How to Write a Blog Post: 69 Questions To Fully Optimize Every Post
Take a guess.
How many blog posts are published per day?
I don’t know what number popped into your mind.
1 million perhaps?
None of the above my friend.
According to Marketing Profs, over 2 million blog posts are published each day.
That’s 83.3k posts per hour, 1.4k per minute, or 23 per second.
Staggering I know.
Whether your business is providing seo services, writing sponsored posts or you make money advising companies, content’s at the heart of it. But your posts better be damn good otherwise you won’t stand a chance in the deluge of content.
To do that, you need a tried and tested blog writing template. To help you write better posts that blow readers away, I’ve come up with an exhaustive 69-point checklist that covers every facet of a solid post.
Let’s get started.
Headline: Enchanting enough for people to click?
No doubt, the headline is the most important part of your post. Botch it and your readers will bolt, never to return again. It’s your chance, and sometimes the only chance you get to make a good first impression on readers.
When working on your headline, don’t try to reinvent the wheel. Use tried and tested headline formulas.
For help creating better headlines, check out Smartbogger’s 52 Headline Hacks.
Once you’ve written your headline check for:
- Clarity: Is your headline so clear that even your dumbest relative can understand it?
- Specificity: Is your headline hyper specific so as to paint a clear picture in readers’ minds?
- Benefits: Does your headline address the subject’s biggest benefits so readers drool in expectation?
- Pain: Does your headline address a stay-awake-at-midnight pain that needs immediate relief?
- Curiosity: Does your headline evoke curiosity that demands fulfilment?
- Emotion: Is your headline emotionally charged and does it identify with the readers current emotional state?
- Urgency: Does your headline address an urgent need that compels readers to click?
- Novelty: Does your headline present a unique take on the topic so readers are eager to find out the unparalleled way?
- Contrariness: Does your headline surprise or propose a contrarian view that piques reader interest?
- Utility: Does your headline offer your readers something useful?
- Length: Is your headline the right length of about 8-14 words to keep readers hooked?
- Testing: Did you run your headline through a headline analyzer tool to test all its aspects?
Featured Image: Stunning enough to draw readers’ eyes?
Did you know that articles with images get 94% more total views than those without?
The featured image is the first image your visitors see. It’s your post’s visual opening that draws readers’ eyes into the post in those crucial first few seconds when the reader’s just arriving.
To come up with a useful image, ask these questions:
- Attraction: Is your image attention-getting?
- Relevance: Is your image relevant to the post not just lovely?
- Quality: Is it a high-quality image?
- Copyright: Has your image been properly credited so you don’t get in trouble with the law?
- Optimization: Has your image been optimized for the web so it loads fast?
Opening: Gripping enough to make readers stay?
The job of the headline and featured image is to draw readers into your post.
The job of your opening lines is to make them stay. A good introduction makes visitors read on.
Once you’re done with your opening, double-check its:
- Takeoff: Is your first sentence smooth, simple, and easy to read?
- Punch: Is the first sentence short and sharp enough to pull the reader in super-fast?
- Targeting: Does your introduction target and amplify a specific emotion?
- Jolt: Does your opening shock readers so they’re fixated on your message?
Body: Well-structured so readers follow easily?
Your post’s body is the meat and potatoes of the post.
That’s where your readers get all the goodies you’ve prepared for them. A good body should check the following boxes:
- Ordered: Does your body follow a logical sequence so it’s easy to grasp?
- Subheads: Does your body use subheads to break up slabs of text and guide the reader’s thoughts?
- Meaning: Do your subheads combined carry the essence of the post?
- Formatting: Does your body break up blocks of text through subheads, short 1-3 sentence paragraphs, bullets, and quotes?
- Sentences: Is your body dominated by short (8-14 words long) sentences with the occasional long sentence thrown in?
- Images: Does it use an image or screenshot every 350 words or so to enhance understanding, break up long walls of text and provide eye candy?
- Examples: Does your body include enough relevant illustrations to shed light on your points and make the complex simpler?
- Flow: Do your points flow smoothly from one point to the other?
- Shareable: Does your body include delicious bite-sized quotable and tweetable gems?
- Support: Did you back your main points with data from reputable sources?
Style: People-friendly enough to charm readers?
Your blog post is the pizza. Your style is the juicy topping.
A great style makes your piece irresistible and tasty. A great style should pass the following test:
- Audience: Does your post sound as if you wrote it only for one specific person?
- You: Does your post speak directly to your audience by using the word “you?”
- Goal: Does your style aim to please people or search engines?
- Tone: Is your tone laid back and conversational as if you’re speaking to a friend?
- Language: Is your language simple — gobbledygook and jargon free?
- Focus: Is your style company-centric or reader-centric?
- Brand: Does your style accurately represent the brand’s voice, tone, and style?
- Charisma: Does your style fizz with personality or it’s as flat as a college thesis?
Closing: Booming enough so readers leave inspired?
Just like the last few yards of a close race, your ending can make or break your post.
Many posts start off with a bang but end with a barely audible thud. Take time to get it right.
Optimize your ending by asking the following questions:
- Close: Does your conclusion conclude or meander aimlessly?
- Summary: Does your closing tell them what you’ve told them?
- Takeaway: Does your closing give readers an actionable takeaway to implement right away?
- Inspirational: Does your conclusion leave readers motivated that they can do what was discussed?
- Cliffhanger: Does your conclusion leave readers crying for more?
- Reflective: Does your conclusion make readers think deeply by posing a searching question?
CTA: Compelling enough so people take action?
Like any piece of online copy, your blog post should have a conversion goal.
Whether you want comments, shares or to grow your list, the CTA is your ticket there.
- Singularity: What’s the one thing you want people to do after reading your post?
- Action: Does your CTA lead with a strong verb that tells readers exactly what to do next?
- Value: Does your CTA promise readers something of value?
- Clarity: Is your CTA clear?
- Allure: Is your CTA seductive enough to tempt readers to act?
Editing: Polished enough so people gobble it all up?
I’m sure you’ve heard it before but it’s worth repeating:
Great writing is rewriting.
To produce a solid post you need to edit it like a pro. Here are the main items for you to consider:
- Structure: Did you shorten long paragraphs and sentences, use bullets, block quotes, and images so it’s easy on the eye?
- Fluff: Did you cut off all extraneous words (mostly adverbs, adjectives) from the post?
- Grammar: Did you follow all most Grammar rules so you don’t get in trouble with the merciless Grammar police and spelling Nazis?
- Stickiness: Did you use strong verbs to make your content pop, fizz, and sparkle?
- Flow: Does your writing flow smoothly from one point to another?
- Readability: Is your post easy to read?
- Links: Are the links working and do they lead to the right places?
- Sources: Have you properly acknowledged all sources?
- Eyeballs: Did another set of human eyes other than your own go over the post?
- Smoothness: Did you read the post aloud so as to catch any odd phrasing and other problems?
- Categorization: Did you edit one category at a time so you make several sweeps over the piece?
- Software: Did you run the post through your favorite editing tool?
SEO: Strategic enough so people find the post on Google?
What use is your jaw-dropping post if nobody can find it?
Fine-tune your post so that search engines lead people to it. To do that, consider these questions:
- Keywords: Did you use a high-volume keyword and include a long-tail one?
- Meta Description: Did you include your keywords in the meta description?
- Tags: Did you add tags to link to previous posts on your blog that discuss similar topics so as to give the reader more value?
- Picture tags: Did you include your target keyword as part of your image alt text?
- Links: Did you link internally and externally to other valuable resources?
- URL: Did you create a readable and searchable URL that includes your key phrase?
- Tool: Did you get green lights on your SEO tool?
Why Optimize Every Element Of Your Post?
Because if it’s not optimized it won’t get read.
If it’s not read it’s dead. Period.
So painstakingly go through each of these questions to make sure your next post is more fascinating than the last.
You won’t regret the time investment.
It’ll pay off in a big way.
Qhubekani Nyathi aka The Click Guy is an irresistibly handsome (wife’s baseless claims!) website copywriter and long-form content strategist. He helps SMBs rapidly grow their income and impact through actionable long-form content that ranks high, builds authority, generates tons of leads, and drives sales. He is a contributor to top blogs like Crazy Egg, Mirasee, SEOChat and Conversion Sciences. Follow him on Twitter.