4 Things You Need To Know Before You Hit Publish

Lisa is back again with her amazing tips. I must say, even though I went to arguably the best journalism school in the nation (MIZ…), I hated grammar class. Sorry all you grammar nazi’s but I write like I talk, so I’m a huge fan of Grammar Girl myself! — Meg

4 things you need to know before you hit publish

So you’ve written your blog post and prepared your images. Before you hit publish, let’s make sure your content is presented well and is easy to find and use!

1. Edit, edit, edit.

I know, I know. Blogging is supposed to be fun, and you don’t want to treat it like your high school English paper. However, text with a lot of mistakes can be very distracting. I could really dedicate a whole post to common grammar mistakes, but for now Grammar Girl is a great resource to brush up on your skills!

2. Break it up.

It can be difficult to read large sections of text on a computer screen, and you want to make sure that anyone just skimming for information can get the gist of what you are saying. It’s ok if your topic warrants a long post, but break it up into friendly chunks of information, and use headers or other styling elements to make important things stand out.

This post is a great example — notice how Meg used headers to make the tips stand out, then made each resource bold and capitalized at the beginning of the paragraph. Even if you only have a few minutes to skim the post, you can still get a good amount of information out of it.

3. Get organized.

Use those categories and tags, or labels, to your advantage! Think of them as ways to group your posts so readers can easily find similar information. Categories are great for general topics, and tags are great for getting specific. If your platform only uses labels, then make sure you are including a general label as well as specific ones.

For example, say you post gift guides, one that is home related, and another that is fashion related. You might categorize/label one as “Home” and the other as “Fashion,” then tag/label them both “Gift Guides” and “Gift Guides 2012.” That way, when you complete your 2012 Gift Guides, you can point readers to the “Gift Guides 2012” tag to read all of this year’s guides, or “Gift Guides” to show them all guides you have ever written. Or, if your reader wants to see all home-related posts, your home guide would show up there as well.

Just be careful not to use too many categories/tags/labels — they are really more effective if you are able to apply them to multiple posts. If you were putting your post into a filing cabinet, you wouldn’t create a file folder for something that’s only mentioned once on your blog, would you?

4. Open links in a new window.

Check all of your links, and make sure that anything that links away from your site opens in a new window. Let’s be honest, no one can remember what they were looking at two seconds ago when it comes to the internet. When you send readers away from your site, they probably aren’t coming back. Unless, of course, your site is still open in another window! When you add your links, look for a checkbox to open in a new window, or add the following text in italics to your code: <a href=”http://your-link-here.com” target=”_blank”>Your Link</a>.

Image above via Rifle Paper Co., graphics by Lisa

Lisa’s last post: 5 Things You Need To Know About Images