We write. We publish. We wait for comments. Sounds familiar? It should.
Ah, but if there’s one thing I have learnt in the last few years of blogging, it’s that there are some cardinal rules to follow before your keyboard-happy finger taps that ‘Publish’ button. So, here are (at least) 5 things you must check before you let the world read your post.
- Your spelling: Yes, as simple as that sounds, you’d be surprised at the number of mistakes that slip through the cracks when you write in a hurry. Assume that you take 20 minutes to write a 500-word post. Spend five minutes on checking it for spelling errors, grammatical construction and overall meaning. To be sure, spend another five minutes doing it with a Spell check tool such as this one. I love this tool, because it also corrects my grammar and hey, I don’t just let anyone do that and get away with it! 😉 Oh, and as an aside, it killed me to write that sentence you see below! (Click on the image for a larger view)
- Your internal links: Internal linking of posts is a great way to keep your readers on your blog for an extra five minutes. If your post is good, they’ll want to read another related post on the same topic or something similar, say, ‘Some advice for writers’ or ‘Ways to break Writer’s Block’. See what I did there? I know that most WordPress and Blogger blogs have the ‘Related Posts’ widget at the bottom of each post. But, very rarely, will a blogger/ reader click on those to read more. It’s also a nice way to get some love for some older, neglected posts. 😀
- Use appropriate tags: When you write regularly, you tend to use similar tags over and over again. That’s fine, of course. But, sometimes, you may want to expand the tags to more generic search terms such as ‘Publishing’ or more specific ones such as ‘ Tips to improve your writing’. I am sure there is some SEO value as well for these, but I am still navigating those waters myself, so more on that topic when I manage to learn it better.
- Check Facts: This, of course, is pretty obvious when you write any post, but it can be seemingly glossed over if you write a blog like mine, which is mostly Fiction. Even here, I need to make sure that the facts within a story add up. A sentence at the beginning should not contradict a reference later on. For instance, if I start my story in Autumn, the timeline, the settings, the characterisation should all revolve around that. So, when I refer to the ‘next season’, readers will immediately anticipate Winter.
- Always Preview the post: It’s so tempting to do the above checklist and publish right away. No, we’re not quite there yet. Always, always, always preview how your post looks before you put it out there for the world to see. Is the formatting okay? Do the images in the post look skewed in relation to the text? Have your bold-face and italicised fonts shown up correctly? Is the spacing between paragraphs looking good? You’d be surprised how different the post looks when you are in draft mode and when it is up on display. So, do yourself a favour and hit that ‘Preview’ button to the side. You’ll thank me. No, really! 😀
So, that’s my good deed for the day.
What about you? Have you got any tips to share on this topic?