New WordPress Post Checklist – Part Two

Tying It All Together

To recap: On page one we covered adding a title, adding post content, and choosing/adding a post category. We also discussed what to shoot for when doing each.

While this tutorial doesn’t cover everything, it is a great start toward making article creation quicker, easier, and more fun. At the bottom of this post you will find a link to download a PDF checklist. This PDF is shortened dramatically since all of the necessary explanations are available here.

Should you wish to learn more about adding SEO (Search Engine Optimization) data, you’ll find it here. (Highly recommended)

Now, let’s continue on and get everything all wrapped up into a nice little download, shall we? 🙂

4. Tags

As mentioned earlier, tags are like tabbed dividers inside of folders in a filing cabinet. They help to drill down into a category in order to find more specific terms. How you use them is largely up to you. Think of tags as keywords. If you hit on a few specific topics within your post you may want to add them as tags.

Let’s say your post is about the Boundary Waters area in Minnesota. Your main category might be Minnesota, but you might want to use an additional category called “Boundary Waters” with “Minnesota” being the main tag in the hierarchy. For tags, you might consider using  terms related to the Boundary Waters such as…. Lakes, canoes, fishing, camping, hiking, nature, wilderness, etc.. You can also use words in your category name for tags if you wish.

It’s a very good idea to add tags that have already been added to your post as keywords. All of the tags seen above could easily be part of an article about the Boundary Waters. Doing this not only helps your visitors, it can significantly boost your search engine optimization.

What to shoot for when creating tags:

  1. Use one to three words.
  2. Use keywords within your post as tags.
  3. Make sure the tags are relevant to the article.
  4. Don’t create too many tags. Up to fifteen is good.


Tags Area

TIP: You’ll find a more extensive tags editor by visiting your WordPress dashboard and going to Posts -> Tags.

Tags Editor Link

Tags Editor Link

Each post tag can create a clickable link. Each tag link will lead to an archive page that lists all posts using that tag. The same is true for categories. When someone uses the search feature on your website they are very likely to enter in something that’s been used as a tag or category if you’ve done your job well. This will help lead them to the content they are looking for. Pretty nifty, eh? 🙂

IMPORTANT INFO: By default, pages do not allow for tags or categories. If having categories and tags on your pages is important to you, you can reach out and I will work on getting necessary changes in place to help make it happen.

5. Featured Image

One of the most important and most overlooked sections in the post editor is the “Featured Image” area. The featured image is what is used as the image on the blog index. It is also used for preview images on Facebook (when Facebook isn’t messing things up).

The featured image should be large and in landscape orientation. The absolute minimum size you can use is 200 px by 200 px, however that will look terrible on your website, and probably won’t look very good on Facebook, either. I would recommend using an image of at least 500 px in width. Bigger than this is preferable. Can you get by with less? Sure, but why fuss with it if you don’t need to?

What to shoot for when adding a featured image:

  1. Use a large image of at least 500 pixels in width.
  2. Choose something interesting.
  3. Do you have the opportunity to promote your product? Do so!
  4. Check out Susan Call’s Blog to see how effective using large, high quality featured images can be.
  5. Don’t forget to add a specific title, alt, and description to the image after uploading.

Featured Image Block

TIP: There are a number of free image sites online that you can choose great post and featured images from. These sites offer large images that are suitable for whatever use you might want them for. For a short list of free image sites check out this post on

Other websites offering free images:

6. Adding an Excerpt

Another area that is often missed or even ignored is the excerpt area. This is where you can (and should), add a short summary of your post content. In many themes the excerpt will be shown as the post preview text. That is the case with most MidState Design clients, and it’s also true for the website you’re on now.

You’ll see an example of what the excerpt looks like in the picture to the right of this text. (Click to enlarge)

What to shoot for when creating excerpts:

  1. Keep it short and descriptive.
  2. Make sure it’s related to the attached content.
  3. Try to create an excerpt that can also be used as the SEO snippet.
  4. Try to include important, topic-specific keywords in your excerpt.
  5. Remember that your featured image, title, and excerpt might represent the first impression your visitors get. Make them good.

Download the WordPress post checklist in your preferred format

[wpfd_category id=”253″]

Where to Add an Excerpt

Examples of Rendered Excerpts

TIP: You can save yourself time by creating an excerpt that is similar to your SEO snippet. Just keep in mind that Google will truncate longer excerpts sooner than most themes will. I tend to use a slightly longer blurb for excerpts and then use a variation of that for the SEO snippet. It saves time and reinforces what the article is about.