When you first start blogging it can be a little overwhelming to think about all of the different pieces that go into writing a good blog post (actually, it can STILL be a little overwhelming at times), but the important thing to remember is that the more consistent you are with writing /posting, the easier it all becomes.
I’m going to go through the different aspects of a post- essentially breaking down the ‘anatomy’ of the post and then will walk you through each piece individually in the video. Keep in mind that this is just MY process- the order in which you write or create your post needs to be what works best for you. Not everyone will want to include EACH piece – my suggestion though is that you be consistent with what you do include and tailor it to your market. I will point out the things that you should be doing, regardless of your audience.
1. Title: Often times I come up with the title of the post before really knowing what the exact content will be. I actually came up with the name of this post when someone announced they were looking for guest posts a while back. I knew I couldn’t get to it right away, so I just wrote it down and jotted down notes when they came to me. Either way, it’s important to include your primary keywords in your title. Ex: this post could have been titled ‘Anatomy of a Post’, but instead I chose ‘Anatomy of a WordPress Post’.
2. Content: O.k., so this might seem a bit obvious… but it’s important that your content not only be compelling (I write for people first, then optimize for the search engines)- but having a general outline or plan for your content is important. Think of the length- will you use bullet points? Include a video tutorial? What about screenshots? Is there a call to action (if it’s relative)?
3. Images /Thumbnails: I’ve set a precedent on The WordPress Chick that each post have a thumbnail image. Besides the fact that I’m a geek about visual things, thumbnails enhance the theme and can portray a message that may not be included in the title. Ex: I have a few sets of social media icons that I give away for readers to use – I always include an example for the thumbnail which gives people a sneak peek to the whole set.
4. Media: This is a big one for me since I do a lot of video tutorials. If you’re going to include an audio or video in your post, make sure people can get that from the title. Every time I include a video, I title my posts like this: [VIDEO] Anatomy of a WordPress Post. Do the same for audio ([AUDIO]). This way if your post is tweeted or it’s showing an excerpt on the home page, people know right away that a video is included. PLUS…..it helps the search engines!
5. SEO plugin /title & description: I use All in One SEO and have used Headspace before as well. Make sure your title AND description (and keywords) are optimized for the search engines (this will make more sense in the video). If you don’t set this, the search engines will pull from the first few lines of text in your post. This isn’t always helpful. I also use the SEO scribe plugin- which I’ll show you in the video. I just started using this but it’s made a HUGE difference in the way I think about optimizing my writing.
6. Categories /Tags: Again, probably a little obvious, but don’t go overboard categorizing your posts. There are many different schools of thought about this. Usually I’ll just use a primary category and then will also check the ‘video tutorial’ if I’ve included a video. There are additional plugins that can help you with tagging….but this is something you can do pretty easily yourself.
7. Related Posts: I do use a plugin for this- but this is also something you can do manually. I like using a plugin for this because I can search for related posts and it automatically takes care of reciprocal links.
8. Social Media: I have a twitter plugin installed that will automatically tweet the post of my title with ‘New Post’, the title and the link back. If you want more than this (maybe a hashtag or a little description)- don’t forget to include that before you hit publish.
9. Custom Fields: If you’re using a theme that requires you to include custom fields for thumbnails or a gallery, don’t forget to do this BEFORE you hit publish! I’ve done this a couple of times- which isn’t that big of a deal, but when your posts are viral (going to twitter, which I then have pull into facebook & my facebook page)- it looks kind of lame to have a revision 2 minutes after you publish!
10. Links: Besides having related posts, it’s valuable to have additional links in your post. This will make more sense in the video- but keep in mind this isn’t something you want to force. Using SEO Scribe I’ve started to pay attention to this, but if it doesn’t make sense I’m not going to create a bunch of random links just so I have them. But I do ALWAYS try to link to another blogger or good reference when it will help my readers.
So there’s my list!
I think the video may walk you through the details a little better than the list. Hope it helps!