Having problems starting a blog or keeping it going? For many of us, sitting down to write that daily or weekly blog can be intimidating. I know that a lot of my friends and clients tell me that they are often put off from doing their blog because they feel unsure how to start. Well, that is why I love checklists so much. In just about anything that you need to do regularly, having a checklist can be a great way to get you started and keep you organized.
Get Organized and Start Writing
When it comes to starting a blog and keeping it relevant, having a checklist will be one of the best tools you can use. Even the most experienced writers who might be able to just sit down and whip out 500 words on just about anything can use one to make sure you have covered all their bases.
Best of all, it costs you nothing and is easy once you put the initial list together. If you use a checklist both before you start your blog and while writing your post you will find you have better success with the posts. For anyone who isn’t a “natural writer” that can make a huge difference. Here is what I include in my checklist for blogging to get the motor running full tilt when I am starting a blog post.
Before Starting a Blog Post
Research is an important part of starting a blog post. So is preparation. If you think about these steps before writing, the writing part will flow more easily:
Who is My Audience? – Think about and truly address topics your blog audience wants to know. I write a blog about small business blogging and so I try to envision (or ask small business owners who are friends) what they would like to see here. I often use a calendar to plan these things out, but don’t be a slave to it. If a better idea comes along, use it.
Keywords – Always write to a keyword. I start by using the Google keyword tool to explore and create a list of keywords I want to focus on before I am even starting a blog post. However, Google recently made changes to this so be sure to red their instructions first. Here is a great little video that another blogger did that explains the new tool and how it works:
Targeting your blog post for a keyword gives it value to Google and makes it easier for someone looking for that information to find you. I write about the value of keywords elsewhere, so feel free to do a bit of extra reading on it if you are unclear what a keyword is and how to use it.
Headlines – When you are starting a blog post you will probably have an idea of your headline. That will be your working title. As you write, a better headline may come to mind so don’t be afraid to change it before you publish. The rule is that it should be no longer than 65 characters and have your keyword in it. It should also be a good indicator of what your blog post is about. Since I highly recommend using WordPress SEO by Yoast to help with your SEO, you will find it has a counter in it that tells you how many letters your headline is and if it is SEO optimized.
Categories – When you are organizing your blog posts, categories are very important for two reasons. One is that they help with your SEO because they give clear indications of subject matter. But for you, the reason they are important is they help you to organize your writing.
Create clear categories in your blog and stick to them when writing your posts. If your post doesn’t fit into a category, you may want to consider if this is the right subject. I will be talking more about categories elsewhere here as there is also a good way to organize tags and categories for SEO.
Getting Started is Half the Battle
This kind of checklist can help when starting a blog and also make it easier to stay on schedule. Stay tuned for more hints on checklists, writing tips and great tools for your blog posts. Need help with your blog? Drop me a note, I am always happy to help out my fellow bloggers.