New WordPress Post Checklist
Creating a post in WordPress is fairly straightforward due to the post editor being quite a bit like common office applications. Even so, there are various areas that it’s important to pay attention to for a number of reasons. Overall aesthetics and search engine optimization are two of the bigger ones. As such, I thought I would create a handy, printable checklist that you can have in front of you to guide you through the process. This way you won’t miss anything.
To begin creating a post you need to login to your admin dashboard area and navigate to Posts -> Add New via the admin menu located on the left side of your screen. Doing this will create a blank post editor page where you can begin inputting all of your information.
- The Title Area
Creating a compelling title is one of the most important factors when trying to get people to visit your post. The title and featured image are the two things that most motivate folks to see what you’ve published online. Discovering what works, and what doesn’t, is a matter of trial and error.
What to shoot for when creating a post title:
- Create a title that relates to the content of the post in some way.
- Make it interesting, compelling, and/or intriguing.
- Include quality keywords related to the post content.
- Try to keep it short. Titles that are too long will be truncated anyway.
- Create titles for people, not for search engines.
TIP: If you do a quick search on Google you’ll discover that there are a number of opinions and tools available to help you out in your endeavors. Even so, there are no solutions that are going to guarantee what you use is going to work. What gets great results for one person may not work well at all for another. Worse, there are many who essentially sell snake oil. If you see anyone making guarantees about getting you tons of traffic, or getting on page one of Google? Walk away.
Hungry for more information? There is a detailed post about creating great titles on JeffBullas.com.
2. The Post Editor
For the purpose of keeping this post as short as possible I am not going to get into all of the details of the WordPress post editor. Suffice it to say that this is where your actual post content goes.
Much like the title, your goal is to create compelling content that scatters related keywords throughout. Images help to break things up and make your post more interesting, as do heading and sub-heading areas.
What to shoot for when creating a post:
- Creating your textual content outside of WordPress first.
- Make it interesting and try to tie it into whatever you’re selling.
- Keep the paragraphs as short as possible.
- Add images to help break up long sections of text.
- Include links, both internal and external whenever possible.
- Add videos whenever appropriate.
- Have something to sell? Promote it!
- Ask people to comment. This can help increase engagement.
- Ask people to share what you’ve posted on social media.
The WordPress Post Editor
TIP: If you click on the image above you’ll see I’ve added a red border to the top right area of the post editor. Should you ever find that your post is showing a bunch of code, toggle the ‘Visual’ tab to go back to the visual editor. The text tab is for code entry and can be confusing for those just starting out.
Below these tabs you will also see a tiny rectangle with four arrows pointing in different directions. This is a link to toggle full screen, “Distraction Free” mode. When enabled it will hide everything except the post editor. To bring the hidden areas back, simply click the icon again.
3. Add A Category
Choosing or creating a category is an important way to keep your posts organized. Well structured websites are favored by the search engines, and are much easier to navigate for your visitors. That said, don’t overdo it. You don’t want to add a new category each time you create a new post. That would lead to dozens, or even hundreds of WordPress categories depending how prolific you are.
Instead, think of categories like you would think of a filing cabinet. The categories are the folders, the posts are like the files, and the keywords are like tagged separators that help group posts together by topic.
In the category block you can select a preexisting category, or you can create a new one by clicking on the + Add New Category link below. You’ll also see a second tab within this block that is for “Most Used” categories. This will come in handy if your site is structured in such as way as you need an above average amount.
You’ll also find a link in your left admin menu bar that lists all of your categories under Posts -> Categories. Here, you can add, edit, and delete categories outside of the post editor. You can also assign a hierarchy to your WordPress post categories for an extra level of structure. Nice!
Finally, you can add a description for the category if you wish. Ultimately, this is unlikely to be used anywhere outside of the admin area so it’s not something worth wasting your time on unless you want to.
What to shoot for when creating categories:
- Keep it short and descriptive.
- Make sure it’s related to the attached content.
- Try not to create too many categories. Use keywords instead.