Before publishing a blog post, don't forget these 12 important things! From grammar to SEO, don't leave anything out!You’ve done the SEO research, targeted your keywords and written your post. Now you’re ready to publish a blog post.

But wait! There’s more to it than that.

You want your post to capture attention and bring in readers.

So how do you do that? How do you write a blog post that stands out?

Here are 12 things you should do before you go live to ensure your post is readable, relatable and captivating.

12 Things to Do Before Publishing a Blog Post

#1 Check your headline. Is your headline catchy enough? Use the CoSchedule headline analyzer to improve your title. Tweak your wording, your character count, your word count and create the best title for your blog post.

#2 Make sure you have a hook. Does your introduction hook the reader? Does it immediately shock them, engage them or appeal to their emotions? Use a statistic that shocks and awes, or start your post by describing a problem you know your reader is facing or something you know they are feeling. Make them feel like you are talking directly to them right from the beginning.

#3 Divide your content with headers and subheaders. Headers divide your content and make it scannable for your audience, but Google also loves them. It tells them what is important. You should have one header, your title. Ideally with your keyword in there somewhere. Use H2 tags to define your other headings, which is just one step below in importance. Try to get your keywords in there too. Unless you have deeply detailed content that you need to organize, you will likely not need to go deeper into headers than the H2.

#4 Check your grammar. No matter how many times you read your post, you’re going to miss something. Happens to me ALL. THE. TIME. My brain sees what the word should be, not what’s actually written. So I turn to tools. Check this post for 6 grammar and proofreading tools to help you get your content perfect.

#5 Check for a clear takeaway. Does the reader learn something from your post? Will they walk away feeling transformed in some way? It doesn’t have to be an extremely transformation, but they should feel like they know something or can accomplish something after reading your post.

#6 Make sure your post is actionable. Not only should there be a clear takeaway, but it should tell them exactly what to do. Do you give them the steps to do whatever it is you taught? Does it give them the next step to help them do whatever you’ve talked about?

#7 Fill out your meta description. Your meta description is a short and concise description of your post. It is also the description that will show up in the search engine results, and should be kept around 150-160 characters so it displays correctly. Accurately describe your post in a compelling way, and make use of your keyword phrase to bring attention to your post and encourage clicks. Use an SEO plugin like Yoast to easily add your meta description.

#8 Deep link posts for SEO juice. Linking to your own posts or pages within your own site helps keep readers on your site longer. But it also raises your site’s authority in Google’s eyes because it shows Google bots crawl your site and find your posts and pages easier. Pick some keywords in your post and link to a related post or page on your site.

#9 Encourage comments by posing a question. Are you encouraging your readers to interact? Pose a question at the end of your blog post to encourage people to leave a comment. It can be as simple as “Have you tried this? If not, what’s holding you back? Leave a comment and share your thoughts.”

#10 Use an image that is clear and engaging. Images have the power to catch attention. So you can’t use just any crappy image. Pick one that is high-quality and relates to your post in some way. You can find free, royalty free images at sites like Pixabay, Unsplash or Free Images.

#11 SEO your images. If you use WordPress, you can easily add an alternative text in the backend of your image. This ALT text should describe your image and your post. According to Google, it helps them discover your image (and your post!) better.

#12 Add social media images if using Social Warfare. If you’re using Social Warfare (aff) add your social images and descriptions. If you’re not using it yet, you should be! It’s a paid plugin ($29/year for one website) that lets you create those awesome sharing buttons you see above and below my posts. But the best thing about Social Warfare is that you can upload your optimized images and specific descriptions for each social site. So add in a vertical image that looks great on Pinterest. Fill out your Twitter description complete with the right hashtags for your post. Add an image for your Facebook post to get more attention.

Before publishing a blog post, take a few minutes to make sure it’s engaging, captivating and properly optimized. It doesn’t have to take long, and using these 12 things as your publishing checklist will really help your post get attention.

(Want to know what to do once that post is live? Check out: How to Promote Your Blog Post After You Publish)

Is there anything you HAVE to do before you publish a blog post that I missed? Leave a comment and share it!