If you’re like many small business owners, blogging comes at the end of a very long list of tasks. You might jot off a quick post and hit publish just to get it off your list. But if you don’t pay attention to these five things, you risk looking unprofessional and turning off potential customers. So do your due diligence before you hit that button! #1. Read It Out Loud You can’t know if your sentence structure and word choice are clear and easy to understand until you read the post out loud. If, as you’re reading, you trip up over words, you probably need to restructure how you say that particular phrase. Your readers will also stumble, even if they’re not reading it aloud. Reading your post out loud also helps you find errors. #2. Check for Spelling Mistakes There’s no easy way to do this except manually. The Spellcheck feature in WordPress will red underline some of your mistakes, but others may be more subtle. Example: you write “you’re” instead of “your.” The system might not catch that error. In addition to reading your post out loud to catch these mistakes, slowly read to yourself and look for common misspellings, then correct them. #3. Check for Similar Posts Technically, if you do this step before you start writing at all, you’ll save yourself the trouble of wasting time writing a post similar to one you’ve already written. Search in the backend of your WordPress for keywords to see any and all posts you (or your team) have already written on the same subject. I sometimes find myself writing a post that sounds like deja vu, only to find out I’ve already covered it. If your post is different enough, you can link to past posts to encourage people to dig deeper into your content. #4. Insert an Image There’s a lot of buzz about how many more views a social media update gets when it includes an image. The same goes for your blog post (which should be turned into a social share, so it’ll need that image anyway). A good stock photo will engage readers and make them want to read. Just make sure to accredit the source, and only use Creative Commons or stock photos you subscribe to access. #5. Fill in the SEO Details If you haven’t installed SEO-boosting widgets and plugins in your blog, you need to. SEO by Yoast is a great one, and there are plenty of others. These help search engines include a description of your article so more people click on it. Include title, description, and keywords for best results. If you genuinely want your blog to drive traffic and sales, you’ve got to put the time in to make each post killer. That means no errors, flowing copy, and valuable content. Images: ”Blog Concept/ Shutterstock.com“ __________________________________________________________________________________ Connect with Tweak Your Biz: Would you like to write for Tweak Your Biz? Tweak Your Biz is an international, business advice community and online publication. Today it is read by over 140,000 business people each month (unique visitors, Google Analytics, December, 2013). See our review of 2013 for more information. An outstanding title can increase tweets, Facebook Likes, and visitor traffic by 50% or more. Generate great titles for your articles and blog posts with the Tweak Your Biz Title Generator.