A Blog Editor’s Checklist

New to business blogging? If you’re not sure how and what to edit in a blog post, here is a handy checklist to review before you hit the “Publish” button.

Grammar, Punctuation and Usage

  1. Cover of "The Associated Press Stylebook
    Cover via Amazon

    The AP Stylebook Online is an authoritative and easy-to-use standard

  2. For spelling and synonyms, I like The Free Dictionary
  3. For simple usage issues try Google searches
  4. For heavy-duty questions on usage, grammar and punctuation, try The Chicago Manual of Style 

Typography

  1. Five lines or fewer per paragraph
  2. Use ordered and unordered lists for short lists
  3. Use bold type selectively to highlight key points and/or keywords
  4. Use italics sparingly: hard to read on monitors
  5. Use subheads to break up text and highlight major themes
  6. One space between sentences, not two 

SEO

  1. Use primary keyword phrases in the title tag; set up your CMS to have post titles default to the title tag
  2. Use variations of one to three keyword phrases in the post content
  3. Make posts 300 to 500 words in length, or longer
  4. Include links to related posts manually or with a CMS plugin
  5. Encourage comments (they add search value to the post)
  6. Use Rel=Author links to link the post to the author’s Google+ page

Images

  1. Use keywords in image titles
  2. Write alternate text descriptions in regular, descriptive sentences
  3. Consider adding a caption: they draw attention and help SEO if optimized
  4. Place images at top or top right of the post
  5. Use JPG format
  6. Credit image and include a link to the source

Creative

  1. Provide news, a new idea, fresh perspective, and/or useful research
  2. Fact-check data and attribute sources, ideally with links
  3. Informal writing style is acceptable
  4. Avoid profanity and sarcasm
  5. Avoid jargon and technical language
  6. Use slang and idioms with care, as readership may be global
  7. Intriguing post titles encourage social sharing and reads
  8. Optimized post titles improve long-term search visibility
  9. Leave posts somewhat open-ended to encourage discussion
  10. Add a powerful meta description to encourage social sharing

Brad Shorr is Director of Content & Social Media for Straight North, one of the leading Internet marketing companies in Chicago. The agency works with B2Bs in a variety of specialized niche industries, from gloves for electricians to credit card processing for nonprofits.

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