Blogging, SEO

A super, super easy checklist for small business bloggers

Aime Cox
Founder of Studio Cotton
Aime is utterly obsessed with sharing heaps of small business and website advice that’s easy to action
In this article (& jump to a section)
Free from AI

This article and all others on the Studio Cotton blog are written by humans. Please enjoy our opinions, expertise, advice, experiences, and typos.

Last week I published a post discussing if your small business should have a blog, if that didn’t scare you off, and you’re ready to make the commitment – then you’re going to just love what’s coming next.

I’ve pulled together a rather comprehensive checklist of blogging tips that can (and should) be applied to every blog post you write from now until the end of time. I’ve gathered this advice from years of research and reading blogs upon blogs about blogging – as well as my own personal experience and that of my clients.

If these sound a little out of order – well that’s because this particular article has been developed from a Word document that I’ve been adding to and editing since 2014.

1. Plenty of relevant, interesting subheadings are included

Subheadings are great for reading online as they break up blocks of text, aid quick content scanning and help search engines understand the hierarchy of your content. Remember to use ‘heading 2’, ‘heading 3’ etc for this, do not manually change the font thickness and size.

2. Each subheading is closer to the following paragraph, not the preceding paragraph

Or halfway between the two. This avoids floating text, increases readability and encourages consistency in your blogging

3. Paragraphs are no more than 3-5 lines

Short, concise paragraphs are easier to scan, digest, and remember. When we say 3-5 lines, we’re not talking sentences.

4. Bold and italicised text is limited to very short statements or single words

This text styling is used for emphasis as it forces the reader to focus. Excessive use actually makes text harder to read and has the opposite effect.

Lorem ipsum lating text in italics and bold
When all text is emphasised, the effect on the reader is lost

5. Images are used frequently and with context

I talked about this a bit more in my post about making the most of stock photography. Images make blog posts more visually stimulating and can inject personality and humour with ease.

6. Images are legible on mobile devices

Pay special attention to images with a lot of small details and text – like charts and infographics. If it’s not possible to do this, you need to explain the image thoroughly in the text.

Very sciencey graph of cycling through Ashton Court
A very scientific graph like this ‘Happiness vs. Ashton Court Cycling’ is illegible on mobile (sorry smartphone users, you’re really missing out here)


Self Promo

Get expert website help in our £15 community

A super simple Slack community where you can ask Aime questions, get feedback, and/or join a live session every fortnight.


7. Images have alt-tags and captions

Alt-tags give those using screen readers a description of the image, and captions should be used to contextualise the image. Both contribute towards search engine optimisation and getting your website ranked higher.

8. Statements, references, or ‘read more’ points are hyperlinked to external websites

The more your site is interlinked with other relevant sites, the more evidence Google has to rank your website highly. It also gives you a higher chance of being spotted by customers and suppliers that can see your website sending them new visitors.

9. You’re being as generous as possible

Generosity sells. Go above and beyond when you’re discussing the work of those you admire. Be complimentary, and include links to their work in multiple places. It’s a great way to build relationships and show your passion.

10. Specific persons mentioned, especially those not in the public eye, include their background

You need to set out why this person’s opinion matters, and it helps to align yourself with other experts, e.g. ‘Guillermo Son, print co-ordinator at our favourite graphic design production company, has been creating bespoke business cards since 2003’.

11. Key words have been reviewed

Once you’ve finished writing, go back and make sure you include the main words your small business needs to communicate (location, services, name) as well as repetition of the actual subject matter without becoming non sensical.

The Studio Cotton keyword checklist for this blog post
A quick list of everything I should have included in this post. Did I mention we’re based in Bristol? Phew, I can tick that one off now…

12. The audience can get the gist of any video without watching

Video content is a phenomenal tool for communication and engagement. However, some people will never watch videos, and some people catch watch right now. Your blog post should outline the challenge, solution and include key impressive quotes.

13. The blog post looks nice

Preview your article and make sure it actually looks good. Check for formatting errors and review how the content balances with your brand identity.

14. It has a clear beginning, middle and end

It’s easy to drift off topic, and it’s hard to close off a post with an effective conclusion. Sticking to the most simple of story structures will keep your post more professional and less rambling.

A book on a stool
Like all well-written pieces, your article must effectively tell a story

15. Above all else; context, relevance and value

Most importantly, you need to make sure the answer to the following questions is ‘yes’.

  • Would my target audience care about this?
  • Can my target audience use this information for their benefit?
  • Did I deliver value and expertise?


I’ll keep coming back to this post if and when I find more blogging tips. For now, I hope this super, super easy check list for small business blogging helps your brand create great, valuable content a little more effortless. Bristol.

In this article
Meet Studio Cotton

We’re a website design studio for small businesses & podcasts, publishing tonnes of advice from our studio in central Bristol, UK.

Sign up for good stuff

More like this, plus seven free checklists

Join our mailing list for sickenin’ advice from our blog, updates on our Bristol workshops, some sales promotions and the occasional lovely offer too.

Plus! Seven free small business checklists. They’re well good too.

Content producer Lyzi wears a black top and shows Kath something on her phone with a pale pink case.
Join the mailing list

Freebies & advice & website stuff

Join the Studio Cotton mailing list for heaps of free advice for creative small businesses. You’ll also get seven totally free checklists, and we think they’re ruddy wonderful.