9 Things You Should Do Before & After You Hit Publish

Blogging is a lot of work and a lot of people don’t realize that exactly goes into it. From taking pictures, to social media, writing posts, and brainstorming ideas, it’s a lot to keep up with. I am very organized when it comes to all aspects of my life and rely on my planner and to-do lists simply because if I’m not, I’d probably lose my head. Having a blogging checklist and schedule helps eliminate (some of) the stress that can come with running your own little corner of the internet.

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Most bloggers do enough to get by, but if you take those extra few minutes to really make your blog and your blog posts the best that they can be before and after you click publish, you’ll make great strides. Have a plan, take action, and see results. Here are 9 things you should be doing before and after you publish every blog post (+ a free blogging checklist!).

Have an effective post title

Every blog post you publish should have an effective post title. Your title is what is going to pull people in to visit your site, so make sure it is worthy of their time. Your post title should:

  • Include keywords
  • Encourage someone to click and visit
  • Target a specific group (i.e. college students, new bloggers, creative biz owners, etc.)
  • Have a reason

You wouldn’t name a book you spent years writing with a half-assed title, so don’t give your blog post a half-assed title! Are you sharing X number of things someone needs to buy or needs to know? Let them know in your title (for example the title of this post: 9 things you should do before & after you publish every blog post).

Use headings for subsections

Making your posts more reader friendly by separating the sections of your post with heading tags (H1, H2, H3, etc.). Smaller paragraphs are easier to read and allow people to skim through posts much easier. Big chunks of paragraphs typically tend to scare readers off and SEO loves sub headings (like the ones I’m using in this post!). Throughout your sub headings, be sure to bold and italicize important points as well for easy reading!

Optimize your images

All of the images you include in your blog post should:

  • Be optimized for the web (you can do this in Photoshop!)
  • Include alt text descriptions
  • Have a informative image name

Optimizing your images for the web not only let them be picked up in search engine searches more frequently, but also load much quicker on your site.

Including an alt text description on your photo (you can do this when you’re inserting a photo into your post) with a description of your post and the post title is amazing for pinning purposes. Ever wonder how descriptions automatically pop up when you pin off a site? This is because that person included an alt text description on their photos. Genius right?!

  • Help readers find similar posts on your blog
  • Help reduce your bounce rate

Whether you consider your blog within a niche or it is niche-less, having a set of categories (or topics) you post about on your blog allows your readers to know what to expect and helps your from feeling overwhelmed. I’m not going to get into the logistics of categories today, but if you categorize each of your posts, it’ll help your readers find similar posts on your blog thus reducing your bounce rate.

Add a featured image (WordPress)

Being able to set a featured image is one of my favorite things about the WordPress platform. You know that image that comes up when you post a link to your blog post on Facebook, StumbleUpon, or Twitter? On WordPress you have the opportunity to choose what that image will be!

When you are writing out your post, scroll down to the “Featured Image” area on the right-hand side and select the image you want to use as your featured image. Easy as that!

Link back to old posts

The best way to gain traffic and new readers on old posts is to link them within your posts. If you’re sharing a new tutorial, link back to a related tutorial that could help your readers as well. If you’re sharing a cute top that has already been featured on your blog, link back to the original post that it was in.

Proper SEO tactics

SEO is a bloggers significant other. Without SEO, the likelihood of your posts coming up in search engine searches is very low. I don’t know how I blogged as long as I did without using proper SEO tactics. Once I made it a point to use them, the blogging game changed for me.

Be sure to use:

  • Headings and sub-headings (H1, H2, H3,…)
  • Alt text titles
  • Make sure your title length is at least 40 characters
  • Use your key word several times throughout your post
  • Edit the meta description (through Yoast SEO)

If you’re new at SEO or have been in the game for awhile, the Yoast SEO plugin (WordPress) is so very helpful! Also, be sure to research key words for ultimate SEO guidance.

Proofread your posts

I am very guilty of not doing this as much as I should but it’s very important to do so. We all make mistakes (especially when we’re tired), but if we don’t proofread, there will be more mistakes than you will want to deal with and going back and fixing them is a pain in the bum. There’s also no worse feeling than having your readers and followers pointing out your mistakes, like hi sorry ok!!!

Encourage discussion

I love when my readers and followers engage in conversation with me. It makes me feel like my blog is making an impact on their life. Sometimes your readers might find it hard to engage with you so if you help encourage them, you’ll spark up more conversation! One of my favorite ways to encourage discussion is by ending blog posts and social media postings with a question.

And finally….

Checklists are your friend. Find one that works for your or create your own that has everything you should be doing before and after you publish every blog post. Following this list will do your blog wonders, I promise! Here is the one I reference every day (or as much as humanly possible!):

9 Things You Should Do Before & After You Hit Publish

And the very exciting part….. I made this into a printable for you to reference, too! It’s totally free and all you have to do is click here to pull the PDF up for printing. I hope you enjoy.

What do you do before and after you publish every blog post?


  1. July 5, 2016 / 10:21 AM

    Awesome, awesome post! So informative. I love the checklist, too.

    • July 7, 2016 / 8:26 PM

      Thanks so much Emily! I’m glad you liked it!

  2. July 5, 2016 / 11:31 AM

    Love this post, Rachel! Definitely making me think about switching to WordPress for that Yoast plug-in…but we’ll see! Haha. All of these are super important to do, but I think I really need to work on proof reading my posts, I’m always so ready to just hit publish!


    • July 7, 2016 / 8:27 PM

      I just hit publish probably 80% of the time – oh well. I’m totally loving WP and highly suggest you switch!

  3. July 5, 2016 / 11:36 AM

    Love the printable! I am trying to get better with SEO but I have yet to include subheadings! I actually didn’t know how to until just now…#embrassed

    Thanks for sharing! 🙂
    XX Annie

    • July 7, 2016 / 8:28 PM

      Hey! It’s okay! There’s always something to learn when it comes to blogging!

  4. July 5, 2016 / 4:00 PM

    Hey Rachel! I love this post. Blogging is much more than just writing out a few hundred words 3 times a week. We have to not only enhance the post with pictures and SEO, but to promote it on social media as well. I get overwhelmed sometimes by all of this, so thank you for creating that checklist to help me stay on track with my posts 🙂

    • July 7, 2016 / 8:29 PM

      I’m so glad you enjoyed it, Aly! Blogging is seriously SO much work and I’m sure that if I knew really how much would go into it before I started, I might have shy-ed away!

  5. July 5, 2016 / 11:44 PM

    Great post Rachel! You hit the nail right on the head. There’s so much more to blogging than what is seen, and it’s the behind the scenes work that takes the most time.
    I’m happy to say I do most of the things on your list, except for some odd reason I hadn’t thought of sharing other blogs on twitter. I can believe I hadn’t started doing that yet, I do it for every other social platform! To be fair I’ve only started with twitter a couple of months ago. But any who great post and thanks for the checklist!
    xo Jannine | Happy Stylish Fit

    • July 7, 2016 / 8:35 PM

      Thank you so much Jannine! Twitter is definitely a harder platform to utilize but once you get into the habit, it goes smoothly!

  6. August 16, 2016 / 1:40 PM

    This is a great list! Thank you for sharing! I do most of these already, but you’re right, when we’re tired, lazy, whatever we might forget to do some of them. Question for you on the featured image…whenever I type my homepage address (www.styleinasmalltown.com) the featured image that it pulls up varies every time. It’s not always the latest post, though. For instance, I typed it into a Facebook post just today and it brought up a Shopbop sale featured image, which was months ago. Do you know how to change this? Thanks again!


    • August 21, 2016 / 11:00 PM

      Hi Hillary! Are you on WP by any chance?! If you are, when you’re drafting up your post, there is a box on the right side that says “Featured Image” and you can select which one it is or upload a completely different photo! Hope this helps. if not – shoot me an email (rachel@seashellsandsparkles.com) and I’d be happy to help!

  7. August 16, 2016 / 9:17 PM

    This may be one of the most helpful posts I’ve ever read! Thank you so much for sharing!

    • August 21, 2016 / 11:00 PM

      YAY! I’m so glad that I could help!

  8. August 17, 2016 / 12:15 AM

    Very savvy blog post! So informative and so spot on. Love the check list!

    • August 21, 2016 / 11:00 PM

      Thanks so much Carolina!

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      Thanks Jocelyn! So glad you found it, too!

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