optimized for the web, which means that they should have a small file size so that they load quickly, they should include keywords in the filename, and they should have descriptive ALT text. Search engines love this.

By making your pages load more quickly, you’ll also please mobile device users (more and more people are using mobile devices to access websites), and optimized images help achieve maximum accessibility for your site, say for vision impaired users.

For more useful on using images in your blog posts, read Google’s image guidelines.

4. Branding

Ultimately, as far as your business or organization is concerned, what is the point of your blog? Yes, you want to attract visitors and have them love your work, but what do you want them to do?

In this step, you do two things:

  1. you make sure visitors know who has created this delightful content – you can do this by ensuring that your logo and/or a short bio are clearly visible with each blog post.

  2. you make it clear what action you want visitors to take – what is important to you will vary depending on your business and the blog post in question. For example, you might want people to download a cheat sheet to collect their email address for your mailing list, you might wish them to make a direct purchase, or you might want them to share your content with their networks.

    If you’re wondering why people are visiting your site but are not taking action, it might be because you haven’t made that clear to them yet. Make it easy.

    Read this article for more information on how to make an effective call to action.

5. Promotion

A good rule of thumb is that you should spend as long promoting your blog posts as you spent writing them. It’s not enough to write your blog post and hope that people find it. Competition, from the internet, remember?

There are three essential promotion tasks that you can undertake to pull people in. They’re easy to do, so don’t sweat. Promote your posts consistently, and you’ll see the results, not just for the post you are currently promoting but for existing posts on your blog.

When you’re familiar with the basics, check out these promotion ideas for getting more bang for your blog buck.

6. Maintenance

Yes, your blog requires continued love. The more you put in, the more you’ll get back.

Maintenance means building your online relationships as well as looking after your blog post itself. Make sure that you respond promptly and professionally everyone who comments on your post. If you’re getting good feedback, that’s great. If not, use it as an opportunity to demonstrate your professionalism and expertise.

Thank everyone who shares your content. It will give you a warm feeling, and some people will share your other posts when they see them.

Back to your site itself; you’ll want to fix any issues that you’ve spotted or that visitors have alerted you to.

Re-visit the content from time to time, say after 3-6 months, and update it if necessary. One of the fantastic things about your blog posts is that they keep working for you, pulling in visitors and, hopefully, converting them into subscribers and customers.

Update your content to make sure that it remains fresh and relevant to your audience. You’ll probably learn a lot about blogging and your business over 6 months. You can pour this into your existing blog post rather than creating a new post from a blank screen.

Use analytics to see if the post is working for you in the way that you want. You might find that you are attracting visitors from a demographic that you weren’t expecting. This may or may not be a problem for you. Consider making another attempt to optimize your post for search engines. Boost your organic traffic by performing more keyword research and editing your post.

Check out Google’s Search Analytics Report resource for more ideas about revitalizing your existing blog posts.

Blogging isn’t only about having something to say and saying it. That’s a start.

If you’ve been struggling to finish a tricky blog post, take heart from the fact that a blog post is never finished. Really, this is a good thing. Make your blog posts as good as you can get them, sure, but know that they will continue to grow with you and your business.

They are not static musings that you shoot into the abyss before turning your back on their launch and moving onto the next thing. On the contrary, blog posts keep bearing fruit as long as you grow them thoughtfully and nurture them over time.