Preparing Your Article for WordPress in 9 Steps
Some people who have a WordPress-based website will sit down and start writing their blog posts directly into the New Post screen of WordPress.
There’s nothing wrong with that for a short article with just a few sentences, but I think you will achieve a better result if you prepare everything before you even log in to your WordPress dashboard.
I believe there are nine important steps for posting an article in WordPress.
1. Draft Your Article
Whether you prefer to start your article drafting process with a pad of paper and a pen or by sitting down at the keyboard, you will need your article in an electronic format so you can work with it easier.
I recommend drafting your article in a word processing program such as Microsoft Word. Word processing programs are designed with features helpful in preparing your article for publishing.
This article is not intended to be a tutorial about the intricacies of how to draft an article, but one of the basics is outlining your article to ensure you cover the main points relevant to the topic of your article.
For example, when I was drafting this article about preparing an article for publication in WordPress, I created an outline that included the main points I wanted to cover. These main points evolved into the nine steps.
2. Proofread and Edit Your Article
Once you’ve drafted your article, you’ll need to proofread and edit it. And don’t forget to use the built in spell checking feature of your word processor.
One of the nice features word processors have is the ability to cut and paste. If you find you want to move text around to word it differently, you can cut a section and paste it where you want.
3. Format Your Article
Once you are satisfied with the content of your article, you’ll want to format it. If you have a short article you may not have any formatting to do. But if you have a longer article with multiple points, you’ll want to create relevant sub-heads.
For example, this article is a list post and each of the items in the list is a sub-head. Sub-heads help to break up long articles into bite size sections. Sub-heads also help to keep the article organized as well as making it easy for readers to skim and find the information they might be looking for.
4. Create a Compelling Headline
Once the body of your article is complete, you’ll want to create a compelling headline to attract people to read your article.
Whether your article shows up on Facebook or in Google search results, your headline is the primary factor in compelling someone to click through to your article.
You also want to make sure important keywords from your article are in your title whenever possible. And, whenever possible you want them at the beginning of the headline.
If you’re not familiar with the concept, keywords in this context are defined as the word, or words, that that are highly relevant to your article.
Notice the title of this article: Preparing Your Article for WordPress in 9 Steps.
In an early draft, I originally titled it: 9 Steps to Preparing Your Article to Post in WordPress but I wanted the keyword phrase Preparing Your Article at the beginning of the headline.
This will help the article rank higher in search results for searches using that term. It will also make it easier to see for the person who is looking for that phrase.
5. Select, Optimize and Upload Images for Your Article
Why use images in your article? Images:
- Break up your article’s text
- Lead into the text of your article
- Help to introduce your topic
- Support your article’s content
Images can also help to compel someone to click through from social media websites.
Select One or More Images for Your Article. There are a number of places you can get images for your articles. They can be actual images of what you are writing about or they can be more abstract.
Optimize Your Image. Optimizing images involves both resizing and/or cropping if needed, but also optimizing them for SEO.
Upload Your Image to Your WordPress Media Library. Once your image is ready, upload it to your WordPress website’s Media Library so it will be ready for your use when you create your article in WordPress.
6. Determine Appropriate Categories to Use
This is one of the easiest parts of preparing your article for publishing. Your website may only have one category so it’s obvious where to post it. Many websites have multiple categories, depending on the nature of the website.
Categories help to keep your website organized. If you write about fishing, you might have a top level category about fresh water fishing with sub-categories about fishing in lakes, ponds, rivers and streams.
7. Consider Post Tags to Add
Like categories, post tags can help organize your articles within groups. Using the fishing topic, you might create an article about fishing for trout in small streams in southeast Minnesota.
The category you post in might be Fresh Water Fishing/Streams but you might add the following post tags: trout, brook trout, brown trout, Minnesota, etc.
If someone should do a search of your site for trout fishing in Minnesota, any articles with these post tags in them will show up in that search.
Depending on how your WordPress website is configured, adding post tags may also add additional pages to your website; each post tag may have its own page and can show up on a Google search.
8. Create an Excerpt
In WordPress, the excerpt is an optional article summary or description. When you or someone else posts a link to your article on Facebook or Google+, it is the excerpt that is displayed below the article title.
In some cases, when there is no excerpt Facebook and Google+ may display nothing except the title of the article. The article excerpt, when it is displayed below the title, is another way to entice a reader to click through to your article.
Since you can control this description, why not have a compelling teaser when you post a link to your article on social media websites?
9. Post Your Article
When everything is ready to go, log into your WordPress Dashboard, click on the Add New Post link and create your new article.
Since you have all of the pieces ready, all you have to do is copy and paste the Headline, article copy, post tags and excerpt from your word processor document into the appropriate locations in the Add New Post screen, select the Category(ies) to post in, add your image(s) and you are ready to click Publish.
With these nine steps, you can prepare to publish your article without missing any of the important pieces.