Blogs are high maintenance. Running a successful blog requires skill, energy, and most of all, time. If you are like many professionals, time is one thing that you hardly have to spare. The good news is that there are proactive steps you can take to ensure that your blogging efforts stay on track. You might be strapped for time, but the right resources can help you accomplish your blogging goals.
If there’s anything that can help save time and keep your blog in top shape, it’s a checklist. They might seem a bit old school, but there’s a reason why checklists work so well—they help accomplish goals. Here are several goals you can expect to reach when you use this ultimate checklist.
The Business Blogging Checklist Generates Ideas
Blogging topics are truly everywhere if you know where to look. It takes a bit of thinking outside the box, but ideas can flow from unexpected sources. The best part is that you don’t have to spend days surfing through search results with a fine toothcomb. The checklist will tell you just what to look for and even include some fill-in-the-blanks.
The Business Blogging Checklist Keeps You Focused
It’s easy to lose focus when you’re running a business blog. This checklist has several quick tips to keep to your schedule and never miss a beat when it comes to your blog. Blogging requires consistency to keep your customers coming back for more.
The Business Blogging Checklist Gives Your Blog Structure
There are certain tricks of the trade when it comes to structuring your blog. By using the ultimate checklist, your business blog will flow seamlessly from start to finish.
The Business Blogging Checklist Includes All The Bells And Whistles
What else does it take to make your blog and industry information hub? Check off the traits on the weekly blogging checklist.
Even if you aren’t amongst the ultra organized, checklists can make your life easier and help you accomplish goals. The Weekly Blogging Checklist is no exception. Whether you do or don’t need extra help staying focused, your business blog will be more polished with this ultimate blogging checklist.
Category 1: Generating Ideas
Consistently coming up with engaging topics is one of the biggest challenges for not just business blogs, but blogging as a whole. However, there are several tricks you can use to keep those ideas consistently flowing.
Do your competitors blog? Pay close attention to what they are saying along with their most popular topics. Never directly steal an idea, but it is completely OK to gather inspiration from a competitor’s blog.
Industry magazines can help you generate blog topic ideas in a flash. Take inspiration from magazine headlines and swap them out to an idea that is specific to your business.
Lucky for you, this is something that you already do everyday. Pay close attention to what your customers are saying are asking. Is there a common theme or question? This is an easy opportunity for your customers to do the thinking for you.
If you are stuck on a blog post idea, consider the time of year. Seasonal topics can give you a boost in traffic, specifically because they are timely and relevant if you play your cards right. For example,
There’s nothing wrong with using a template to generate blog post ideas. Writer’s block can be tough, and fill-in-the-blank blog topics can be the perfect solution to get your creative juices flowing.
Here are 6 fill-in-the-blank formulas to get you started.
(#) Reasons Why [Your Product or Service] Will Rock Your World
How [Your Business Name] Makes Happy Customers For Life
Clueless About [Product or Service]? Start Here
What Our Competitors Taught Us About [Product or Service]
(#) Wow-Factor [Products] to Add to Your [Holiday/Special Occasion/Wish list]
(#) Reasons Why [Product] Will Be Your Next Purchase For [Need, Want, Pain Point]
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Category 2: Stay Focused
Staying on track with your blogging strategy is one of the toughest parts about blogging in general. It’s easy to push blogging to the backburner when life (or business) gets busy. Well, you aren’t going to do that anymore. This section of the weekly blogging checklist is dedicated to helping you stay focused and getting the most mileage out of your blog as possible.
The first step for blogging with a bang is to create a schedule. Your blogging schedule doesn’t have to be complicated. Think about the days and times that are generally open in your schedule. Use this as a starting point and write around the times that work for you. As you become more comfortable with blogging, you can add a bit more down the road.
You already know that blogging ideas can be tough to fabricate on a whim. This is exactly why planning ahead works wonders for blogging. Using the idea generator checklist, come up with at least 4 ideas that you can use for the next 4 weeks. That will give you 1 idea per week, and you won’t be scrambling to come up with new ideas at the beginning of every workweek.
While you are working on the bones of your blog post and schedule, don’t forget about social media. Have an idea of where you plan to share your content (Twitter, Pinterest, Facebook, etc.) It also doesn’t hurt to pre-write short, snappy posts that correspond with every blog post. Once you login to your social media platform, it’s all a matter of copy and paste.
It’s easy to say that you’ll write a blog post every Monday. Sometimes, though, you just don’t get around to it and your blog eventually falls off of your to-do list completely. One way to avoid this situation is by using a real calendar (digital or physical) to plan your blog posts. That way, blogging literally becomes part of your workday and you are less likely to forget about it.
Category 3: Give Your Blog Structure
Simply typing out a blog post and calling it a day doesn’t quite cut it. Although you are applauded for blogging in the first place, formatting matters in terms of readability and user experience. There are general guidelines to follow that ensure your blog is easy to read and understand. You don’t have to follow every single one of them, but it’s recommended if you want your blog to have a polished presence.
The rules that you learned in 7th grade English class won’t always apply with blogging. The way that people read and absorb information on the Internet is different than how it’s done in a textbook. Keep your paragraphs relatively short and to the point.
Headlines are the best way to split up your paragraphs with blogging. It allows your readers to scan your material and give them a taste of what your paragraphs are all about.
This is a general rule for best copywriting practices, but it also enhances the quality and flow of your blog.
Whether they’re custom social blog banners or stock images, there’s no denying that graphics give your blog a boost. Text-only blogs can work, but try to use visuals when you can. Visual blogging elements also appeal to people with different learning styles.
You only have a couple seconds to capture the attention of your customers. Headlines play a big role on the performance of your blog. In fact, your headline can literally make or break your blog. With that said, pay close attention to your headline and craft each one to be influential and target your primary audience.
It’s true that your blog needs to be at least 300 words long. If your blog post is too short, Google won’t index it and you will lose out on all of the SEO advantages that blogging provides. Shoot for at least 500 words, but it’s proven that long blog posts (1000 words or longer) perform better and have higher levels of engagement.
Category 4: Blogging Bells And Whistles
Bells and whistles aren’t just flashy add-ons for your blog. These days, blogging bells and whistles are all about kicking your blog up a notch and driving more traffic. Now that you have the tools that you need to stay focused and generate ideas, it’s time to concentrate on bringing your blog to life. A well-written blog in itself is fantastic, but there’s always room to add a little pizzazz.
Did you know that you can reach an entirely new level of audience on YouTube? Next to Google, it’s the second largest search engine. Your blog isn’t only limited to text, and working videos into your blog is in your favor. Video is one of the most engaging elements that you can use to captivate your audience, from blogging to social media. You can spice up your blog with video or repurpose the entire thing into a video. This is a prime example of maximizing your audience reach.
In order to cut through all the noise on social media, you need images to give your social post a boost. It’s super easy for your customers to scroll right by your Facebook update when it doesn’t contain an image.
Social blog banners are eye-catching graphics that turn your blog headlines into main attractions; your blog posts will look like billboards on Broadway.
Slideshows are quick and convenient content platforms that change the dynamic of your blog. They are fun to flip through and pull the highlighted points into one convenient presentation. Slideshows can easily increase your blog traffic and bring in new readers.
Yet another way to dynamically display your blog’s information is by using infographics. Infographics are powerful marketing mediums that can generate buzz if done correctly. Not to mention, they’re perfect for social sharing.
WordPress is one of the top blogging platforms that can really give your blog some oomph. It has SEO benefits and streamlines the blogging process with plugins such as WordPress SEO by Yoast, where you can optimize individual blog posts at the click of a button.
If you aren’t able to custom design social blog banners, stock photos are your next best route. Stock photography has come a long way since the early days of Getty Images. You can select vector images, realistic photography, and everything in between.
Looking for an ultra-long list of blog topic ideas? Hubspot’s blog topic generator can give suggestions at the click of a button. Enter 3 nouns that pertain to your industry into the generator and watch topic ideas spring into action.
Review this checklist on a weekly basis to keep ideas flowing, traffic growing, and customers buzzing about your brand.
Photo credit: © Trezvuy / Dollar Photo Club