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The Ultimate Blog Post Checklist For Content That Actually Ranks in 2024

Published: June 20th, 2024 and written by

Discover the secret to beating other blog articles in your industry and driving quality traffic, clicks, and conversions through engaging and valuable content with our blog post checklist.

The Ultimate Blog Post Checklist For Content That Actually Ranks in 2024

Similar to the universe, the World Wide Web is forever expanding, with fresh content being published every second. From blog articles to social media posts to exclusive in-house guides, brands, businesses, and individual entrepreneurs all know the power of a valuable new blog post. But a blog written without our blog post checklist might not get you the results you expect.

Over the last few years, people have attempted many strategies to reduce the time, effort, and dedication required to publish engaging blog articles. Netizens have tried replacing the classic long read with quirky social media captions and motivational LinkedIn posts, even turning to AI writing tools like ChatGPT for quick solutions.

Yet, regardless of their efforts to replace blog posts with temporary trending content, the rule still stands: if your website lacks an informative, engaging, well-written, and SEO-optimised blog, there’s no beating the competition when it comes to traffic, engagement, and authority.

But don’t worry. Even if your business or personal brand currently lacks a solid blog, identifying the problem is already part of the solution. And if you’re concerned about your current articles (or lack thereof), the internet has directed you to the right place.

Welcome to the Ultimate Blog Post Checklist, brought to you by seasoned copywriters from Empowered English. In this blog content checklist, we tackle the following topics: what constitutes a great article and key aspects to check for before hitting publish.

But first, let’s explore how a quality blog can help your online presence skyrocket.

Ready?

How Can a Blog Help Your Online Presence (and Business) Grow?

How Can a Blog Help Your Online Presence (and Business) Grow?

Content marketing trends come and go, but some strategies remain eternal. You’ve probably heard the phrase “Content is king,” which many marketers claim is an outdated cliche. Although the quote may be overused, its meaning still stands loud and clear: quality content is not giving up its rightful place on the throne.

That said, how does a blog help you build an online powerhouse?

Helps to Establish Authority

Did you know running a blog can help you establish authority in any industry?

Think Hubspot, Copyblogger, or Search Engine Journal (SEJ). These influential blogs bring in hundreds of thousands (if not millions) of views per month, not to mention leads, conversions, and sign-ups. And knowing how the internet functions, these results come as no surprise.

Your voice gains authority and respectability when you consistently provide valuable insights for your audience and optimise your articles to rank well on search engines.

Whether you’re offering Girl Scout cookies or the most elite financial services in town, hitting the sweet spot of user-focused and SEO-optimised content can launch your business or brand far ahead of the competition.

Fosters Engagement and Interaction

Fosters Engagement and Interaction

People like to discuss things and interact with each other; that’s just human nature. By publishing engaging and discussion-worthy content, you provide your audience with a chance to have meaningful discussions with each other and directly engage with your brand. In turn, this strategy can help you foster a sense of community like no other business, regardless of the size of your venture.

Social media has also become a handy sharing tool for encouraging discussions around posts. Seasoned bloggers will never ignore the benefits of sharing their articles on their LinkedIn or Facebook pages, encouraging their audience to express their views in the comments below.

Educates Your Audience

While short-form video content may have taken the internet by storm over the last few years, many people still rely on the classic long-read for research and educational purposes.

Consider blogging platforms like Medium, with over 100 million active monthly readers. The blog article still holds a powerful position in the hierarchy of informative internet content and isn’t about to fade into obscurity anytime soon.

In addition, by showing your audience that you’re willing to go the extra mile to provide them with valuable information, they will express their gratitude by engaging with your content and being more eager to invest in your products or services.

Increases Organic Traffic

Increases Organic Traffic

When it comes to organic traffic, running a consistent blog is a great way to get users to land on your website and stay there. Pair your writing endeavours with a solid SEO strategy, and you’ll be well on your way to increasing organic traffic.

Let’s return to human nature for a second. Most people don’t like to be convinced to take action, both online and offline. Even if you shout from the rooftops, “Come to our website, we have cool stuff!” you’re unlikely to widen your audience beyond your most loyal customers or readers.

On the contrary, if you captivate readers with engaging and insightful content, they’re much more likely to visit and stay on your platform.

Showcases Your Products/Services

What better way to showcase your products and services than by directly writing about them?

Of course, we don’t mean 1500-2000 words of pure promotion. Instead, blog articles often incorporate products and services as handy solutions.

Let’s say you run a marketing agency focusing on SMM. By writing about the latest trends in SMM, you can also include references to your own services and the importance of consulting SMM specialists for developing a solid social media presence.

From industry trends to launch announcements to long-read how-to guides (an honourable mention), your blog gives you all the freedom and flexibility to showcase your offer in any way you choose and generate leads while you’re at it.

Helps to Generate Leads

Speaking of leads, don’t underestimate the power of a quality blog post in boosting your lead-generation efforts. Instead of bombarding users with sign-up forms and pop-ups the minute they land on your website, a more subtle yet effective form of lead generation is a gentle nudge incorporated into a blog article.

Whether you want readers to sign up for your weekly newsletter, receive company updates, or explore specific discounts, a solid CTA (call to action) towards the end of your blog post is a great way to encourage readers to leave their contact information.

Provides Long-Term Value

Remember that killer LinkedIn post you published last year? Or that viral Instagram reel? Or any other piece of content that did really well? Those are excellent for short-term engagement, but your blog is your right-hand man regarding long-term value.

Why?

It’s simple. While social media posts have a shorter lifespan and tend to get buried in the ever-expanding feeds, high-quality blog content continues to attract traffic and generate leads for months and years to come.

Can Amplify Your Social Media Presence

The good thing about blogs is that they can bring traffic and engagement to your website and boost your online presence outside of it.

There’s no point in gatekeeping blog articles like family heirlooms; share them! Once you’ve hit “publish,” make sure they reach your other channels, including social media platforms like Facebook and LinkedIn (and maybe Instagram and TikTok, depending on your business model).

As mentioned above, people like to discuss things, and blog articles are no exception. By encouraging your audience to interact with your content and replying to comments, your blog article helps you gain traction away from your website, ultimately bringing people back to it.

What Makes a Great Blog Post

What Makes a Great Blog Post

There’s no shortage of blog articles on the net, but not every blog is a great blog. Unfortunately, not every blog is even a good blog, but that’s beside the point.

So, what distinguishes a great blog post from a good or mediocre one? Well, our blog post checklist is a great place to start.

And, unsurprisingly the top of our list is quality content. Your article should be informative yet engaging, unique yet easily readable, authentic yet relatable. Although that may sound overwhelming, it’s easier to strike a balance between these points when you have a blog post checklist and a clear basic outline to refer to.

Depending on the industry and goal of your article, you need to establish your unique tone of voice and way of presenting information. Professional yet friendly is usually a good direction to explore since it helps to keep the reader’s attention while allowing them to relax during the reading process.

Valuable posts are also informative and always keep the reader in mind. For example, we’re here to discuss blog articles. We’re a team of copywriters, so we’re familiar with all the ins and outs of a great blog post. However, some of our readers may be beginner copywriters, so it’s essential to give them a clear understanding of how to craft a great blog post.

Of course, there are other aspects, like SEO optimization, catchy titles, and engaging images, which are further discussed below. So, if you’re ready to learn how to draft, finalise, and publish a great article from scratch, the next section is for you.

Let’s move on to our official blog post checklist for 2024.

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The Ultimate Blog Post Checklist for Content in 2024

The Ultimate Blog Post Checklist for Content in 2024

1. Have you researched the topic?

Unless you’re a bona fide pro in the topic at hand, you’ll need to conduct some research. This stage includes reading articles published on reliable platforms to grasp the subject (plus any other research tools you prefer).

Don’t be afraid to think outside the box and try alternative platforms like YouTube. Some of us are visual learners, so make the most of the engaging explainer videos available on the platform, often published by specialists who know how to explain things in a quick yet informative way.

For example, if your goal is to publish a new post about the benefits of AI video generation tools, type in “AI video generation explained” or “the best tools for AI video generation” and see what comes up.

Additionally, feel free to consult a friendly pro in real life. If you work with or know someone who is educated on the topic or a specialist in the field, invite them over to your desk (or for coffee) and have a chat. You never know; you might even discover a new perspective to kickstart the writing process.

2. Are you familiar with your audience?

Aside from topical research, you should also research your target audience. Your chosen topic may interest you personally, but it should also be relevant and provide value to the people who will read and share your work.

Look into your website and social media analytics and define your target demographic, their interests, and pain points. That way, you can tailor your blog post to your target audience and provide them with value. You can also conduct polls on social media to see what your followers would be interested in reading about and take it from there.

3. Did you conduct keyword research?

Did you conduct keyword research?

Another essential item on our blog checklist is keyword research.

Search engine optimization is paramount to all website content, and blog articles are no exception. You want your blog post to have excellent search engine rankings and show up first on search engine results pages. High search engine rankings will provide you with long-term organic traffic and exposure.

If you’re part of a larger team, conducting keyword research can include working alongside the SEO specialist and choosing primary and secondary keywords. Likewise, if you’re a lone wolf, look into keyword research tools like Google Keyword Planner, SEMrush, or Ahrefs for a better idea of what keywords to focus on. These will need to be organised throughout the entire post.

While conducting keyword research, keep the following metrics in mind: search volume, competition, and user intent. Target short and long-tail keywords to capture different search queries more effectively.

4. Have you included a compelling headline?

Once you’ve conducted keyword research, you’re all set to create a compelling headline that draws people in – preferably one that includes your primary keyword. Some factors to consider are whether your title accurately reflects the article’s content, evokes an emotional response, or contains numbers, questions, and bold statements.

5. Do you have a clear structure?

A clear structure is a crucial point to consider when drafting, writing, and publishing your blog. To kick off the writing process and craft a good blog post, you need clear headings (including your H1, H2, H3 subheadings, and so on) to break your content up into readable chunks.

Likewise, you’ll want to break up long posts with shorter paragraphs, bullet points, relevant images, and even a quote or two. This helps keep the reader’s attention and prevents their reading from becoming exhausting.

Considering that article word count requirements have increased for higher SEO rankings, you should avoid long blocks of text and incorporate more subheadings and spaces for a pleasant reading experience.

An excellent way to do this is to start with a basic outline that organises your structure, including your layout, relevant headings, and keywords. This strategy is especially useful for long-form content.

6. Have you included an engaging introduction?

The quality of your introduction can make or break your blog article and is a critical factor for any blog post checklist. Ideally, you want to start with a hook that grabs the reader’s attention and continue by stating the purpose of your article and defining expectations.

Let’s say you’re writing about the rise of short-form video content in social media marketing. A good hook could be a statement such as:

“Did you know that short-form video content has single handedly taken over social media channels?”

“Have you ever planned to take a 5-minute break just to end up scrolling through reels, shorts or TikTok videos for hours on end?”

While hook #1 can be helpful for an audience looking to boost their social media marketing efforts and gain more exposure on social media channels, hook #2 is excellent for a more informative article on trend developments. It all depends on the context and purpose of your article.

7. Does your article offer valuable, high-quality content?

If you’re unsure whether that’s a solid “yes” and are teetering on answering “maybe,” it’s time to review your article.

If your content lacks clarity, authenticity, and relevant information (and is full of grammatical errors), readers will bounce from your blog within seconds.

Ensure you gathered your information from reliable sources and provide external links where relevant. Develop a clear and authentic voice reflecting your brand, and double (or triple) check for grammatical errors. Tools like Grammarly are excellent for tackling everyday writing challenges, providing spell checking functions, and paraphrasing suggestions.

Consider adding FAQs after your conclusion to address common questions and add any keywords that feel unnatural to include in the main text.

8. Have you optimised your article for search engines?

Have you optimised your article for search engines?

Although you’re publishing an article to provide value to your audience, don’t forget about SEO purposes, either. Search engine optimization can make or break the success of your blog article and make it much easier or more challenging to find in search results, depending on the ranking (after all, who checks the second page of Google?).

Foundational blog article SEO consists of the following aspects: keyword integration across the entire post, solid meta descriptions, well-optimised title tags, proper alt tags for images, relevant internal links, trustworthy external links, and, as emphasised above, quality content.
For the best results, we recommend you skim the following SEO blog post checklist:

Conduct keyword research

Research topic-related keywords beforehand and include the most relevant ones throughout the article. Aim to include your primary keyword in the title (H1), introduction, and across other sections.

Include both primary and secondary keywords throughout your copy, but avoid artificially placing them in sentences that sound unnatural or grammatically incorrect. SEO is important, but so is readability, and you don’t want to sacrifice readability for a few extra search engine points.

Include well-optimised title tags and write engaging meta-descriptions

Ensure your title tag targets your primary keyword while clearly conveying your article’s topic. Likewise, when writing your meta-description, ensure that the content is engaging and accurately reflects the content of your article to both users and search engines. Don’t forget to include related keywords in your meta-description for better rankings.

Incorporate relevant images and optimise them

Images are also a key part of your SEO strategy, especially when you include relevant ones and optimise image file names for better search engine reach. Ensure you add proper alt tags (also referred to as alt text) for better search engine results and accessibility since search engines process the file names and include the images in image search results.

Include relevant internal and external links

Adding internal and external links is another way to improve your blog for SEO and enhance the overall quality and trustworthiness.

During or after the writing process, add internal links to other blog posts on your website that may be relevant to your article. This is a key trait of a good blogger. Internal linking can reduce your website’s bounce rate by encouraging readers to explore other posts, allowing your audience to navigate your website better, and helping search engines establish your site’s hierarchy.

Likewise, it’s also essential to add external links to reliable sources or articles. This addition suggests that your content is well-researched and connected to reputable sources of information, which is good for your audience and search engine rankings.

9. Does your blog post include relevant, high-quality images?

Does your blog post include relevant, high-quality images?

Incorporating relevant, high-quality images into your article is an excellent way to break up chunks of text, make your post aesthetically pleasing, and improve search engine results.

Whether you have a graphic design team on board to create images from scratch or need to consult royalty-free platforms like Unsplash or Shutterstock, high-quality images are a great complement to written content.

As mentioned in the section above, make sure to add relevant alt-text tags to each image you include. These tags are more likely to appear in search engine image results and direct traffic to your article.

10. Have you included a solid call to action?

Number 10 on our blog post checklist is an non-negotiable.

If you’re looking to gather leads and encourage conversions, a solid CTA at the end of your blog article will help you achieve this. Think about it -what do you want the reader to do? Explore and potentially purchase a product or service. Sign up for your newsletter. Follow your social media pages. Whatever the desired outcome, add a solid call to action to help you achieve this goal.

Examples of effective CTAs can include:

  • “Sign Up for Our Weekly Newsletter” – helps generate leads.
  • “Explore Our Pricing Tiers” – encourages the purchase of a service.
  • “Learn More About – directs the reader to another blog or guide.

11. Have you proofread your article?

Most writers will “scan through” their work before publishing, but conducting a quick scroll doesn’t mean you’ve actually proofread your article. For better results, employ the assistance of grammar-checking tools like spellcheck and Grammarly.

While proofreading, pay attention to the following points:

  • Ensure your article uses the appropriate variant of English tailored to your audience;
  • Paraphrase sentences that sound unclear or appear too lengthy;
  • Read your post aloud.

If you have the opportunity, ask a friend or coworker to skim the article for you.

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The Great AI Debate: To Generate or Not to Generate?

The Great AI Debate: To Generate or Not to Generate?

Over the last few years, there’s been a surge in AI-generated written content. As AI tools like ChatGPT and Google’s Gemini continue to evolve, many blog writers find themselves dealing with the temptation to use AI to generate content for them.

With the proper prompts and corrections, AI tools are surprisingly good at producing written content, leading more and more marketers to choose a quick solution over time and effort.

So, should you rely on AI to generate your content?

The answer: it depends on your goal.

If you need to pump out quick content under tight deadlines, AI may offer a helping hand. However, it’s important to remember that people are becoming quite apt at distinguishing natural content from AI-generated pieces, which can compromise your reputation and position in the industry.

With words like “enhance”, “streamline”, “seamless”, and “unparalleled” becoming increasingly associated with tools like ChatGPT, people have developed a sixth sense when reading blog or website content. If the content uses too many flashy buzzwords like the ones listed above or sounds too “fancy” for its purpose, your readers will catch on.

Not to mention that AI can’t achieve one of the most essential cornerstones of a great blog post: an authentic voice.

With words like “enhance”, “streamline”, “seamless”, and “unparalleled” becoming increasingly associated with tools like ChatGPT, people have developed a sixth sense when reading blog or website content. If the content uses too many flashy buzzwords like the ones listed above or sounds too “fancy” for its purpose, your readers will catch on.

Not to mention that AI can’t achieve one of the most essential cornerstones of a great blog post: an authentic voice.

Acceptable Uses of AI Tools in Content Writing

Acceptable Uses of AI Tools in Content Writing

Although we mentioned that AI isn’t the most favourable option for creating blog posts that provide value and encourage engagement, that doesn’t mean AI tools don’t have their place in the content writing sphere.

Tools like ChatGPT can be excellent for research, paraphrasing specific sentences, discovering synonyms, and providing structure. Instead of scouring the web for ages to find an answer to a simple question, give the query to ChatGPT, and it will provide you with a valid answer that you can explain in your own words during the writing process.

However, make sure to double-check information since ChatGPT can also make mistakes.

Likewise, if you need help finding synonyms or effective ways to convey a particular thought, don’t hesitate to consult AI tools. Whether you need a synonym for the word “professional” or relevant ideas for an FAQ section, AI tools can be your trusty companions in these situations.

Keep in mind that you don’t need to use content-generation tools to make the most of artificial intelligence; AI copywriting tools like Grammarly and Hemingway Editor can help improve your writing without affecting its authenticity or tone.

Note: Using AI tools is acceptable for research and creativity, but avoid copy-pasting content straight from ChatGPT, as this is usually quite obvious and may lead to your transparency and writing abilities being questioned.

Final Thoughts

Final thoughs

That’s a wrap!

We hope our ultimate blog post checklist helps you craft better blogs and generate more traffic moving forward, kickstarting your online empire. Before we leave you to your own devices, let’s recap our blog launch checklist:

  1. Research the topic
  2. Familiarise yourself with your audience
  3. Conduct keyword research
  4. Include a compelling headline
  5. Define a clear structure
  6. Start with an engaging introduction
  7. Offer valuable, high-quality content
  8. Optimise your article for search engines
  9. Incorporate relevant images
  10. Finish with a solid call to action
  11. Proofread your blog post

Feel free to bookmark our blog post checklist and return to it whenever you start writing a new post or feel stuck. Implement AI tools for research or inspiration purposes, but never copy-paste directly from tools like ChatGPT or Gemini.

That said, good luck on your writing journey! Remember, practice makes perfect, so don’t be too hard on yourself if you miss a couple of points on the checklist on your first try – that’s what this guide is for.

Collaborate With Our Team

If writing is just not your thing, consider working with a team of copywriters to take care of your content and search engine optimization. At Empowered English, we collaborate with a variety of small, medium, and large businesses to ensure their copywriting and blogging needs are taken care of.

If this sounds like a tempting offer, don’t hesitate to get in touch for a free consultation.

FAQs

When it comes to writing a genuinely great blog post, you need to consider a variety of factors: readability, relevancy, your target audience, and search engines (to name a few). Feel free to go through our comprehensive blog post checklist to get a better idea of what you should be paying attention to.

Unless you’re writing a casual article as a hobby (e.g., expressing your thoughts on Medium), you absolutely need to optimise your blog article for search engines. SEO is essential to traffic, website reputation, and your overall website score, so make sure to include relevant keywords, optimise image file names, write engaging meta-descriptions and title tags, and so on.

A meta-description is a short summary that appears under the page title in search engine results. To attract more clicks, make sure your meta-description accurately reflects the content of your blog post and includes the primary keyword (other related keywords are also a plus).

Incorporating relevant images is crucial for your blog article. However, make sure you optimise them to avoid slow loading. In terms of ideal numbers, aim for the following:

  • JPEG – 100 KB or less.
  • PNG – 200 KB or less.

If necessary, use compression tools or plugins to optimise your images before including them in your blog.

Although it may seem counterintuitive to “promote” other websites in your article, a single blog post link could take you very far regarding reliability.

When you include relevant and trustworthy external links to reliable sources (think BBC, Hubspot, SEJ), readers and search engines process your website as more authoritative and credible, leading to better rankings and potential networking opportunities.

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