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Article Writing Checklist
Posted on December 10th 2012
Article Writing Checklist
Freeze. Do not hit the publish button yet.
You can’t just throw some content onto your blog and call it a day. You have to pay close attention to what you are about to post. Before you send your stuff out there into cyber space, there are a few things to consider.
Here is an article writing checklist. Make sure you have done all these things before making a post.
1. Read What You Wrote
This probably sounds like a no brainer, but we have to mention it. After all, you just wrote the post. You know exactly what it says. However, most people don’t type as fast as they think. Therefore, there is a strong possibility you jumbled at least a few things.
Read your content to make sure if flows nicely. Do you need to rearrange any of the sentences or paragraphs? Did you state your case effectively? Do you need to expound on a particular topic to make it more complete?
After you have double checked the content of the article, proof read the text. Check for typos, spelling errors, and grammar mistakes. For best results, try reading it out loud. This will help you focus on each individual word.
2. Check Keywords
Is your title relevant to your content and keyword rich?
Do you have natural (not forced) keywords in your headings?
Does the body copy have a nice balance of easy-to-read content and topic related keywords?
Do your image file names and alt tags appropriately describe the image, yet include keywords when possible?
3. Enhance Readability
Effective readability is important for two reasons. First, you obviously want your visitors to be able to read what you wrote. Second, you don’t want to impede what you want your readers to do (click through your site, subscribe to your email list, share content in social networks, etc). Check to make sure these things are in order:
Are you using a color scheme that enhances readability? Do you use black (or dark) font on a white (or light) background for the body of your text?
Did you use sans serif typeface for the body copy?
Did you limit yourself to three different typefaces/font sizes (one for the heading, one for the subheading, and one for body copy)?
Did you use features like bold and italics sparingly?
Is your body copy left-aligned?
Are your headings and subheadings descriptive? Do they flow naturally from beginning to end?
Did you avoid large, daunting paragraphs and use small, easy-to-scan ones instead?
Did you include social share buttons in the post?
3. Consider Links
Each post you write should link back to one or more of your older posts. Why? Relevant links are helpful for both humans and bots. Humans can explore your archives and gather even more useful information. Bots will crawl your site more effectively because the link anchor text will tell them about your site’s content.
Each post should also link out to helpful, relevant external sources too. For example, if you mention one of Google’s tools, link to the site. If you mention a term readers might not be familiar with, link to Wikipedia’s entry.
Most importantly, make sure all the links in your post are working properly before hitting the publish button. This is one of the easiest mistakes to make. All you have to do is forget to include a letter or a dot and the link won’t work. Dead links also happen to be one of the most annoying mistakes a reader will encounter. Before posting your article, preview it. Click on each link to make sure it is functioning properly.
4. Include Visuals
Images, photographs, charts, screenshots, and videos really enhance an article. They can capture readers’ attention and draw them into the post. Plus, a properly titled and tagged image can bring traffic from a Google image search. And articles with videos tend to get chosen over non-video articles in a search results page.
You always want to try to engage readers. One of the primary functions of a blog is to build a community. To do this, ask a question at the end of your post. Encourage readers to comment. Or, include a poll feature.
You might also want to consider adding a call to action. For example, if you wrote a post about the benefits of SEO and you just happen to have an eBook for sale that provides even more information, encourage your readers to check it out.
6. Consult your Traffic
You wrote an insightful, engaging article. You followed all the above tips. Your article is ready to go. You should not hit publish…yet.
Consult your traffic numbers. Which day do you receive the most visitors? If you finish your masterpiece at 2:00pm on Saturday, you shouldn’t necessarily post it at 2:01pm. If you don’t already have a set posting schedule, consider making one. Check out this article to learn more about the best days and times to post your dazzling article.
Consult this checklist each time you write an article. You may feel like article writing is old hat by now; but the moment you relax your attention to detail, you’ll make a big mistake that can affect the outcome of your blog.