Updated February 14, 2017
Confession: I love blogging. I guess I wouldn’t be writing this blog if I didn’t love it, right?
I’ve been blogging for just over 6 years. During that time, my blog has changed and evolved with me and now is a small part-time job for me! It made losing half a teaching salary much easier to swallow. It’s provided me the opportunity to meet amazing people, connect with incredible brands, try amazing products, attend awesome events, and helped me meet some of my closest friends. I’m very happy where my blog is lately.
You guys know I am a teacher, and I teach you a lot about makeup. I wanted to start delving into the world of sharing some blog tips with you guys. I don’t have any set expectation for it, other than I feel drawn to write about it. Maybe it’ll be once a week, maybe a few times a month. I don’t know. Anyway, today I wanted to talk about 5 things I (almost) always do when I publish a blog post. These things are part of my work flow, and my personal blog checklist! Hopefully they help you a little bit. I also have a little something extra for you at the bottom of the post!
1. Research keywords
I get post ideas all the time, but I never know how I should word my title or what keywords to target. I want my post to be seen by the search engines, and optimizing posts based on actual search queries will help with that. More than half of the time, my original title idea gets changed because of the keywords I want to target. There are a lot of keyword research tools available online. You could use keywordtool.io or SEMrush.com, but lately I’ve been using the keyword planner from Google. Once I find the keyword I want to target, I will use it in the title of my post, in the URL, throughout the blog post text, in the alt text of images, and in the meta description.
2. Optimize images for thumbnails and social media sharing
Within the last couple of months, I’ve been using three different sizes of my “hero image” (the main image of the post) that are optimized for different social media platforms. For Pinterest, I use a long vertical image (vertical images always do better in Pinterest), which is usually 736 x 1128 pixels. If I want it extra long I will set it to 736 x 1800 pixels. I usually do a text overlay in Photoshop that entices others to pin the image. For Facebook, I crop a horizontal image (without as much text overlays) to 1200 x 628 pixels and upload that in my Yoast settings (download that plugin if you’re on WordPress). Finally, I will crop my image to an 800 x 800 pixels square. This will serve as the thumbnail on my actual blog as my featured image. Oh…. and if I am publishing a YouTube video, that thumbnail will be 1600 x 900 pixels. I know, it’s a lot of different crops for just one image, but it makes a huge difference! My images look so much better on social media, and the thumbnails on my blog are all uniform.
3. Publicize to social media
I have my blog post set to automatically publish to Facebook and Twitter when my post goes live. I have the Publicize settings configured for Jetpack this way, and it saves me a lot of time. My posts usually go live at 7:00 a.m. (except for this one…. oops!), and if I am still asleep at that point, I know that they will go to Facebook and Twitter. Oftentimes, I will re-share the posts later in the day, because chances are I will be reaching different people. I don’t share about my posts every time a new one is up on Instagram, but I try to promote my blog a few times a week on that platform. I also use services like Buffer for twitter to share others’ posts. Sharing others’ posts and tagging them is always a great idea, and will also encourage others to share your work.
4. Schedule pins
Once the post is live, I will go back later and schedule that post to be pinned to multiple boards. I use Tailwind to schedule these pins, along with other pins I want to go out throughout the day. I try to be pretty active on Pinterest every day, as I feel like it grows my account and my blog. I pin at least 30 pins per day, and it is a mix of my own and others’ content. Pinning others’ content (and telling them that you’re pinning!) makes them more likely to pin your content. My largest social media following is on Pinterest. It consistently brings me a large amount of pageviews, so I definitely make sure to utilize it each day. I highly recommend that you start utilizing the power of Pinterest. It is an amazing way for your content to be seen by completely new eyes. I get one time visitors all the time, but some days those visitors turn into subscribers. Getting a Pinterest scheduler makes like easier and keeps you very active on Pinterest.
I have been making it more a priority lately to comment on other blogs and respond to comments on my own blog. This cultivates community and encourages others to comment on your posts. I have been setting aside 10 minutes a day to go comment on a few blogs. It’s easy and can be done while watching TV after the kids go to bed. (But if we’re being honest, all of my blogging related activities happen while the kids are in bed or at school.) The more comments I give, the more I receive on my own blog. I like to use Helene as an example – take a look at how many comments she gets on each blog post. They are at least 30. She gets that by commenting on other’s blogs! She establishes her community that way. Comments are not dead. Give them out, and respond to the ones on your own blog. I have been pretty bad about responding in the past, but I have made it a priority lately!
Download My Blog Post Checklist!
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I’ve added a little something extra for you guys – my blog post checklist! I have added a few other extras on this checklist that are not on this post. I have been handwriting a little checklist like this on my paper planner and thought it would be fun to whip up a printable for you guys to use for reference.