So, you started a blog – now what?
I know that it can be pretty daunting to start a new blog and if that’s something you’re interested in doing then be sure to check out my more detailed post on how to start a blog on WordPress.
In that post you’ll find a step by step tutorial on getting a blog on WordPress up and running.
It shouldn’t take you longer than 15-30 minutes before you’re live so keep this post in a different tab and come on back once you’re ready to rock and roll!
A lot of people start their own blog or website and then don’t really have any idea on what to do next.
I know that that’s what happened to me when I first got started!
I wanted to create this helpful checklist so that you can follow through the different steps to end up with a blog that’s properly set up for long-term success.
Every now and then I get some emails or messages on social media from people who’ve already started but aren’t really sure on what to do next.
This checklist is the exact process that I go through whenever I launch a new blog or site of my own.
It’s a pretty basic and simple list. If you have any questions then make sure to leave a comment or just send me an email. I’ll be sure to reply as fast as possible.
For those of you that have already started a blog you can probably skip the first few steps but you’ll still find this checklist really helpful!
A Checklist for Starting Your Blog: Everything You Need to Do
Shameless plug: Join my AMAZING Facebook Group to interact with other bloggers and to share your latest and greatest content. Find it over at the Blogging Den!
When you’re starting a new blog you’re going to want to refer to this checklist so that you can follow through with the steps and get everything set up properly.
These different steps are going to help you get everything up and running without having to wonder whether or not you missed something and you can be confident that your blog is ready for success.
- Know Why You’re Starting a Blog
You should have a few reasons why you’re actually planning to start blogging. This is hopefully going to be a long-term commitment for you and you don’t just want to jump right into it without any purpose or reason why you’re starting. Having a reason, or reasons, is going to help keep you motivated and interested in moving forward,.
- Set Some Goals for Yourself
Rather than just starting your blog and hoping for the best you should set some goals so that you have something to achieve. Having specific goals is going to make it easier for you to know exactly what you have to do to achieve these goals. You can write them down and even set a deadline depending on how motivated you are.
- Check Out Similar Blogs to What You’re Interested in Starting
It’s a good idea to see what other bloggers are doing that are in the same niche/topic as you. This way you can get a better look at any areas for improvement, you’ll learn more about your audience, and you might even find some inspiration or get motivated as well.
- Come Up With a Domain Name
If you haven’t already then you’re going to want to come up with a domain name, or URL, for your blog. You can check on a website like Namecheap or just searching Google to see if your possible domain name is already taken. Try to come up with a few different ideas just in case what you want isn’t available.
- Set Up Your Hosting and Domain
It’s now time to head over to Bluehost and set up your hosting with the domain you came up with. Be sure to visit my post on starting a blog for a more in-depth guide on getting everything up and running.
- Install WordPress
If you started your blog with Bluehost then you probably already came across the one-click WordPress install and you can move on. If not, I recommend using WordPress for your blogging needs and installing it onto your domain. You can easily do this through the dashboard/cPanel of your hosting and it should only take a few minutes!
- Familiarize Yourself with WordPress
Before doing anything else you’re going to want to take a few minutes to familiarize yourself with the WordPress dashboard. Check out the different menus, click around bit, and just take a look at what’s going on so that you can become more comfortable with the platform.
- Freshen Up Your WordPress Installation
The default WordPress installation comes with a sample page and a “Hello World” post. You can find these on the “Pages” and “Posts” sections on the menu bar. Make sure to delete them right away because you don’t need them at all and they’re going to look pretty silly if you just leave them up on your blog for people to see.
- Set Your Blog Name and Tagline
Of course you want your blog to have a name and a tagline. To create these just head to “Settings” and then “General” to make the changes that you need. This is one of the first steps towards branding your blog and making it more welcoming for your visitors.
- Install Yoast SEO
One of the best plug-ins for WordPress is Yoast SEO. It gives you a ton of capabilities and allows you to make some useful changes so that your blog has a better chance of ranking higher in search engines. To install it just head over to “Plugins” on the menu bar and click on “Add New”. Search for “Yoast”, then install and activate.
- Create Your Sitemap
With Yoast it’s really easy to create a sitemap. Having one makes it easier for Google to explore the content of your blog and find the keywords you’re using. To do this click on “SEO” on the menu, on the dashboard for Yoast click on “Features” then under “Advanced settings pages” set it to “Enabled”. Now under the “SEO” menu click on “XML Sitemaps” then “Enabled” and then “Generate”.
- Change the Permalink Structure
The permalink is the part that comes after your URL as a description of your blog page or post. At the moment the default setting is rather ugly and includes unnecessary text. To change it just click on “Settings” on the menu bar and select “Permalinks”. Now change the default permalink structure to “Post Name” and save the changes. This way you won’t have any categories or unsightly dates in your URL.
- Consider Other Plugins
While Yoast is a great place to start there are tons of options for other WordPress plugins that you’ll want to consider using. I recommend checking out my post on the best WordPress plugins for blogging to get a better idea of which ones you should be using.
- Add Your Foundation Pages
- Install a Theme
The default WordPress theme is pretty boring so it’s a good idea to install a new theme that matches your personality and niche. There are tons of different things to choose from so I recommend browsing the WordPress options or heading to different sites like “Themeforest” and “StudioPress” to see what’s available.
- Customize Your Theme
Now that you have a new theme you’re going to want to customize it to make it easier for your visitors to navigate. Start by adding a menu bar at the top as well as adding some helpful widgets to the sidebar. This can be done by clicking on “Appearance” and selecting “Customize” on the menu bar. You can also visit “Widgets” for changing the look and layout of your blog.
- Add a Logo or Photo of Yourself
Depending on the niche/topic of your blog you’re going to want to add a logo or a photo of yourself to the sidebar. This is going to help with branding and it’s going to make it easier for your audience to recognize and connect with you and your content.
- Set Up Your Social Platforms
At this point you can set up your different social platforms depending on what you want to use. I recommend getting started with Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest. You can also consider using other platforms, like YouTube, if they’re relevant to your niche and content.
- Set Up Google Analytics and Google Search Console
Both Google Analytics and Google Search Console are amazing free blogging tools that you can use to develop a better understanding of your website and traffic. These tools are packed full of helpful information and I would definitely recommend setting them up once your website is up and running.
- Sign Up for KWFinder
Another great tool that I recommend is KWFinder. This tool makes it easy to find keywords that you can target and inspiration for what to blog about. I use it every day for blogging and there aren’t any other keyword research tools that I would recommend. Head over to KWFinder.com and check it out for yourself!
- Generate Some Blog Post Ideas
You’re almost ready to start writing your first blog post so now you should start trying to generate some blog post ideas. Hopefully you already have an idea of some topics you want to write about and if not then I recommend using KWFinder for some inspiration. You can also check out other blogs for ideas or use social platform like Pinterest.
- Consider Your Monetization Options
Take an in-depth look into your niche online and try to find any relevant monetization strategies. There are tons of powerful posts on how to make money blogging and I recommend checking those out to see how you can start making some money with your blog. This should always be something that’s at the back of your mind, especially if earning a living with your blog is something you’re striving for.
- Write Your First Blog Post
Finally! It’s time to hit the keyboard and write your very first blog post. The way the internet works these days you really don’t need to write an introduction post or anything like that. Simply come up with a topic you want to blog about, do your research, provide in-depth and helpful information, then hit publish!
- Use Links in Your Posts
When you’re working on your blog posts it’s good for SEO as well as for your visitors to link to other helpful content. It can be something on your own blog or on someone else’s blog – it’s just a good idea to add links that help to improve the value of your own posts.
- Include Images and Other Media
Don’t forget to add some relevant images or even videos to your blog posts. This is going to make your contents easier to read, it’s going to add more value, and people are a lot more receptive when they have something nice to look at rather than just a large block of text.
- Start Networking and Promoting
Once you have a solid foundation of posts you can start networking with other bloggers and promoting your content. Interact with your audience on social media, reach out to other people in your niche about collaborating, and never hesitate to let someone know about your blog posts if they’re going to find it helpful and useful.
And there you have it!
A 26-point blogging checklist that hopefully helps you out when you’re getting started and gives you some ideas on the foundations you need to create for long-term success in the blogging world.
Whenever I start a new blog I always refer to this helpful checklist to make sure that I’ve covered everything and so that I start off on the right foot.
Did I miss anything? Is there anything you would recommend that I add to this checklist?
I’d love to hear your thoughts! Definitely let me know if you have any questions or any recommendations down in the comment below!