Blog Post Checklist: Don’t Publish Until You Check These Eight Things

Publishing a blog post can be stressful, and that feeling often persists long past your first post. You may worry about missing something or publishing an article that contains errors. The best thing you can do to calm those worries is to use a blog post checklist that covers everything you should be doing before you click the Publish button.

A blog post checklist should cover all the basics, including checking the post’s structure, adding a meta description, and more. Compelling writing will take you a long way, and if you also put in the work to optimize your content for the web and search engines, you’ll be well on your way to building an archive full of top-quality content.

In this article, we’ll walk you through an eight-point checklist that you can reference whenever you’re about to publish a new blog post. Let’s start with the basics!

1. Optimize Your Post’s Title

Users will typically find your blog posts in one of two ways. They’ll either see them in the Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs), or they’ll find them on your website’s blog page. In either case, the post’s title is the first thing they’ll see and will determine whether they’re interested in reading it.

Ideally, your post titles should be relatively short, and they should give readers an idea of what to expect. In our experience, titles with numbers tend to perform the best:

If you can’t use numbers, make sure your post titles aren’t boring. Clear, concise, and attention-grabbing is the way to go.

2. Add a Featured Image

Next on our blog post checklist, every blog post needs a featured image. That image should represent the post’s content, and it’s critical because it’s the first thing visitors will see alongside the article’s title. Here are some examples of featured images from our own archives:

Although featured images don’t appear in the SERPs, they can make your blog page much more engaging. Visuals catch people’s attention far more effectively than text, and they make your content appear more friendly and approachable.

3. Optimize Your Post’s Permalink automatically creates a permalink for each new blog post you publish. Traditionally, that permalink is the same as the post’s title. However, if you’re working with a lengthy title, you’ll end up with a long and unwieldy URL.

Using the Block Editor, you can easily modify each post’s permalink. To do so, open the post’s settings and look for the Permalink option:

Permalinks should be short and sweet, which keeps them easier to remember. This approach will also make your blog posts look more professional.

4. Add a Category and Tags

Your site includes a robust taxonomy system that enables you to categorize your content. Adding categories and tags will help your readers find similar content, which becomes critical as your library of posts grows:

As a rule of thumb, we recommend using categories to connect content that focuses on similar areas of interest (“Recipes”). Then you can use tags to further describe posts based on more specific topics (“gluten-free meals,” “slow cookers”).

5. Write a Meta Description

SERPs are usually made up of post titles and meta descriptions. The latter are the short excerpts you see right below each page’s title:

If you don’t write a meta description manually, search engines will simply pull part of your content to display in this section. A strong meta description can increase the number of people who visit your site, so we recommend that you update yours.

To change a blog post’s meta description, click on the Jetpack icon in the top-right corner of the editor. This will open a new menu that includes the SEO Description section:

Your description should concisely tell readers what to expect from your blog post. Ideally, it should also feature the main keyword you’re trying to target.

6. Check Your Content for Keywords

If you want people to find your blog posts via search engines, you need to think about keywords. These are the terms that people use in search engines to find the content they want.

Search engines determine when to show searchers your blog posts based on a broad range of factors, including keyword use. For example, if you want to show up on searches related to “running shoes,” it’s a good idea to use that keyword within your title, the body of your content, subheadings, and even your meta description:

Keep in mind that you should not force keywords into your content if they don’t make sense in context. However, before you hit the Publish button, it’s always a good idea to do one last read-through and see if there are any places where you could use your main keyword or some variation of it.

7. Check Your Post’s Formatting

We could write an entire book on proper blog post formatting. However, here are the key aspects to keep in mind when running through your blog post checklist:

  • Add subheadings throughout your post. Subheadings structure your content and make it easier to read. Moreover, they help search engines better understand each post’s content.
  • Use images, lists, and tables whenever possible. Visual aids and media files can make your blog posts much more engaging, and they offer fun ways to communicate complex ideas.
  • Keep paragraphs relatively short. Long, drawn out paragraphs can scare users away and make it harder for them to find the exact information they’re looking for. Shorter paragraphs will make your content easier to read across all types of devices.

As a rule of thumb, if your blog post is just a succession of paragraphs with no subheadings or any type of visual aid, you’ll need to improve its formatting. Before you hit the Publish button, go ahead and preview the post so you can see what it will look like for readers.

8. Do One Last Proofread

Everyone makes the occasional spelling or grammar mistake. If you’re publishing blog posts regularly, you will make an error now and then. However, it’s essential that you try and minimize these errors so your content looks more professional.

You’d be surprised at what you can catch if you take a break after writing a blog post and return to it a few hours or even a day or two later. Catching mistakes this way should be much simpler. If you want a bit more help, there are plenty of spell-checking tools that you can check out as well.


The idea of a blog post checklist might seem intimidating, but carrying out each of these tasks will become second nature as you publish more and more content. If you want to put together an actual checklist that you can see on your site, you can try out the PublishPress Checklists plugin.

Alternatively, you can save this article or print out the checklist graphic below and reference it whenever you have any doubts about what to do before publishing a blog post. In general, if you pay attention to the post’s formatting, title, and meta description, you’ll be off to a great start.

Right-click and select “Save Image As” to download the checklist for printing

Let our experts build your custom website.

Whether you need a landing page or a full ecommerce site, an online learning academy or an interactive informational site for your business, we can build it for you.

Apply now


The Team

At, our mission is to democratize publishing one website at a time. Create a free website or build a blog with ease on Dozens of free, customizable, mobile-ready designs and themes.

More by The Team