Monday, June 27, 2022

Published June 27, 2022 by with 0 comment

Launching a Blog Checklist - Official Checklist for 2022

You will notice at this point I have certain words in red throughout this post. The words in red will lead to pillar articles I am currently developing and you will see that the red text will disappear in the next few days and be replaced with internal links and affiliate links. Most website owners do not let you see this as it happens, but I think it's important that you see the process in action instead of seeing the entire website completed at once. We are doing this together and I want you to see the back-end chaos and what you will be dealing with behind the scenes as you are developing your own blog and website.

If you are looking to launch a blog, it probably feels like an intimidating task. Having built numerous blogs myself, I know how intimidating it can feel. The good news is that starting a blog is easier than you may think, even if you don’t have a lot of experience working with technology. When you are starting one without guidance, you can make a lot of beginner-level mistakes, but you don’t have to when there are writers and blog owners who want to see you succeed.

That is exactly why I developed this checklist for you to follow to launch your own blog. Keep in mind that this checklist provides minimal detail. If you need more clear-cut instructions or more in-depth knowledge, check out my post on how to start a blog guide. This checklist is organized into 6 different categories to make it easier to navigate.

Launching a Blog Checklist

From this point on, you will be going through different phases of launching your blog. 

Follow along with this guide and start checking the list off one by one as you are progressing through your journey. Remember as you make decisions that the competition is fierce. There are thousands of bloggers in every niche launching their blogs every day so make sure your decisions stand out from the rest. Make sure to follow the instructions carefully to make sure you get started on the right foot and aren’t wasting time.

Let’s jump right in!

Step 1: Ideas and Goals

Pick your niche (topic): Pick a topic that you are interested in but also has good search volume.

Set a few goals: Set up your blogging goals by creating a deadline with a specific outcome (example: reaching 1,000 email subscribers within 6 months)

Look for other blogs in your niche: See what other blogs in your niche are doing. Where are they successful? What can you do to make your articles and information better than what your competition is providing? 

Brainstorm a strategy: Once you determine your end goal, you can brainstorm ideas on how to reach your goal.

Develop a list of brand names: Choose a brandable domain name instead of a generic name. You don’t want a keyword-stuffed name. Use the Bluehost domain name search tool to help you develop ideas and check out our guide to choosing a domain name

Step 2: Get Your New Blog Online

Register your domain name: Your domain name is what readers will type into their browser to get to your website. You will need to register a domain name to get started or use a blogger domain name for free. Our first recommendation is Bluehost. Not only are they easy to use, but their customer service rocks...even at 3 AM. You can also get a free domain name if you choose them for your hosting plan, which is very affordable.


Choose your blogging platform: I will always recommend wordpress.org even though I started this blog on blogger to prove a point. Not only is WordPress.org free but it also lets you have complete control over your website.

Choose your hosting provider: There are a lot of hosting providers out there, but I prefer and recommend Bluehost to everyone who asks. It really is the best option for newbies and once you sign up, you’ll never choose another host. Trust me, I’ve tried and somehow end up back at Bluehost. It is also the primary host recommended by Wordpress.org and for good reason. For more information, check out my Best Web Hosting Guide.

Install WordPress: This is a step that might trip up some beginners, but if you choose Bluehost as your web host, you can install it with a single click. They really help you out when it comes to making things simple. Check out my guide on how to install WordPress for a complete setup guide.

Choose a Complex Username and Password: Never use a simple password. Use a combination of alternating numbers, letters, and symbols to ensure that your password is secure. I use this secure password generator that allows me to meet the criteria of different websites, they don’t save the passwords you generate, and you can make them as difficult as you want to ensure security.

Step 3: Get Your Blog Ready for Launch

Create a coming soon page: Your coming soon page can help you start collecting email addresses before your blog even goes live. Creating a coming soon page is easy if you decide to use SeedProd. You can build the entire page with just a few clicks.
 
Choose a responsive theme: Responsive themes make your blog look more professional. You should choose a simple design that doesn’t strain the eyes and is easy to navigate. You can get a free theme from your WordPress dashboard or you can purchase a theme like Divi Theme. What you choose should depend on your budget. If you don’t have a lot of money to invest in your website at first, choose a free theme.

Remove unwanted things from your theme: The first thing I do when I install a theme is to remove the login area in the sidebar. Your users do not need to see that and it takes up valuable ad space, especially since there are other ways to log in. Just go to Appearance >> Customize.

Choose your font carefully: You can choose any font you want but make sure that it is easy to read. Your goal is to have people come back to read your posts and if your font isn’t easy to read, people are not going to come back. 

Design your homepage: This is where it gets exciting. You may not want to choose a default homepage layout, which usually shows the most recent posts. You might want to create a homepage that shows your most recent pages, like your pillar articles. For some people, this is the right approach and for others showing recent blog posts is the best way to go. This is your vision. Go with what feels right for you.

Write an about page: This is your chance to introduce yourself and what your blog is about. It gives you a chance to show your expertise and why you should be recognized as an authority in your field. Why should your readers trust your writing? 

Develop your sidebar: You can use sidebar widgets to do a lot of things. You can display recent posts, popular comments, your categories, your email sign-up box, and so much more. The widgets you use will depend on what approach you decided on in your brainstorming stage.

Add a contact form plugin: Adding a contact form to your blog makes it easy for visitors to contact you and it ensures that you remain in compliance with various regulations associated with operating a website. The easiest way to add a contact form to your blog is using the WPForms plugin. It will also allow you to build other forms on your website later.

Register for an Akismet key: This may seem a little obsessive when you are looking at the documentation, but it is extremely important so that you can combat spam comments that your blog will inevitably receive. 

Add an SEO Plugin: This is one topic I am torn about. I’m torn between two plugins depending on what type of website I’m building. While I’m extremely partial to Yoast SEO, I also gravitate to All in One SEO. Both allow you to add titles and meta descriptions for each of your articles and blog posts within your post editor page. 

Write a tagline for your blog: Setting a tagline for your blog is easy. Go to Appearance >> Customize. Click on Site Identity and here you can change your tagline. Make it awesome!

Add an SSL certificate to your blog: This is something you need to do if you want your website or Google to show your website as Secure. If you don’t use it your website will show as “Not Secure”. If you use Bluehost like I recommended, you can get their free SSL certificate. Inside your Bluehost panel, go to My Sites >> Manage Site and click on the Security tab. Enable the Free SSL Certificate. For more information, check out my article on how to get SSL for your blog.

Add Google Analytics: Google Analytics is a great way to track how your visitors use your website. It shows you what page they enter on and it shows you their behavior once they are there. The MonsterInsights plugin can help you integrate Google Analytics with just a few clicks of a button.

Sign up for Google Search Console: Google has a lot of helpful resources and this is one of them. This console will show you the health of your blog and will notify you if Google finds any errors on your blog. It’s easy to sign up. Just go to Google Search Console.

Add links to your social networking profiles: After you create social networking profiles for your website, adding links to these profiles will let your readers follow you on social media. This will let them get updates about your blog and the various products that you plan to offer. 

Change your permalink structure: It is important that you keep your permalinks simple. They need to be easy to remember. The best way to do this is to change your permalinks to your Post Name. You can do this by going to Settings >> Permalinks in the WordPress dashboard. 

Step 4: Define and Begin Building Your Brand

Set up a personalized business email account: If you used BlueHost, you will have the ability to set up a free business email in your hosting account. Your email will look like yourname@yourdomain.com, or however you choose to name it. Here are step-by-step instructions to create your business email.

Create your Gravatar: Associating your email address with a Gravatar will allow you to show your picture inside your author profile. It will also allow your picture to show up in the comments. 

Create Your Logo: You can hire a freelance designer to create your logo and add it to your blog, or you can make your own logo on Canva, which is a great tool to make your graphics, flyers, and more. 

Create a Favicon: Favicons are super tiny versions of your logo that appear next to your website name in the browser tab. To create this you will need to resize your logo to exactly a 512x512 pixel image. Once you have done this, go to Appearance >> Customize. Click on Site Identity and upload your favicon, also known as the site icon. 

Define your audience: Do some research. Find out the likes and dislikes of your target audience. Create personas from your target audience and write articles for those personas. You can obtain information about your target audience by analyzing your competitor’s audience and comparing the audience of several competitors.

Think about the categories and tags you will use: WordPress organizes your articles according to the categories and tags that you choose. These categories and tags will help your readers find content that pertains to what they are looking for, they will also help search engines rank your content

Step 5: Create Amazing Content

Brainstorm and develop topic ideas for Pillar Posts: Pillar articles are considered evergreen articles on you blog that will draw in a lot of traffic even after months and years of them existing on your blog. You can analyze several of your competitor’s content to develop ideas for your pillar posts and allow you to provide better pillar articles than what your competitors provide.

Generate more ideas for blog posts: To get you started, I’ve provided a list of blog post ideas that you can steal right now. I WANT you to steal them! While you’re at it, check out the types of blog posts that work for every niche

Follow the 10x Rule (super important!): Your goal is to aim 10x higher than your competitors have reached. Make yourself stand out from the crowd by making your website and blog more valuable than the websites and blogs you consider the competition. 

Add quality images: Using websites like Shutterstock and iStock will ensure that you have amazing images to add to your content.
 
Add more media that is important to you: If you really want to reach out to your audience, add some videos in along with the images you use. Your readers will love the interactive addition.

Add internal links that are relevant: Make sure to use a solid strategy to link to your other blogs in your content. Readers will stay on your website and blog longer and travel through your content more. As you’ve seen, I’ve added a lot of links to this pillar article so that you can investigate deeper into what you want to learn about. 

Create a sitemap file: This helps Google see how your website is structured. If you want to approach this in a simple way, I recommend All in One SEO

Add meta descriptions to your posts: It is important to add meta descriptions to each of your posts. This is a snippet that will show up with your article title in the search engine. This can dramatically improve your Click Through Rate, also known as CTR. Just like many other things I’ve covered here, All in One SEO allows you to do this right from your post.

Optimize your blog with keywords: Google Keyword planner is a great way to find the right keywords. Make sure to do thorough keyword research to develop your list and make sure to add them to your blog post whenever it makes sense to use them, but don’t make it feel as though it is forced. 

Create an email list: Add a newsletter subscription box to your blog, usually in the right sidebar so you can start building a list.

Choose an OptIn form plugin: You can create amazing optin forms for your site and there are a lot of different options for WordPress Plugins to create these forms. I personally prefer and recommend OptinMonster. It’s easy to use and fuss-free once you get the hang of using it.

Create social media accounts for your blog: Create an account of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, or anywhere you think your target audience will be looking for you.

Make a list of influencers in your niche: These are people you will want to connect with. Once you have interacted with influencers in your niche, ask them to share and retweet your posts to their followers. This will help you start getting attention. Buzzsumo might make this easier for you depending on how you want to go about this conversation.

Ask for links back to your blog: Building backlinks is a great way to boost your search engine ranking. Follow my guide to building backlinks.

I really hope this guide helped you through the process of launching your blog. Whether you are a complete beginner or you are a seasoned pro, I invite you to print off this checklist to guide you along the path to blog creation. Sometimes it's just easier to have a printed guide to follow than just winging it.

If you need a more detailed guide, check out how to start a blog

      edit

0 comments:

Post a Comment