Eleanor Pierce

Three Essential Blog Writing Tips for Just Before You Click Publish

By: Eleanor Pierce | June 16, 2015 | 

Three Blog Writing Tips to Perk Up Your Content Before You Click PublishBy Eleanor Pierce

We’ve talked about blog writing tips for when you need ideas.

Tips for making sure you’re on target, strategy-wise.

But what about those last moments before you click publish?

You’ve proofread. You’ve done your keyword research.

And now you just want to make sure, before you send your content out into the big, scary Internet, that your article is the best it can be.

That’s what these blog writing tips are for. For perking up your content.

They’re for when you just have time for a quick spit-shine before you’re ready to go.

Check Your Headline

You’ve read enough blog writing tips by now that you should have already spent some time on your headline.

You crafted your headline so it includes your keyword. You spent some time thinking about it.

But before you hit publish, sit back and really think about your target reader. Is your target reader familiar enough with your subject that your article grab her?

Take the title of this blog, for example.

Let’s say my target reader was a beginning blogger. Someone who didn’t know WordPress from Blogger.

Would that headline work for her?

Probably not. She’s not ready to hit publish!

Now, if I’m targeting someone who already publishes a blog, is crunched for time, and just wants to improve what she does every day? Then we’re probably more on target.

Other considerations for your headline:

  • Does it make sense, or it too clever for your own good? Take a step back from your own ego and sense of humor on this one. 
  • Is it snappy? (Hubspot suggests you “make it sexy.”)
  • Do any of the tried and-true-tricks-of-the-trade make sense for your blog?

Tweak Your Subheads

Wait, you don’t have subheads?!

OK, first fix that. Start by breaking up your copy with subheads. Make sure at least one of them includes your keyword.

Now you can play with them.

Think through the following:

  • Do your subheads help your reader scan? Because most of your readers will scan—at least to begin with. If your subheads don’t help them figure out what’s happening down in the big gray zone under your headline, they won’t do anyone much good.
  • Do your subheads give too much away? If everything you need to know about your blog post can be picked up just by reading the subheads, what’s the point in writing several hundred words?
  • Do these subheads add any personality to your blog? This is one of those blog writing tips that can get overlooked: Show some personality. Add some flair. Put a joke in a subhead. Maybe throw a pun your reader’s way (depending on your topic, of course).
  • What else can you do to break up your copy? Are there quotes you can pull out? Bulleted or numbered lists you can add?

Be Like Sedaris and Spruce Up Your Verbs

I adore David Sedaris. His writing knocks me out every time—and it’s even better if you can listen to him read it.

I remember listening to one of his books on CD during a period I was working on my own writing quite a bit. I had just been through an exercise in which I worked on the strength of my verbs.

And here’s the thing: If you ever read or listen to something David Sedaris writes, you’ll first notice how funny he is. He’s not often cited as an amazing craftsman of the English language.

But I think he is.

If you can stop laughing long enough to pay attention, you’ll notice he chooses great verbs.

You can scan through his latest in The New Yorker if you don’t believe me.

(Also: the thing he describes about people waving and saying hello in the South is true, I can attest).

Strive to be like David Sedaris. Before you click publish, run through your blog post and think about places where you can use employ stronger verbs.

Caveat on verb-related blog writing tips: You still need to sound natural and avoid business-speak. That is to say, please don’t replace “use” with “utilize.”

Bonus: If your verbs are strong, you’ll naturally eliminate passive voice.

Your Blog Writing Tips

OK, it’s time to share! I know many of you are excellent writers.

What are your favorite last-minute blog writing tips?

What do you regularly do just before you hit publish?

Image credit: Photo by Sebastien Wiertz; illustration via Canva.com

About Eleanor Pierce

Eleanor Pierce is a recovering journalist who can't decide which part of the country to call home. She's happiest when she's reading, though she also really likes writing, baking, dogs, and sarcasm. No, seriously.

  • crucker7

    ginidietrich EleanorPie SpinSucks good information!

  • Titles, titles, titles.. funny how people put zero time into creating good ones when that’s your hook. I religiously use this site – http://coschedule.com/headline-analyzer and will confess to sometimes obsessing until I get into the green zone.

  • KristenDaukas Oh, good tip!

    And yeah. It’s soooo important.

  • KristenDaukas There’s nothing more deflating to a blogger than seeing that indicator stay yellow when you want ALL THE GREEN!

  • One way this post helped me is the explanation of Subheads. I was trying to figure out why Yoast gave me more credit when I had H2 headings. (And it is still disconcerting that so many of us (me included!) have turned into scanners vs readers but ….). // Agree with you on Sedaris — in addition to his use of vocabulary, he has a gift for structuring what sounds like a “basic” story in a way that ends in a very sophisticated way — that’s a gift also! // Okay, what do I do just before hitting publish (besides pray I didn’t miss any typos?)? The very last thing is select my category, the action before that is adding tags, and the action before that is …. check the Yoast page analysis, which lately usually leads me to go back in and add the blog post title as an Alt tag to any images I used. // As far as last minute tips …… I don’t know how “last minute” this is but the absolute best thing I’ve ever done is to send the post to someone else to read — especially when I am explaining an issue with which I am really familiar, I forget that it’s not that familiar to my readers and I skip over some of the basics sometimes.

  • JohnMTrader

    Solid post Eleanor Pierce – thank you! One last minute tip I include before publishing a blog post is to ensure my images contain meta data and alt text to properly optimize them for SEO. I think that’s something often overlooked on a post and can certainly help to increase visibility.

  • JohnMTrader Eleanor Pierce Well I will just throw myself on the spear of ignorance here — I understand about the alt text but where do you put in meta data for an image? Thanks!

  • JohnMTrader

    biggreenpen JohnMTrader Eleanor Pierce On WordPress (the blog publishing platform I use) you simply click on the image and select “edit” and enter your image tags, including alt text. You can also enter this information during the upload process. 🙂

  • JohnMTrader biggreenpen Eleanor Pierce THANKS! That’s what I use too — I’ll check it out!

  • biggreenpen JohnMTrader Eleanor Pierce Hey thanks John! Good addition.

    I’ve been noticing how many miss this lately in part because I’ve been doing a lot of pinning of articles to Pinterest. The number of images that auto-populate with “Stock image” is kind of mind-boggling. Configure your images, folks!

  • biggreenpen The curse of knowledge!

    And yes on second reader. I believe that everyone–every single human, even the best writer on the planet–needs an editor.

  • biggreenpen KristenDaukas Oh! I was actually thinking of you, Paula as I wrote out my to-do list this morning in my nice new green pen. <3

  • EleanorPie

    crucker7 ginidietrich SpinSucks Glad you found it helpful, Cynthia!

  • Eleanor Pierce biggreenpen Yep, absolute truth.

  • Eleanor Pierce biggreenpen KristenDaukas awwww,,,,,,

  • biggreenpen I know!!! And it’s my life goal to get a 100% one day!! LOL!!!

  • KristenDaukas biggreenpen Dream big, Kristen!!

  • “Strive to be like David Sedaris. Before you click publish, run through your blog post and think about places where you can use employ stronger verbs.”

    Write like David Sedaris, please your fans, AND try to make Google happy. It can be done 😉

    So… cheers to expounding and Illuminating your blog posts with big juicy verbs that exhibit your skill and accelerate you posting prowess 🙂

  • Craig McBreen Right? Writing like David Sedaris can’t be all that hard. Might as well throw a few more tips in there, too.

  • Eleanor Pierce biggreenpen JohnMTrader Oh, I so can relate to “stock images” or “scan0043r2623y6” and it drives me nuts.

  • Corina Manea Eleanor Pierce biggreenpen JohnMTrader Oh, is iStock #34859 not what you wanted to pin??

  • EleanorPie

    martinwaxman Hey thanks Martin!

  • martinwaxman

    EleanorPie great tips on the last 9 yards of a post-especially using #Sedarisverbs

  • EleanorPie

    martinwaxman Best hashtag! #Sedarisverbs

  • martinwaxman

    EleanorPie Ha! You don’t think it needs an action verb too 🙂

  • Eleanor Pierce biggreenpen JohnMTrader Darn, you got me! 🙂

  • My favs (which I try to remember every time I am ready to publish) are: 
    – inserting “click to tweet” messages, 
    – adding the “read more” tag to show only a part of the blog post on the homepage, 
    – check that the links to articles I mention in the post are actually working and are opening in a different tab/page.
    – Regarding the image, besides editing and personalizing it for my blog, I select the option link to “none”, so it won´t open at all.
    – From and SEO point of you, I use Yoast for WP and I like to add the URL image in the Facebook tab, so that when people share my article on FB, not to give FB the option to chose whatever image wants, but the image I have on the blog. Don´t know if it happened to you, but it happens to me every time I don´t add the URL.

  • @EleanorPie martinwaxman I am totally digging #Sedarisverbs

  • Diana Combs

    Hi Eleanor,
    We’ve discussed this by email a little. 🙂
    With blogs, it is far too easy to quickly write something, and click publish without proofing the article.  Titles and headers may be perfect, but with sloppy writing, they won’t go far.  So what I tell new online writers are the following:

    1) Proof your writing.  Maybe read it out loud, so your brain doesn’t fill in missing words or accommodate for bad grammar without you noticing.
    2) Walk away & come back. Another reader here vengefully found a small error that I thought I corrected before publishing.  This told me that I worked too fast, and probably forgot the save the correction.  As with more serious writing, I now walk away from the saved article, and come back to it before publishing.
    3) Use preview.  If graphics and photos enhance the website, it’s a good idea to see how the webpage comes together after publishing.  I’ve seen beginner bloggers post articles where the thumbnail image in the blog post is too big, and dominates the text wrapped around it.  You almost don’t see that text.  Preview gives the writer a chance to tweak that.

  • I heart David Sedaris. His writing is magical. I’m actually using a piece of his in a blog post for next week because he says what I want to say much better. And, you know from working with me, I have about a six-page document of all the things to consider before publishing. And we have clients who have their own tomes. It’s a fun world we live in!

  • KateNolan

    New mantra: WWDSW What Would David Sedaris Write
    It’s an old trick, but I still use it before sending something to print/publish: read it backwards. That generally catches any mix-ups. Also, every your/you’re and there/their/they’re gets double checked. Lastly, checklists. A checklist of the “must do” things before you approve anything helps to turn on the “editor” vs. “writer” brain. At least for me…

  • danielschiller

    Walk away — literally — for 2 hours and read it again.
    Then it’s probably okay to hit publish. If anything has been missed, and it’s received 10 rewrites, the mistake was meant to be.
    True ‘dat about verbs. I’m taking a writing class now, so this is timely. Choose verbs — and every other sentence element — carefully and sparingly.

    Passive voice is for the dearly departed.

  • EleanorPie

    SherryWernicke Thanks Sherry!

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