If not, consider adding this extra step to the publishing process.
I’m human. So are you. We mess things up.
No matter how careful you are, you will make mistakes. That’s life. By double checking what your post will look like before you release it to the world, it is a tiny thing that can make all the difference, saving you time and panic later.
WordPress makes it easy with their Preview Post feature. Save the post, don’t publish it, and when the post edit panel reloads, click Preview. A preview of the post as it will appear when published will open in a new tab.
As you preview the post, remember that your browser window and screen resolution may not be the same as the reader’s. If you have images and multimedia in your post, resize the window to see how it will look narrow or wide to see if the perspective changes. Use the Control + Scroll wheel on your mouse (or fingers on touch screens) to make the web page letters larger or smaller and see if it still holds up for readability or distorts, pushing things around making it hard to view. Consider making changes to resolve these issues no matter what size screen or resolution, making the article easy to read for everyone.
Make changes in the Edit tab, then switch back to the Preview tab and reload the page to see the changes. The F5 usually reloads or refreshes in most browsers and computers, making editing and preview fast and easy.
- Readability: Is the format, structure, length, paragraph length, images, do they all blend together to make the post easy to look at and read?
- Images and Multimedia: Check for image alignment. Maybe one picture needs to be on the right not the left to make it easier to read or fit within the content area. Maybe it needs to be larger and centered as it is important to the story. Any content or images squished or pushed around? This is the time to fix all these issues.
- Video: Check the video player that it works and looks good on the page. Many times embedded videos can distort or be crowded with content and other multimedia. Make sure you have added words not just the video to the post. Words describing why someone should watch this video and a brief description are essential, the latter required by web standards for accessibility.
- Headings: Check headings in your post, subtitles that break up the content if required. If the article feels a bit long, consider breaking it up into sections with proper headings using the headings HTML tags.
- Links: Links are in text and around images. Make sure they are complete and not broken, in properly formed links not link dumps, and all go to their intended destination. Click a few. A little error in the link can reroute to a page not found or not even go to the destination. Check carefully.
- Bolds and Italics: The proper usage of bolds and italics is explained in “What You Must Know About Writing on the Web.” Bolds are to be used sparingly, italics are for air quotes, and both should be used rarely. Check to see if you have abused your bolds and italics.
- HTML On and OFF: In HTML, every HTML tag that opens must close. In this list, I use bold as small headings for each point in the checklist. While writing the article, I missed turning off one of the
<strong>HTML tags for bold and the rest of the article became bold. I would have missed that if I hadn’t previewed the post. Look for bold, italic, links, and other HTML tags that are on but not turned off and fix them.
- Long Paragraphs: Web writing is very different from traditional writing. Paragraphs tend to be shorter, one concept or idea per paragraph at most. Look for run-on paragraphs and edit them into readable chunks.
- Spelling and Grammar: Reading your post in the WYSIWYMG Visual editor isn’t as easy as reading the published version. Read your post the way your readers will read it. Post Preview will often reveal many errors you missed in the editing screen.
- Is This What You Want Readers to See? Ask yourself if this is what readers will want to see and read when they arrive on your site. If it is, you’re good to go. If it isn’t, fix it. Remember that each post you publish must speak well for you and your blog. Let it speak loudly, clearly, and well.
Your blog exercise is to make previewing posts a habit. Before you hit publish, preview the post as it would be seen by readers when published.
Add to the above checklist some of the specifics associated with your own blog. For example, every post on this site must have my famous signature text. Sometimes I forget so it is on my checklist. What needs to be added to your own list?
Remember to include a hat tip link back to this post to create a trackback, or leave a properly formed link in the comments so participants can check out your blog exercise task.